True Crime Vol. XXIX: The Zodiac Killer

By: Kendall Zuniga 

On October 30th, 1966, a woman by the name of Cheri Jo Bates was slashed and stabbed to death on the Grounds of River City College. She was 18 at the time. She was the Zodiac Killer’s first victim. He confessed by sending a message to the police and giving a sign to “Beware” of him. In 1968, a teenage couple was shot to death in their car in a remote area of San Francisco. The following year, another couple was attacked in similar circumstances, but the male victim survived. The Zodiac Killer then made himself known to the police again the same as the years before, confessing to the 1968 and 1969 murders. Later, the Zodiac Killer attacked another young couple, and his last known victim who managed to survive the grips of death is a taxi driver who was shot in October of 1969. 

What makes this so-called “Zodiac Killer” infamous and memorable to all? Nobody knows who he is, where he is, or if he is still alive to this day. He would confess to the police his crimes in his own sadistic and unique way, coded letters he had made himself saying “This is the Zodiac speaking”, “I like killing people because it is so much fun,” and “I hope you are having lots of fun trying to catch me.” Taunting those who follow and try to solve the fascinating codes and identity of the Zodiac Killer, even leaving his own symbol at the bottom of every letter he sent to the police, consisting of a circle with a plus sign overlapping. 

Many have come forward claiming to be him but none have matched the handwriting and description of the true Zodiac Killer. After 62 years of searching and decoding, no one has been able to decode and solve the identity of our Zodiac Killer. Will Zodiac ever be decoded?

Movie Review: Purple Hearts

By: Kendall Zuniga 

Grab your tissues and prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster, because Purple Hearts is sure to make the butterflies in your stomach flutter. Purple hearts is a dramatic romance movie starring Disney’s Sofia Carson, Nicholas Galitzine, and Chosen Jacobs. Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, “Purple Hearts” received a Rotten Tomato score of 30% and a 6.8 out of 10 on IMDB. Although receiving these low scores, many people actually had pleasing things to say about this 21st-century romance drama, loving how it involves current problems in the world today including poverty, broken healthcare systems, and military trauma. However, this movie has also received its fair share of problems. Its depiction of type 1 diabetes has received much backlash from actual patients who live with type 1 diabetes.

I enjoyed watching this movie but thought it was a little choppy when it came to certain scenes transitioning. I would give this movie a 7.5 out of 10, I would watch it again if I hadn’t seen it in a while.



By: Noah Ramos 


This week may be a little tough to go through but keep your head up. Good things will be heading your way after you have faced the hardships head-on. 


Something unexpected will suddenly arrive or happen to you. You won’t know if it’s good or bad but it will definitely alter your future for this week so be alert.


The next couple of days will be smooth sailing which gives you time to learn something new! It would be great to try out something new and who knows you may make it a hobby.


You’ve been having doubts and are looking for an answer to put your mind at ease. This week will surely give you the answer you seek but there is no telling if it will be the answer you want to hear.


This week you will not feel the best so maybe it would be good to just try to relax and watch some movies or read a book to save your energy. 


You don’t seem to know what you want to do for the future but don’t worry. This month will show you something that will help you find something you’ll love.


You will be full of energy and feel as if you can finish anything that comes your way. Use this energy not only for yourself but for others as well.


You feel as if you’re invisible at the moment but you will have your own chance to shine in the spotlight soon if you take a risk. 


Your positive attitude is contagious and rubs off on other people. Others will want to be around you more often because of this.


You may feel like the work piled on your shoulders is too much for you to handle. But you will find the strength you need from someone unexpected.


Your love for adventure will hit its peak this week with the opportunity to do things you’ve never gotten to experience before.


You may have hit a rough patch this week but don’t worry your luck will turn for the better soon.

