Homecoming Assembly – Dancing through the Decades

On Mon. Oct.20 during lunch, in the Helix basketball gym many Helix Highlanders came out to discover what ASB had planned for an upcoming homecoming assembly. The assembly consisted of various activities from ASB students, performances from the cheerleaders, tap dancers, and the B-boy and B-girls dance club.

The many performances were a great way to get Helix Highlanders to cheer on their fellow peers. There was a lot of support from the screaming Scotties in the crowd.
Senior, Uyen Tran, was sitting on the senior side at the Homecoming assembly and discussed how it’s her last homecoming game and dance in high school.
“Dancing through the decades is a good theme for my last homecoming dance in high school, who wouldn’t want to go to that?” She asked.
The homecoming assembly contained activities such as, dressing up your teammate in whatever clothing that was in the bag as fast as you can without other students from different classes getting dressed first.
There was also a Tug-a-war game where the seniors took victory once again.
Senior, Samantha Whitlow stated, “ASB does a great job coming up with these activities, and they’re usually very enthusiastic each year, but there’s no point in them if seniors always win.”
At the homecoming assembly the host Jennifer also announced the homecoming candidates for this year’s 2014 Homecoming court. Many were selected but one was chosen during homecoming.
Senior, Khira Cook said, “It’s hard to vote when you can never make up your mind. I just can’t wait for the game and dance, that’s all that matters to me.”
The homecoming assembly was just a pre celebration for the Highlanders. Helix is regaining the spirit they once had. Now they’re ready for the Homecoming game against Valhalla and the Homecoming dance.
Before the final end of the assembly,. the Scotties left the gym chanting the traditional Helix chant. While one screams loudly, “Helix!” and the crowd screams back, “You know!”

Anti-Bullying Week

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The clubs named Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Gender Sexuality Awareness (GSA) at Helix Charter High School hosted an Anti-Bullying week, in order to create awareness and combat bullying.

 

On Mon. Oct. 13 and Wed. Oct. 15, SADD and GSA set up tables to hand out pamphlets, provide information on bullying, and have people pledge to not bully for the week.

 

Volunteers at the table had a signup sheet, on which it asked for the participants full name, email, and phone numbers.

 

Rachel Orey, junior and president of the GSA, says that they will use the info to send out thank you emails and updates on what’s going on in the community.

Also included at the table was two special pledge making “reminders,” by painting the pinky nail blue, either letting one of the volunteers paint it or the individual themselves, and a beaded rainbow bracelet, these provided temporary visual sign to show the support against bullying.

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The purpose of the table, Orey said, “we’re trying to outreach into the student body and raise awareness, overall making people kinder and more supportive on the topic of bullying.”

 

Nina Gleason-Bailey, senior, said “it’s about the effort for LGBT youth, hopefully it’s making the world a better place.”

 

“It means a lot to me, I know I needed this sort of support my freshman, sophomore years, when I faced a sexuality gender identity crisis” Bailey said.

 

Bailey said that volunteering makes her feel as if she’s giving back to something that helped her.

 

A huge goal for the groups was to promote a safe school environment,  as informed on one of their informational cards handed out.

 

“I believe all schools should be safe, supportive places for ALL students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” reads the card. The card then details what exactly students have pledged to, which is; not using anti-LGBT slurs, to help stop harassment, and support the efforts of others to create a positive environment.

 

While SADD club had to cancel the ally-lunch meet for Fri. Oct 17, due to difficulties getting the food, Thurs. Oct. 16, in room 1620, a guest speaker came to talk to the students about awareness and bullying.

 

The guest speaker, Charles, a Helix alumni with a deaf communications major, spoke to the students about his experience with bullying and discovering his sexual identity.

He spoke about the bullying he received from his own family, which wasn’t able to accept his identity, and actually admitted him into a mental institution in order to convince him that “being gay is a phase.”

 

He told the students about being aware of preferred gender pronoun (PGP) and let the students know that his PGP was “he or him,” registering himself as a female in transition.

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Orey said on the topic of ally week, “By pledging to be kind and supportive, it says something about the individual as a whole, it says you’re kind and you’re a person who cares about how the world is.”

Costume Contest

Halloween day, Oct. 31, 2014, Helix students showed off their creativity and individuality, sporting their costumes all over school. But some of the students looked forward to the main event put on by ASB during lunchtime; the costume contest.

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ASB came up with a panel of three judges, Jennifer Underwood, math teacher, Wendy French, a Spanish teacher, and Kayla Bulster, an ASL teacher, to judge the winners of the costume contest.

