A Night to Remember

On Fri. May 2, 2014,  Eastlake Church hosted the 3rd annual Special Needs “A Night to Remember” Prom. This event was established by a married couple, Rob and Cheryl Shields in 2011. They have made this event out of inspiration from their three children’s elementary friends. The Shield’s have made the prom absolutely free to all the honored guests and volunteer hosts.

This is the third year for Helix Charters Special Education’s class to attend the prom and they could not be more excited.

Helix’s Special Education student, Daniel Rodriguez, is most excited for this prom and talks about it constantly everyday.

Before the prom the honored guests were given a free dress or tuxedo, and at six o’clock everyone met at Eastlake Church and got their jewelry, hair, makeup, corsage/boutonnière, and professional photos.

After getting ready and having pictures taken, the honored guests and hosts took a limo ride up to the red carpet. The red carpet was lined with “paparazzi” cheering and clapping for each honored guest.

The red carpet leaded into the dance room where the fun awaited them.

From six to nine, the dance floor was occupied by hundreds of thrilled honored guests and their hosts. The whole night was created for these kids so only the best music was played.

After nine o’clock, the party stops and honored guests left with their goody bags and framed pictures.

Helix Junior and second year host, Paulina Huezo, raved about how fun the prom was with her date, former Helix student Diego. “I love what this prom does for special needs students and cannot wait to attend more years” she said.

Many of the donations given for this event were from local stores and departments like “Chick Fil A” and Eastlake Church. But most of the planning and money came from just Rob and Cheryl Shields.

Ms. Kim, one of the special education teachers planned to have her whole class attend the prom since the beginning of the school year. Also junior, Nia Coleman, organized a mode of transportation so the students could get to the venue. This was her senior project which is now finished.

Ms. Kim and many other Helix students promote this prom every year and now it is your turn to.

To sign up for future “Night to Remember” Prom’s just visit http://anighttorememberprom.com/ and read more about this inspiring event.

 

Summer Music

“I’m so fancy… you already know!” or “I’m latching on to you..” These will be the songs that will be blasting out of students cars over summer. For Seniors the summer starts after May 30, while the rest of the underclassmen start June 5. With summer not that far away, Helix students, here are some artists, albums, and songs that be played on repeat.

ARTISTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Iggy Azelea

  • Also known as Amethyst Amelia Kelly, a rising pop star that is from the continent down under, Australia. She is most known for her popular hit featuring Charlie XCX, “Fancy” and also her 2013 hit, “Work.”

Ariana Grande

  • Most known for her acting career playing the character “Cat Valentine” or “Victorious” and now on the show “Sam and Cat.” Grande released her first album, “Yours Truly,” last year with the single released called “The Way feat. Mac Miller”

Disclosure

  • Two brothers from the United Kingdom that are bringing back the music genre of garage and house dance music. The two brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, were first spotted on Myspace. They released their first official and most popular album “Settle” last year including their most popular song, “Latch” feat. the talented Sam Smith.

Sam Smith

  • An up and coming male British singer that is most known for his vocals in the Disclosure song Latch. Since that song, Smith has been a rising star with the songs that he has been featured in and also his own songs, Smith is more a part of the R&B genre and his songs are usually soothing because of his angelic voice.

5 Seconds of Summer

  • If you are a fan of One Direction, you will definitely like “5SOS.” They opened up for One Direction on their 2013 World Tour. They are a boy band from Australia and have a pop-rock type of sound. They are different from the boy bands right now because they actually play their own instruments.

ALBUMS COMING OUT:

“Xscape” by Michael Jackson

  • I know you may be thinking.. what? But producers have found unreleased songs that Jackson had recorded back when he was alive are now being released into a full album.

Turn Blue by The Black Keys

Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey

Sorry I’m Late by Cher Lloyd

SUMMER SONGS:

Fancy by Iggy Azelea

Problem feat. Iggy Azelea by Ariana Grande

Summer by Calvin Harris

Latch feat. Sam Smith by Disclosure

Fever by The Black Keys

Try Hard by 5 Seconds of Summer

West Coast by Lana Del Rey

Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake

Come Alive feat. Toro Y Moi by Chromeo

Goddess by Banks

Step by Vampire Weekend

CONCERTS YOU SHOULD GO TO:

91x’s X-Fest (May 30th)

  • The annual concert is a great way to start off your summer.
    • Headliners: Foster the People, 311, Panic! At the Disco, and Iration

Hunter Hayes (June 14th)

  • For all those country/pop fans.

Country Fest (June 21st)

  • A country festival held in Lakeside.

