Spirit Week Finishes off with a (Bell) Ring

The Bell Game is without question the most anticipated football game of the year. The rival match against El Dorado never fails to unite all the students of Valencia, from freshman to senior, under one common goal — win that Bell. However, a rivalry this intense is never complete without a spirit week and pep rally to hype its students into a frenzy.

The true Bell Game experience starts Monday before the Friday night game with spirit week. During spirit week, the students of Valencia come together to show their support by wearing outfits that correspond with that day’s theme. The themes for Monday through Wednesday change every year, but their purpose is always the same: to rally the whole school together. Thursday and Friday’s themes, however, are timeless, having been a part of tiger tradition for decades. Thursday is Nerdy Hawk Day, a day in which students dress up as jovial “nerdy” caricatures of their El Dorado counterparts. After Monday through Thursday’s comedic themes, Friday sees a return to classic blue and gold, prompting students to sport their “Eat more chicken” t-shirts among other tiger gear. Historically, spirit week’s Blue and Gold Friday has been the most successful in bringing the school together under the same creed: beat El Dorado.

Another fundamental aspect of the Bell Game experience is the assembly that takes place on the day of the game. While this assembly doubles as our fall assembly, it serves to excite the student body for the true spectacle later that night. In support of the football team and tiger morale, cheer and dance teams perform their routines for the whole school to enjoy. The ASB also hosts games, relying on audience participation as a way to energize students and further unite us against El Dorado. As retribution for El Dorado’s consumption of Frosted Flakes, ASB gave students the opportunity to devour spicy chicken wings as quickly as possible during the assembly, a clear foreshadowing of the night to follow. The assembly concluded with Assistant Principal, Mr. Jeff Louie, as he left students with the resounding message that we’ll keep the bell.

Finally, the pinnacle of the Bell Game experience, the Bell Game. Long before the game even began, the stands were flooded with students, alumni, and faculty. Nobody wanted to miss this legendary match. Throughout the night, tigers alike felt the same pain as the players for every incomplete pass or fumble. Conversely, interceptions and touchdowns inspired the crowds as they erupted at every small victory. With every close play, each side was sure to make their feelings heard. As the game progressed, everyone inched closer to the edge of their seats. Throughout the majority of the game, our tigers maintained a close lead of seven points, meaning there was never a moment without suspense. With the final seconds ticking nearer and Valencia ahead by a mere touchdown, the tiger den began to roar louder and louder until the clock hit 0. Perhaps the roar heard across the world, the tiger den let out a final victory shout as the scoreboard declared Valencia victor. The team shook hands with the defeated Hawks, only to then rush over to the Bell and proudly ring it. As the Bell was lifted onto the shoulders of the football team, the Alma Mater rang out from the tiger den while Valencia sang in unison. A sweet end to a night full of struggle and triumph, tigers rested easy as our team wheeled the Bell off the field, signaling an end to Bell Game experience.IMG_0227 (1)

From Cub to Tiger

By Karem Trindade

Transitioning from a middle school teacher to a high school Assistant Principal is no easy job given the new set of responsibilities and vastly different environment. However, as daunting as it may sound, this is what this year’s new Assistant Principal, Paige Stills, undertook in her shift from a history/AVID teacher at Kraemer middle school to Valencia High School’s new Assistant Principal. 

Although Stills’ experience with students is at an advanced level, she is just like every other freshman on campus — brand new to high school life. And despite the new setting, she is thrilled to be here, remarking “everyone has been so welcoming, the staff, the students.”

What prompted Stills’ transition from teacher to vice-principal was her interest in assisting high school students with the same support she did at Kraemer. There, she helped the administrative staff and encouraged students to become more active in school life. “I enjoy the sense of maturity and time of life where you guys are making important decisions about your post-school years,” said Stills, “rather [than middle school] it is preparing for a technical field in college, or a career.”

As a former cub to tiger, Stills loves reliving the school pride students at Valencia bring and the way it permeates through the school. “You’re bleeding blue and gold,” said Stills. Among her many qualities, Stills cares greatly for all her students, especially as Assistant Principal. She treasures the ideas of school pride, caring for one another, and embodying everything it means to be a tiger. 

Her ability to both grow alongside students and help them throughout their high school life influences her to make decisions based on the needs of the students. “Everything that I do here is to support the students, it’s all for you guys,” said Stills, “It’s really rewarding to see you in this time of your life.”
Stills

OCAD

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Valencia High School’s Academic Decathlon team at the competition award ceremony on Friday, February 9 at Santa Ana High School. Photo courtesy of PYLUSD Good News

By Brendan Munoz

Face to face with the notoriously ambitious climate of Academic Decathlon, Valencia High School (VHS) held its ground at this year’s State competition in Sacramento. Winning seven medals in total, Tigers undoubtedly left their mark at the state capital. However, their road to success was riddled with trials and tribulations along the way.

