Welcome to the Cougar News Blog! We are very happy to be hosting this week’s challenge on our site. The activities were all designed by Cactus Canyon Journalism students and we hope you enjoy them. Please feel free introduce yourself in our “Questions for Edublogs Visitors” section. We’d love to know who is visiting us.


This week’s topic is all about memories. Whether they are good memories or bad, they come from the experiences in our lives that shape the people we are and who we continue to become. As you choose your activity – and which memories you write about – think about the impact those experiences have had on your life and the lessons you’ve learned from them.

1. What is your favorite childhood memory? Was it baking cookies with Grandma or visiting the community pool during the hot summers? Write a script and act out your memory with a few classmates in a short video of 2-3 minutes.

2. If you had to trash 2-3 memories to clear storage in your brain, what memories would you permanently delete? Write three detailed paragraphs why you chose that memory/memories to delete?

3. Who have you shared many memories with growing up? Create a slideshow comparing and contrasting two memories you’ve shared with one person, one good memory and one bad.

4. In your own words (not a dictionary) describe what memories mean to you and how they can affect people’s attitude, thought process, etc.

5. Create a comic strip with images that represent one of the strongest memories in your life.

6. Write a post that shows how one of your memories – even one from a long time ago – helps you make a decision today. Maybe it’s mistake you made and don’t want to make again, or perhaps a positive feeling you got from an act of kindness. Post your message in the comments below.

Activity 4 – In Your Own Words, Describe What Memories Mean to You

By Logan D.

To me everyone needs memories. They help people remember all of the best times in their lives. Unfortunately there are also bad ones that we would all love to forget. Memories helps you keep your closest friends as close as possible. When you do the most amazing thing that you have ever done your memories keep that with you, you can never forget it.
When people are in a dark or scary place they have all of their warm memories to think about, they hope that it makes them feel better. When someone will be gone for a long time such as in the renowned movie E.T. where he says, “I’ll be right here” and points to the child’s head. What memories means to me is keeping all your skills, people, feelings, and tastes.
Memories will keep all of your things you learn with you. When your parents teach you to take the training wheels off of your bike you never forget how to ride it. Or when you learn new things in math it will likely stick with you. Or when your mother teaches you too not do something obedient children will not do it again. Memories will make you laugh and have a good time with your friends joking around about something that happened years ago. You also remember what the best burger in your life tasted like, or you will remember what lobster tastes like after you have tasted it for the first time ever. Memories are great and I hope that they stick with all of you forever.

Activity 5 – Create a Comic Strip to Represent One of the Strongest Memories of Your Life.

By Logan D.
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon’s wrestlers have grappled their way into a new season, with two wins against Desert Wind and one against Mountain Vista.
This year there are about 25 wrestlers on the squad. They are working hard every day to be better. Coach David Smith is pushing his wrestlers to work harder and to improve their technique as they attempt to win their fourth consecutive Desert Middle School Athletic League title.
“We’ve had some bumps in the road, but we are still working in the direction we need to go in,” said Smith.
Coach Smith said he is blessed to have great coaches helping him with the squad, and feels lucky to also to have his family so closely involved with the team. He wants his athletes to know they can control their bodies and even their destinies by overcoming adversity.
“I want my wrestlers to come to practice every day ready to learn,” said Coach Smith.
Eighth grader Thomas Long was the DMSAL champion in his class last year, and he is looking to do the same again this year.
“My strategy for winning matches is to stay in position, and work the basics nothing fancy,” said Long.
Even successful people do not win every time. Smith wants his wrestlers to build a little bit every day and to take baby steps.
“Many baby steps lead to huge accomplishments, If you stop crawling you will never learn to walk,” said coach Smith.
The next match for the Cougars will be Saturday, April 19, at Apache Junction High School.


