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New Teachers Join Prep Community


By Nathaniel Parks

Staff Writer


The school has welcomed new teachers and a new wellness director to the staff this year.

 Joining the Prep community are teachers Nadia Garcia (Spanish), Anna Wilkerson (science and the Center for Learning Excellence), Nick Aase (computer programming and math), and Esperanza Plath (English), as well as school psychologist Amber Hayes.

The most recent addition to the faculty is Garcia, a Spanish teacher who taught middle school and high school in Santa Fe. She moved to Prep because she enjoys working at smaller schools. 

“I think the community is closer, and there are more opportunities to work with kids one to one,” she said, adding that she prefers to see her students in person. “I get to actually see the students, see their expressions, which is a big indicator on whether they are understanding the material.”

Garcia said she’s also been reading for fun and has been trying to spend more time with her family.

“So right now as a family, we have been riding bikes on the weekends, so I’m trying to focus on maintaining a physical, active life, and trying to take advantage of the time I have with them,” she said.

Hayes, a psychologist and the school's new Director of Wellness, has taken on many roles at different schools, but chose to come to Prep strictly because of the joy teaching brings her. 

“(I) shared the explicit value of joy, its place in education and our lives,” she said. “That's why I am here.” 

Hayes said when she isn’t working, she loves to travel and do fun things around Albuquerque and New Mexico. She also enjoys reading, exploring the mountains and seeing live music.

Plath, a former St. Pius teacher, has taught both theater and English. 

“I chose to come to Prep because of the enriched, enlivened, caring community that it is,” she said.

 Plath noted how resilient and hardworking the Prep community is, even in these uncertain times, saying in part, “This is a school of strong, dedicated people.” 

When she isn’t teaching, she loves to spend time with her family, whether that means watching a movie or taking a road trip. She also enjoys spending time with her dog, cooking and reading.

Wilkerson, a former substitute teacher, moved to Albuquerque six years ago and said transitioning into the role of a full-time teacher was a “natural progression for me.” 

She loves to hang out in the mountains with her family.  

“I prefer a tent to many spaces,” she said. She also loves to read, stating, “I also like to get lost in a book, preferably hanging in a hammock … near my tent, and a campfire with my dogs.” 

Aase returned to Prep after graduating in 2003. He has worked in the aerospace industry, eventually pursuing a computer science degree at UNM, where he also was a teaching assistant.

Aase said he chose to return to Prep because he was given a chance to work in his field and “return to the school that gave so much to me.”

 When he isn't in the classroom, he loves playing video games and improv acting, along with playing piano. 

COVID Brings Change to College Experience


By Jack Bilan

Staff Writer


Sandia Prep graduate Isabella Abeyta-Jefferson knows she’s missing out on the full college experience now that COVID has changed the landscape.

“Life on a college campus now during COVID is not that interesting,” said Abeyta-Jefferson, a 2020 graduate who is now a freshman at Northern Arizona University. “You don’t get to interact with as many people as you normally would.”

Abeyta-Jefferson is among a group that has been struggling with the new school year the most: college students. Everything from the way college campuses run to admissions’ tests has changed this year, calling for flexibility from students and faculty alike. These changes can have long term effects on colleges as well. 

Many college professors are seeing some of the benefits of online platforms and may keep elements of teaching virtually, going forward,” said  Eleka Novitski, an independent college counselor in Bend, Ore. 

Halle Gentry-Funk, a 2020 Prep graduate who attends Colorado State University, said the school went into lockdown not long after classes began. She temporarily returned home to New Mexico because of the number of positive cases in her dorm.

 “I am now back at CSU and have been for about a month,” Gentry-Funk said. “I am loving this school, and the way the administration is handling COVID is seriously so cool to watch. I have to get a COVID test every week, but am seriously so happy that even with this virus I have been able to meet a good amount of people and still feel safe in this environment.” 

More and more students are also looking for options closer to home under these new circumstances.

 “For U.S. domestic students, staying closer to home is a safer health option in case students have to leave campus due to an outbreak,” Novitski said.

Abeyta-Jefferson said NAU’s restrictions include prohibiting students from visiting each other’s dorm rooms.

“Gyms aren’t open, and only a certain amount of people are allowed at the dining halls at a time,” she said. “For the classes that are in person, only half of the class is allowed in-person while the other half is on Zoom.” 

With a changing college experience, many seniors have decided to take a gap year or not go to college at all. 

