Picture This Sterling

By Jaden Newson

Rise Above Colorado (RAC) is a drug abuse prevention program working to help teens be empowered to live a life free of drug abuse. RAC is dedicated and passionate in reaching teens all over Colorado. Along with the Board of directors and the team, RAC has a teen action council. On that council is one of our very own Jaden Newson.   

Jonathan Judge is the program directors on the Rise Above Colorado team. He’s been working with Rise Above for 9 years and counting. Judge’s favorite experience with Rise Above Colorado is working directly with the teens. “It’s so rewarding to visiting communities. I get to tap in with hopes and getting the chance to talk and create something. “ 

RAC has participated in many murals around the state. Over the summer Judge was able to get with some teens here in Sterling and talk about plans to create our very own! The mural will be located downtown by the Family Resource Center. Judge explained teens wanted something unique to Sterling. The overall decision the teens decided upon was a rural theme and something to reflect the beauty of the Colorado plains. There isn’t a set date for when the painting of the mural will be happening, but judge is hoping for some time in 2018.  

Judge has made a mural in almost every part of Colorado.  “My personal mission is to get to the Northeastern Corner, so this is pretty exciting. The farthest I’ve gone is Fort Morgan with the murals.” Judge’s favorite mural experience was working in Craig, CO. He explained he helped with a huge portion of the mural, and seeing the action happen does not compare with being in the action.  

If teens are interested in engaging with the new campaign teens can go to their social media pages. The new website by teens for teens is also a good way for teens to express any questions, or stories on the site.  “We are always open to talking with them and the website is a great source to reach out. “ Judge said.  

If you look around town you will find statues at parks, around city buildings, and general areas. Bradford Rhea has sculpted all of these. His most famous one,’Skygrazers’ or as most people know them as the giraffes in Columbine.  We aren’t new to art here, but what we are new to is wall art. We have a couple like on the side of Quilts and Creations. The new mural that Rise Above is doing will add to the colorfulness of our town.   

Camden Shepard is a freshman and was surprised to hear about the new mural. “I think it would be really cool to have a mural here in sterling. I would like to see something to show how proud we are to be Sterling. It would be cool to be like hey we are here and we exist.”  Shepard also added it would be really cool to help out if she had the time. 

Rodrigo Del Rio a junior was also unaware of the mural. “I would like to see something dope, something that stands out.”  Del Rio also said it would be cool to help out if he had the time and didn’t conflict with sports.  “We need something here to make it a cooler place.” 

Stefani Pfistner another freshman was very interested in hearing about the mural.  “That’s really cool! I think it would be so cool to see some nature theme and something really unique to show that we exist and we are proud to be here. “I definitely would help out with the making the mural I just need to know when. It would be so cool to be a part of making something awesome.”  

If you are interested in knowing more about Rise Above you can check out their different social media pages. Instagram- riseaboveco 

Facebook- Rise Above Colorado 

Twitter- RiseAboveCO 

Website-  www.iriseaboveco.org  

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Teacher of the Month November

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By: Amanda Ferguson

November’s teacher of the month is Mrs. Wernsman, an English teacher. She has been teaching for 16 years currently.  This year she teaches Pre-English I, English II and English IV.

Mrs. Wernsman said, “I became a teacher because my mom and grandma were teachers and they told me not to. Being the rebellious person I am, I became a teacher.”

Mrs. Wernsman’s favorite thing about being a teacher is, “Being around this age group, teenagers, it’s fun, they are fun and energetic.  They keep you young.”

Wernsman had really good English teachers in High School that really influenced her to be an English teacher.

She said, “They helped me like the subject more and more each year.”

Being a teacher for 16 years Wernsman has made a lot of memories. Her favorite memories involve making relationships with her coworkers over the years.

She said, “Seeing the children from the parents I went to school with is really cool.”

Some fun facts about Mrs. Wernsman are that she likes to refinish antique furniture. She also likes to camp when she gets the chance, and as she says, “I like to read. DUH”

Mrs. Wernsman says, “Contrary to popular belief, I love kids. They are great to be around.  I also have a wicked sense humor.”

