Winter Spirit Week

As finals week comes to an end and the holidays are right around the corner, Helix students found a lot to celebrate. To help boost the holiday spirit on campus, ASB coordinated a winter dress-up week to bring a little bit more jolliness to combat the drab of finals. Scotties were more than willing than participate and display their best get-ups for the last school week of the year.

Monday, December 14th: Holiday Hat Day

IMG_6718Helix students tipped their hats to Monday in a very jolly manner this week, arriving on campus wearing all types of festive head gear. Santa hats were obviously the most popular choice, while reindeer antlers and elf hats weren’t too far behind. It was quite the merry “hat-mosphere,” despite the routine Monday blues.

Tuesday, December 15th: Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Tuesday was the classic, one and only “Ugly Christmas Sweater Day” and nearly everyone embraced the hideous and corny festivity with pride. Large jingle


bells, gaudy tinsel and knitted snowflakes were in abundance on campus, with even teachers joining in on the tacky occasion. The ugly-sweater fever was on and Scotties were relieved to have a laugh at the comical apparel as the dreaded finals crawled closer.

Wednesday, December 16th: Winter’s Nap (Pajama Day)

Students arrived to school on Wednesday looking like they just rolled

 out of bed…but on purpose? Wednesday’s pajama day was a huge success as students bundled up in their comfiest sleepwear and warmest blankets. With the weather getting chillier and chillier, students were more than pleased to dress accordingly and comfortably.

Thursday, December 17th: Holiday Sock Day

Thursday put an extra jolly pep in the students’ steps as they paraded down the halls with pride in their ultimate holiday socks. The average student could be seen with either red or green fuzzy socks picturing a myriad of Christmas characters. It was quite a merry day for everyone’s feet.

Friday, December 18th: Frosty Friday (White-out)

Scotties found themselves truly walking through a winter wonderland on Friday, where white was the color of choice for the last school day of 2015. It being the last day of finals before going off onto a relaxing two and half week break, many students were relieved and anxious for the bell to ring and to be free to do as they please this Christmas break.

The Highland Fling wishes the students of Helix a joyful and jolly holiday season and an even happier New Year!

Mr. McKinney: Not Your Average Teacher

Brett McKinney is a man of different layers. While at Helix he is a freshman history teacher, during his free time, he participates in and judges barbecue contests.

McKinney started out teaching at Clairemont High School, then came to Helix and has been teaching here for 12 years.

Every year he teaches freshman history (ITSS: Introduction to Social Science). He said, “you get to see them mature as they get older and you’re like wow, look how awesome they are”.

When speaking with two of his former students,  juniors Jahslin Dantzler and Alicia Johnson, they both explained that McKinney is one of the best history teachers and that they recommend for incoming freshmen to sign up to be in his class.

McKinney explained that being one of his TA’s is one of the best things because he might just bring them food.

The one thing that inspires McKinney to cook is that he really wants to win a trophy with a pig on it.

 He explained that he got into food judging because his in-laws did a lot of judging, and said that “hey this is pretty cool. Do you wanna come learn how to judge?” McKinney said “yes”.

In order for him to become a judge, he had to go to a class that taught him how to eat barbecue. After a 4-hour class, he applied to Kansas City Barbecue Society and is now a judge.

McKinney has been judging for about 6 years and cooking in competitions for about 2.

He often brings food and shares with teachers and some of his students. Some of his most famous dishes are his bacon wrapped meatballs, ribs, pulled pork, and last but not least, his brisket.

His 8-year-old daughter Brennan loves to help him. McKinney explained that,  “she’s like my  little pseu chef. She helps put on the rubs and the sauces and everything else”.

Even though he hasn’t been cooking for long, he mentioned why exactly he got started. “I judged for a long time and had a lot of good food and wanted to learn how to be as good as all the professionals” he said.

McKinney explained that in June, his chicken won 3rd place and he won $250, and his brisket and pork got 9th and both dishes received a $50 prize. At the end of that day, he received a total of  $350 for his cooking.

