Self-Empowerment for Women: Yasmine Smith’s Senior Project

Yasmine Smith, Helix senior, has worked up something big for her senior project: a three day event- turned into a club- about feminism and self-empowerment. The event was held over Nov. 3, 4, and 6.

The meetings started out with a poem about loving oneself and others, entitled Love Love Love by Terrance Carter, senior.

Smith then presented a speech about the importance of having passions, loving yourself and being able to succeed independently and being happy with yourself.

The first activity Smith conducted was an individual one. Each person was instructed to write their name on a blank sheet of paper and circle it. Then, they were instructed to write something positive about themselves, the name of someone they look up to, a piece of advice for their peers, and finally, something they want to improve about themselves. Over 20 volunteers stood up to read theirs.

This project, Smith said, was prompted by her desire to have every woman love themselves and support their fellow women, and to empower young women.

On the first day, Yasmine Smith was nervous that nobody would participate, but by the third day, over 40 girls, and a few boys, came to show their support and learn valuable lessons about self-respect and feminism.

Smith hoped that the girls who participated would leave feeling strong, beautiful and empowered. She said that women should be supporting each other, rather than pushing each other down.

“It’s a very powerful and very important to understand your self-worth,” said Smith. “ and what you are capable of, because if you don’t know that, you will eat at yourself so much.”

Later during the event, the participants were told to stand in a large circle around the room and make a statement beginning with the phrase: “If you really knew me…” Then, they would admit something personal that most people wouldn’t have known about.

A lot of the girls’ confessions ended in hugs from their friends and applause for their courage in opening up to the group.

The event helped the attendees therapeutically discuss their feelings and support their peers, which gave them the ability to understand that they are not alone and that others feel the same way they do.

This project was intended to last three days, but on Nov. 6, Smith announced that it would be a club to stay at Helix long past her graduation in June.

At the end of the event on Thursday, there was a potluck in which there was pizza, chips, cookies and drinks. Everyone had a good time dancing and eating the snacks.

“I enjoyed it,” said junior Tia Lawson, “it was very interesting but also kind of refreshing. It was nice, it was fun.”

Fall Weather at Helix?

Typically, Autumn brings vibes of sweaters, hot drinks, and cold weather. However, in La Mesa that’s anything but normal. This year we’ve seen sunny days and cloudless skies much longer than wanted.

Our cold mornings turn into warm and humid afternoons which seem to have appeared every day for the past couple of months. Unlike other cities and states that have already received plenty of rain,or states in the mid-West and East coast are already seeing snow, La Mesa remains no cooler than 75-degrees this autumn.

“It’s annoying that we are dying for at least one rainy day and places outside of Orange County are hoping for at least one day without rain.” Aanisa Williams, a junior, stated.

The warm 80-degree days weren’t too much of a problem earlier this season, but now that it is the middle of November, and there are still cloudless skies, fall doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to come this year.

Jennifer Barillas, a sophomore, pointed out the 90-degree weather “wasn’t a big deal around August or September, but when it was still that hot in October and now November, it ruined the actual feeling of fall.”

The constant changing weather is similar to last year’s fall season. It was dry and we received only a few rainy days, and so far it appears that this year will not be much different.

Luckily the forecast for the upcoming weeks seems to have the temperatures cooling down and hopefully they will stay that way. There have been predictions of rain to come soon, and colder weather is possibly on its way.

Barillas also stated that the whole “fall feel” idea doesn’t really come into effect in La Mesa. There seems to never be any definite weather to define fall anywhere, but even more so in Southern California.

“I just hope to have it cool down soon. The whole point of having seasonal changes is for there to actually have something to change to, not just stay above 80 degrees all the time.” Said sophomore Taylor Marr.

Weather for the upcoming week

*Update – The end of this week has brought cooler and cloudier days, and ever a few showers! However this forecast shows the weather might warm up once again. There is hope it will stay cooled off, but we will just have to wait and see.*

Skaters and Sock Sales

There was a line wrapped around the science building during lunch On Fri. Oct. 17 because ASB director Coach Krzywicki and ASB staff put together a fundraiser selling socks. Meanwhile live skaters performed thrilling stunts to pump up the cheering crowd, all to raise money for Helix.