This school year Mrs. Wernsman’ s goal is, “To acclimate with the new four day week, trying to make sure the students learn everything they need to while trying not to cram it all in at one time.”

September Tiger Scholar

By: Kirsten Hernandez

Brynn Abernathy is September’s Tiger Scholar due to her academic excellence.

brynn.pngAbernathy plans to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA. Throughout high school Abernathy has participated in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Student council and yearbook. This year Abernathy is Executive Vice President of Student Council.

Throughout high school, Abernathy’s favorite high school memory is going to football games with her friends. Abernathy’s favorite subject in school is English.

 She said, “My favorite subject in school is English because I enjoy reading and writing.”

Sarah Wernsman has been her favorite teacher throughout high school. Abernathy plans to attend a four year university and earn her bachelor’s degree after graduation.

Abernathy plans on “majoring in communications because I like to write and being involved in media like television and radio.”

In ten years Abernathy sees herself with a good education and having a successful career. Abernathy’s biggest role model in life is her great grandmother.

She said, “She is constantly putting others before herself and has overcome many obstacles in her life. She also encourages me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. I hope I can make such an impact on someone’s life someday as she has had on mine.”

Abernathy’s favorite quote is “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.” she said, “This it reminds me that no matter what you go through in life, and how many uncertainties you face that God is always in control of your life and has the perfect plan in store for you.”

On Abernathy’s free time she enjoys to sing and play guitar, spend time with her friends and family, and play with her dogs Digbi and Mini. Her favorite movie is Pure Country because it has George Straight in it. Abernathy’s favorite book is Though My Eyes by Tim Tebow. Her favorite food is pasta, and her favorite holiday is Halloween. “Halloween is my favorite holiday because I love scary movies, haunted houses and getting dressed up.”

Before Abernathy graduates she has a piece of advice that she thinks would help the underclassman be successful in high school.

 She said, “The advice I would give underclassmen to be successful in high school is to do your best on all of your work and try not to stress yourself out over the little things.”

 

SHS Welcomes New Teachers

By Amanda Ferguson

This year SHS is welcoming seven new teachers to its campus. Some have been teaching for as long as they can remember, while others have just started. Some did not even go to school to become a teacher. Foe example Ms. Baillas, went to school to be an engineer.

Mr. Cuba said, “I never went to college to be a teacher, teaching found me.”

Mr. Cuba is the new science teacher. This is not his first rodeo he has been teaching for 17 years now, all of which have been at a high school level.

He said, “When I was in college I taught labs, a PHD told me I had a knack for teaching.”

Before Sterling he taught at Summit High School, in Summit County.

He said, “I drove through here to go pheasant hunting, It is an easier and shorter ways from where I plan on retiring.”

He said, “Interacting with teens. I find them to be very funny.”

Now down to the educational part of things, Cuba’s number one goal to reach this year is “to have the best lesson ready for the students everyday.”

Mr. McGuiness is one of the new English teachers. He has also been teaching for 17 years, granted not all at the same level, but still not his first rodeo.

He said, “It was a process of elimination. I was working at a church and I liked the teaching part of it, but not the administration.”

McGuiness said, “ My family lived here before. We liked the community so when there was a chance to we jumped on it.”

Before teaching here at SHS he taught two years at Laguna Creek High School in California.

He said, “I am a big fan of Socrates, I really want to get Socratic Seminars off the ground in my English classes.”

Ms. Splichal is also another English teacher. She has taught at many grade levels. Five years in secondary schools in Colorado and some in Nebraska.Splichal Fall 2017

Splichal said, “My passion for education began when I was a little girl role playing “school” in our toy room. I then discovered Montessori with my own children. When the time arose for my youngest to attend first grade, I began teaching in traditional education. Having an intricate role in preparing youth for the future has been both exciting and rewarding.”

She said, “The SHS Cheerleaders could say it best when they chant: T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K. The camaraderie at Sterling High School starts at the top. We are part of a big family here.  When looking in from outside of the District, one might say, ‘I want what they have.’ I am proud to work at RE-1.”