In the end, many people would like to know if it’s hard to manage cooking and being a teacher. He explained, that it’s just expensive, “it’s $350 for a entry fee in the competitions, and another $600 for meats, rubs, sauces, fuel for fire and charcoal”. He also explained if it wasn’t so expensive he would do it more often.

McKinney is one teacher who really cooks up more than lesson plans. If you’re lucky, you may get to judge his food someday.

Rosie Cech’s Retirement: A Motherly Presence and an Even Bigger Heart

Anytime students step into the room 201, it is guaranteed that the first thing they’ll see is the welcoming smile and a jar of cookies from Mrs. Rosie Cech, the Career Center’s college and career aid.

However as the 2015 school year comes to an end, it also sadly marks the end of Cech’s 25 years working for Helix as she continues her life in retirement.

Cech is a widely known figure around campus by students, for she is their go-to whenever they are searching for scholarship opportunities or need a work permit to begin their new job. Although a seemingly small position on campus, her impact on students and staff is huge.

“I love my job because I get see and interact with students all day,” said Cech of her favorite aspect of her position. “I really enjoy this age group as well because you can treat them like adults but [they] still have the power of a minor,” she said with a laugh.

Senior, Sara Alshaheri, who was recently employed by IHOP, described Cech as “very helpful and sweet” throughout her entire work permit process.

“Every time I came in to see her, she always had a smile on her face and genuinely wanted to help me,” said Alshaheri. “It’s great to know that there is someone on campus like her. It’ll be sad to have her gone.”

Another senior, Julian Saenz, said, “She is such a nice woman overall and I’m sure she’s helped so many students here with scholarships, work permits or whatever they needed. She’s been an significant addition to Helix, it’ll be weird not seeing her in the Career Center anymore.”

Cech’s kind influences doesn’t stop at the student body however, it is felt by everyone who has ever shared an office with her.

Frank Theroux, senior academic advisor and friend of Cech for over 25 years, considers Cech as “a great friend and a great co-worker in that order. She’s more of a friend that I work with,” he said with a nostalgic smile.

“She has been around since the birth of all my children and she’s been to their christenings. She’s been there for me for high family moments and sad ones,” said Theroux of their relationship. “We have a lot of history together outside of Helix as well.”

Peggy Crabtree, Helix’s library assistant, met Cech decades ago when they both worked together on the PTSA while their sons attended Helix in 1990. Since then, they both found jobs at Helix and continued to maintain their relationship.

“Mrs. Cech is one of the funniest ladies ever. She’s also the sweetest. Everything is do-able with her and she’s happy to do it,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree continued, “She’s a mother here to all of the students and the staff as well. She’s always taking care of us. Having her leave now is going to be really sad for me and other staff members too because she is that presence we’ve always counted on.”

Going into her retirement, Cech has explained her internal emotions as “sad, scared and happy.”

“I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me and that’s always scary but still bittersweet because I do get to move on into another time of my life,” she said.

Cech has many plans for her retirement, including traveling with her husband, moving into her new house and spending more time with her five grandchildren.

“It’s going to be strange not being here, but I’m still happy about it. It’s life,” she said.

Through all her hard work and experiences throughout the years, it’s clear that Cech has had a profound effect on the Helix campus. However, she would argue the exact opposite.

“Helix has proven to me that my old age wasn’t wasted. I was accepted in my old age as someone that could help them. Helix made me feel young,” Cech said confidently with a smile and a nod.

Despite the fact that Cech will not be here on a daily basis, she has assured that she nowhere close to done with Helix.

“I will come back for [Helix’s scholarship federation] and to help out. Scholarship-wise, I will definitely be around to volunteer in any way I can. I’m still faithful to Helix.”

To further leave a footprint on campus, in honor of Cech and her 25 years of commitment to Helix and its students, the scholarship federation has left a thousand dollar scholarship in Cech’s name to award to a student every year. To date, this is one of Cech’s greatest memories of working at Helix.

