Sophomore Howard Deng, a transfer student from China who recently moved to West Covina, has been scoring higher than average in his ELD class.
Deng has been at WCHS, his first American high school, for over a year and a half now. Deng has made an extremely smooth transition into the United States school system with AP classes and a GPA of over 4.0.
Deng’s ELD teacher Grace Kim has nothing but good things to say about him.
“Howard is always willing to help other students. He always wants to learn more and once he understands a subject he reviews the subject again and again.”
Deng is very grateful to Kim for her help.
“My ELD teacher is very supportive and encourages me to work on my spelling and grammar. She helps me tremendously on perfecting my English and getting better. I am so thankful,” said Deng.
Deng is diligent and is always trying his best in class. He scores above average and has tested out of ELD 1 into ELD 3, which is incredible and very rare.
“Through the ELD program my English has become much better. I am determined to learn English because I know it will help me and my family in the future,” Deng said.
After graduating high school, Deng hopes to apply for scholarships and attend a UC.
“I really want to be a part of the American college life and make even more friends and have more experiences,” he added.
At school, Deng is a part of Interact and enjoys club meetings and outings. He says he has adjusted well and has made many friends. He likes his new life at WCHS and has experienced little culture shock.
“I like the way everyone is friends here. I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people who open my eyes to new things. It’s not the same here as back where I’m from, but it wasn’t too hard to get used to everything.”
When comparing China to here, he says the biggest difference is the workload.
“Back in China it’s always study, study, study- every teacher gives lots of homework. Here people have more free time. It’s refreshing.”
On his new-found down time, Deng enjoys playing video games and socializing.
“Now that I have more time to do what I want, I get to do things I like, like playing video games or be with friends.”
Deng hopes to become more involved throughout his next two years at WCHS and is looking forward to graduation and college.
The campus seems to be spreading the flu like wild fire.
“About 10 students have gone home with flu like symptoms since the beginning of the year,” said nurse Maria Olivero.
Students have been going to the nurses’ office complaining of headaches, stomach pains, nausea, fever, and chills this season more than ever.
“My tonsils were the fist to start hurting. Then, a scratchy throat, an ear ache, a head ache, a fever, and my whole body felt weak. Everything came on so fast and left my body so fast, which was weird,” said junior Gisselle Rutia.
Symptoms of the flu include cough, soar throat, runny or stuffy nose, bodyaches, headaches, fatigue, and fever, though not everyone with the flu may experience a fever.
The influenza virus spreads in communities through little droplets of saliva inhaled or touched by one person after an infected person has coughed, sneezed, or even talked near them. With limited air space and close quarters in classrooms, schools are breeding grounds for flu causing viruses.
“You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick,” states the Center for Disease Control on their website.
The seasonal sickness is caused by the many different strains of the influenza virus. This year’s flu strains include class A influenza viruses H1N1, H3N2, and a few class B influenza viruses yet to be identified.These illnesses can infect the respiratory track very quickly and leave a person feeling weak.
According to the CDC 5-20% of the US gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. Currently, only nine states classify as having flu break outs that are regional, whereas the remaining 41 have widespread breakouts.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot or the flu-preventing nasal spray. These prevention methods protect from two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus. The shot can take up to two weaks to create antibodies in a person and be effective and the spray should only be used on healthy people.
The flu season usually peaks in January. Ideally, the best time to get vaccinated is in October, however being vaccinated while the flu is circulating is still helpful. The flu symptoms can last two days to a five, however four days or more is in severe cases.
So if you’re feeling like you have the flu, it’s better to blow your nose and stay home.
Every day at Bulldog Country you can catch Assistant Principal Roni Lui at her desk helping someone, in the main office making colleagues smile, popping into a classroom to observe, or in the quad during breaks among students.
WCHS will be losing Lui for the new semester. There is so much she’ll miss about being a part of the staff.
“The first thing that comes to mind is the time I’ve spent here with all the kids, families, and teachers. My heart and soul has been here at Bulldog Country. The students and teachers have always been my inspiration,” said Lui.
Lui will be pursuing a new career at the district level in the Monrovia school district as Director of Curriculum and Instruction starting January 6.
