Class of 2019 Top Ten Seniors
Four years of high school fly by so quickly (as any senior), and soon it will be time for the Class of 2019 to say goodbye to Montebello High School and prepare for the real world. Some will go to local colleges, others may travel further to attend a college or university, and some may even head into the workforce or military. This year’s top ten students in the Class of 2019 will be the new faces of schools as far as New Jersey and as close as Los Angeles. Let’s meet these outstanding students!
Congratulations to the Class of 2019 Valedictorian, Esther Munoz (4.39 overall GPA). Since the moment she stepped onto MHS campus, Munoz has strived to give her academics her best efforts. Munoz is proud of her rank and feels it demonstrates her parents’ sacrifices were worth it. So, what has been Munoz’s secret for her success? According to her, it comes down to simple determination. Munoz feels that it is not about being smart, it is about having the will and being determined to succeed. “I don’t always understand every lesson, but when that happens, I study it until I do,” says Munoz. Thanks to her great efforts, Munoz will be attending Yale University this fall, where she will major in either psychology or neuroscience. She plans to later attend medical school and purse a career as a surgeon or psychiatrist. Aside from attaining the top spot in her class, Munoz has involved herself in activities such as tennis, Key club, CSF, Interact club, yearbook, journalism, and calculus club. Munoz would like to leave underclassmen with a piece of advice—don’t lose hope in yourself. She says, “You’ll fail some tests, maybe even a class, but there’s always a way to recover if you search for it.” Don’t give up. Finally, Munoz would like to again thank her parents for their support, especially through the college process, and Mrs. Macy, Mrs. Endo, Mrs. Argumosa, Mr. Escobar, and Mr. Shah for their support and for writing letters of recommendation for her. Congratulations, Esther Munoz, Class of 2019 Valedictorian.
Jose Barradas (4.37) is UCLA Bruin bound! The salutatorian for the Class of 2019 attributes his academic success to working hard and learning to stay up late. Without his parents’ support, achieving a 4.37 GPA would not have been easy. Besides hitting the books, Barradas has been actively a member of ASB throughout his high school days and is also a member of NHS, CSF, and Interact club. Although he has enjoyed being an Oiler, Barradas looks forward to attending UCLA, where he will major in mechanical engineering and one day become an engineer. Good luck on a successful future and congratulations.
Katherine Hernandez (4.34) thinks being in the top ten of her graduating class is cool but she is more excited about going to UCLA in the fall. Hernandez thanks what she calls “the holy trinity of Quizlet, Calcchat, and Khan Academy,” her teachers and many sleepless nights for her success. She also thanks her mom, dad, and friends “for keeping me from falling into the top ten stereotype and letting me live life.” Hernandez advises underclassmen to be responsible with school, but live life, too. While at MHS, Hernandez has been a part of the band, Drill Team, and the Culture and “Film, Music, and Art Club.” Now, Hernandez looks forward to attending UCLA, where she will be a psychology major. She would like to earn a PhD and be a researcher. Hernandez would like to do her part in “destigmatizing mental illness.” Good luck on a great future.
Amelia (“Amy”) Richards (4.29) is very proud of her academic accomplishments throughout her high school years. According to Richards, “the blood, sweat, and tears were worth it.” Like others in the top ten, hard work and perseverance helped her maintain her grade point average, but so did her optimistic outlook. Richards is thankful for the support system she has had along the way. This includes her teachers, parents, brother, Gizmo (her puppy), and Spotify “for providing playlists to keep me awake to do my homework.” Some advice Richards wishes to share with underclassmen is to do not take high school too seriously. Instead, treat it like a test run for real life. While at MHS, Richards studied hard but also made time to enjoy her time as a high schooler, too. She was actively involved in many organizations, including YMCA Youth and Government, NHS, CSF, ASB, MHS School Site Council, founded Got Insulin Club, Renaissance, Concert Choir, Cross Country, and the baseball team manager, just to name a few. After graduating from MHS, Richards will be attending San Francisco State University, where she will major in Cinema (film production). Richards is very interested in creating films that touch on important issues going on in our society. We wish you luck and look forward to your future work.
