Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

 

         AP Exams are right around the corner, and I know many of you are preparing to take one or
more of these rigorous tests that accurately measure your college readiness in various subjects.
         Moreover, earning a 3 or higher on an exam may earn you college credit (depending on the
college/university you attend), which, in turn, can help cut one’s tuition costs and raise one’s
registration priority status – a key for freshmen who generally start at the bottom the pecking
order and often find it difficult to get all the classes they need.
         Obviously, the more exams on which a student scores a 3-5, the more college credits they
earn. And I know of many Spartans who preceded you who reaped benefits from the success on
the exams, earning from 21-34 units of college credit during their four years of high school.
         I am sure your AP teachers have instructed you well for your upcoming tests and are about
to begin the review process, if they haven’t already done so. I am also certain they have
provided you with another excellent resource: a schedule of live reviews on AP Classroom that
began April 19 and run through April 29.
         On the chance they you did not receive the schedule, here is a link to those sessions that you
can cut and paste: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap-2021/updates/ap-daily-live-
review?SFMC_cid=EM483368-&rid=47052568\

 

A Final Word on the Exams

         You may have noticed I did not use the words “pass” or “fail” when referencing AP exams. Be
assured the omission was intentional.
         It always bothers me when teachers/students use those words when discussing AP tests
because those terms are not accurate in this case. One neither “passes” nor “fails” an AP exam.
         As noted, the test “measures college readiness in various subjects.” Further, Collegeboard’s
explanation of the 1-5 scoring system makes no mention of passing or failing.


AP Exam Score                          Recommendation                          College Course Grade Equivalent
         5                                          Extremely well qualified                                        A+ or A
         4                                          Very well qualified                                                  A-, B+ or B
         3                                          Qualified                                                                   B-, C+ or C
         2                                          Possibly qualified                                                   ––
         1                                          No recommendation                                              ––


         When encouraging my AP English Language and Composition students to take the exam, I
always stressed the obvious point of it being the best measure of a student’s college readiness
and demonstrates to them what they learned in the class.
         I also emphasized that it is not a pass/fail situation, and is, instead, a no-lose proposition. A
student has everything to gain (college credit), and nothing to lose.
         Some students fear scoring a 1 is of no benefit and may even hurt their chances of getting
into the college or university of their dreams. Not true – Fake News! College admissions deans
stress low scores do not detract from a student’s chances because it demonstrates they are risk

takers. Higher scores may certainly improve one’s chances, but lower ones are not deal-
breakers.
         So, for you freshmen, sophomores and juniors who took AP classes this year but are not
taking the corresponding exams, I hope you will consider otherwise next year.


Back “Home” Again

         I had the privilege of being the public address announcer for two of CVH’s football games –
Hilltop and Bonita Vista – during the recently completed, pandemic-delayed season.
         The Hilltop game was more fun since the Spartans throttled the Lancers 42-21, and reclaimed
the Kiwanis Bowl trophy. That said, it wasn’t all about winning but a chance for athletes,
cheerleaders, faculty, staff, students, and parents to start to regain a sense of normalcy.
         The season finale on April 16 against Bonita Vista was bittersweet. It was Senior Night and
Homecoming. And while the tributes and ceremonies were well deserved and well done, they
lacked the fanfare of past celebrations for obvious reasons (thanks, COVID).
         I hope things are closer to normal in the fall, as I yearn to again see the stadium packed with
Spartan alumni, and the second-to-none halftime spectacular presented by the SCPA dance
programs.
         Still, it provided me with the opportunity to see colleagues and friends (and a few former
students) that I have not seen in far too long.
         Thanks Ms. Cabe and Mr. Wilson for inviting me back.
         Until next time, write on!

Written by Sheyla Rodriguez, Junior at CVHS

 
What automobile company also makes sausages? Who is the captain of the enterprise in Star Trek? What is the surname shared by an artist and president who passed the Alien and Sedition Acts? Perhaps you know the answer to a couple of these questions. Maybe you do not, but what matters is, would you like to know?
 
