Survey for Make-a-Wish members
Document about Ability First, Make-a-Wish's proposed alternate purpose
Dr. Howell in his classroom
It seems the shooting stars have halted around CMHS’s Make-a-Wish Club. Dr. Howell, CMHS's Make-a-Wish club’s adviser, asserted, “If they [The Make-a-Wish Foundation] didn’t show flexibility, we quit”. When the minimum amount of money required to grant a wish was raised to $5,000 and then supposedly to $6,000 dollars next semester, Dr. Howell considered leaving the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
CMHS's Make-a-Wish club went to the school district for support, an example of support being to make separate clubs. In the end, Dr. Howell’s suggestions were responded to with limits. An attempt to make multiple Make-a-Wish related clubs was denied. Dr. Howell said, “The District is very bureaucratic. They were not flexible."
The disunion occurred around early December when the Make-a-Wish club raised $4,000 and were $1,000 short for a wish. The escalating price didn’t stop there. The next wish the club would grant would have to be $6,000 dollars; $2,000 more than Make-a-Wish raised last semester.
This “unexpected” change wasn’t exactly comforting news for Dr. Howell. “The Make-a-wish members worked hard to raise $4,000 dollars. The new price came as a shock."
Alexis Ramos, a Make-a-Wish member, said, “We’re changing our club to Mesa Magic because it [each wish] was too expensive.” A decision to continue to work with Make-a-Wish was made on Valentine’s Day. Each Make-a-Wish member submitted a vote.
Dr. Howell commented, “I don’t think we’re breaking a tradition. The Make-a-Wish will still be affiliated with the possible new club. Finally the Make-a-Wish central organization gave us new options."
The “new” club will focus more on wishes being made in the Orange County area. Each wish that will be granted has to be $3,000 and under, the Costa Mesa students will also get to pick who receives a wish to be granted.
Make-a-Wish will also start a new tradition called "Christmas Wishes". On December, they will give out Christmas gifts to the homeless and others in need of assistance from our campus. This will be something that Make-a-Wish Foundation won’t be a part of; this is the club’s idea.
Students in the club will also be required to do 4 hours of community service for the “Ability First", a program that serves children with special needs, or for “A Wish”, a program that finds homes for pet’s in need of adoption.
Students in Costa Mesa High School won’t seem to be affected by the new required price on wishes. Danny Vargas and Jose Mendoza are two eighth graders that didn’t know the club existed. When informed of their cause and their possible change they said they would still donate by buying lollipops. Freshmen Spencer Amarde would do the same. It looks like donators would still donate if the cause is just.
Prosthetic Arm on display.
Luis Ceja (left) and Christopher Hutchinson (right)
Building a fully functional prosthetic arm under $40 is no easy feat. But after weeks of preparation, Christopher Hutchinson, Luis Ceja, and Michael Hutchinson managed to do just that and more.
On Saturday, February 23rd, they placed 2nd at their MESA Preliminary Competition at Chapman University and will attend MESA Regionals at San Diego State University on April 13th, where they will compete against other prosthetic arms all across Southern California.
MESA, which stands for Math Engineering Science Achievement, is a program designed to "support the national science and mathematics educational agenda by ensuring that MESA students develop a high level of literacy in mathematics and science so that they can play a leading role within an increasingly technology based world," according to the class syllabus. Both a class and a club run by Mr. Poveda and Ms. Ras, the MESA members compete in various competitions at their prelims, which can give some projects the opportunity to continue to Regionals, State, and even Nationals.
"There are different projects, all the same throughout the country. Each MESA center [Chapman for CMHS] has different schools, and each school brings in teams of students. First, second, and third places in each category in Prelims go on to MESA Day [Regionals]," says Ms. Ras, who has been the MESA adviser for about 5 years.
These projects include a mousetrap powered car, a model of the brain, a glider, an egg drop, a balsa wood bridge, and various individual math and science competitions, such as Solo Math, Speak Easy, and Team Math Quest. Each project has its own set of rules that needs to be followed to the letter. If a project deviates from these rules, they are immediately disqualified.
"I watched them do their prosthetic arm, and their design was original. There were a couple of others that had a really cool design. Theirs was very simple, it didn't look too complicated. They just followed the rules one by one, so they didn't get disqualified," said junior MESA member Jocelyn Gutierrez when asked about the prosthetic arm team. "I was excited for them to win."
The team, composed of sophomore Michael Hutchinson and freshmen Luis Ceja and Christopher Hutchinson built the arm using normal household materials.
