Author Archives: chenson2023
By: Courtney Henson
As the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close, the senior class is preparing themselves to graduate. On May 27, 2022, at 8pm, the senior class will gather for one more goodbye. The graduating class will hear speeches from class president River Reyes, Valedictorian Mongomery Cain, Salutatorian Kenley Everett, along with NHS Secretary Ashlyn Vera.
For the class of 22 favorites, the senior class voted in favor of green and white with black accents as the class colors, the red rose as the class flower, You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins as the class song, and the class motto is “Our lives are before us, our pasts behind us, and our memories are forever within us.”
For the past 4 years, the class of ‘22 has faced many ups and downs but they made it. Three seniors from the Journalism class and staff editors on the Quill graduating are as follows: Editor in Chief- Courtney Henson, Copy Editor- Kristina Mertz, Layout Editor- River Reyes. From the Quill staff, congratulations to every senior graduating, we are so proud of each and every one of you. Pride! Pride!
True Crime vol. XXVIII: Springfield Three
By: Courtney Henson
Sherrill Levitt was born on November 1, 1944, she later had a daughter, Suzanne Streeter on March 9, 1973. Soon after, Stacy McCall was born on April 23, 1974 who would grow up to be Suzannes best friend. Suzanne and Stacy graduated from Kickapoo High School on June 6, 1992 and attended graduation parties that whole weekend. The two girls returned to Streeter, and Levitt’s, home at about 2am on June 7.
The pair had made plans to spend the day at a water park with their friend Janelle Kirby, and her boyfriend. When they failed to show up at Janelle’s house, it was discovered that the front door of the home was unlocked and none of the girls were to be found. Despite this, the girls’ cars, clothing, jewelry, and purses remained at the home. Janelle also reported that the glass lamp shade on the porch light was shattered. Once they entered the home, Janelle and her boyfriend found Streeter and Levitt’s dog, who was very agitated. While inside the home, Janelle received two calls of a sexual nature from an unidentified male before leaving the home. After several hours, McCalls mother visited the home after many failed attempts to reach Stacy after noticing that all of the belongings had been left behind, seemingly not in a hurry, McCall called and reported the three women, Sherrill, Suzanne, and Stacy, missing. After placing the call, McCall listened to the home phone’s answering machine where she heard a “strange message” that was later accidentally deleted. The message is not believed to be connected to the calls Janelle received. When police arrived on the scene, there were no signs of a struggle and there was no available evidence to be gathered. The girls had seemingly disappeared into thin air.
After no progress was made on the case for many months, on December 31, 1992, an anonymous caller called the Americas Most Wanted hotline with information about the woman’s disappearance but the call was soon disconnected. Police urged the caller to contact them again, but he never did. Although their cases are still officially filed as missing, Levitt and Streeter were declared legally dead in 1997. This same year, 1997, Robert Craig Cox, a convicted kidnapper and robber, and suspect in many murders, told journalist that he knew the women had been murdered and buried and that their bodies would never be recovered. In 1992, Robert had been living in Springfield but at the time told investigators that he was with his girlfriend and she corroborated. She later recanted this statement and says that Robert paid her to say that. Police were unsure if Robert was actually involved in the case or just wanted attention. Robert stated he would disclose what happened to the women after his mom died. In 2007, investigators received a tip that the three bodies were buried in the foundations of the south parking garage at Cox Hospital. After using a GPR (ground penetrating radar), authorities found three objects “roughly the same size” as the women and in a “grave site location.” The garage began construction in September 1993. Police told the public that because there was no logical reasoning or evidence behind the tip and because it would be very expensive to dig up the area, they would not be further investigating the area.
As of 2022, the disappearance of Suzanne Streeter, Stacy McCall, and Sherrill Levitt, is unsolved. Despite over 5,000 tips about the women’s case, no advancements have been made in any of the three cases. In June of 1997, a bench was dedicated to the three women inside the Victim’s Memorial Garden in Sprigfield’s Phelps Grove Park.
Track & Field: Flying Eagle
By: Courtney Henson
On March 10, the Eagle Track teams traveled to Somerset High School to partake in the 11th annual Sonny Relays. At this meet, the boys varsity team placed 2nd overall with 133 points. The highest scorers for the team include Este’van Jackson with 25 points, Jayden Palacios with 24 points, Juan Lopez with 23 points, and Sean Ramos with 19 points. The girls varsity team placed 3rd overall with 100 points. Key runners for the girls this meet included Alexandria Balderas, Lillian Krause, Raegan Hollis, Ciarah Garcia, and Jillian Barcomb. The boys JV team places 6th overall with 69 points. The girls JV team placed 3rd overall with 103 points.
