Archive for the ‘Organizations’ Category

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     The book club, Raging Readers, is doing fun and new things. Raging Readers is a club where students read and talk about books with other students. The book club meets every other Tuesday and started on the 13th of September.
     One goal of the club is to have an impact on student reading. Adviser John Leal wants his students to take away a love for reading and sharing what they have read.
     “I expect my students to take away a passion for reading or sharing their experiences from reading,” said Leal.
     This is Leal’s second year of sponsoring the club, which he wanted to do because of his love for reading and sharing. He wants students to be able to read and enjoy reading as much as he does.
     Leal said, “I love to read and to share titles in hopes that maybe that person would experience what I did while reading.”
     The book club plans to to have different choices of books than what they did last year. They are also going places like the Renaissance Festival and will help put on the literacy fair in early 2017.
     In a normal book club meeting, students have a discussion about a book they are reading.
     “We talk about characters, plot, and themes about the novel and share how we felt when something happened, or while it was happening,” Leal said.

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     There has been a murder at Rundown Abbey. Follow along with the characters to find out who the killer is at the Cactus Canyon drama production.
     Students can come see Murder at Rundown Abbey at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are only $1 and will be available at the door.
     The play, set in the 1920s, follow detective Sam Splayed as he goes undercover as a butler to solve a murder at the English estate owned by the Crumbledowns.
     Adviser Lisa Schroeder wants her student to enjoy the experience and develop a love for drama.
     “I want them to enjoy this process and it is my hope that they truly fall in love with the theater and want to explore more or similar opportunities in the future,” said Schroeder.
     The drama students have been working for about two and a half months to prepare.The student have many techniques that they use to practice. Some students like when they can practice with their fellow peers that are also in the play.
     “When I practice, I find I improve when I talk to someone with my lines,” said seventh grader Nevaeh Erlandson.
     Since CCJH has not had a play in about five years, the class had to come up with all the costumes and props. Although, thanks to some generous people, they were able to get donations for most of the things they needed. All the money that the play raises is going toward their next play that will be in the spring.
      “We had to obtain all aspects, such as costumes, props, set pieces, etc.,” said Schroeder. “We obtained these items from various resources such as teacher, parent, and community donations. We made many of our items from recycled materials such as old boxes, and fabrics.”
     Drama students said they are really grateful to get the opportunity to put on the show and said the experience has made the group like a family.
     “Drama has taught me that no matter who I am I can always act and be myself because family isn’t always blood,” said eighth grader Kaitlin Greathouse. “It’s the people in life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

Jaden Unise, 8, serves up a cup during the NJHS chili cook-off on Oct. 26.

Jaden Unise, 8, serves up a cup during the NJHS chili cook-off on Oct. 26.

By Anyssa Pena
Cougar News Blog

      Members of the NJHS raised over $300 for Project Help on Oct. 26 with its third annual chili cook-off.
      The money raised from this event will go towards purchasing turkey dinners for families in need this holiday season as well as assist in purchasing holiday gifts for children through the Angel Tree project.
      The event included many different chilis entered in by the contestants. Students and parents could enter a chilli dish or come out to try the chilli and vote.
      Mrs. Schroeder was happy with the the turnout and the amount of money raised.
      “I believe that this year was a successful fundraiser as we had a nice turnout of over 15 chili entries,” she said. “In addition, we raised more funds with this event this year than in years prior.
      The chili cook-off is a fundraiser for NJHS students to learn leadership skills like accountability, teamwork, and time management. Mrs. Schroeder is in charge of organizing it so she does have some expectations from the student to show that they are responsible enough to have another fundraiser.
      “My expectations of my NJHS students in hosting organized community events, is to learn communication, dependability, and a sense of responsibility and citizenship within their community,” said Schroeder.
      Even with the success of the event, the group is already thinking about next year’s cook-off.
      “I am always looking for new ideas and ways to improve events,” said Schroeder.