Prom 2022

By: Kristina Mertz

Photo credit: Libby Sanchez

Prom was held this year at Las Fuentes by Emporium on Saturday, April the 23rd. Memorable moments included Estevan Jackson as Prom King and Nika Garcia being announced as Prom Queen. Senior awards given were as follows: Prettiest Eyes- Anthony Ottinger, Most Beautiful and Handsome- Noelani Guerrero and Luke Raney, Class Clown- Trey Hagen, Best Personality- Melanie Douglas, Best Smile- Kendall Espey, Most Likely to Become President- River Reyes, Best Physique- Braxton Springer, Most Athletic- Kennedy Guajardo and Juan Lopez, Best Bromance- Peyton Eichman and Cade Mitchell, Most Likely to Succeed- Montgomery Cain, Most Spirited- Justin Veale, Cutest Couple-Juan Lopez and Linda Sanchez, Best Laugh- Cade Mitchell, Most Transformed- Trey Hagen, Sweetest and Kindest-Melanie Douglas, Best Hair- Catalina Villalobos, Best Friends- Montgomery Cain and Nicholas Napier, Life of the Party- Justin Veale, Cutest Couple that Never Was- Montgomery Cain and Kenley Everett, Most Talkative- Caitlin Hernandez, Biggest Flirt- Ryan Moore, Most Musical-Belle Martel. Congratulations to all!!

Movie Review: Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

By: Myame Lara

Marvel recently added a new movie onto the already amazing MCU. “Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness”, rated PG-13, was released on May 6th, 2022 and directed by Sam Raimi. It produced a rating of 74% on “Rotten Tomatoes”, and a 7.4/10 on “IMDb”. The movie produced a net worth of $292.6 million in the box office and has a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes.

This movie features some of Marvel’s most known icons including Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, and Benedict Wong. Acting alongside these characters were many rising actors which we all hope to see in future productions. 

To many Marvel fans, this film was long awaited and highly anticipated for some time now, which gave it a high standard to live up to. MCU fan’s held the bar high, and Marvel went even higher. This action packed movie had many moments leaving fans speechless and in awe. The plot wasn’t at all predictable and left viewers waiting for more to come!

I, as a Marvel fan myself, highly recommend this film! There wasn’t a moment that left me bored or not impressed! Be sure to watch it in theaters as soon as possible!

Poem of the Month


The wind is tossing the lilacs,

The new leaves laugh in the sun,

And the petals fall on the orchard wall,

But for me the spring is done.

Beneath the apple blossoms

I go a wintry way,

For love that smiled in April

Is false to me in May.

By: Sara Teasdale

The year is ending soon and we have to say goodbye to the Seniors we had previously shared memories with. It is time to welcome the students that are coming to the high school and make new memories to last for generations.


The Passionate Poet

Poem of the Month

An April Day

On such a day as this I think,

On such a day as this,

When earth and sky and nature’s whole

Are clad in April’s bliss;

And balmy zephyr’s gently waft

Upon your cheek a kiss;

Sufficient is it just to live

On such a day as this.

By: Joseph Seamon Cotter

We are already in April and we are almost at the end of the school and the seniors are getting ready to graduate. We are also getting ready to do our STAAR test and some juniors are getting ready to do the TSI and SAT.


The Passionate Poet

Advice Column

By: Aaliyah Herrera 

Do you have a valentine? If so, are you having trouble finding things to do or to get for your valentine? You’re in luck. I have the perfect advice for you!

  • “What do you do if you don’t have a valentine?” 

If you don’t have a valentine do whatever makes you feel good, read a book or some magazines. Watch some movies or your favorite TV show. Try and avoid the sappy stuff that puts you in a bad mood about Valentine’s day. Try to be active. For example, go for a walk, find a relaxing park to enjoy the outdoors or even sit in your backyard enjoying nature around you. Go to the gym, or even take a fitness class, being active can take your mind off of so many things spoil yourself because you sure do deserve it. 

  • “What are some things to get for your valentine?”

Some things you can get for your valentine are of course the traditional things such as  chocolate/candy, flowers, a big stuffed animal. And the rest would be up to you. Find something they really enjoy and pay close attention to the little things they see either on their phone or if yall go out see what they look or pick up first. 

  • “What are the best flowers to get for your valentine?” 

Traditionally red roses are typically given on valentines day, but some people go off on their valentine’s favorite flower just to understand and pay attention to what they like and I’m sure they’ll love it. 

  • “What’s a good restaurant to go to for Valentine’s Day?” 

Some nice restaurants to go to are Morton’s the Steakhouse, Las Canarias, and Blis . They are all located in San Antonio TX. if not any of those find out what your valentines favorite food or favorite restaurant is and take them there. 

  • “What are some places to go for Valentine’s Day?” 

