School districts across the state are facing hardship as the California budget crisis continues to frustrate lawmakers. The current economic situation has already put strains on our own school district, seen earlier this year in the abnormally tense negotiations process between the district and the Teachers’ Union over healthcare, which eventually led to secretive mediation sessions.
On October 13, the Teachers’ Union and the District reached a tentative agreement over this year’s contract. The contract lasts for this year and next year, expiring on June 30, 2012. In February or March of 2012, a new round of negotiations will start.
In response to recent gay suicides nationwide, the Gay-Straight Alliance participated in a nation-wide campaign called Purple Shirt Wednesday on October 20. Students came to school with purple shirts, pants, shoes, or bags. Purple Shirt Wednesday was during Ally Week, which according to junior Jesenia Garcia-Rovetta, “is dedicated to the LGBT and straight alliance, and is a great time for people not in the GSA to say they support people of any sexual identity”.
Contrasted to Aragon’s vast campus and large student body of 1591, Peninsula High School’s student body of roughly 250 students shocked Senior Kevin Birchett. After attending Aragon for his freshman and sophomore year it is understandable why San Mateo Union High School District’s continuation school, Peninsula High School, was such a drastic change for Birchett.
After suffering a year of health problems, James Richmond, the Aragon Robotics Team’s faculty advisor, has stepped down from his position; as a result, the Robotics Team has faced an array of questions concerning the future of the program.
Aragon’s 6th annual International Food Fair was held on Friday, October 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the large gym. It featured foods from China, India, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, France, Peru, Italy and the Pacific Islands. Assistant principal Joe Mahood says, “The International Food Fair is a gathering where students and parents alike from different ethnic groups can share their cuisine with the rest of the school.”
In late November, Aragon High School will be visited by students from Hanasaki High School in Tokyo, Japan. Hanasaki students will be joining Aragon band students in homestays and will be participating in a band exchange. This has all been made possible by the Bravo Music publishing company of Florida. Both schools, though very different, are acquainted with the publishing company.
On November 9, a deadly gas explosion ripped through San Bruno, displacing hundreds of people. However, it was not only people who were affected by the incident; animals and pets were displaced as well. The animals that were lucky enough to escape have been since taken in by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), a non-profit organization that helps to protect animals that are in danger. Upon hearing about the situation, Aragon students decided to start the Adopt-an-Angel campaign.
Headed by senior Amrit Saxena, the Aragon Mathematical Talent Development Committee (MTDC), a club that fosters mathematical abilities in middle school students, plans to hold a math competition to encourage the celebration and continued development of their math skills. The Aragon Math League (AML) competition screens more than 300 students for seats at the Aragon Math Marathon (AM2), the math competition scheduled for January 7, 2011.
While a large portion of the country went red on election day, California represented a decisive win for Democrats, with both gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and senatorial candidate Barbara Boxer winning their respective positions. Along with these wins, Democrat San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom won the position of Lieutenant Governor, and Debra Bowen was re-elected as Secretary of State.
A typical student’s yearly schedule consists of one math and one science course. However, in recent years, a small, but rising percentage of students have deviated from the traditional schedule and are making the decision to take either two math classes or two science classes.
Since last February, the San Mateo Union High School District Board and the SMUHSD Teacher’s Association have been in a stalemate over the issue of healthcare insurance, with the District reluctant to continue paying for teachers’ healthcare. With rising insurance costs and a failing “formula” that proportionally divides the district’s budget, it seems the District Board is taking a hard-line stance, despite having $4 million more than expected.