For Kayla Araiza (4.24), being in the top ten of her class had been a goal for her since she started high school. Now, she can check that one off and feel accomplished. Araiza attributes her success to the countless hours of studying for every class. Araiza admits, “It wasn’t an easy journey, but through perseverance and determination to excel in all of my classes, I was able to attain it.” Araiza thanks her parents, College Bound mentors, and Mr. Shah, for encouraging her to keep challenging herself and believing in her abilities. To underclassmen, Araiza warns them to not lose focus of their life goals. Although school may not be easy, keep working at it and as time goes on it gets easier. The hard work will pay off in the end. Araiza has been an active member of our schools’ Interact club, CSF, and NHS, and is excited to be furthering her education at UC Davis. She will be a computer science major. Later, Araiza hopes to pursue a master’s in computer science, with a focus on artificial intelligence or software development. Congratulations, Kayla Araiza!
For Susanna Tovmasyan (4.22), being able to graduate high school in the top ten of her class, it is a big honor. To her, it demonstrates to herself and her family that all the struggles they experienced in coming to the United States has paid off. Tovmasyan says her persistence to continuously work hard always is the key to her success at MHS. Tovmasyan would also like to thank her parents and Mr. Escobar for supporting her and believing in her throughout the years. Although she spent much of her time studying while in high school, Tovmasyan also made time to dance with the MHS Dance Company, and participate in clubs like CSF, NHS, Armenian club, calculus club, culture club, drama, photography club, and Interact club. Like a fellow top ten student, Tovmasyan will be attending UCLA in the fall, majoring in biochemistry. Her goal is to be accepted into medical school and studying to become a surgical doctor. Good luck, Susanna and congratulations.
Vivian Arceo (4.21) is another example of hard work and perseverance paying off. Arceo attributes her academic success and place in the top ten of her class to her unconditional family support. She shared, “had they not encouraged me to try harder, I might have given up a lot earlier.” Thankfully, Arceo did not give up and because of that, she will be attending Santa Clara University in Northern California next fall. She will be majoring in English or communications and would like to become a journalist or a professional writer. Although she has been very committed to her academics, Arceo found time to play on the water polo team for a few years, and even participated in Interact, Culture and Calculus clubs while at MHS. Arceo encourages struggling students to keep on trying and not give up on themselves: “there are going to be times where you find yourself in situations where you feel like giving up, but you have to work through it and just believe in yourself.” Behind every successful person are those who helped them achieve. For Arceo, these were her parents, who allowed her to stay up until 2am to study, along with teachers and friends who supported her along the way. Congratulations, Vivian Arceo and good luck.
Ashley Fregoso (4.16) is very proud of herself at accomplishing so much academically in high school and being ranked in the top ten of her class. Fregoso is honored that her hard work is being recognized and owes much of her success to the support of her mother, who inspired her to work so hard. Fregoso has also been blessed with a support system of friends whom she could always count on. When she wasn’t studying hard, Fregoso played on the tennis team, and participated in CSF, Interact club and yearbook. Now, Fregoso is looking forward to attending UC Davis and study history. Someday, Fregoso would like to earn a PhD and become a researcher or a professor. Congratulations, Ashley!
Elva Escobar (4.11) shared that to her, being on the top ten of her class it is just a title. But, Escobar is proud of that her hard work in school has paid off in a big way: she got accepted to UC Berkeley. She is excited to attend UCB and major in anthropology. Eventually, Escobar wishes to be an archaeologist, which means she will need a PhD as well. Escobar attributes her success to self-motivation, her competitive personality, and her support system. In fact, Escobar would like to acknowledge her teachers for supporting her in their own ways. Also, Escobar gives a shout out to Mrs. Argumosa and Dr. Raam, both of which helped her beyond the academics. Escobar has some advice for underclassmen—reach out when you need help and look within yourself for motivation. Congratulations and best of luck at Berkeley!