If you and your valentine are outdoor people and don’t know where to go, go to the Japanese Tea Garden located in San Antonio TX. It is a beautiful place to take pictures or even just walk around with your valentine. If you and your valentine are indoor people and don’t know what to do at home, set up a fort and make it very beautiful and romantic for you and your valentine find a movie you’d both enjoy and make dinner, dessert, and drinks off of the movie you are going to watch. 

Movie Review: Encanto

By: Farah Standley

I decided to sit down and give the highly talked about Disney’s “Encanto” a watch. It was very interesting with many colorful scenes and catchy music. The story follows a young Mirabel as she tries to answer all of her and her family’s many questions. See, her family was blessed with a miracle in which everyone in her family would get a gift, or power. Mirabel did not get a gift. This left her, her family, and the whole town confused and disappointed. The sad part was, she was the only one. Everyone before and after her in the family got a wonderful gift. Then, she figures out about an uncle that is blamed for many problems in the family. His name was Bruno and the family does not prefer to talk about him. After that, the miracle house starts to crumble, and Mirabel decides it is her destiny to find Bruno, return him to the family, and save the house. Mirabel works very hard to reach her goals. All-in-all, this movie is a very interesting, funny, colorful, and overall beautiful production with a fun storyline and cute capybaras. This movie was nominated for 17 different awards! This includes many Annie Awards, Golden Globe Awards, a Satellite Award, a Critics’ Choice Movie Award, a BAFTA Award, a Producers Guild of America Award, an NAACP Image Award, and an ADG in Excellence in Production Design Award. I would say this movie is definitely worth the time to watch.


91% on Rotten Tomatoes

7.3/10 on IMDb

4/5 on Entertainment  Weekly

Poem of the Month


Winter walks

And starlit nights,

Good books and cozy hours,

Time for friends,

And heartfelt sharings,

Dreams of springtime flowers…

Although it may be short on days,

Each February brings

The simple little gifts we count

Among life’s

precious things.

By: Unknown

Nights are cold but the days are hot.A cold front is also coming in this week, so be sure that you dress warm Wednesday and Thursday. February is almost over and March is just around the corner. Some sports are ending soon and some sports are just barely starting.


The Passionate Poet

Sweet Treats

By: Ricky Fabrow

Have you ever wanted to make a treat for your loved one? Or to perhaps just challenge yourself because you love making things to eat? Or to share your passion with people? Then I’ve got a very delicious sweet treat for you!

The ingredients you need are shown below:

  • 1 (7 ounce) package jellyrolls, each cut into 3 slices
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries 
  •  2 1/2 quart glass bowl or trifle dish
  1. You place the Jellyrolls on the bottom and sides of the trifle dish.
  2. Prepare the pudding as instructions tell on the box except use 1 ½ cups of milk then let it sit for five minutes on top to thicken. Fold in 1 cup of whipped topping.
  3. Arrange ½ strawberry slices on top of the pudding. Optional remaining strawberries and whipped toppings garnish with strawberry halves.
  4. Cover and chill for 8 hours and then enjoy.

After that you have your delicious and sweet treat ready to go and consume either by yourself for the love of it or with a loved one or friend as a sweet gesture of your relationship or friendship.


By: Autumn Webster

Aries (March 21 –  April 20): You will find yourself becoming more confident in your relationships,

Taurus (April 21 – May 21): You’ll find yourself wanting to work on improving your relationships more, such as your family

Gemini (May 22 – June 21): You will notice that you have become more critical of your social life, and care about your public image more

Cancer (June 22 – July 22): You’ll find yourself becoming more sensitive around others, especially those that you care about

Leo (July 23 – August 21): You’ll find yourself wanting to help lead others through harmful relationships,

Virgo (August 22 – September 23): You’ll find yourself starting to take a more logical approach to your social life,

Libra (September 24 – October 23): You’ll find yourself starting to feel more comfortable around others, mostly your friends

Scorpio (October 24 – November 22): You’ll find yourself start to become more secretive about your social life and your home life

Sagittarius (November 23 – December 22): You’ll find yourself starting to become more outspoken around people, especially around those you trust

Capricorn (December 23 – January 20): You’ll find yourself becoming more determined to fix things, especially with old friends

Aquarius (January 21 – February 19): You’ll find yourself becoming more independent, especially from toxic relationships

Pisces (February 20 – March 20): You’ll notice yourself becoming more emotionally aware of yourself and others

Professional Advice from a Professional Procrastinator

By: River Reyes

Procrastination is a fickle beast, there is no concrete method for tackling the hurdle it imposes upon a person’s work ethic. When writing this article, many hours were spent thinking about what would work, what is the right way to articulate my thoughts? I was actively working on trying to be productive, yet I had pushed off the responsibility of writing until the next day, and the next, and the next.

