After School Craft Aspire

Crafting is always a creative and fun activity, and that’s exactly what you can expect to experience at Helix’s Aspire craft program. In room 520 after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at 3:00, students can come to let their ideas flow and creativity peak.

On Thursday, Feb. 10, the crafts available for student to make were bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces, or pretty much anything their mind was set on. This Aspire program helps bring out the inspirational and unique side of anyone, and offers fun activities every meeting.

“I really liked doing crafts. I’ve had a business for over 30 years of doing crafts, and when Mrs. Trevino asked me if I thought the students would be interested, I said I’d love to share this with them.” stated Judy Kirk, director of the program.

Kirk decided that reaching out to students and opening up the school’s very own craft club would help with students who have an interest in crafting, whether or not they have the resources to make them at home.

“It was really fun, and something new to see here at school. I would love to come back to this and see what else I can make,” Danielle Dasilveira, a sophomore who attended one of the Aspire meetings, said.

bracelet made at the craft Aspire by Danielle DaSilveira

The program is very welcoming and friendly, and everyone involved is ready to help or ask any questions students may have about the options available for what to make.

“Everyone there was supportive, and really kind. Asking for help or advice and receiving positive feedback was really helpful when it came to trying to make the crafts.” recalled Dasilveira.

The program is held twice a week, and offers a place for students to be themselves and have fun. The craft materials are already provided, and Mrs. Kirk is willing to help, so there is no need to worry or be held back by any concerns there may be regarding putting together something like a necklace or earrings.

“I think everything that opens creativity in your mind is good, so focusing on something else that is a positive outlet is a great influence on students here.” stated Gabby Carbajal, who is in charge of 11th and 12th grade attendance and brought her young daughter to one of the meetings.

We Are The Power: Self Empowering Club

The life-changing three day event entitled ‘We Are the Power’ that started as a senior project and changed the perspective of many teenagers, has now became an inspirational club founded by senior, Yasmine Smith.

Over 50  young women and men at Helix attended the self-empowerment experience on Nov, 3, Nov. 4 and Nov. 6 from 3p.m. – 4:30 p.m. for Smith’s Project. The event included engaging and motivational activities which positively influenced many individuals. The activities included everyone standing around the room saying a true fact about themselves and sharing advice to their peers.

Now this event has formed into a club that meets on Mondays and Fridays at lunch in room 1300, helping students to get through their week,  by empowering members to rise above the circumstances that occur in life.

Yasmine Smith, senior and president of We Are The Power Club said “I started my club We Are The Power so that everybody can understand that us as women us as guys need to break the drama so that we can come together and make our high school year, and our world better and powerful”

Smith added that the club shows her that she does not have to get upset with anyone because of the conflicts that come between her and other people.

The purpose of the club is to allow students to see that they can control their experiences at school and in life, through discussions, positive activities and the opinions of their peers.

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Alexis Ayon, junior said that she really enjoys coming to the club because she is able to understand the opinions of others.

The club starts off by all of the members stating their name and something positive about themselves. Next the leaders lead a discussion based on a common topic that teens struggle with.

Smith began one of her meetings by discussing inner beauty and outer beauty. Both guys and girls gave their perspective on what inner beauty means to them.

The conversation quickly circulated around the room, as the students shared different perspectives on inner beauty, self-respect and relationships between boys and girls.

Quanya Pierson, junior  and vice president of the club said “This club has opened my mind to other people’s opinions, talking to other people and getting their opinions helps me get through my problems”
This could  possibly be one the most inspirational clubs at Helix, because it discusses the reality of everyday situations that students are dealing with.

Valentine’s Day Around Helix

Valentine’s Day, a day filled with candy, “I love you’s,” and a bounty of hearts. While some are willing to just settle in for a nice movie and relaxing night, others take the opportunity to take their loved one out for a romantic event.

Chase Bates, senior, is planning to take his girlfriend of six months, Brianna Ortiz, over to Sunset Cliffs and spend the day with her there, and end the night with dinner at Corvette Diner.

Tiana Canja, senior, said she’s not sure what her boyfriend Andrew Aguilar, also a senior, has planned for them. “It’s a surprise apparently,” said Canja.

Aguilar said, “Well, we didn’t get to go to Winter Formal, so I’m going to ask her to a Winter Formal of our own.” He said that he plans for them to dress up and go out to dinner, and to “dance the night away.”

Isaac Ojeda, junior, visited the store a few times, in preparation for February 14th. “I picked my girlfriend up some See’s Candies, and iTunes gift card, a sweater, and a card.”