Michael Garcia (4.11) is humbled to be recognized for his rank in the top ten of his class. Garcia has always strived to do his best in school and is excited to have his efforts recognized. He is grateful for the guidance and support he has received from his teachers and College Bound mentors throughout the years. He would like to specifically thank Mrs. Endo, Ms. Rios, Megan Scott-Kakuras (College Bound Today mentor) and Ms. Casalicchio for their support. Now, Garcia is excited to be attending UC Riverside in the fall, where he will major in biology and aspires to one day become a general practitioner. When asked what advice he could share with underclassmen, Garcia responded “you should stay on top of your work and thoroughly understand the content. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.” Congratulations, Michael Garcia and good luck.
No matter where the seniors of Class of 2019 go, they will be taking their high school years of experiences with them, and hopefully continue the lifelong friendships they have built while at MHS, too. Congratulations to you all.
A Dip in Applications to UCs This Year
By Natalie Morales
College application season may be long gone and over and seniors are finalizing their college plans for next school year. But something happened for the first time in 15 years—the number of high school seniors applying for UC campuses dropped. Experts are predicting this is just the beginning.
The UC board recently released statistics for this year’s UC applications and there was a 3% drop in the amount of incoming freshmen applications. This means 176,530 less high school seniors applied to UC schools this year.
There are nine UC campuses in total, but only three campuses had a decrease in freshmen applications: UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. Since the birth rate in the United States has been declining, a decrease in the amount of students graduating high school and going to college is going to happen, according to Professor Grawe from Carleton College.
Besides the population changing, the UCs believe this year’s California fires and the growing fears of federal immigration policies also affected students’ decisions to apply for college says UC vice president, Han Mi Yoon. Another reason for the application decrease could be California’s Promise, which is a program that guarantees students’ first year of community college is free to every California student. Also, another reason is more students may have become discouraged from applying because of how competitive it has become to get accepted to many UC schools. However, for students that are undocumented living in California, California colleges are still the best option for them, whether it is a UC, a Cal State, or community college. Undocumented students do not qualify for federal financial aid like FAFSA, but they do qualify for California Dream Act financial aid. And, Governor Newsom is working on a proposal to build a new Cal State campus, probably in Stockton (up North), to help increase the amount of California students to attend a university.
The future demands more advanced and skilled jobs that require college degrees. For those students that are discouraged about their chances of getting into their dream school, don’t give up trying. Just keep working hard, apply to more than a few schools, and go from there. What matters is getting that college degree because everyone wants a good career in the future to support their families, right?
“It’s a Grand Night for Singing”: Pops Concert 2019
By Crystal Castro
On Friday, May 17, 2019 at 7pm, the Montebello High School Choirs held its annual Pops Concert in the auditorium. The Pops Concert is the last concert of the year for the choirs and all the seniors to perform one last time together.
This year’s theme of the Pops Concert was “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.” The concert covered music from many decades and included songs from musicals and the radio. The night started with a performance of this exact song by the Hi-Tones, the all girl group, to kick off the event. It was a good song to get the crowd’s attention with its energy. Next, the Varsity Men’s Ensemble sang a song called “My Shot.” This group did a good job at singing together with enthusiasm. The Golden Keys then sang a Billy Joel song called “The Longest Time,” which Jazmine Hernandez sang solo on and was spot on. The New Beats sang an oldie but goodie called “Fever,” that had catchy choreography, too. A crowd favorite during the first half of the show seemed like the upbeat “Mas Que Nada” by the Golden Keys and Pink’s “Try” that was sung by all the girls in choir. In “Try,” many girls held signs of what seemed like put downs and as the song continued these negative words were replaced by positive ones that were encouraging. It was a very important message that the audience really enjoyed.
Kicking off the second half of the show was a really cool version of “Lights” by Ellie Goulding performed by New Beats. They performed it in darkness, singing and dancing with glowsticks. It made for a cool light show! Another highlight was Concert Choir’s version of the classic song “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which seemed like a crowd favorite with many bobbing their heads and singing along. It even featured solos from Vincent Marquez, Kathleen Esnayra, Melany Cortes, and Maria Palacios, who all sounded awesome and in tune. The Hi-Tones performed an interesting version of Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way,” a blast from the 90’s but it sounded great.
