Archive for the ‘Student Health’ Category

Math teacher Tina Jada created a poster with positive messages to help brighten students’ day.

By Mercy Brink
Cougar News Blog

     Many students have seen and wondered about the poster in the 300 building. The poster says “Take What You Need” and was meant to inspire and spread positivity.
     Tina Jada hung the poster up on Feb. 13 to help encourage the students. The poster has multiple sticky notes with inspirational sayings written on them like “Inhale Confidence” and “Broken Crayons Can Still Color.” Some of them have little quotes as well. This helps to encourage students to get through the long school days.
     Mrs. Jada hopes the poster will help to brighten up the days of the students and staff.
     “I was really tired of seeing so much negativity around so I decided to try and create something positive,” Mrs. Jada said.
     Students who have taken sticky notes have said that it has cheered up their days.
     “Usually when I take a sticky note, it’s because I’m in a bad mood,” said eighth grader, SeAnna Brennan. “After I take the sticky notes, I always feel better because it feels like someone actually cares, or I look at it and I feel better.”
     Mrs. Jada saw the idea of the poster and variations of it on Pinterest. She was also inspired by the thankful tree that Lisa Smith put up in the building earlier this year, and said that she liked seeing what people were thankful for.
     She says that once all of the sticky notes are gone, she might put up more or she might even let students make their own.


Decorating a poster with positive comments about themselves, Kallie Mastin, Paige Labadie, and Seleste Roman-Garcia, 7, color with green markers in Mrs. McQuilkin’s “classy ladies” enrichment class.

By Daisy Gonzales
Cougar News Blog

     Wendy McQuilkin, the science teacher for seventh grade, has brought back an enrichment class for girls that teaches them how to overcome their struggles and learn about themselves.
     Due to the new reteach and enrich schedule, the “classy ladies” course is now six-weeks. During the class, Mrs. McQuilkin wants girls to learn how to become better friends, daughters, and students.
     “I know that girls this age have self-esteem issues and might feel weird about all sorts of situations,” McQuilkin said. “I wanted to help my students become more confident, have fun, and spread love around them.”
     Confidence is not a trait that is easy to acquire for many young girls. They often think they need to look or act a certain way based on what they see on TV, magazines, or social media. Sometimes girls get sidetracked by these “expectations” instead of focusing on their real self and doing what they love.
     “Today in the world, many girls would compare themselves to models, actresses, and other famous women that don’t look like us. Us girls need to accept the fact that we are all unique,” eighth grader Maria Alamillo said. “The class itself has helped me in a way where I learned to be myself and not compare myself to others.”
     One of the main standards of learning is sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings. McQuilkin said she feels honored when students share their feelings with her and feel open to ask anything they want.
     “I enjoyed how she let the girls talk about their issues and let out our feelings,” Alamillo said. “I feel stressed about something we could talk about it in the class.”


By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

     Students might have noticed a new addition sprouting recently on campus. A new garden has been placed in the planter right in front of the office.
     The garden was planted by Mrs. Dolle and a few students in her grief group.
     “It’s a memory garden,” explained Dolle. “Our grief group wanted to think of a nice way to remember loved ones we have lost.”
     The planter was already empty and ready to be filled. Dolle had bought all of the supplies they needed including the petunias and snapdragons they had planted in the planter a few days prior. Fixing up the planter took about two or three days, according to Dolle.
     “After looking at some pictures of different flowers, my group and I decided we liked those flowers the best for the garden,” said Dolle.
     Dolle and her students had really enjoyed the garden. They say it helps them think about their loved ones and how happy they made them.
     “I think the garden is a really good thing,” explains seventh grader Mareena Fick. “Normally when someone dies, you think of dark things. But, when you look at the garden, it’s very colorful and lets you remember that everything will be OK.”

By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

     Students were recently able to learn about bullying in a powerful way. On Friday, Nov. 21, the Power Team visited the Performing Arts Center at the Apache Junction High School for an anti-bullying assembly filled with stunts and memorable speeches.
     Both seventh and eighth grade students at Cactus Canyon were able to attend a preview during the school day for the three night show at the PAC.
     “The Power Team taught the students how to use their strength to achieve goals and to never give up their vision,” said Principal, Courtney Castelhano.
     Last year, Student Council and Ms. Davis’ Lifeskills Class had their own anti-bullying assembly called “Spread the Word to End the Word.” That assembly included skits, speeches and a powerpoint presentation made by Student Council and a special guest speaker.
     “The year’s assembly was different in the fact that we have never had this group present before,” said Castelhano. “Also, they had more of an animated presentation.”
     Cactus Canyon has had anti-bullying assemblies in the years past, but none of them compared to this year’s.
     “The speaker of The Power Team told a lot of personal stories, “ said eighth grader Wendie Orozco. “I liked how they used stunts to explain their stories.”
     Castelhano is hoping to have more anti-bullying assemblies in the years to come. She says it’s a good thing to have because it brings awareness in the junior high level.
     “We want students to gain knowledge of the effects of bullying and also good character,” said Castelhano.
     The Power Team show promises “amazing feats of strength and power with a message of hope and inspiration.”

