You Just Got Served!

By: Kristina Mertz

The Pleasanton Eagle Tennis team had several tournaments this month located at Somerset and East Central. On March 2nd and 3rd the team traveled to Somerset to compete in a tournament.

Devon Clark, a sophomore, says the season “… hasn’t been going as good [as] it was last year because we went to Area, but the really good people we have are seniors and we only have three seniors left.” He later added, “I’m proud that I have gotten better with my left hand… I switched hands this year… Because I tore my rotator cuff.”

The tennis team later traveled to compete in the East Central Grand Slam Tournament on the 17th and 19th returned with a 1st place win from the JV Boys Doubles main draw composed of Dillion Benavidez and Shayne Cazier. Luke Harlos and Blake Moos won 1st place boys doubles back draw for the varsity team.

Coach Schwab states, “We’re exactly where we want to be going into district we’re on a high.” He said he is most proud of, “My team.” He later added, “The team probably just needs to improve on stepping out with a tough mental attitude, stepping out with the idea that they’re gonna win, when they step out onto the court that they are the winners and that they’re gonna be the victors and we’re gonna be in great shape.”

Pride! Pride!

Hole in One

By: Heaven Marquez

Pictured (left to right): Jake Casias, Reed Foster, Brady Stevens, Travis Garcia, Matthew Garcia, Coach Guerra

As the golf season carries on, the Eagles also continue doing well in different tournaments. February was an eventful month for both the boys and girls golf teams, with successful tournaments for all. On February 1st, the first tournament for the girls was held in Devine, with the team taking 4th place with 463 points. The boys began on February 3rd, playing in the Somerset Tournament and winning 1st place with a total of 350 points. The 8th was a success for the girls in the Warren Tournament, coming in 9th place and scoring 454 points. The girls team also did well on February 22nd, earning 4th place in Devine with a score of 426. February 23rd was another great day for the boys team, with them winning 1st in Devine on a score of 341 points. March was another great month for the Eagles golf teams, which began on March 1st. The girls earned 4th place in the Jourdanton Tournament, ending with 416 points. 

“It’s [the team] improved a lot with people coming back from other sports and just overall play,” said senior Trent Crady. “Many have improved by a couple of strokes.” The boys continued the great work on March 3rd in the Jourdanton Boys Tournament, getting 1st place with 324 points. On March 9th, the girls team won 4th place with 412 points. March 12th and 13th were triumphant for the boys, winning 1st place with 674 points at the two day Uvalde Coyote Invitational Tournament. March 15th was also successful for the boys team, coming in 1st place once again with a score of 335. On March 17th, the girls team also did really well in the Randolph Tournament, arriving in 2nd place with a final score of 426 points. 

With district just around the corner, both teams are continuing to play strong. “District is looking really good for the team. We have a better chance to move past district and continue going forward,” stated Crady. The district golf tournament will determine who goes on to the next round, and both teams have a great shot at making it. Great job Eagles and keep up the good work!

Track

By: Adriana Clark 

On February 25th, our JV/Varsity boys and girls track team went to Devine. At the Devine track meet our girls and boys raced against the Devine, Jourdanton, and Natalia track teams. Our Varsity Girls had nine people place first, Kassidy Vickers in the 3200, Caitlyn Nieschwitz in the 800 and 1600, Kennedy Guajardo in the 400, Jillian Barcomb in the 300 hurdles, Victoria Castillo in the High Jump with a 4’8, and Raegan Hollis, Ciarah Garcia, Kennedy Guajardo and Brandi Barnett in the 1600 Relay. Varsity Boys highlights are Jayden Palacios’s 2:02.13 800, Justin Veale placing 1st and 2nd in the 300 hurdles and 110 hurdles, and Rudy Franco’s 2nd place jump in the long jump with a 19. JV Boys had Xavier Rodriguez in 1st place in the 800, Jayden Ogg placed first in the 1600 and the 3200, and the 4×400 Relay placed first with a time of 4:11. JV Girls: had many girls place first, Caitlin Herandez in the 3200, Alexandra Alvarez, Kiley Wiechring, Diamond Brownlee, Mikayla Theis in the 400 Relay, Mikayla Theis, Kiley Wiechring, Nevaeh Castillo in the 800 Relay, Evelynn Caraway in the 800, and Kiley Wiechring in High jump. Overall the Varsity girls team placed 2nd, JV girls team placed 2nd, Varsity boys team placed 3rd, and the JV boys team placed 4th. 

