by Terry Ryder, October 21, 2009
Daring To Succeed
The following is a letter written to Betsy Taylor AVID teacher at AVHS by Veronica Mendoza her former student. Veronica is a student who knew what she wanted and went after it. She wanted to go to UC Davis and she achieved her goal. “Hi Ms. Taylor, I just wanted to say hi and see how you are doing. I just finished my math homework. College is great I have a lot more free time and I’m making a lot of friends. School is a lot harder but a lot more fun. I’m taking math, chemistry, Chicano studies, Water in Popular Cultures, and volleyball as PE. It’s cool my schedule is so weird and crazy. On Mondays I have math from 12 to 1 and the Water in Popular Culture discussion from 3 to 4 and then Chemistry from 8 to 9:30 at night! On Tuesdays it’s much more relaxed. I have volleyball from 9 to 10 in the morning and Chicano studies lecture from 1:40 to 3 and I’m done for the day. Then Wednesdays it’s crazy. I have math from 12 to 1 and then I have Water in Popular Culture lecture from 5 to 8 and then chemistry from 8:10 to 9:30 at night! . But, I am so lucky that the buildings from these two classes are only like five minutes away from each other. I do have a bike and my classes are really far in different buildings, but I always walk to my classes. I like walking because it makes me feel like I’m in the city. It’s a beautiful campus. I keep my bike in my dorm. I used to keep it in the basement but then someone stole my night lights and I was really mad so that now even if I wanted to I can’t ride my bike at night because I could get pulled over by the police and get an actual ticket. Anyway Davis is beautiful and I’m really liking it here. I really like my Chicano Studies professor he’s really great and funny. Thankfully I have made a group of friends and we get along great. We have lunch and dinner together. Oh, and the food here is great! Most of the food is organic because UC Davis is trying to get us to go green. It’s nice. I miss AVID. I had so much fun in that class. ” — Veronica Mendoza.
In other “Where are they now?” news Alex Wakeman AVHS Alum and UC Santa Barbara graduate is teaching English in Majorca. Former student Luke Emery is back east with his mom Dawn Ballantine checking out colleges and had a chance to see Cassidy Hollinger at Vassar.
Measuring Measure A
Julie Honegger’s students organized and held a panel discussion on the pros and cons of Measure A on the morning of Oct. 14th. Invited panelists included Steve Scalmanini- against, Lynda McClure, against; and Robin Collier, for. I came in late but was in time to hear students Laura Essayah and Maribel Garcia quiz the panel. They specifically wanted to know how Measure A would affect us in the Anderson Valley. Discussion was somewhat heated as both sides seemed to think the other somewhat misrepresented themselves. Steve and Lynda questioned the sustainability of any part of the retail development plan. Robin believes the advantages of outside money coming in to clean up the site and create jobs far outweighs the disadvantages. At the end of the program I picked up handouts from both sides. The “Pro” side had a large format 4 page full color glossy 8.5 x 11 mailer while the “Con” side had a one sheet black and white flyer. Students were attentive to the panel even though it seems there was a tendency to repeat the same points again and again. Still it was generous of the panel to take their time to attend and explain their positions.
Writing On The Walls
Walking the halls of the Elementary last week I found bulletin boards posted with Many student writings. Some wrote about the Apple Fair.
“At the fair I saw cowboys riding wild bulls. I ate blue cotton candy. I rode the circle shaped Ferris Wheel ride. But the best thing at the fair was when the Crazy Surf tickled my stomach.” ˆMonik. “At the fair I saw a pink balloon way up in the air. I also ate salty popcorn. I rode on the Gravitron but the best thing at the fair was playing with Christina because she’s my best friend.” — Stephanie.
“The fair was lots of fun. I saw a big black and white cow. I ate a corn dog. I ride on the Gravitron but the best thing at the fair was when the YoYo tipped back.” — Akosha.
Another group of writings were based on the theme of a “Certificate of Uniqueness”. Each child described some aspects that seemed unique about themselves including the following:
“I actually know how to change a dirty diaper.” — Sierra.
“I actually know how to slaughter chickens to eat.” — Vivien
“I even eat Volcano Hot Pockets.” — Clarisa.
“In my family I’m the one with the spiky Hair.” — Ezrquiel
“I actually know how to ski a Black Diamond run.” — Paul.
“I’m the one who wears pink flip flops.” — Suzanne
“You know it’s me if you see me wearing a red hat.” — Jason
“I’m the one who doesn’t eat candy and chocolate with sugar.” — Erika
“In my family I’m the one who feeds my dog because he bites.” — Jose John
“I actually do a 360 on my bike. I even eat shrimp with habanero chilis and jalapenos.” — Giovanni
Go Go Go
On Oct. 20 all the kindergarteners first graders will take a bus ride to visit Gowan’s farm where each child will pick a personal pumpkin. Former speech teacher Jean visited the Elementary on October 1st. She wrote, “It was great to see the teachers and kids so engaged, so much learning going on, so many smiles. And oh, I loved the hugs.” Julie Rumble tells me that her third graders will be working with the quilt makers from “Los Hilos de la Vida” to make fabric pictures next week. Ester Soto’s class will be translating the Resource Directory of the new bi-lingual Anderson Valley Phone Directory. This is a big help in the push to get the book printed in time for sale at the Unity Club Holiday Craft Fair. Kira Brennan will return in April to officiate at her traditional Mile Run. We hope students are amping up for that event to get fit and to make Kira proud. Vickie Brocks class has three worm boxes outside her classroom. They are taking the leavings from after school snacks and wet newspaper to compose by encouraging their red wigglers to make soil. It looks like it’s working. The surprising thing is that the “garbage” they are processing doesn’t smell. Vickie explained to me that when the moisture level is right there is no smell.