Toiler Times at Manual Arts High School

image Intersections South LA mentors work with students at Manual Arts High School to produce a student newspaper called The Toiler Times.

The Toiler Times features a variety of articles and opinion editorials on topics ranging from bullying to graduation.

Here are some of the articles from the latest edition:

Manual Arts debate team shows dedication

Bullying: An Issue for All

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Solis

What is wrong with Manual Arts?

What happens after death?

Manual Arts debate team shows dedication

This story appeared in The Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Jovana Urrutia

The debate team is one of the most hard working and dedicated teams we have here at Manual Arts. The team’s advisor, Mr. Rohoman, works to help each team member.

The teams consist of two members per group and there are about twelve groups total in the debate team. They started to compete in December 2010 and since then they have been unstoppable.

They have won many competitions but the most challenging one was at Pepperdine University back in January. Other schools participated in the Pepperdine competition as well. All the team members had a rough start but they stayed calm and did their best.

I had the chance to interview one of the team members of the debate team. Her name is Alejandra Alvarez, a junior on the C-track. She told me that they went through obstacles to get to where they are now.

I asked if anyone felt nervous and what are their goals for the team. Alejandra said, “Yes some were nervous and the most important goal is to win every competition.” Every team member puts in a lot of effort. They get busy with it and they have every detail on their mind. That’s how much potential the team has.

The last question I asked was, “What is the next step for the team?” Her response: “For the team and expand get and more people involved, to learn more about it, get prepared for college and their future, and to win.”

The last thing she told me is that it’s not always about winning, it’s about having fun as well as enjoying every moment of the competition. The Toilers’ debate team will always have fun and they are not going to let anyone from other schools bring them down because they always keep their heads held high and they are motivated.

A Look Inside the Ring

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Nestor Nunez

My sweat, the lights, and fear that’s inside my body. Knowing I am walking up the ring with no way out. The emotion I see in the audience faces makes me bashful, but when I listen, I hear the audience rooting for my name. I also see posters with my name on them. This scene takes my nervousness away and tells me that I’m in it to win it.

March 17, 2005, was just another ordinary day of school. My dad picked me up and said, “We’re leaving to go see your uncle fight for this event he is having.” When I heard the news I knew I was going to like it. When we arrived I saw the lights, I heard the music, saw the girls, and smelled the ring. This position was a new picture to me. My dad and I sat. There are two fights before my uncle enters the ring. I liked every piece of it. Everybody gets quiet and a theme song called “Eye of the Tiger” pops out. My uncle emerged all pumped up and waved at us.

By the second round, it was clear my uncle was the winner. “Knock Out by Francisco a.k.a. Pancho!” the announcer yelled. From that day I knew boxing was my new thing.

Joining boxing classes and having a personal trainer made me feel like a pro already. When I hear my trainer saying “We have a champ” I knew from that start I was going to do well in this career.

Now I had a new schedule, every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I’ll have training. On Wednesday I have sparing. Everyday my preparation gets harder and harder. Even though the trainings are tough I had to commit to my word and to my sport. I had about a year of training already preparing myself for an extraordinary event.

I’m in the locker room having my trainer helping me with my hand wraps and also advising me what to do and what not to. Training for five minutes before the fight gave me a cool sweat. “Nestor Nunez aka the Golden Boy, Jr.” the narrator says on top of the ring. I advance to the ring sweating, nervously seeing the people around me, and also my opponent. I see my family rooting for me. From the point I felt like Manny Paciao who is also my role model.

Hearing the bell and hearing the referee say “Fight,” felt like war just started. Walking to the opponent using every technique the trainer has taught me was actually coming in handy. It was third round. Hearing my opponent breathing hard I knew for a fact that he was tired. I had two minutes to take a break. Receiving water from my dad and my coach professionally telling me to stay balanced and to knock him out, felt like this match was all mine. One jab straight to his chin, seeing my opponent getting lightheaded I knew that one more punch it was over for him, and so I did. The match was over and the announcer said my name with joy and screaming “the winner”.

Boxing is the sport I mostly like and if people feel like this sport could be the right one for them, make sure you bring your heart and your “A” game.

Be mindful of how you use the word ‘gay’

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Carla DeLeon

When the word “gay” is mentioned to you, what’s the first thing that pops in your mind? To some people it’s simply a way of joking with each other, but what if you were to say it to the wrong person unintentionally? How do you think he or she would feel?

GLTBI stands for gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, intersex. I’m sure most people know what gay, lesbian, transgender, and bi are, but do you know what intersex is? Intersex is a person who physically looks like a male or female but claim to be the opposite.