Her number one goal to reach this school year is to work tirelessly at inspiring her students to overcome adversity, find their brilliance and to have each person who walks into her classroom to feel valued.

20170824_161337Ms. Biallas, is one of the new math teachers. This is her first year as a teacher. She became a teacher because she wants to inspire people to love math and numbers.

Biallas said, “The community we have is fantastic and very welcoming.”

Ms. Biallas’ number one goal this year is to have students apply themselves in geometry.

 

Ms. Montejano is another SHS math teacher. She has been a teacher for 14 years at the middle school and 4 years at a high school.20170901_155415

“I love math and I like kids, and teaching at a high school allows me to talk about math all day.”

She said, “I like seeing the light bulb go off when a student understands something they have been struggling with.”

Montejano’s number one goal that she hopes to reach the school year is to see everyone pass and for them to be confident on math.

Dr. Johnson is the new business and accounting teacher. She has been teaching for many year. Almost all of it has been at a high school level.

“I grew up in a town like Sterling. I felt comfortable in this town . It is also similar to the one I grew up on and the school is similar to where I went and taught at.”

Dr. Johnson said the reason she became a teacher was that her mom said it was her calling and that she saw the teacher in her. Her favorite thing about being a teacher is that she interacts with the students and shares their gain of knowledge and she enjoys helping them develop their minds. Dr. Johnsons number one goal that she hopes to meet the school years is that she would like to organize the FBLA program for the students.

Ms. Bell is the new home economics teacher. She has been a teacher for over 20 years.

“I grew up coming through here. My family lives close by and I know the are,” Bell said

The reason she became a teacher was because she loved to learn and liked to share what she learned. Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing the light bulb click when a student understands something new. Ms. Bells number one goal this year is to grow the Family Careers Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Ask Abby

Not Something to Joke About

By Abby Cross

*All names have been changed or are not used to protect the privacy of these people.

Suicide. It’s not something to joke about, but everybody does.

As a young child, I was never aware of suicide. I was familiar with death, as I had had older relatives pass away of old age, or some type of illness.  At that age, though, I was unaware of what death really meant.

It wasn’t until about age 10 that I actually encountered suicide. I was outside in our shop working with my dad, or more so he was working and I was sitting watching him. He got a phone call from my grandma, his mom. I had no idea what was going on at the time. As he answered his phone, I saw his face drop. He began to cry and immediately hung up the phone. This was the first time I’d ever seen my dad cry; it wouldn’t be the last time in the next couple of weeks either.

He walked outside quickly and just stood in the middle of our backyard full of rocks and stared at the sky. I was still unaware of what was going on. I was too scared to ask him why he was crying, since I’d never seen him like that before. I think he forgot I was there because he looked startled when he realized I was standing there staring at him.

He tossed me his cell phone and told me to call my grandma back and tell her he was sorry for hanging up and that he was too upset to talk.

I called her back and she told me what had happened. His childhood best friend, Rob, had shot himself in the head and killed himself. This came as a shock to me considering the previous weekend we had went to his house after hunting, and he and my dad sat around talking and laughing for hours. I would have never guessed anything could be wrong with Rob.

My dad and Rob had been best friends their entire lives. They had gone to school together from kindergarten until they graduated college and were still friends long after. Even now, looking back, I can still remember what his smile looked like because it could light up an entire room.

This was only one of the three times suicide had rocked my world.

The second time someone in my life had committed suicide, I was 13 and in 7th grade. We were sitting in second hour, reading class, when there was an announcement over the intercom telling teachers to keep everybody in their second hour class. We were all a little bit confused, but happy because we were in our favorite teacher’s class. She was called out of the room and came back in crying. Now we were really confused. A few minutes later the principal came in and made an announcement that changed the rest of the school year for many of us. He told us that one of our classmates had shot himself in the head the previous night.