“I can think of no one that has worked harder, is more deserving, and would make a better fit for the position with the Monrovia school district than her,” said Principal Alex Ruvalcaba.
Over her nine years at WCHS Lui has become an advocate for educational programs all around campus; ELD, Special Ed, and Intervention programs just to name a few. The successes of these programs and the transformation of the students in them is due in part to Lui’s help.
“She’s provided access to ELD funds that go directly to the students. With it we’ve been able to go on college trips, use online programs, practice with Rosetta Stone, and prep ELD students for the CAHSEE. Her making all these tools available has allowed so many students to test out of the program,” said ELD and English teacher Grace Kim.
Lui has left her mark not only on the school but individual students as well.
“Ms. Lui was my second grade PE teacher and now I see her nearly every day of my high school career. I remember when she taught us that cigarettes were bad and now she’s teaching us so much more. I’m so sad to see her go,” said Renaissance President Paige Peterson.
“Ever since I met Ms. Lui she’s been so willing to do anything to help. I wish her the best. She’ll always be a Bulldog at heart, no matter where she goes,” said ASB President Casey Shubin.
Lui has influenced many during her time at WCHS.
“With us she’s served as a respected colleague, valued friend, and trustworthy confidant to many,” said Ruvalcaba.
Not only is she a respected colleague, she’s also very respectful of hers.
“I had her as a Precal student at San Dimas High School. She made great improvements from her junior to senior year. It’s been so interesting to see her grow from that, one of my students, to the adult she is today, one of my bosses. She calls everyone by their first name, but never in all my years working with her have I ever heard her call me by my first name. She still calls me ‘Mr. Charlton,’” said math and science teacher Gary Charlton.
Lui has become a daily familiarity at WCHS that her leaving will make campus feel like something’s missing.
“The biggest thing people don’t realize is how much she’s put into this school. With all the changes in staff over the past few years she’s been one of those consistent faces on campus- an always-smiling, happy face. The fact the school is doing so well is directly due to her leadership. We will miss her tremendously,” said Ruvalcaba.
As the second semester of the 2013-2014 school year will have to push on without Lui as Assistant Principal she will still have the students and staff of WCHS in her heart.
“I am so grateful and humbled for everything I’ve learned working with such amazing people. I hope that one day our paths cross again,” she said.
On Christmas Eve excited little kids constantly ask their parents to check the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s widely popular Santa Tracker website- a 3D map tracking Santa’s rounds in real time. Recently, NORAD has decided to map the paths of war planes alongside Santa’s flight.
Josh Golin, associated director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, disapproves of the new addition to the site.
“It’s a backdoor way of marketing to kids when [the Army is] not supposed to be recruiting until they’re older,” he stated in a press release.
Despite the backlash Captain Jeff Davis, spokesman for the US Navy, still supports the war plane maps.
“We wanted to let folks know that, hey, this is a NORAD video, and we’re the military, and this is our mission,” replied Davis.
Personally, I don’t believe the military and NORAD is using the appearance of war planes as a “backdoor way of marketing to kids” to join the military, it’s simply an interesting tidbit that adds to the character of the website. And it’s NORAD’s website, why shouldn’t they be able to showcase their achievements and what they do for North America on a daily basis? Kids all over the world access the website. Some kid in Egypt isn’t going to be persuaded to join the US Military by seeing some war planes flying around alongside Santa on a digital tracker. Nor is any kid even in the US going to be hypnotized into enlisting by seeing war planes one day a year for maybe 12 years of their lives.
Parents shouldn’t see the addition as some attempt to exploit their children, but as an effect that makes the tracker seem more realistic for their Santa-believing kids. And isn’t that what every parent wants? To give their child an authentic Christmas experience they’ll always remember even after they’re done believing in Santa.
Golin was overanalyzing something as simple as the addition of war planes on the website. The Santa Tracker designers from NORAD aren’t trying to commercialize America’s children nor are they trying to recruit kids. The kids of North America are whose future NORAD protects.
