By Kenzie Serratt
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon has added some new and enrichment classes regarding Star Wars and modern warfare.
     James Gibson, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, is teaching a new Star Wars enrichment class and David McQuilkin is teaching a class about warfare. Both classes consist of around 40 eighth-grade students.
     Mr. Gibson plans on incorporating culture in with the movies. They will have discussions about how students feel the movies impacted them.
     “I think that enrichment is centered around student willingness and interest. So, I created a class centered around Star Wars, with its highly anticipated summer release of the seventh movie,” said Mr. Gibson. “I surveyed my classes to see who had never seen any Star Wars movie. I then asked if they (the students) would be interested in learning about and watching all six videos.”
     Mr. Gibson points out interesting things about the movies, and makes real-world references that help tell the story. He explains how art imitates life and how if it’s more realistic, the audience won’t question the movie’s legitimacy.
     “We will be discussing art (movies) and talking about our feelings and impact the film or films had on us. Whenever you are able to share about culture and art it is enriching,” says Mr. Gibson.
     Students in Mr. McQuilkin’s class learn about machinery in war. Mr. McQuilkin teaches them about planes, tanks, and other things used in warfare.
     “I learn about helicopters and things that fly,” said Samantha Marchese, who is in Mr. McQuilkin’s class.

Peter Piper Pizza EventFlyer (1)

By Shea Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon Life Skills class is having a fundraiser at Peter Piper Pizza. This event will happen on Friday, Nov. 7.
     They are doing the fundraiser for to support the class’ community-based learning program that includes grocery shopping and recycling.
     Ms. Davis’ Life skills class is welcoming everyone with a flyer to go to Peter piper pizza on Elsworth and Baseline. It will start at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. In that class they learn how to interact in public.
     Ms. Davis hopes to get at least $100-$200 from the fundraiser, which will include a raffle and other contests. The class will get 20 percent of the total bill if a supporter shows a flyer for the fundraiser.
     Some teachers will hopefully be working the price counter.
     “Staff will hopefully be working the price counter, so we are all involved in the community, also if anyone wants to come they are welcome to come,” said Ms. Davis. “(Being) inclusive with the community is involving them (in activities).
     The Life Skills students are excited about the fundraiser.
     “I’m most excited about the pizza,” said Josh, one of the Life Skills students.

Harrison T.
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon teachers Lisa Smith and Sheryl Anderson plan to give students a new look books at the CCJH book club. Book club has been going on for 12 years here at CCJH, but this years is expected to have several changes compared to previous book clubs.
     “We have two new items on the list. One is a lock-in with students, and the other is an end-of the-year field trip decided by the book club members,” said 12 year book club organizer Lisa. Smith.
     Book club will also continue to sponsor the literacy fair as well as I Love To Read Week at CCJH.
     Most of the people in book club share a love of great literature, but Mrs. Smith and Ms. Anderson hope to encourage more student to read through this club. They hope to have 15 to 20 members participating in book club.
     “I am very excited for book club and can’t wait to start reading new books,” said eighth grader Nathaniel Candelas.
     Ms. Anderson and Mrs. Smith also hope that students will understand the connection of books to our everyday lives. They are also looking students to bond with others that share the same interests in books.
     “I plan to take gain an expansion of my mind,” said Candelas.
     Students will have to devote one hour after school in order to participate in book club. Book club will be using room 320 in the 300 building to hold book club meetings. In the time before the start of book club members have been trying to recruit new members for book club.The first meeting was Oct. 14.
     “We meet every other Tuesday from 2:20 to 3:15 in room 320,” said book club organizer Ms. Anderson.

