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.” 

Toss After Toss

A DIFFERENT LESSON IN MATH: Math teacher Minot Edwards demonstrates how to juggle to his math class on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in room 8201. “Nearly everyone would like to be able to juggle and if taught right, nearly everyone can learn at least the basic [standard juggling of three balls],” Edwards said. PHOTO BY JACLYN SPECIA

A DIFFERENT LESSON IN MATH: Math teacher Minot Edwards demonstrates how to juggle to his math class on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in room 8201. “Nearly everyone would like to be able to juggle and if taught right, nearly everyone can learn at least the basic [standard juggling of three balls],” Edwards said. PHOTO BY JACLYN SPECIA

Math teacher Minot Edwards shares his secret talents of juggling and ballet

By Milissa Salas

From Houston to San Antonio, math teacher, Minot Edwards, has brought his many talents to campus. From bouncy balls to knives, he has been juggling since he was around 30 years old. He started juggling as a way to teach his students because he thought this would be a creative way to communicate with students about different learning techniques.

“I was training volunteer tutors how to teach,” Edwards said. “I thought that juggling would make a good example [of a way to teach math] so I started by learning to juggle balls and then moved on up from there.”

Juggling requires a physical skill. For nearly 20 years, Edwards has been practicing the art of juggling.

“I would be better if I practiced more, but it is very habitual at this point, so it is easy to pick up again,” Edwards said.

For Edwards, juggling is so habitual it has become relaxing.

“It takes all of my attention,” Edwards said. “I cannot pay attention to anything else, and so it is very relaxing. It makes me forget any troubles, at least for a while.”

Although juggling has been with him most of his life, his other talent of ballet wins his heart.

“Ballet was my career; I love it,” Edwards said. “At this point, I can’t do ballet anymore, but I can still juggle.

Edwards was in theatre in high school and was going to be in Shakespeare. The drama coach had them all take ballet, which ended in him liking it more than he liked him.

“I loved being on tour for ballet,” Edwards said. “We got to travel all over the country and perform in all these small towns.”

Teachers and faculty raved on his fresh start to the school.

“Mr. Edwards was the best teacher for the job based on his interview,” Principal Justin Oxley said.

Students from his class are excited to see what his talent is going to bring to the class.

“I think he’s pretty amazing and talented,” senior Vanessa Duran said.

For students who have ever wanted to master the art of juggling, Edwards has some tips.

“Don’t start with the knives or fire,” Edwards said. “They really are quite dangerous. The trick is in mastering the basics. To this day, when I have not picked them up for a while, I still start off with very basic moves until I feel very comfortable.”

Juggling has helped Edwards throughout his life as a way to improve his teaching skills.

“By teaching students how to juggle, I’m teaching them the steps of learning something.” Edwards said. By Milissa Salas

Summertime Madness

DAY IN THE SUN: Sophomore Julie Bull poses with an elementary student from CAMP CAMP that she worked with as a volunteer and lifeguard on Sunday, July 3, 2016. “I loved hanging out with all the kids,” she said. “They were always so happy and kind that you couldn’t help but be in a perfect mood around them.” PHOTO BY JULIE BULL

DAY IN THE SUN: Sophomore Julie Bull poses with an elementary student from CAMP CAMP that she worked with as a volunteer and lifeguard on Sunday, July 3, 2016. “I loved hanging out with all the kids,” she said. “They were always so happy and kind that you couldn’t help but be in a perfect mood around them.” PHOTO BY JULIE BULL

Sophomore Julie Bull shares her dreams and summer adventures

By Kaylee Boggan

Summer is a time of relaxing by the poolside and sleeping in until noon every day. But while most were being lazy all summer, sophomore Julie Bull was working at the Children’s Association for Maximum Potential Camp or CAMP CAMP. This is a summer program for alternative learning experience or ALE kids that lasts for six weeks every summer in Center Point, Texas. Bull got to make a mark on the world and have many other adventures this summer through CAMP CAMP.

“I was lucky enough to hang out and help out with tons of cool children and adults with special needs; that including night activities, meals, and bedtime routines,” she said. “My favorite part of each week would be the Thursday night dance where I got to dance and have a blast with all my cool new pals that I met during each session.”

The camp offered many opportunities for kids and adults. Bull loved all the events and has a passion for the camp.

“During the weeks, we got to do lots of fun activities like archery, arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing, outdoor cooking, nature walks, horseback riding, drama sessions, and sports and recreation,” Bull said. “Our week also included lots of piggyback rides and playing dress up.”

