A soft-spoken, yet firm, Joey Nguyen delivered the last moving words of his speech: “Remember the men beneath these soils who fought for the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me Liberty, or give me Death.’ Do not take his words for granted.” He thanked the audience as they gave a rousing applause.
Photos by Royce Friedmann
Joey Nguyen is captain of one of eight teams that will participate in a series of debates during the week before semester finals. The debates are the final exams for Mr. Abuel’s AP English Language, or Rhetoric, class. The other captains are Noah JeyaRajah, Trista Bell, Maria Diaz, Molly Settles, Jennifer Daley, Megan Settles, and Nakita Rico. The captains will lead their teams in debating one of four topics, which were announced Friday, December 15.
The teams spent the last week holding practice debates in the library, except for Daley’s and Settles’ teams, which debated in Abuel’s classroom. The teams used official debate format, in order to learn both the format and their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Although the debates were only for practice and not for a grade, many teams spent hours in preparation. For example, one of the captains, Diaz, stayed up until 1:00 AM the morning of her debate working on her conclusion speech. Daley’s team spent two days meeting at a teammate’s house and planning out their parts on a whiteboard.
“We had arrows all over the board,” says Daley.
The captains have each used a different approach in handling their responsibilities as team leaders. Diaz said, “I let them have free reign in this debate.” On the other hand, Daley said that she wrote both of the cross-examination sequences herself, and then asked her team to give input. This method worked well; according to Daley, “We work excellent together.”
There have been challenges, however. Nguyen says, “It’s really hard to be a good leader without worrying about bringing your team down or having them turn against you.”
Many Rhetoric students reported being very nervous before their debates.
Bell said, “I’m just nervous before; I get more comfortable when I get up there.”
Abuel had spent several weeks creating the debate teams for the annual event. Information from the class’s midterm, an argumentative speech assignment, was used to help determine the teams.
According to Abuel, “I think this is the most balanced the teams have ever been.” The debate teams have been arranged so that each has its share of strengths and weaknesses, and no team is any more qualified than the other. Abuel has said multiple times, “The team that wants it the most, wins.”
The practice debates have been seen as a valuable resource by many Rhetoric students. They were intended by Abuel as a way to gauge each team’s abilities and to get to know each other.
“I think that this practice debate helped us come together as a team,” says Bell.
Each team has had its share of shining moments and pitfalls. Some students left their debates proud, others, a bit shaken. However, as Diaz put it, “Overall, I’m super proud of my team.”
Out of all the teachers in Costa Mesa High School, there is only one that teaches the class of Drama. Mrs. Paladino, the Drama Instructor of Costa Mesa High School, directs all of our school plays including "Up the Down Staircase", which was released to the entertainment of the public in November.
Photo by Amelia To
Throughout her profession, she has also met some pretty famous people who were influential in the world of writing, plays, and drama. She has met Steve Martin, who is known for his comedy routines and his writing, and also Tom Selleck, who is acknowledged for his appearance in many shows on television including "Friends" and "Blue Bloods".
Mrs. Paladino's journey to become Mesa's current Drama Director began eight years ago when it was a friend of her's that directed the Drama Department. Deciding to retire, she asked Mrs. Paladino to take over the position of Drama Director.
Her love for theater is the thing that allows her to continue her work and teach others about the world of drama.
"I love the enthusiasm and energy of young actors. I love to watch them transform and develop in character, and I love teaching them what I know," said Mrs. Paladino. Mrs. Paladino is also currently directing a play titled "Urinetown".
It is also interesting to know that Mrs. Paladino has traveled all over the world in her profession. She volunteered and worked in USO (United Service Organizations) which is a nonprofit organization that provided recreational services to members of the US military worldwide. While working for USO, Mrs. Paladino traveled to countries such as Southeast Asia, Japan, and Korea.
Mrs. Paladino has done so much for our school regarding all the plays she has directed and the entertainment it has brought to Costa Mesa.
After being asked if she had any plans in the future, Mrs. Paladino replied: "No, I just plan to keep doing what I do."
“Wherever you go, there you are.” This is a quote Ms. Scott tries to live her life by and that is what her Mesa talk was about; staying true to who you are and discovering yourself. She gave advice as to how stay true to ourselves and she also gave experiences about how she came to discover who she is.
Photos by Royce Friedmann
Scott admitted that “I’m definitely nervous, I told my kids in ASB this morning how nervous I am.” This was a time where she made herself vulnerable and was talking as a person not just as a teacher.
