An Icon: Leah Murphy

Leah Murphy, a senior at Helix Charter High school, has had quite the high school experience. Whether it is her style, her friends, her honor/AP classes, Murphy truly took advantage of her high school career.

Murphy is, without a doubt, a fashion icon here at Helix and leaves all students in awe over how flawless she is, “I take fashion very seriously. It is a strong part of who I am” states Murphy.

Murphy described her style, as “not boho chic, my style is simply Leah Murphy.” Murphy adds a touch of sass and glam to any look that she portrays. Murphy enjoys Urban Outfitters, Target, Nordstorms Rack, and of course thrifting with some of her best friends.

Murphy is heavily involved in several different projects both in her professional life as well as her personal life whether it be the 2014 Yearbook editor in chief with Lindsey Randlett, a love life on the rise, prepping to move over 400 miles away this summer, and also continuing to focus on her studies. Murphy also hopes to get back to her acting roots and not focus on too much music at the moment. Murphy used to be in Peter Pan Junior Theater Co. during her middle school and freshmen year.

Murphy describes her return to acting as, “very modern and really cool.” She hopes to “surprise people a bit and do something that I’ve never done before.”
Murphy enjoys going to live shows with her friends, eating at yummy restaurants, and also simply hanging out and watching movies with a glass of tea or two. I hear she has a very popular chicken potpie recipe she uses for when her friends come over to visit. Murphy loves indie rock music, but still has a soft spot in her heart for 90’s Britney Spears.
Some of Murphy’s guilty pleasures include, but are pnot limited to, new rapper Macklemore, quesadillas, cats, and wind chimes.
Kat Carrillo, a senior at Helix and good friend of Murphy’s, says that the best thing about her is her awesome, “sense of humor and ability to always keep me laughing.”
AJ Parks, senior, stated that, “Leah is great and a really cool friend. She’s a cool chick.”
Roan Bontempo, senior, described Murphy as a, “material girl, very materialistic. She is a gamer girl.”
Paris Karsh, a new friend of Murphy’s, says that Murphy is, “a sassy queen who slays.”

There are many people who inspire Murphy in her everyday life. One of them being international indie pop star, Sky Ferreira. Murphy is inspired by her sound and has recently seen her live last fall.

Murphy states that what she enjoys most about Ferreira is, “how raw and personal she is throughout her songs and her fashion.

Murphy is currently prepping to move to Santa Cruz this fall to further her education lifestyle and is currently an undeclared major.

Murphy stated about her upcoming big move up north, ‘I am so excited to be going to UCSC, it will be fun.”

Leah Murphy is a sassy individual who knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it.. She is a role model for the next generation and she will do big things in her future. The world is patiently to see what Murphy will do next.

College Acceptances: Tips For The Future

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After the stressful application process that the Helix Senior class of 2014 faced, the relief of receiving an acceptance letter immediately changes the pestering stress into immediate excitement and relief for the graduating individuals.

With college now on the horizon, many applicants feel the rewards of their efforts here at Helix, some even willing to share the long and worthwhile road they had to take.

Jasmine Garcia, a Senior, plans to become a Public Relations Major at San Jose State University where she will attend school with her older brother.

According to Garcia, when asked about things she has done to prepare for college, taking AP classes, challenging oneself, taking [multiple] classes, and focusing on the classes students are capable of handling will allow for a greater chance of getting accepted into college.

“Don’t procrastinate when it comes to college. Financial aid, FAFSA: turn that in as soon as you can and look to turning in your college apps early,” Garcia said.

For tips on improving your personal statement, Garcia recommends visiting Mr. Ried, the creative writing teacher, due to the fact that he “really cares about his students” and will help will college letters.

Amanda Speidel, a Senior, recommends to apply to schools that have your major and how they feel about the location of the campus. If students wish to be closer to their family, or experience the responsibilities of attending a school miles away from home, the choice is really theirs.

For her final words of wisdom, Speidel also recommends to “get your FAFSA done early, and do what you got to do and get it done on time.”

Amunique Borja-Snell, a Senior, who recently received a scholarship from UC Berkeley, states her excitement of getting approved for priority registration and her own experiences applying to college.

Despite her 1610 SAT score, being lower than an average for UC Berkeley applicants, she likes to attribute her success to her 300 hundred hours of community service and “incredible” personal statement that she claims to have spent three months working on.

