Rockstar in Class and on the Field

     Hard worker, caring, and of course fast, all describe cross country runner Danielle Peck. Peck has devoted years of practice and hard work to achieve the greatest of goals–qualifying for state as a Freshman!

    When asked what her immediate reaction was when she realized she was going to state, Danielle said she felt “excited and relieved that all the work paid off.” Danielle is the first to represent Churchill High School at the State level in the last five years. She says, “It is an honor to represent such an amazing school and to receive this at such a young age.”

     Her coaches are proud of Danielle and her accomplishment as well. Mr. Gueldner knew Danielle’s hard work would pay off, and he says he plans to be at her next competition to continue supporting her. When working with Danielle or any of our Churchill Cross Country team members, Mr. Gueldner said he hopes they “set challenging, but attainable goals and push each other to work hard to achieve it.”

     The Churchill Cross Country team is proud to have Danielle Peck representing our school, and Charger Nation can’t wait to see what she achieves in the future.

“Chain of Love” Brings Churchill Students to Volunteer

A couple of Churchill students gathered early Monday morning in their former middle school, Saint George Episcopal’s, gymnasium to help with their annual school event, Chain of Love.

Chain of Love supports St. George’s sister school, Saint Benoit, in Mombin-Crochu, Haiti. For every dollar they raise, one domino goes into a huge chain built by select middle school students on the gym floor.

“It is so exciting seeing the amount of time and money not only students, but the community of St. George puts into the event,” sophomore Aubrey Harrison said.

She has participated in Chain of Love since her sixth grade year as a part of the construction team, or the group of kids who builds the chain of dominoes.

“As an alumni, it’s different because now I’m not completely involved,” Harrison said. “I get to see how [Chain of Love] has grown and developed since I have been at St. George.”

Freshman Daryn Reynolds, a Saint George alum who attends Antonian High School, was also a part of this project.

“My favorite part about Chain of Love is when the lower school kids walk in the gymnasium and get so excited for the domino topple,” Reynolds said. “It really just gives such great energy to a great cause.”

Senior Ainslee Harrison has participated in Chain of Love for seven years.

“My most memorable year was definitely this year,” Harrison said. “Getting to go back to a place that I grew up in and see how much this project has grown is amazing.”

Even though she is a senior, Harrison hopes to come back in college and continue to help a cause near and dear to her heart.

“We have built a school in Haiti because of this project,” Harrison said. “Each year we get to contribute something more to help that school grow.”

 

City Stumbler

Inside the mind of a little fish in a big pond

Whether she is aware of it or not, she displays a look of disgust on her face.

Walking home from school, she paces anxiously along the sidewalk adjacent to a busy street.

As the endless stream of vehicles pass her, she gripes about the loud hum of the cars and the smell of gasoline. She isn’t used to all of this, and it shows.

Freshman Estrella Overbeck just moved to San Antonio from Kerrville, Texas — a place she says she will always call her home. The transition from a quaint town with a population of 20,000 people, to a gargantuan metropolis has not been easy for Overbeck.

“It’s different because in Kerrville, it took 15 minutes to get anywhere in town,” Overbeck said. “Here, it could take an hour, and for the most part, it’s bad.”

Overbeck is originally from Mexico. As a child, it was just her and her mother. The pair frequently moved around until settling in Kerrville. Her mother eventually found who she thought would be her life partner, and got married.

During this time, Overbeck was content. She was completely thrilled with all the joys of small-town life. Now, she says life is a little lonely.

“[In Kerrville] Whenever you went to the mall or the movies- even if you went alone, you would find someone you knew because that’s all there was to do,” Overbeck said.

Overbeck worries about the uncertainty of attending a high school nearly three times larger than her previous school.

“I knew everyone there, so I knew who to stay away from, and I knew who was chill,” Overbeck said.

The most frustrating part of living here is the sheer number of people she encounters on a daily basis.

“My old school was the size of the 8000 building, and we only had two H-E-Bs and one Walmart in the whole town,” Overbeck said. “Now, whenever someone bumps into me, I get so angry, but I guess it’s normal here.”

Once Overbeck’s mother and stepfather divorced, she made the decision to leave Kerrville because of the high probability of having to see him in public.

It was time for a fresh start.

“If she went to the store or something like that, it was very likely that she would run into him, and that’s why we moved,” Overbeck said.

While she does have a hard time coping with the smells, sounds, and crowds in the city, there is one thing about living in San Antonio that makes her happy.

That one thing is Starbucks.

Overbeck was never able to satisfy her need for a frappe fix in Kerrville, so now she goes to Starbucks as much as she can. It might be one of the only things getting her through this difficult move.

While it may seem like a trivial thing to get excited about, she lights up at the mention of coffee.

“I love Starbucks,” Overbeck said. “I walk there almost every day after school. It’s what I spend most of my money on.”

She talks frequently about feeling alone, but there is another student at Churchill who feels her pain.

Freshman and expecting mother Jaylene Aldaco is also from Kerrville.

“In Kerrville, everyone is family somehow, but I’m happy that my baby is going to grow up here instead of there,” Aldaco said.

Overbeck and Aldaco know each other from the choir program at

their previous school, and Overbeck says it’s nice to know that someone identifies with what she’s going through.