"The process was kind of complicated, we went through trial and error and we ended up creating one design that worked for all three challenges," said Luis.
"We built it out of materials that were under our $40 budget, and we used the anatomy of a real hand to build the prosthetic arm," Michael said. "The way we constructed the hand, it should be able to do multiple tasks such as throwing a ball, picking up objects, and screwing in a bolt. We designed our hand to be stationary so it won't move, but it will be able to complete each task individually."
"What we did was we wanted to make something that could kind of move on its own, without our body or any of our other parts moving," Chris added. "So we made our fingers flexible by using rubber tubing, and enforcing it with pipe cleaners, and then we enforced our fingers on the outside with binder rings, and so we basically made a kind of mold that can do everything."
At the competition, the prosthetic arm team had to complete three tasks successfully. These tasks included picking up three different sized balls and throwing them into buckets marked certain distances, picking up and carrying different objects, and screwing in a bolt into a hole.
"The first one, everybody got a mistrial. The second one we did amazing, we got first in that challenge. For the third one, we couldn't because we were confused by the rules," said freshman team member Christopher Hutchinson.
Several rules changed last-minute for the team. They didn't have to complete an information board, and the hand was allowed to move, which wasn't clearly stated in the rules before. However, the team prevailed and placed second in their category.
"I was pretty excited. I personally thought we would get third or fourth, but the results surprised me and I was pretty glad," Chris said of his team's win.
"[The other teams] had really good designs, but it took them a while to get them on. Our design was pretty handy, and we put it on pretty quickly. We had more time to try and complete the challenges while the other teams didn't," Luis responded.
The team is now preparing for Regionals on April 13th at San Diego State, and they hope to improve their design.
"We have to do the same tasks, except this time we have to have our academic display and we have to give an oral presentation about our arm," Chris said when asked about what Regionals involves.
"[We are] reconstructing the arm the way we want to, cause now it can move and we can add a lever to move fingers. We think it's going to be a lot easier that way," said Michael.
"We're going to practice a lot more with our arm, and we're redoing the whole thing, so hopefully we can make it a lot better and get first," added Chris.
"We're going to attach strings to our fingers so that they could open and close," responded Luis. "I'm looking forward to having some fun while we're competing, and hopefully we could win again."
A Common Core State Standard
Students are used to taking the annual CST’s—California State Testing. However, soon the state of California, along with forty-five other states, will be converting to the new Common Core standard.
The Common Core standards will be much more challenging than that of the CST’s. These tests are designed so that the student will be forced to think logically and adeptly. Instead of a solving for the answer through plugging in answers, students will be asked to explain why the given answer is either correct or incorrect. They’re not looking for students to memorize equations and plug numbers in; it’s testing their very ability to rationalize. However, students are only required to take the Common Core test once during the eleventh grade versus taking the CST's annually.
From the Common Core Website:
“The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”
“Common Core is their (the people who run education) attempt at making education better,” said Mr. Poveda. “It could change the entire curriculum and radically affect [everything].”
Math and English are going to be the first subjects to change under the Common Core standards. “We don’t know where everybody is going with all of the different curriculum. We’re starting with English and math right now,” said Mrs. Hays. “In English classes, it’s going to be more of what we love to do anyway. It’s bringing in multiple sources and having you guys formulate an opinion based on those multiple sources… it’s less multiple choice and more analysis.”
According to Mr. Poveda, the new standards may change the composition of the math courses being offered. The topics being taught in math class may be altered. We may even end up with generalized math courses based upon grade-level. “If, however, it’s now tenth-grade math, I’m going to teach them a little bit of Algebra, a little geometry, a little bit of Algebra 2, Trig…all rolled up into one course.”
TOSA’s (Teacher on special assignment) have been hired by the district to educate people on the new Common Core.
“So, how’s Common Core going to be? We honestly don’t know. We will have to see how it ultimately plays out,” Mr. Poveda said.
These new standards are supposed to take effect in California during the 2013-2014 school year, but the date has not yet been made official.
General lack of interest in school dances seems to be a trending issue at CMHS.
It's no secret that CMHS doesn't have a Winter Formal, but after the cancellation of the Black Light Dance in January, many are wondering the reason for the lack of dances.
According to Activities Director Ms. Scott, a Winter Formal was held in the 2008/2009 school year and was very successful.
"The following year [2009/2010] the turnout started to wane. It was just becoming too expensive to put on," she said.
A survey on the Equestrian showed that 82% of those polled want a Winter Formal at CMHS. Opinions of those around the campus vary.