As of the latest rally, August 23, the seniors are in first place on the spirit board with 2079 points. At a close secobtsnd are the juniors with 1765 points, followed by the sophomores at 755 points and freshman at 539 points.
Last school year the class of 2015 beat 2014 for second place on the spirit point board. This year the fight for number one has become more than a competition, but a battle of the classes- juniors vs seniors.
At their grade level assembly 2015 class council announced a hashtag to raise spirit in juniors and show 2014 that 2015 is serious about the competition this year, “#beattheseniors.”
In retaliation to #beattheseniors trending on the Twitters of juniors, the seniors created #beatthejuniors. A third hashtag is now being used by juniors along with their original hashtag, #redscare, referencing 2015’s class color. During spirit week Twitter and Instagram accounts of spirited Bulldogs were filled with all three hashtags and a few prototype ones such as #beat2014 and #operation2015takedown.
“Last year beating the juniors wasn’t a goal, it just happened. But this year we’re ready. Bring it on 2014!” said 2015 class btjpresident Jessica Valdez.
There’s many theories as to why, as sophomores, 2015 beat the then juniors for second place. As of registration, there were over 150 more juniors than seniors.
“I’m not going to lie, they are so much better at backdrops and this year they have a lot more people for the Bulldog chant than us. When they beat us it really opened our eyes to how little spirit we have. They think that because they won last year they can get us again, but this is our senior year. People realize it’s their last time to show their spirit and participate- that’s our biggest advantage,” said 2014 class president Leila Al-Beitawi.
Before the class rivalry went too far Valdez took precautionary measures on Facebook addressing 2015.
“I know there’s so much negativity and hate going around about our class, saying we’re trash talking the seniors and all that, so I wanted to remind each and every one of you to be the better person. Have pride, but don’t shove it down their throats, be humble and carry yourselves with dignity, knowing that you are doing only your best and your best competition is yourselves. Uphold the principles of friendly competition. Prove that we are the best class that WCHS has ever seen,” wrote Valdez.
This article was originally published by Newsbytes Online.
Look at the tag on the inside of your t-shirt. Where was it made? China? Taiwan? El Salvador? How about Bangladesh?
A Bangladeshi textile factory building collapsed on its thousands of workers April 24 injuring 2,500 and killing 1,000 as of May 10. The death toll is rising as the rubble is being removed and more victims are being discovered.
Look at the tag on any WCHS t-shirt. Is it made by Gildan? Was yours made in Haiti, Nicaragua, or Honduras? Gildan, the company that’s made many WCHS shirts, just recently moved from their locations in Honduras, Mexico, New York, and Canada to countries with cheaper labor and more lenient laws. Gildan is accused of exploiting its thousands of textile laborers in Haiti and immediately firing anyone who suggests or starts to form a labor union- which has happened in their old Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. If these factories were under United States labor laws the green, red, orange, and purple class t-shirts would be $10 rather than $5, but because the people in the Gildan factories don’t have any benefits and are paid low wages the shirt is cheaper.
As labor costs in popular outsource countries like China rise companies are moving their factories to countries where wages and protection of workers’ rights are low to keep consumer costs constant. These people are modern-day slaves, only they get paid; however, the wages are barely enough to sustain their family.
A lot of these textile workers are women, many of which are high school age. An average textile factory worker in Bangladesh has 12 hour shifts, works 60-80 hours a week, and earns $37 a month- that’s 20 cents a day. Not to mention they’re deprived of any benefits, breaks, and in some cases, aren’t even allowed to sit.
In places like Bangladesh, if your parents are textile workers, most likely you’ll have to succumb to the industry as well. As an American you have every opportunity to change your social status. People are getting rich every day. So you may be telling yourself, “As an American why should I care about what happens in Bangladesh? If I can get a t-shirt for $5 over $15, might as well, right? It’s already been made. Can’t help that worker now.”
But that’s not the point. You shouldn’t ask yourself, “As an American, why should I care about what happened in Bangladesh?” You should tell yourself, “As a human being, I should care what’s happening to other human beings.”
What can you do 8,260 miles away to make a difference in Bangladesh? Or across the ocean from China or Taiwan?