Cech said with a laugh and tears in her eyes, “To me, that is so touching that I get leave something behind for the students, besides a memory…and my cookies.”

Helix thanks Mrs. Rosie Cech for her service and commitment to Helix and we wish her a wonderful retirement!

Helix Homecoming Dance 2015

On Sat. Nov. 7, Helix Charter High School held it’s annual Homecoming dance to celebrate the end of the football season with a home game, therefore the homecoming of the season. The dance was held in Mission Valley at the Lampost Warehouse, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The theme of the dance was “All Around the World”, although it was not incorporated very much into the decor or dance itself.


The venue was a medium sized warehouse with a courtyard that was home to picnic tables and dining tables for those students whose feet hurt from too tight dress shoes, or who were taking a break from the mosh pit that was the dance floor inside the warehouse, or who just weren’t that into the dance and were just chilling. Also in the courtyard was a photo booth with a plethora of funny accessories like feather boas and mustaches on sticks for attendees to use as props for their photostrips.


ASB, who put on the dance, also had a refreshments table to help students keep energized as they danced the night away, with cookies, lemonade, and water free to all students. Unfortunately for ASB, the water and lemonade cups were not thought out well because the hard plastic, while better looking and reusable, were smashed and littered all over the floor, causing pain to those who were trying to get relief from their too tight shoes and were walking around barefooted or in socks.


Also, while the concept of having a dance in a warehouse seemed cool, it became uncomfortable for many because there was no outlet for the buildup of heat as the dance floor got more crowded. Many attendees were in and out of the building and after a while, the faculty supervising the dance realized that the heat was getting to be too much for some, so they talked to the building manager and had the wall sized steel door opened, which let in some of the crisp fall air.


For many of the students, the dance was not what they had hoped it would be, so there were lots of people outside rather than in. Overall, there were areas where the dance could have been improved, but the novelty of it being homecoming really took over and many students enjoyed it.

Helix’s CIF Competitors: Fall Sports

Tis the season for CIF championships…for Helix, that is.

The fall sports season has treated Scottie athletes well this year, as three major sports are competing for the title as CIF champions.

Helix’s varsity football team during their game against Cathedral High School

Varsity football with an overall record of eight wins and one loss this season was recently ranked top seed in their Open Division and will be hosting the eighth seed, Madison High School for a play-off game on Fri., Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. on Helix’s turf.

This season proved to be a difficult one for varsity; since the resigning of Head Coach, Troy Starr was announced only weeks prior to the end of league, the Highlanders are determined to make the most of their last season with Starr’s guidance.

Along with football, varsity girls volleyball is taking their game to the next level as they continue on their competitive journey to CIF with their Division 3 league champion title.

Helix’s volleyball team was seeded fourth with an overall record of 21-5 and an undefeated 10-0 league season.

Their first play-off game was held at Helix on Wed., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., where Helix took the victory over Foothills Christian High School with a final score of 3-1.

Helix’s varsity girls volleyball team

Girls volleyball next trial was a neutral play-off match against Steele Canyon High School on Sat., Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. which determined whether the Scotties would continue on in CIF. Unfortunately, their journey was cut short when the girls were defeated by one point with 3-2 final score.

Last but not least, Helix’s varsity girls field hockey team has recently claimed their league championship title for the third year in a row on Thurs., Nov. 5, when they defeated El Capitan High School with a score of 2-0.

With an overall record of 13-9, the team led an undefeated league season and was ranked third seed in Division 2. The team’s high ranking allowed them to bypass the semi play-off match and instead played tenth-seeded Escondido High School on Wed., Nov. 18.

However, despite their greatest efforts, Helix lost the match with a final score of 2-0 and was not able to advance to next round.

Helix’s varsity girls field hockey team after their win at the last home game against El Capitan High School

Helix holds much pride in their overachieving student athletes and no matter the outcome of their CIF endeavors, we are proud that they belong to Helix.

Unfair Football Game Policy?

Not being able to sit on the Helix side if you don’t attend Helix is starting to become an irritation for some people and fans. Some students, teachers, and parents strongly agree with this policy and others strongly disagree.