In her life she has learned that there is no running away from anything. It may be easier to find fault and believe that what is needed is an external change but there you still are, just you. Wherever she went she was followed by herself, and she learned to take care of herself and not rely on a man or on her family.
There is no turning back from what’s in front of you. You have to accept yourself to follow the path that you have set up for yourself.
She came to Orange County where we are all supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, and be this certain type of person because of how television portrays Orange County, it was tough for her to come into that type of place. However, she learned from her move to Orange County that even though you have a change of scenery, you still have to change yourself to make sure that you are okay with who you are.
“It’s always you, you and friends, you and relationships, you and school. If you’re not okay with you, then how can you be okay with what else is out there?”
Scott used the word “self” a lot. She knows how important it is to be authentic and that it’s okay to be you. She challenges all of us to be authentic and to try to stay true to who we are as our lives progress.
“Being authentic is hard, being authentic is gutsy, and being authentic is a challenge every single day.” When you are authentic it’s not about making others happy, but making yourself happy with whom you are.
There was a quote that her mother always told her as a child; it is “to choose joy”. To do things in life that will make you happy. Until you are a truly happy person you will not be able to make anyone else happy so she feels it’s important to take care of yourself and celebrates life’s lessons.
Scott admits that at the end of the day it’s always been her and that until you value yourself, you won’t be able to move forward and find joy in your life. She says that discovering yourself is an ongoing process, she may be okay with whom she is but it was no easy task for her to get to that point.
Scott is not married which was the determining factor in her actually doing a Mesa talk because she wanted to talk to the students about being happy even though your path might be different than what you originally planned.
She grew up in Tucson, Arizona and attended the University of Arizona where she was involved in a sorority, helping better the community, and supporting the school’s football team. She majored in theater arts which allowed her to better her public speaking skills. Her mother was a third grade teacher and the greatest role model in her life. She says that she was “supportive, honest, inspiring, and a remarkable person”. At the age of five she had decided that she wanted to be a teacher and her personality clicked with high school students, so she began her career as a high school teacher.
When asked about Scott’s Mesa talk, Jackie Waldron said, “It was really good, I really liked it, and I love her!” Jackie says that she is the kind of teacher whose always there for her students and that she knows that she will do anything she can to try to help.
Scott loves teaching because she gets the opportunity to make special connections with some of her students and help them in their lives.
“Ms. Scott is the best thing that has ever happened to Costa Mesa High School. She works hard, she inspires students, herself as well as ASB has brought so much positivity and school spirit to the school.” Mr. Poveda says when asked about his colleague.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is a novel written by Gregory Maguire and was made into a musical in 2003.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West was a novel that was first released in 1995. The novel is a new look at the life of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. The book shows the life of Elphaba, known to most people as the Wicked Witch of the West. It illustrates her life and how she grew to become the Wicked Witch. The novel uses adult language and even has a sex scene. The novel makes you question your views of good and evil.
There are many differences between the novel and the musical. The book makes the story seem more like a fairytale went wrong whereas the musical makes her life seem easier. One major difference is that in the novel Elphaba meets Fiyero at school and they begin their love affair years later whereas in the musical when they meet at school their relationship develops and they fall in love short after that.
Another is that Fiyero is married to someone else and dies in the novel; and in the musical he is engaged to Galinda and runs away with Elphaba. They also changed Fiyero’s death and changed it into him turning into a scarecrow. Many of the changes made from the novel to the musical had to do with Fiyero in order to make the musical have a happy ending which most people want to see.
The play gives people what they want. And I enjoyed the play, the screen writer made it accessible and it showed more of the relation to the original Wizard of Oz that we grew up with. It also uses songs that are catchy and stir up feelings inside of you.
The novel is so well written and uses language to create realistic imagery even though it is a fairytale. It shows the tough times in the Wicked Witch of the West’s life to see how she became who she is and it makes you relate to her and what she’s gone through. It does have some “racy” scenes that are inappropriate for certain ages.
The novel is a good book and I recommend that if you think you can read it then you should read it. The musical is also an amazing experience and I highly suggest seeing it. Both make you question your feelings toward Dorothy and good and evi
Photos by Angel Fisk
Each month, Kelly Debusk works with The Harvest of the Month program to provide Costa Mesa High School with a specific fruit or vegetable.
This month’s featured fruit was kiwi. This Monday, right outside the quad, Debusk and a Harvest of the Month Helper were giving out kiwis to students as they passed by, they were also informing students about the fruit and were very friendly.