Seth Wright plays the egg game during lunch. The game, along with NJHS coin drive raise money to help CCJH donate turkey dinners and Christmas gifts. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Seth Wright plays the egg game during lunch. The game, along with NJHS coin drive raise money to help CCJH donate turkey dinners and Christmas gifts. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     A lot of students love spending Thanksgiving with their family, or waking up on Christmas Day to go open all their presents. Although this all sounds great, but some people don’t get the privilege of opening presents or getting a nice meal on Thanksgiving. This is why Cactus Canyon had the egg sale and is now having the the coin drive. Tina Jada in charge of the egg sale and National Junior Honors Society is in charge of the coin drive.
     The egg sale, which was from Oct. 17-19, is when students pay 75 cents for a plastic egg, open it, and there is a paper inside saying what the prize is. The donated prizes range anywhere from a yo-yo to a huge Pikachu stuffed animal. All the money the school raises on the egg sale is going toward The Angel Tree.
     “The egg sale raises money and is a fun event for students at CCJH. Since it helps those less fortunate and provides fun, I think it is a worthy cause,” said Jada.
     The Angel Tree is where kids that do not get the privilege of getting gifts for Christmas write down what they want for Christmas on a piece of paper and hangs it on a tree. Then other people pick one of the papers from the tree and buys the gift for the kid. The egg sale started on the seventeenth of October and ended on the nineteenth. The only time students are able to buy eggs is during their lunch.
     During the coin drive, classes compete on who can raise the most money in a certain amount of time. The top three classes get rewarded, and all the money that is raised is going toward buying Thanksgiving dinners for families in the Apache Junction Unified School District.This event is being run by NJHS. They are going to take all the money raised and are going to buy as many meals as they can for the families. The coin drive started on November 1.
     “The coin drive asks all in the CCJH community to provide Thanksgiving for some families,” said Jada. “There will be a pizza party for the winners, one in seventh grade and one in eighth.”
     Although, some students did the egg sale just for the prizes, some were happy that they were helping people. Eighth-grader Elisa Pacheco, feels really great about this event.
     “I feel great,” said Elisa Pacheco. “I’m happy we are helping people out.”

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     Programmable Lego robots are trying to make their way into Cactus Canyon’s tech club. Tina Jada, the tech club adviser, is trying to figure out how to use the robotics equipment from when Cactus Canyon had a robotics class.
     Students got to experiment with the equipment during the club’s last meeting, but Mrs. Jada doesn’t know exactly how they will be used.
     “We brought out all of the robotics parts at our last meeting and are trying to figure out how to make them functional,” said Mrs. Jada.
     In addition, tech club members will be making computer games, which seventh grader Marek Lemieux said is his favorite activity, and will be helping raise money for Project Help. If students join they wouldn’t have to worry about get hungry or thirsty because tech club will be serving snacks and drinks during each meeting.
     “Games that you build are accessible by you for life, even after you leave CCJH,” said Mrs. Jada.
     Tech club is always looking for new members and there is no sign-up fee. Meetings start at 3:15 p.m. and lasts until 4. They meet up every Tuesday in room 319 in the 300 building. Students who show up for the meetings get a free tech club shirt.
     “Students are always welcome to join the Tech Club,” said Mrs. Jada. “There is no fee involved and if you attend three or more meetings you qualify for a free T-shirt.”

By Savannah Barr
Cougar News Blog

     It’s a good sign that there’s a new sign language club at Cactus Canyon.
     Mrs. Wilson, a seventh-grade math teacher, has opened an after-school club for students who want to learn basic sign language.
     Students that have joined the club are learning how to communicate in a way that will allow them to talk to those that are either deaf or cannot speak verbally. They’re learning parts of the deaf culture, as well.
     “I think that communicating with a deaf person that you’ve always wanted to talk to with these signs would be beneficial,” says seventh grader Madison Miller. “Plus, it’s just a fun way to communicate with others.”
     The club has 14 members so far.
     “All students in the school are welcome in the club, whether they’re in seventh or eighth grade, deaf or hearing, beginner or advanced,” says Mrs. Wilson.
     Currently, these students are just learning the basics. They practice talking to each other and asking/answering questions. They sit in a way that a deaf class would be arranged, in a circle.
     “We talk in a circle, giving out our names. Take turns greeting, and setting out our moods,” Miller says.
     Future plans for the club include attending a deaf event or having a sign-only outing. The club even wants to have a deaf person come and talk to the students using only sign language.
     “In future activities, we’re probably going to go out to eat with the whole class and we have to sign what we want to eat to Mrs. Wilson,” says seventh grader Krysta Espinoza.

NJHS students take a photo on their trip to Disneyland. (Photo by Talon Izbicki)

NJHS students take a photo on their trip to Disneyland. (Photo by Talon Izbicki)

By Lexi Demery
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon National Juniors Honor Society took a trip to the happiest place on earth.
     NJHS left to go to Disneyland and California Adventure after school on Wednesday, April 20. This trip wasn’t only an award for their hard work, but also for leadership training.
     “Students gained the confidence to overcome obstacles,” said Tammy Howard.
     Directors Tammy Howard and Paige Reesor started planning the trip months before they left. Members of NJHS had to stay at an average GPA of 91 percent and had to complete 20 hours of community service in order to go. Students had courage and determination to accomplish goals and believe in their dreams.
     “The trip is great motivation for me to keep being a good person and keep my grades up,” said eighth grader, Haile Miller.
     This trip has been going on at CCJH for many years. Howard and Reesor decided to include the leadership piece and make the trip longer last year.
     “I was extremely excited to see the growth and critical thinking of our students,” said Howard.
     This trip is about learning how to be a leader and just have fun. The NJHS team finally got a chance to unwind and relax for all their hard work, in the form of Southern California.
     “I’m excited because it’s going to be my first time at DisneyLand and hopefully I will meet Mickey,” said Miller.
     The leadership training was to teach the students to have confidence and to be courageous. NJHS applied their leadership training at Disneyland by listening and learning about others interests and planning an imaginary party.
     “We discussed diverse point of views, like everyone thinks differently and it’s okay because it could lead to great things,” said Miller.