Know what you’re buying. If you’re an iPod or Android user you can download Free2work.org’s free app and scan your clothing before you buy it. Free2Work is a company that monitors and grades factory-based companies that outsource their labor and how they treat their workers.
Free2Work’s grading system is similar to that for restaurants and has the same concept. Would you purchase food at a restaurant where you witnessed the manager screaming at the workers and treating them poorly? Would you eat at a restaurant that had a D from the Health Inspector? In fact, low-grade restaurants aren’t even allowed to operate for business.
Every day at WCHS Forever 21, Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch, Quicksilver, or Aeropostale clothing is fluttering around campus. Wal-Mart and Fruit of the Loom clothing items are popular as well.
What if you found out Free2Work graded these companies poorly? Would you still buy them? Forever 21- D-, and an F in workers’ rights. Hollister- D+, and D- in workers’ rights. Abercrombie- D+, and a D- in workers’ rights. Quicksilver- D+, and an F in workers’ rights. Aeropostale- D, and an F in workers’ rights. Wal-Mart- D+, and an F in workers’ rights. Fruit of the Loom- D-, and a D- in workers’ rights. If you saw your favorite store had a D- card that said they had an F in workers’ rights wouldn’t you think twice about shopping there?
America can be the leader in fighting modern-day slave labor if we mixed Free2Work’s grading system and the restaurant requirement of posting your grade in the window where the consumer can see it. The poor grades will embarrass companies into making the change.
Many of the “fast fashion” countries have few natural resources to offer and create economic growth; they rely on other countries outsourcing labor to them. For example, 45 percent of Bangladesh’s economy is attributed to textile factories- 40 percent of these factories supply American companies. If you’ve ever bought anything in America, you’re an American consumer. As an American consumer, you have the power to influence the 40 percent of those suppliers in Bangladesh. They’re supplying what you demand. Demand a change.
On any given day, students can see ASB Advisor and AVID Teacher Melanie Wong busy in the ASB store, running errands around campus, preparing for rallies, or getting the school ready for an event.
Due to her dedication to WCHS and her unnoticed hard work that she does on the sidelines, Wong received WCHS’s prestigious Teacher of the Year award this month.
“One of our greatest strengths as a school is our incredibly positive and welcoming school culture. I can say with great confidence that this is due to Ms. Wong’s hard work and effective guidance of our student leadership groups,” said Principal Alex Ruvalcaba.
Wong has been a teacher at WCHS for all 12 years of her career.
In a statement on her teacher’s page, Wong wrote, “I love being at a school where our students and staff are active in campus life and love showing their Bulldog pride. My goal is to provide every student with the opportunity to be involved in our school so they can experience why WCHS is such a great place to be!”
At the age of 21, Wong started her career on an emergency teacher credential. Since then, she’s served as an English, ELD, and AVID teacher. She credits the start of her ASB involvement to her position as class of 2006 advisor alongside Math Teacher Christina Mansour.
“I’m honored to represent AVID, ASB, and other student activities. We have such an amazing staff and I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” said Wong.
Many students feel the school would not be the same without Wong’s involvement.
“I’ve known Ms. Wong for two years and she’s one of the most influential people I’ve met in my high school years. She’s more than a teacher; she’s a friend to everyone. She’s done more than teaching us leadership skills and advising us. What makes her so special is her passion and how determined she is to make WCHS a better place. Her love for this school is what makes everyone around her- everyone that interacts with her- motivated to do all they can to make this school better as well. WCHS and ASB wouldn’t be the same without her. I wouldn’t be the same without her,” said senior Lanli Su, ASB director of publicity.
In the past, Wong has been named Renaissance’s Inspirational Teacher of the Year, which is nominated by students. For Teacher of the Year, the nomination comes from faculty within the departments. She is not part of a department on campus per se, which may have been why she has not been considered previously.
“Melanie has always been a very important member to our school community and has done a ton of work with our student body. I believe that she has been overlooked for this award since the only class she taught was ASB. With her current caseload I should think that she would be eligible for this award, and I cannot think of any person on this campus that is more deserving,” said Physical Education Teacher Mercury Simonian.
