The annual AP Rhetoric debates took place from Wednesday, January 22nd to Friday, January 24th. There were three teams of five, each discussing topics of human morality. This is a slideshow of some of the moments captured during the arguments.
Students sat in a crowded room filled with anticipation as Mrs. Olguin, history teacher and National Honors Society advisor, called each NHS member to the front of the room. She handed each of them an envelope signed with their names on the outside and instructed the students to keep them shut. When Mrs. Olguin finally allowed the students to open the letter, a hush fell over the room. The paper described the Pay it Forward challenge, giving every member $10 with the instructions to make the most of it and impact the community. The vague description had students rambling with questions and ideas of how to make the most of $10. At the bottom of the letter was a question of whether the members were up to the challenge.
Before any decisions were made, Mrs. Olguin told the crowd of students how the project would work. If the challenge was accepted, the student would receive the $10 and they were allowed to pair up with others to maximize their influence. The project would be due after a month on the date of January 14, 2014 with a slideshow and presentation ready to present to the rest of the club. She instructed the students to really take time to think if they were up to the challenge. Within no time, students were crowding Mrs. Olguin’s desk ready to accept the challenge and receive their $10. Soon students were out the door of her classroom and on their way to brainstorming ideas and teaming up with friends.
National Honors Society has been on campus for many years and strives to make a difference in the community. In recent years, the club has had a lapse in activity and the Pay it Forward project has turned the lapse into a service filled season.
When asked what inspired Mrs. Olguin to start the project she said, “It kind of popped in my head, we did something similar at church for a team bonding event for India, but we had to figure out what to do with a roll of quarters. That happened years ago and I had that idea of what we could do that with, like how could we use that. So I talked to community organization and raised money so that we could do this project and see what happened.”
The money provided to complete the project was completely raised through donations that Mrs. Olguin collected, and as CMHS went into winter break, NHS members began looking for the need in their community.
On January 14th, students piled back into Mrs. Olguin’s room at lunch and began to share their stories of how they went about spending the $10. Groups went up one after the other, eager to tell about how they had made a difference in the community. The hour was filled with stories of kindness and selflessness, such as the project done by a group of sophomore students who put their money together, and spent half of it on Boba drinks. They then took the drinks and sold them at a local church; the group ended up turning $100 into over $200. With this money, they turned their focus to a local children’s shelter, the Orangewood Children’s Foundation. They then checked the wish list that the shelter has asked for during the Christmas season and with the money they had, they were able to purchase everything and more for the children ranging from infants to 18 year olds.
Another story was the project of seniors Abby To and Justin Hoscoe, who took their $20 and turned it into $120 by making and selling homemade holiday ornaments and cookies. They then bought basic items such as food, water, and more, like toothbrushes and washcloths. They passed out the items to homeless people around the area and were amazed by the positive response that they received back. They even got the chance to sit down and talk to one homeless man and he had an inspiring impact on them.
One student who participated said, “It made me realize how grateful I should be for a simple item like a toothbrush.”
Mrs. Olguin also believed it was a successful project.
“I don’t know how you measure success in this project, but I think that the kids learned good lessons from it, I think that just from the quick reflections that we got that they had a positive experience and also maybe changed their hearts a little bit and not to take things for granted and be stuck in their own space. So I think that it helped in getting a group of teenagers out of their own way and working around other people,” she stated.
National Honors Society is now looking to host an upcoming event where these projects would receive a highlight. Members of the community would be invited to attend and hear the variety of stories. NHS also hopes to continue to make an impact in the community and Mrs. Olguin suggested that the return of the Pay it Forward project could definitely be an option.
Some of the other stories include:
Written by Catherine Kricorian
The annual Winter Sports Rally took place in the large gym on Friday, January 17th, sporting a Winter Olympics theme and hosted by KMESA News anchors Ashley Beall and Kyanna Truong.
Sticking true to its theme, every class and sports team was given a country to represent; the freshmen were Russia, sophomores Australia, juniors France, and seniors Mexico. Wrestling was Armenia, girls’ soccer Brazil, girl’s water polo Croatia, boys’ basketball Jamaica, girls’ basketball Philippines, and boys’ soccer Spain. A brass ensemble played Olympic Fanfare as students were ushered into the gym, and tiny flags representing a multitude of countries were passed out by ASB members.
