By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     Statistics show that 5-9 percent of teens identify as gay, lesbian, or uncertain. Seventy-eight percent of these students are teased or bullied about being gay. While teens have become more open-minded, bullying about students’ sexuality is still a problem.
     There are people at CCJH that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc. who are or have been bullied and are scared to talk openly about their sexuality. Teens become isolated and face a large amount harassment and violence. An eighth grade student who identifies as lesbian, talked about her experience about dealing with her sexuality.
     “I tried dating the other gender but I could not go through with it because it did not feel right. People who identify as a different sexuality or a different gender should be treated the same ,” she said. “Because we are all the same we do the same things the only thing that is different is that we identify differently.”
     Students have long been being treated differently for their sexuality. This problem may be caused because the person who is victimising them may be because they do not understand why the person is like that and cannot change their sexuality. Bullying and harassment has become such a big problem in students’ mental health that it can cause anxiety, depression, relationship problems, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
     “As many as 93 percent of students hear derogatory words about sexual orientation at least once in awhile, with more than half of teens surveyed hearing such words every day at school and in the community,” said Jane Riese in her article “Youth Who Are Bullied Based upon Perceptions
About Their Sexual Orientation.”
     Twenty-two percent of students skip school for safety concerns and are three times more likely to drop out of school. Teens bullied about their sexual orientation are three times more likely to commit suicide and 30 percent are having suicidal thoughts. In 2003, a study was done and showed that 12 percent of gay students 12-18-years-old have had hate related words toward them, 1 percent of those words have been about their sexuality.
     A study done in the 1970 concluded that being gay was no longer considered a disorder and that one’s sexuality is not a choice and cannot be changed. Even though this study was done, being gay was still looked down upon. Even though this generation has become more understanding and gay people have more privileges, OK okay to make fun of me for it, I just let it go. It’s my life not theirs, they can’t tell me what’s right and wrong with me,” said another eighth grader who identifies as bisexual.
     Someone’s sexuality does not determine who they are as a person. Teens are struggling to deal with their sexuality and they are being bullied and harassed in school and their community, which are places they should feel safe. Students who are gay are struggling in their everyday lives and should not be judged on their personal preference, especially since they are so young. Teens being bullied about their sexual orientation is more of a problem than it should be.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Skyler Wolfe. It is the first in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

By Zachary Grattan
Cougar News Blog

     Doctor Strange is an action film, science fiction film, superhero movie, adventure film, and fantasy film which received a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The main character Dr. Stephen Strange, is played by actor Benedict Cumberbatch who has been in many movies like Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 12 Years As a Slave, and Star Trek Into Darkness. Other stars include Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius.
     Doctor Strange starts with a fight scene between two powerful beings that hits the viewer in the face with the twisting building and magical weapons that leaves them breathless. Strange’s story is about an extremely talented and rich doctor that winds up in a car accident that sends him almost flying through the rain, damaging his hands permanently. The injury ends his career as a brain surgeon and he spends all of his money on experimental procedures to restore his hands.
     After hearing about a man that was completely paralyzed who miraculously made a full recovery, he starts asking questions. This leads him to Kamar-Taj, a magical sanctuary for sorcery and ends up in the middle of a magical war against evil.
     The actors are perfect for their roles, the story is extremely intriguing, and it’s definitely different from other Marvel superhero movies. Mostly because it presents a sorcerer as a superhero.
     What I mostly liked is that the movie was almost completely unpredictable with a lot of twist and turns that kept me watching. It also does not fail to show the viewer the perspective, personality, and emotions of the characters, especially Doctor Strange.
     This movie is appropriate for most ages, but I wouldn’t recommend it for small children. There are some short graphic scenes like a beheading and multiple deaths. For those reasons the movie is rated PG-13. I personally recomend this movie and rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