This year, Ruvalcaba asked departments to nominate any teacher to represent their department in the pool of Teacher of the Year nominees- Fine Arts chose Wong.
After each department nominated a teacher, instructor, or advisor, the final decision went to the Leadership Team- a committee of department chairs, administrators, and teacher leaders on campus.
“I’m on the Leadership Team. I wasn’t at the meeting that chose the teacher of the year, but if I was I would be full force supporting this decision. I’m under no illusion that someone equally qualified can’t just come in and take my job. I always say that all of us here are replaceable- all of us except Ms. Wong. No one here’s really aware of all that she does. I’m learning all the time about the things she does for the school I didn’t know about before. The hours, dedication, the students she’s impacted; it’s something no one else could do. She’s so modest about getting the award, but it really does belong to her. It’s not just a culture she’s created with leadership and the students, it’s beyond these walls. She makes us all better Bulldogs,” said Dean Lisa Maggiore.
There were many unaccredited compliments to Wong on the WCHS Weekly Staff Bulletin.
“Efforts to create things and make things happen.”
“Always offers to help.”
“She’s the bomb diggity.”
Wong is thankful for receiving the award.
“I wouldn’t have thought I’d be the one receiving this, but I’m so honored. Thank you,” she said.
Over the intercom on Thursday, April 11, Principal Alex Ruvalcaba announced that West Covina High School was one of the 218 public high schools and middle schools that won the award for the prestigious title of California Distinguished School.
“Out of our whole area, only two schools are nominated for the California Distinguished School Award, and I’m so proud we’re one of them,” said Ruvalcaba.
Eligibility for the award was based on API scores, the growth of scores on STAR testing, presentation of two “signature practices,” and a final visit by the board.
The process of applying and preparing for the observation was a long one. From November 6 to December 10, 2012 administration was busy putting together the paperwork for the application. In November, staff meetings were held to discuss the “signature practices” of the school–or the things that make Bulldog country unique.
The first of WCHS’s signature practices is the student-centered approach with academic programs, collaborative teaching models, and CAHSEE intervention courses. The instructional practices with the use of technology, collaborative learning groups, and strategy-differentiation also merit the student-centered approach. And finally, under this signature practice is the culture of the campus including the many student leadership programs, impeccable school spirit, and the amount of Bulldog pride.
“They seemed really impressed by the culture we have here,” said Ruvalcaba.
The second of the signature practices is the school-wide strategies through the use of thinking maps, AVID strategies, student “data talks” reflecting on STAR testing, and content specific vocabulary or “Words of the Week” in each classroom.
On Friday, March 8, a group of observers from the California Distinguished School Award board visited WCHS. The board spilt up and interviewed students and teachers, walked around campus, and sat in on classes.
“They remarked that our school is very different from the norm, in a good way,” said Ruvalcaba.
This is the first time WCHS has received the award since 2005. The logo of the California Distinguished School Award was painted onto the gym then.
“We’re definitely considering adding a second one of the logos onto the gym to mark our great achievement if we do win the award,” said Ruvalcaba before the winners were announced.
The final recipients of the award were determined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“These schools have gone the extra mile to provide high-quality instruction that puts their students on the right path toward career and college,” stated Torlakson in a press release. “Given the enormous challenges schools have faced in recent years, it is inspiring to see this kind of success in so many schools. Our future depends on meeting the needs of every student no matter where they come from or where they live.”
The safety of students is at risk. Despite the recent nationwide school shooting scare, I feel administration’s first priority on student safety shouldn’t be implementing the new ID cards for next year, but a problem that can pose a more serious, immediate danger if not addressed- the fire alarm situation. IDs are preventive measures; they help security to know whether a person on campus is supposed to be or not. Fire alarms protect students from immediate danger in the case of a fire.
The likelihood of someone bringing a gun on campus and declaring it student hunting season is very low. But can you imagine how easy it would be for a fire to engulf WCHS? A careless Chemistry student could forget to turn off a gas burner. How easy is it for someone walking on the street to throw a lit cigarette onto dry grass along the fence? And it’s no secret that there’s an issue with students smoking marijuana on campus (Another school issue that hasn’t been fully taken care of).