Borja believes that focusing on describing yourself honestly into the written statement, “going beyond the student that [they] are” and getting the colleges to understand the personal side and what challenges you have overcame will greatly increase your chances of getting accepted.

Her advice to upcoming Juniors is to place an enormous amount of effort into the personal statement process of the college application, not being afraid to let the colleges know the student that they are. She also advises Juniors to visit the Career Center available here at Helix in an effort to claim the scholarships abundant in the office.

Madison Draper, another Senior who was also accepted into UC Berkeley as well as UCSD, agrees with Borja, giving her own advice on the personal statement portion, explaining the various application processes.

Draper explains the process of applying on two different applications, the Common App as well as the UC application doing two separate applications, believing that “they were both pretty simple.”

According to Draper, “the Common App has five different essays that you can choose from, while the UC app has two main statements that they ask.” Although only one statement is needed for the Common App, certain colleges may also ask different supplemental questions to coincide with it . However, for the UC application, statements include describing your world and where you come from, as well as describing an experience you had.

“Do super duper well on your academics. Certain schools like stats or high numbers while other colleges look at special talents and your personal statements,” said Draper.

“Make your [personal] statement really pretty,” Draper emphasized, explaining that people with quality statements should look towards intertwining it with their majors; the correlation will help.

With the Senior college application process finally coming to an end, multiple Helix Charter Seniors ease their stress and focus on the excitement of being accepted into their applied colleges.

As Helix Seniors express their joy, Juniors should look to prepare for their own college application process, remembering to continue their hard work and stay involved in their extracurriculars here at Helix.

“Overall, work hard, play hard,” says Draper.

There Goes The Choir

What was suppose to be one of the Performing Art Center’s first choir performance ended up in a melancholic despair as news that the performance had to be cancelled reached the ears of the Helix Charter staff and students.

Although the Helix Choir had been practicing since last December, the Helix Choir performance of “Broadway Bound Pops”, a choral act featuring songs from Broadway shows, had to be postponed for later due to scheduled inspection of the theater.

According to Sara Vaughn, a singer in the choir, “the performance [was] cancelled because the fire marshal [was] coming [on Thursday] because of an issue with the Theatre.

“The fire marshal will either say it’s safe to use or no one can use the theater until It’s fixed,” Vaughn said.

Although the performance was already scheduled for Thursday, the Choir Performance had to be cancelled due to the Helix Choir wishing not to take the chance of whether or not the fire marshal would approve of the theatre being safe to open.

“If he said no it would’ve been too late of notice to cancel and we couldn’t just risk on him saying yes. So we had to cancel the whole performance,” Vaughn explained.

Despite the saddening news, the choir group has not let it get to their heads, continuing to practice on their act.
Joye Guadagni, the president of Choir, believes that this issue won’t set her or the rest of the Choir back.

“We were looking forward to performing in the new theatre and we didn’t get a chance … [but now] we have been working hard and will be continuing [to work] hard to make sure we have everything right and in order for our next concert,” Guadagni said positively.

A positive aspect that Guadagni did mention was that they now have more time to practice their singing and are willing to “put in more time to make it perfect,” despite all of them looking forward to singing in the new theater.

Beth Leighton, a family and consumer teacher at Helix, was disappointed at the news but believed that as long as the choir performance was not completely cancelled that she would be fine waiting for the next choir concert.

“Usually Pops, traditionally, … is near the end of the year, so now it’ll feel more like Pops,” said Leighton.

Leighton also mentioned that she would rather wait for the choir to perform in the theatre anyway, mentioning that it was well worth the wait and the money that the school spent to acquire the theatre.

According to Leighton, Mr. Lindhorst, the choir director, is going to “combine the performance with Aloha Café and have alumni come back and sing at that time to so it’s going to be cool.”

“I’d like to encourage people all [the Helix Charter] to come out and see the drama production, and the band, and the choir and the dance because our kids are so talented and they spend so much time, as much time as athletes do, … and they’re all so professional,” Leighton added, “Its the highlight of my year.”

Unfortunately, Mr. lindhorst could not be reached for comment.

Take a Dirty Picture…

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The popular, addicting app, “SnapChat”, that is used over 30 million times a day, is currently under some hot debate over its inappropriate use among teens. In case you are not familiar with the newly popular app it allows users to send photo messages for either 1 to 10 seconds to another user. With this limited time gap that Snapchat offers, teens everywhere are taking full advantage of it and allowing himself to engage in child porngraphy.