At this meet, Sophomore pole vaulter Preston Pilgrim was able to break the pole vault school record. This record, previously held by Zach Wood at 14’9 set in 2004, was broken completely when Pilgrim jumped 14’10. Soon after this, Preston jumped another impressive height of 15’4. This impressive 15’4 height became both Preston’s new personal record and the new school record. This jump allowed the Sophomore to qualify for the Texas relays, the 2nd largest track meet in America. Preston has been pole vaulting since the young age of 9 and has had an intense passion for the sport since. The adrenaline and competition that pole vaulting so excitedly brings is what Preston says is his favorite part. His mom, Krystal Pilgrim, says that, “While balancing the extreme dedication to his sport, Preston has been able to maintain an all A average,” which continues to make her immensely proud. Preston hopes to make it to state for each year of high school as well as hopes to return to Nationals at AAU Junior Olympics during the summer season. As only a sophomore, Pleasanton High School is excited to see where pole vault takes Pilgrim.
Shortly after spring break, the track teams began to get back into the groove of things. At the Ro-Hawk Relays at Randolph High School, the boys varsity team placed 4th overall with 80 points. The girls varsity placed 3rd overall with a score of 75.5, Ciarah Garcia scoring 19 of those, and the girls JV placed 5th overall with 44 points.
On Wednesday, March 30, the track teams traveled to Devine High School to compete in the Devine Relays. The boys varsity team placed 1st with 108 points. The placers of the meet include Juan Lopez, Jayden Palacios, Sean Ramos, the 4x100m relay team, 4×200m relay team, 4×400m relay team, Evan Guardiola, and Preston Pilgrim. The girls varsity team places 4th with 51 points. The members of the team who placed include Kassidy Vickers, the 4x100m relay team, the 4x200m relay team, the 4x400m relay team, Mikayla Theis, Jillian Barcomb, Megan Mayse, Ciarah Garcia, and Victoria Urbanczyk. The boys JV team placed 1st with 105 points. The placers of the team include Joe Turley, Paul Bernal, Mason Little, 4×100m relay team, 4x200m relay team, 4×400m relay team, Joe Turley, Jordan Mendoza, Steven Minniear, Nathan Din, Stephen West, Adrian Ortiz, and Demetrius Jimenez. The girls JV team placed 2nd with 86 points. Placers of this meet include the 4x100m relay team, 4x200m relay team, Svetlana, Jauslyn Ramirez, Harmony Young, Kaylie Rodriguez, Teairra Garz, Kennedy Miller, Desire Gonzales, and Genavieve Alvarado.
As the track season continues forward, we wish the Eagle track teams the best of luck. Congrats on a season well done so far. Pride! Pride!
By: Farah Standley
On March 8th, the Pleasanton Baseball Team took on the Lytle Pirates and took the win 10-0, the boys gained some confidence and went into a tournament with high hopes. The Eagles came home with a clean up! The boys fought hard to win all 4 games against the Natalia Mustangs (6-0), the Bandera Bulldogs (8-4), the Pearsall Mavericks (9-1), and the Carrizo Springs Wildcats(10-3). The next couple weeks the Eagles kept it going with wins against the Uvalde Coyotes(11-5), the LA Vernia Bears(11-1), and the Geronimo Navarro Bears(14-6). The boys faced a hard game losing to Cornerstone Christian(3-12), on March 26, but got back to it, with two wins against the Cuero Gobblers(6-1), and the San Antonio Alamo Heights Mules(5-4). The last game before District was a tough one. The Eagles took one last loss against San Antonio Home School(1-12).
Going into District was exciting for the team, the boys began to prepare. It’s game time. The boys started District off on their own turf with the guest being the Somerset Bulldogs on a cool Friday night on April 8th. The National Anthem played, the sound of the crowd radiated, and the boys were ready. Once our group of athletes took the field it was too late for the other team to turn around. We took the win gracefully with a score of 7-2, and that Monday, April 11th, we were on the way to Hondo to take on the Owls for the second District game. It was a sure nail biter, and the boys played hard. The Owls were really good, but not good enough. The boys scored 4 runs in the 5th inning to win the game! The final score was 9-6, and the boys went home excited. Then, right before Easter break on Thursday, April 14, the boys took on the Devine Warhorses in Devine for the 3rd District game! It was a struggle, but the boys got their head on straight and pulled through with a 2-1 win. The boys came back from the break with another game. The boys loaded the bus to go to Somerset to face the Bulldogs once again. The boys took the field with Jayce Krauskopf on the mound. The boys got loud as the score went up and up. Cheers rose from the stands, and the Eagles finished the game with a 12-1 win after 6 innings.
