JROTC

By: Libby Sanchez

Pleasanton JROTC participating at the Pleasanton City Wide Memorial Day Ceremony.

As the school year comes to an end, so do the clubs and organizations within our district. After Covid-19 took their chance of an End of Year Award Ceremony and Change of Command Ceremony last year, Pleasanton JROTC was excited to be able to participate in this event on May 20th . The Change of Command Ceremony is significant because it’s a change of authority of Cadet Senior Leadership. Announced at this event was next year’s new Battalion Commander, Simon Karsky (Junior), and Battalion Command Sergeant Major, Hayli Woodson (Sophomore). On May 22nd, JROTC participated in the Alpha Warrior Challenge at Retama Park in San Antonio. After practicing and training for this event the previous weekend, our Eagles were ready to dominate the hour and 45 minute course. They were split up into an 8 person male team and an 8 person female team. The Eagles won 4th place out of the 12 teams in the male category, and the Pink Eagles won 2nd place. Pleasanton High School JROTC was very honored to participate in the Pleasanton City Wide Memorial Day Ceremony to pay their respects to our fallen heroes this past weekend. They participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Veteran Memorial early Sunday morning. Over the summer, 10 cadets were chosen to participate in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge. The 5 male cadets chosen are: Lorenzo Samaniego, Aries Uhl, Logan Alexander,  Valdamore Herrera, and Kenneth Alegria. The 5 female cadets chosen are: Natalia Jones, Alaina Nethken, Courtney Cearley, Annie Araiza, and Hayli Woodson. It’s a 4 day overnight event that focuses on team building and cadet leadership. Colonel Wynder has done a great job with this year’s JROTC program and is beyond proud of the graduating seniors. “I want them to take the lessons they’ve learned during this experience and apply them for the rest of their lives, motivate young people, set up for success, live by the cadet creed, and always be successful.” Good luck to those graduating, and we’re looking forward to what JROTC has in store for next year! 

Women’s Soccer: Not Just a Team, a Family

By: Libby Sanchez

The Pleasanton Women’s Soccer Team celebrating after a win against Beeville in playoffs.

On this team, nobody goes through anything alone. This has been proven by the black armbands worn by the girls every game since to represent the loss of a beautiful woman, Robyn Miller, on March 11. “This team means so much to me and seeing them support my family during such a hard time even if it’s as small as wearing a black armband, it means the world to me,” said Brylee Miller. Instead of letting the situation get the better of them, they took it all out on the field and played with a deep purpose behind it all. 

The Pleasanton Women‘s Soccer Team had their first playoff game against Beeville on March 26. After a long battle in both halves, the score was tied 0-0 and the teams went into a shootout. Coach Bird selected Seniors: Renata Osorio, Sofia Rivera, Kaitlyn Garcia, Lacey Stevens, and Junior: Skylar Mitchell. 

Renata was up to take the first shot for Pleasanton. Osorio took her shot, but unfortunately, Beeville’s goalie was able to block it. Lucky for us, Renata’s adrenaline rush caused her to shoot the ball before the ref blew his whistle, therefore forcing her to take the shot again. This time she waited a few seconds after the whistle was blown, and sent a beautiful shot to the bottom right of the net. Setting us in the lead 1-0. With Syd set up in goal, Beeville sent in another one of their players to take their second penalty kick of the shootout. She kicked too far right, causing the ball to hit the goal post and bounce back, leaving us in the lead. Up next, we had Kaitlyn step up to the penalty line. She set the score 2-0, increasing our lead. Beeville scored their first goal against us, making the score 2-1. Sofia was determined to keep the team in the playoffs when she scored a great goal and brought us up 3-1. To make an already intense game even better, if Beeville made this next goal in the shootout, they had a chance at a comeback. If they missed, that would set the Eagles at a lead that’s impossible to catch up to. Merecka, after playing an amazing game with multiple saves, was not about to cut her senior season short. Beeville’s player sent a great shot, but not great enough to get past Sydney. She deflected it out, winning Pleasanton the game, and it was only a few seconds before she was in the center of a hype circle her team had formed around her. The fans we’re beyond excited for the Eagles to continue on to round two.

 Their next playoff game was against Canyon Lake at Alamo Heights in San Antonio. 15 minutes into the game, Canyon Lake scored their first goal off a corner kick. This didn’t discourage our girls, if anything it just made them fight back harder. With only 8 minutes left in the first half, Osario sent a beautiful through-ball to Brandi Barnett (Junior), who was able to make a quick move around a defender and outrun her to score our first goal of the game. Going into halftime, the game was tied 1-1. This was where Bird decided to change up their plan and told the girls it was time to step up their offensive game. Canyon Lake scored their second goal with only 20 minutes left in the game. After a well-fought battle, with many great runs and plays, The Pleasanton Women’s Soccer Team’s season came to an end. It was an emotional night for this team that’s become a family, many tears were shed as a result of it being many of our senior’s last games of their high school career. “If I had to choose one word to describe this season, I think it would have to be “rollercoaster.” We had a lot of highs and lows but overall it was a ton of fun and I built friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” said Osorio. It’s bittersweet to see them go, but the program is excited to see where future teams take them. “The biggest piece of advice I can give to upcoming classes is to enjoy it all, every single piece of it. It all flies by too fast to just let it float by. Four years’ worth of memories that I will cherish for a long time to come,” said Merecka. The 2020-2021 Pleasanton Women’s Soccer Team has had a memorable year and season, and the program is excited for it to only get better in the future.

