By Levi Livengood
Each new School-Year is met with the groans of many of the returning students and even teachers, but how do our new teachers and counselors feel? What are their initial impressions of Independence?
“Usually we get about four to five new teachers per year,” said Mr. Paul Landshof, the Associate Principal of Educational Development (APED) here at Independence. This year there are five new teachers and one new counselor at the school. Some of the teachers still have yet to process in, but a few have already.
“I am really enjoying Independence so far, even though I am a former Piedmont Hills Pirate,” says Ms. Lissenia Marquez, our new counselor this year, serving the students at the school whose last names begin with S, T, U, and V. “The staff is amazing, just the amount of classes the variety of classes have been way different than Piedmont. It’s a great school,” she says, “Like the Auto-shop, I was definitely blown away at the different types of programs, how AVID works, even the carpentry class. There’s no comparison, this is its own school and culture. It’s great.”
When asked what her favorite part about the school’s culture, she said, “I love the diversity. The diversity of the students, I like that it’s not just one particular ethnicity. I like working with all different backgrounds of students and cultures and interests, and that’s why I think it works so well.”
When asked about what she does in her free time, she says, “I’m a huge sports fan. My boyfriend and I are big sports fans. I’m a huge hockey fan, I actually work for the San Jose Sharks. A few times out of the month, I’ll work events, Sharks games, concerts. We go to Warriors games and Giants games. Sports, sports, sports, a lot of sports!”
When asked about her background, she says, “I’ve actually been at East Side for nine--plus years. I started off as a sub back in 2009. I’ve been working with High School students since then. My bachelor’s degree is in Broadcast-Journalism. Somehow I knew I wasn’t going to go into that field because it took me away from my family and friends”.
Continuing, she says, “I had some family members and some friends here at East Side who said, ‘Hey, I think that you would be a great teacher! Why don’t you try teaching or and subbing first?’. So I did up until I felt that I worked really well with students and I decided that teaching isn’t for me,’ I think I want to try being a counselor’. So I took that route to get my master’s degree, meanwhile I was still subbing. And now, here I am! I finally made it!”
Her favorite subject to teach, while still a sub, was P.E., because “I felt like I could actually do physical education with the students. So when they had to run four miles, I would say, ’Hey, I can run four miles with you guys--or a mile’, and I felt like that really helped motivate and support students.”
“And that’s kind of like my role now: ‘Look I’m here to support you, to motivate you, I really want you to succeed and move onto whatever future endeavors you want to get to. Whether that be vocational or four year college, let’s see what our options are for you’.”
Her advice for aspiring teachers and counselors is as follows:
“It’s hard work. Some people look at it as, ‘what do counselors really do?,’ and even teachers too, ‘You only work so much time in the year!’ But there’s a lot of work that’s involved, and a lot of everything.”
“It’s hard work, but I love it. That was my trial, the nine-plus years of subbing and figuring out that the teacher route isn’t for me. But on the counseling route, time flies for me when I am here. Not just because I am busy, but I enjoy doing, and finally figuring out what I wanted to do.”
“It may take a while to find out what your true passion is, but never give up. It’s trial and error. When your job is fun and time flies, that means something is going right.”
By Mekenzie Burse
Battery-powered cigarettes. Are they being used to help people quit smoking, or just for fun? Electronic smoking seems to be the new trend amongst teenagers at Independence. Juul’s, vapes, and Phix’s are all examples of what has been being consumed on school campus, during and after school hours.
No smoking on school campus has been a set rule at all schools for a very long time. All schools in the East Side Union High School District, also follow this.
Smoking on campus, not only distracts other students, but also prevents you from learning and arriving to class on time, ready to learn.
“I have definitely seen students when watching video footage or at football games smoking e-cigarettes. I have seen adults smoking on campus as well.” Mr. Berg, Independence High School Principle, states.
Students are not only taking part during school hours, but also at school events. Other students, may not want to attend these events because of the current situation.
Tobacco companies know they are targeting teenagers, with the new flavors being infuzed in these smoking devices. Companies have started advertising smells, and fruity tastes with their products to get more buyers. “I mean you look at the flavors and aren’t there some specifically to attract the teens? I know I've smelt strawberry and other flavors.” Mr. Berg states.
It is difficult to interpret the real reasoning behind the smoking on campus as well. Are students doing this to be cool, or do they really have a problem with it? As we know, smoking has became a huge part on people ending up in hospitals, becoming addicted, and getting lung cancer as well as other illnesses. So, why are students doing it, even knowing the potential consequences.
“I think it's both. I think it's an idea of a way of rebelling, but there has always been an issue of students smoking. I remember when I was a student at Silver Creek going through some documents and there used to be a student smoking seconal on campus before it was even legal.” Mr. Berg inputted.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Drugs, however, can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug abuse that marks addiction.” Smoking even e cigarettes, can alter the way your brain functions. This would make it harder to pay attention in classes, get your work done, and understand what your being taught.