Currently students from other schools have not been able to sit on our side because they go to a different school. If they do not go to Helix, security sends them to the visitor side to sit on. This policy is starting to frustrate a lot of students because when they bring a friend, boyfriend or family member they can not come in and sit together. Helix students have been complaining saying that the policy is unnecessary. They would like to bring a friend in the game without any restrictions or doubts that they will affect the game.

The security at the gate has been really strict about this policy and you must have an ID to get in. In some cases if you do not have your ID, they do not let you in. Even if you do go to Helix, a student ID is still necessary. However, there is the possibility that if a security guard recognizes you as a Helix student and you do not have your ID, you might get a pass and they let you in. It is not always guaranteed though because they have to follow a policy.

“I think it’s very unnecessary that they monitor so harshly who’s on which side because it prohibits some of Helix’s main supporters just because they don’t go here,” Portia Myers said.

“I feel as if it deteriorates the mode of the audience,” Olivia Missouria said.  Games should be a variety of kids from different school, especially if they are coming to support. If they try to cause trouble, then the security should take action to kick them out.

“I disagree with this rule because what if someone from another school wants to support a Helix football player? They can not because they go to a different school,” Scott Young, a junior says. Although they can get in with a parent, not all parents want to come and support as well.

Not all students disagree with this rule at Helix, there is kids who agree. “If they do not go to Helix they should not be able to get in because they can cause trouble,” Kalia Richardson, a senior stated.

“If we get students from other schools and they start problems, we won’t know who they are because we will think they are students. It’s more of a safety problem than anything,” said Coach Damaja. Helix is just taking precaution for their students so we can all enjoy the game. They rather not deal with the drama that students from other schools will try to bring in.

When adults such as the parents and family member come, they want to come and enjoy the game but with kids starting problems and signaling the focus to something other than football, it ruins the game.

This policy is for the better regarding Helix students safety but it can be a frustrating rule that we all have to deal with.

Clash of the Classes 2015

There’s nothing some good ol’ friendly competition. ASB had recently coordinated a “Clash of the Classes” week that pit the classes against one another as they competed to have the most school spirit. The classes were divided into two teams: the underclassmen and upperclassmen. Each day was a different theme that lead up to a very Scottie pride Friday.

Monday, October 12: Plaid vs. Tie Dye

ASB started off the week pitting the classes against one another. The class of 18 and 19 were assigned to wear preppy plaid, while the upperclassmen arrived to school decked out in colorful tie-dye.

Tuesday, October 13: Twin Day

Twin Day at Helix had everyone seeing double. Friends, siblings and staff alike had a pair for a day as students dressed the same or similarly to mimic a dynamic duo. Some students dressed a bit more wacky with their twin, while others played it simple and casual with their jeans and same t-shirt.

Wednesday, October 14: Disney Day

No matter how old you get, you never let go of that inner child who adored Disney movies and anything Mickey Mouse. Scottie students proved this to be true. Students showed their love for their favorite Disney characters in a myriad of ways. Some came in something as casual as a t-shirt with a character on it, some bearing the notorious Mickey ears, and there are the ones who cosplayed their favorite characters. It almost seemed as if Helix had (almost) become the happiest place on Earth.

Thursday, October 15: Jocks vs. Nerds

As if Helix was thrown into a cliche high school movie, the school was separated into the stereotypical jocks and nerds. Plot twist: the upperclassmen were the nerds. Fortunately, nobody got stuffed into lockers or received a swirley.

Friday, October 16: Green Out

Despite having been competing the whole week, Green Out Day actually brought the four classes together as one unified school. Friday was the day to show your school spirit with your classmates because no matter what your graduating year is, we’re all Highlanders.

Star Volleyball Player: Vanessa Howard

Photo of Vanessa Howard from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Vanessa Howard as a child would watch her mother play volleyball at an open gym and after just watching, she started to play and got really into it. Now, she is a star volleyball player since freshman year, has been featured in the Union Tribune, and returns as player of the year.