Some solo highlights from the second half were Amy Richards’ version of “Liability,” by Lorde that featured an awesome dance solo by Susanna Tovmasyan; Karen Castaneda and Jennifer Gomez’s “Suddenly Seymour, a throwback from “Little Shop of Horrors”; and Radiohead classic “Creep” by Jazmine Hernandez. A cool number the concert was when all the seniors got on stage to sing a song together called “Sing.” It was a nice moment for them to enjoy since it was their last concert before graduation. Finally, all the choir groups got on stage and joined them for a combined song, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, with solos from Elizha Maytorena and Jazette Villeda.
Overall, the night was fun and enjoyed by many. The groups did a great job with entertaining us all and seniors and their families got to enjoy one last night on the stage. Good job and keep singing!
State Secretary Alex Padilla Visits MHS
By Leslie Ramirez
On April 25, 2019, Montebello High School hosted an assembly for Alex Padilla, the Secretary for the State of California. The assembly was also sponsored by the Montebello Unified School District.
MHS students as well as some students from other schools in MUSD such as Bell Gardens and Schurr High attended this “get out the vote” rally. Superintendent Martinez and Mrs. Meltzer welcomed Mr. Padilla and his guests, followed by our own ASB President, Sharlize Pettite and ASB representative Amy Richards. The purpose of the event was to educate students on their abilities to register to vote, by paper, online or even at the DMV. Padilla shared why it is important for young people to vote. He shared that every year he visits many schools up and down California to encourage students to vote when they get older. He shared when he was in high school, Padilla became interested in the importance of voting when a proposition called 187 passed in California. This proposition meant that illegal immigrants would not be allowed to attend public schools. Having immigrant parents, this law hit home for Padilla and that is when he realized he needed to vote and motivate others to vote, too. Proposition 187 was blocked by the courts and never took effect, but Padilla keeps doing what he can to get out the vote.
According to Padilla, voting “is an obligation.” Many students were not even aware that they could register before they turned 18 years old or felt it was important to vote. This assembly has got students thinking. One student shared “I will register to vote, so that I can have a say in the next president.” To register to vote, go to .
“Blast from the Past: It’s Sadie Hawkins time!
By: Natalie Morales
Come one, come all. It’s time for the MHS Sadie Hawkins dance. The dance will be held on Friday, March 15th from 7 pm to 11 pm in the MHS gym. Tickets are a low $7 at the student store or $10 the day of the dance.
This year’s Sadie Hawkins dance theme is a “Blast from the Past,” and the ASB representatives would like students to dress in 1950’s type of clothing. For girls, this could mean puffy dresses or pony tails wrapped in a bandanna with blue jeans. For boys, this could mean cuffed blue jeans and white t-shirts and a black jacket with a slicked back hair style. Boys can also go for the dapper look with the semi-casual pants, suspenders, and collared shirts.
Now, girls are expected to ask boys to be their date to Sadie Hawkins dances. Some female students have shared that they feel uncomfortable with asking boys out because they have never done it before. Also, these students admitted they fear being rejected and embarrassed. As for boys, one boy shared his dilemma of choosing between two girls who asked him to be their date to the dance. A solution to this problem could be to go as friends or as a group. Students should keep in mind that high school is the time to make memories with their peers. So, just go and a fun time! At Sadie Hawkins, all MHS students are invited to dance with people they know, meet new people, and take some pictures to remember the fun that was had (sorry, no guests will be allowed that do not attend MHS).
Remember to save some money and buy your pre-sale tickets to Sadie Hawkins by lunch Friday, March 15th in the student store, which is next to the Boy’s gym. Have a great time dancing and laughing with your friends at the “Blast from the Past” dance.
“A Night of Mystery”: Prom 2019
If you are a junior or senior, you may have been eagerly waiting for news on this year’s prom. Well, it has just been announced that this year, prom will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 7:30 pm to 12 am at Pacific Palms Resort in city of Industry.