People have a tendency to push responsibilities off to the very last minute necessary. In the back of your mind, these responsibilities will remain relevant, but at the same time, you find yourself affixed on minute and trivial tasks. You can still be productive, but you don’t tend to what should be your priority. It’s very easy to understand that what you’re doing is improper, yet it’s still difficult to drive away your guilt and focus on what is important. I believe that procrastination is a product of premature stress. The moment you hear the word “deadline”, in the back of your mind a thought settles, the understanding of your responsibility. You can be exemplary at time management, yet the stress of the idea of a deadline could easily throw you off course as you need relief from the pressure that builds up. It’s a nasty cycle of tearing yourself apart, only to find short-term relief in mundane tasks that don’t amount to anything in regards to the matter at hand. Sure you can clean your room, perfect a personal project, or just get on your phone to distract yourself, but you only delay the inevitable, feeding into the aforementioned cycle of short term relief and further procrastination.

So what’s the solution? In short, there is no conclusive solution, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself to prevent your bad habit of procrastination. Instead of waiting till the last minute for that “spark of inspiration”, take your time to calm yourself and think about what you’re doing and where you want to be. At its root, procrastination is tied to the idea of responsibility and the pressure that may come with it. If you think about where you’re trying to go and set personal goals for yourself to achieve, you may find that pressure lessened. 

Take some time to evaluate your position, think about what it is you’re avoiding. Don’t beat yourself up thinking you have a terrible work ethic, but don’t avoid what’s important. 

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.

Movie Review: Spiderman No Way Home

By: Kristina Mertz

Beware, spoilers ahead! Spiderman No Way Home directed by John Watts gained a score of 93% on rotten tomatoes and an 8.1/10 on IMDB. The overwhelming audience reaction sure hyped people up worldwide, as it garnered a net worth of $721 Million at the box office.

Starring heartthrob Tom Holland, along with popular Zendaya and Marisa Tomei, this movie was fully stocked with some rising modern stars. However, this film captured the audience’s attention with a whole list of people seen in your favorite childhood movies. Those included, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, William Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, and JK Simmons.

The movie was spectacular, as from the very start of the film, you could notice the attention to detail was prominent, the amount of time and effort that went into this film really paid off for the audience. The plot was overall, very interesting and kept the audience hooked throughout, as well as the romance between Peter and MJ created another obstacle for Peter Parker while he tried to save the world.

There is a battle that continues throughout the film between Peter and himself determining who he needs to be, because in the end he can;t be both. There are quite a few spoilers left in the film that contribute to the wonderful marvel (pun intended) it is.

Overall this is a great film and I highly recommend it! Be sure to catch it in theaters before its too late!

Sweet Treat

By: Alexandra Garcia

Are you looking for a perfect peaceful party dessert ?  The Berry and Cream Tart is a tasteful 

individual berry dessert which is easy to customize as well.   

Berries and Cream Tarts are very delicious and elegant desserts to satisfy your taste buds, and it will leave a delightful taste in your mouth. For sure a dessert you and your guest won’t miss. 

This dessert includes a buttery crust and rich pastry cream filling with colorful berries on the top.  

Berry Cream Tart | King Arthur Baking

Be sure to prep the oven 30 minutes before. 

The filling ingredients :

¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All- purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 large egg and 1 cup or (227g) of milk
  • 3 tablespoons  (42g) butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond extract

Ingredients for crust :

  • One 9’’ round pate sucree crust, fully baked

Topping ingredients : 

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries 

Glaze (optional) : ½ cup preserves or jam; or ¼ cup jelly


Step 1 – To make the filing : In a warm bowl you will whisk the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg, whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Step 2 – In a small bowl (1 ½ quart) saucepan, begin boiling the milk. Add hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continually to make everything smooth.

Step 3 – Pour the hot milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan, return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Once the mixture thickens you will wanna keep whisking vigorously to keep it from getting lumpy.