The categories students could enter were “most creative”, “most funny”, “scariest”, “best group/partner”, and “best overall”.

French said the choices were made unanimously, “we all discussed and talked about the top ones we liked and then chose.”

“I believe this gives the students an opportunity to have fun, these past couple of years the school spirit just seemed to fizzle out” French said.

Some of the most creative costumes were an Energizer Bunny, Kim Kardashian, a Hispanic, Merida from the Disney movie Brave, and Mary Poppins.

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In the scariest category was the Joker, a girl with a mutated eye, and Smiley.

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Best partner/group participants were the couple from the movie Up!, the Cosplay club dressed up as Zombies, two dead masquerade hosts, the Wiggles, and Alice in Wonderland.

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In most funny were Mike Tyson, Johnny Bravo, Dora the Explorer, Sharknado, a guy dressed as a fairy, and Carl’s Junior’s logo star.

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In the end Kim Kardashian won “most creative”, Smiley won “scariest”, “Best group” was the Wiggles, “funniest” was Johnny Bravo, and “best overall” was Sharknado.

Gabriel Perroud, senior, who dressed up as Johnny Bravo, won the funniest costume award.

He said, “I put in my personality, even though I wasn’t going to participate in the contest.”

Perroud said to future costume contest participants, “Put in effort, don’t just try to walk up there and make a fool of yourself.”

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SAT vs ACT, SAT Prep Class at Helix

Helix students are all working toward one goal: college. With the looming responsibilities of college and adulthood, students prepare for their SATs and ACTs at Helix.

According to the website, ACTStudent.com, “The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science… The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities”

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. “The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge,” said the SAT College Board website.

Depending on their learning and test-taking styles, the number of students who score better on one test over the other is split. Here are the differences between the two:

SAT

ACT

questions test ability to understand

questions more straightforward

mandatory writing section

optional writing section

focuses on vocabulary

has a science section

penalty for wrong answers- guessing is discouraged

score based on number of right answers- no penalty for guessing

components: critical reading, mathematics, and a required writing test

components: English, mathematics, reading, science, and an optional writing test

broken up into more sections

“big picture” exam- more concern with overall score

Helix has an SAT preparatory class Saturdays, starting from Saturday, Oct.  25, to Nov. 26. The class started with, and will end with, a practice SAT to measure students’ improvement.

Jessica Irvine, junior, said “I’m really glad to be taking this class because I aspire to go to a college like Stanford where I’ll need high SAT scores. I’m excited to see myself improve and get higher scores the next time I take a practice or real SAT. It’s actually really fun, the teacher is great, and I know the people who also take the class.”

The class is offered for all students but there are mostly juniors in it.

Madison Goldman, junior, is excited for what is to come in this class. She expects it to be “very helpful because it gives me information on the test that I didn’t know before, to improve my score.”

 

Freshman Sonny Lewis posing with an SAT book

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PTSA: Working for the Benefit of Helix

The Parent and Teacher Association is a wonderful organization devoted to the support of education. Individuals come together and volunteer to help students, working endlessly to find innovative ways to ensure success for Helix.

The purpose of the organization is to guarantee a beneficial and positive environment for Helix students and the community, by providing a chance for members of Helix and the community to actively contribute a progressive atmosphere for students.

PTSA supports students at events during sports and many other activities by giving their time and efforts to meet the needs of students by selling tickets, food, and hosting fundraisers that will help the school.

The President of the Helix PTSA,  John Gillian said “PTSA encourages student participation in all aspects of school life. It is a resource for volunteering needs during and after school.”

At Helix, volunteers give their time and energy in commitment to helping the Helix campus at their events, by “organizing snack bars and gather volunteers to staff concessions” Gillian said. This organization ensures that everything goes as planned during football games and creates new events for Helix students to participate in.

Lauren Gillihan, treasurer of PTSA said that their main goal “is to support students through scholarships, help coordinate grad night, spring fling and lots of other programs.” The PTSA organization also assists teachers in any way that they can, said Gillihan.

Leon Jordan, a Senior and student representative for PTSA is currently preparing for Senior Grad night, with the help of of the association.  Being apart of the PTSA allows Jordan to see a different side of Helix, and all of the hard work that must be put in.

On the Helix PTSA website: https://sites.google.com/a/helixcharter.net/ptsa/,  many people are advised to join the association “to become an active participant in developing a future” for students and “ensuring that every voice is heard.”