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Garza

By: Libby Sanchez

Ms. Garza is our school’s CCMR (College, Career, and Military Readiness) Clerk. She manages our Dual Credit program, updates the counseling web page, organizes appointments for TSI, SAT, PSAT, and ASVAB testing, gives updates on scholarships, and schedules meetings with recruiters for students. Her job is to make sure students are prepared to take the correct route in their future, whether it be college or military. 

Pleasanton High School is the first school district Ms. Garza has worked for. She worked at her previous job for 16 years and became the IT director. She received many certifications in Networking, Electronic Medical Records, Practice manager System, Medical Coding, and Billing. These certifications made her the perfect fit for this position at our school. 

Although this job was not her career goal, “this was a contender because I love helping people and knowing I can help a student with their own goals is a great feeling,” Ms. Garza said. 

Covid- 19 has put a strain on how Ms. Garza does her job. This year, scholarship applications have to be submitted electronically instead of paper, college fairs must be virtual, and scheduling testing is an issue. Despite these complications, Ms. Garza has done an excellent job of keeping everything organized and running smoothly! You can catch her standing outside her door next to the counselor’s office with a smile through her mask, thank you for all you do Ms. Garza!

Pleasanton Softball

By: Libby Sanchez

The Pleasanton Lady Eagles Softball Team’s season has officially started. Last year’s season was unfortunately cut short due to Covid-19, and the girls are ready to step up to the pitch and pick up where they left off. “The majority of last year’s team is back and ready to continue what we started last season. We plan on being aggressive and adding some different options in our offensive game,” stated Coach Savage. 

The girls have been practicing new game strategies and plans since January. “So far the season has started off really well! Everyone is contributing and doing what is best for the team, so I can confidently say that if it continues, our team will only continue to get stronger. Everyone is working as hard as possible, and I know that all our hard work will pay off in the end,” stated Anai Gonzalez, sophomore. Both teams are proud of their progression shown at practices. On February 2nd, both Varsity and JV went up against Natalia in a friendly scrimmage. Despite Natalia’s hard-hitting offense, our Pleasanton Lady Eagle’s came out on top with good bats and great defensive stops. On February 5th, both teams scrimmaged Cornerstone. Scores were not kept during this game but it was a well fought match. Again on February 9th, both teams went up against Cotulla and brought home a win of 8-2. Their first official games were cancelled due to weather, but the girls are looking forward to adding new strategies to their game and having a great season!

Student Spotlight

By: Libby Sanchez

Frank Alaquinez is a freshman this year at PHS and is a member of the class of 2024. Frank was recommended by Coach Salinas, who states,“It’s rare to find students who understand the responsibility it takes to be a successful student-athlete. Frank has done just that, and he’s only a Freshman. He gets along with all his peers, he’s willing to tutor if other students need help, and he’s very positive with the other kids he interacts with. He is just a great student to have in class and I’m proud to be his math teacher this year.” 

Frank’s favorite subjects in school are algebra and principles of law. “I’ve always wanted to be a private investigator, there’ve been other careers that sound cool, but this one has always been there and sounds like the most fitting for me” Frank said. 

In Jr. High, Frank played sports such as soccer, football, and basketball. Outside of school, Frank played baseball for two years with a club team. Although he loved playing all of these sports, he decided to focus on playing just baseball in high school. “They were fun and I enjoyed the experience they brought, but baseball stood out to me the most,” Frank stated. Even with Covid-19 still complicating things, Frank is overjoyed to be able to have his freshman baseball season with this year’s team. 

A Team Above All. Above All a Team.

By: Libby Sanchez

The Pleasanton Women’s Soccer team picking up trash after the Merry On Main parade for community service.

The Pleasanton Women’s Soccer program is known as one of the most competitive and tight-knit teams in our district, having claimed the title of District-Champions ten times in twenty years of soccer at PHS. 

After winning the title of District-Champions for four consecutive years in a row, our Women’s Varsity Soccer team was going for the next title- Area Champions. Unfortunately due to the fallout of Covid-19, their winning streak of eight games was cut short. Many were distraught to see last years’ seniors play their last game of their highschool career, without even realizing it. “When I first heard the news of our season getting cancelled, I think I was in denial. We worked so hard, day after day, for it just to be ripped away from us. After it sank in that we’d never play with last years’ seniors again, I couldn’t help but feel defeated,” states sophomore Trinity Garcia. The Women’s Junior Varsity team also had their season cut down by one game, but was content with how well they improved throughout the season.