I think gap years are on the rise,” said Melissa Morse, Prep’s Director of College Counseling. “If this changes or we are in this remote split for a while, students might be wondering if the expense is worth it.”

In the realm of universities, not only has the on-campus experience changed, but college admissions is seeing some major shifts in how they run things. Novitski said “when SAT and ACT test dates had to be canceled, the classes of 2020 and 2021 benefitted, as many colleges and universities went ‘test optional' in their admissions policies.” 

With all of this in mind, what changes about the students’ experiences in college? After the pandemic is over, will students’ education be affected? 

All education, globally, is being affected by the pandemic, from preschool through college and graduate school,” Novitski said. “There are many adaptations that teachers and professors are having to make that will impact how they teach, even after the pandemic is over. However, I think all teachers, professors and students agree that solely online, without in-person connections, and on screens all the time, is a difficult prospect.” 

Morse said there may just be a silver lining to the pandemic.

 “I think more colleges and universities will consider adapting virtual learning options for quite some time,” she said. “In the long run, this may be helpful in allowing more students to enter the university, as well as possible decreases in university expenses.” 



Sixth Graders Rolling Along with Middle School Underway


By Lucas Lemons

Staff Writer


Like most students, sixth-graders are not thrilled with the hybrid learning model, but they’re still making the best of their first year of middle school. 

For me it has been very easy because my old school set our schedules and everything to be similar to how middle school would be,” said sixth-grader Camryn McWilliams. “Therefore, I feel very prepared.”

 The students who were interviewed said they are enjoying school, even with the COVID restrictions. This year, sixth-grade students are staying in cohorts throughout the school day. 

“I don’t really like being in the same group of kids everyday because without the groups I can make more friends,” sixth-grader Eliot Treme said. “The only thing I like about it is that I can build a stronger friendship with the kids in my group.” 

“I really like that us Sandia Prep students get to learn on campus because at my old school we were fully online and I didn’t like it as much,” said sixth-grader Chase Kendall.

Sixth-grade sponsor Lucy Kozikowski said she feels “great” with the way classes are going. “I am worried about trying to have 15 kids in the classroom, but I know we can do it if it’s appropriate with the number of cases we have in New Mexico.”

Kozikowski also discussed the number of kids in each of her English classes with the 25 percent capacity. 

“I have, at the most, 15 students in my class, and six different classes--with the Lions and Unicorns split at 25 percent,” she said. “I have eight students in class (in-person) at the most. It’s perfect to keep our distance. I feel safe.” 

Sixth-graders said they like being back on campus and hope to continue attending classes in person if the number of coronavirus cases improves. The sixth-graders who were interviewed said they like middle school better than elementary school because it is more independent and they like doing things on their own.


Boseman Remembered as Talented 

and Inspirational


By Destiny Archibald

Staff Writer


Chadwick Boseman, the popular actor who lost a four-year battle with colon cancer, portrayed characters in a way that inspired those who watched him.

“He was seen as a powerful Black public figure” said Alicia Padilla, who recently graduated from Cottonwood Classical Prep. 

Boseman was featured in seven movies after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, including “Black Panther” (2018), “21 Bridges” (2019), “Da 5 Bloods” (2020), as well as “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” which is set to be released this year. Boseman died Aug. 28 at age 43.

Black Panther was the first African American superhero in the Marvel Universe, which according to Cleveland High School junior Diego Sharp made Boseman’s role special.

“I would rather see a Black man as a superhero because it empowers me,” Sharp said. “It’s proof that there are others that look like me.”

Prep senior Matthew Leach said he was impressed with Boseman’s acting skills.

“He knows how to encapsulate characters,” Leach said, also mentioning how the movie (“Black Panther”) captured African and hip hop culture. Padilla agreed, noting that “Black Panther” continues to have an impact on others.

“After watching the movie, we were exposed to African culture that we have never seen before, which made us more informed and enlightened,” she said. “My little brother and sister saw the Black Panther as a role model.”

In addition to “Black Panther,” Boseman portrayed the character of Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film, “42.” 

“Jackie Robinson began to open up the sports world to Black people and culture,” Leach said. “He walked so we could run. And for Chadwick Boseman to play the part of Jackie Robinson brought the realism out for the movie, which shows how far we have come.”

Sharp expressed a similar thought. 

“‘42’ hit hard because I’m an African American who has to go through adversity to play sports,” he said.