Arctic Monkeys (August 6th)

  • The famous british band that has recently released their album AM last year.

We Appreciate the Appreciation

Helix’s annual Student Appreciation Day was held on Friday, May 23. The students enjoyed a minimum day and carnival out on the lower field.

Overall the student appreciation day was a success. The Helix students seemed to have really enjoyed themselves including junior, Jose  Banjonero.

“It was actually a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be,” said Bajonero.

The carnival included various attractions to participate in such as the inflatable obstacle, which was an extremely popular attraction on the field. Even though the heat was intense, Helix students sprinted through the obstacle course and gave it their all.

Another busy attraction at the carnival was the famous or infamous dunk tank, where students got the chance to dunk some of their favorite (or in some cases least favorite) teachers into a full tank of water.

Apart from the attractions, one of the most popular, and as Helix senior Araceli Hernandez stated “favorite part of student appreciation day”were the food stands.

Helix clubs set up booths all around the field where a variety of food was sold. There were nachos, tostilocos, burritos, pizza, and even shaved ice.

This years student appreciation day also included face painting done by Helix students in art club and Henna tattoos done by a professional artist.

For some students, this was their last student appreciation day here at Helix. Hernandez reflected on this being her very last student appreciation day.

“It makes me feel sad and old! I just saw all the little freshmen jumping and running around and I was there walking around just like ‘Yea! you go celebrate for me,’” she said raising her fist in the air.

The students really appreciated the day and, as Helix senior Paulina Figueroa said, “although at times school feels like a burden, it’s nice to know that they took the time to give us a day that was just for us  and where we could truly feel that our time here was appreciated.”

 

‘Tis the Season for Promposals

Ah, Prom season. Time for drama, tears, happiness, and especially cute asks, or as they have been coined “Promposals.” Boys and girls have very different views on how to ask and be asked to Prom. Girls want romantic, thought out, creative. Boys…. just want to get it over with. Some boys however manage to get it right with some pretty adorable “promposals.” Helix had some really creative ones this Prom season.

Girls want the romantic stuff that will make for a perfect ‘insta-moment.’ Senior Heaven Hadden said that her dream promposal would, “probably something at the beach, like P R O M spelled out in the sand.”

On the other hand, boys just want to do something simple. Senior Luis Dominguez asked his prom date very simply, He said, “I just ‘DM’d’* her and I said, ‘Do you want to go to prom with me.’”

Some girls to be asked in an elaborate way in front of the whole school. Senior Alex Brown said, “Since I love pancakes, I would want someone to come during break or at lunch and have each of his friends come with one pancake with like whipped cream on them spelling out P R O M and then have him come with a question mark on his pancake and ask me to Prom.”

Some of the senior boys at Helix were getting pretty creative this year as well. Senior Nico Alcosar said he asked his date, “at the baseball field, with baseballs, with my shirt off, and socks, and flowers.”

Senior Jeremiah asked his date by, “[going] to her house with flowers, and a big acai bowl and a poster with pictures of us, and I just surprised her and asked her.”

Senior Tony Jennings asked his date really creatively, and somewhat dangerously! He said, “Well I got some hair spray, and sprayed it out on her driveway to spell P R O M and lit it on fire.”

Some boys, like senior Andrew Shane just decided to wing the whole thing. He said, “I had no preparations whatsoever, I just came to school with the intentions to ask Breanna Limon to Prom. I wrote in sharpie on my shirt, it was like a dress shirt, it was a nice shirt, I walked in her class and I was nervous but improv’d everything and I turned around slowly, and it said prom and then I just pointed at it, she said yes and we got a hug.”

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Whether it is something heartfelt, something intricate, or something super simple and low stress, each promposal is special and you get to spend the most memorable night of high school with an awesome date!

*Direct Message: private, person-to-person messaging feature on Twitter.

Helix First SDSU/UCSD Field Trip

On Thursday Apr. 24th, the Helix back parking lot was filled with over 200 excited freshman waiting to visit campuses they may be attending in their future.

The Helix First field trip is held each year for freshmen who are enrolled in the course. In this trip students visit two local campuses, San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego. As Mr. Ried put it, “the trip is pretty much a C4ME [college for me] trip, condensed into one day and two schools”.

Most of the freshmen who attend Helix have never been on a college campus before. Carlos Garcia, a freshman, has only been on the SDSU campus for a birthday party prior to this visitation. But Garcia has other colleges in mind like UCLA.

As the students step on the SDSU campus they are in awe of all the buildings. A Helix alumni and current SDSU student, Sarah, is one of the tour guides and quickly tells students what each building is. Helix freshman, Telemar Marlatt, explained the campus as “really pretty, with great scenery and weather”. One aspect of SDSU that struck Marlatt a lot was the “building structures and welcoming environment”.