Ojeda mentions that his girlfriend doesn’t like over-the-top celebrations, but he loves showing his love for her, so he will be taking her to the beach, “and every couple hours I’ll give her a gift, with a page explaining why I love her.”
However, Valentine’s Day isn’t only about the couples, Jack Layman, junior, said his plans consist of him and his best friend chilling at their house, eating pizza, and playing video games.

Coretta Pinson, senior, said that she won’t be spending the day with her boyfriend, “he has to work, so I’m going to go shopping with friends.”

Mr. Matt Smith, a Helix on-site substitute, plans to go spend the day with his family and girlfriend. “We’ll be having a nice day and dinner, plus I got her some chocolate”.

With Valentine’s day coming up, special sales pop up around everywhere, but nothing is as special as spending time with loved ones.

KPBS suggested some Valentine’s Day activities for people needing ideas. From “Couple’s Cooking Class,” to “San Diego Chorus presents Singing Valentines,” to “Be My Valentine Adoption Weekend at PetSmart,” anything creative, romantic, or perfect for a couple is located on this page.


Helix Aquatics Crab Feed

At 7:00 pm on Sat., Jan. 7, the La Mesa Recreation Center was busy with over 200 Helix Aquatics athletes, families, staff, and friends, all excited to begin the festivities at the 2nd Annual Helix Aquatics Crab Feed. The event featured each a silent and live auction and a raffle- the walls were lined with tables covered in baskets full of various gift certificates, sports equipment, restaurant vouchers, art, an oddly large amount of Hello Kitty paraphernalia, and countless other prizes, for the silent auction.

“The event was a success and I’m really proud of the outcome,” said senior and water polo player, Mimi Tadele. “We are so very excited to use this money for all the things we need for water polo, swim and dive!”

Junior Charlie Harris said “I’m really grateful of all the adults that volunteer their time to come donate money to our program. It really means a lot to all of us.”

Over 50 Helix Aquatics students came to serve guests and clean up. Over 150 staff and families donated to the Aquatics program, raising over $28,000 for facility updates including a sound system for the pool deck, new water polo goals, and shade for the bleachers.

Gillian Morgan, junior and varsity water polo goalie, gave a speech about how water polo has helped her. She talked about how she started out uneasy in her athletic abilities, but with the help of the other players and coaches, she has grown not only as an athlete, but as a person.

Aaron Knuteson, senior and member of the swim team, also gave a speech with a more emotional tone, as he told of his journey from a freshman who didn’t fit in, but finally found his place in swim.

Lenelle Wylie, science teacher and girls’ aquatics coach, was a major contributor in organizing the event.

“This event is an opportunity for the community to come out and show their support for Helix Aquatics,” said Wylie. “We had an outpouring of support from the community and our program will directly benefit from all of the proceeds of the crab feed.”

Pilot PSAT Prepares Students for SAT

On Jan. 6, approximately 80 Helix students showed up to Helix to take the SAT/PSAT Pilot Test to practice for the upcoming redesigned SAT, and to cash in on their $25 reward.

As College Board prepares to finalize their redesign of its standardized test, the SAT, the organization has chosen to include Helix in a research study for their redesigned SAT and PSAT/NMSQT, or Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, assessments.

Although the trial administration was used as a study for College Board, Helix students still received the opportunity to practice for the upcoming test.

“[Students] were just excited to have a test situation that did mimic what the real test would be like,” said Mrs. Arica Villegas, Helix Counselor for the sophomore class and Director of C4ME.

Marcus Tucker, a sophomore, looking to take both the SAT and ACT more than once, believes that the pilot was a great way to prepare for the upcoming SAT test.

“It’s always important to study and be prepared for the test,” said Tucker, looking to continue his studies and preparations for one of academics most critical tests.

“This test was a fantastic opportunity for students to practice and get rewarded too,” said Mrs. Rosie Cech, Career Center Clerk for Helix. “Its great for our students and great for the school.”

Although students who participated received $25, the school as a whole will be receiving added benefits from College Board for their participation in hosting the trial administration. To demonstrate their appreciation, College Board will provide free access to the current SAT Online Course for all students in the school. This type of free resource will allow for students to come into the test well prepared and well practiced for the redesigned SAT.

Mrs. Villegas recommends that students, especially sophomores and juniors, practice and study for the ACT and SAT as the tests are one of the biggest factors, along with GPA, that colleges base their admissions on.

“We work with outside organizations to offer prep classes at a pretty minimal charge,” said Mrs. Villegas. “We have students go and get books from the library or places like Barnes and Noble and they work for [students] who work more individually motivated,” she said.

However, Mrs. Villegas added that the classes offered in preparation for the standardized tests greatly benefit students who are more focused in a classroom setting and have trouble studying on their own.