True Crime vol. XXVII: The Mad Sculptor
By: Courtney Henson
On August 5, 1907, Robert George Irwin was born in Pasadena, California. Robert George Irwin was born on August 5, 1907, in Pasadena, California. His father was Rev. Benjamin Hardin Irwin, who was a prominent figure in the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, and his mother was Mary Jee Jordan, who acted as a traditional mother figure in the family. Benjamin abandoned the family before Robert was three years old, which left the family in extreme struggle. Robert himself grew up to be a prominent artist and sculptor who often saw big success with his lifelike sculptures.
For his whole life, Robert illustrated strange and at times violent behavior. He threatened to hurt himself with a razor which resulted in Robert being committed to a state mental hospital, where he stayed for a year. Upon being released, Robert moved to a New York City house owned by Mary Gedeon where he fell in love with her daughter, Ethel. After this love was not returned, Robert was committed to another state hospital where he remained until the summer of 1936. During this time, Ethel got married prompting Robert to make a number of sculptures of Ethel with a snake around her neck.
Shortly after his release from the hospital, Roberts enrolled in the Theological School of St. Lawrence University but he was expelled on March 18 for instability. This is the event many people feel led to Robert committing his crime. He shortly returned to New York City and rented a house just a few blocks from the Gedeon house. On March 27, 1937, after suicidal consideration, Robert decided instead to walk to the Gedeon home in hopes of stumbling upon Ethel.
As relatives arrived at the Gedeon house on March 28, (Easter Sunday) for dinner, they discovered the bodies of Mary Gedeon who had been stabbed and strangled, Veronica Gedeon who had been strangled, and Frank Byrnes, a waiter, who had been stabbed.
Police initially suspected Mary’s ex-husband but after the discovery of a soap sculpture was discovered at the scene, Robert was declared the prime suspect. In June of 1937, Robert agreed to tell his story to the Chicago Herald-Examiner before promptly turning himself into New York Police. In his confession to the newspaper, Robert said he had intended to kill Ethel but after discovering she was not at the home, he instead turned on Mary, and later Veronica, before killing Frank to avoid witnesses. Very famous defense attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, quickly came to represent Robert in court when he was held for three counts of first-degree murder.
As the trial began, lots of back and forth between the defense and the prosecution ultimately resulted in Robert being tried as if he was sane at the time of the crime. Robert pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder to avoid the death penalty. Judge James Wallace sentenced Robert to 139-years-to-life in prison. After being sent to Sing Sing prison for a psychological evaluation, Robert was finally ruled insane. On December 10, 1938, he arrived at Dannemora State Hospital.
In 1975, Robert died of cancer in the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Fishkill, New York. His burial site is unknown. Mary and Veronica both rest in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Westchester County, New York. Frank Byrnes rests in Saint John Cemetery in Queens County, New York.
By: Ricky Fabrow
The ingredients you’ll need for these treats are:
- Food coloring
- Chocolate mini eggs
- Half sheet baking pan
- Mixing bowls
- Cooking Pot or Microwave
Now that you have the ingredients you’ll have to follow these easy steps to make your sweet treat
- Prepare. Line the large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat then set aside. Gather half of your chocolate mini eggs, crush them then set aside.
- Melt the chocolate either on the stove or microwave. (For a microwave, leave it in for thirty seconds on high to fully melt the chocolate.
- Repeat step above but for the Melt White Chocolate.
- Dye the white chocolate by dividing it into 2-3 separate small mixing bowls. Add pastel colored food coloring to each bowl and mix until combined.
- Spread chocolate out into a melted semi-sweet thin layer forming an approximate 9×12-inch rectangle, about ⅓ inch thick. Use a toothpick to swirl the sweet and white chocolate together.
- Add toppings. Arrange the chocolate eggs (½ of them will be whole while the other ½ will be crushed) Press them lightly onto the chocolate.
- Set the pan into the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to stay for 45 minutes.
After that you´ll be able to enjoy your sweet chocolate Easter bark treat to hop hop hop with enjoyment.