The track team went to Cotulla March 4th where they went up against the teams Cotualla, Poteet, and Dilley. Varsity Girls had many girls place first in their events with Kassidy Vickers first in the 3200, Emalee David in the 100 Hurdles, Jillian Barcomb 300 Hurdles, Victoria Castillo in Long and High jump, Emree Adamitz, Ariel Mejia, Itzel Perez, Marissa Rothenbach in the 4×100 Relay, Kinsley Barker, Ariel Mejia, Victoria Castillo, Angel Tucker in the 4×200 Relay, and Raegan Hollis, Ciarah Garcia, Emree Adamitz, Kennedy Guajardo in the 4×400 Relay. Varsity Boys highlights include Ashon Thompson time in the 100 dash 10.31 and took 1st place, Estevan Jackson taking 2nd in the 200 with a time of 23.84, Jayden Palacios had a time of 2:02.05 in the 800 and took 1st place, Justin Veale ran the 110 (17.09) and 300 (43.99) and won both events, Rudy Franco, Jessejohn Guel, Christopher Zapata, and Ashon Thompson won the 4×100 Relay, 4×200 Relay including Estevan Jackson, Juan Lopez, Jayden Palacios, and Ashon Thompson took took first place and broke the school record with a time of 1:33.02, the 4×400 Relay including Avaree Cantu, Juan Lopez, Estevan Jackson, And Jayden Palacios won with a time of 3:37, Estevan Jackson jumping 42′-7,″ Juan Lopez jumping 41′-4″ in the triple jump, Preston Pilgrim took 1st in Pole Vault and jumped an 11′-6″, Peyton Eichman threw the discus 105′-2″ and won first place. While Jackson and Lopez also took 2nd and 3rd in the long jump with jumps of 19′-5″ and 18′-7″, and Reagan Moore took second in the High Jump with a jump of 5′-2″. JV Boys  had Adrian Garica took 1st place in the 200 and 400, TJ, and HJ Xavier Rodriguez took first in the 800 relay, Jayden Ogg took first place in both the mile and 2 mile. JV Girls had many girls place first Mikayla Theis in the 100, Kiley Wiechring in the 200 and High Jump, Raylin Castillo in the 800 and 1600, Caitlin Herandez in the 3200, Alexandra Alvarez, Nevaeh Castillo, Diamond Brownlee, Mikayla Theis 4×1, Nevaeh Castillo, Diamond Brownlee, Mikayla Theis, Kiley Wiechring in the 4×200. In the end all teams had won the track meet with Varsity and JV girls in first, along with both Varsity and JV boys. 

March 18th JV/Varsity boys and girls track competed against Natalia, Devine, and Somerset here at the Pleasanton Track. Varsity Girls had many girls place in first Fe Vielma in the 3200, Jillian Barcomb in the 300 hurdles, Victoria Castillo in the High Jump, Caitylyn Nieschwitz in the 800, Ariel Mejia in the 100, and Kennedy Guajardo in the 400. Varsity Boys once again broke a school record the 4×100 relay team with Sean Ramos, Juan Lopez, Estevan Jackson, and Ashon Thompson set a new school record with a time of 43.21seconds, the 4×200 relay with  Estevan Jackson, Juan Lopez, Jayden Palacios, and Ashon Thompson broke their own record that they had set last week with a time of 1:30.99 seconds, and Ashon Thompson broke his own school record with a time of 10.21 seconds. JV Boys had Jayden Ogg placed first in the 3200 and tied with Xaiver Rodriguez tied for first place in the 1600. JV Girls had Caitlin Hernadez placed 1st in the 3200, Mikayla Theis 1st in the 100, Alexandra Alvarez, Nevaeh Castillo, Diamond Brownlee, Mikayla Theis 4×1 Relay, Evelyn Caraway placed 1st in the 800, Diamond Brownlee placed 1st in the 200, High Jump, and Long Jump, Mcada Rutherford in Pole Vault, Savannah Clark placed 2nd 1600, Genavieve Alvarado placed second in Shot Put. JV and Varsity Girls placed 1st along with Varsity and JV Boys.

One Team-One Goal

By: Ariana Johnson and Dillon Myers

Lady Eagles honors our hero’s

On March 3rd, the JV Lady Eagles Softball Team had their first home game vs Lee Volunteers they went in with a strong beginning but the Volunteers won the game with a score of 14-9. Emery Gillespie said, “For us to get better as a team.” She also said, “Since I am a catcher, I want to get better at blocking balls.” She also said, “I don’t give up because I know we can win and can get better.” On March 6th, the JV Lady Eagles Softball Team went to Poteet High School. They fought hard but Poteet won the game with a score of 15-7. Coach Mireles said, “I try to teach girls to be better than they were the day before whether it was with school or athletics and just try to be a better person than you were the day before.” She also said, “I played since I was 5 and it was always a game that let me let go of the world and escape reality and so then it was a game that I love and I want to teach them to be a better women in the world and better people in the world and not just teach them the love of the game.” On March 10th, The Lady Softball Team went to Gonzales High School. Since the Apaches scored their runs due to numerous walks. The Apaches won 15-0. 

On February 18th, the Varsity Lady Eagles Softball team went to their first tournament of the season in Floresville. The Eagles fought a tough battle against NB Canyon with a 10-0 loss. In the second game they had the bases loaded in the last inning, and got to hit a line drive that was caught the end of the game with a 5-2 loss against. The second day of their tournament the Lady Eagles won against Marion with a score of 9-4. The second game of the day was a close one against Alamo heights with a score of 6-7. The last day of the tournament ended on a good note, as they went against Floresville and were determined to change mistakes and the team won the game with a score of 8-4. March 5th, Varsity Lady Eagles went to Poteet and worked hard together and pulled a win with a score of 19-11. On March 9th, the Lady Eagles barely lost to Gonzales, with the score ending as 8-10. On March 12th, the Lady Eagles went in strong and won against Carrizo Springs with a score of 16-1. On March 16th, the Lady Eagles went against a possible playoff contender, Crystal City, and won with a score of 15-1. March 19th, the Lady Eagles went against Brooks and won with a score of 15-0. Keep up the good work. Pride, pride.