A 5-foot-8 outside hitter, she led the Highlanders to their great start in more than a decade with a league record of 11-5. Helix also won the Silver Division of the Annual Fall Classic.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in the first 16 matches, she accumulated 150 kills and 23 aces.

Howard told the U-T, “playing at a young age with her mother  and dad made it easier when she started high school and playing with the East County Volleyball Academy Club team has elevated her play even more.”

Being on the varsity team since freshman year has to be a little overwhelming.

Howard said, “it was really cool and the other girls made her feel at home and part of a team.”

For Howard, volleyball is the perfect way to relieve stress.

“It really is good for letting out any emotions and aggression built up,” stated Howard.

Being a senior, Howard has to keep the future in mind.

“As for the future and careers, I do not know if I will go on and continue the sport as a career,” she said.

Linda Brown, varsity volleyball coach said, “she deserves to be on the varsity team, and has proven it year after year.”

Brown also said, “I expect Vanessa to play like she is playing, getting us to win, as she is leading in kills in the league.”

“She goes out there and gives me 100% every time. She is our team leader and captain and deserves to be, and I have  seen improvement in her over the years and is a powerhouse.”

Indeed, she is a powerhouse with all the work and sweat she puts in.

“Vanessa plays for the school club and for the team, overall she plays all year round,” said Brown.

“She puts in too much work and is a great role model that leads by example towards the other players,” said Brown.

Ethan Howard, a freshman at Helix and  brother, said, “ it’s pretty cool that she has been on the varsity team since freshman year.”

Ethan expects “greatness” from his sister, and believes that she is a nice sister and person in general.”

Howard spent her past two summers in the Helix gymnasium teaching freshman volleyball basics and through that, became a role model and friend to a lot of freshman girls.

Howard also told the U-T, “it’s good to be recognized, not just by your own school. I looked at it as a reward for all the hard work we all put in.”

She’s No Different : Mahlia Blakeboro

Mahlia Blakeboro is an average junior at Helix. At first look students might think she was just like you but there is something different about her: she has to uses a feeding tube through her nose.

Blakeboro is an only child and she lives in a two bedroom apartment with her mother. She explained that home life is quiet because she is usually by herself at home when her mom goes to work or goes to school.

She is also an average student who is focused at school but still loves to have fun. Her GPA is 3.54 and she also participates in the marching band.

Mahlia was willing and open to talk about her condition, that causes her to look a little different.

Blakeboro explained why she had the feeding tube, “The tube is called an NG tube and in other words it is a feeding tube to help me get the nutrients and calories that I need.” She also mentioned, “ I have it because I have a disorder that is genetic and causes my esophagus to stop working correctly, so I couldn’t eat or drink.”

She also explained that she was not born with the disease but it started to show her sophomore year here at Helix and that it is unusual to happen to someone of her age.

She expressed to me about her everyday life with the feeding tube, “Because of the disorder I had a dramatic weight loss, 22 pounds in one month and was constantly weak so I couldn’t participate in sports or marching band.”

She explained that, “The tube was uncomfortable because it went through my nose and down my throat, into my stomach, and the only pain was if it made my throat raw.”

When asked what does she want people to know about her condition, and she responded with such wisdom and power.

She expressed that, “I want people to know that it doesn’t bother me if you stare and that just because I have a disease doesn’t mean I am weak or any different from them and that I won’t let it slow me down.”

After talking with Blakeboro its obvious that she didn’t let this little bump in the road stop her..

By the words of retired linebacker Patrick Willis, “Power isn’t just about going forward. It’s about not letting anything hold you back.”

From the words of Blakeboro she is not letting anything or anyone slow her down.

Gillian Morgan: A Friend to All

The saying goes “High school will be the best four years of your life,” and for Gillian Morgan, a senior at Helix, that saying definitely holds true. As goalie of varsity girls’ water polo team, co-president and founder of the Harry Potter Club, student representative at the Charter Board meetings, treasurer of the Just4Jesus Club, president of ASB, and friend to everyone, Morgan surely is a busy, passionate girl.

