A Breakfast of Beautiful Music

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Teachers and administrators compose the foundation that Valencia High School (VHS) is built upon. The time, the effort, and the dedication, put into their work guides the school towards success. From memorizing all of their students’ names from class to class, and to preparing in-depth lectures and fun assignments each day for their many students, VHS’ Orchestra decided to repay the teachers’ labors with the annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast on December 14, 2018.

The event took place at Valencia’s Quad and Multi Purpose Room during zero and first period, which enabled many teachers to hop in and out of their morning routines. Orchestra performed a variety of Non-Denominational songs, Christmas Carols, and Jazz Music for all of the teachers to enjoy. While tuning in to the festive melodies, Orchestra provided the faculty with a diverse breakfast buffet to savor. To make the celebration possible, members committed hours into practicing and pitched in many different types of foods, either bought or cooked. Students brought a wide variety of cuisine to share with everyone who attended this spectacular event. All of the items provided for potluck were laid out on five 6 foot long tables, where teachers  full of many different foods, and the teachers sat around them to eat the food that was provided. Following the performance, there were still massive amounts of boxes full of warm donuts, fresh fruits, crispy bacon, and much more for anyone else to savor for the continuation of his or her day.

Mock Trial Wins Big

There are three types of people in this world. Those who think of jury duty when they hear the word “court”, others, the infamous Law and Order theme song, and Valencia High School (VHS)’  Mock Trial, of their incredible performance in the 2018 playoffs.

Over the past four months, Mock Trial’s Gold team took weeks of practice and turned it into courtroom dominance. In the process, they garnered an impressive record of six wins to one loss, the best season performance VHS has ever seen. Gold team attorney, Aditya Mody (11) credited this year’s accomplishment to “preparedness, and, above all, our teacher and attorney coaches. They are really the ones behind this victory.” Coaches expressed similar sentiments, taking special notice of their seniors’ contributions. Looking to take this year’s achievements and turn it into valuable experience, Coach and Librarian Joy Millam optimistically claims to “have cracked the code — the kids now understand what they need to do to be successful.”

Don’t be fooled by their fearless demeanor, it was no mere stroke of luck VHS’ stunning success came in 2018. Looking to encompass a more intensive practice regiment, Mock Trial employed 90 to 120 minute sessions after school three times a week. To put that into perspective, they added another day of preparation on top of the 100% increase in total session time. During practices, the team focused on dissecting each case into its various pieces. From there, they assigned roles and began to cultivate their performance. At this point, a divide and conquer tactic was employed by all members of the Gold team. While students individually formulated their own presentations, they heavily depended on one another for both advice and encouragement. They also took time to discuss elements of previous years’ competitions and ways to improve in order to perfect this year’s act. Crucial, yet often underestimated by inexperienced teams, presentation was one of the largest challenges VHS’s Mock Trial faced. Before competing, it was imperative they make an effort to always “practice and polish our public speaking” said Mody. With these obstacles in mind, each member was forced to challenge themselves by maintaining self-confidence, thinking critically, and utilizing communication and teamwork during practices.

 

Though season may be short lived, Mock Trial’s tenacity for competition is not. While their Seniors are preparing to enter the realm of higher education, the underclassmen have taken in this year’s playoffs performances and internalized the experience. Millam confidently declared,  “Next year is going to be great– we have some incredible kids coming up from the Blue team combined with our underclassmen on Gold; we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

 

We Welcome Mrs. Hoggatt

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Written by: Nicole Trinidad
Photographed by: Ariel Davila

New on campus this year is the softball head coach and physical education teacher, Krissy Hoggatt.  While it was her first year on campus, it is her third year as a head softball coach and has previously taught for two years at Trabuco Hills High school in Mission Viejo.  So far, the school has welcomed Mrs. Hoggatt into the loving atmosphere of the Valencia community showing our pride, tradition, and excellence. She noticed how involved the staff is and that they are always working on something and trying to include as many people as possible.  