I recently heard the term. My teacher explained to me what the word is, and I learned that if you’re an intersex, you know deep inside of you, that you are the opposite sex of what you look like. There is an issue going around in school, in which teachers and staffs are getting trained for. For example, if we have a student who physically looks like a male, but claims to be a female, he has the right to use the female’s restroom. For those boys who think they can finally go in there with their girlfriend, it’s not as easy as it sounds. A security needs to make sure there are no girls in the restroom in order to for the other student to go in.

Since a very young age, I’ve seen kids bullying others about their perceived sexuality, simply because of the way they looked or behaved. The trouble begins when students who may be gay begin to start feeling rejected and don’t feel accepted by everyone. Although many people may not realize it, this can be an early sign of depression

After the years go by, depression may lead to much more serious things. The maltreatment may not stop and the depressions will most likely increase. Depression may lead to suicides. Once people start feeling suicidal, everything becomes very serious.

While watching the news, you may come across a teenager committing suicide for not being accepted for who they are. You may stumble across this sort of news every so often. The most recent data from the American Association of Suicidology shows that there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses ever year. Most of the time, this kind of news may go unheard, it’s more of a hidden problem.

At Manual Arts High School, I’ve seen many things. For instance, while in class, I have heard classmates call other students names such as “fagot and gay,” but they do it basically to call each other names. Students are always teasing each about their manhood. In this school, being called these names are on a constant basis, but what about for those who really are gay?

I have a friend who is bi, and whenever she hears the word gay, she gets offended. How wouldn’t she when people are shouting out words that are offensive to others? Even if the word is said to her or someone else, she is proud to be the way she is, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life itself is hard enough, but why make it more difficult by insulting others? People who are gay are humans too and deserve the respect from others.

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Ramirez

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Carlos Guerrero

All of us have had many teachers in the past years, but we rarely get to meet teachers who go out of their way to help students. Since middle school I have met only a couple teachers who take their own time to help students with whatever we might need. Mr. Galarza, Ms. Garibay, have been really great teachers, teachers you can really count on. Those are the kind of teachers we really need to have. Ms. Ramirez, my ninth grade teacher, is someone who I feel I can always count on, Not that she is the only one, but she is the only teacher from ninth grade I still talk to.

Ms. Ramirez has been working here at Manual for three years and has really helped us out since. Before she worked here she worked at a middle school. While she was working there she felt that teachers weren’t doing their job and realized that we need better teachers that will be willing to help. That is when she decided to work for high schools and she chose Manual. The reason she helps students so much whether they’re hers or not is because she grew up the way a lot of us did, neeeding a lot of help with school, but having parents who cannot help. That is why she takes time to help us out when she doesn’t have to. I went to her for any help I might need during lunch or nutrition. She has stayed with me and other friends, students that are no longer hers after school to help us out with work. I find that really great because many teachers wouldn’t take their own time to help us out the way she does.

Overall I feel that students need more teachers like this who will take time to help us and understand where we’re coming from. Teachers that aren’t willing to help students and don’t really try to help shouldn’t have picked a career in teaching. That is why I took my time to write this to show my appreciation to how this few teachers have been really helpful and put up with me because I know I play too much. These are teachers that I feel have really gone out of their way to help us out. Mr. Galarza, Ms. Garibay, and Ms. Ramirez have all been great and I thank you guys for that.

Music = Life

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Juanita Yat

Music inspires all types of people and age groups from the youngest to the oldest. To many people in many cultures music is an important part of their way of life. In most cases music shows people who they are. While some use the art of music as entertainment other use it for other use it for inspiration. Sometimes it helps say what’s on your mind without saying it yourself. It’s a way people and bands express their feeling about society and the government

Personally for me, music is everything. Music can help in my rough times; just by listening to the lyrics I know I’m not alone, that somebody else felt or went through what I am feeling. Many people like me find that music is what calms and relaxes them and makes them feel safe. Hear it because you are living it.

Music is important to me because it’s a way I express my feelings, also music was a bond between me and dad. One of my favorite bands that brought us together was HIM. I was around 7 or 8 when I was looking up to my dad and his HIM interest. The very first album I ever had was Greatest Love Songs vol.666 which was my Dad’s. I would have to say my favorite songs from that album would have to be The Heartless, When Love and Death Embrace, and For You.

Soon my passion for HIM grew bigger I started asking for cd’s like Razorblade Romance, Venus Doom and Dark Light. These albums included songs like; Dead Lover’s Lane, The Kiss Death, Dark Secret Love, Wings of a Butterfly and Killing Loneliness. Each of these songs have meaning to me and many have got me through problems greater than life. I think at first it wasn’t only the beat of the drums, base, and an awesome guitar solo but the lyrics that touched my heart. I just sink to my music and everything is okay.

