SAM Equals Safety

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Written by: Nicole Trinidad
Photographer: Ariel Davila

This school year, Valencia High School introduced the newest addition of security.  The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified school district has discussed the idea of implementing enhanced security throughout all the schools with an electronic visitor management system. This is titled with the acronym “S.A.M” School Access Management.  

S.A.M electronically identifies people using the “badging system.” It takes their driver’s licenses or other form of I.D and compares it to the Megan’s Watch database.  This is a quick and efficient way to find and take care of any potential threats.  

The system creates an ID badge that includes a photo,  name of visitor, date and time, and destination on campus.  To plan your next visit to one of the PYLUSD high schools and learn more about S.A.M., please visit www.pylusd.org/SAM/.  The recent installment of advanced security cameras and equipment are a way to “upgrade in an effort to maximize the protection of our property and to deter criminal activity,” stated by Yaung.

As of mid-August, there are over 20+ different cameras such as PTZ, Fixed lens, and cameras with four lenses allowing security to have a 360 degree view from where it is fixed. Some cameras even have the ability to move and take in audio.  All cameras are run and surveyed by Valencia’s administration as well as the campus SRO. The cameras re installed in highly populated areas, building and school entrances, parking lots, hallways, and front offices. 

According to administration, it is important to acknowledge that the cameras are placed in public areas where there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy.”  They are not in any private areas such as restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas, private offices, or classrooms. This installment was in support of the District’s strategic plan titled, “The PYLUSD Advantage,” outlining, “A safe and respectful environment is essential to student success.”  

To further protect the students, the school has added new fencing near the band and choir rooms for increased security of our campus. These are “safety and wellness initiatives” that are focused on our students, staff members, families, and facilities.

This new security system serves as the stepping stone for implementing improved technology and tools that hope to ensure a safe campus for our #tigerfamily.     

New Wellness Specialist

new Wellness teacher.jpg With a new school year comes new school staff. Mr. Carlos Alcantara, who grew up in El Monte, California, started working as the on Monday, September 17th.

Alcantara attended the University of California San Diego, where he studied for his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development. Afterward, he pursued his Master’s of Social Work at the University of Southern California and later went on to start his career working with adolescents coming out of juvenile detention. According to Alcantara, “A lot of these kids had given up on themselves, so I came and met them and that’s how I started helping them get back into school and that’s how I got into the school environment.” He also explained how the school in his area did not seem to be doing as much as they could to help students, which further influenced his switch from juvenile to student work.

When asked about what influenced him to follow this line of work, Alcantara disclosed there were often times as a student when he wished there was someone he could talk to. Consequently, he decided to be what he believed students needed most. “I feel like this is the prime time [adolescence] to help students really redefine who they are because we still don’t know who we are.” Moreover, Alcantara stated he always felt his life would be interwoven around youth. “I really believe that really early in my life I found my purpose.”

As for coming to Valencia High School (VHS) specifically, Alcantara affirmed his love for the different backgrounds within the student population. “The diversity of students is something I gravitated towards.” He expressed that he looks forward to learning about the various cultural, family, and educational backgrounds. Staff have been very welcoming as well. “It’s one of the most collaborative team-oriented environments that I’ve been in,” he said. “Literally, the staff have dropped whatever they’re doing to help me; that has been the most welcoming experience.”

Of course, there are harder parts of working in a new environment. “There are so many new rules, new policies, like how things are done at the school.” However, Alcantara looks forward to learning the ways of VHS and getting involved with the lives of students.

When it comes to providing support, Alcantara explained that the best part of his job is helping students find their purpose. “I might be telling them they matter, but everything and everyone around them is telling them that they don’t.” Though it is often one of the biggest challenges he faces, it can also be among the most rewarding. To tackle this problem, he believes that the most important thing is making a connection with students and enforcing the idea that “what is important to them, is important.” Alcantara has also stated that whatever work he does with students, he must communicate he is there to support them through difficult situations.

After years of experience, Alcantara is certain he belongs in VHS to act as a pillar for anyone who needs him. “I want students to believe, not think, believe, that their voice matters, that their story matters.”