Are teens really to blame though for the urge to send these dirty snaps to random users that they find on the app? When asked a few students at Helix, who wished to remain anonymous, they personally believed that many celebrities are to blame. Take popstar,

Ke$ha for example. She emphasizes dirty pictures and the joy and pleasure she receives from engaging in the act in her song “Dirty Picture” ft. Taio Cruz. Personally, I think that teenagers are not to blame for engaging in the act when in all reality they are simply following what they see or hear in pop culture.

When 45 Helix High students were asked to do a quick 5 question survey regarding Snapchat and their use on the app, over 60% said that they had received a dirty snap from a user on the app and an astonishing 40% said that they enjoy dirty snapchatting.
But someone may not know that there is new app, SnapLeaked, which allows users to save any snapchat without notifying the other sender.

So why do students feel the need to send these photos? A senior male at Helix stated that the app is “cool because I can send one of those photos to my girlfriend without her showing anyone else at a later time.”

Jasmine Garcia, a senior, stated that she does not find Snapchatting nude photos to be attractive whatsoever and she has not and will not ever engage in the dirty act.

Snapchatting dirty pictures is not only wrong, but illegal and should end if teens want to hold a better reputation for themselves.

Soaring Through Sophomore Year

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Charlie Harris in the pilot’s seat!

While everyone else is worrying about what to write in order to fill that blank “experience” spot on their resumés, sophomore, Charlie Harris, has that covered and it’s not “volunteer work or “team captain.” Does flying a plane qualify?

“It’s kind of a weird freedom to be able to just be in the air and fly,” he said.

It’s not every day that a teenager gets the chance to sit behind the wheel of a full-functioning plane, let alone steer one. The opportunity opened up when Harris’ parents attended a charity event, The 39th Annual Gala hosted by the Home of Guiding Hands, a charity that aids in assistance and housing of disabled individuals. His parents partook in the silent auction hosted at the event and left the gala with one ticket for a thirty minute flying lesson. It was then kept a secret for approximately eight months until it was gifted to Harris for a sixteenth birthday present.

After waking up at eight on Feb. 23, next thing Harris knew he was on the airfield and was a pilot of a plane.

Talk about nerve-wracking, especially when there was no instructional manual to read beforehand. Instead, Harris received lessons whilst steering the plane already in flight. He recalled, “there was an instructor next to me, but you are kind of by yourself. All he’s doing is giving you small tips and course adjustments, but that’s about it.”

Despite the slight instructions, Harris claimed the half-hour flight was “super awesome.”

“The whole experience was a lot like a roller coaster you’ve never been on. You go up in the air and you don’t really know what’s about to happen, but you know it’s going to be fun,” the sophomore described. “It was pretty cool.”

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The experience not only left his heart racing, but also a lasting impression. It’s possible that aviation might become a part of Harris’ future.

“I never really thought about it before, but now that I’ve done it, I think it would be a pretty cool thing to pursue in the future,” he said.

However, there is a small setback: the cost. Harris laughed, “I probably won’t be flying too soon. It’s pretty expensive.” An average thirty minute flying lesson can cost up to $95 or more, and a full learning course with equipment and instructors can cost roughly $8,000 to $9,000. But he’s not letting that get him down.

“When I get older and I have enough free time to pursue it myself, I think I’ll get a pilots license,” said the future pilot. Until then, we’ll see if flying a plane will have any help with getting a summer job.

C4Me Preparation

With seniors at Helix Charter feeling the onslaught of college acceptance letters, the juniors face with the decision of which colleges to apply. College For Me (C4Me), is a college preparation program that allows students to tour 13 different colleges over a five-day time period during spring break.
This will give the students personal insights to popular named schools around the state of California such as University of Berkeley, Stanford, University of Santa Barbara, and University of Los Angeles.
Arica Villegas, a counselor and program coordinator of the C4Me trip at Helix, described the elaborate preparation process for students. Juniors must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in order to be invited to the trip.
After the invitation process, they go through a series of three workshops. Villegas said this is, “preparing them to gain a better understanding of what colleges are expecting of them.”
They must attend these or make them up with Villegas and turn in the required paperwork, proof of registration for the SAT or ACT, a high school planner to show what has been completed of the A-G requirements, and a self-evaluation to help create a personal profile.
These, “help evaluate where they are,” in the preparation for looking at colleges.
“Really getting that full understanding, the physical being on the campus, allows students to feel how they will thrive on the campus,” is what Villegas feels this strives for.
There are also mandatory parent meetings, in which the students find out what is necessary to pack and the parents are given information on what to expect.
“We want the students to get as much of that real student life feeling, but to be able to expect the responsibility that comes along with this trip,” Villegas stated.
She feels that the expectation of C4Me is that it will open the eyes of the students, “and there will be a strong desire to attend college,” this makes them aware that there are plenty of opportunities, she says in response to standard that requires juniors participating in C4me to apply to at least two colleges, by the fall of their junior year.
This year has an increase of aspiring juniors, amounting to three trips during break. One boys trip, Thursday, March 13th, and two girls trips, leaving March 14th and 15th.
Sophomores have high expectations to meet in anticipation for the ending years of high school.