Obviously, if they’re smoking, they have lighters with them. Stupid teens and fire don’t mix.There’s quite a few high voltage boxes on campus–one by the girls’ locker room and another behind L17. The computer labs have masses of tangled wires- just one faulty wire could start a fire. We’re not as fireproof on campus as we’d like to think we are. These are just a few of the countless ways a spark can start a blaze on campus.
Fire alarms no longer phase us. They go off so often–during class, lunch, in the mornings, and most recently fifth period March 6. The problem has been going on since the beginning of the school year, and now, second semester, it hasn’t been fixed yet.
We have a few fire drills a year. We’ve been doing practically the same drill every year since kindergarten, just at different schools. The alarm goes off. You get in line at the door. You go to your class’ assigned spot. You hold up a sign implying that everyone’s accounted for. And then you leave.
You could say that we would know what to do in the case of a fire. But can we really boast that we’re safe at WCHS if not one person questions that the flashing lights and annoying, unmistakable “EH-EH-EH” is just the alarm going off on accident… again.
We’re so used to the alarm just going off randomly throughout the day that administration no longer feels the need to let us know on the PA system that there’s no danger of being burned alive–example, February 19. Nor are we warned in advance that the alarm may go off during the day.
Apparently an alarm system that’s mandatory for every school to have takes the back seat to IDs. Why spend so much money on a new system instead of using that money to fix or replace a more important one?
WCHS will no longer have the Stephens family on staff as of November 30, 2012. Married Bulldogs and Boys’ Wrestling coaches Don and Shirley Stephens will be leaving to Colorado Springs in order to pursue a new life for their family.
“[We’re] really sad to leave, but it’s a good opportunity for our family,” said Mrs. Stephens, “Unfortunately, family comes before work.”
The Stephens are moving to Colorado Springs being that Coach Donnie Stephens now runs and trains pupils at his own Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym.
“[I’m going to] help train the fighters and operate the gym. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” said Mr. Stephens.
In Colorado Springs, Mrs. Stephens plans to extend her education further and possibly become a teacher.
“I’m very excited to go back to school, finish my degree in English, and who knows, maybe I’ll be a teacher! I will probably look for another secretary job though,” said Mrs. Stephens.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens spent both of their high school and adult careers at WCHS.
“I have definitely realized that this school is the ideal place to be. It’s a great campus that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. I’ll miss the staff, and mostly the amazing students. The culture at this campus; everyone is kind of like a big family. It’s very unique to see all the interaction here that the students are involved in,” said Mrs. Stephens.
Like his wife, Mr. Stephens finds leaving Bulldog country upsetting.
“It’s quite saddening. Considering I’ve coached here and graduated high school from here. This place will always have a special place in my heart. I’ll miss it,” said Stephens.
Mr. Stephens has contributed much to WCUSD. He’s worked in special education, coached volleyball, and has worked security here at WCHS for eight years. However, coaching wrestling will always be his passion.
“I have 30 year old graduates that come back and still call me coach! I’ve met many wonderful individuals. [Coaching] is more than just teaching them proper techniques, it’s about building them into better people at school and home. And teaching them things they will take with them for the rest of their lives,” said Mr. Stephens.
Coach George Munoz, previously a WCHS alumni wrestler, is replacing the Stephens as Boys’ Wrestling coach.
“I’m positive the team will go on and be successful. Having a great coach that’s taking over the program and traditions says a lot,” said Stephens.
Mrs. Stephens gave a positive final comment about West Covina and the school.
“Shirley and I both love the city and live quite near the school. We stayed close to the school because it’s unique. There’s no other place like it. If I had to pick one thing I’ll miss the most, it’d be the students, because that’s where I spent most of my time. I’d just like to say, thank you, thank you! Thank you all and goodbye,” said Mr. Stephens.
Mrs. Stephens ended on a special note, “I’d like to give a special thanks for everyone who has supported me and Donnie throughout the years. It’s made a tremendous impact. Also, I’d like to recognize the wrestling team for being wonderful individuals.”