"I probably would [go to a Winter Formal]," said Jordin Peurrung, sophomore.
"I think not having one is not a big deal. I would rather go to a really awesome prom than have a bunch of okay dances," said senior Marcie Mathieu. "[But] I would go to one."
"I don't really care," said sophomore Quinn Smith. "I don't go to dances."
"I just want to dance," said Katie Lawrence, freshman. "I don't care if it's formal or not."
While most students see dances as just a fun event, good financial planning is a must. Factors like DJ package, venue, and attendance are all taken into account when determining the price of a dance ticket.
For every dance, a figure is calculated based on the estimated cost of the DJ package and decorations. That figure is then divided by the estimated number of tickets to be sold, setting the ticket price. Dances like Homecoming and Prom have more expensive tickets due to the higher cost of the DJ package, as well as the cost of the venue for Prom.
In some cases ticket sales can be overestimated, which is what occurred in the planning of the scheduled Black Light Dance in January.
"There's just not enough interest in wanting to have a dance," said Ms. Scott.
By Thursday, the day before the dance, only 35 tickets had been sold. While most students buy their tickets the day before or the day of the dance, the Student Government class decided that the financial risk was too large to take and thus cancelled the dance.
"To spend $1,000 on a DJ as a loss to the school wouldn't have been a good decision," said Ms. Scott. "We went with the more economical decision which was to cancel, pay the $100 cancellation fee, and try to move forward."
The Student Government class recently confirmed the rumors that there will be a "Spring Fling". The dance will be semi-formal, and will not specifically be a Sadie Hawkins dance.
"We're encouraging students to ask whoever they want; girls can ask guys, guys can ask girls," said Ms. Scott.
The Spring Fling is currently scheduled to take place on March 23rd.
The Australian delegate students and their ASB "tour guides" having a good time at nutrition on Tuesday's visit.
Sophie Harriman and her Australian student Kellie Morris, pose for a picture during nutrition.
Alyssa Dasca and Logan Whalen photo-bombing Australians. (From left to right) Kellie Morris, Zarko Vojinovic, Jordan Hamilton, and Kallie Dineen.
Ashley Tfaye and Zoe Sidwell posing for a picture after lunch in Ms. Scott's room.
The Aussies, or rather the Australian Student Delegation, were back at Mesa from Hoppers Crossing Secondary College in Wyndham, Victoria, Australia.
ASB and the rest of the student body and administration welcomed the eight students onto campus as they arrived around 7:15 AM. The Aussies had a big day ahead of them as they were greeted by their “tour guides” at the front gate.
A handful of ASB students were picked to pair up with an Australian student (a few of the Australians had two-three ASB students) who would guide them around school. Mrs. Scott, the activities director, wanted the Australian students to see the “interesting” classes Mesa has to offer.
Scott gave the “low down” of how the day was going to run and she essentially wanted the Australian students to “compare and contrast” the differences between Estancia High School and Costa Mesa High School. She gave a short run through of what ASB is, how it runs, what they do, and how everyone is elected and appointed to the position they have.
The morning welcoming meeting was full of introductions from both the ASB and the delegate students. The students ranged from ages 16-17 and were either in their junior or senior year. Seniors included Brooke Gathercole, Kellie Morris, and Jordan Hamilton; and the juniors were Kallie Dineen, Kahlia Blake, Bailey Flint, Zoe Sidwell and Zarko Vojinovic.
While Scott asked each student to share something they enjoyed about being in the states so far, most referred to the amusement parks they have had the opportunity to visit like Disneyland, California Adventure, and Universal Studios. Kallie stated she highly enjoyed just getting to know everyone she had come across. While Kahlia can’t forget Cars Land in California Adventure, Bailey loved Tower of Terror also in California Adventure. Both Kellie and Zoe remember the fun they had at Universal Studios, especially the Jurassic Park ride. Brooke just thought the whole trip was amazing. And lastly, Jordan honestly stated he is simply easily amused.
Mrs. Caitlin White and Mr. Mark Pino were the teachers accompanying the students. White is a science and P.E. teacher, she is also the main administrator for the program at their school. Pino is a health teacher and also a P.E. teacher. Both White and Pino appreciated the “sporting culture” the schools in America share; especially while at the Basketball Battle of the Bell game last week, (that all Australian delegate students and the two teachers attended) where an example of school spirit was shown. They explained how at their school students don’t sign up for sports. Very few sports are offered at the school and most students participate in sports outside of the school. They both agreed that it was among the many great things for the students to witness while here.