These were some of the questions that the Chula Vista Academic League members encountered. This past Wednesday, April 12th at 3 PM, seven Spartans played against Otay Ranch High School. It was a challenging and exciting game that culminated in a score of 380-330 points. Students in the 11th, 12th, and 10th grade worked together. Some focused on Chemistry, some excelled in History, and some even earned the team a couple of points with their amazing grasp of sports. Sarah Balatbat, Giancarlo Celiceo, Naturelle James, Sheyla Rodriguez, and Cecilia Ymaz were the starting five players in the match. The game proved to be neck and neck, as the Mustangs held a lead, Spartans were quick to surpass it. Yet there was a clear winner, there was a great level of confidence as the coach Mr. Griepenstroh addressed his team. The players remained focused, calm, and they had their fun, sighing as they missed a question, but activating once more as they answered one. Rotations were made and Benjamin Labelle, as well as Vanessa Nunez joined the set team of 5 players. Ben, the Africa connoisseur, and Vanessa, who dominates in History, were quick to lift up the spirits and help secure a strong lead. The match was challenging and as players Giancarlo Celiceo and Sheyla Rodriguez were brought back, it was clear that winning or losing depended on 2 more questions. Otay answered the 22nd question out of a total of 24 and crushed their bonus round. The tension was high, players anxiously listened to their last 2 questions, but Cecilia Ymaz remained calm and gave the answer. The game took a turn and Chula dominated once more, the bonus rounds proved to be rewarding and it was then that the Otay students recognized that it was game over.
 
“This was a crushing defeat” said a Junior in the Otay Ranch team. Some had their cameras off, but those who did not, smiled and acknowledged that although they had lost, it had been a thrilling game.
 
Sarah Balatbat and Cecilia Ymaz performed outstandingly. There was confidence as Sarah answered a Philippines question, her homeland, or when Naturelle knew of the Florida Gators. Each member contributed to the best of their ability, Giancarlo buzzed in right away during a Chemistry question, quickly identifying that the answer was “Amino Acids.” Also, when Ben knew of the Roosevelt Bull Moose Party, or when Sheyla knew of Eva from Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Otay played well, but they stood no chance against the enthusiastic, hardworking, and driven students of Chula.
 
As we wait for Friday, our last match, we hope that Daniel Villalobos and Elizabeth Medina join us. Members of the team who although did not play, stayed, and watched the team’s victory. This was definitely a match worthy of victory candy. Perhaps YOU will join the club, play a few matches, make new friends, and earn some well-deserved chocolate. We will see you then.
 
Congratulations to the Academic League team for winning against Otay Ranch. The potential and unity was as clear as water that day. Winning against a traditionally strong adversary has provided the Chula Vista Academic League members with the gratifying thrill of victory. This success can only be hoped to foreshadow the future matches that our Spartans will face.

 

Written by Cecilia Ymaz, Sophomore at CVHS

 

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list. Yet, it’s not necessarily that there isn’t enough time — it’s the way we perceive it. The Pomodoro technique is extremely efficient in maximizing productivity as you become consistent with working for a constant amount of time following a short break. 


The Pomodoro Technique is often used with the 25/5 method, meaning that you study for 25 minutes and have a 5-minute break afterward. However, you can also use the 50/10 method for a longer studying session. Having short breaks in between studying periods has been proven to sharpen your concentration and keep your mind fresh. If you are new to the Pomodoro technique, you may find it difficult to get tasks done within 25 minutes. Sooner or later, you’ll become increasingly efficient at finishing assignments while maintaining quality work. 


Distance learning has made it difficult for many students to pay attention for long periods of time and have excellent time management. Personally, assignments that used to take less than 30 minutes to complete sometimes take me a lot longer to finish. Using the Pomodoro technique has helped me create a structured daily routine that keeps me on track. It also gives me an opportunity to take my eyes off of the computer that I stare at all day long during quick breaks, which are more beneficial than they may seem!