There are currently multiple volunteers . Those who are interested can sign up at any time according to the current events by examining the PTSA website. Individuals can participate by accessing the manual and online membership form.

PTSA is the fundamental reason as to why Helix has consistently improved. Everyone is encouraged to be apart of such a great organization, to guarantee a better future for students attending Helix High School.

Helix First Now Required

Helix Charter High School, at the beginning of the school year, added a new course to the list of required classes for Helix Freshmen.

Helix First, a program much like Avid, a school program focused on the academic success of students. Helix First takes student success to a higher standard, increasing not only academic success, but promoting sports, clubs, and activities to incoming freshmen who may have a harder time acclimating to the rigors of high school.

Aleen Jendian, a Helix English teacher and Course Level Team Leader of the Helix First program, said, “ Helix First supports students by giving them note-taking tools, reading strategies, and connecting them to Helix.”

Jendian goes as far as to say that Helix First will soon be focusing on college and career options, for future success as well.

The class meets every-other-day, on an A/B day schedule. Although that decreases the amount of time Jendian has with the students, it doesn’t seem to be much of an obstacle.

“I think Helix First is a great class for freshmen because it helps us get to know Helix more,” said Abdirahman Adbi, freshman.

But it’s not all based off the curriculum itself said Adbi. “Ms. Jendian makes everything sound more exciting,” he said, explaining that it’s more fun than he expected.

On the subject of Jendian, Adbi said, “She taught us how to stay more active in classes and not to be afraid to try out for stuff.”

Neha Shrestha, a freshman, initially thought the program was unnecessary, but eventually realized how much it helped her with reading.

“I think it was Ms. Trevino and another time a junior who participates in the military program who came in and gave us some help on what to do and sort of guide us,” said Shrestha.

Helix First has helped with some of the courses, such as English said Shrestha, “I’m in English Honors and it’s difficult, so the note-taking helps me.”

Jendian feels very positive about the program and said, “this year we’re trying to make it project-based, so that it’s more engaging for the students.”

One of the projects that the Helix First program is already working on is a manual for incoming students.

Each class will be given one manual to finish and then it will be posted online. This will be available to students said Jendian, “So that students that are considering Helix, they’ll have a different perspective of Helix, rather from teacher’s.”

While Helix First does not take place of Excel, which has similar qualities, everyone in the Freshman grade level is enrolled in Helix First.

While there is a mentorship program for upper-classmen wishing to enroll in the course to help, it’s not quite where Helix is hoping it to be yet.

Jendian stated that it will eventually become like an internship, where students who are wishing to go into a field, such as teaching, can come in and mentor freshman, and get a hands-on experience with teaching at a young age.

Helix First not only benefits freshman at this moment, but also current seniors, and future generations to come.

Neon Dance

Glowstick bracelets and necklaces here and there, colorful balloons bouncing around, flashing foam sticks, and the excited smiles of students lit up. Darkness covered bodies of students moving to the beat as a DJ added his own twist to the tracks being played in the gym of Helix Charter High School.

Immediately following the football game, Fri. Sept. 26, ASB hosted the first dance of the school year the Neon Dance.

While lines of people waited to buy their tickets for $5, others who had bought the tickets pre-sale at the price of $4 without ASB cards and $2 with ASB, waited in line to get a blue wristband indicating they could enter.

The wristband symbolized that a ticket had been bought and whoever bought the ticket was allowed into the dance. The staff working the dance sported not blue wristbands, but black scissors.

If students were caught dancing inappropriately the staff would give them a warning by tapping on their shoulder, then, if caught again their wristband was cut off and they were sat down on the side or sent home for the duration of the dance.

Those who were allowed to dance the night away listened to songs like Lil’ Jon’s “Bend Ova”, Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente”, “Timber” by Ke$ha, “Motto” by Drake, and more all mashed up by the DJ.

Some songs allowed students to Fist Pump, Shuffle, Jerk, and even create a long continuous Conga Line.

Although many attended the dance in order to socialize, dance, or sing along to the songs, the dark corners were reserved by couples, locked in each others arms, mackin’ to the music.

The dance ended at 10:30 p.m. with the DJ giving a shout out to Helix High and slowly turning on the lights.

People filed out the doors, anxious to get away from the suffocating body heat created in the gym.

As ASB started to clean up, ASB advisor, Adam Kryzwicki, called them to the floor and had them huddle around as he congratulated them on a successful first dance of the school year, and encouraged them with support and positive words about the future events put on by ASB.

The group ended the pep talk with a chant “ASB is greatness, ASB is fun. A family of greatness is a family of one!”