Music is everywhere. There is no noise, only sound.

In Favor of Free Dress Day

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Mariana Ruiz

Over a year ago the administration decided to give our school uniforms. The reason for this was to reduce the presence of gangs, but that hasn’t changed.

Everybody is unique, everybody has different styles, and everybody has different interests. If every kid wears the same outfit and looks the same as everyone else, they’re losing their individuality. We look like a sea of purple, grey and black and we need more colors. Teenagers’ expressing themselves can help find who they are.

Having free dress day can be a school motivator. I think Friday would be a good day to have free dress day because it’s the day right before our weekend, day where many students don’t come because of it. If the school were to let us have our free dress day every Friday, it’d help students come to school.

We’d all fit into one place. We have our Jocks, Cheerleaders, Goths, Emos, Geeks, Class clowns, Band freaks, etc. if the school gave us an opportunity to let us be who we are once in a while, it will help build community.

Manual Arts student speaks at USC Annenberg

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

by Carla DeLeon

On December 4, 2010, I was selected from my journalism classroom to present my school’s newspaper article at USC. The program with which I was going with is called Youth Media Los Angeles Collaborative. In the auditorium there were about 100 people, everyone from all over LAUSD. I was happy I wasn’t going to be the only student presenting.

I didn’t have much time to prepare my presentation because I arrived about 25 minutes before the event started. This made me very nervous; I wasn’t exactly sure about what it was I was going to say. My mentor, Silva, helped me out with as much as she could and prepared a presentation with for me.

When the big day came, my mentor was directing people to the auditorium and helping others. While she did that, I was in the back with her laptop thinking of what exactly I would say for each slide of the Prezi. Silva wasn’t able to help me out as much as I wished she could because she couldn’t be at ten places at once, but thank goodness that my boyfriend Carlos, my friend Kerlie, and brother Marvin were there to help me out.

The event started at 11:15 a.m. A lady taking photographs was telling us to go inside the auditorium. Silva, Mike, and the director of journalism school, Geneva Overholser, began the event. After that, high school students and college students presented on women’s rights, Cesar Chavez, public matters, and more.

The whole time, I was counting down for when it would be my turn. I was a nervous wreck. I felt cold sweat running down my neck and I was shaking like an earthquake. Soon I knew I would go up to the podium. Carlos was telling me to relax and that it would be okay, but I didn’t want to listen. I believed it wasn’t going to be okay until I was home.

When my turn finally arrived, I went up on stage. The prezi Silva prepared malfunctioned. I figured I had already started everything wrong. After a few seconds the prezi started working so I began to talk about my article, which discussed teen suicides among gay, lesbian, and intersex students.

When all the presentations were over, the audience began asking questions. Public matters and Alejandra Cruz were receiving most of the questions so I figured I was safe because no one would ask me any questions. I was dead wrong. Out of nowhere, people began asking me questions.

But by the end of the day, I felt such a relief to be done with it. Even though I did have a few problems, such as forgetting what to say and not knowing how to answer the audience questions, I had a good time and the experience was amazing. Knowing I can present something in front of many people felt good and I can’t wait to do it again.

A Word of Advice to Freshmen

This article also appeared in the Toiler Times, the student newspaper of Manual Arts High School.

By Jose Cornejo

Welcome to Manual Arts Senior High School. We are happy to have you here, We are looking forward to working with you and helping you to achieve your goals. In your first year of high school, classes should be smooth. You will learn how our system works and know what classes to take. What you don’t want to do in your first year is fall back in your classes.

When I was a freshman I slacked off and did not work. I always talked to my friends or disrupted the teacher from teaching. The times I was doing my work, there was always a person distracting me and it preventing me from finishing. Going to the third semester, I started doing my work. I had teachers that cared about me and wanted me to do well in school.

Talk to your teachers when you start to fall behind. Most likely the two teachers you will have are Mr. Garlaza and Mr. Gailbraith. If you have problems with any work they would gladly help you. What you could also do on your own time is to go talk to them. Both teachers are supportive and trustworthy, when he sees students interested in passing their class.

Absences have a great impact in your freshman year as well. The more you miss, the more work piles up. First year shouldn’t be stressful. That’s the year were most fun is, but at the same time do your work. Ninth grade you should not be missing a lot classes, because they are easy. School is mostly about just coming, paying attention, and doing your work. If you notice, every test the teacher gives you is just a review of the same work over and over.