“I remember her from school last year, and I was actually surprised to see her here,” Overbeck said. “We weren’t close or anything, but it feels kind of nice to have someone from Kerrville around.”

Things are looking a little brighter for Overbeck’s love life, too. She and sophomore Reece Martin recently began a relationship.

“Star (Estrella) does talk a lot about home, but I know she’ll be okay,” Martin said. “ She’s just that happy type of person.”

Overbeck aims to take that innate happiness and run with whatever her new life has to offer.

“Honestly, things are hard for me right now, but I know they’ll get better,” Overbeck said.

ICING ISOLATION: Freshman Estrella Overbeck stands alone eating out of a can of chocolate icing during class on Friday, May 26 in the 8000 building. “I know it seems really weird to bring a can of frosting to school, but something sweet is my go-to when I’m stressed out.” Overbeck said. PHOTO BY DELANEY ROCHA

It’s Never Too Late

ANIMATION TIME: CTE teacher Christopher Vasquez helps senior Sandy Mochag with animation on the computer on Friday, Sept. 23. “I was showing her how to make an object move across the screen,” Vasquez said. PHOTO BY CHLOE VEALE

ANIMATION TIME: CTE teacher Christopher Vasquez helps senior Sandy Mochag with animation on the computer on Friday, Sept. 23. “I was showing her how to make an object move across the screen,” Vasquez said. PHOTO BY CHLOE VEALE

Career Technology Education teacher Christopher Vasquez shares how he persevered through his high school years

By Tommie Gaitan

Most people only have to go through the agony of freshman year once, but sadly that wasn’t the case for Career Technology Education teacher Christopher Vasquez.

Vasquez attended Victoria High School in Victoria, Texas. In 1991, instead of hitting the books, he was having fun, and messing around with friends. This soon turned into a distraction, and Vasquez had to repeat the ninth grade.

“I was barely getting by,” Vasquez said. “Back in the day, there was no mercy.”

He never got any help in school because he never asked for help. His mom also did not know about his bad grades.

“The question would be ‘Do you have homework?’ ‘No.’ Of course I did, but my mom worked so much that it was difficult for her to go through my bag,” Vasquez said. “I always promised her I’d do better. Seeing her disappointed was another motivator to get back on track.”

After Vasquez graduated from his fifth year of high school, he was not only relieved, but he was also happy. Finally, he got to where he wanted to be. He wanted to be an example to students. He wanted to show them that what you do after high school is what’s most important.

“I am happy I got through it, but the way I look at it was the easiest thing that life will give you is the challenge of high school,” he said. “ I’m glad I finished it, and I’m proud that I finished it, but the big accomplishments come afterwards.”

Vasquez has always been into technology. It’s no surprise that his teaching gig revolves around technology.

“I have always been around technology since I was a little kid,” Vasquez said. “Whether it be video games, taking apart the TV in the house. Anything silly like that I was interested in.”

Vasquez went to the military after high school, but then he got out because of family reasons.

“I got out of the military Dec. 31, 2002 because I had a little sister who was born when I was 21,” Vasquez said. “I was just worried that if I ever had to take care of her that she wouldn’t know who I was if I wasn’t around. I missed home.”

The military also affected his life in many ways.

“It got me away from my home town where I could of made a lot of bad decisions,” Vasquez said. “It showed me new things. It showed me new places. It gave me friends … lifelong friends and lifelong memories.”

After his stint in the military, he went to college at San Antonio College (SACS) and Texas A&M San Antonio to study Human Relations, and even got his masters in Education Leadership at University of Texas San Antonio. To him, his was better late than never.

“I didn’t go to college until I was 30, and it was just a job to me,” Vazquez said. “I did it, and it wasn’t hard. I just did it. Before you knew it, I was done.”

Vasquez wanted to become a teacher because he wanted to show students that teachers aren’t only teachers. Teachers are there to help them no matter the situation.

“It’s very challenging,” Vasquez said. “You want to make sure the student understands what you’re saying and not misunderstand whatever lesson you’re trying to teach them whether it’s class lesson or a life lesson. The responsibilities of being a teacher to me is making sure students realize that we’re here to help however we can. We’re responsible for making sure that you understand the point of being here.”

As a teacher, he is beloved by many of his students. Teachers even think of him as a good examples for students.

“Mr. Vasquez is a good example of not giving up when you struggle,” Career Technology Education teacher Tamara Flack said. “He is really good about letting his students get to know him, getting them motivated to do their work, and making it fun.”

Vasquez loves his students and is impacting the future generation to make positive decisions.

“He is a very awesome teacher,” senior Terry Traylor said. “He teaches animation, and I want to do something that involves that later on in my life. It’s a really fun class, and he is really nice.”

Other students agree.

“He’s funny, cool, and gets loud at times, but he’s a great teacher,” sophomore Alex Martinez said.

The students are influenced by Vasquez on a daily basis. He always encourages them that the sky’s the limit and is a living testament against adversity. He looks to become even more successful in the future.

“I would love to be the assistant principal; I would love to be challenged by that,” Vasquez said. “I always thought it would be a pretty good challenge. You’re getting to understand the workings of the school. If you keep on trying, you can always do better.”