Special K: Mr. Krzywicki

From an Economics teacher to an ASB Advisor to a Wrestling Coach, Adam Krzywicki has proven that in spite of the vast responsibility he carries, he sets an example; that anything can be accomplished with good habits, organization, and help from a reliable team.

Although Krzywicki, often referred to as “Adam” or “Coach K” by students and peers, appears to have recently taken on quite a large amount of responsibility, he is no stranger to the work each job requires.

“I’ve been a teacher for eight years at Monte Vista High School,” said Krzywicki. “During those eight years I’ve been the [ASB] advisor for seven, I was the yearbook advisor for four years, and I taught Economics, [including] AP economics, and I coached wrestling there.”

With his involvement in multiple scholastic and extracurricular organizations, Krzywicki has learned to understand students, collaborating with them to accomplish the extracurricular events at school.

“I think I relate to students well for the most part, I really like working with students. I enjoy interacting with [them] and like to see them succeed,” Krzywicki said.

Salvador Corillo, a junior on the varsity wrestling team, believes that his coach accomplishes this connection and knows how to instil confidence into the team.

“He’s a good coach overall. He might not always be too strict but he does have his moments where he can yell and it’s a good thing,” said Corillo. “He is able to give good advice during practice and although he may not have all the answers he knows his stuff pretty well.”

Carlos Sanchez, a junior on the varsity wrestling, agrees with Corillo.

“As the varsity wrestling coach, he is really dedicated to his team. He is constantly pushing us to better ourselves on the mat,” said Sanchez. “Above all he is a person that the whole team sees as a friend.”

With his coaching skills, the Helix wrestling team has made great strides in these past two years since Krzywicki has been the coach. During Krzywicki’s first year as a coach, the team started off winning a slight majority of their duels, sending three guys to the Masters Tournament.

Last year, however, the team almost went undefeated in duels, losing only to Steele Canyon, the former league champions, and was able to send five wrestlers off to the Masters Tournament. With a majority of the team being mostly comprised of sophomores and only a handful of juniors and seniors, this was an impressive accomplishment. With a now more seasoned team, the future looks good for the Helix Wrestling team.

Although Krzywicki has taken on the responsibilities of being the Helix wrestling coach, he has also recently been appointed as the new Helix ASB advisor. Just like with the wrestling team, Krzywicki has had to connect and understand a whole new group of students. Although according to Amaris Munoz, a senior and the ASB President, he has been a very healthy asset to the ASB team.

“He has a lot of new ideas that we could implement at school. From events to organization in ASB,” said Munoz. “I think he is an enthusiastic teacher and I am so sure that he will continue to bring a positive energy to not only ASB but to the students as well.”

To add on to his workload, he is also a college prep economics teacher here at Helix.

“I think I work hard, I like to set an example,” said Krzywicki.

Despite his large workload, Krzywicki only strives to improve on the foundations and organizations he now works with.

“My biggest goal is to try and make things better in everything that I am involved in here at Helix. I’m hoping to make positive experiences with my students and trying to create programs that are well respected and that can achieve their goals. We’re always looking to get better,” said Krzywicki.

Despite his massive involvement in many academic activities, Krzywicki likes to thank the great partners he has that him accomplish such a large workload.

“Without a doubt, you can’t do everything by yourself and I think that it’s very important to have good people that you can rely on and that can be there for when things do get crazy,” said Krzywicki. “I have a great assistant coach for the wrestling team, I have a great ASB assistant as well, and also students themselves. You really have to rely on a team to get big things accomplished and be productive in all the things you do.”

When it comes to his students, he only wishes the best for them. Being an Economics teacher really opens ones eyes to the consequences and rewards that each decision could lead to. Being aware of the opportunity costs, Krzywicki encourages his students to make the best decisions

“The ultimate thing is to have a goal in itself I want them to challenge themselves and looking to improve themselves. … I [emphasize] education after high school. Others may go to vocational education or apprenticeship,” said Krzywicki, “I just want students to make good decisions that will give them lots of options and lots of opportunities later on in life.”

With encouraging words to offer, Krzywicki leads by example.

When he arrived first arrived at Helix Charter High School, he was only known as the Test Coordinator and his incredibly long last name. However, because of his desire to be involved around campus, Mr. Adam Krzywicki has become a well known figure throughout the campus.

The New Rules of Helix’s Before And After School Policy

The Before and After School Policy at Helix has been in effect for three years, but twelfth grade principal, Kevin Osborn, sent an email to all students and staff of Helix with a notice of the policy on Oct. 8.