Leave It All On The Court
By: Courtney Henson
On January 25, the Pleasanton Girls Varsity basketball team traveled to Cuero high school after a long fight, the girls fell 38-18. Soon after, the team faced La Vernia high school at home. Again, the girls fought hard but were unable to pull through and lost 60-24. The team then traveled to Navarro, where they fell short 77-41.
A week later, the girls faced Gonzales in their home gym. After an impressive fight, the girls got a 57-43 win, securing their spot in the first round of playoffs. On Valentine’s day, the girls made the trip into San Antonio to face Fredericksburg in the first round of playoffs. Unfortunately for the girls, they fell 58-23, officially ending the 2021-2022 season.
For senior Addyson Dority, this was her last time playing on this court with this team. The Eagle Basketball program has done her well for the last two years, she “gave it my all” while also still “having fun.” This team has created memories she “wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Giving Purpose to Potential
By: Courtney Henson
On March 3, the Pleasanton BPA organization made their way to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the State Leadership Convention. On day one of the competition, at the special recognition awards ceremony, Brandi Barnett, Addy Brymer, Courtney Henson, and Ashlyn Vera earned their Statesman Torch Award. At this same ceremony Brandi Barnett was chosen as one of the pin design winners. Her pin will be traded at the National Leadership Convention in May.
Day two of the convention was filled with competition, individuals who competed on Thursday March 4, were Delanie, Lilee Ramirez, Courtney Henson, Jazmin Bernal, Thang, Elynore Hernandez, Conner George.
Day three of the convention was team competition and individual finalist. Teams included the Presentation Management team, Brandi Barnett, Addy Brymer, and Ashlyn Vera. Small Business Management team, Paige Read, Maddie Brymer, and Sadie Hartmann. Podcast Production team, Gage Pawelek and Shayne Cazier. Individualist Courtney Henson advanced to finals and competed this day as well.
The final day of the competition consisted of team finals and awards. The Small Business Management team advanced to finals and competed this morning. Results are as follows: Courtney Henson placed 5th in Administrative Support Research Project, Small Business Management team placed 8th. Brandi Barnett was the recipient of a scholarship.
Congratulation to the BPA competitors and good luck as you attend nationals. Pride! Pride!
True Crime vol. XXVI: Dr. Death
By: Courtney Henson
Dr. John Baxter Hamilton of Oklahoma City met Susan Baxter in 1985. When they met, they were both divorced with 4 kids between the two of them. Soon after, the couple married and settled into a very privileged life. John worked locally as a respected obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) at his own clinic, where Susan began working reception part-time.
The couple was married for 14 years and seemed to be deeply in love. Known for being a romantic, John often showered his wife with expensive gifts and holidays. On Valentine’s day in 2001, John left the house early in the morning to perform an operation. He returned home midday to exchange gifts with Susan before returning to work but instead returned home to find Susan’s dead body. John called 911 saying, “Please send police. Please send an ambulance, please, I think my wife is dead.” He told the operator he was trying CPR. “Please send somebody quick,”
As police arrived on scene they could clearly see that Susan had been strangled and had experienced severe blunt force trauma to the back of her head. The weapon used to enforce this trauma was never found. Police also were having problems with how hysterical John was on scene. He was covered in his wife’s blood and screaming for help. At the scene of the crime there was no evidence of forced entry, nothing was stolen from the house or off of Susan’s body, and no footprints or fingerprints were found.
Police had no suspects initially. They began to think that possibly Susan had been killed by one of the anti-abortion protestors who frequently threatened John’s clinic as well as the family personally, but no evidence led to this. Soon, John became the prime suspect in the murder. John told the police he had tried to perform mouth-to-mouth but there were no obvious or even traces of blood on John’s face despite the severe injury to Susan’s head and face.
Police also found the Valentine’s day car Susan had given John that morning, it read, “I bought this two weeks ago, so I guess maybe it doesn’t seem as appropriate. But I do love you. Have a good day. Susan” Her words made the police and the public question whether the marriage was as perfect as it seemed. Some of the couple’s friends revealed that the couple had been fighting recently over suspicion that John was having an affair. Friends also said that Susan had confided in friends that she was considering a divorce.
John was arrested and charged without bail. On the ride to the police station, John was scraping his knuckles on the mesh divider as if trying to hide an injury on his hands.
During the trial in December of 2001, it came out that Susan’s blood and skin were found on John’s steering wheel. Also, it was revealed that when Susan’s family was going through her stuff, they discovered jewelry stuffed in her laundry as if to look like it had been stolen. Prosecution argued that the blood splatter on John’s shows was consistent with an ‘alive’ Susan, whereas the defense argued that the bloody splatter was consistent with John’s story of trying to save Susan. After the defense brought a blood expert to the trial, he testified that there was blood on the inside of John’s cuff that was likely to have been as a result of John striking a blow to Susan’s head.