Bull also had a summer job as a lifeguard there.

“As a lifeguard, I spent my time . . . assisting campers in and out of the pool,” she said.

Bull is part of the SMILE Club at Churchill and has loved working with the ALE students for a long time due to her background.

“I have always had a love and interest in working with the special needs community,” Bull said. “I was introduced to it at a very young age due to having a mom who is a special education teacher.”

The SMILE Club focuses on making Churchill a better place for ALE students. They have a Special Olympics track meet and bowling tournament where students get to interact with the ALE stdents. Bull is also involved in track and ran cross country her freshman year.

“She did really well in cross country last year and worked hard,” Track Coach Kelly Butler said. “She is dedicated to running and anything we ask her to do, she will do to the best of her ability.”

Her teachers agree.

“Julie is an all-around good student,” English teacher Linda Steitle said. “In my class, she was an energetic and hardworking student who worked well with others. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when she devoted her summer to helping the ALE kids. That’s just the person she is.”

Along with being someone who influences those around her positively, Bull has been able to travel all over the U.S. This summer she got to go to New Zealand.

“My sister lives in New Zealand and works as an assistant teacher,” she said. “We did a lot of sightseeing, which included beaches and hiking up waterfalls.”

Bull even faced her fears and went bungee jumping while there.

“So I got to the top, and I had my GoPro. I was ready for it, and I stood on the edge and thought maybe this wasn’t the best idea,” she said. “I was standing up there for like five minutes just watching other people go before me, and I told the guy who was supposed to help me, ‘I don’t think I can do this.’ His response was of course to try and ‘help me’ by pushing me off, but luckily, I overcame my fear and jumped. It was over a lake and once I jumped I had no regrets.“

Bull has had one full summer and would love to travel as much as she can in the future. Also she wants to continue to help the special needs community in any way she can.

“As a career for the longest time ,I wanted to be a Special Ed teacher but more recently I have wanted to become an occupational therapist,” she said. “I enjoy helping people because it makes me happy to feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life.” By Kaylee Boggan

Churchillian Idol

PLAYING FOR THE PRIDE: English teacher Brianna Johnson and her fiance Jacob Gallegos played for Pride reporters on Wednesday, Sept. 21. They performed a cover of Latch by Disclosure. "So far [the reception] has been really positive," Johnson said. "It's really something we enjoy doing." PHOTO BY PAOLA RODRIGUEZ

PLAYING FOR THE PRIDE: English teacher Brianna Johnson and her fiance Jacob Gallegos played for Pride reporters on Wednesday, Sept. 21. They performed a cover of Latch by Disclosure. “So far [the reception] has been really positive,” Johnson said. “It’s really something we enjoy doing.” PHOTO BY PAOLA RODRIGUEZ

Alejandro Echevarria

Music is so widespread and unique that it’s practically a language of its own, so perhaps it’s fitting that it is such a big passion of English teacher Brianna Johnson.

“I’ve loved to sing my entire life, but I got serious about it in college,” Johnson said. “I wanted to see if my voice would lead me to something.”

 In this case, it lead her online. On Sunday, August 28, 2016, she posted a video on YouTube of her and her fiance Jacob Gallegos performing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.

“We just heard [“Dreams”] on the radio one day and were like, ‘Wow, that’s such a cool song,’” Johnson said. “We just loved the way it sounded, and it fit my voice, and so we chose to do that one.”

The reception amongst those who have seen the video has so far been positive.

“I didn’t realize she was that good of a singer,” senior Sean Murray said. “She honestly sang so well it sounded like the original song. Her personality kind of showed in the song, too.”

It isn’t just covers that the duo anticipate on performing, however. As part of their planned once-a-week update schedule, they will be posting original songs as well. Gallegos writes the music, sings, and plays bass, guitar, and drumswhile Johnson provides vocals.

“Covers are easier because somebody already wrote the song,” Gallegos said. “But with [original songs] you have a lot of control. You can have the lyrics that you want, and you can have any chord progression you want.”

Gallegos and Johnson are inspired by a wide variety of artists.

“My biggest inspiration is John Mayer,” Gallegos said. “We’re also into Fleetwood Mac and Adele.” Johnson also listed Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert as examples.

Although they take influence from many artists, the two hope to create a musical style all their own.

“We’re going to try to find a way to mix the pop-country feel in some way,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Gallegos plan to post new music around once a week. To stay updated with their pop-country tunes, check out their YouTube channel “Jake&Bri”.

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