When the tour guide, Sarah, would ask the students what they wanted to see the most, the freshmen would jokingly respond with “the food court”.

At the end of the tour the freshmen were very inspired by the SDSU campus, students like Charlemagne Nocete and Dejahs Hutsona, could see themselves attending this college after high school.

As the tours ended at SDSU, the freshmen were off to see UCSD.

The tour guides at UCSD took their groups through different parts of the campus, showing off the scenery of UCSD.

Walking through the campus, the freshmen were able to see a view of the ocean which was one of freshman, Sarai Garcia’s favorite parts.

As the students travelled further into the UCSD campus, the one guide Pria, gave all the freshmen a chance to walk under the Sun God structure. The Sun God was made by artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, and is said to give straight A’s to all those who walk backwards underneath. Every student did it on the trip in hopes of earning straight A’s.

Marisa Ortiz, a freshman, really loved the library and “singing tree” because it played great songs. “The structure of the library really caught my eyes” she said.

The UCSD tour came to an end and a Helix Alumni, Sabrina Evans greeted the freshmen. She told many of them that she loves UCSD and is very glad that she attends this school. She also gave some tips: “work hard in classes now and get involved with sports, clubs, and ASB to build up your college applications. And most of all enjoy your time in high school”.

The Helix First Field Trip is a great experience for freshmen that excites them for what is in store for them after high school, and encourages the to attend college, and do well at Helix now.

 

2014 Prom Court

It is that time of the year again for Seniors… Prom! Prom this year is going to be held on Sat May 17 at the U.S. Grant located in Downtown San Diego.

Prom is known to be the biggest dance of a student’s high school experience. Prom is usually the dance that seniors have been fantasizing about since their freshman year.

While Homecoming is run by ASB, Prom is run by their class officers (this year is the Class of 2014) just like Winter Formal is run by the Junior class.

Nominations for prom are similar to the way someone would get nominated to be on homecoming court. The only difference is that only seniors can nominate other seniors to be a part of the prom court, while for homecoming anyone can nominate anyone from any class.

Prom nominations were held during advisories and students were given a piece of paper to write down 5 names for who they would want to be nominated as prom king and queen.

To narrow down who would be on court, the Class of 2014 gives those with the most votes a nomination packet. In the packet the nominees need to fill out what honors or AP classes they have taken, if they have been a part of a sport or club, if they have participated in an extra-curriculars like Yearbook or ASB, and lastly they need to provide what their GPA.

The boys nominated for Prom King are Gunnar Dahlstrom, Sean White, Christian Bell, Alexander Parks, and Jacob Garden.

One of the nominees on prom court, Alexander Parks or “AJ”, said “I am living the Teenage Dream by Katy Perry” after finding out he had been nominated for Prom King.

The girls nominated for Prom Queen are Santina Asimos, Cassandra Lenart, Alexa Pizza, Marisa Ung, and Gunnar Dahlstrom

One of the nominees for prom queen, Cassandra Lenart, was ecstatic to find out she had been nominated since her sister Jasmine Lenart, Helix alumni, had been on her prom court in 2012.

Although Lenart was excited about being on prom court, she thought it was “totally unexpected” and she was flattered since she felt that “it shows that people know who I am.”

When asked who she would want as prom king, she of course would want her boyfriend to win. But since he is not nominated Lenart said “I think either Gunnar and Justine or Christian and Alexa should win.” She added that she wanted them to win since they both have been a couple for a while.

The results for prom king and queen won’t be revealed until the day of prom which is Sat May 17.

Until then congratulations and good luck to those on prom court!

Scottie Tots

It’s a bit odd to be seeing toddlers walking around on a high school campus in the middle of the school day. However it’s not so strange at Helix thanks to our child development class.

Every year, during the last half of the semester, the child development class runs a child daycare, known as Scottie Tots, on our school campus.

In the child development class, students learn the basics of children and how they develop both physically as well as emotionally. The students then take the information they learned and put their skills to the test by handling 20+ children everyday for three weeks during the second half of the semester. Mrs. Leighton, the teacher in charge of Scottie Tots, thinks the daycare project is a great experience for both her students and the toddlers.

“We’ve been doing Scottie Tots since the sixties, but I’ve been doing it since 1989. It’s just a great way for our Helix students to get hands on experience and for the little ones to learn to socialize since usually they spend their time at home and with other children,” said Leighton.