With the message that practice makes perfect, Mrs. Villegas wants everyone to be prepared and ready for these big tests that can make or break their college admissions.

New Year’s Resolutions Survey

On Jan. 13, the Highland Fling conducted a survey to learn about Helix staff and students’ new year’s resolutions for 2015. The poll, conducted through Survey Monkey, collected information from the first 100 respondents- here are the results:

69% of respondents said yes, they did make a resolution.

The majority of people had resolutions relating to weight loss/health, stress management, or they  opted to give personalized answers. Those answers included: “play better golf and be more patient with students,” “stay on top of my grades and live happier,” “better myself spiritually,” and “not eat meat.”

One respondent said “I do not like the idea of a resolution, but prefer a new idea. Rather than feel bad about the things I may not have completed or done as well as I might, I am going to add pieces of paper to a jar, each one listing an accomplishment I achieve during the year. Then, we celebrate the end 2015, I can pull all those bits of paper, out of the jar and reflect on the many things I am happy to have done!”

When asked how likely they are to stick to their resolutions, 79% of those surveyed said “likely” or “very likely to definitely.” The other 21% said it was either not likely, or they had already broken their resolutions.

48.67% of people are still working on their resolutions, while the remainder have already broken theirs.

Although this is just a snapshot of Helix students and staff, it is apparent that here at Helix, many of us are good at sticking to our goals, while a few still have some work to do.

What a Wonderful Winter Formal

On the night of Jan. 24 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Helix held it’s annual Winter Formal dance at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.

 Lloyd Sabin and the Junior class sure made it a memorable night with rose centerpieces, a professional DJ, and the big red carpet event.

With dolled up faces, party songs, and a wide variety of things to do such as dance, hang out with friends, and free snacks, Winter Formal was a night that was not soon to be forgotten. Over 400 students and guests attended, and the Hall was filled with laughter, fun, and a raving crowd who refused to get off the dance floor at any cost.

Helix staff played the role of “paparazzi” and took many photos throughout the dance, and then created a quick slideshow to help commemorate while the dance was going on. The DJ took requests and attempted to reach out to all varieties of the music to please the diverse Helix audience.

Juniors Jade Flores and Benjamin Gonzalez were crowned “best actress and actor” upon votes by the junior class in theme of the Hollywood style dance .

However, despite the success that the dance produced, some kids were disappointed in some of the song selections, and the fact that the only slow dance was at the very end of the dance when most people had already left.

“The DJ did a good job on pleases all of the audiences in the crowd,” Flores said, “You can’t please everybody, and he did a good mix of all styles of songs.”

Other students who attended, such as sophomores Jennifer Barrios and Chance Larue, also agreed with Flores. Larue also mentioned how the songs he didn’t like gave him time to hang out with his date or rest so he could spend the rest of the night dancing.

The dance recieved many mixed reviews on whether or not this year’s formal was better than last years, but many attendees spoke on how the larger venue and snacks offered was a plus, and they would definitely attend next year if it was similar.

For some seniors attending, such as Sandra Huynh, it was an excellent final Winter Formal.

“Just the whole atmosphere was fun and lively. It was a good time, and I even got roses from some of the tables to take home,” Huynh said. “It was a Hollywood-night to remember.”

Mrs. Gibson: The Teacher Who Inspires During and After School

Mrs. Alicia Gibson, taking on the many responsibilities of being a English Teacher in addition to instructing the Aspire organization, has endlessly and lovingly helped students achieve their goals at Helix for eight years.

“We prepare kids for college and kids get the resources they need which makes Helix a good place to work” said Gibson.

The Aspire program began when Helix received a grant in order to help students after school, and Mrs. Gibson was chosen to instruct the organization.

Aspire is an after hours program available to all students to assist in remediation giving them core content material, and providing enrichment opportunities, according to the  Helix website.

Mrs. Gibson takes on the role of structuring any possible after school enrichment program by appointing supervisors for each meeting,  and making sure that the program meets the demand of each students.

 Mrs. Paula Ann Trevino,  Grade level Principal, said “Mrs. Gibson decides on the programs, makes sure that everyone is hired right, and makes sure that we have lots of different programs for all the students”


There are currently over 30 Aspire programs running under the direction of Mrs. Gibson. After school programs contain help in general education, sports, poetry, and arts and entertainment. Some of the programs include, Film Club, Helix Fitness and Military Basics.

While officiating after school programs, Mrs. Gibson also teaches both English and English as a second language. She  never ceases to help any student in need all while exuding a vibrant, fun and loving personality.