By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

On Friday, March 28, Cactus Canyon Junior High cheerleaders traveled to Coolidge Ariz. for the Desert Middle School Athletic League cheer competition and came out victorious with their fourth consecutive first-place finish.
The cheerleaders practiced for about 50 hours to perfect their five-minute routine. They changed the routine twice, and often practiced until about 6 or 7 p.m. to prepare.
Coach Cathy Messenger said she is proud that the squad was able to win the league again, but she’s even more proud of how the team grew during the season.
“Most people think the best part would be winning the cheer competition, but that’s not really it,” said Messenger, who has been coach cheer for 11 years. “I would have to say it’s seeing your team be successful, watching them grow from the very beginning of tryout to competition day, and making tremendous accomplishments. It brings me to tears when they finally realize what they are made of and just how great they are.”
Messenger said the work the team did shows how difficult cheer is.
“There is so much to cheer, and it tends to be an unappreciated sport. So many people think cheer is easy and, boy, are they wrong,” said Messenger. “Anyone who thinks it’s easy, I dare them to come to our practices. My girls have had concussions, fallen from mid air, practice for seven hours straight, and they do it with a smile on their face.”
The cheerleaders also cheered for the football team during football season and are now cheering for the basketball team.
“My favorite thing is being able to inspire and lead the younger cheerleaders to work hard next year and be good examples for future cheerleaders,” said eighth grade cheerleader Trinity Izbicki.

By Anna Gray
Cougar News Blog

As the year is coming to an end, the boys basketball season is just beginning.
There are high expectations for this year’s team. During the past three seasons the A team’s overall record has been exceptional. The squad has won 29 games and has only lost six. As for the B team, it has won 25 games and only lost four.
While other CCJH teams have been winning Desert Middle School Athletic League titles, however, boys basketball has yet to claim one, settling for three second-place finishes.
With the help of Coach Scott Stansberry, the boys basketball program positively affects the outlook on the school. Coach Stansberry has been the coach for the past three years and hopes this season will be the one they finish on top.
“I expect my players to learn how to play as a team and never give up. They will learn the game of basketball how they’ve never seen it before,” said Coach Stansberry.
This season, the team hopes it will be able to break the cycle and take the championship. In the past, the boys have used defense as a large part of their game. The team has used defense to win close games and hopes it will continue to be a strength.
“If we work as a team and everybody uses the talent that they have, we have a great chance at winning,” said eighth-grader Nick Mohn.
The Cougars have started the year with a 1-2 record and will travel to Maricopa Wells today.
“Our goal is to have no (more) home losses,” said eighth grader Evan Quiroz. “Obviously we want(ed) to go undefeated, but we have to protect our house.”

By Cori Gibson
Cougar News Blog

Eighth grade science students at Cactus Canyon will be attending a Phoenix Zoo field trip to learn about animal history, evolution, and so much more.
CCJH eighth-grade science teachers Regan Roach and Candice Wyatt are having students participate in a Phoenix Zoo field trip on April 21 where they will be choosing an animal and a plant to learn about.
Students are researching their animal’s history, ancestors, environment, relatives, and other information to create a model of the animal with its plant in a new home and a nontechnical presentation about the animal.
“I am interested to see what everybody comes up with for their presentations, since we aren’t making them in Google Apps,” said eighth grade student, Jessica Sigler.
The trip to the zoo is scheduled to expand students’ learning outside of school.
“I want students to understand that what they learning in the classroom will be used in real life,” said Roach.
This assignment incorporates math, reading, researching, science, writing, and art all in one. This wide variety of subjects gives all students a chance to shine and show what they know. Some teachers in other subjects plan to provide support activities so students can have an abundance of time to complete the project, which will be due on May 9.
There have been other animal-related projects in the past, but this is the first one to incorporate help from other teachers.
“I have not done a project like this before, so some might say that I’m coming into this project blind, but I believe that if I put enough hard work into it, that it will be a great and fun project,” said eighth grade student, Kayla Mix.
If this project goes well, teachers may think about doing it again in the future. Many of the students are excited for the trip and are giddy to make the presentations.
“If the data shows that students are understanding the eighth grade standards, then, yes, we will do this again,” said Roach.
if allowed, would be replaced by another in an effort to bring more people to the zoo.
This is the first time teachers at CCJH have done anything like this with their students.

Cassidy Hoxeng
Cougar News Blog

Eighth grade science teacher Regan Roach recently had her advanced science classes break down the compounds and mixtures of a common household item to help them understand the chemistry of products they eat or use every day.
The students had to break down the elements, mixtures and compounds of products like pickles, coffee, chocolate, and vinegar. After doing so, they created models of each one. Many students used toothpicks and marshmallows to demonstrate their model.
Once the representation was created, they made a box for their atoms and formulate instructions on how to assemble them to create the original household item.
Roach wanted her students to learn to use science outside of school, and to incorporate it in the real world.
“I just think being able to take what you are learning and being able to apply it in your life, is a lesson every student needs to learn,” said Roach.
Students said they thoroughly enjoyed making their products and like hands-on projects more than book work.
“I had fun because I got to make a cool example,” said Rivera. “I learned mostly about basic elements and what they can make when you combine them.”
Roach was very proud of what her students produced.
“Most of the time, it far exceeds my expectations,” said Roach.