In 1947, Robinson became the first African American to join a Major League Baseball team. His 10-year career helped lead the way for other Black athletes to play professional sports.

Leach said he was heartbroken when he learned of Boseman’s death.

“To lose role models shows you we are all the same,” he said “Chadwick Boseman and Kobe Bryant were mine. Those men showed the proper way to walk this earth and leave a powerful mark. He (Boseman) was taken too soon, as he was only doing great things. Only way to remember him is as a legend. Everyone lost a little bit of themselves with his death.”


COVID Takes Toll on Mental Health


By Tyanna Shipley

Staff Writer


For some teenagers, the COVID pandemic has led to social isolation that can be detrimental to their mental health.

Amber Hayes, the school’s psychologist and Director of Wellness, has noted that students may be suffering from a number of issues, from “increased levels of stress and losses of all kinds” to more severe problems such as depression and anxiety disorders. 

She also said problems that “students may have been struggling with before may be harder right now” and suggested that all people be “especially kind and as flexible as possible.” 

Senior Marisa Brito Leinart, an advocate for mental health support, said she understands that “social isolation is difficult both mentally and physically.” 

Because young people “are so used to being able to see their friends and families all the time,” withdrawing from that social interaction can be damaging, she said. “Many people have a hard time being at home with their families 24/7 for various reasons.”

Hayes said there are three ways that disaster-related distress for students can be described: first, there are those who are distressed at first but are mostly OK. These are the students who show great resilience. Second, there are students who are distressed for a while but gradually recover with support. Third, there are students who may have been OK but continue to be distressed and need mental health support. 

Hayes believes that the pandemic “will fundamentally change how we think about and do many things. It may change our priorities and our relationships.” She recommends that students take it “day by day and maintain hope.” 

Leinart said she believes the coronavirus’s impact on “people's mental health will last for the rest of our lives.” 

“These are the formative years of our lives, and they're being spent in very different ways than other generations,” she said

Leinart said it’s important to understand that everyone copes with things differently. Some people listen to music, while others like to cook or work out. Students should all cope in whatever way is healthy and works for them, she said. 

Both Hayes and Leinert recommended coping strategies that include establishing a regular routine, trying to be flexible, and being prepared for any unexpected changes. They also stressed the importance of staying healthy by eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. 

Going outside can even help lower anxiety and stress levels, they said. Stay connected with loved ones and friends. Practice relaxation, gratitude, and mindfulness. Engage in calming exercises like yoga, meditation, and journaling. Try limiting exposure to news and social media coverage. Be informed but don't get carried away, as it can increase stress levels. Ask how people are doing, and take time to listen to them, without judgment. 

Students can also make an appointment with Hayes or another mental health provider. Hayes is particularly concerned “about the impact of social isolation and loneliness, and loss of engagement in activities. School and learning are really different right now, so it may be harder to keep up with assignments, adjust to changes in instruction, and be motivated for virtual learning.”

“Most people are missing their friendships and favorite fun social activities and traditions, travel, and family,” she said.

Hayes wants everyone to stay open-minded about everyone around them. She said people who are having a bad day or feeling stressed or overwhelmed should call a friend, talk to siblings, and reach out. 

Hayes wants students to know they aren’t alone in any of this. She suggested taking time to check in with yourself about how you’re feeling. Students shouldn’t feel ashamed about their feelings, which might include sadness, loneliness, loss, fear,  anger or stress--or feeling nothing at all. These feelings may come and go and feel more intense at times. 




The Halloween Scares Continue


By Shy Shipley

Staff Writer


Halloween is a big holiday in New Mexico, and with COVID, it might feel like all the fun has left. Do not fear, though, as there are still some Halloween activities to look forward to--and they’re COVID safe, too.

Dragon’s House of Horror in Rio Rancho has changed up its haunting to something newer and better. 

“This year we are doing a drive-thru haunted house,” said Nichole Harwood, the spokeswoman for Dragon’s House of Horrors. “It’s COVID-19 safe, and we built a mile-long haunted house by the Civic Center in Rio Rancho.”

ABQ Live has partnered with House of Horror for the event. The haunted drive-through is open through Oct. 31, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Hardwood said before COVID, the event featured a haunted house, food vendors and musicians. Ticket prices are $40 per car.

 “You can have up to five people in a car, so that only makes the ticket price $8 each,” said Harwood, adding that the price is discounted from what was charged in the past. “It’s our way of making it a little easier on people to experience.”