It took the jury a short two hours to find John guilty of first-degree murder. Later, John was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole. The motive of the murder is likely the fact that Susan wanted a divorce but John did not agree. John continues to appeal his conviction but has not been successful. John was transferred to the state penitentiary in McAlester where he still resides today. Susan is laid to rest in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Water The Bamboo
By: Courtney Henson
Over the Christmas break the women’s soccer teams kicked off their season. Both the JV and Varsity teams partook in many scrimmages to begin the season and get a feel for things with new teams. On January 3, the teams faced Wimberly for the first game of the season. Unfortunately for the Varsity team they lost 7-1. Soon after this, Pleasanton high school hosted a tournament for varsity teams. At this tournament the varsity team lost to Wagner 2-1, lost to Buda Johnson 4-1, lost to Southside 3-0, tied Uvalde 1-1, and beat Wagner due to forfeit. Days later on January 11, both the Varsity and JV teams faced Boerne, falling short, the varsity team lost 5-0, and the JV lost 4-0.
On the weekend of January 13-15, the Varsity team participated in the Wimberly tournament. At this tournament, after a few long fights, the Varsity team lost to Lake Belton 11-0, lost to Fredericksburg 4-1, and lost to Tivy 3-0. The weekend of January 21-22 the JV team partook in their home tournament. They opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Southwest. They soon lost to Medina Valley 1-0, but came back and beat Poteet 6-0.
On January 26, both teams traveled to Fredericksburg for their next game, where the Varsity fell 5-0 and the JV tied 0-0.
On January 28, the women’s Varsity team faced Fox Tech High School. Making their comeback, the varsity team won 8-0.
Although this season has not begun as the teams had hoped it would, the girls remain hopeful and motivated. For junior Slayde Huggins, she looks “forward to getting to know my teammates better and getting to work out this new formation.”
As the season continues and the girls continue fighting, we wish you the best of luck. Pride! Pride!
True Crime vol. XXV: Angel of Mercy
By: Courtney Henson
Jane Toppan was born with the name of Honora Kelley on March 31, 1854. Her mother, Bridget Kelley died of tuberculosis when Jane was very young and her father, Peter Kelley was well known as a very abusive alcoholic, earning himself the nickname “Kelley the Crack” by those who knew him. In 1860, Kelley surrendered Jane and her sister to the Boston Female Asylum. In November of 1862, Jane was placed in the home of Mrs. Ann C. Toppan as an indentured servant. This is where she adopted the last name Toppan.
In 1885, Jane began nursing training at Cambridge Hospital. During her residency, Jane would pick her “favorite patients” and use them as guinea pigs for experiments involving morphine and atropine. Jane spent a considerable amount of time alone with patients altering charts to avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing. In 1889 Jane began working for the Massachusetts General Hospital where she took many more lives before being fired. After this, she briefly returned to the Cambridge Hospital but was soon dismissed for recklessly administering opioids. Despite her history, and heavy accusations of theft, Jane began working as a private nurse and found great success.
The killing spree began in 1885 when Jane poisoned her landlord, Israel Dunham, and his wife. She soon followed this by killing her foster sister, Elizabeth, with a large dose of a pesticide in 1889. After poisoning and killing Maddie Davis in 1901, Jane moved in with her elderly husband, Alden Davis, and very quickly killed Davis, his sister, and two of his daughters. The surviving members of the David family called for a toxicology report on the youngest daughter, Minnie, after becoming suspicious. The report showed that she had been heavily poisoned and it was understood that this is what happened to the rest of the family.
On October 29, 1901, Jane was arrested for murder and by 1902 she had confessed to 31 murders. The identified victims include Israel Dunham, Lovely Dunham, Elizabeth Brigham, Mary McNear, Florence Calkins, William Ingraham, Sarah (Myra) Connors, Mattie Davis, Genevieve Gordon (Annie), Alden Davis, Mary (Minnie) Gibbs, and Edna Bannister. After later confessing to her lawyer that she killed over 31 people but refusing to give names, Jane begged the court to deem her sane, in hopes of later being released. In the end, this claim did not work and on June 23, 1902, Jane was found not guilty on the basis of insanity and committed to Taunton Insane Hospital.