The policy states “the campus is closed to students prior to 7:00 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m. unless they are under the direct supervision of an adult on campus.”

“We’ve had to recommit to implementing it, and moving forward, it’s our intent to implement the policy as well as we can administratively,” said Osborn. “Certainly we want to offer as many before-school and after-school activities as possible for those kids who really need to have a place to go.”

The problem that most students have with the policy is that they don’t understand it.

“It’s unreasonable,” said junior Bryanna Navarro. “Some people don’t have anywhere to go. [The school] doesn’t know what people go through at home. Sometimes staying at school is the only option.”

Junior Natalie McCarthy said “I can’t get a ride home until late most days and I don’t have my license, so that policy is inconvenient for me and my parents when I can’t get a ride.” Natalie says she stays at school some days until 5 P.M., and says she spends most of her time “hanging out” in the back of the school.

Senior Jada Irving said “Some people need to stay after school and study in a positive learning environment where they are with other students. The library should be open after school because it’s somewhere I have to stay focused. I think if they kept it open after school, the rate of people turning in homework would go up.”

One senior, who asked to stay anonymous, believes that they shouldn’t be able to kick students off campus until the office closes.

Despite this perspective of some students, the policy is a way to encourage students to participate in enriching Aspire activities. With over 30 Aspire programs, Helix has plenty to offer to students who don’t have a ride home right after school.

This is especially necessary because of the varied demographics at Helix. The number of students at Helix who use free/reduced lunch has increased by 24 percent since 1997. In 2008-09, 20 percent of students were considered “at-risk of not graduating high school because of poor academic performance,” according to the Helix Annual Board Report.

With the increasing number of economically disadvantaged and at-risk students at Helix, the necessity of after school programs is important. The Before and After School policy, while not new, will be more strongly enforced as of now.

“Students need to go into an activity, it’s not a choice. If they want to stay on our campus after school they need to go into one of those activities. As you know from the Aspire handout, all you have to do is read how many opportunities there are,” said Osborn.

A main factor in implementing this policy is safety. While Helix has less suspensions and expulsions compared to schools like Grossmont and El Cajon Valley High Schools, it still has some rare cases of violence and fights. While minimal, incidences due to lack of supervision are a given in any high school.

“I think it’s fair, because it keeps students safe and the campus clean. Plus, we can always just go to Aspire programs,” said junior Gillian Morgan.

“It’s not a good idea to have a lot of teenagers loitering and hanging out because that’s unsafe, even for the good kid that’s really doing nothing wrong. If we’re not dealing with loitering as a whole, really good kids could put themselves in a bad situation. So we’re going to try to do a better job to enforce that policy,” said Osborn.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness at Helix

The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and many Helix students are spreading the love by showing their support around campus.

Breast cancer is one of the top three most common types of cancer in America. However, its road to recovery is said to be the most draining with multiple MRIs, surgeries, scans, and medication patients must take. A month of awareness is a great way to show support and encouragement for those affected by it.

photo from eDiets.com

“Helix’s support for this month is awesome. A lot of people went all out on the spirit day for it when they wore all pink head to toe,” Sophomore Jaiden Pavano said.

Multiple sports teams have also been showing their support for breast cancer all month. Varsity girls Field Hockey has made pink bows for their team to wear during games, the Varsity Cheer Squad is using pink pom-poms for football games, and other sports members wear pink socks or bandanas to help spread awareness.

“It is a cause that does hit everybody at one point, so to be able to support a worthy cause like that is pretty amazing.” stated Alicia Dasilveira, a junior on Vasity Cheer.

Breast Cancer awareness is a topic everyone seems to be talking about, and the amount of support for the cause seen around campus is pretty amazing, Dasilveira said.

Helix’s ASB has also helped with the cause when they planned the spirit day on Friday, Oct. 17for students to wear anything pink. Dozens of students showed up wearing pink headbands, shirts, tights, shorts, socks, and some even painted their faces.

Sophomore, Katrina Newman, said that she was really glad it worked out so well. “The people on ASB that looked into planning this did a great job on spreading awareness around the school,” she said.

Helix has supported Breast Cancer Month in the past, and the school never fails to show their love. Everyone seems to be pitching in to help out with the cause. By wearing pink, students are spreading awareness throughout the school. The fact that Helix gets to express their support is exciting for the school environment and lots of students seem to really care.

“It shows that there are people out there to help those struggling. I’m glad people are aware of the pain and want to help.” Pavano said.