People who attend the drive-thru have the option of leaving their windows up and not wearing a mask or rolling their windows down and keeping their masks on. This ensures that the actors don’t have to wear masks and everyone can stay safe and enjoy the haunt, Harwood said.

Harwood provided some ideas of what the House of Horror has in store.

 “We have a pirate section and there is this giant skull, and this giant skull is bigger than what a room would’ve been in our old haunt,” she said. One main attraction has also changed: “Bobo the butcher clown is always the main attraction in our haunt, and he’s been able to take advantage of the wider space to work with.” 

People who aren’t looking to go out during the spooky season can go the virtual route with Quarantine ABQ. 

Usually, Quarantine ABQ (what a time to be named “Quarantine”) does a huge, immersive theater show with horror elements, said Heather Yeo, one of the producers of Quarantine: Nightmare. Last year, the show took place in a 6,000 square foot warehouse where the audience would move around in close quarters with the actors. 

“To do a show like this during COVID is impossible and unsafe,” Yeo said. “So what we are doing instead is moving our show entirely digital.”

This year, QuarantineABQ will let people choose their own adventure experience that they can watch entirely from the comfort of home. “Quarantine: Nightmare” features the work of 10 writers from across New Mexico and the world. 

“We've been filming all the component pieces over the past month,” Yeo said. The show will debut at the end of October. 

 With a digital show, tickets can be lowered. “We anticipate being able to sell tickets to Quarantine Nightmare for $5 or less,” Yeo said.

As the team has been filming, safety is being taken very seriously. Usually, they have between four to six people in attendance, and all wear masks at all times (except the actors, who take off their masks to film their lines), Yeo added.

“At Quarantine, we've always tried to explore new ways of creating immersive horror experiences,” Yeo said. “With Nightmare, we're trying something new. This year, we're getting to highlight the work of the incredible writers and artists in our community, and in a time when we all are spending so much time apart, it feels really good to be able to build community in this way.”  

For people who enjoy going to pumpkin patches, this year’s options might be limited.

The Galloping Goat Pumpkin Patch in Rio Rancho, which features a corn pit, a petting zoo, and a maze, among many other activities, won’t open this year due to COVID. 

“We fully intend to do it again next year, but for this year we just can’t make it work,” said Max Wade, a co-owner of the Pumpkin Patch. “With the restrictions, we can’t do any hands-on activities, and basically all we can do is sell pumpkins, and that is not what we do.” 

Mulan Gives a Nod to Female Empowerment


By Kaitlyn Gabaldon

Staff Writer


Disney's new live-action movie “Mulan,” directed by Niki Caro, portrays a brave woman who defeats gender roles with female empowerment by riding off into war to discover herself. 

Starting out, the character of Hua Mulan is portrayed as a reckless and unsuitable girl. As Mulan grows up, her culture teaches her that she must bring honor to her family by being the perfect wife to a man. This role means she had to be invisible,which was hard for Mulan because she is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. She is taught that it is her job to look pretty and pour tea for a man, and if she isn't able to do that, then she would not be matched with a husband and disgrace would be brought upon her family. She doesn’t want to be “the perfect wife,” but because of how much she loves her family, she’s willing to give up her own happiness to be seen as honorable. 

Liu Yifei, who plays Hua Mulan, and TzI Ma, who plays Mulan's dad, both do an excellent job in displaying sadness through their characters after hearing that Mulan is unable to bring honor through marriage. 

After that, it's quickly brought up in the next scene that there's going to be a recruitment for men in the next war. Mulan's father, still suffering from major injuries from the last war, accepts his scroll, which entails that he will be fighting in this war. At this point, Mulan knows exactly how she wants to bring honor to her family, and Yifei shows deep concern towards her father in this incredibly emotional scene. 

Mulan then bravely decides to rise above society's gender roles and take her dad's place in the war. She goes off on a mission not only to save her father but to also prove to the world that a woman can do anything a man can do. Throughout her training for the war, she out-performs every single man there. Yifei does a fantastic job with maintaining a serious character while also still having a witty personality when interacting with the other soldiers. Mulan was able to discover herself through fighting and hard work. Hua Mulan worked ten times harder than any other man, and Yifei had outstanding fight scenes that set the tone of the war and showed the audience how much a woman is capable of. Because of Hua Mulan's hard work, she led her country to victory and discovered herself. 