Start using the Pomodoro technique today! There is an overwhelming amount of Pomodoro resources available on the internet including Pomofocus, a simple website using the 25/5 method. You can also customize the time in Settings (located in the top right corner of the website). 


There are also YouTube channels dedicated to making “Study With Me” videos if you are struggling with motivation to study. These videos are especially helpful for students at home that enjoy studying with others without any distractions. Simply typing “Study With Me” in the YouTube search bar will display hundreds of videos to choose from depending on whether you enjoy background noises (e.g. rain sounds), music, or even a nice view to look at during your break. Merve is a YouTube channel based in Scotland with serene sights of sunsets, cloudy days, and more. 


I hope you can find this technique useful and incorporate it into your daily routine! 

Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

         I hope all of you enjoyed a fun, relaxing break, and return refreshed and energized for the
home stretch of a difficult and unprecedented 2021 school year.
         For those who will be returning for in-person learning, I hope it becomes a productive,
enjoyable, and safe experience for all students, faculty and staff.
         For some, the next several weeks will include preparing for AP Exams. If that includes you and
you are taking the AP English Language exam (or any exam that includes essay responses), feel
free to contact me if you have questions regarding thesis statements, organization/structure,
appropriate writing register, time management, or any other aspects of on-demand (timed)
writing.
         Email me at: dahatz@cox.net. I will send you a personal response and/or post it in my next
blog if I believe it is a question that could help most/all students (which most questions do).

 

Avoid Saying Very

         One of my ongoing goals in this blog is to provide tips and tricks to help students improve
their writing. And one easy way to improve your writing is to avoid using “very” as an adverb
when you are trying to emphasize or heighten the degree of the modified word.
         If you find yourself frequently using “very,” devoting time to finding a more concrete
(specific) word that accurately describes the point you are trying to convey improves your
writing and eliminates the need for “very.”
         I have posted examples in previous blogs. Here are some more to add these to your list:


                                                   Weak                                                  Better
                                             Very Serious                                          Solemn
                                             Very Poor                                               Destitute
                                             Very Creative                                         Innovative
                                             Very Painful                                           Excruciating
                                             Very Crowded                                        Packed
                                             Very Empty                                             Desolate (empty)
                                             Very Loose                                             Slack
                                             Very Lively                                              Animated
                                             Very Neat                                                Immaculate
                                             Very Often                                               Frequently
                                             Very Thirsty                                            Parched
                                             Very Tight                                               Constricting
                                             Very Cute                                                Adorable


The Hokey Pokey in the Elizabethan Era

         They didn’t have preschool when I was a child, but I remember learning “The Hokey Pokey”
at a young age, as, no doubt, most if not all of you did as well.
         Here’s a new take on this childhood favorite, courtesy of Grammarly.com. It is “The Hokey
Pokey” Shakespearean Style:

         O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
         Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
         Anon, once more the gesture, then begin;
           Command sinistral pedestal to write.
         Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Pokey.
           A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
         To spin! A wild release from heaven’s yoke.
           Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
         The Hoke, the poke – banish now they doubt
           Verily, I say, “tis what is all about.


Say What?

         Here’s another example of miscommunication because the speaker wasn’t clear in their
instructions. See if you can find the ambiguity.
         Mom (to her son): “Honey, please go to the store and buy a bottle of milk. If they have eggs,
bring six.
         The son dutifully went to the store and returned with six bottles of milk.
         Mom: “Why the heck did you buy SIX bottles of milk?”
         Son: “BECAUSE THEY HAD EGGS!”
         Do you understand why the son misunderstood?


Something to Think About

         I will close today’s session with a wonderful quote from best-selling American author James
Patterson. There is more than a measure of truth to his profound statement:
         “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids
who are reading the wrong books.”


Until next time, write on!