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.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Michele D.
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon is changing the way it raises money due to the new Smart Snacks law. This new law is intended to help students be healthier, but it will mean some changes for CCJH clubs. It took effect in July 2014 and is affecting schools all over America. Smart Snacks has been helping students make healthier choices for their school food, but it is changing things for the library, Student Council, and other organizations that raise money for Cactus Canyon.
This new law has been a big difference because those groups sold some snacks that weren’t meeting the standards of Smart Snacks, but the money from those snacks was used to help them stay on their feet financially.
“For Student Council, we are losing a lot of money,” said StuCo adviser Jason Davis. “We were always able to sell the snacks we had left over from dances after school and we made several hundred dollars that way over the course of the year.”
Under the law, snacks sold at school have to be 200 calories or less, while a la carte lunch item must be 350 calories or less and contain 35 percent sugar or less. There are also rules for saturated fat and sodium.
The drinks are limited to plain water, lowfat or nonfat milk or natural milk alternatives, and some fruit and vegetable juices.
The Smart Snacks rule doesn’t apply to foods or beverages from home, birthday parties, off-campus fundraisers, athletic events, school plays, or items sold after school hours (30 minutes after school).
Some students may be affected depending on if what they purchase at school. The new law is designed to help students with making smarter choices while being more active and energetic. However, not all students like it.
“Personally, I dislike the new rule. It may be healthier, but not all that tasty,” said Kylie Cann.
Student Council and Jennifer Cameron, the CCJH librarian, are searching for new ways to raise funds.
“I’m in Student Council, and it makes it a lot harder to raise money without junk food,” said eighth grader Erik Lundquest.
“In the past some snacks were sold as a fundraiser to purchase books for the library,” said Mrs. Cameron. “So far the additional snack that I have are Cranberry Almond Thins.”

By Sami Groneberg
Cougar News Blog

     Best Buddies and Leo Club are two of the many clubs at CCJH. Both are starting on their second year and looking to make to try new things.
Desirae Davis is the teacher who started the program Best Buddies at CCJH. The program helps students that sign up get to know other students and talk with them and to learn how to become a friend.
     There is also the Leo Club that is run by James Gibson. Leo Club is for a group or students that like to serve the community by volunteering.
     “Leadership and service to others, these are really important traits that help people with all aspects of life,” said Mr. Gibson. “It is also very fulfilling to other who are in need.”
     Leo Club plans to take a trip to help clean a summer camp for kids with disabilities. They will be going on an overnight outing and it will be lots of sweat and hard work, but very rewarding for the students.
     On Nov. 29 Best Buddies will be participating in the Buddy Prom. Buddy Prom is through Best Buddies Arizona for all chapters in the state.They also will be participating at the Friendship Walk and raise money to support Best Buddies.
     Best Buddies meetings and events are bi-monthly. Students in the club sometimes will go to lunch with their buddy, see them between classes, or before school. They also see them at their events. The last party they had was carnival themed. Buddies could get glitter tattoos, do art projects, and different activities.
     Mr. Gibson was approached by the Gold Canyon Lions Club about starting a Leo Club which is for a group of junior high or high school students. He started to the club at CCJH last year and this will be the second year of Leo Club. This year some things are going to be different.
     “I am really allowing the students to run and organize the club,” said Mr. Gibson.
     Best buddies helps students with intellectual developmental disabilities to have students without disabilities come in and hangout with them sometime during the day.

By Theresa VanPelt
Cougar News Blog

Mrs. Howard’s advanced class worked for about a week on a project about what they wanted to become as an adult, then presented their project to the public on the night of September 16.
This project, the Dream Job project, allowed students to research what they want to be when they get older. This included all the pros, cons, pay rate, hours, and many other details about the job, and to see why they they want it and if they still do after finding all this information. After they completed this, they made a poster board from the information they gathered.
“It was fun to figure out all of the different things we could be and also to see what our classmates would want to be,” said eighth grader Marissa Gregory.
The project has not had many changes over the almost 10 years that teacher Tammy Howard has been doing it. This year the only changes that were made from last year was the time of year it was done and the addition of figurative language. This addition improved the quality and creativity of the projects.
“I did make a change this year that I will incorporate again next year,” said Ms. Howard. “I will continue to include the figurative language piece.”
This taught the students how to research and organize the information that they later put on their poster boards. They also won extra credit for being voted for in the categories of most creative, which went to Hermance Luff and Erik Lunquest. Luff’s presentation was also named most original, most organized, and best overall. Most informative went to Bryce Maloney and best figurative language went to Lucia Kimble.
“My favorite part of the project was all of the project,” said Luff. “But I really liked seeing all my classmates posters and seeing what they came up with, and the winning part too.”

Anthony Easterday shows off a fruit pizza he made during a CCJH cooking class. (Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

Anthony Easterday shows off a fruit pizza he made during a CCJH cooking class. (Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon is cooking up some enrichment activities for eighth graders. The new program is giving students an opportunity to learn forensics with CSI and even cook some healthy snacks while learning about nutrition in the body.
The 30-minute enrichment class is a part of the Beyond Textbooks program and happens during the students’ Study Skills time. The time gives students a chance to do more productive, yet educational activities. The enrichment includes a creative writing class, a World War II class, and a class that teaches about life as a pirate.
Some classes have been doubled due to a lot of students wanting to join the activities. For example, eighth-grade science teachers Regan Roach and Candice Wyatt will both be teaching CSI classes, with each having about 40 students in class.
In the CSI enrichment, students will be learning what forensic science is, doing a fingerprint, handwriting, and blood spatter analysis. They will also be doing a crime-scene clean-up.
“I want my students to learn to love learning,” said eighth-grade science teacher Regan Roach. “By offering different types of lessons, I am hoping that students will be more engaged in the lessons.”
Another class that is offered is a cooking class taught by Lisa Smith. This class has about 40 students also. In the cooking enrichment, students will be learning about calories, the new food pyramid called My Plate, and how to read nutrition labels. Every Friday they will be having a cooking day and will make different types of recipes like fruit pizza, grilled cheese, and a red, white, and blue trifle dessert. Two of the recipes they are preparing require no baking and the third they will be using waffle irons to grill bread.
“I expect my students to be able to increase their knowledge of food and cooking techniques,” said Mrs. Smith. “I love to watch cooking shows and try new recipes all the time. I wanted to share this passion with the students.”
Photo by Kaileah Goucher