By Sam Collins
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon Junior High will be raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) from now until the end of December. CCJH has set a goal to donate $5,000.
As a friendly competition with Superstition Mountain Elementary School, both schools want to see who can raise the most money. To try and reach their goal, PE teacher Kim Widmer wants to hold a few events to help.
“Juvenile diabetes affects many people and I have had students (and) athletes that I have seen deal with the disease,” Widmer said.
Diabetes affects about 26 million people, or about 8 percent, of people in the United States. Among them is eighth grader Holly Stillman’s father, which is the reason why she is participating in the fundraiser. If not for the event, Stillman wouldn’t have heard of JDRF before.
“I’m planning to donate $50 dollars,” said Stillman. “I would like to donate more if I had more money but I'll try to support as best as I can.”
Widmer has planned two events. The first will be getting teachers and staff to participate. If they donate $20, they get to wear jeans to school from Nov. 19-30. The other is a jog-a-thon in early December. Every time they walk, run, or jog a lap, the foundation will receive a set amount of money.
“I’super excited for the jog-a-thon because I will be participating in a great cause and help earn money for children with diabetes,” Stillman said.
According to Widmer, if each girl raises $30 each, they will reach their goal. To get them a little more motivated, the PE teacher has said that the top five girls will receive individual prizes and the top class will get a pizza party.
“It is a high goal,” said Widmer, “but if everyone does their share it is definitely achievable.”

By Paige Mace
Staff writer

Cactus Canyon Junior High has a new policy that students cannot bring an open container to school. That means students cannot bring outside drinks such as Starbucks and Thirst Busters.
No student has brought inappropriate drinks to school, but it the rule is a safety measure because other students at other schools have done so.
“We are concerned about the size of the containers being brought in, such as 44-ounce Thirst Busters, and the contents in the drink,” said assistant principal Joyce Gingrich.
Drinking a large, sugary beverage in the morning can cause students to miss lessons and instruction because they leave to use the restroom.
“The size of the drinks cause students to have to leave class a lot,” Mrs. Gingrich said. “Often the drinks are very sugary, or have a lot of caffeine in them. In addition, it also makes it more difficult for us to know if there are any inappropriate substances in a container, such as alcoholic beverages.”
There are no punishments to having an open container to school, but teachers will ask students that have one to throw it away.
Students are allowed to drink sodas that were just opened during lunch, but administrators discourage bringing sodas to school. Members of the National Junior Honor Society also operate a breakfast bar where students may purchase water and iced tea.
Mrs. Gingrich said the only priority to the teachers is the students and their safety, so they are trying as hard as they can to keep a safe and clean environment at Cactus Canyon.

Students watch a movie during P.E. class. The intense August heat has meant that students have spent less time outside during the class. (Photo by Ashley Renowden)

By Ashley Renowden
Staff writer

For many people the heat has been an issue, including the physical education students at Cactus Canyon Junior High. The heat is making the kids stay inside, instead of outside being active.
Although they are not outside playing football or softball, they are doing many activities to keep the kids active. They are doing a fitness test, which consists of sit-ups and push-ups. The boys are learning proper stretching habits. Another thing coaches have done is take the students into the learning malls and watch movies because the girls and boys classes have to take turns using the gym.
Even though they switch off using the gym, sometimes the girls and boys P.E. classes come together and play dodge ball or volleyball or something they can do together. It’s a good option to keep them busy, but it gets a little crowded at times.
“It works out OK,” said Coach Scott Stansberry, the boys P.E. coach. “The gym is small so it gets crowded and there is some standing around.”
Taylor Simmons, an eighth grader in girls P.E., thinks that it is both a good and bad thing.
“It’s nice to have a break from P.E., because it is really hot outside,” said Simmons. “But I’m really looking forward to it starting back up again.”
Both coaches knew they had to bring the kids inside, but it wasn’t just their decision. It was a communication between the coaches and the administrators.
“I believe that anything past 102 is too dangerous for the kids. That’s what they taught me in school,” said Coach Stansberry. “Also, though, you can add 10-15 degrees on the concrete. So if it’s 102, its really like 117 on the concrete surface.”
Coach Kim Widmer is a little more tolerant, and likes the girls to be, too. She thinks 105 is reasonable, but never for too long.
“My personal opinion is 105 degrees,” said Coach Widmer. “If it’s below that, I will take the girls outside but not for more then 25 minutes.”

Students play Uno during their lunch break. AJ Parks and Rec has partnered with CCJH to bring different activities to campus during school. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

Apache Junction Parks and Recreation is putting on fun and active activities for Cactus Canyon students during their lunch break. People from the department, in an effort to encourage more activity among young people, are on campus two days per week.
Students at Cactus Canyon have been able to play board games or compete in physical games such as dodge ball and touch football. Parks and Rec uses grant money to fund the program at CCJH and other district schools.
Students can choose to beat the heat by playing card games in the cool shade of the courtyard or they can play physical games for a little friendly competition. Even the teachers get involved with the students and their activities.
“I am happy to have Parks and Rec at our lunch time,” said Assistant Principal Joyce Gingrich. “They provide a variety of activities (and) give kids more choices. They keep kids moving and doing something physical. The board games provide another outlet for kids as well.”
Mrs. Gingrich is very excited about all of the new sports happening because she loves seeing kids being active. Students are pretty fond of these activities too.
“I think what Parks and Rec does is pretty cool. It gives students more to do,” said eighth-grade student Ashley Renowden. “My favorite thing is Connect 4 because it requires thinking. Plus, I am really competitive and I rock at it! The only thing I think should be changed, is how much it is publicized. I really didn’t know about until a couple days ago.”