Senior Jordan Hamilton expressed how this trip was a “life changing experience” for him. “Not every day is it that you can live the life of an American. It gave me a great sense of cultural awareness.”
He shared that the group made appearances and presented at the NMUSD School Board Meeting and the Estancia High School PTSA meeting and will soon be doing something similar at the upcoming City Council Meeting.
They have stopped a number of schools including Victoria Elementary School, Tewinkle Middle School, Newport Harbor High School, and finally Costa Mesa High School.
One of Jordan’s favorite things to do was to go Huntington Beach and eat at Ruby’s at the end of the pier. He was also incredibly excited to meet back up with the Estancia students who traveled to Australia previously.
Senior Brooke Gathercole and junior Kallie Dineen shared similar feelings when they stated, “Being able to see all the attractions we hear about when we’re little and growing up and then actually seeing them was a lot of fun. We not only got close with the people we met throughout the trip, but with the delegation as well. We gain life-long friendships with these people. The assistant principal at Estancia said that we’re the closest he has seen the students ever be with each other. We all learn to get closer.”
The delegation will end their trip by taking a few days to relax with their host families, going to Estancia’s rally this Thursday, and finally attending Estancia’s winter formal on Friday. They all fly back on Sunday. Brooke and Kallie also mentioned how it is a very “nostalgic” and “surreal” feeling for them to already be getting ready to go back. But all in all, it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Environmental and Marine Academy is prepping to go on a camping trip to the Mojave Desert. Sixty dollars will cover all expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and educational material. The deadline for the trip has passed, but there may still be some open spots available. If you wish to find out, talk to Mrs. Rasmussen and attend the meeting this Friday on the 25th. Final deadline is on the 28th.
Previous EMA trips.
Previous EMA trips.
Previous EMA trips.
Previous EMA trips.
EMA students and chaperones.
Q: What’s your name?
A: My name is Cristen Rasmussen.
Q: What do you do in the school?
A: I’m a science teacher. I teach AP environmental science and marine science. I also teach the Environmental and Marine Academy courses that’s also known as EMA and I’m the coordinator for EMA and one of the co-coordinator with Mrs. Daniels and I also head up the wilderness experience program and I’m sure there’s something else but I just can’t remember right now.
Q: What is EMA and what do you do?
A: Well, we’re the Environmental and Marine Academy and our mission is to educate students about sustainability; about things that have to do with the environment and treating the environment well and so we focus on the students that are in the academy but then the kids in the academy work on things that takes them out there to the school and in the community to educate and serve their peers.
Q: There’s a trip to the Mojave Desert, right?
A: Yes, that’s gonna come out real soon.
Q: When will you guys be going?
A: We’re leaving Thursday, February 7, and we come back on Sunday, February 10.
Q: Can only EMA students go, or can anyone go?
A: The trip is open to anyone. The trip is being hosted by EMA which is a joint program between EMA and some of the other staff on campus but it’s open to all the students 9th grade to 12th grade.
Q: Who’s going on this trip?
A: Right now you mean as chaperones? [Yes as chaperones] Oh, okay, so right now it’s me, Dr. D’Agostino, Mrs. Smith, who teaches earth science, and Mr. Witt, one of the counselors.
Q: What activities will you guys do on the trip?
A: We’re gonna be doing a lot of different things. The Mojave Desert is huge so we’re going to be visiting all kinds of different features they have there. So one of them is like the Kelso Dunes. They’re these huge sand dune formations that we’re going to be hiking on and then you can actually climb to the top and roll down them, which is pretty fun. We’re also gonna go on a hike to a stand of Joshua Trees. We’re gonna be going to doing a kind of a little nature hike around one of the geological formations right by where we’re staying. We’re going to be doing some camping, some star gazing; I don’t know, lots of stuff.
Q: Have you gone to this trip before?
A: We've never gone to the Mojave Desert before. No, we took a bunch of students to Santa Barbara and to El Capitan State Beach back in November, but this is the first time to the Mojave Desert.
Q: What are your expectations for this trip?
A: I think it’s going to be a little bit cold, but actually the weather reports have been pretty good. It’s been up in the 60s during the day so I think we’ll be having a pretty good time. I expect to have a lot of fun because I love camping and I love camp food too like s’mores. We make s’mores every night; banana boats. I also expect to do a lot of walking and have a lot of fun hanging out with students.
Q: How much does this trip cost?
A: It is 60 dollars to go.