Photo by Kaileah Goucher

By Raylan J.
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon’s softball season is underway. The school tryouts were Aug. 11, the final cuts were Aug. 19. A gathering of 35 girls tried out, and only 21 girls made the softball team.
The Cougars, have been undefeated for two years and haven’t lost in six games this season. Coach Bill is a strict coach, and many girls, can get their feelings hurt, and the exercises done can be difficult, but it’s just the best for the team.
“What made it difficult to make the softball team this year is that Coach Bill is a very strict coach, so you have to be listening or else he won’t think you’ll be ‘cut-out’ for the team,” said eighth-grader Alyssa Decino.
Coach Bill Wilson said Cactus Canyon’s team has always been strong at batting. Fielding is good, but batting has always been the speciality.
“Hitting is the team’s best aspect, and we need to continue to work on our pitching in all aspects of the game, so we can improve the girls attitudes, to continue to grow together as a team and work together, so we can be very good,” Wilson said. “Also, so we can win the tournament and league, and be undefeated at the end of the season again.”
To help reach the goal of another league title, softball players practiced before hand for the season, by…., such as going to the batting cages, playing catch with their friends, or just doing stretches.
“I have been preparing for the season by going to the indoor batting cages with my friends,” said eighth grader Maegan Smith. “And just throwing around a softball from time to time with my closest softball friends.”
The Cougars have been undefeated for two years and haven’t lost yet this season. The last game is Sept. 30 at home against Maricopa Wells. The league championships will be this Saturday Oct. 4, in Coolidge.

By Maddie Chilson
Cougar News Blog

This year, the NJHS members at Cactus Canyon are going to try something new to raise money.
NJHS members will be selling VIP tickets to staff and students for $1 each. The tickets are for a chance to watch a CCJH sporting event on a couch while being served all the snacks they can eat. NJHS members are hoping to raise enough money to pay off most of the Disneyland trip that will be taking place at the end of the school year.
“We have no set expectations for the amount of money we raise,” said Ms. Howard. “We are just hoping to earn some funds since we have lost the majority of our funding resources.”
The purpose of the VIP tickets is for students to be able to be catered to at their advantage. Once a ticket is purchased, it gets put into a drawing. The VIP tickets are beneficial in two ways. One being that it’s going to help raise money for the trip and parents won’t have to pay for everything out of their pockets. Two, because kids will be served popcorn and soda while sitting on a couch watching a game with two friends of his or her choice.
“I bought a ticket, and I hope that I’m able to get drawn,” says eighth grader Wyatt Bradford.
The first drawing for the VIP tickets has already occurred, and the winner was Mrs. Cindy Wilson, a seventh grade teacher.
“We sold 10 tickets but hope to do better as students learn more about becoming a VIP,” said Ms. Howard.
The VIP tickets and other fundraising should help raise enough money for the kids to be able to take a two-day trip to Disneyland and do a leadership program with the Disneyland staff.
“I think this is a cool way to earn money,” said Bradford.
For the first game, a couch was borrowed because they do not own one currently. In the future, Ms. Howard and Ms. Reesor, the NJHS directors, hope to do more fundraisers, possibly a chili supper.
“I will be looking into buying a couch so we will not have to borrow one in the future,” said Ms. Howard.

By Zoey Lopez
Cougar News Blog

It’s that time of year again when Cactus Canyon has its annual food drive to help a AJUSD organization called Project Help. Project help is an organization that only help kids and parents in the AJUSD school district, not just with food, but they help with clothes and school supplies and other items that would be useful to those people.
Last year, the Cougars hit it off by bringing in the trophy for having the best drive among the AJUSD schools. Student Council, which organizes the drive, are asking for food donations during the week of Sept. 22-26.
“It makes me proud to work at school that has so many kids that want to help and make a difference in the community, when we band together one or two donations at a time we can really make a difference,” said StuCo Advisor Jason Davis.
Student Council members will be visiting the science classrooms at the end of each day to collect the donations. They sort it out and count the points based on what was donated. The most difficult job is to sort out the expired food. They can’t send it to Project Help if it is expired. Council members prefer quality food over quantity. They don’t want 700 cream corn or green beans; they would rather have 200 cereal boxes and peanut butter and jelly.
“I don’t know anyone that gets home from school and has a can of creamed corn as a snack or just wants green bean for breakfast,” said Mr. Davis. “We are more about the quality of the food not the quantity.”
“I think we can keep the trophy if we bring in good quality food,” said StuCo member Mystique Frigerson. “It’s not just about the quantity, but the quality. If we keep that up, I can almost guarantee another win.”
Student Council made a list of the food students are able to bring in. Cereal is worth four points; peanut butter, pasta sauce, and condiments are worth three; jelly and pasta are worth two; and soup and canned meat are worth one. Any expired donation takes one point away from the total. The grade-level team with the most points will get cookies.
Student Council will be going around at lunch to remind everyone about the food drive.