The theme from prom has also been released. It is going to be “A Night of Mystery”. Some students may be wondering what does that mean and why do proms have themes? Themes to prom can give students an idea of what colors are ‘in’ to wear at the event, which may be important for some students. “A Night of Mystery” is kind of a throwback to the “Phantom of the Opera” movie/musical. Dark, mysterious colors are shown in film such as black, grey, deep shades of red, but also whites.
Tickets are currently not on sale but will be at the end of March, beginning March 25th at 6:30 am at the football ticket booth for seniors, only. Seniors will only be allowed to buy tickets from March 25 to March 27th. Juniors and remaining seniors can purchase their tickets on March 28 to March 29th.
As years past, prom is an assigned seating event, so your entire group of friends should buy tickets on the same day and time so that you can pick seats together.
Students who are interested in attending prom should go to A-6 to see if they owe any fines or Saturday School detention. No one will not be allowed to purchase prom tickets without being cleared for fines and detention first. And if students are planning to take a date from another school, they must also download and complete a guest pass before buying their tickets. The guest pass must be signed by an administrator from their date’s school, so be sure to allow time to get it completed before prom tickets go on sale.
Ticket prices are as follows: $110 for a student with an ASB card; $120 for a student without an ASB card; $220 for a couple with two ASB cards; $230 for a couple with one ASB card; $240 for a couple with no ASB cards. For those students who participated in the popcorn fundraiser, be sure to bring your letter that states your money credits. The ticket price includes dinner, dessert options, drinks, and night of dancing with your friends.
Students who have any questions on tickets or the event itself, see Mrs. Lozano in the SAC. For those who are worried about fines or detention hours, see Mrs. Guzman in A-6.
Cheer Competition team wins JAMZ Championship!
On February 15th through 17th, the MHS Cheer competition team traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the JAMZ competition.
The competition was held at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas and was a three-day event. JAMZ is a national organization that holds competitions for cheer teams across the US as well as dance teams. The competition is held tournament-style, where teams take turn performing their routines and advance based on judge's scores.
Last year, the Oiler team were shy of the first place award but had won for several consecutive years before. This year, the girls were confident and determined to bring the trophy back home, and they did! Congratulations, Oiler Cheer!
More Money for CSUs, More Acceptance Letters Given!
By: Leslie Davila
The California State University System has been in place for over one hundred years and was designed to encourage Californians to further their education for well-paying jobs.
Governor Gavin Newsom, in his new budget proposal for the state recognizes the importance of education of the youth and is providing an additional $300 million dollars to the CSUs this year. This means very good news to us students, especially those about to graduate.
The new funding means the CSUs will not need to raise tuition rates for the upcoming fall semester. Also, according to the CSU board of trustees’ official website, the CSUs will be able to accept an additional 5% of college applicants for this fall at all of its 23 campuses, approximately 18,000 students.
Besides an enrollment growth, the new funding will go to assist the university campus’ maintenance costs for aging building structures, and $15 million to help support basic needs of students.
The CSU aims for big increases in enrollment to meet California’s future workforce needs. Now, CSU campuses can continue to hire hundreds more faculty, offer thousands more course sections, which will increase the average courses of units per student. This will eventually translate to more bachelor’s degrees annually.
How will the CSU’s increase course offerings so quickly? Well, they will provide more face-to-face instruction by hiring more professors and offer on-line and hybrid courses.
Also new this application season year, the CSU is implementing a redirection policy, which is like a guarantee that all first-time and transfer applicants who meet minimum CSU eligibility requirements are admitted to at least one CSU campus. For example, if an applicant meets CSU-eligibility, and are waitlisted or denied admission due to either campus or program impaction, they will be given an opportunity to be redirected to and admitted by a non-impacted campus. This policy change could result in a large increase in more first-time and transfer students enrolled at the CSU in the 2019-20 academic year.
So, Oilers, if you happen to be one of those who received a waitlist or rejection letter from a CSU, be on the look-out for a second chance at another campus. Just because one door shut does not mean another will not open and it may be time to take a chance.
ASB Class Representative Assembly
On Thursday, March 14th, 2019, an assembly will be held to choose next year’s sophomore, junior, and senior ASB representatives during second through fourth periods in the auditorium.