When asking her why she chose Valencia, she expressed more about her past.  Mrs. Hoggatt grew up in Yorba Linda and went to Esperanza High School. She felt that by immersing herself within the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified District, she is “giving back to a place that gave her so much”.  As for her interest in softball, she was coached by her dad and has played softball since the age of 5 all the way through college at Chapman University. Mrs. Hoggatt even got her Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training.  

She has taught sports medicine, health, and physical education before because she felt that they go hand-in-hand together.  As a teacher, Mrs, Hoggatt voiced that it is difficult to express her reasons for teaching because she feels they are like many other teachers.  She wants to “better the kids and have them in an enjoyable, safe environment and make them feel comfortable”. However, as specifically a physical education teacher, she stated, “PE is a hard class for a lot of students. They don’t like it because they are made to actually do stuff, get up and move around, but I think it’s so important that they learn why they need to do that. I try my best to explain to them that fitness is life long, they need to start now and not wait until they are 35 to get off the couch, and learn the importance of physical activity, health and taking care of yourself.”

When asked about softball season, she talked about how tryouts were October 6 and there are now 33 girls across both the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams.  As of now, the girls are conditioning which involves getting on the field, understanding the fundamentals, and just trying to “dust off the rust” from not playing for so long.  Mrs. Hoggatt is excited to see the girls play, create a community, be successful, and have fun. However, more than that, she wants to see her teams become better people, better citizens, overcome any adversity, and properly represent Valencia to its fullest potential.  We hope Mrs. Hoggatt will have a great first year here and feels fully apart of the Tiger family.

Red Ribbon Week

Written by: Jared McNair

Red Ribbon Week, a week long awareness program dedicated towards keeping students off of harmful substances. Whether it be alcohol, tobacco, or any other drug, the Associate Student Body (ASB) made sure tigers would steer clear of the life destroying substances. Almost everyone has heard the catchphrase “Drug Use is Life Abuse”. The whole school wears it on our wrist for a week as a reminder. It’s an important week, and though it may feel repetitive, it is a pledge and vow that all should take.

It may seem pretty obvious to a lot of people that drugs are bad, but the world can be quite deceptive sometimes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drug use for teenagers has seen a steady decline, hitting a record low in 2017. But this excludes Marijuana, which has shown a steady rise for the past few years.  And it may seem as simple as it gets to say drugs are bad, but the impact of drug use or abuse is far more consequential than one may expect. As a student, the effects of drug use for an individual could be catastrophic. A student can gain emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. One could also gain behavioral problems that can lead to social problems, fights and possibly criminal activity. And learning problems could occur that could damage long and short-term memory and lead to memory loss and learning incapability, even brain damage. These are some of the risks one takes when using drugs. It helps to know the facts, even when common sense may seem like a better choice. But it’s simple, drugs ruin lives.

Valencia has helped in a sense to make awareness stick more with the student body. These include lots of red and ‘dress-up days’. These dress-up days included a PJ day, Hawaiian Day, and the obvious Blue and Gold Friday. But this was only a sizable bit to the larger picture. Alongside that was a sea of red across campus, a unique optional presentation, and facts during morning announcements. All of these help students understand and make sure they never use drugs.
These ‘dress-up days’ throughout the week went as following. Monday was PJ Day – “Put Drugs to Sleep”. Tuesday was Jersey Day – “Team Up against Drugs”. Wednesday was Hawaiian Day – “Lei off Drugs”. Thursday was College/Sunglasses Day – “We’re too Bright for Drugs” and there was the common Blue and Gold Friday. Overall this was considered the highlight of the week. The overall message is that as a student body everyone should take a stand against drugs. There are many studies and many anti-drug movements, advertisements, and groups. For many it’s common sense. For others, it’s new information that could lead them on a path to a better life. With dress-up days and red everywhere, we are sure to see that vow taken seriously.

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.”