Although her motive is ultimately unknown, many believe Jane was experimenting to get a better look at the “inner workings” of a human. Some say it was jealousy. Others say it was for sensual reasons, but Jane herself said it was paralysis of thought and reason, just a strong urge to poison.
In 1931, at the age of 81, Jane died in the Taunton state hospital. Buried under the name “Honora Kelley”, she is laid to rest in the Mayflower Cemetery.
Girls Basketball: Back in Full Force
By: Allison Collins & Myame Lara
With winter rolling back around, that means our Lady Eagles Basketball season bounces back into full force. With the new season already started, we wanted to make sure you were up to date with your Lady Eagles Basketball team! We interviewed PHS junior, Mikayla Theis, and Lady Eagles Varsity head coach, Stephen Rentfro.
As of right now, our Lady Eagles Varsity team has a 4 game winning streak. Good job Ladies! Coach Rentfro expresses, “ We play to a standard, and we measure ourselves on how close we can get to that standard.” Our Lady Eagles love a good challenge and are looking forward to the Tilden Classic to play some great surrounding teams.
Basketball is known to be a sport which requires harmony and unity, this is no problem for our Lady Eagles! Since the first practice of the season our Lady Eagles have made much improvement and progress as a team. The girls are challenged to live plays and team scrimmages to provide room for learning and improvement. Coach Rentfro explains “Challenges lead to learning, learning leads to fewer mistakes.” This practice tactic and Coach Rentfro’s coaching style has helped our Lady Eagles tremendously. The Lady Eagles post, junior Mikayla Theis, expressed her love for the competition and team. She says, “The memories made are super important, as well as our improvement as a team.”
So far, our Lady Eagles basketball team is currently standing at 11-7 overall. We can’t wait to see what else our Lady Eagles have to offer as the season progresses and to see the improvement in the team. Pride Pride!
Student Spotlight: Michaela Anguiano
By: Courtney Henson
Michaela Anguiano is a charismatic, genuine, and passionate student of Pleasanton High School. With a heart for everyone, and a talent for everything, Michaela is one of the best students to walk the halls of PHS. As only a junior, Michaelas heavy involvement is very impressive. Michaela is the current head drum major of the Mighty Eagle Band, a position of great importance and lots of work. Michaels feels this position has taught her about “leadership”, “patience” and “confidence” and is extremely rewarding. Michaela plays actively in the school’s concert band and jazz band, going as far as to participate in the Region Band and the Region Jazz Band, “they are each passions that I care deeply for.”
Aside from band, Michaela is very involved in the high school AV class. Writing, editing, recording, and interacting with the student body in creation of the Big E News. Michaela says, “I absolutely love AV,” and appreciates the opportunities it has provided her. Just this year, Michaela decided to broaden her horizons and join the BPA (Business Professionals of America) club. She is participating in a Broadcast News Production project with two of her other friends and is excited for the opportunities BPA has in hand for her. All of these clubs are very dear to michaela who expressed that they, “all have their perks that personally make me happy in some way!”
As a junior, Michaela has been on campus for nearly 3 years and although Covid has significantly impacted her time at PHS, Michaela finds a silver lining in her community. The time spent in Covid and the time as we recover has allowed Michaela to reflect on her time at PHS and the person she has become. As such a welcoming person, Michaela finds it easy to connect with students, “I love meeting new people and school always gives me that opportunity.” Aside from the student connections, Michaela’s bond with her teachers is unlike that of anyone else. With great excitement, Michaela expresses that, “my favorite teacher is Mrs. Olivarri!” Having known Mrs. Olivarri for about 2 years at this point, Michaela’s attitude towards her is very positive. “She is truly a motivating, caring, and lovely person to be around!” She is kind, authentic, and careful to make sure everyone around her is in a good mood, much like Michaela.
As she continues through her junior year and into her senior year, Michaelas involvement with the school will only prove to be extremely rewarding, and in the end, very fun. Michaela said that she has “had so much fun in my 3 years of being a PHS student” and that she is “looking forward to being a senior… seniority has its perks and I know they’re waiting for me next year.” Good luck as you continue forward Michaela, you amount to great things! Pride, Pride!
True Crime vol. XXIV: Covina Massacre
By: Courtney Henson
Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, born on March 23, 1963, graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, Los Angeles. Further graduating from California State University, Northridge. Pardo met his wife, Sylvia Orza in 2004, they later married in 2006. For years, Pardo bounced between jobs and the family struggled heavily with finances. After a big fight over the couple’s finances and conflict involving their children, all coming from previous marriages, the couple divorced in June of 2008.