The process begins by first transforming the classroom into a kid-friendly environment. The students move tables around and create designated areas for the children, such as the blocks area, reading area, and diaper changing area. Students also pick a theme for their daycare and create colorful posters and decorations in accordance to their theme, which this year includes outer space, the jungle, and under the sea.

Fabian Zarco, a senior taking the class, recalled the work they did to prepare and reflected on how everything turned out.

“We did a lot of arts and crafts to prepare for the kids and I think that it all turned out great and the kids are really enjoying themselves and I am too,” said Zarco.

The class is then divided into groups. Each group is responsible for creating 25 lesson plans for the children to participate in. The groups are then assigned a different duty each day. Some are given the task of doing activities with the children, others are in charge of giving out snacks, and other groups are responsible for supervising the patio and doors of the classroom.

This year the daycare handled over 20 children a day ranging from 1-4 years of age. Several of the toddlers are children of teachers on campus as well as relatives of the students taking the class.

Kathy Mejia, a Junior, described her typical day at Scottie Tots and keep that the days for students participating in the daycare mostly consist of “playing with the children and keeping them entertained.”

Even though some of the children do suffer from separation anxiety at first, the toddlers seem to really enjoy themselves at the daycare and have fun interacting with the high school students.

When  asking 3-year-old Jude Sabin, Mr. Sabin’s son, if he enjoyed Scottie Tots he turned and with a big smile said, “Yes!”

Although the experience is fun, it does impose a challenge for the students.

Alie’s Dumas a senior in the child development class explained one of the many difficult scenarios that arise in the class.

“When there’s a lot of kids and you’re the only one there and they start getting into fights. Sometimes it’s too much,” she said.

However she assured that it’s all worth it.

“Getting to play with the kids is the best part of my day. It’s honestly the only thing I look forward to when coming to school,” said Dumas.

3D Printing Hits Helix

Several months ago, the teachers and students at Helix Charter High School were given a unique learning opportunity: the chance to experiment with the device known as the 3D printer.

Thanks to the efforts of Helix’s teachers and the website known as DonorsChoose, there are now three 3D printers on the Helix campus: one in Room 210, one in Room 1880, and one in the library.

The DonorsChoose website allows people to directly donate to schools and classroom projects. It was here that Helix got its printers, as GIS and AutoCAD Computer teacher Jennifer Bullock, better known as Mrs. J, said.

“I was informed by Ms. S that DonorsChoose was giving them away. And I thought, why not, it would be cool to let the students see new technology,” Bullock said.

This particular kind of technology definitely isn’t the kind one generally sees on the average high school campus.

“I think a couple high schools have them around the county, but mostly college level institutions have them.  I think we are probably one of the only campuses that have three on campus,” Bullock claims.

But where one printer would have been a great enough gift for Helix, three is real special treat.

“I took all of fifteen minutes to write up a lesson plan on DonorsChoose, and then I got it. I sent out an All Staff email and told other teachers to do the same,” Bullock said.

The 3D printers were quite a bargain at the price of free. Although 3D printers have become more mainstream in the past few years, they’re not exactly cheap.

“3D printers are pretty expensive right now. Mine is pretty basic and would have cost us $2700 if I didn’t win it, so the price point is still pretty high,” Bullock explained.

And that’s how Helix came to possess three of these marvels of machining. And the best part is that, as librarian Christina Potter explained, pretty much anyone can use them.

“Students who are passing all their classes may print an object on the library’s 3D printer. About forty students so far have used our printer, and we have a long waiting list!”

As Bullock says, being able to use these 3D printers is definitely a privilege and an interesting kind of reward.

“Right now I use it as an incentive to get work done quickly. I am letting students who do excellent work print. I think it’s better than bribery with candy,” Bullock said.

So what exactly can a 3D printer do? As Potter and Bullock explain it, the possibilities appear to only be limited by one’s imagination.

“I just had a student design and print an adaptation to the shifter in his car. Other items that have been printed out in the real world are musical instruments, cameras, childrens’ toys, phone cases, lights clocks…really the utilization is endless,” Bullock said.

“Students have printed out everything from jewelry to models of their favorite characters…but the most popular items have been customized phone cases,” Potter added.

“Students can either design their objects using third party 3D design programs like TinkerCAD or they can browse the online social community of Thingverse and find some pre-made items to print,” Bullock explains.

Another product of the 3D printers’ manufacturer, MakerBot, even allows people to 3D print any object they can find with a scanning device called a Digitizer.

Although it may sound relatively complex to physically print an object, the process is quite a bit different than printing paper.

“Instead of ink, the printer uses a filament which is a type of plastic. It heats it up and the plastic comes out of a nozzle and builds the objects in layers,” Bullock explains.