When asked what the purpose of the club was, Debusk replied, “To expose kids to a variety of fruits and vegetables that maybe they haven't tried.”
Costa Mesa High School’s Harvest of the Month club only has one officer; Monique Nguyen. She is club president and helps Debusk run the entire club.
Video by Angel Fisk
Featured below is the list of fruits and vegetables that Harvest of the Month will be featuring for the rest of the year.
December - Kiwi
January - Grapefruit
February - Broccoli
March - Lettuce
April - Dried Fruit (Raisins, Figs, Apricots, etc)
May - Berries (Strawberries and Blueberries)
June - Peaches
Harvest of the Month also puts on the “A-Z Salad Bar” in June which is free to all students and staff.
Back in September each class chose their own business and began preparing for the Bakersfield trade show.
In the beginning of November they were required to send in some materials before the trade fair for early viewing. This included their commercials, catalogs, business plans, newsletters, resumes of those being interviewed, and a website link and write-up.
Once in Bakersfield, there were many competitions; business plan, human resources, salesmanship, catalog, booth, and website to name a few. All oral competitions took place on Wednesday and the trade show and awards ceremonies were on Thursday. Over 100 schools have Virtual Enterprise classes that come and compete in the Bakersfield Trade Show.
This past Tuesday, Michael Sciacca’s first and third period Virtual Enterprise classes got on a bus and drove to Bakersfield for their first competition of the year.
On Wednesday night, while the Costa Mesa kids were having dinner at a nearby restaurant, the business plan members of both Abeille and The Great Park Wildlife Center were biting their nails while they waited for the call. Towards the end of dinner Sciacca stood up and began to tell the two classes how proud he was and that he, Cheri Sheldon, and Jen Hays (the chaperones) decided to pay for dinner. He also nonchalantly slipped in that both teams had made the final round. Everyone began to cheer and hug each other, knowing that the top five out of the eight finalists would be competing at nationals in New York this spring.
Business plan competition is the most competitive, and winning that determines whether or not your company is the state champion. Only about 30 of the schools actually make a business plan and compete. Each team is guaranteed two rounds on Wednesday morning and then they chop the field down to 16 for the third round, which takes place later that afternoon. That night the coordinators receive a call from the judges that say whether or not their companies made it to the fourth round that takes place the next morning. Only eight schools make it to the fourth and final round.
While business plan gave their finals presentations Thursday morning, the rest of the classes were selling at the trade fair. The Great Park Wildlife Center made over $70,000 in virtual money in the view hours the trade fair occurred, making it a very successful day.
The final awards announced were for business plan. All members of Abeille’s and The Great Park Wildlife Center’s business plan teams held hands and prayed that both of their names would be called.
They called up the top five placing teams, in a random order, and all five went up on stage. All of the Mesa students screamed when they realized both classes had made it to nationals. Once all the teams were on stage they began to announce which places they received. First they announce fifth place, then fourth place, and then third place. Both Mesa teams cheered as they realized one of them were the state champions. The announcer, Nancy Phillips, addressed the auditorium of high school students and told them all that the top two teams were form the same school! She then announced second place, Abeille, and everyone knew who was first. Both teams cheered and hugged each other and received their trophies. CEO, Cesar Chavez, and CFO, Brooke Morrow, of The Great Park Wildlife Center cried and hugged each other as they realized their class had just won the state championship.
Once the ceremony was over, the two teams leaped off stage to hug their teachers and classmates. Many of the winners continued to cry even as they took down their booth and walked to the bus.
Both The Great Park Wildlife Center and Abeille will be competing in the national competition in New York this spring. We are so proud and wish them much luck.
As soon as the trade fair ended the awards ceremony began. Costa Mesa’s businesses were being called constantly, and you could tell that the schools began to hate us a little more each time. All of The Great Park Wildlife Center’s teams made it to their final rounds and all of Abeille’s teams made it to finals except for HR and website. [The list of awards can be seen at the end of the article.]
Final Business Plan Awards
Honorable mention for Newsletter
Honorable mention for HR
3rd in Marketing
2nd in Sales
3rd in Salesmanship
7th in Creative Booth
2nd in Business Plan
The Great Park Wildlife Center:
7th in Impact Marketing
9th in Commercial
5th in Website
2nd in Marketing
2nd in HR
8th in Sales
1st in Business Plan
A couple of teachers now working at CMHS, however don’t just know of the area, but grew up on the grounds.