 The movie features amazing actors who fill the shoes of their characters. Each demonstrates major emotions their characters are feeling in the moment, and it sets the tone of the movie perfectly. Yifei does an excellent job in proving the point to the audience that a woman can do anything. This movie teaches that if you're after self-discovery, you should take a leap of faith and never look back. 

Mulan is rated PG-13. If you are of age to view Disney Plus's new live action version of “Mulan,” I highly recommend doing so. Not only will the new Disney movie be released on Dec. 4 on all platforms, but Disney Plus also has new arrivals: “Frozen 2,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Pixar's Onward,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “Artemis Fowl” and the musical “Hamilton.” 

Sandia Prep Responds to Pandemic


By Brandon Baca 

Staff Writer


Sandia Prep has undertaken several measures aimed at keeping students safe during the pandemic, including smaller class sizes, screenings, and the option to learn virtually or in person.

 Lynn Jeffries, the school nurse, outlined the policies the school instituted to keep everyone safe. 

All students, faculty, and staff must complete a COVID screening before entering campus,” she said. “Everyone must wear masks and adhere to social distancing and hand hygiene protocols.” 

Head of School Bill Sinfield credited the teachers for taking on extra duties. Many teachers are carrying an extra class in order to keep the student numbers low. Additionally, they are spending the lunch periods with their advisees, and they’re sanitizing the classroom desks and other areas after the bell rings.

Teachers are putting in extra work,” Sinfield said, also noting the entire community’s amazing job.

“In all honesty I am so very proud of everybody in the community,” he said. “I’m proud of the kids because they’ve fallen into it, as tough as it's been.” 

While students are coping, many have felt increased stress because of heavy workloads and their adjustment to learning in a different environment. Freshman Everest Hanlon said he has some misgivings.

 “I support all the time and effort that is being put into the re-opening of the school but feel like I am not learning much this year,” he said. “The workload the teachers are giving feels excessive at times, which I can deal with, but most of the homework feels like busy work instead of work that pushes me to be a better student. Nonetheless, the school is trying their best in these hard times, and I 100 percent support that.” 

Freshman Avery Kestner shared her thoughts as well.

“I think things are going well,” she said. “I know it's hard to get used to, especially keeping distance with our friends. It's weird because growing up we didn't imagine this would happen.” 

Kestner said she missed social interactions and meeting new people.

“I can't wait until we can hug our friends again and the virus starts to fade out,” she said.  “We just have to wait.” 

Sinfield said he believes the pandemic experience will help build a better community.

You go through really hard times but come out of this stronger as a community,” he said. “The strength of the Sandia Prep community has come together and tackled the issue and came out stronger. I feel good about the future.” 

Protests Center on Racial Injustice


By Abby Hanosh

Staff Writer


Here in Albuquerque, thousands of people protested racial injustice after George Floyd, an African-American man, died last May after being pinned to the ground by a White police officer in Minneapolis. 

Sophomore Samía Dominguez attended some of the local protests, including a vigil for Floyd where people spoke about him and about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It was very empowering,” said Dominguez, who said she participated in the protests “to make sure everyone is still aware of this problem that we have within America.”

“We're sad and mad and just falling apart in some ways, but we were picking the pieces back up during that protest, and that rally ... was very empowering to hear some of those speakers,” she said.

 Sean Cardinalli, the founder of Truth to Power NM, was instrumental in organizing a protest for Floyd in May. Cardinalli created the organization in 2016, when life started to get more tense for people of color. 

“I wanted to have an outlet in this group, where we could have our voices heard in the Black community and the larger progressive community and work together to promote social justice,” he said in a telephone interview. 

Cardinalli said he’s hoping to build a team that can help organize communications, bridge-building activities, and a web series to help spread information about racial injustice. He also hopes to organize more protests and to direct social action. 

Cardinalli said he has worked with various groups and hopes to work with more in the future.

 “There are a lot of little groups, and we don't want to become siloed. We want to all share communication and information,” he said.

 The New Mexico Black Leadership Council, Cardinalli said, is working as an umbrella group to unite the various groups to become more organized and to spread more information to the younger generation. 

According to a CNN news report in September, over 93 percent of racial justice protests have been peaceful, yet the ones getting the most media coverage are violent and scary.

Cardinalli said most of the violent protests were not perpetrated by the actual protestors. 