By Alysa Rippee
Cougar News Blog

CCJH tries to have a little something for everyone by offering unique elective classes, a traveling athletics program, and a variety of clubs and organizations. Two new groups – Tech Club and Science Club – formed at the start of the year and have expanding their activities since then.
Earlier in the year, the Tech Club was working on creating their own video games and trying to make the club into an elective. The club had been hoping to get T-shirts for their club with fundraising money. Now, they have decided on a design and the shirts arrived last week. While video games continue to be the club’s focus, they hope to do more.
“As a new club we are concentrating on the video game application, but we hope to try new projects in the future or hold tournaments with our games,” said club adviser Tina Jada.
As for the Science Club, students have been working on hands-projects and trying to join the Science Olympiad. Now, the club is working on things like non-Newtonian fluids, lab safety, and chemical reactions.
“I know the students will learn how to problem solve and that science is fun,” science club adviser Marie Wilbur-Bowers said.
Both clubs have come far from where they were at the beginning of the year and are hoping to continue to grow. Tech club member Shelby Ruehs explained how she has really enjoyed being a part of the club because everybody has similar interests and has fun getting to know each other better.
“I expect that they’ll learn how to create video games, if they want to go down that path in their career growing up of course,” Ruehs said.
Science and tech club still have openings and welcome new members. Science Club meets every Thursday at 2:20 to 3:15 p.m. in room 201. Tech Club meets every other Tuesday.
“It is never too late to join the club. We meet every other Tuesday. We always have snacks and we do not expect you to come to every meeting,” Jada said.

By Holly S.
Cougar News Blog

National Junior Honor Society students are visiting The Magical Kingdom this April as a reward for all the hard work and dedication they have put towards the club. After having to go through hours and hours of volunteering and keeping their grades in check, they get to relax and rewind.
On April 25, students are required to meet in the school library to board the bus that will take them straight from Cactus Canyon to Disneyland and will spend their day, from opening time to closing time, riding rides and exploring Disneyland with their groups. Then ride all the way back that night to Cactus Canyon where parents will pick up their students.
Besides looking good on a college application, Disneyland is one of the biggest perks of being a part of NJHS. The trip is fun for all of those attending; teachers, chaperones, and the students.
“The main agenda is fun,” said NJHS sponsor Carol Dolle. “We ride the bus all night, play all day until Disneyland closes, and ride the bus all night home again. If that isn’t fun I don’t know what is.”
The students are ecstatic to be going to Disneyland with their friends and spend time in the magical place. Some students have been to Disneyland before, but for others this is their first time visiting.
“I have only been to Disneyland once, so the best part of the trip will be getting the chance to go with my friends,” said eighth-grader Ashli Albertsen.
Although the main objective is to have fun, the students are expected to be on their best behavior while visiting. They are given the opportunity to walk alone with periodical check-ins with the chaperons giving them a “sense of responsibility,” as Albertsen puts it.
After a year of devoting themselves to school work and doing their service hours, now is the time for NJHS students to have an awesome weekend to celebrate their accomplishments.
“This trip is the reward for working hard and fulfilling the requirements of NJHS,” said Dolle. “I hope they feel proud of that accomplishment.”

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By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

Imagine reading just a few books, then being rewarded with awesome prizes for it. This is what happens at Cactus Canyon. On the Friday after spring break, some of CCJH’s students participated in the Book Wars party.
Book Wars is a program that rewards students different prizes for each 15 AR points they earn. The party took place in the cafeteria during seventh hour.
Some students played board games, ate popcorn, and drank root beer floats in the cafeteria, while others played volleyball and basketball in the gym. Student Council volunteered and passed out different types of prizes to everyone.
“My favorite part of the party was when my friends and I went in the gym and hung out,” said seventh grader Natalie Erb.
Reading teacher Lisa Smith is the mastermind behind Book Wars. She was the one who planned the party and the program itself. She said she thinks the program was helpful as an incentive to get students to read more.
“I definitely think students enjoyed the different levels and being able to win different prizes for reading,” said Smith. “Some students may find a book or series they like to read. Some students who read nonfiction might learn something interesting about their topic. Their main goal was to foster and encourage the love of reading.”
The next Book Wars reward will be a pool party in May for students who reach 90 points.