Four Coachella Valley Teachers Going To Instanbul

By Kim Robinson

Advanced Placement European History Teach at Cathedral City High School

There are four teachers who will be going from the Coachella Valley. I teach Advanced Placement European History  and College Prep World History, Kristin Albinson who teaches College Prep  World History at Palm Desert High School, Joseph May who teaches College Prep US and AP US History at Desert Hot Springs High School and Miguel Higuera who teaches 7th grade Ancient Civilizations at Toro Canyon Middle School in Thermal.

We will be traveling to Istanbul on July 10th and returning on the 24th.  We are sponsored by the World Affairs Council of the Desert and will be the guests of the Turkish Cultural Foundation.  In order to participate in the program, we had to formally apply through WAC and attend a teacher workshop at Redlands University.  The workshop was in March and included scholar presentations from three college professors who teach at California State University, San Bernardino.  The presentations addressed the geography, history and recent developments in Turkey.

While we are there, we will visit Turkish schools and have a formal meeting with representatives from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.  We will visit a number of famous sites in Istanbul that include the Blue Mosque, the Spice Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, well cruise the Bosporus Strait and of course, try the food.  Outside of Istanbul, we will spend time at the Gallipoli WWI Monument, Troy, Ephesus, Bursa, Konya and the capital Ankara.  We will also spend a day exploring the Fairy Chimneys at Cappadocia, and, of course, sample all the food.  We will be visiting all kinds of museums, mausoleums and a Whirling Dervish ceremony.

When we return we are expected to present at a World Affairs Council showcase.  I believe that the showcase will be held in October and tentatively we are currently planning on creating an informal overview of our trip complete with pictures and we will sit as a panel for that session.  Because we teach different periods of history, we also plan on creating a timeline of Turkey, and each teacher will talk about what we learned in relations to the various periods of Turkish history that we are exposed to on the trip.

At this point we have met for coffee and talked about what we would like to take from this experience.  We have also spent some time talking about different travel tips since three of the four have extensive travel experience.  In any event, we are all get excited about the trip and immersing  ourselves in Turkish culture, food and language.…

Dispatch From Mexico: Charco De Pantoja in Valle De Santiago, Guanajuato

 Dateline: Charco De Pantoja in Valle De Santiago, Guanajuato.

Most people take what they have for granted. They’ve never seen how “the other half lives,” claiming that hard work is sitting in an office for eight hours a day. Others, in  countries such as Mexico, hundreds of people work under the blistering sun for about a quarter of what the average American makes in a day.

And yet, you still have millions of people complaining about their work when they don’t truly know what hard work is. If it wasn’t for these field laborers putting their life into growing these crops, you and I would not have our fruits and vegetables on our tables when these families can barely put them on their own table. It may not be a lavish lifestyle that many people wish to have, but I can guarantee that these people are happier than most. Seeing hard work pay off has to be on of the most rewarding feelings ever.

As I sat I looked out onto the leafy greens of my uncles farm, I thought to myself, “I wonder if people realize the hard work that is put into this land every day?” My family dedicated themselves to keeping this land as green as possible and make sure nothing goes to waste.

Since I was little, my uncle always told me that life here in Mexico is a whole different world to him than it is in the U.S. When he was younger, he went to the U.S. to work. He worked in the sun, on golf courses, doing jobs that most people would never do. My father used to tell me that if it wasn’t for people like him and my uncle, those jobs would never be done.

CCHS Grad Has A Special Mentor In His Corner

By Linda Ha

Cathedral City High School senior Jonathan Rojas was a border away from his family Tuesday night at graduation. His family was in Mexico, his father having been deported three years ago, and his mother and siblings following his father back to Mexico two years later.

CCHS graduate Jonathan Rojas and Trio co-owner Tony Marchese. Photo by Austin Veal.

There were no family members at his graduation.

But there was a very special friend.

His name is Tony Marchese co-owner of the Trio restaurant. Tony had seen a video Rojas had made about his life at DigiCom in May. Rojas had made a video about his life as a senior at CCHS, working at McDonalds to support himself while living in a small apartment in Cathedral City.

I saw Jonathans video on the screen, and what hed gone through, so I told my partner, Hes gotta work for us. Hes gonna come work at Trio, said Marchese.

I introduced myself to him at DigiCom, and asked him Are you working? he said No. and I said Come to Trio tomorrow and well give you a job, and then he did.

The fact that Rojas was working alone and committed to finishing high school touched Marchese because he admires people who work hard and want to get some place.

When I see an opportunity to help somebody, I try to do that for them, said Marchese, who himself had several mentors when he younger.

Before working at Trio, Rojas was $750 in debt. After working at the Palm Springs restaurant, he was able to pay it all off and save up money for tuition for College of the Desert where he wants to study mechanics and musical education. It has been a great experience for him, and he appreciates that Trio does not take advantage of him like a local pizza parlor did in the past and treats every staff member like family and equally.

Tuesday night, Rojas said he was thankful for the support of Marchese, Digital Arts Technology Academy (DATA) mentor David Vogel and DATA Coordinator Matt Hamilton.