Hit And Run

By: Ricky Fabrow

On February 25th, 26th, and 27th, the Pleasanton High-School Eagles competed in a three-day tournament at Navarro in Seguin. On the 25th, the Eagles played against Bandera, beating them 13-3, and Pearsall, defeating them 15-0. The second day of the tournament, the Eagles beat Seguin 8-5 and fell to Navarro 12-0. The tournament ended in a loss to S.A. Cornerstone. 

On March 2nd, the Varsity Eagles won against Nixon/Smiley 11-1 before participating in a tournament at Llano. On March 4th, the Eagles suffered a loss against Wimberly, but came back with a 4-6 win against Llano on March 5th. Unfortunately the tournament ended with two more losses against Blanco and Llano on March 6th.

On March 8th, the Eagles triumphed over poteet 15-1 before they participated at a tournament at Pearsall High School through March 11th through the 13th. The Eagles took a 8-5 win over Natalia and a win from Lytle 5-4. On March 12th, they won 5-3 over Persall, and they ended the tournament on the 13th beating Dilley 12-3.

On March 16th our Varsity Eagles beat Uvalde 2-0. The Eagles fell to Navarro 6-3 on the 23rd. The Varsity Eagles will face Cuero on Tuesday, March 30th, at home. I encourage everyone in this upcoming game, knowing that our team has had a very good run. Everyone come out to support our Eagles in the rest of their baseball season. Pride! Pride!

Powerlifting

By: Jaelyn Morales

Lady Eagles gather for a photo

The Pleasanton Girl’s and Boy’s Powerlifting teams have had some challenges this season, but that didn’t stop them from giving it their all and working hard as a team. “Our biggest challenge of the season was, of course, COVID-19,” stated Coach Sanchez, “it kept us from being able to get in the weight room, early, as a team. There were so many protocols that we had to follow, and they changed almost daily. It was important for us to continue monitoring any of those changes and to make sure we were following the guidelines.” Even with all these challenges, the girl’s powerlifting team made it to the regional tournament, which took place in Corpus Christi, TX. Unfortunately, none of the girls qualified for the state tournament, but Coach Sanchez said he is still very proud of them and the boys. “ I am most proud of the grit and perseverance our team displayed. Regardless of the challenges they faced, whether they be from the pandemic, or from competitors or judges, our athletes lifted and represented Pleasanton ISD in a manner that should make the entire community proud of them.” Great job Powerlifting Girls and Boys!

Student Spotlight: April Findley

By: Adelena Vera

April Findley

April Findley is a senior here at PHS. She lived in Houston and went to some elementary schools there, then she moved to Pleasanton and has been going to school here since the 3rd grade. April works two jobs, The Plestex Theater and Sonic Drive-Thru, all while balancing her school work along with extracurricular activities. She is involved in NHS, she is the President of Student Council, and is the class officer for the class of 2021. She has been in the NHS for 2 years along with Student council and Class Officer for 4 years. When asked about what they are, she said, “really all three of them are about helping the student body. Student council is the one I’m most active in and for me it’s all about letting people have their voices be heard and making changes in the school for the better.” April stated, “My favorite class is probably calculus, even though it’s really challenging.” She is going to Texas A&M-College Station to study Mathematics. April was asked if there was anything she would change about her high school experience and she said,  “I think I would change the way I approached high school, and I would try and enjoy my time a little more rather than only focusing on grades and obsessing over getting that extra point.” 

April is a very hard working student here at PHS and has a big future ahead of her. Good luck and have fun in college! 

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. DeWaal

By: Eileen Jaksik

Mrs. DeWaal in her classroom.

Mrs. DeWaal is a teacher here at Pleasanton High School. Before she decided to become a teacher she was a pharmacist, but she says that she got very bored and wanted to change directions in her career. She says, “It was an accident, I didn’t like the pharmacy job I had and I wanted to change directions and I wanted to go into the medical field and they required me to take an elective. I thought the easiest elective was student teaching and after taking it I saw that I enjoyed it a lot and I decided to try it for a year to see if I would like it and I did.” 

Ever since she started teaching she fell in love with it and has now been teaching for 5 years. She fell in love with being with her students and helping out around the school. Mrs. DeWaal contributes to the school by running the Pleasanton Pacesetters, running the science club, and helping out with dual credit classes all while juggling her regular and AP classes. Mrs. DeWaal has a lot on her plate and has a lot of things going on and she still keeps her head up high and has a smile on her face, She says “It’s been tough, several mental breakdowns… but overall it is so worth it” 

Juggling all of her classes and extra contributions is not the only stressful thing she is going through. We are all trying to adjust to the new COVID-19 restrictions, but the teachers have the worst of it out of everyone. Mrs. DeWaal says that it has changed her way of teaching and the way she sees her students. “It has caused me to be more reflective on my teaching, on my learning, and has made me pay more attention to what the student needs as an individual and as a whole class. I’m really stepping back and realizing that not a lot of students have a lot of support because they’re at home and they’re having to go through school and stuff on their own. So I’ve had to modify a lot of my lectures, videotape my lectures, videotape notes, have examples, and zoom.” she says. 

Even though this year has been really hard for Mrs. DeWaal, she still loves to teach and she says that she loves seeing her students succeed and just building that bond with her students is what she looks forward to when waking up in the morning. 

Mrs. DeWaal has contributed so much to this school, and our whole school is thankful for her and her hard work. Thank you, Mrs. DeWaal!