By Abriann RiosPineda
Cougar News Blog

     Jason Davis’ Journalism 2 students are doing a new project starting the first quarter of the school year. These students will be working on an ad campaign. This project is individual with some help of others.
     Mr. Davis wants the students in his class to learn that there’s other things to journalism than just writing for a newspaper. Mr. Davis says he gets a lot of talented kids in his classes, and especially in J2. There are some really good writers who don’t necessarily want to be writers for their career. He would like his students to see that they can use their journalistic skills for something not involving a newspaper.
     “I know the job of newspaper reporter doesn’t sound interesting to most junior-high students, but there are a lot of fun college majors and jobs that utilize what students are learning in their journalism classes,” said Mr. Davis.
     The Journalism 2 students will first complete a website with a press release to go with it, for their business such as a restaurant, shop, bakery, etc. Then they will be creating a Fakebook page. After they finish those activity parts of the project, they will make a magazine ad.
      “I learned the importance of advertisement when it comes to selling product. I chose to be the CEO of a company that designs and manufactures reinforced cardboard which I named Guardboard. I chose this business because it seemed original and was different,” said Harrison Talbott.
     “I have learned that it’s not so easy just to open a business and have a web site. But once everything starts coming together it’s nice to see all the hard work you put into it. I chose to have a cafe because I wanted to not just have a certain product but have a whole business that I put together myself,” said Samantha Groneberg, a J2 student.
     There is also three other activities that will continue on into the second quarter. The ad campaign will be completed some time in the second quarter, but the activities are going to be more spread out. This is because the second quarter will focus a lot on writing for the Cougar New Blog
     “We have five activities during the first quarter and will do three more in the second. The second quarter will focus heavily on writing for the Cougar News Blog, so the activities will be a little more spread out as opposed to doing them once per quarter this week,” said Mr. Davis.
     This is a new project Mr. Davis came up with and its’ the first time he’s given it out to his students. He hasn’t done it with any other students because he has some students who take J2 twice.
     In the second quarter Journalism 2 kids will also be working a lot on Edublogs. The students will be doing almost one Edublogs Challenge every week.

By Riley Duncan
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon volleyball team is serving up a new season with high hopes at the DMSAL championship.
     Regan Roach and James Gibson are returning to coach the team in hopes of finally winning a championship. The team hasn’t’ had much luck in prior years, but this year’s team has a lot of promising athletes and the coaches are in high spirits.
     The athletes are in the conditioning stage of their training and are mainly running and working on fundamentals like passing and serving. The seventh graders are also getting a feel for the team and the importance of transitioning from offense to defense is also being stressed.
     “We focus practices around conditioning and developing the fundamentals of volleyball,” said Coach Gibson. “Passing and transitioning from offense to defense is crucial to the success of a volleyball team.”
     Returning athletes are excited to learn new rotations and skills. Coaches say that all the athletes are dedicated and will work hard. The goal is to show the athletes to work as a team for a common goal; coaches also want to teach self-confidence, personal goals, and overcoming obstacles. The coaches are stressing the importance of communication and trust and want to show that hard work is rewarded, so at the end of practices they will occasionally play games.
     “Sometimes at the end of practice we will play fun games such as queen of the court,” said eighth grader Morgan Farsolas.
     Both coaches and students are very enthusiastic and are sure that they will compete for the title. They are determined not to lose to Maricopa Wells in the tournament again. Maricopa Wells is expected to be the team’s biggest rival again this year, but both coaches are confident in their athletes.
     “We have a good group of athletes and with some hard work and dedication anything is possible,” said Coach Gibson.

By Elisabeth H.
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High School is doing a thing called reteach to help students get the extra help they need in a certain subject.
Students take a test after an objective has been taught and those who need more time to master the standard get it during their Study Skills time. Reteach has helped many students master objectives they might not have learned before.
     “I want my students to have a better grasp of the math concepts that they didn’t score as well on the first time,” said math teacher Marla Aehlert.  “I hope that they will see reteach as a valuable tool to help them accomplish them.”
     In all there are seven teachers doing reteach, four teachers in eighth grade and three teachers  in seventh grade.  The students are able to see alternative ways to learn the material in a smaller less distracting setting.
     “They are able to focus more and receive the assistance they need to earn better grades,” said eighth-grade math teacher Jeremy Seaman.
There have been some adjustments to reteach since it’s a new program, but overall it’s been successful in getting students extra help. For example, students who don’t need reteach take classes like cooking, CSI, or modern warfare.
     “I also like the fact that students who do not need reteach are allowed to sign up for interesting enrichment classes with the other teachers,” said Mrs. Aehlert.  “It’s not just boring study hall. I wish it would have been like that when I was in junior high a long time ago.”
The math teachers have a shared document that has all of the students’ scores for the whole grade level.
     “We filter out students who earned a score of four or five, and the remaining students will need reteach,” said Mrs. Aehlert.
Some teachers teach different in reteach than in different classes to help them understand the material better.
     “Sometimes we do,” Mr. Seaman said. “We expose the students to alternative ways to think about or solve the problems.”
     Students have found reteach helpful for learning better.
     “I am grateful for reteach because it has really helped me improve on my math a lot,” said eighth grader Angel Meeks.