“Hannah Hui…and the entire Woodbridge team” said Captain Curtis Liu (12) as he recalled one of the team’s toughest adversaries. Upon VHS’ defeat at their hands, rather than crumble under the weight of expectations, Liu lead his team to exceed them. While Woodbridge managed to impress, VHS representative Morgan Gee (11) declared the loss inspired a more constructive and competitive mindset among Tigers as it “encouraged us to work harder to close the gap between us and Woodbridge.” And with the record to back it up, their notable improvement from last season’s performance reflect a growing drive for success.

However, while students may have struggled and encountered numerous adversities throughout competition, right behind them were their six coaches. As the foundation of the club, each coach specializes in certain aspects of competition. Simply put, “…without them, none of this would have been possible” credits Liu. Serving his last year both with Academic Decathlon and VHS, Coach and Social Science teacher Dr. Samuel Myovich has left a profound impact on the club and its members. Having been a coach for over 12 years, his experience has cemented him as one of the most admired pillars of the club. Echoing the sentiments of many, Gee claims, “Mr. Myovich is one of the most knowledgeable individuals I know, yet he’s always supporting of everyone on the team regardless of their performance.” Not made in vain, his efforts and legacy will continue to resonate throughout VHS as the school remembers his ever encouraging mentorship.

Walking away proud, students who competed in Sacramento not only grew as academic competitors, but also as Tigers. The team-based event known as the Super Quiz, drew students closer together and emphasized just how important a healthy team dynamic is in all facets of both academia, and life. The entire team’s performance affected placement and scoring, meaning Tigers needed to come together in order to place highly. This unique aspect of Academic Decathlon quickly became one of VHS’ largest assets during competition as Liu summarized “Our team personality is very comfortable and fun, but we were all committed and put our best foot forward to earn medals.” Thanks to this year’s experience and success under their belt, VHS’ Academic Decathlon already has its eyes on reaching Nationals.

Foreign Exchange Students

By: Jared McNair & Nicole Trinidad

Every year, students from halfway across the globe come to Valencia to participate in the Foreign Exchange Program. For approximately two weeks these, students are given the opportunity to get a taste of the Southern California lifestyle. The program offers an exciting experience for Tigers as well, providing a unique window into culture, language, and ideas of students from different countries. This year there were 26 students who arrived from Lyon, France.

The Foreign Exchange Program has been active for four years at VHS. While it is not school or district sponsored, the program was intended to be “a tremendous opportunity for our students to meet kids from another culture and to make friends with them, all the while showing them what life is like for teenagers in California” said organizer and Spanish teacher, Mr. Steven Picht.  Students across all the foreign language classes were given the chance to host one or more of the exchange students and were introduced to them on February 13.  

While on their visit, Tigers introduced the French students to a number of local hot spots in addition to experiencing the more casual life of everyday Southern California. Many of the students enjoyed going to Venice Beach and getting to bike under the sun. As well, they noticed the cultural differences, as Josephine noted, “In America, people are very kind, and you can talk to an unknown person. However, in France, you don’t necessarily see the same thing.” Tristan mentioned that “People in France are not afraid to give opinion and be blunt”. In terms of location, they noticed how the cars and roads were all different and in France, people enjoy going outside much more.

What they learned the most, besides improving their language, was how different California is from what they were used to and they were able to appreciate mixing cultures. Exposure to a whole different way of living was something so new and beautiful to be apart of. Noemie observed that, “In America, people are cozy, and accept the difference between people. In France, on the other hand, it is very difficult to accept other cultures or other religions.” From previous expectations, many of them realized the mental picture they made about America was actually confirmed when coming here and even better than what they expected.  

While the French students gathered their own brand new experiences, our host students also learned more from housing them. Much of what they had to accomodate to was the language barrier. “When the students did not understand, I would think of ways to rephrase, which often solved the problem.” Anjali relayed. On another note, Ivanna explained “It was different because there’s a stranger in my house, I tried to make him feel comfortable”. However, they were able to see how much the exchange students were willing to try new things, making the stay much more enjoyable.  got to take them places, and show them the lifestyle of an American high school student. Anjali described how “It was a lot of fun introducing them to new types of food, and their reaction of whether they liked it or not.” Furthermore, Ivanna enjoyed “becoming friends with him, [and] having my own cultural experience on when he liked.”

Overall, both the host and exchange students were able to enjoy the time spent with each other and teaching each other through new encounters and even getting to make a stranger into their friend. Hopefully with the exchange program integrated into Valencia’s foreign language department, more students will continue to have the pleasure of exploring beyond their own country.