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!

VASE Goes Virtual

By: Gabby Palacios

Due to Covid-19, this year’s Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE) will be held virtually, with participants submitting all of their interview answers and photo documents electronically. Previously, PHS Art teachers and students would travel to the region event hosts, East Central High School, where they would go through a physical interview process.

According to the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) website, the mission of VASE is to “recognize exemplary student achievement in the Visual Arts by providing art students and programs a standard of excellence in which to achieve.” For this year’s event, participants completed an online Student Intent form that explained the composition and creative process of their work and digitally submitted reference photos and final photos of their completed work.

After submitting the form, each entry is evaluated by jurors and given scores based on research and application to the work, technique, use of elements and the principles of art, aesthetics and critical judgment, and personal expression. The artwork is evaluated on the purpose, technique, personal expression, organization, and integration of the piece. A score of four achieves a regional award and qualifies the piece for judging for the state event. Ten percent of the qualifying pieces advance.

Last school year, Michael Castillo (current sophomore), Grace Bogenschneider (graduated), and Katelyn Rivera, and Alaina Caballero (current seniors) advanced to state with their pieces. This year, a total of 37 PHS participants received regional medals and sophomore Trey Martinez, juniors Kennedy Guajardo and Juan Lopez, and seniors Korin Ramos and Gabby Palacios advanced and will compete at the state virtual event, taking place on April 23-24, where they have the opportunity to participate in workshops and adjudication awards. 

Although the circumstances of the event are different this year, our PHS students did an amazing job and enjoyed the event. Sophomore Juan Lopez, explains, “This was my first year in art so I was surprised, but I am very excited for state.” 

On the other hand, an anonymous senior explains that they “wish it was different.” They explained, “I’m thankful we got to do it, but it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t physically be there my senior year.” 

Though the circumstances weren’t the best, PHS did an amazing job at VASE. Good job to all of the regional medalists and good luck to the state qualifiers! Pride Pride!

 

 

JROTC

By:Wanish Tortes-McGinnis                                                    

PT before Spring Break

Starting off this month we have the February Cadet of the Month and the NCO, the NCO of the month is SSG Lorenzo Samaniego and the Cadet of the month is PV2 Adam Morales. 

 Cadets are selected at the beginning of the month and they have until the last wednesday of the month to study and during the month they have to complete a PT (Physical Training) test that is considered during the grading section. During the board cadets are interviewed by1SGs on all of the things they have been learning. The cadet is graded on cadet knowledge, basically what have they been taught. The cadets PT scores are compared to other cadet PT scores. 

Next up for this month is JLab. JLab is a leadership and academic test, this month the leadership team went to round two ( round two is the qualifying round for nationals). Leadership test is designed to test knowledge on military leadership and the ROTC curriculum. Competition is very competitive which means all teams shoot for the highest score. Although JROTC did not make it this year, they are preparing for next year’s JLab.  

Solo and Ensemble

By: Heaven Marquez

Solo and ensemble is a competition for the band members of PHS to showcase their musical talent for a chance at going to State- and compete they did!

“Students rehearse and get [music] ready specifically for this contest”, said band director Solis. “It’s something we don’t usually do in band class, it’s something they do outside of school.” The students can either compete individually or can form a small group to play a song of their choice together. The competition, which was supposed to be in February, was postponed due to the snow storm we experienced, and rescheduled to Thursday, March 4th. 

The mighty Eagle band did incredibly well this year with 47 participants and 17 advancing on to State. Those moving on will be soloists freshman Emily Bernal, sophomores Michaela Anguiano, Kevin Tucker, Kamryn Kendrick, and juniors William Rowe and Addyson Dority. Ensembles that are continuing include senior clarinets Claire Benavidez, Diya Chandra, and Valentina Gasca-Tellez, with another woodwind group being made up of seniors Mya Cashiola, Abigail Perez, and juniors Savannah Clark, and Jadelyn Garcia. Advancing as well is a brass quintet which includes seniors Reese Decker, Austin King, Cody Mills, junior Kristina Mertz, and sophomore Cesar Garcia. Another woodwind group going on to State consists of juniors Jadelyn Garcia, Aries Uhl, Brody Wornell, and freshman Jaden Ogg.

“Once we go to State, we basically play our piece again in front of another judge, and… if we advance further, we go to Area…,” said senior clarinet Diya Chandra. UIL has recently decided to have groups and individuals record their performances to judge due to COVID regulations. State will be hosted either in late May or early June. Good luck to everyone advancing and congratulations to all of those who participated. Great job everyone!

(Above) Junior Addyson Dority

Seniors (left to right) Claire Benavidez, Valentina Gasca-Tellez, and Diya Chandra

Pictured above is (left to right) Savannah Clark, Jadelyn Garcia, Abigail Perez, and Mya Cashiola.

(Above from left to right) Austin King, Cesar Garcia, Cody Mills, Reese Decker, Kristina Mertz.

Bring It On: Tryout Edition

By: Gabby Palacios

Rising senior Linda Sanchez performing her jump of choice (a left hurdler) during mock tryouts.


After a long week of tough practices, PHS cheer sponsors, Mrs. Rutherford and Mrs. Lopez held tryouts for the 2021-2022 team, with 14 girls making Varsity, and 11 girls making Junior Varisty. 