Student Council is selling tickets to the Halloween dance during lunch.

Student Council is selling tickets to the Halloween dance during lunch.

By Michele D.
Cougar News Blog

     The Zombie Prom or Prombies dance is coming up on Thursday, Oct. 30, and some things have changed. There are higher price and different ways of getting in.
     The price for entering the dance has been raised from $5 to $6.50 due to the higher prices of the MC and the DJ.
     “Our dances have been $5 for almost five years and, due to rising costs, we are no longer able to raise the fund we used to,” said Student Council adviser Jason Davis. “We had a different DJ at the first dance than we’ve had before and our package includes an MC, who stays on the floor and encourages participation among the students. We got a lot of positive feedback about that, but it does cost us more money.”
     Student Council is also doing something different by selling tickets instead of paying at the door for admission. The tickets will be sold outside of the cafeteria every day until the dance and when students buy the ticket they will their name and ticket number recorded so it can be check at the door on the day of the dance.
     While costumes – especially zombies – are encouraged, there are some rules. There are no masks or weapons allowed to be included in the costume.
     Student Council members hope the people understand the price increase.
     “I think that the raising of the price was a good idea because we are spending a little bit more for the MC and DJ,” said eighth grade representative Mystique Frierson. “I think the selling of tickets will help, since its something that we don’t normally do.”
     The dance will be from 5:15 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30 in the CCJH gym and cafeteria.


Looking myself up

Abriann RiosPineda

     When I looked myself up on google, the first thing that comes up is my Facebook account. My Instagram and Pinterest also came up. My Instagram profile came up and just showed my posts and followers that I have and the people I am following. Same with my Pinterest profile. In the images there was pictures of people I follow on Facebook and pictures I liked on Facebook and one of my profile pictures from a while back from my Facebook account. An image of my family’s house in Los Angeles, California came up too. Also the stories I have written for the Cougar News Blog for my school came up and my Blog Action Day story on racism came up also.
     There was not really anything surprising that came up since I don’t get in trouble with the law or anything, or put up strange pictures on my social media profiles that everyone could spread around on the internet for everyone to see.
     The results of me looking myself up are positive too, so that is good. I didn’t see anything bad or disturbing to me or other that came up while I was looking myself up on Google. I thought maybe something would come up though because if your stuff is shared all over the internet I would think that someone would mess with your things online. Like photoshopping your pictures you have posted before, or hacking your social profiles online and changing the information on them.


Advice to kids

Alyssa Flores

Many kids don’t realize how important being safe on the internet because they are told from adults. They think they tell them that to stay off the internet. That is not the point here many kids do not realize that many people on the other side of the computer are not who they say they are. Many kids think that just because its on the screen it ok. Its not always ok there can be a 12 year old teenager and is actually a 40 year old man. I don’t mean to scare you but tell you not everything is not what it seems to be. Never give them your number,age,where you live, name because in a click of a button your life won’t be safe. They can search you, stock you and scare you. Never invite someone you don’t know to your house or never meet with them somewhere. You don’t know their background information they can say they are a girl who wants to play it can be a man. I have never had an experience with a situation like this. Be smart on the internet. When you post something about school being dumb, You ditching school won’t look good when you try to get a job and get into school. I think kids will know about internet safety now that an adult is not telling them but a kid because we are closer in age than their teachers or parents. Be smart, safe and protective about your information don’t give it out.