The socks were priced at $7 each and they had a huge variety of colors and designs. The socks were all long socks that go up to about shin height, more than likely to mimic the length of the socks Nike sells that everyone wears. The socks were pricey because the majority of the funds went to Helix, the socks were great quality, and everyone wanted a pair.

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As soon as the lunch bell rang, students sprinted over to try to beat the line that was expected to come, and as the students in line expected, within five minutes of the bell ringing the line was completely filled with students reaching for the change in their pockets.


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ASB had set up the majority of the event and brought the speakers in order to play music, as well as the skaters, who were both there to entertain the crowd and the packed line.


Junior JaNae Bell, who purchased a pair of socks stated, “They were pretty expensive, I bought a pair because I knew that it was going back to my school, plus a pair of Nike socks is more expensive anyways. They were really good quality, and for the price of $7 I think it was really worth it,” stated Bell.


“Also having the skaters there to watch while we were in line was a really great addition, they were really talented and almost all of my friends were recording them. We could not take our eyes off them,” Bell added.


Freshman, Mckenzie Flores, another person who bought from the sale described the sale as “A really good idea, everyone uses socks, and now a days everyone is looking for really cool socks anyways. Plus since it is supporting our school, everyone wins.”


The general opinion of the sock sale was that it was a great way for people to support their school, while getting something they want out of it, especially with the skaters there to entertain the people waiting in the long line.


Junior and ASB member Jaycie Matthews, who actively helped to put the event together, stated, “The sale was very successful and everyone got nice socks, we are going to use the money we raised for putting together assemblies.”


The socks completely sold out, raising around 300$ for the ASB program, and a win for Helix.


Helix Alumni want to know, where is your Helix Pride?

Helix Alumni want to know, where is your Helix Pride?
Helix Alumni are people who have ever attended Helix and graduated. Over time there have been many famous Helix Alumni who has become very successful over the years. One famous Alumnus is Bill Walton, who was a professional basketball player in the NBA for the Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, and the Trail Blazers.
Reggie Bush is also a Helix Alumni who had become a professional football player in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions along with Alex Smith, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs who both graduated from Helix High School around the same time.
Dennis Hopper was an older actor and filmmaker, before he passed away in 2010, which became successful as in actor in old school movies such as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, and Speed.
Many Helix alumni have succeeded in many careers and there are many who still give back to their community and give back to their school showing appreciation.
Kevin Smith, age 26 who also graduated from Helix in 2005 is giving back to the school by being a tutor in the classroom that is now called Scottie Connect. Scottie Connect is an upper grade tutorial class where students can get tutored in if they need help in any class.
When Kevin Smith came to Helix he describes himself as being an average student. “I was a good kid; I’ve never got in trouble here,” he said.
“I also did track and football which helped me stays out of trouble,” he explained. “Whenever there was a chance to be center of attention, I took it.”
Kevin Smith also discusses how the Helix spirit came from their well-known football program. And he believes the Helix spirit has now been disconnected, explaining how it is not as strong as it was when he attended.
Kenslow Smith, brother of Kevin Smith, who graduated in 2007, talks about how the atmosphere has changed both positively and negatively. “There is less fights, drugs, and gang violence here but on the flipside there’s less spirit then it used to be.”
He also talks about if students knew how much greatness has come from attending Helix High School and the history behind it there would be more pride knowing you were a Scottie.
“People aren’t really into the Helix traditions anymore,” he then ends with.
Mrs. Irving, who is now a counselor for the junior team at Helix aids kids in achieving their short term and long term goals. She talks about working with real life teen problems, and how she wanted to be a teacher and this is why she came back to work at her old school.
She elaborates, “I love working with all different kind of kids, and it’s amazing to see when senior year comes how they get accepted to the college they wanted to get in and to watch them graduate.”
Mrs. Crabtree, who graduated in 1967 started working at Helix because she felt it was her calling to encourage other teens to do better than she did, while she speaks about herself dropping out of college.
She also disagrees with some other Helix alumni and talks about how the Helix spirit has increased. “ I think it’s a lot of students who understand the Helix culture and the history of it.”
Even though the school has transferred into a whole new campus with new facilities and improving academic programs, the school spirit has died. If there was a way to let upcoming students and previous students know how great of a school Helix was in the past and how successful they could be graduating from here there would be more Helix pride.
Many Helix Alumni give back to the school and the community by working here because of the great experience they once had. Hopefully the Highlanders can bring the powerful spirit and traditions back.