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 Kiana Jones, senior, said  “she’s really outgoing, friendly, always smiling, she brightens your day. She also helped me with my senior project proposal because she gave me ideas for what I need to fix.”

Jones also said attending the Aspire program, the writing lab helps because if you miss anything you can get what you need in the lab.
“All the kids like her. I love her, I think she works really hard and she has high standards,” said Trevino.

FAFSA, What Seniors Need to Know Now

The new year 2015 has arrived, and many Helix seniors gathered information for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application which opened Jan, 1, 2015, helping seniors to receive money for college.

FAFSA is “the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by conducting a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets and other household information, which you and your parents will be asked to provide” according to Student Financial Aid website:

Students are eligible to apply for financial aid only if they complete FAFSA  for educational purposes, are a U.S. citizen, have a valid social security number, will receive a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED), do not owe any funds or student loans, have not committed any crimes, and if males between the ages of 18-25  have registered for the U.S. male selective service.

All qualified students can then complete the FAFSA application based on their personal experience concerning high school and college on http.fafsa.edgov. Parents and guardians are also asked questions according to their income, family household size and financial stability. Parents will need to have income and tax files when completing the form in order to accurately finish the application.

Savannah Mondragon, a senior, said “if I had all the information at first, it wouldn’t be as complicated. The hardest part of the whole FAFSA was understanding the questions with my home situation.”

Every student is urged to complete this form in the first few weeks of January, because colleges use FAFSA to award students with grants, and the students who submit sooner will most likely receive greater financial aid. The deadline for all California grants is Mar. 2, 2015.

Mrs, Gunion, academic counselor for the class of 2015 said that is important to apply because colleges use this federal form to determine how much financial aid a student can receive.

Finishing the application can take anywhere from 25 minutes to 2 hrs depending on when taxes have been filed and if families have information all of their information complete.

A workshop was also hosted Thurs. Jan. 22 by Grossmont College in accordance with FAFSA for seniors that have not started the application or struggling to finish.

Amaris Munoz, a senior, was almost done with the application in 30 minutes. However  she had to pause for a day to ask Mrs. Gunion a clarifying question and come back.

“By filling this out it increases my chances of being able to go to college. It makes college more affordable” said Munoz.

For Helix seniors, completing the FAFSA is a difficult and tedious process, but crucial for everyone planning to further their education.


Winter Sports Assembly 2015

On Fri., Jan. 23, Helix got the chance to tune into ASB’s new “channel”, the National Helix League (NHL) for the 2014-15 winter sports season. Hosted in the gym by juniors and ASB members, Jaycie Matthews and Jade Flores, the winter sports teams were recognized and physically challenged in a series of games and fun activities.

The winter sports participating in the assembly were boys’ and girls’ basketball, girls’ water polo, wrestling, and girls’ and boys’ soccer, respectively.

To begin the assembly, ASB coordinated a relay race involving various aspects of all the winter sports. Participating in the race were winter sport athletes and captains combined into two teams.

The race involved dribbling a soccer ball, shooting a 3-pointer basket, completing a successful wheelbarrow race and lots of enthusiasm as the sports representatives hustled to defeat the other team.

Next, Helix’s dance team came out to perform, however, some technical difficulties with the music and the speakers occurred that caused the performance to be put on hold.

As ASB attempted to figure out the problem, another activity was set up and student volunteers on the bleachers were picked to participate in the game.

Students donned in trash bags were challenged to find a piece of bubblegum in a pie tin full of applesauce. Once the bubblegum was found, the first student to chew it, blow a bubble and pop it won.

After a couple minutes of applesauce digging and gum chewing, junior, Forrest Hanlon, was the one who came out victorious.

While ASB members were busy cleaning up, Flores and Matthews took the floor to announce the theme of this year’s Airbands. Planned for March 13th, the two girls proclaimed the theme this year to be “Neon Lights” as the students in the bleachers cheered with excitement.

To finish off the assembly, the dance team reappeared to perform their routine. With lots of upbeat music and great choreography, the assembly ended with an energetic finale.

ASB assembly commissioner and sophomore, Holly Ceseña, said, “Everybody loved dance. The dance team did an amazing job. I think that’s what most people enjoyed.”

Junior and ASB member, Cristina Mariel Guillen, agreed, saying, “ASB did a great job with the performances. The games were fun, dance was a huge hit, and people love the cheerleaders and band.”

“Even though the music had problems, the dance girls knew what they were doing and they’re good at what they do,” Guillen commented. “If anything, what we have to work on is having more school spirit and getting more people to watch the assemblies and get excited about them.”

“Overall, ASB did a great job with the assembly and we had a good turnout,” Ceseña said as she smiled widely.