His motivation for graduating and furthering his education is his family. Although they could not be there on graduation night, Jonathan said, I want to set the example and let them know that I can do it. I want my little brother to be able to say Hey look, my brother can do it, so can I.

Im excited and I feel sad, but at the same time, I have Tony, Mr. Vogel, and Mr. Hamilton supporting me, which I cannot replace because theyre so valuable and I cherish our relationship. Im very excited to graduate, and show them that I was able to do it.…

Linda Ha Gets A Speaking Part In A New Book Trailor

By Marcela Lopez and Ana Santos

Jennifer Miller, the author of The Year of The Gadfly. gave Linda Ha, a junior in Cathedral City High School, an opportunity for her voice to be heard in Millers book trailer.

Miller wrote a book about poetry in the second grade with her best friend. She published her first book in 2005, Inheriting the Holy Land, about Israeli and the Palestinian teenagers.

She lives in New York, but her favorite place to write is the cafe attached to Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. Theres a real sense of community there everybody is writing and studying and reading the newspaper. They also have great coffee and a killer tuna sandwich, said Miller.

Reading novels and inventing her own stories have always been Millers greatest passions. I love how a good book will suck you into another world, and Ive always wanted to create these worlds myself, said Miller. She also writes because it allows her to see the world through the eyes of her characters. In The year of the Gadfly, I get to inhabit the perspective of a cynical microbiologist, an albino teen, and Edward R. Murrow, one of Americas greatest journalists.

The protagonist of The Year Of The Gadfly is an aspiring journalist  Iris Dupont. Iris has an outsized passion for truth-telling and speaking truth to power. These are two of the most important responsibilities that journalists have and they are why a free press is vital to a strong democracy. Students like Linda and the CCNews team, along with the professionals like Christiane Amanpour and Robert Siegel, are people whose work reflects this every day. I am honored to have all of them in the trailer, said Miller.

The novel is based on few events from her high school years. One of them was the untimely death of her high school boyfriend. He died in a car crash when we were 17 and he inspired the character of Justin Kaplan in the novel, said Miller. The other event was a massive cheating scandal that her younger brother exposed at his high school. The school promoted values of honesty and integrity, but the scandal and the way the school reacted to it showed just how weak those values really were, said Miller. Many people called her brother a snitch and he used the pages of the student newspaper to defend his actions.

The Year of the Gadfly covers topics of bullying, teen suicide, helicopter parenting, and the dizzying pressure to succeed that so many young people feel today. But fundamentally, its about how the choices we make in our adolescence can follow us for the rest of our lives. I wrote this book, because I think its impossible to fully leave your past behind, said Miller.

There is a meaning behind her books title.A gadfly is another word for horsefly- a fierce insect with a strong and painful bite. Socrates was called the Gadfly of Athens because he was known for challenging authority and asking difficult and unpopular questions. In a way, he was very much a journalist. There are many gadfly characters in my book, foremost among them, Iris Dupont, said Miller.

Miller has advice to students who want to pursue the same careers as her. Whether youre interested in becoming a journalist or novelist of both (as I am), the best thing you can do is to read everything available in your preferred genre. I am constantly learning techniques and finding inspiration from other novelists. Same goes for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Slate, etc. Just keep reading and absorbing and youll never run out of ideas for your own work, said Miller

It took six years and many, many drafts for Miller to write The Year of Gadfly

She hopes to write books for the rest of her life. This is my passion (and its really the only thing Im good at!), said Miller.

The Year of the Gadfly book trailer will be released in early May before the books publication and you can see it at Millers website www.byjennifermiller.com  and on her books amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Year-Gadfly-Jennifer-Miller/dp/0547548591

and on May 8, 2012 her novel The Year of the Gadfly will be released.…

Cathedral City High School Delivers Annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas Presents Tomorrow

by Paola Fernandez and Yoryely Gutierrez

For the past 21 years, Cathedral City High School has participated in the Adopt-A-Family program. During that time, they have helped over 900 families.  What started as an act of kindness for our community back in 1991, has become tradition for CCHS and the Associated Student Body.

Steve Stoebe, ASB Director, encourages not just students but everyone in the valley to be generous this Christmas and donate presents to families in need. Its good for us to do what we can to help the less fortunate, even if we need help ourselves, said Stoebe.This program is one of the best Ive ever been involved in.

Stoebe told us the story of one of his favorite memories working with Adopt-A-Family. Eight to ten years ago, Stoebe encountered a unfortunate, yet memorable situation. While delivering to the last family of the day, Stoebe and the Adopt-A-Family team pulled up to what appeared to be a wealthy familys home. I thought, We somehow made a mistake. We collected items for a family who didnt really need it said Stoebe. Not being completely sure if this was a mistake or not, Stoebe walked to the familys door and was greeted by a woman who lead him into their garage where the family they were delivering for lived. I knew right then not judge a book by its cover, said Stoebe, I feel like I was meant to see that.

ASB students, as well as participating homerooms at CCHS, are making their best effort to collect as many items as they can in order to help these families. All the food and presents collected will be delivered Dec. 13 personally by homeroom representatives to these families with the help of Home Depot employees…