“Those are the folks who are arming themselves like their militia with war grade weapons, and provoking and threatening otherwise peaceful protesters,” he said.

However, he said he does not condone the protestors who engaged in violent acts, although he does understand it. 

“It's the voice of the desperate,” he said. “It's like the last gasp of folks who have nothing left and they've protested, and they voted, and they've made their opinion known and the system shows them over and over again that they have no power,” he said. “They feel powerless.”  

Dominguez said the media unfairly portrays both the violence and the rioters’ actions, with the media depicting the “peaceful protestors as the rioters at times.”

She also said the rioters “take advantage of us, take advantage of these peaceful protesters because it's using that vulnerable moment, in a sense, to their own advantage, and they can go loot and steal whatever it may be.”

Cathy McGill, the founder of the New Mexico Black Leadership Council, said the way the media portrays the violence is rooted in the history of public relations, like during the “War on Drugs.”

“You can create a narrative that isn't the reality and then perpetuate it,” she said. “That really is kind of a propaganda public relations strategy that is very popular.”

Not all of the interactions at protests are negative. There have been significant actions during the protests, such as when police officers choose to kneel and march with the protestors. 

Cardinalli said these acts are incredibly important. 

“It reminds you what police are supposed to be,” he said. “They're supposed to be with the community. They work for us, not against us.” 

However, he recognizes that being a police officer is an incredibly difficult and important job. 

“Mistakes happen,” he said. “Policing is not easy. You are in life and death situations every day.” 

 But, Cardinalli does believe that the process of becoming a police officer needs to be changed. 

“The culture of policing and the education that these men and women get before they become police has to be improved and has to be transformed so that it's more community-led, so that they know the people that they are sharing neighborhoods with,” he said. “Police are subject and should be subject to the rules and laws by which we are all made to abide. And they should even be more scrutinized than average citizens, because they have lethal force to back up their actions.”  

While racial justice protests have had major influences across the world, counter-protestors have also been making some waves. 

The phrase “All Lives Matter” has been used with increased frequency by counter-protestors in response to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Cardinalli believes this phrase is defensive and a deflection from the argument that those who chant “Black Lives Matter” are trying to make. 

“When you say something like ‘All Lives Matter,’ you're immediately deflecting from and dismissing the argument that we're making and you are working within a historical mindset,” he said. 

He has an analogy he uses to explain this argument: “Say I say, the Brazilian rainforest matters. It's huge for our environment, it's important for our environment, and if we keep cutting it down, we're going to all suffer. And then someone comes up to me and was like, ‘Well, yeah, but what about the redwoods in California? And what about the aspens in Colorado?’ That argument detracts from exactly the attention I’m trying to place on the rainforest. My point is the rainforest is important and is worth attention that it's not getting. So for you to remind me that there are thousands of other forests on the planet, I know there are thousands of other forests. But this is the one that needs attention and I'm bringing attention to you right now. So for you to remind me there's other stuff. I'm like, ‘Well, if all the forest matters, then help me with this one. Help me with this one, and then we'll get to the next and then we'll get to the next.’” 

McGill said all lives do matter, but the BLM movement focuses on the issues facing Black Americans.

“But it doesn't exclude the value of the lives of other people, and the statements are not mutually exclusive,” she said. 

Dominguez believes that if people truly thought all lives matter, they would be including the African American and Latino communities. 

“They would be including every life on this planet,” she said.

The phrase “Blue Lives Matter” has also been used similarly to “All Lives Matter” by counter-protestors, referencing the men and women on the police force.

 “When someone says ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ to counter my Black Lives Matter statement, you are already telling me that you are biased towards a group that is already very well protected, and well respected,” Cardinalli said. 

Dominguez has another point of view. “That's not [an] existence. It's a job. It's a career,” she said. 

Protestors have noted that Black Americans cannot change their skin color, but as soon as police officers step out of their uniforms, they are free of their “blue lives” until they put them on again. 

One chant used by protestors in response to police brutality against Black Americans is “ACAB,” which stands for “all cops are bad.”

“We're not saying that all the people behind the uniform are bad, but the (organization) is,” Dominguez said about the chant. 

Cardinalli said he would no sooner chant “ACAB” than he would “all Black people are bad.”

 “I don't believe every single man and woman who becomes a police officer is inherently bad,” 

he said. “Just like I don't want them to believe that every Black person they interact with in a tense situation is bad and automatically deserves to be harmed or killed. They need to see us as human. They need to humanize us in the communities they're patrolling. And we need to remember to humanize them.”  