Kyanna, senior, and Ashley, junior, sat at a table made up like a TV news anchor desk and announced the teams as they marched in for the Opening Ceremony. Sharon Day, CMHS Alumni from the class of 2003 and high jump Olympian, ran in with the Olympic torch and declared the games open, the Olympic cauldron bursting into flame.
As usual, various dance performances were sprinkled throughout the rally, with the dance team representing India, Black Student Union representing Kenya, and cheer representing the USA. A special performance showcased the dance talents of senior Marco Santiago, which for many was the highlight of the rally.
“I had to practice before, so I was a bit tired, and I was nervous,” Marco said. “But I guess I killed it.”
The team captains participated in a figure skating competition in which they had to choreograph a 30 second dance routine, judged by Mrs. Debusk, Mr. Poveda, and Ms. Hayes. Several performances included props such as tiaras and tutus, and had the audience in an uproar of laughter, as the captains pirouetted, backflipped, and did snow angels on the gym floor.
“The first people to the prop box got to use props in their routine,” said senior McKenna Patton, who represented girls’ soccer. “It was all on the spot. [My partner] fell to the ground and I was just like, ‘Snow angels? All right, we’re making snow angels!’”
"It was super J!" commented host Ashley.
In the end, third place went to boys’ soccer, second place to wrestling, and first place to boys’ basketball. The medal tally chart, hung at one end of the gym, went unused as the rally was cut short due to time, running over by five minutes according to a PA announcement by Mr. Petersen.
“The last game was supposed to be a bobsled race,” stated host Kyanna.
In an effort to involve more of the student body’s talents and presence in the rallies, ASB and Mrs. Delzer asked the KMESA News team to produce “news coverage” of Mesa’s Winter Olympics. Reporters Lynzi Franz and Jenny Beautz interviewed sports captains who, in the true spirit of the rally, answered questions as the country they were representing.
When asked if she felt more included in school activities, Kyanna replied, “I don’t feel any more or less included. It still feels the same.”
Overall, according to those involved and students alike, the rally was a break from the norm and well-received.
“We were really nervous. I think it went really well!” Kyanna commented. “But on the floor it got off script and was kind of chaotic.”
“It was so good! It was amazing how they included all of the countries!” exclaimed senior Jocelyn Menendez.
Written by Loralee Sepsey
Around this time last year, CMHS was buzzing about the upcoming AP Rhetoric debates held every year in the library. Every year, teams of around 4 students from the AP Rhetoric class are picked and they debate over topics such as “Is there a moral truth?” or “Is man inherently good or evil?” Things have changed since last year, however; the old Rhetoric teacher Mr. Abuel has resigned and now Mr. Davis is teaching the class. The question we have to ask now is: What is going on?
“When I took over the class it’s something that I wanted to make sure that we kept because I know it’s a tradition here at Mesa now. Probably one of the most daunting things about taking over the AP Rhetoric class was to make sure that there was a blend of the old with what I have done in the past teaching this class. I’ve taught this class in San Diego and I didn’t do the debates, but I wanted to make sure that the tradition got kept for the students. I didn’t want them to miss out in anything,” Mr. Davis said.
The debates are being held the week before finals week in the library during 3rd period. There are three topics: “Is man naturally selfish?”, “Is violence inherent? Nature vs nurture”, and “Moral absolutism vs moral relativism.” There are six teams. Mr. Davis is trying to keep the debates in the same format they have always been.
“The format is going to be the same like last year. I think some of the strategy of who is going where is going to be different though. The audience will still be involved to see how well the teams sway the audience,” Mr. Davis affirmed.
As far as the audience, Mr. Davis is going to email teachers if they would like to bring their class to the debates, first come first serve. Students do sneak in though because of how intense and entertaining the debates can be. The students of AP Rhetoric have been busy getting ready since the debates are approaching quickly.
“In terms of my own group debating, I’m actually not worried and I’m just trying not to stress out. I really like Mr. Davis; he’s one of my favorite teachers on campus. I don’t really know what to compare the class too, in terms of what the senior class experienced with Mr. Abuel as their teacher but I do feel like it is a lot more writing this year. I think he’s doing pretty well for his first year teaching rhetoric here because I know he’s taught rhetoric before but I think it’s going okay. I’m really only nervous about the senior class being really judgmental, but other than that I’m not nervous,” comments junior Janelle Alonzo.