Step 4 – Once you see the filing come to a boil across its entire surface, cook for another minute. Then move away from heat. Then stir in the butter and extract. 

To assemble the tart: Pour the filing into the tart shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve the tart, remove the wrap from the filing and top of the tart with sliced strawberries and berries in alternating rows

To make the glaze: If using jam or preserves, warm them up gently and thin with a little water if necessary to loosen them up. Scoop out and discard any solids. Brush remaining glaze over the berries. If you’re using jelly, warm it up and brush it over berries. 

Slice the tart  into wedges and serve with whipped cream if you desire. 

STORAGE INFO: store any leftover tart, covered, in the refrigerator and do not freeze.

Poem of the Month

Winter Wonderland

There are strange and mysterious sounds

When the winds of winter blow,

The long nights are crystal clear and cold,

And the fields and meadows are covered with snow.

The stars are frosty against the sky,

And the wind’s whistle is shrill,

As the snow blows against the house

And drifts against the hill.

Yet, I like to see during the winter

A white carpet on the ground,

To plod aimlessly in the deep snow,

where deer tracks abound.

I like to feel the stillness

Of a crisp winter’s night,

Watching a full moon rise over the horizon,

Exposing a winter wonderland beautiful and bright.

By: Joseph T. Renaldi

Nights are getting colder and track practice is starting along with more sports and tournaments arriving, so remember to keep yourself warm when you practice and play!


The Passionate Poet

Advice Column

By: Farah Standley

There are so many words of wisdom that could make your life better, and you may not even know you need them! Let’s go over a few…

  • “Would your seven year old self be proud of you right now?”

This is a very good question to think about. If you think very deeply, you might find the answer is yes, or maybe you’ll find the answer is no. The thought that a younger, more sweet and innocent version of yourself might not approve of the person you are today can hit hard. This question can serve as a small motivation for someone to change! Would your 7 year old self be proud of who you’ve become?

  • “If you have two good friends… you’re rich!”

This quote makes a very good and important point about how in life, it is the quality of the friends you have, not the quantity. I feel like most people could say they would rather have one or two amazing friends than 100 toxic ones, because you aren’t bettering yourself by surrounding yourself with people that don’t make your life better.

  • “Pay no attention to those who talk behind your back, it only means they’re two steps behind you.”

This quote is expressing that people who talk behind your back are less mature, and most likely envious of you, and you shouldn’t waste your time and energy over people that are insignificant to your lifestyle. So surround yourself with people who are on your level of maturity and will appreciate you for who you are, and do the same for your friends.

  • “If you don’t have the courage to take a step forward, you will always be in the same place.”

This quote is showing that you can get out of any situation as long as you have the courage to get yourself out of it. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep walking! We are put through certain situations to make us stronger, and if we jump out of our comfort zone, we will only take a lesson and a memory from those times.

  • “Be careful what you say, words can be forgiven, but not forgotten.”

There are no erase buttons for words. Everything you say is out in the air forever! If you decide to say things that affect someone else in a bad way, they may decide to give you another chance, but the words might stay in their memory forever! So be careful what you decide to put in other people’s minds.


By: Wanish Tortes-Mcginnis

Ever since Thanksgiving became a holiday, the history behind it has been tattered and torn into lies and some truths. Although know one really knows as to who killed who and who’s responsible for the outcome. Many people and historians have different opinions and attributes as to what happened on the feast of thanksgiving day. For many Americans Thanksgiving nowadays is a holiday to be thankful whether that be family, the food on the table or just to be alive and well. For many indigenous people Thanksgiving is a day of mourning remembering the people that died for their land and those who were taken by disease. Thanksgiving is based on the period of time when the pilgrims came from England to North America, nowadays called Plymouth Massachusetts. The small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the “New World.” After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Although the pilgrims made it to the” New World” they were not ready for the days to come. Harsh winters and small supply of food and goods almost killed the entire colony, however in march when winter had passed the pilgrims got an astonishing visit from a member of the Abenaki tribe who spoke English. Several days later the same man brought a man by the name of Squanto. Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery the last of his tribe. Squanto taught the pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, fish in the rivers, and even formed an alliance between the pilgrims and the neighboring tribe the Wampanoag. In November of 1621 Governor William Bradford organized a feast with the Wampanoag and neighboring tribes to give thanks to their first successful harvest which is called the First Thanksgiving.           