Although Covid-19 took away the team’s ability to train and practice together, it couldn’t take away their drive and determination to improve individually for the upcoming season. In order to stay in shape, girls were sent into quarantine with highly suggested, but not mandatory, daily workouts to partake in. “It’s all about having a good mentality,” states Coach Joseph constantly throughout the season and this rough time. This pandemic has not only taught these girls to adapt and overcome, but has also made this family’s bond even stronger. “Being able to see the chemistry we all have with each other is, to me, very inspiring and I think that from a non-soccer players point of view, it truly shows how close we all are and when we step on the field to play, nothing changes,”stated Brylee Miller, Sophomore. Tryouts were held November 31 through December 2 and teams were selected on December 3. 

Varsity is scheduled to scrimmage Harlandale this Friday, December 11. Both teams are scheduled for a scrimmage against Veterans Memorial on December 15, and have an upcoming tournament in early January. The Pleasanton Women’s Soccer team is ready to get the ball back in play!

Socially-distanced Thanksgiving

By: Libby Sanchez

Thanksgiving is a time when families travel long distances to be with their loved ones and celebrate together. It’s a day full of good times and usually ends with a turkey dinner and whatever sporting event is being broadcasted. Unfortunately, under the strict circumstances of Covid-19, this year traveling increases the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to your loved ones. Although it may be hard to just stay home this year with immediate family, it may be the best idea. 

Staying home shouldn’t prevent you from having a great time with your family and doing yearly traditions. Try preparing annual recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of catching Covid-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve direct contact with others. Maybe consider having a virtual dinner and sharing your recipes and visiting with the rest of your family that way.

Although, it’s understandable to still attend a large family dinner and celebrate like you do every year. If this is the route you plan on taking, make sure you and your family take the proper precautions. Bring along hand sanitizer and apply before and after touching someone, that way you and the person you’ve touched are less likely to be spreading germs. It’s also highly suggested to still be wearing a mask when not 6-feet apart, especially if you have family who travels from far places. This helps prevent your germs from spreading onto loved ones. Another great idea is to wipe down places you’ve sat at, that way germs are less likely to be passed onto clothes. 

Even though holidays aren’t the same this year because of the virus, it’s still important that everyone has a great time. That being said, we also need to make sure that we’re doing that in the safest way possible. Have a safe break! 

National Bullying Prevention Month

By: Libby Sanchez

Every October, communities and schools across the world join and work together in hopes of putting an end to all forms of bullying. During this month, many campaigns, protests, and new resources are aimed at raising awareness towards bullying. This aggressive and constant behavior should not go unrecognized. 

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, or attacking someone physically or verbally. One of the most effective forms of bullying today is done online and is known as cyber-bullying. About 20% of students ages 12-18 have experienced bullying nationwide, and 15% reported to have been getting bullied online and harassed. Research indicates that consistent bullying can lead victims to suicidal behavior. All states have anti-bully legislation, but bullying is not illegal and continues to be a common occurrence.

Every week of October, the National Bullying Prevention committee releases new challenges around the world to help prevent bullying from occurring. Some of which include: making friends with someone you don’t know at school, standing up for others, and spreading kindness to those around you. This year they also ask that school’s and local businesses wear orange in hopes of sending a message to “stomp out bullying,”

This October, try your best to join in on these challenges and show your support to prevent bullying. If you or anyone else you know is going through bullying, reach out to a trusted adult and confide in them. Wear your orange and help create a world without bullying!

Staff Spotlight

By: Libby Sanchez

Mrs. Evans is one of the three hardest working counselors at Pleasanton High School. She not only has a positive impact on the students and adults, but our education system as well. Mrs. Evans takes her job very seriously and makes sure every student explores career options and stays motivated on their paths throughout high school. 

She attended PHS herself and after graduating from here in 1991, Mrs. Evans attended Texas State for three and a half years before graduating in 1994. She then came back to her hometown and started working in the family business once known as “Dowdy’s Store”, where she worked for 11 years after college. When word got around that the store may no longer be in business, Mrs. Evans had to start looking for more options here in Pleasanton. She wasn’t left with many, but the one that called out to her the most was indeed helping children at our local schools. She started as a math teacher at our Jr. High in 2006 and taught math for 4 years. A few years after teaching math, she became a counselor in both Pleasanton, Jourdanton, and Poteet before she settled here at the high school. 

Although counseling wasn’t always the goal for Mrs. Evans, she’s grown to love the job and the joy of helping students. “The counselor’s role is basically to be the students’ advocate, anything a student needs help with, I´m there”. Mrs. Evans has gone above and beyond to make sure this school year could be where it is now. From managing student schedules online instead of face-to-face, to college career plans for our seniors, Mrs. Evans does it all. This is her sixth year as a counselor at PHS and although she’s had to make major changes to how she does things this year, she’s come out the other side and made things work.