The city of Costa Mesa bought the 18-acre site, next to Costa Mesa High School, for $ 7.75 million from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in 1996. With an estimated price tag of $1.75 million for the fields, the city soon constructed the fields and had them opened for play in 1998.
Mr. Center worked at Mesa for 24 years teaching vocational agriculture as the Head of the Agricultural Program before they sold the farm.
“I started in 1974 and they sold the farm in 1998,” adding in response to his feelings towards this action by the District, “I was disappointed to see it close, but was smart enough to see it coming, which was in part why I switched over to the science department 4 years before the farm was sold.”
The only change aside from the toll on adults and children, such as Mr. Roy Center and his son Mr. Brian Center, after the removal of the farm and the profit of more than seven million dollars, in the District was an installation of new drainage for the CMHS campus.
“I was hoping they would have invested more money in here… they didn’t ask for my input,” Mr. Center comments with a chuckle.
Many of CMHS/CMMS athletes have played on the soccer fields of the Farm Soccer Complex or at least know of the area.
Roy says “For me growing up there it was kind of weird, I mean I grew up on a farm in Costa Mesa!”
As a young boy about the age of six, he was involved in one of the many programs associated with the agricultural area known as 4H, which was a program involving young kids that allowed them to learn about the animals as well as do other activities such as ceramics. His first job on the farm was to take care of the 400 chickens.
“I raised two pigs and I took care of the chickens and sold eggs, I remember my dad saying that they even sold some eggs to businesses. Once they got it [the chicken coup] going, each chicken was in its own cage and had automatic water and was set up so the egg would just roll down after it was laid, but I took care of them before that, when they were in a big massive pen all together. I was a really small kid, only six years old. Sending a six year old in a pen with 400 chickens is a really cruel thing to do. I can’t stand birds to this day...very traumatic.”
Although Brian may have not had the best experience with the chickens on the farm and did not attend Costa Mesa High School at all, nevertheless he was very shocked and dismayed to hear of the removal of the farm grounds being replaced with the Costa Mesa Farm Sports Complex. “They basically took my entire childhood and put soccer fields on it.”
Mr. Center was always very accustomed to the ‘farm life’. “I was five years old the first time they slaughtered the chickens they had been raising. My mom came in the kitchen and I’m staring into the freezer. She goes ‘Honey, what are you doing?’ and I just calmly replied, ‘Looking at our chickens.’”
“Growing up on the farm my brother and I were used to seeing the slaughtering [of the] turkeys. Once they slaughter them their bodies still move a lot and I remember one time when the high school students were around, they actually started running towards the high school kids, and they [the high school kids] all panicked. Me and my brother though it was the funniest thing,” he narrates with a laugh.
“I am old enough that I understand stuff changes. The first time I drove past and saw soccer fields, I thought ‘you just bulldozed my childhood’, the cool trees I used to climb are gone, the area where we rode our bikes around is gone. As far as how it affected my life the FFA program and 4H program taught a lot about keeping records, budgets, profit and loss. They had to go through and evaluate, ‘How much I spent raising this animal?’ ‘How much did I sell it for?’ Each
student who had an animal project was running a small business. A lot of practical knowledge was gained through this program. I was an officer and learned to operate meetings and things like that… public speaking.”
He also included the high proportion of students active in the agricultural program that went off to college in relation to the fairly low percentage of students in the high school that went to college.
“From some people’s standpoint a vocational program wasn’t designed to send people to college and that’s what a school wants to do. When they look at something like that, because it was really expensive; eighteen acres in Costa Mesa is a fortune, it isn’t designed to send kids to college so why are we spending so much. Some students did go out and do things in agriculture. This one guy my dad used to teach is running a landscaping company. He really did go and do something with it.”
“It was part of the community, there was a Christmas tree lot and a pumpkin patch every year, then people could come and buy eggs and the full nursery where people would come to buy plants, and it was a very hands-on thing. Any more trying to get that type of experience you have to get job; journalism for example is one the few things that you can get experience with during high school and go out and try to look for a job.”
Brian concluded the discussion summing up all of his emotions and childhood memories on the farm with a statement of self-reassurance, “Well, all things change.”
Brian’s childhood revolved around the farm located on the CMHS campus. As Roy’s son he was very involved in the agricultural program on campus from the time he was born until he was about twelve years old and moved from the area. “We moved out [of our house on the farm grounds] when I was in sixth grade,” recollects Brian.