Students will be asked to show their student ID cards when they enter and will then receive a voting ballot. After the assembly is over, students will then drop off their ballots as they leave the auditorium. Freshmen will attend the assembly with their classes during second period, sophomores will attend during third period, and juniors during fourth period.
Be sure to bring your ID card and be ready to show it as you enter the auditorium.
MHS Oiler Crew
There is a new program at Montebello High School, Oiler Crew, that is designed to benefit freshmen. This program is new to MHS and Ms. Rego was happy to provide more information about it. She showed enthusiasm for the students who are part of the Oiler Crew and with the contribution and support of other teachers, this program will reach its full potential and make a great impact on the MHS campus.
Ms. Rego along with Ms. Martinez are heading up the Oiler Crew program with the desire to improve the experience of all freshmen, and hope that by extension, the rest of the MHS student body. The purpose of Oiler Crew is to help connect the incoming freshmen to MHS. The program hopes this will improve school culture as well as help freshmen transition to the realities of being in high school. Ms. Rego shared, “I used to teach freshman English and for a lot of students, intermediate school and high school are a lot different so coming here is a big shock to the system.” It is also well documented that freshmen overall grades as well as attendance and class behavior need improvement. The Oiler Crew hopes to help facilitate those improvements.
To be in the Oiler Crew, a student had to have been nominated by a teacher last spring. According to Ms. Rego, the program received over 95 student nominations from teachers. These students were then required to attend an event at the end of last year, then come to a training this summer prior to the beginning of school. For those interested in becoming an Oiler Crew leader for the upcoming year, current 10th and 11th graders will be able to apply in the month of February. Those who should apply are people who care about helping others, can attend trainings and most of the events, and has reasonable grades. This does not necessarily mean straight A’s and B’s, but not more than a couple of classes that they are struggling with currently.
Since the Oiler Crew is focused entirely on helping freshmen, especially those who are struggling with grades and attendance, the Oiler Crew is looking for students to be role models to these students.
Some may ask what are some specific requirements of the leaders in Oiler Crew? Since this is its first year of operation, the Oiler Crew leaders, were given some flexibility. Next year, the plan is to hold quarterly grade conferences with the freshmen to make sure they get any help they need.
The Oiler Crew program is still a work in progress, but it is the hope that it will become a class where freshmen can seek help/mentoring with schoolwork or school-related issues, including social issues. This is one of the ways Oiler Crew is set apart from MHS’s AMP program, which focuses only on academic mentoring. Ms. Rego stated, “I hope to make Oiler Crew a big part of the school that works side by side with ASB and does regularly scheduled meetups, tutoring sessions, and activities.”
Welcome Back, Oilers!
Ah yes, the time has come. There will be no more sleeping for several hours straight, no more binge watching on Netflix, and no more going to the beach. Get new clothes, pack your backpacks, and drink a bunch of coffee; it’s a necessity for a high school student… it’s back to school.
Freshmen, better be careful in the wild jungle that is high school. Good luck with having piles of homework and staying up almost every night to get them done, especially projects. Bring a map; it’s quite difficult to find classes since there are buildings everywhere. Do be careful when the bell rings, gigantic crowds form when that happens. A good tactic would be to grab your friend’s backpack strap like a dog on a leash to help you guide through the crowd. Sophomores you thought freshmen year was easy or difficult? Whether it was difficult or not, best of luck to all of you. School should not be taken so lightly. Freshmen year may have been a bit bumpy and somewhat simple but sophomore year is tough.
Juniors the spotlights are on you. Thousands of colleges are waiting to see what you are made of so make a move and apply to as many colleges as you like. Make them want you to attend their college. Shine bright and knock them dead! Seniors should do the same: this may be your last year but don’t waver under the senioritis’s gaze.
Fellow MHS students, remember to not procrastinate on your schoolwork because it will haunt and bite you. The due date may be far away but never relax until you have completed the assignment. Relaxing too much is not a good habit to have and should be fixed. Remember to use time management and prioritize yourself and push anything, such as social media, away from you. Those may be tempting but it is for the best. They are a bad distraction.