Throughout the week, the candidates were taught and prepared a cheer and dance routine that they performed with their tryout groups. As they entered their tryouts, each girl performed an entrance routine displaying their spirit and tumbling skills and then demonstrated their techniques for a toe touch jump and a jump of their choice. To finish off their tryouts, each group performed the PHS Fight Song, Jalisco, pom routine.

There were a total of 25 girls to try out for the team and 2 members that sought positions as mascots, and every candidate received a position. With that being said, the 2021-2022 PHS cheer team is larger than it has been in years. Although a 14-member varsity squad is average, the junior varsity team will be made up of 11 girls, almost double the number of the current members.

Rising senior Linda Sanchez explains, “This was a good tryout to end off on. The amount of growth everyone showed from the beginning of the week to the last day of tryouts was amazing. I’m proud of the group I get to end my last season on. It’s a big team so hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. ” Though she is sad to be coming up on her last season, Linda is excited for the new team to get together.

PHS is very excited to see what the new team has planned for next year. Good job and congratulations to all new members. Pride Pride!

Junior Varsity: Abigail Hotchkin, Abigail Sosa, Alejandra Martinez, Aubrey Cantu, Emily Morales, Joyce Reyna, Madalyn Allen, Malerie Martinez, Mercedes Phillips, Pearl Sosa, Valeria Morales

Varsity: Brooke Rankin, Desiree Duran, Eileen Jaksik, Emree Adamitz, Linda Sanchez, Makayla Lico, McAda Rutherford, Megan Mayse, Melanie Douglas, Noelani Guerrero, Paige David, Raylin Castillo, Riley Porter, Sirrah Maxwell

 

So You Think You Can Dance: Tryout Edition

By: Gabby Palacios

PHS Pacesetter sponsors, Mrs. De Waal and Ms. Mendoza Del Bosque, held tryouts for the pacesetter team on the week of Monday, February 22- Saturday, February 27. A total of 33 members make up the 2021-2022 team.

During the week of tryouts, the girls prepared a routine that involved specific kicks and dance techniques, and a combination to advance across the floor. Before tryouts, they were expected to have their right split, right stationary leap, and a right pirouette. For tryouts, the girls performed their right and left techniques and the combination they were taught. 

The techniques expected of the girls have made a strong team of award-winning talent, clearly shown by their performances in school events and competitions. On Saturday, March 27, the team took part in the CrowdPleasers Competition in Retire Hays in Buda, Texas, where they received superior ratings in all of their ensemble, duets, and trio performances. Selena and Mily received a superior rating for their duet Gravity, Selena and Autumn for their duet Lovely, Kaitlyn and Larissa for their duet Beautiful Thing, medium jazz ensemble and Ritmo Trio. They received first place overall and scored best in class awards for the team Pom and Officer Modern dance.

Although she is excited about new beginnings, Mrs. DeWaal is also sad to see her seniors go. 

To the 2020-2021 Pacesetter Seniors:

“Each year it gets harder and harder to see seniors leave.  We build relationships that grow each year in a different way depending on their maturity, events in their lives, or leadership roles.  

Sophie is a first-year pacesetter that brings light to the team with her spunk and humble attitude.  She is a quick learner and blends well with the team.  I wish she would have tried out sooner, but so happy she did it for at least one year.  

Alexandra is my Lieutenant Colonel on the team and a 3rd-year dancer. Each year her confidence grows more and more, and I have definitely seen her bloom into a beautiful dancer.  The amazing quality that I will miss about her, is her way to turn hurdles into opportunities.  Opportunities to grow, learn and teach.  Alex is a great motivator for the team and for me.  I will miss her daily De Waal interruptions, just so she could say, ” I love you”.

Milagros is Major for the Pacesetter team and a 3rd-year dancer.  I have known Mily since she was a freshman and enjoyed her bright personality in the classroom as well as with the team.  She is the most talented dancer with the humblest demeanor. She has more love and gratitude in her little finger than most people display in their lifetime. I will miss her radiant smile and goofy ways. 

Jewels will probably be the hardest hit to my heart from this year’s senior group.  Jewels and I started at the same time and she is one of my original dancers once I became director of the pacesetters. We have grown together each year learning new ways to improve this team.  She is truly a talented dancer that will sacrifice herself for other’s success. Jewels has taught me patience, professionalism, and reflection through conversations and events.  Like I said, each year in a different way my relationship grows with the pacesetters, Jewels has seen and been involved in every way.”

– Mrs. DeWaal

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Pacesetter team, and good luck to all of the seniors in the years to come! Pride Pride!

The 2021-2022 Team: Rosemary Garcia, Kaitlyn Allen, Alexandra Garcia, Madison Peters, Xitlalli Hernandez, Sydney Sorola, Cristina Ramos, Sergio Gonzalez, Kasey Patel, Alexis Robles, Illeana Ochoa, Natalia Cano, Anisa Murillo, Jamine Carlos, Marisol Villarreal, Brianna Arevalo, Larissa Villarreal, Miranda Caballero, Beatriz Castor, Jecenia Guzman, Krista Gutierrez, Kendra Valle, Eboni Rivera, Yasmeen Diop, Autumn Tortes-McGinnis, Selena Cerda, Dolores Guel, Heather Akers, Saidee Almendarez, Aryanna Partida, Lorenza Gonzales, Bianca Perez, Belle Martel

Giving Purpose to Potential

By: Courtney Henson

On March 3 the Pleasanton High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) began their 4 day long virtual state conference. Competing members include, Senior, Alizay Haren. Juniors, Brandi Barnett, Adyson Brymer, Lauren Trapp, and Ashlyn Vera, Sophomores, Conner George, Thang Nguyen, Ricardo Ramirez, and Alexis Ramos, Freshmen, Marisol Villarreal, Preston Pilgrim and the club advisor Janie Olivarri.