MORP- Get Your Sweat On

BY: Izzy Baker

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On September 8 at 7:00 PM, MORP (Prom backwards) took place in the quad, the first dance of the year. With tickets at just $10 presale, $15 at the door, or free admission for students with an ASB sticker, many of Valencia’s tigers attended the event.

As the first dance of the year, MORP is meant to be relaxing and fun for everyone. Sophia Oh (12) President of ASB, differentiated MORP and other dances by explaining, “one thing that sets MORP apart from our other dances is that it really encourages students to come as they are. I love how students can just freely enjoy the dance with their friends, as well as make lasting memories.”

The theme was 70’s. Sure enough, many tigers showed up flaunting their own unique 70’s styles. Some groups of friends even sported matching outfits, including tie dye peace signs and shirts with their favorite bands.If the 70’s wasn’t displayed through student’s themed clothing, others proudly wore blue or gold, representing school spirit well.

Julianna Dauphin (11), Vice President of ASB, also gave a statement. “It is the highest attended dance of the year.” She continued to speculate, “ probably because students don’t have the pressure of finding a date, dressing up formally, and the low ticket price.” She believes the tradition of MORP will continue on throughout the years because it’s a good way of unifying the student body, especially at the beginning of the year.

Dancing was one of the main attractions at MORP, however, there were also chips and water being sold, as well as plenty of opportunities for students to take photos with their friends. Students with sore feet had the convenience of taking a breather to sit at the tables next to the dancing and take time to talk with their friends. There was even a “coat check” area where over 100 students left their cell phones and extra jackets so they could sweat the night away.

When asked why they wanted to attend the dance, a few students explained they liked being able to get involved in school activities, and enjoyed the throwback of early 2000’s music. Matt Quintero (12), said “It’s a good way to be involved with school and hang out with friends.” Another Senior articulated he “…would’ve regretted not going”, as it was his last chance to attend MORP, while another student said they came “to show school spirit”. MORP and school dances in general are good opportunities to get involved with Valencia outside of the school.

Many of the freshman also revealed they attended for  similar reasons: the dancing, music, and friends. However, one described the night as a good way to “meet new people and experience new things”. As MORP played a key role in integrating the newest class into high school life, it has also provided a memorable night for all of Valencia’s tigers who attended.

Fall Assembly 2018

By: Izzy Baker

Kicking off the school year strong, the Fall Assembly was hosted on Friday, September 7th in the gym. Cheerleaders and ASB gave a warm, musical welcome back to all students, immediately creating an air of excitement surrounding the first school event of the year. After their lively introduction, cheer performed one of their trademark incredible high-flying routines as a segment into the next event.

Tigers were then greeted by their next host, PJ Hanson (12), who in turn introduced the theme of the assembly with his red trench coat and top hat, “The Greatest Showman.” There was also a parody video of the actual movie.

The focus was largely aimed at the Bell Game against El Dorado High School. For instance, the audience bore witness to its beloved Tiger mascot pursuing the well despised Chicken Hawk. ASB later announced that face paint would be available prior to the game and played a video to invoke school spirit against the notorious VHS rival. Lastly, as a way of demonstrating his Bell Game spirit, Mr. Louie declared his love for the touchdown song, which was also performed by two of Valencia’s trumpet players.

Aside from football, many other sports were also addressed at the assembly. The promo video gave Tigers insight into the rigorous practice and training their fellow students endure. Students also got a look at Valencia’s two dance teams through their flawless live performances. While the boys had the crowds cheering with some of their hip hop choreography, the girls caught attention with a jazz routine, sticking to the assembly’s theme.

Mr.  Leonard Takahashi also led a special teacher dance towards the end of the assembly, giving everyone a chance to see some of their teachers perform.

Before the assembly ended, however, there was a friendly game of musical chairs, making sure that both students and staff were involved. Representatives from all four grade levels and a few teachers competed in a sizable group, but after a few rounds Andy Pin came out victorious, representing the senior class.

Last but not least, ASB announced this year’s theme for Homecoming, which is taking place October 5, “Under the Golden Lights.”

Overall, the first assembly of the year did well to meet its goals of high spirits and unity. The energy in the gym welcomed the class of 2022 who only a few months ago were still in middle school. The roles everyone played, including ASB, staff, and even the audience left everyone with a buzz of energy that continued that evening at the Bell Game.