      Trolls is a heartwarming movie about a crazy adventure that Poppy and Branch make together to save all their friends. Poppy, played by Anna Kendrick, is the princess and the most happy and joyful troll of all her subjects. Branch, played by Justin Timberlake, is the opposite of Poppy; he is an overprotective, over-prepared troll. They both set out on an adventure to save all of the other trolls that have been taken by the Bergens that invaded Troll Village, which means they have to put their differences behind them. This movie was based off of the troll dolls that were popular in the 1980s. Trolls was directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn.
      The Bergens are meat eaters that devour the trolls. They believe that in order to be happy they have to eat trolls. Whereas the trolls believe in singing, dancing, and hugging. In this movie, the trolls escape from the Bergens, only to be rediscovered by them years later.
      This movie is worth watching for families and people of all ages; it teaches the lesson to never give up, like how Poppy never gives up even though there is a lot in her way. This film has comedy that will make people of any age laugh. Although this film has many great qualities, such as its special features, it is really short. This film is only an hour and a half, whereas other movies are usually an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. It did seem to be a little rushed, but overall it was a great movie.
      I would rate Trolls 4 out of 5 stars. I feel like this movie was very good quality, although I feel like they should have made it a little longer. I recommend this movie to people of all ages that are looking for a good laugh.

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.

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     The Cactus Canyon marching band had the benefit of performing with ASU’s own marching band during halftime of Arizona State’s football game Oct. 8 in Tempe.
     The group, along with other bands from around the state, helped ASU by performing “Maroon & Gold,” ASU’s fight song and “1999” by Prince.
Aimee Vining, the band director, thought it would be a excellent way to get her class a hands-on experience on the field.
     “I really just wanted them to experience marching band in a big way,” she said. “They were able to interact with the members of the band.”
     The CCJH marching band members thought it was a good idea to visit ASU, have a tour, and thought that playing on the field would help them in the long run for other activities at school.
     “This would help me in marching band because I know what playing on a field is like,“ said Melvin Lopez, who plays the trumpet.
     Ms. Vining heard about the trip by getting e-mailed by the coordinator from ASU. The trip costs the school about $100, but that money was used to pay for the bus to get there and back. Student had to get a slip signed by their parents to be able to go to ASU and they had to learn the songs.

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Mya Palomino
Cougar News Blog

     A new addition has been added to the morning announcements – video. In order to help more students be engaged with the news, the Journalism 2 students are recording the segments each day for the following morning.
     The announcements are now online for teachers to play and for students to view. The Pledge of Allegiance and school pledge are still done at before the video, as are any announcements that were added after filming was completed during fourth hour.
     Although the announcements are student recorded, they are being edited by adviser Jason Davis for now, but they are aimed to be done by just the students soon. This project will hopefully help students in their speaking and presenting standards.
     “While there are no traditional English or math standards associated with this project,” said Davis, “Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards include speaking and presenting.”
     The production has also gotten better with a more efficient set and better, more professional graphics. There was also a teleprompter added to help students look at the camera more often. Mr. Davis said he expects the videos will get better throughout the year.
     “Our reporters have come a long way already,” said Marie-Wilbur, seventh grade teacher. “They are starting to look at the camera and we as an audience get to see their faces.”
     There are many benefits to the announcements now. Not only do students get to feel what journalism is about, this is a way for the world to know that our school has many great opportunities. It’s also a better way for students to pay attention to the announcements.
     “I feel like students pay attention a lot more now,” said eighth grader Hannah Molino. “Everyone is quiet since it’s a video and they pay attention more so it’s easier to get information to our students now.”

Gallery  —  Posted: November 13, 2016 in Photos of the week, Yearbook

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Kristine Funke
Cougar News Blog

     There is a new enrichment class for eighth graders. The class is gardening, and the students are growing produce on campus.
     Carol Dolle, a teacher and counselor, hopes to inspire students about the fun of gardening. She wants to share her hobby with students.
     “I want my student to learn the basics of gardening and have a sense of accomplishment when they harvest their veggies,” said Dolle.
     The class is going to plant vegetables and maybe edible flowers. The idea is for the produce to be something that can be eaten. Dolle also wants students to see how much better things taste when it is fresh from a garden.
     One problem they could face is that the quarter is in winter. However, they plan on planting produce that grows well in the cold weather.
     “Some of the very best time for gardening in desert climates is the winter,” said Dolle. “The days are still relatively warm and the nights usually stay above freezing so many varieties thrive in those conditions.”
     Some students have had experience with gardening before, and Mrs. Dolle enjoyed vegetable gardening before she became a teacher.
     “When I was little, I lived on a farm for about 6 years,” said eighth grader Laila Brady. “My mother’s and (my) favorite thing to do was garden. We would go outside in our big      The class plans on doing a particular type of gardening that involves straw bales, which students may have seen in the courtyard. They also plan on building raised beds to garden, and students will be keeping track of progress.
     “We also might need to fence them in case the rabbits find us,” said Dolle.