The members that placed at State include Brandi Barnett, Adyson Brymer, Lauren Trapp, and Ashlyn Veras Presentation management group getting 4th place. Alexis Ramos competing in Project Management Concepts getting 6th place, and Alizay Haren competing in Health Leadership Special Topics getting 8th place. Other awards won at the state conference include the Social Buzz award. Pleasanton HIgh School BPA was one of three schools in Texas to receive this award. Follow BPA on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook @pleasantonbpa! Lastly, Ashlyn Vera has become the new Regional President for Area 2 Region 2.

Although things were different this year, the club made the best out of it! Club Advisor Janie Olivarri said, “Even though State was virtual this year, we tried our best to make the most of this experience.”

Congratulations State competitors for a job well done! You make Pleasanton proud! Pride! Pride!

American Red Cross Month

By: River Reyes

The month of March is dedicated to supporting and celebrating the American Red Cross. American Red Cross Month raises awareness to the duties of Red Cross workers, raises funding, volunteer support for projects and relief efforts, as well as instilling the goodwill of the people.

People who want to support the American Red Cross during the month of March can contribute in many ways including, but not limited to: donating blood, donating money, learning life saving skills through their programs to help those in need, and doing volunteer work. You may also help indirectly through general acts of goodwill as the founding principle of the American Red Cross is, “ the duty of care we owe to one another when times get tough.”

Throughout the month of March, the people of the nation should try and contribute to both the Red Cross and their local communities in honor of its vision. 

Emergency Response Vehicle with workers helping with relief

Balancing Extracurriculars and Academics

By: Jaelyn Morales

Academics and extracurricular activities are both beneficial for someone’s mental and physical health. They are also important for a student’s growth and development, but what happens if you can’t balance both? An imbalance can cause students to build anxiety, stress and could possibly affect the body, thoughts, feelings, and even behavior. The ongoing increase in heart rate can take a toll on your body and cause low energy, headaches, trouble sleeping, and much more, but with the right schedule and some tips you can be excelling in both academics and extracurriculars, plus have extra time for yourself.

Student-athletes should know that both sports and academics are important, but between the two, academics should always come first. Your first responsibility should be learning and turning in your assignments, so you can have good grades. Those good grades will give you a better chance at getting into college and finding a good and fitting career for you. Extracurriculars like sports, art, music, drama, and environmental education can help you with your teamwork skills, language skills, problem-solving skills, and can also encourage creativity, concentration, focus, and build self-esteem and confidence. A healthy and organized balance of both will not only make you a successful student, but will also help you in future years.

To balance both you will first need to know how to manage your time. Managing your time can be rather difficult, but after a while it will get easier and easier and your stress level will start to decrease. You should start by setting a small goal for yourself, make sure it is achievable and measurable. An example of a goal could be turning in all your work on time this week or even taking a break at a specific time so you don’t overwork yourself. After setting up your goals, you should start taking advantage of opportunities. Take advantage of free periods, extra time, school resources, and friends who are willing to help you out. Lastly, you should plan ahead and don’t let your week plan you. You can use a calendar, planner, or your phone to make reminders and note when you have games, practices, work due, or free time. This will help you plan your time wisely and make sure you complete all your tasks for the day. Remember these tips and you will succeed in both academics and extracurriculars while also having fun.

Uplifting Covid

By: River Reyes

On Tuesday March 2nd, 2021, Governor Greg Abbot announced that he would be issuing an executive order that would lift the statewide mask mandate as well as opening all Texas businesses to 100% capacity. The executive order was slated to go into effect on Wednesday March 10th, 2021. 

After announcing the reopening of the state, the executive order was hotly debated leaving many people conflicted on whether or not we should be allowed to not be required to enforce a mask mandate. Many businesses and schools announced that they would still be enforcing the same mask and social distancing policies for the safety of students and consumers, but there are still a number of schools and businesses that are taking the same direction as the state and ending their restrictions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s too early for the nation to begin operating at 100% capacity, with no restrictions whatsoever. 

No matter whether the state is open or restricted, individuals should still practice safe habits and protect themselves as not everyone has been vaccinated and the virus is still affecting millions of people as it has only been a year since the initial outbreak.

Willy’s Wonderland Review: Not Enough Nick Cage

By: Kori Miller

Slasher and goofier horrors have been lacking lately in recent media, with the primary focus being on psychological horror films (A path paved by directors like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers). It’s a genre that’s been dead since Friday The 13th, with an extended cult following that makes you wonder where this caliber of the movie went. Apparently, the answer is simply that these people have run out of ideas. This is evident in early 2021’s Five Nights at Freddy’s reminiscent film, Willy’s Wonderland. Yes, the title is that bad. 