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.

Movie Review: King Richard

By: Kristina Mertz

King Richard is a new film that was released to theaters on  November 19, the film managed to score a 90% according to Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 98%. Notable actors in this film include Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Will Smith, and John Bernthal, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, one of his most notable films was Monsters and Men, which was played at the Sundance Film Festival. 

The film stars Richard Williams, played by Will Smith, as he is passionately determined to get his daughters to be future tennis stars. Originally from Compton t,the now famous Serena and Venus Williams, used to practice on abandoned and run down tennis courts in their town. Through Richard’s firm determination and strong familial bond with his daughters and wife, this remarkable film demonstrates how the now best tennis players in the world persevered through the hardships and rose above all obstacles. 

This movie had a wonderful plotline, and stunned the audience with the breathtaking story of the uprising of Venus and Serena Williams. I highly recommend this movie as it had such an inspirational message to never give up and that hard work will pay off. There were plenty of sad moments that tug at the heartstrings, but the humorous scenes really make up for it. The film also stuck very  true to the original story of the sisters, as shown by the end credits scene.

Overall, the film had a strong sense of family bonds, which made the movie have that fulfilling feel. I would definitely recommend this movie to uplift the spirits of anyone around you, including yourself.

"Theatrical release poster": A father embraces his two daughters. Underneath them is the tagline: "Venus, Serena and a plan for greatness".

Poem of the Month

To Mrs K____, On Her Sending Me an English Christmas Plum-Cake at Paris

What crowding thoughts around me wake,

What marvels in a Christmas-cake!

Ah say, what strange enchantment dwells

Enclosed within its odorous cells?

Is there no small magician bound

Encrusted in its snowy round?

For magic surely lurks in this,

A cake that tells of vanished bliss;

A cake that conjures up to view

The early scenes, when life was new;

When memory knew no sorrows past,

And hope believed in joys that last! —

Mysterious cake, whose folds contain

Life’s calendar of bliss and pain;

That speaks of friends for ever fled,

And wakes the tears I love to shed.

Oft shall I breathe her cherished name

From whose fair hand the offering came:

For she recalls the artless smile

Of nymphs that deck my native isle;

Of beauty that we love to trace,

Allied with tender, modest grace;

Of those who, while abroad they roam,

Retain each charm that gladdens home,

And whose dear friendships can impart

A Christmas banquet for the heart!

By: Helen Maria Williams

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving Break and get ready for Christmas Break. Winter is here and even Christmas may have presents and other gifts, it is also a time where you can just spend time with family that you don’t see often and just catch up with them. 


The Passionate Poet

Sweet Treat

By: Alexandra Garcia

Wanna satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your kitchen with these no-bake strawberry desserts ?.. Try the Strawberry Pretzel Pie. 

This cool no-bake Strawberry Pretzel Pie is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Made with pantry staples and as easy as pie. It becomes one of the favorite sweet treats around.  The strawberry pretzel pie has lots of ingredients added into it such as… butter, sugar, lemon juice, marshmallow creme, and cream cheese. Reviews of this sweet treat are quite good although most of the reviews recommend adding strawberry whipped cream cheese or just taking out the cream cheese. Of course, everyone has their own opinion of this delicious treat. 


  • 4 cups of miniature pretzels
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup boiling water 
  • 1 package (6 ounces) strawberry gelatin,1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled, divided  
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • ⅔ cup of whipped cream cheese (not necessary) 
  • ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk  

Directions to the strawberry pretzel pie

  1. Place pretzels in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Add butter and sugar; pulse until combined. Reserve ⅓ cup of pretzel mixture for topping. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. Springform pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until you feel like it’s enough.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add boiling water to gelatin; stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Chop half the strawberries; slice the remaining berries and reserve for topping. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Beat marshmallow creme, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk into cooled gelatin mixture until blended. Gently fold in chopped strawberries and whipped cream. Pour into the crust. 
  4. Refrigerate, covered, until firm, 4-6 hours. Beat remaining 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form; spread over pie. Top with reserved strawberries and whipped and pretzel mixture.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 350 calories, 19g fat (12g saturated fat), 56 mg cholesterol, 284mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates (30g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.