The Amazing Mrs. Gibson

If students could vote on a favorite teacher, Mrs. Gibson would most likely win. Part of the Helix Staff for the past seven years, mother of four children, and teacher of Freshmen and Junior English, ESL, Helix First, and the Aspire Organizer, Mrs. Gibson is definitely an extraordinary person.

Mrs. Gibson, recently back from maternity leave, was missed from all of the staff and students. She described her return, and said “it is hard to come back, especially not really knowing a new class, but its super fun and I’m glad I’m back.”

Mrs. Gibson is pretty much used to the craziness of coming back from maternity leave, because this is her fourth child in her seven years working at Helix.

One teacher who was definitely excited for Mrs. Gibson to come back was the English teacher Mrs. Passmore.

Mrs. Passmore, who has worked with Mrs. Gibson for six years, said, “I love working with Mrs. Gibson, she is absolutely my favorite person”.

Helix students should be familiar with the Aspire programs that happen on campus after school. The Aspire programs are after school program tutorials that are open for all students. These tutorials hold subjects for Math, Science, English (Writing Lab), ACE Construction Mentoring, Club College, Rap Battles and Poetry, and Sport Aspires. Currently the Aspire program has 250 students in regular attendance, and is meant to help students with specific subjects they need more help in, or just give students something to do.

Griffin Dehne and Virginia Suarez, both seniors at Helix Charter High School, described how much the Aspire programs really helped them all throughout High School. Dehne said, “I remember relying on the Aspire classes so much during my junior year, a lot of my friends would go after school too, so it was chill”.

Suarez remembers spending her time, “getting all the homework done”, so she would not have to worry about it later. Suarez also mentioned that the Aspire programs are, “overall really helpful”, and definitely benefited her grades in the end.

That amazing program is also run by Mrs. Gibson, she is in charge of organizing the classes holding the Aspire programs and making sure students know about these programs. She explained how all the aspire programs are online and can be found on the Helix website.

Mrs. Gibson loves her job, “and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”

And the Winners Are…

On Wed. March 5th, Helix’s freshman, sophomore, and junior classes were told who would be making some of the most important decisions for the rest of their school years.

Prior, on Wed. Feb. 26th and 27th, Helix students had the opportunity to vote for who they would want as their class presidents, vice presidents, secretaries and treasurers.

The candidates for the freshman class were Katrina Newman and Destiny Alvarado for president, Holly Cesena for vice-president, Destini Anderson and Hailey Harkness for treasurer, and for the secretarial position it was Jennifer Barillas.

For the sophomore class, the students running for president were Gillian Morgan, Diondraya Taylor, and Adam Oriqat, and the only person running for vice-president was Julia Ryan. Alongside them, the sophomore running for secretary was Jazmyne Turner, and treasurer candidate Abdi Hussein.

The new freshman class president is Katrina Newman, the vice-president is Holly Cesena, and the secretary is Jennifer Barillas. The position of treasurer is yet to be determined for reasons unknown, and a re-vote is necessary to determine the position.

The new sophomore class president is Adam Oriqat, the vice-president, secretary, and treasurer positions were Julia Ryan, Jazmyne Turner, and Abdi Hussein.

When it comes to the junior class, there was actually some surprise into who would win the leadership positions, and the candidates for president were Mimi Tadele, Sylvia Montijo, and Leon Jordan the third. Taking the junior presidential position is Leon Jordan the third. When it came to vice-president, the potential VP’s were Cira O’Quinn, Adriannah Castro, and Sonny Pham and of the three, the new junior class vice president is Sonny Pham. For secretary, the only student running was Jonathan Pham, so Pham is now the junior class secretary. And lastly, the only treasurer candidate was Dawit Begashaw, so he is the new junior class treasurer.