The film follows Nicholas Cage, who I will be referring to as such because his actual character is unnamed. Nick finds himself stranded in a small town after all four of his tires are punctured by some poorly placed spike strips, and with no ATM in sight, he is offered to work off the repair costs by spending a night cleaning the abandoned children’s attraction, Willy’s Wonderland. He grabs a few sodas, throws on a complimentary Willy Weasel t-shirt, and gets to work. Assuming you don’t know where this is going, the animatronic characters come to life in the dead of the night and wreak havoc.

Nick, although a talented actor, has a bit of a track record of never declining a project as long as he’s paid fairly. If this film was nothing but him beating the spit out of a bunch of Chuck E. Cheese rejects, it’d be perfectly good fun without having to pull weight by making sense or being compelling. It’s Nicholas Cage gutting CGI animatronics, what more could you ask for? However, as I stated, he wishes to be paid fairly for his time. This film was a smidge over a microbudget, so paying Cage for the main character role was not gonna work without some adjustments. The result? His character has zero lines, no name or story, and simply shows up for twenty-minute intervals to throw down and then slunk off to the corner to play pinball. 

As a result of this limited screen time, we are presented with my worst nightmare; filler. A handful of teens (who cannot act to save their lives, mind you) show up to get picked off one by one in between Cage’s ultimate smackdowns. They distract from the sheer absurdity by being loud and obnoxious, when the movie is primarily dialogue-free when Cage is on screen; and thank god too, because the writing is awful. It’s a tonal shift that makes you scrunch up your nose and reach for the remote to fast forward. But as I said, you gotta do what you’ve gotta do to book Nicholas Cage as your cover image. 

In short, Willy’s Wonderland is a scrappy b movie that doesn’t overstay its welcome but doesn’t fulfill its space either. If you like nonsense and Nick Cage, congrats. You’ll love it. If your sort of thing isn’t 90 minutes of animatronic weasels getting gut-punched, however, you may want to skip over this one. Whatever the case may be, thanks for reading and I hope you understand what I subject myself to in order to entertain you guys.

Willy’s Wonderland currently has a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6/10 on IMDB.

True Crime Vol. XX: The Soap-Maker of Correggio

By: Victoria Chavez

Mugshot of Leonarda Cinanciulli

Born in 1894 in Montella, Italy, Leonarda Cianciull lived as an only child to parents, Serafina Marano and Mariano Cinanciull. At the age of twenty-three she married a registry clerk in 1917, but her marriage was against her family’s wishes. Her family hated their relationship so much that her own mother cursed Leonarda and her husband. Some believed that the curse affected Leonarda’s pregnancies since it was reported that she had seventeen: three were miscarriages, while ten of her children died at a very young age. The surviving four were heavily protected by Leonarda. Leonarda said the reason for the over protection was that a gypsy fortune-teller, who many years earlier, had predicted a terrible fate for her: “You will marry and have children, but all your children will die.” Later she got her palm read by another gypsy, who told her, “In your right hand I see prison, in your left a criminal asylum.”

In 1939, Leonarda’s eldest, and most favorable, son was joining the Army. During this time Italy was entering World War II which scared Leonarda because she feared her son would die. So she decided to do the only thing she believed would help: she had to make human sacrifices to save her son’s life. Leonarda, at this time, had three, lonely, middle-aged friends that were in desperate need to get away from their current lives. Each friend asked Leonarda for her help to fix their living situations. They would have never thought a simple call for help would be the most dangerous thing to ask from Leonarda.

Leonarda Cianciulli’s first victim was a local spinster woman named Faustina Setti. Inviting Faustina to her home under the guise of setting her up with a husband in 1939, Cianciulli instructed her to write letters to her family members, telling them that she would be visiting a man she met. But Leonarda drugged Faustina with spiked wine before murdering her with an ax. Leonarda also stole Faustina’s life savings that she had brought along. She then cut Setti into nine pieces, drained all the blood, boiled her body, made it into a mush black mixture and poured the continents into a septic tank.  She then took the blood and made it into “crunchy tea cakes”, which she fed to visitors, her son, as well as herself. 

Leonarda’s third victim, Francesca Soavi was invited into her home on Sept. 5, 1940. Just like her first murder, Leonarda convinced Francesca that she had organized a teaching job for her up north of Italy and made her write letters to her friends detailing her trip. Leonarda followed her M.O. and drugged Francesca’s wine, killed her with an ax, baked her into teacakes, and stole her money.

Her last and final victim was a woman named Virginia Cacioppo. Virginia was a noted soprano who once sang at the famed La Scala opera house in Milan. Leonarda had promised her a job working with an impresario in Florence, which prompted Virginia to pay her a visit on Sept. 30, 1940. As with her previous two victims, Leonarda fed Virginia spiked wine and killed her with an ax. This time, however, she melted her flesh, made soap with it, and gave away her human tea cakes and human bars of soap to the unsuspecting neighbours. 

Although Leonarda Cianciulli thought she had committed the perfect murders, she could not have been more wrong. Her first two victims who had few concerned relatives, Virginia had a very worried sister-in-law. She didn’t believe Virginia’s letters detailing her quick departure, and had, in fact, seen her entering Leonarda’s home the night she had “left.” Almost immediately, she reported her sister’s disappearance to the Reggio Emilia police, who quickly investigated Leonarda.

At first, Leonarda Cianciulli defended herself. It was only when the police shifted the blame toward her beloved son Giuseppe that she finally broke down and admitted to everything. Leonarda’s trial lasted only a few days. She was found guilty of her crimes and granted a 33-year sentence that echoed the Romani woman’s prophecy with eerie accuracy: 30 years in a prison and three years in a criminal asylum.