Preparing to hang up a poster advertising the fall dance, seventh grader Jordan Digos tapes a rip in the paper. (Photo by Kashmir Baillie)

Preparing to hang up a poster advertising the fall dance, seventh grader Jordan Digos tapes a rip in the paper. (Photo by Kashmir Baillie)

By Zachary Grattan
Cougar News Blog

     This year’s November dance has quite a twist. The dance this year will not be the normal Halloween dance that students all know – in fact, it won’t be a Halloween dance at all. It will be a Fall dance with a Charlie Brown theme. This will be taken place in the school’s gym on Nov. 10. It will be from 6:15 to 8 p.m. The ticket will be $5 at the door, but if students wish to get in 15 minutes early then swing on by the Student Council room at lunch.
     This big change from a very well known dance is not just to mix things up. It’s because it was the least attended dance at CCJH, and it been descending each year.
     “The Halloween dance has always been our lowest attended dance of the year, sometimes by over 100 students,” said Student Council adviser Jason Davis. “I don’t know why, but my guess is that people don’t come because they think they are required to wear a costume. So now we need to try something different and hope it works out.”
     Low attendance means that student council can’t make the money to support groups, projects and other things in the school. The student council uses the fundraiser, for academics, extracurricular classes and a little bit of everything.
     This will mean that students are no longer allowed to dress up at all. Mr. Davis said that some students are disappointed about not being able to wear their costume, but StuCo did have to make this change to increase attendance.
     “I hope it benefits us by getting more students in the door. These dances are our major fundraisers for the year,” said Mr. Davis. “We pay for our leadership trips and give money to a lot of groups and projects around campus and we can’t keep doing that if no one comes to our dances.”
     StuCo is offering Krispy kreme donuts, pretzels, and some new games which they hope will get people to buy some tickets.

Members of the soccer team stretch before a practice on Oct. 24. Coach Art Helfgot is looking for players who will step up and be leaders this season. (Photo by Megan Ash)

Members of the soccer team stretch before a practice on Oct. 24. Coach Art Helfgot is looking for players who will step up and be leaders this season. (Photo by Megan Ash)

By Kylee Demauro
Cougar News Blog

     Boys Soccer is officially back at Cactus Canyon, and the team has high hopes for the season.
     The pressure hasn’t been bad on the players, except for the goalies Zane Baxter and Jose Nieto. That position is new to both athletes but it is critical for the team.
     “Since I’m goalie, there is pressure on blocking it and making sure the other team doesn’t win,” said Baxter.
     Coach Art Helfgot has been preparing for the season by the practicing skill drills, flow of the game, positioning, and conditioning. The team has been working very hard on finding out more about the game and each other.
     “I feel really good (about the season). I feel like we’re going to become better as a team,” said Efren Carlos Giron.
     The team has many goals, such as getting better every game, playing their best, and becoming better people in general. Coach Helfgot has never coached in Desert Middle School Athletic League before. Therefore, he has no idea what the competition will be like. In the past, boys soccer has won three championships.
     “My only goal is to see that we play better each game, learn the skills necessary, and understand that a team will beat a bunch of players every time,” said Coach Helfgot.
     The team and coach expect many student athletes to step up. They mostly expect eighth graders in general to step up. Such as, Leo Castenanda, who has considerable skills.
     “Who steps up individually to demonstrate leadership skills, I’m looking forward to seeing that,” said Coach Helfgot. “I’m not sure that’s easily expected at this age. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.”
     The team has a lot of core players who show significant experience and skills. There are also players who want to work hard to get better. The athletes will continue working on communications and playing better as a team.
     “(The communication helps the team because) it shows them what to do and how to do it,” said Baxter.