Q: How about other expenditures?
A: The 60 dollars covers all of your meals, covers transportation out there, it covers lodging, which is tents, and covers all the educational materials. The only thing it doesn't cover is if you wanted to buy any souvenirs at the Kelso Depot; that part isn't covered, and then if you want to buy lunch out while we’re out there so like the drive up on Thursday or on our drive home on Sunday. Some students wanted to buy food like at a fast food restaurant. So that isn't covered in the price either.
Q: Do you think this trip is worth the amount of money that you’re giving in?
A: Oh absolutely, yeah because we’re going to feed everyone really well. Dr. D makes his famous chocolate chip pancakes. Like I said there’s s’mores every night. We've got like more food than students could eat in a weekend, so it’s good.
Q: Why does EMA go on this trip?
A: We are really excited about helping students understand the world around them and see what’s beyond just the borders of Costa Mesa cause a lot of people never get the chance to go camping; they never get a chance to go explore and so we’re really hoping that students can understand and appreciate how awesome southern California is and all the cool things that we have here and so we want to get as many students as possible off campus and out into the natural world.
Q: What is the deadline to the permission slip?
A: Well the deadline to sign up is January 23 which is next Wednesday and then we have a mandatory meeting for everyone who signs up on Friday, January 25. Now if we haven’t filled all the spots by Wednesday I think we’re going to be able to extend the deadline to register for just a couple more days but we absolutely have to know who our students are by Monday the 28. So if you’re kinda right in the deadline we’ll let you in as long as we have space.
Rachel Russell (left) and Audrey Nguyen (right) in a cross examination. (Carly Dixon and Raymond Andrade)
The CMHS library will never be as silent as it was the week of December 17th. The atmosphere was intense. The sound of scratching pencils filled the air and thumping heartbeats filled the ears of the students in Mr. Abuel's second period AP Rhetoric class. A student stands up, hands shaking and palms sweating, and walks briskly to the old wooden lectern. With a gulp and a glance to his crumpled index cards, he opens his mouth and begins to tear down an overworked argument with a simple 3 minute speech.
These skirmish debates are in preparation for the "Great Debates" the class famously participates in at the end of January. Each team was given a preliminary topic at the end of November, and has been feverishly preparing ever since. From after-school sessions with Abuel to coffee fueled, paper-strewn mornings at Barnes and Noble, teams took even these preliminary debates seriously. In a way they are, since the winners of the preliminary debate gets to decide if they go first or last during the Great Debates, a necessary advantage.
"The debates were super intense. The experience is kind of weird because I saw the debates as a freshman, and to now be debating feels surreal. And preparing for it was a lot of hard work. I have 10 zeroes in math, but my hard work did pay off!" said Jazzy Jaime.
Headed by a team captain and a sub-captain, these teams consist of five people, except for one that has four. Each team has a constructive introduction, one or two cross examiners, a rebuttal, and a conclusion.
Starting off the debate, Sagang Wee's team faced off against Kyle Hefner's, debating "We should never be selfish." Sagang's team, consisting of sub-captain Zuleima Diaz and team members Lourdes Mendez, Laura Vaugeois, and Eric Vu, won. These teams will be debating "The individual should serve the state" vs. "The state should serve the individual" on January 22nd.
The next day, Angel Fisk's team faced off against Royce Friedmann's team, arguing "We should strive to treat everyone equally." Angel's team, consisting of sub-captain Preston Trieu and members McKenzie Soldin and Logan Whalen, won. They will be debating the famous "Man is inherently evil" vs "Man is inherently good" on January 23rd.
Next, Audrey Nguyen's team went against Abby To's team, with the topic "We should make all our choices based on facts." Audrey's team, with sub-captain Ciara Rudas and members Juan Partida, McKenna Patton, and Alex Piatti, won. This group will be debating "Virtue is more important than knowledge" vs "Knowledge is more important than virtue" on January 24th.
Closing up the debates, Amanda Moore's team headed off against Loralee Sepsey's, debating "We should never lie." Loralee's team, made up of sub-captain Jazzy Jaime and members Jocelyn Gutierrez, Hoan Nguyen, and Daniel Lawrence, won. These teams will be debating "There is no Moral Truth" vs "There is Moral Truth" on January 25th.
"The debate was pretty intense, but also very interesting. Even though it was the first serious team debate in our class, everyone debated so well. I love all of them. For my own experience, I was kinda stressed out and nervous, but after the debate, I know what I can do and how to do better," said Hoan Nguyen.