“This is called additive manufacturing, and means that one can create an object layer by layer. This is also known as stereolithography, 3D-layering or, obviously, 3D printing.”

Since their introduction to Helix, the printers have been hard at work printing out various things for students free of charge, but this won’t always be the case.

“Our library printer has been in use almost every day since we’ve gotten it,” Potter said.

“Right now, because the printer and filament were donated and didn’t cost us anything, we’re offering the prints for free. Eventually, to cover the cost of more filament, we’ll have to start charging a small fee. But I also hope to do some workshops and offer 3D printing as an incentive for students next year,” Potter said.

Regardless, the role these 3D printers will play at Helix has only just begun. With such unique devices, the possibilities of school utilization are almost endless.

“I plan on integrating it more in to my CAD (computer-aided design) class, and maybe next year for ACE (architectural construction and engineering) we can print a 3D model of our building design,” Bullock speculated.

“We haven’t collaborated as teachers yet to decide on a big project together.  However, I hope to help math build any extras they need,” said Bullock.

“My main goal right now is to figure out how we can get students in the library to start making their own designs to print. I’d really like to offer some workshops next year that give students the chance to create their own projects and print them out,” Potter said.

As Potter said, “students are really excited about this technology. There are always crowds around the printer when it’s in the middle of making something–I’m glad they’re getting an opportunity to see how it works!”

This awesome opportunity is exclusive to Helix; it’s time to make the most of it, and get printing!

Teacher Appreciation Day

May 7, 2014, Helix students arrived to school, sporting the familiar apparel of Helix Members. This spirit day, in celebration of Teacher Appreciation day (the official national date is May 6) involved students dressing up as their favorite Helix staff. This is only a small example of a teacher’s impact on student’s lives.

Peggy Crabtree, Helix’s Library Computer Lab Facilitator, has been given letters, gifts of origami, pictures, mugs, candy, and flowers as signs of appreciation.

When asked what Teacher Appreciation Day means to her, she responded with a quote she found on Google, smiling fondly, “teachers all over the world are appreciated.”

She says, “I think every single one of us are teachers in some fashion, to someone, and that’s kind of a gift, it’s our gift to each other as humans,” she said with a smile that makes it seem as if all the challenges teachers have to endure are worth it.

While Michael Ried, an English teacher, reflects on the way that students will send him letters or emails “thanking you for something that is so small, that even you don’t remember it.” This sign of appreciation, showing up two or three years later after high school, shows, to Ried, how much impact the teacher had on them in some way.

Commenting on Helix’s Spirit day, Ried feels, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” He joked about how if someone is willing to dress like him, “I shouldn’t be offended by that, I should be flattered by it.”

Teacher Appreciation day is a time to reflect on what sort of impact teachers hold on student’s lives. Ried said, “it’s nice to be recognized, but I feel that just the day to day appreciation and relationship with the student is more valuable.”

Todd Weber, a social science teacher, said, “I wouldn’t mind if somebody dressed up like me. Yeah, it’d be awesome. Everybody would look good.”

He comments that he can’t really put a meaning to Teacher Appreciation day, but he knows that it’s nice to be appreciated for the work attributed to this job.

Theresa Toilolo, who works in the attendance office, has received letters, flowers, posters, emails, and Starbucks.

She indicates that she would like to see the spirit day advertised a bit more, so that more students can get involved, “but the outfits I did see were very cute.”

“Staff appreciation day means a day where the students show thanks for what teachers and staff provide for them,” said Toilolo, “But I don’t think it should just be focused on that one day, but I think the students here do a great job of doing that all year-round.”

Taking it from her point of view, as part of the staff, she says, “it’s a day when they can take a step back and realize how appreciated they really are.”

When asked what sort of experiences make him appreciate being a teacher, Weber said, “When they do their work, they read everything, and do well on the test. And they become history majors, of course.”

Ried shares that recently a college student sent an essay to him, detailing the influence he had on her life, causing her to pursue a career in teaching.

While Crabtree laughs about how one of her kindergarten students, innocently mixed up the letter’s “P” and “B”, writing on a Valentines Day Card envelope, “To Mrs. Craptree.” Even to this day she has that letter.

Toilolo says, “I feel blessed to be here everyday.” Out of all the experiences, “The ones that don’t realize that you do the things you do, because you care about them, and then they come back and show their appreciation.”

These teachers, all at different points in their lives and careers, still share that one common thing that brings most people together. They have been taught by outstanding teachers themselves, and they all agree that if they could talk to their high school teachers today, they would thank them for all they did. And in the end, they came back to school, where it all started, with a teacher.