On December 24, 2008, in the city of Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles, a Christmas Eve party was taking place at 1129 East Knollcrest Drive. At 11:30pm, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, dressed as Santa Claus, knocked on his ex-wife’s parents house armed with a homemade flamethrower and at least 4 handguns disguised as Christmas gifts. As the door opened, Pardo revealed a handgun and shot his 8 year-old niece Katrina Yuzefpolsky, who is the daughter of Leticia Yuzefpolsky, who is a sister of Sylvia Pardo. As the shots rang out, the other 24 occupants of the house began to run, using the handguns, Pardo shot into the fleeing party-goers with no discrimination.
After he finished shooting, Pardo unwrapped the gift containing the homemade flamethrower, and used it to set the home ablaze. The fire burned at roughly 50 feet high and took 80 firefighters an hour and a half to extinguish. The intensity of the fire made it difficult to identify the victims causing identification to be done by dental and medical records.
There were 9 deaths from the whole incident. Sylvia Ortega, Alicia Sotomayor Ortega, Joseph Ortega, Charles Ortega, Cheri Lynn Ortega, James Ortega, Teresa Ortega, Alicia Ortega Ortiz, and Michael Andre Ortiz. Three victims died from gunshots alone, 2 from the fire alone, and 4 from a combination of gunshot wounds and the fire combined.
After the attack, Pardo drove 30 miles away to his brother’s house in Sylmar, where he was later found dead by suicide. Police found $17,000 in cash cling-wrapped on his legs. His rental car, found one block away, contained four 13 round capacity handguns, all empty, at least 200 rounds of ammunition, and the remnants of the Santa suit. While trying to remove the Santa suit from the car with a robot, the bomb squad started a fire in the vehicle, burning and destroying any evidence. At Pardo’s house, police recovered 5 boxes for semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun, and a container for gasoline. They also found what police described as a “virtual bomb factory.”
Police believe the motive for the attack was the divorce of Pardo and Sylvia and extensive financial problems.
The Ortega family is laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California. Bruce Pardo is buried in an unknown location.
By: Courtney Henson
On Wednesday, September 9, the Pleasanton Business Professionals of America held their induction to both induct new members, and re induct returning members. At this meeting, the 2021-2022 officers were instated to lead the club. This includes Brandi Barnett as president, Addison Brymer as vice president, Ashlyn Vera as secretary, Alexis Ramos as treasurer, and Preston Pilgrim as historian.
On October 5, a few of the BPA members headed to national night out to volunteer to pass out food, help with games, and so much more. This month, many of the BPA members volunteered to help out with a local event, Bingo for Bags, the members helped to pass out food and helped with the games. On October 26, the club participated in the Ghostly reading night at the Pleasanton Primary. By handing out candy for the kids that came, the club was able to make the experience positive for everyone.
As the Pleasanton BPA organization prepares for their regional contest in January and continues to help out in the community, the positive impact they have on the community shines through them.
True Crime vol. XXIII: The Candy Man
By: Courtney Henson
Ronald Clark O’Bryan was born on October 19, 1944. Living a relatively normal childhood, O’Bryan did not struggle with domestic violence or trauma as a child. O’Bryan married Daynene O’Bryan and had two children, son Timothy O’Bryan on April 5, 1966, and daughter Elizabeth O’Bryan in 1969. The family lived in Deer Park, Texas where O’Bryan worked as an optician, served as a deacon for the local church, and was in charge of the local bus program.
On October 31, 1974, O’Bryan took his children trick-or-treating in a local Pasadena neighborhood. One of O’Bryans neighbors and his two children went along with them. After approaching, and leaving, a house where no one answered, O’Bryan stayed behind while the children and neighbor went ahead. Minutes later, he caught up to the group and revealed five 21 inch Pixy-Stix which he claimed came from the unoccupied house. O’Bryan gave four Pixy-Stix to his kids and the neighbors kids, and gave the fifth to a boy he recognized from church.
That night, Timothy wanted to eat one piece of candy before bed, according to O’Bryan, Timothy requested to eat the Pixy-Stix. After tasting the candy, Timothy complained that it tasted bitter, soon after he began vomiting and convulsing. Timothy O’Bryan died on his way to the hospital less than an hour after eating the candy.
O’Bryan was not suspected of any wrongdoing until Timothy’s autopsy revealed that the Pixy-Stix he had consumed was laced with a fatal amount of Potassium Cyanide. The other 5 Pixy-Stix were recovered by police and were found to have been opened, filled with Cyanide powder, and resealed with a staple. The Pixy-Stix consumed by Timothy contained enough cyanide to kill two adults, while the others were filled with enough powder to kill three to four adults.