It took a very long time before anybody said anything. We were all trying to process what we had just heard. There was a lot of crying. Every single person in the room was crying. For many people, this was the first time they had experienced something like this. Many people didn’t understand how this could be true considering they had just talked to him the previous day, or like me, had sat next to him in class and laughed all hour.

All of his close friends blames the “popular kids” for bullying him, but as far as I could see, he was loved by everyone. His death hurt a lot of people. His funeral was packed. People had to stand outside, or in the refreshment room and watch on screens. He was loved by so many people, but he just couldn’t see it.

The most recent, and most impacting time suicide rocked my life was at the end of my junior year. Thankfully, this time, it was a failed attempt.

My best friend, took 40 sleeping pills one night because her boyfriend wouldn’t let her come hang out with him and his friends. Her boyfriend, at the time, had just gotten back from working out of state and had been with her for four days straight, and had not been allowed to see any of his other friends. He decided that a friend’s night was in order. We’d go bowling then go out to Merino for a small party. He did not want her to go because he really needed some space from her.

He let her come bowling with us, which was fine, but he wouldn’t let her come out to Merino with us, seeing as he needed a night away from her. She relentlessly called and texted him saying that she was coming with him and that he needed to pick her up. He repeatedly told her that he loved her but he needed some time with his friends.

We all drove out to Merino and were having a great time laughing and hanging out. She had quit texting him. He and I had went upstairs to talk when he received a text from her saying, “I’m sorry. I love you. Bye.” We both started freaking out and he called her. She said she had taken some sleeping pills because she just wanted to forget everything and go to bed. Little did we know she had taken 40 of them. We both knew something was very wrong. Him, in his truck, and my boyfriend and I, in his car, took off from Merino and made it to Sterling in a little over 10 minutes.

When we pulled up to her house, he was outside banging on the front door, but no one would answer. I told him to try the garage. He put in the code and it opened. We ran inside to find her laying on the stairs right next to the garage door, pretty much passed out. I ran into her mom’s room to tell her what was going on as he rushed her to the emergency room.

Her mom didn’t believe me when I told her what had happened. She said she was faking it to get attention. I told her it was serious and that he was taking her to the ER. My boyfriend and I then rushed there to meet them.

She ended up in the hospital for two days on suicide watch. Her mom blamed me for “excluding her” and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, even though I was one of the people who saved her daughter’s life.

After she came back to school, she was very different. We hardly ever talked, and when we did, it was very awkward. I’m sad to say that I lost my best friend that night, even though she is still actually alive.

Suicide is a topic that is thrown around as a joke or is not taken very seriously until it happens to someone you know. It’s something that just about every person experiences in their lifetime, even though we should not have to. So please, don’t joke about suicide. It can change your life forever.

Kickin it with Katlyn

By Katlyn LaPorte

Senior year is something I have been waiting for my entire life. It really did come and go so quickly. At the beginning of this year, college and graduation were just things that we talked about; now they’re a reality. It doesn’t seem real that in two weeks I’ll be getting my diploma, throwing my cap in the air, and spending one final day at Sterling High School with the people I’ve grown up with. It is so surreal that after seeing them every day for so many years, I may never see some of them again. It’s so hard to comprehend that only a year ago I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. Now I am set on studying criminal justice at the University of Northern Colorado, in Greeley next fall.

Senior year has brought so many emotions along with it. I’m STRESSED, but I’m also happy. I’m so scared but I’m also SO excited. I don’t know if anyone is ever really ready to leave home and move away from their mom (I know I’m not), but I’m sure ready to give it a shot.

It feels like only months ago I was getting ready for the first day of my freshman year. Four years really goes by faster than you could ever imagine. High school has had its ups and downs for me, like I’m sure it has for all my fellow classmates. You meet people in high school who will change your life forever. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people I got to spend my last year here with.

No one really tells you the truth about senior year. Coming into this school year I had the mindset that this would be my easiest year yet, and boy was I mistaken. No one tells you how difficult it is taking multiple college classes a semester along with your high school classes, applying for colleges and scholarships and choosing what you want to study and where you want to go, all within a timespan of nine months.