Photo by Stella deVargas

Photo by Stella deVargas

By Jersiah Wrobleski
Cougar News Blog

     On March 22 Cactus Canyon Junior High held a chess tournament.
     Seventh and eighth graders in the chess club competed against players from Apache Junction High School. The chess tournament was taking place because coaches Jayson Angell of AJHS and Joseph Gerber of CCJH wanted to teach the students valuable life lessons through chess. It was a friendly event that encouraged students to meet and interact with new players.
     “Most of the students who take part in this match have probably never experienced playing in a chess match before,” Gerber said.
     The chess tournament will help teach kids self discipline. The supplies don’t cost much and it helps the children improve problem solving skills by analyzing their opponent’s moves and positions.
     Gerber said, “Another thing I want to teach them is to use their time wisely. Sometimes a player using a clock for the first time might think that they have to move faster. This would be a grave mistake. Instead, a person should think carefully about their next move before making it.”
     In preparation for the tournament, Gerber said the CCJH players had less time than their their opponents.
     Gerber said, “The biggest roadblock I have with preparing my players is the lack of time. The high school team meets each week after school for at least one hour if not more. I can only meet with my players for about 25 minutes once a week.”

Weston Workman practices his game outside the library.

Weston Workman practices his game outside the library.

By Damian Lopez
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH’s chess club is starting fresh this semester, with the addition of some new seventh graders and some new eighth graders.
     The club is open to all students who are interested the game of chess and want to learn how to play on a higher level. Many students have also gone on to play at Apache Junction High School.
     “I find that everything you do can impact your game greatly, but if you don’t do a specific move it could easily break your game,” said eighth grade player Kaleb Schroeder.
     The club originally started in December of 2012 at four AJUSD elementary schools, and in December of 2014 adviser Joe Gerber asked if he could start a club at CCJH. Since then the club has gained a total mass of around 15 players, who are preparing themselves for possible future tournaments.
     “Last year CCJH played a match against the AJHS and it ended in a tie,” Gerber said. “This year we hope to again play against AJHS so the students that keep coming will have a chance to play in that match.”
     This upcoming season the club plans to have many special guests such as city policeman, city firefighters, in fact policeman have actually gone and played with the club. The club is also very fortunate to have volunteers that come to help and play.
     “I have felt the support that I have received from many of the staff members that work at the three schools currently in the Chess program,” said Gerber. “Their help has been definitely noticed by me and again I am grateful for their support.”
     The chess club meets in the CCJH Library every Tuesday during each grade’s lunch period. The club’s last meeting will be on April 19. Gerber plans to start the club up again next January and hopes to gain funds to put toward more equipment.
     Students in the club said they are not concerned about winning and losing as much as having a chance to play and get better.
      “Every game to me is a chance to improve my thought processes,” Schroeder said. “For example, if you’re thinking two moves ahead and your opponent is three moves ahead, you need to be watching what they are doing or play defensive until you have a chance to get ahead and take turn the game around.”

By Alexa DeLorenzo
Cougar News Blog

     Raging Readers book club began Sept. 15 with language arts teacher John Leal as the new adviser. While Mr. Leal plans some minor changes, almost everything is the same as last year.
     This book club is for students who enjoy talking about books. All of the students read the same book and then have discussions about what they have read. Mr. Leal wants students who will participate in the club and take care of the books.
     “I expect the students who join Raging Readers to share their knowledge and experience with reading the same books, as well as creating something (to share) their experience,” says Mr. Leal
     The club this year won’t have too many changes. Mr. Leal knows that there were field trips and fundraisers for the club. The book club will most likely stay the same, but will introduce new genres of books. The teachers that were the leaders last year were Lisa Smith and Sheryl Anderson.
     “I plan to have similar events that encourage the readers to share new mediums of literary stories, such as comics and manga,” Mr. Leal said.
     Raging Readers is for both seventh and eighth graders. Any student can join at any time of the year. If there is a sport in season and a student would like to join, he or she could always join after their sport has ended. In order to be in the book club, the students must take care of the books and show up to every meeting and always take part in the discussions.
     “If they show up and promise to take care of the books and participate in the discussions, then they belong. We even take folks later in the year,” says Mr. Leal.