After canvassing the neighborhood, O’Bryan led police to the house that no one occupied on Halloween. O’Bryan claimed that after the children went ahead, the owner opened the door and handed him 5 Pixy-Stix. The owner of the house, Courtney Melvin, was ruled out as a suspect after over 200 people confirmed he was at work until 11pm on Halloween night.
As police progressed into the investigation, O’Bryan became more and more suspicious. He was in about $520,000 worth of debt and had a long history of being unable to hold a job. Their home had been foreclosed on, the car was about to be repossessed and O’Bryan has defaulted on several bank loans. During the investigation police also discovered that O’Bryan had taken out 3 life insurance policies on his children. One in January for $52,500, another one month before Timothy’s death for $20,000, and a final one days before Timothy’s death for $20,000. O’Bryans wife did not know about the policies. After learning that O’Bryan called the life insurance the day after Timothy’s death, he became the prime suspect.
On November 5, 1974, O’Bryan was arrested by police for one count of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder. With evidence and testimony from co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends, as well as his wife rejecting the claim that Timothy chose the Pixy-Stix, stating that O’Bryan had forced him to choose the Pixy-Stix O’Bryan was “done for.”
On June 3, 1975, a jury took 46 minutes to find O’Bryan guilty of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder. The jury took 71 minutes to sentence him to death by electrocution. Soon after, Daynene filed for divorce, remarried, and took custody of Elizabeth.
In prison, the other inmates expressed extreme dislike for O’Bryan. On March 31, 1984, shortly after midnight, O’Bryan was executed by lethal injection. During the execution, a crowd of 300 demonstrators gathered outside the prison cheered while some yelled “Trick or treat!” Others showered anti-death penalty demonstrators with candy.
O’Bryan is buried in Forest Park East Cemetery in Webster, Texas. Timothy is buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.
By: Ricky Fabrow
Aries: This month you’ll be able to show off your glory and success by smiling brightly in life and doing your best work in anything.
Taurus: This month will be all about relaxing and laying back. There won’t be much work to do and people will finally be leaving you alone for some well needed peace and quiet.
Gemini: There will be a lot of activities for you to talk about and do this month. From setting up decorations and using the aesthetic of the outside to please the eyes of your inside.
Cancer: This month you will be able to flow through life and enjoy its small details as your good deeds will be repaid with small yet sweet actions from others
Leo: You´ll be beaming with energy as you race off into the day and weeks enjoying life for its beautiful scenery and people you are soon to meet
Virgo: You will improve in whatever job or work related thing you are in and will blow everyone out of the water and get a much deserved reward
Libra: Evil will come your way but you will swiftly and quickly deal with it as soon as it happens and stop whatever negative forces happen.
Scorpio: You will be comforted and appreciated for what you have done for yourself and will improve on many things you have had trouble with in the past.
Sagittarius: Your uniqueness will let you make friends easier and not have to go through life alone as they will notice how different you are then the rest.
Capricorn: This month you won’t have to worry about the tons and tons of work that life throws at you but instead be a straight steady path of relaxing.
Aquarius: You’ll be able to open up to others and get the help that you deserve while also having some much needed fun along the way.
Pisces: This month you’ll be able to control your emotions and finally do the things you have wanted to do for a long time.
Causing a Racquet
By: Courtney Henson & Farah Standley
In early September, the Pleasanton Eagle tennis team opened district with a strong win over Karnes City. With a final score of Pleasanton 14, Karnes City 5, some come from behind wins were extremely rewarding for the Eagles. Soon after, the tennis team dominated against Gonzales. With a 10-0 win putting them 2-0 in district. Yet again, a few days later, Pleasanton had another dominating game against Somerset high school. Beating them 10-3, securing their 3rd district win.
Freshman Lauren Miles has been playing tennis for many years and continues to play with the Pleasanton High School. She loves the team and just how supportive everyone is of each other. Saying “everyone is cheering you on” no matter what. For first year coach Everett, the season has been exciting. “So far we are having an awesome time and are doing so well,” as the season continues Coach Everett is confident in the teams spot in playoffs and looks forward to facing the tougher competition in district. Aside from this, Coach Everett looks forward to getting to know his team even better, saying he wants to “connect with the kids more on a personal level.”
As the season continues marching on, the Eagle tennis team will continue to do amazing. We wish you luck, Eagles! Pride! Pride!