My advice for any underclassmen who are approaching their senior year: make sure to really take in the whole high school experience. Attend the sporting events, join the different clubs and teams, go to homecoming and prom and go out with your friends on the weekends. Don’t sit at home and do nothing because I promise you, no one is too cool to do these things and you will regret it if you don’t take advantage of these opportunities. Some of my best memories in high school were made cheering at football and basketball games, dressing up for homecoming week and getting all dressed up for prom.

Another thing no one really tells you, SENIORITIS IS A REAL THING. Don’t let it get the best of you. Your grades still matter all the way up until the end of the year, even if you have been accepted by a college already. Don’t just do the bare minimum to get by, even though I know how hard it is to fight procrastination. At the end of senior year, literally all the motivation you have will leave your body and will likely never come back. It happens to all of us, don’t worry.

Senior year is an incredibly emotional year that comes with so many “lasts.” From your last first day of school, to your last high school football game, to your last prom. These are the big things, but you’ll never understand until you live it how hard it is to say goodbye to your teammates and the sport you love forever once the season comes to an end, or how hard it is cleaning out your locker and driving out of the parking lot one last time. I can’t even imagine how hard it will be, and how many tears I will shed after I walk across the stage and have to say goodbye to my lifelong friends. I can not stress enough to make the absolute most of the time you have left in high school with these people. I still can’t really say I’m ready to graduate and for it to be over, but it’s happening. Hopefully I left my mark on Sterling High School, because it has definitely left its mark on me.

Kayla’s Korner

By Kayla Smithgall

When I entered SHS for my last first day of high school, I was thrilled. I was finally a senior. I knew my way around the school. I was known by most of the staff.  People moved out of my way; I didn’t have to move out of theirs. I only had nine short months until I could be done and move on.

I held that attitude for about the first three months of senior year.

On Nov. 12, my family and I went to the state playoff football game between Sterling and Bayfield. With only two minutes left, and Bayfield leading 41-0, my dad said, “Alright, let’s go.”

“Dad, can we please stay?” I said.

“Come on, Kayla. Seriously? There is no chance of us winning,” he replied.

My dad didn’t understand, and at the time, I didn’t understand why I wanted to stay either. But looking back on that day, I realized that was the first day that it finally hit me.

I was a senior. I was six months away from leaving the school I had gone to since 2013. I would soon leave the staff that knew me so well and would meet an entirely new and unfamiliar staff at my next school. I would once again become the freshman that had to move out of the seniors’ way. I would have to wander the halls of an unfamiliar school and pray I didn’t get lost.

I wanted to stay at that football game so badly because it would be the last high school game I would ever see. Sure, I can go to a football game this fall, but it won’t be the same. If I went, I wouldn’t see the class of 2017 standing in the first few rows and I wouldn’t be watching my classmates play.

Senior year is great until the moment of realization of what comes after graduation hits you.

After I graduate, I will no longer be able to buy cookies from the Tiger Kibble cart. I can’t get dolled up for Homecoming or Prom dances. I can’t participate in spirit week, no matter how lame or strange I think the theme days are. I won’t be the editor of The Bengal Cry. I won’t see my brother’s familiar face in the hall. I will no longer go to classes with people I’ve known since elementary school.

When you’re a senior, you go through a rollercoaster of emotions. One day, you are beyond ready to get out and the next day, you’re scared to leave. You have a panic attack when you think about how you’re going to make it on your own.

But you know what? It’s possible. I won’t end up homeless after I graduate. I’ll go to college and bond with the people there and have similar experiences to the ones I’ve had the last four years at this school. There will be differences, I’m sure, between the schools. They will be both good and bad differences, but I’m ready for them.

Someone asked me one day what I had learned during my time at SHS and at first, I was going to say nothing. But when I looked back, I have truly learned so many lessons, both big and small, over the last four years.

I have changed a lot since my freshmen year, and I’m so thankful for it. I will leave high school, ready for college and the real world. I’m ready for my next adventure to begin.