“I’m so passionate about this school, and I love what it stands for. I’ve definitely learned a lot personally because of the diversity and people coming from different backgrounds and religions and coming together to represent one thing,” Morgan said.

“She’s probably everything that everyone sees in her, but so much more,” Damion Chase, stepdad and grade level principal for the class of 2016 and athletic director, said. He talked about how much time and energy she puts into all of her activities.

“She is very passionate about the things that she involves herself in,” Chase said with tears in his eyes. Having to pause to grab a tissue, he took a moment before continuing, “She’s just everyone’s friend. She could come home and talk about a kid I have never heard about, and she would just respond, ‘Oh you know him!’ and so on. I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t like her.”

Christina Potter, librarian at Helix, recalls when she first got to know Morgan, “I actually got to know her more as a person on the Europe trip a couple years ago,” Potter said.

Upon Morgan’s name, Potter instantly got a smile on her face. “She was exceptionally enthusiastic about a wide variety of things, and she had a passion for learning, she’s very kind, and when we were in Europe she was always interested in it and learning more about it, and the enthusiasm spread throughout the group.”

Potter talked about Morgan’s founding of the Harry Potter Club, “I think it wasn’t just about the books, it was also about bringing people together.”

“We, [as the Helix ASB,] get to make people here feel part of something, and as one,” Morgan said. “We’re people who are dedicated to the school and making it better for everyone.”

And Morgan’s dedication is known throughout the school, students and faculty alike.

“She’s known around the campus,” Chase stated, “and for nothing bad, either. Everyone just loves her.”

In addition to everyone loving her, Morgan’s generosity doesn’t stop.

“Little do the students know, that she is the driving force behind changing the Monday Schedule back to Wednesday,” Chase continued, beaming with pride for his step-daughter. “She’s so dedicated, and she really researched this topic and surveyed about 400 people.”

Upon hearing this statement, Morgan laughed. She’s a very humble girl, as Mrs. Potter would say, but she did own up to this achievement. “I will take responsibility for that, yes. I just found that for me personally, it was hard, but I started talking to people and get opinions,” she said, “I wanted to start something to change that, since we’re unhappy about it. I firmly believe that as students we don’t believe that we have a lot of power, when in fact, we have more power than we think,” Morgan added.

Morgan took her crusade a long way by creating an instagram page, gathering opinions, talking to staff and student, and then taking her protest to Dr. Lewis. She said how the opinions are mixed, and most people would like the same schedule, just on Wednesdays.

By talking to Lewis, she convinced him to talk to the restructuring board (who makes the decisions about those certain aspects of school) and also the Department Chair Council.

Based on her dedication to the school, the schedule may be changed within the year, or so she hopes.

Morgan is always one to positively think about the future, and to hope for certain things, such as specific colleges and career goals in her future.

She said that her dream is to go to UCLA to become a psychologist for marriage and families, but she believes that “whatever happens, happens for a reason. Wherever the wind blows, I’ll go,” she said, laughing at herself due to the cliche figure of speech. “But seriously, I think there’s a plan for my life and wherever that leads me is where I was meant to be.”

“I’ve always been a positive person,” Morgan said, emphasizing on why she feels that way about her college choices. “It’s important, and I’m not going to say I’m never down on myself, but it’s always great to remain in that good mindset.”

Potter admires her for her positive and generous attitude. “She’s such a likable person, and there’s so many wonderful memories of her, it’s hard to stop and appreciate just one, since there are so many.” After a slight pause, Potter smiled softly and started to speak on her favorite memory of Gillian Morgan.

“When we were in Paris, she had just bought something for herself, but when we had passed a homeless person on the street, and without thinking about it she gave it away to him,” she continued. “It was just a passing gesture, she did it very quietly, she didn’t make a big deal about it.”

“I like that memory of her.” Potter smiled. “She took something she bought for herself and gave it away without thinking about it. I think that moment really captures who Gillian is, and highlights her kind, generous personality.”