On Oct. 15, 1970, Leonarda Cianciulli died of cerebral apoplexy, a type of hemorrhage, while she was still in the asylum. She was 79 years old.

April Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19)- This April, Aries should listen to the signs of the universe and be alert to the tasks set. It’s crucial that you not forget your quality, instead display them to those you come in contact with. Self-confidence will give you the courage to influence others. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to those around. 

Taurus (April 20-May 20)- Mars has a strong influence on Taurus this month. It will cause a bit of emotional stress, however, remember to hold tight to loved ones during this time. It’s also advised to plan a vacation as well as spend some quality time with friends and family.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)- April can either be a successful time or it could be dangerous for some and their careers. Geminis may feel the need to communicate with people, get to know others, and build relationships with acquaintances. The sign is advised to take control of emotions and channel the emotions into their career.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)- Cancer claims that intuition will not fail in April. No one can fool you, which can put you ahead in both career and school. This month is great for starting a life together with loved ones. Your friendliness, manners, and thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed by those around you. 

Leo (July 23- August 22)- This month is a positive time for Leos, with good communication between friends and family. You will succeed in almost everything you attempt. April is a great time to move ahead in your job and education. Leos need to be flexible, but also defend their interests. 

Virgo (August 23- September 22)- April is bringing good luck to Virgos with showing leadership qualities and acting boldly, but without forgetting honesty and decency in relationships. Also take a closer look at your well-being, making sure not to overextend yourself and your time. This month brings pleasant surprises and unusual coincidences.

Libra (September 23- October 22)- The spring months bring challenge to Libras, but your intrinsic warmth and flexibility will prove no obstacle too large for you to tackle. The focus will fall primarily on your love life, career, or family. Stay safe and composed, you may prove to be stronger than you think.

Scorpio – This month’s horoscope predicts that your natural abilities will be on display. You should be cautious of family affairs, and tread lightly with sensitive topics both in your own life and the lives of your peers. Things may get chaotic in this sector, so be aware.

Sagittarius – April is going to be a fabulous month for you. With energy concentrated on the relationship sector, expect a change in your love life for the better. This change may happen within your friend circle, family affairs, or romantic relationship, assuming there is one present. Try to enjoy yourself, the flowers are blooming for you.

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)- Pick up the phone, send a message, arrange a masked meetup or virtual coffee date. This month is all about making connections. So often we get caught up in “doing” and results, and forget to nurture the ties we have, much less make new ones. This month, put people ahead of tasks and prioritize high-quality conversations that build long-term loyalty. It really IS who you know, Capricorn!

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)-  Easy on the spending! Big purchases could leave you with even bigger regrets today, so think twice before sliding your card into any readers. Take a look at your bank balance before springing for a pricey item. Do you really have the funds to blow on this extravagance? Don’t decimate your checking account for an impulse buy. Instead, devise a savings plan so you can afford it down the line. Patience pays off, Aquarius! 

Pisces (February 19- March 20)- Spilling the tea could get you burned, Pisces! Don’t spread gossip today! Rather than circulating secondhand rumors about a certain someone, confront them about the issue directly. It’s possible that the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Reach out to clear the air. Once you sit down for a talk, you could be surprised at how easy it is to resolve the issue.

Monthly Poll: March

Are We Bodies with Souls or Souls with Bodies?

By: Dillon Myers

Bodies, like souls, are essential components to us humans. Millenia of studies and research have taught us a ton about our bodies and how they function, but one thing that continues to baffle us is: What is a soul? This intangible, immaterial… thing has raised many questions over the years. Where is the soul located? Can humans live without it? Why do we have souls, and what is their purpose? Of the multitudes of questions asked, there is one here at PHS that we are curious as to what your replies will be, which is: Are We Bodies with Souls or Souls with Bodies? The results of the poll are displayed below…

Totally Unrelated Fun Fact: The Earth weighs around 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds!

Sweet Treat: Key Lime Cheesecake Bites

By: Ariana Johnson

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of raw almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • ⅓ cup full-fat coconut milk (well shaken)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 4 limes, juices and zested

Instructions

  1. Line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Place the almonds and melted coconut in a blender or a food processor and blend until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when pinched between your fingers.
  3. Place one heaping tablespoon in each lined muffin cavity, and press the mixture down using the back of a spoon to make a mini ¨crust¨.
  4. Place the muffin tin in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
  5. In the food processor add the drained cashews, coconut milk, honey, and lime juice. Puree until smooth and transfer to a measuring cup.
  6. Remove the muffin tin from the freezer when the crust hardens a bit and pour the filling mixture over the crusts. Top with lime zest and place back in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours to harden.

Store in the freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Poem of the Month

March-

Racing clouds and whistling winds,

Coats flapping in the breeze,

Bright kites circling in the skies,

The dance of swaying trees,

The cheerful sight of crocuses,

Just first sweet breath of spring –

Just part of all the many moods

The month of March can bring.

Author: Unknown

March is here and we are almost done with the school year. All we have now is the STAAR testing and EOC testing, then summer will come by soon. The weather is getting better than it was during Snowvid and hopefully we will have more rain than we did last year. Also I’m happy all the spring flowers are blooming.

Sincerely,

Passionate Poet