The Purpose of ASB: Making Helix Better

ASB is one of the hardest working organizations at Helix Charter High School, seeking to help all students be successful and have fun while doing so.

Those who are interested in joining ASB had to participate in a series of tryouts towards the end of the school year. During tryouts, contestants performed unusual and goofy acts to see how much spirit they have.

““We were separated into groups and you kind of make a fool of yourself to see if you are really spirited”” said Benji Gonzalez, a junior at Helix and member of ASB.

The contestants who fit the criteria of being academically successful, fun, energetic were placed into committees of sales, publications, dance and special projects.  Each group has expertise in their field and arranges events according to their responsibility.

 The purpose of ASB is to promote student participation through clubs and other activities. The Associated Student Body aims to provide an enjoyable and interesting experience for students attending Helix.

ASB provides funds and assistance for sports, clubs and any event that Helix desires to create or be apart of.

ASB organizes Homecoming, Spirit days, Dances, Football games, Airbands and Multicultural Day each year. In preparation for these events, ASB discusses what a particular event should consist of, then makes posters and sets up equipment.

ASB members making posters for the Helix Cancer Walk

“Our “games, our dances and our activities are ways to unite the entire school”” said Amaris Munoz, a senior at Helix and president of ASB.

ASB requires members to exude a outgoing personality that will engage students to get involved.

 “We talk at assemblies and do little dorky things, and you must be willing to do that to be in ASB” said Mimi Tadale senior and treasurer of ASB. ASB members should be humble and willing to have fun, said Tadale.

The ASB team works endlessly to design a fun and engaging school that everyone will love.

“We are here to make the school better” said Gonzalez.

Homecoming: A Win All Around

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Adding to the excitement of the varsity football win against Vahalla was the crowning of the homecoming king and queen, accompanied with fireworks.

Helix football started out strong, with a crushing 42-0 at the end of the first half, and a star player shined.

James Cook, one of the football coaches, gave a hearty praise for player Michael Austin, a junior.

“Austin did extraordinarily well,” Cook said about the junior. “He threw four touchdowns in the first half.”

Hailey Harkness, a sophomore, said, “I’m not a big fan of football, but I do know a little, and Austin’s record that game was pretty impressive.”

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Throughout the entire half, the fans refused to quit their  spirit as literal

fried chicken bucket hats were given to the fans, and cheerleaders yelled their spirit into the

The crowd remained their upbeat tone when halftime approached. Filled with miscellaneous chatter and a buzzing of excitement, the cheers only escalated when the dancers came out. horns.

Following with the theme, Dancing Through the Decades, the Helix Dance crew boogied through each of the popular songs in the last three decades of the twentieth century, including Scrub, Bug-a-Boo, and This Is How We Do It.

Sebastiana Pletcher, a sophomore and dancer, shared the troubles and exhilarance of the team’s performance.

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“We practiced for about a month, just with coordinating all the dances,” Pletcher said. “It was hard to talk to ASB and work everything out, we had different things in mind for how we wanted it to work, but we eventually got it.”

Pletcher continued to say how even throughout the difficulties, she felt the dances went great and “exactly as planned.” She was excited to dance alongside her friends, and was proud watching the other performers such as Bria Freeman and Remington Ashley, both her sophomore pals.

After the riveting performances, the stage was cleared for the homecoming court. With several nominees and a close call, the crowns went to seniors Sabrina Diaz and Greg

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When halftime ended and the nominees, king, and queen exited the stage, the game started again.

Vahalla made a sneaky touchdown in the first five minutes of the half.

“I don’t see why everyone’s so disappointed,” Harkness said, remarking on how it seemed as though a “big controversial deal.”

“They just got seven points, and we were up by so many anyway,” she said.

To conclude the victorious homecoming evening, the sky was set ablaze with fireworks.In the remainder of the game, Helix scored another touchdown, and prevented Vahalla from scoring any more points.

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,, “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:



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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