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PTO to hold clothing drive

Posted: October 17, 2014 in Fundraisers, PTO, Technology
By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog
     Cactus Canyon Junior High’s Parent Teacher Organization is holding a clothing drive fundraiser on Oct. 25 to help purchase new learning equipment for classrooms.
     A company called the Clothing Cycle will weigh and pick up clothes that have been donated. They accept used clothing, backpacks, fabric, bedding, hats, curtains, stuffed animals, belts, towels, etc. They pay 15 cents per pound.
     Dena Kimble, the president of the PTO, decided to do this type of fundraiser for two particular reasons. Number one, there’s no cost to the parents or the PTO, and the PTO is paid for every pound collected. Number two, it’s a green fundraiser, which makes it good for the environment.
     Items that cannot be reused will be recycled, like the rubber on the bottom of shoes.
     The money raised will go to the school for technology to help students in the classroom.
     “The money raised will go towards purchasing Interactive Smart Projectors for classrooms to improve classroom learning, instruction and participation,” said Kimble.
Anyone who brings in over 50 pounds of clothing gets a chance at having a pizza party with some Arizona Cardinals football players, and whoever brings in the most pounds of clothing gets a cash prize.
     Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, in the CCJH parking lot.

The staff of the Cougar News Blog is participating in this year’s Blog Action Day. Each year, bloggers from around the world post about issues like the environment, poverty, and climate change. This year’s issue is inequality. Following a class discussion about ways people receive unequal treatment, students chose a topic to write about from their own personal knowledge and experience. Students were given almost no direction for this assignment, so what you read is entirely the ideas from the minds of 13- or 14-year-old eighth graders. For more information, visit

Racial Inequality

By Abriann Rios Pineda

     Racism has been around for a really long time. Even after the Jim Crow Law was passed. Jim Crow Laws are racial segregation laws made in 1876. That only stopped African-Americans from having to be separated from white people, and hate crimes from being committed. People mostly think of white people and African-Americans when they hear the word racism or racist, or when they are having a conversation about it. It also involves Chinese and Japanese in other parts, all over the world.
     Racism still is around. I think it exist more at schools. Students in class get made fun of because of what color they are or what their race is. It also happens on the bus and at after school events. Aside from it happening at school between students, it happens at restaurants where the waiters and waitresses don’t want to serve a person because of their race. It also happens at libraries, stores, and attraction sites.
     Some people say “not to be racist or anything, but…” and then they will say something to that person that makes him/her feel uncomfortable. Maybe that person feels like they were being racist to him/her. The situation could be as simple as that, or another example that’s even more simple is a family is being stared at with an unpleasant look from a family that is a different race dressed more different and look different.
     I’ve been in this situation before and I’ve seen others in this situation. I feel that for someone to act like that with another human being is very hateful because they are a person too. It makes me think what if you were that person being made fun of or looked at in a way you don’t want to be looked at. I would feel really uncomfortable, and that’s why I don’t like racism or could ever act like that.

Age, Race, and Gender

By Aysaiah A.

     Everybody is the same whether you are a different race, gender, age. It does not matter because we are all human beings, but most people around the world don’t notice that. Some people don’t know that we are all the same as them.
     Racism is one of the most biggest factors of inequality. People around the world still are against another race. From the 1700’s to the 1960’s people were racist against African Americans. They thought that they were aliens, that they were not human but they are. Racism is not illegal but it should be.
     Age is not really a big factor in inequality, but it still counts. An older person (per say an employee) could be treating a younger employee less favorably because of his age. This happens all the time. Young people treat older people less favorably because of their age. Young people (per say a teenager) can act like a complete jerk to older people. They could say “Oh, they are too old to even hear what we are saying” or things even worse.
     Gender is another factor of inequality. People of different genders are being discriminated against also. An example would be a man wanted to buy a car for $30,000. Then a woman wants to buy one but the car dealer raises the price just because she is a girl. Women are mostly being discriminated against in Iran. Women are not allowed to show skin or else they with get beaten by their boyfriend or husband. Women are humans too. This should not happen but it does.

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