Hopefully the new leaders will live up to the high standards Helix holds for them as they make decisions detrimental to the happiness of students.

School, Extra-Curriculars, AND Work?!

School, extra-curriculars, and then work. This is a daily routine that some students at Helix go through.

Students are already stressed out with the workload they get from homework, how do they have the enough time to balance out their school work and  jobs?

Lindsey Randlett, a senior, is the president of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club, an editor in the school’s yearbook class, and an AP student. With all the school work and extra-curricular, she still finds time to have a job.

Time management seems to be an issue with most Helix students since it is hard for them to balance out their school work and job. Randlett said that having a job has helped her with her time management.

Since Randlett is involved in a variety of things, she had some conflicts with her job since her boss decided to give her more hours. Her motivation for work is that, “I like money.”

Senior, Brian Dominguez, is also another AP student involved with many extra-curriculars who finds it hard to balance out school work and his job. Dominguez has been working at the Santee Albertsons since April of 2013. He said “since I have been working for a while now, I’ve learned to better my time management skills.”

At first it was hard for Dominguez to balance out school and work since he did swim last year. So he would have to go to school, then swim practice, then work, and then start his homework. It was also hard for him in the beginning since last year he did not have his license yet. So getting to all those places would be difficult on some days.

While some students find it easy to get jobs, others find it very difficult.

Although Dominguez is employed now, it took him a while to get employed. He applied to many places like Seaworld, Vons, and Urban Outfitters before starting at the Santee Albertsons.

Seaworld is a place where multiple students apply to but get denied since they attend Helix. Dominguez was denied the job because of this.

Another student who was denied by Seaworld because of attending Helix was Kimberly Tran, a senior.

Other reasons why it is so hard for students to get a job is because of their age. For example most retail stores minimum age is 18. This is why Dominguez did not get the job at Urban Outfitters.

It is amazing how some students can balance out school, extra-curriculars, and work. With all that going on in their lives how to they have time to still have a social life?

Dominguez said it is hard to find time for a social life since he goes through that never ending routine of school and work. But on his days off he finds it easy to make time for friends and family.

Love Week

Valentines Day, the national holiday to show your loved ones how much you truly care about them. Like having a dinner reservation at the nicest restaurant in town or buying a bouquet of roses, or even buying a whole box of chocolates, just to show how much you care. And due to that, Helix dedicated a whole week to love, Feb. 10-13, just for the upcoming holiday.
Some may ask what is the purpose of having love week at Helix? According to Sophomore, Jade Flores, the commissioner for Love Week and also sophomore at Helix, replied with, “ [Love Week is] Just for the celebration of Valentines Day and also to show off school spirit.”
Junior, Amaris Munoz, ASB member also agreed with Flores, “[Love week] is for everyone at Helix, it is a nice way to show love and school spirit.”
Starting off that Love Week, on Monday Feb. 10, was Disney Day. Where any student or staff could wear whatever they wanted that was related to Disney. Some students took it up a notch and dressed up as happily ever after couples.
Junior, Lina Sevilla, another ASB member, mentioned that “the first day did not apply to love week, it was just Disney.”
On the second day of Love week, Tuesday Feb. 11, students were supposed to wear stripes and polka dots. Like Mondays Disney day, students and staff could wear any attire that had stripes or polka dots. “Although there is no connection with these patterns having to deal with love”, Flores mentioned that, “polka dots and stripe day has always been around [5 years] in Love Week and was just one of the days that has been kept.”
The third day of Love Week, Wednesday Feb. 12, was pink day. As said in the famous movie, Mean Girls, “On Wednesday we wear pink.” Which was what ASB members were aiming for.
Now, since there was no school on Friday Feb. 14, the actual day of Valentine’s Day, Helix had to celebrate our Valentine’s Day on Thursday Feb. 13. So the final theme day of Love Week was to wear anything red or hearts. But were also roses being distributed to students that had people who cared for them.
Throughout Love Week, and the week before, ASB was selling roses for two dollars, for any student that wanted to buy a rose for someone they cared about. Approximately four hundred dollars worth of roses were sold.
Flores bought two hundred roses, that came to an amount around 380 dollars, leaving her with 50 dollars left over. When asked from the money raised from the roses in anything in particular, she responded back with
“For love week it is not so much for making profits,it is more just about the student body having fun and embracing love .”