Not all acts of racism are violent ones. Dominguez, who is mixed race, said she and her family have been racially stereotyped throughout her life.

 “We’ve had people assume that (my brother and I) are adopted,” she said. “My brother and I still ... have different experiences and (have) experienced different things.” 

Dominguez talked about struggles her parents had fitting in while growing up. 

“In Albuquerque, (my mom) was too light for Latino kids to be considered a Latina,” she said.. “And on the other side of town, she was too dark or too, quote unquote, ‘ghetto’ or whatever it may be because she is Latina.”

 She also talked about a recent experience at her driver’s ed class in which her instructor mocked her long names, a part of her Hispanic culture.

“He was like, ‘Ah, see these names, your parents hate you. Your parents just hate you because when you look at these names.’ And two Caucasian girls in the class just laughed and laughed and laughed at me,” Dominguez said. 

She also mentioned another recent experience in her own neighborhood, when a woman she believed to be under the influence drove by and asked her if she cleaned houses. 

“I don't know if that inclined her to think that stereotypically, of course, I cleaned houses as a Latino because she might've assumed that I was Latina or African American,” Dominguez said.  “That was one of my first times being 100 percent racially profiled.” 

The effect of assumptions can be damaging, she said. 

“Assumptions can be a tool sometimes, but other times can be a very harmful thing,” Dominguez said.


COVID Curtails High School Games, Practices


By Chris Kill

and Austin Epstein

Staff Writers


While high school athletes are bummed that their seasons have changed so dramatically at the hands of COVID, they’re still hopeful they will be able to compete at a high level.

When asked how games and practices will look this season, Prep Athletic Director Willie Owens said, “We don’t know as of right now. During practice each student and coach must wear a mask and all equipment must be sanitized after use.”

The governor recently tightened restrictions on high school sports, mandating that pod sizes be reduced from nine to five. She also limited practice times for teams that are not in season from five hours a week to three.

Owens said he and other athletic directors have been preparing for an unusual season.

 “The rest of the athletic directors in the state, and myself, have had to change our entire schedules for every single sport,” he said.

 He believes one of the biggest challenges will be “getting the kids from point a to point b with all of the social distancing restrictions that we face.” Owens said one positive addition is “a camera system called Pixelot, which allows people to video stream the games from home.” That way, parents and others who want to watch a game can stream the events from the safety of our homes.

“Kids need sports, there's no question about it,” Owens said.

 Boys’ varsity soccer captain Eric Presura, a senior, said he would feel disappointed if the soccer season got cancelled.

 “I would be really sad because I really love school soccer and it would suck not having one last season with the team,” he said.

 Varsity track athlete and senior Sarah Stuecker, who had her first season cut short due to COVID, expressed a similar sentiment.

 “I was super upset, especially because I never got to compete in a meet,” said Stuecker, who has been running cross country as part of her training for the upcoming track season. 

With so much uncertainty surrounding the season, Owens said “everything we do currently in athletics revolves around what the governor and the Department of Health decide.”

For players, sports are looking completely different from previous seasons. 

Boys’ basketball captain and senior Cooper McWilliams gave his thoughts on what he believes the season will look like.

“We will probably end up having a shorter season without fans, but I don’t think it will be cancelled,” McWilliams said.

 Presura said he felt differently about the soccer season.

“If the world does not go back to normal soon, I don’t see how we will be able to play,” he said.

 Another big question is what fan attendance will look like. 

Volleyball captain and senior Kirschtin Kinberger talked about the possibility of playing with no fans.

“I just think fans were too stressful at times, and just focusing on the game and the team will be easier,” she said.

Presura took a different approach, noting that “having no fans would suck because they definitely create a fun atmosphere.” 

Preparation for the season has looked peculiar this offseason because of how little student athletes and their coaches can do as a full team. 

“It has been tough because we as a team haven’t been able to work out together, but I’ve been playing at the park and lifting a lot,” McWilliams said.

Kinberger said that, “preseason practices are starting and a couple girls have been practicing over the summer.” 

If her volleyball season gets cancelled,  Kinberger said she would be highly disappointed.

 “I would be pretty upset because it’s my senior year and I love all the girls on the team,” she said.



Coffee Shop Conundrum 


By Sam Henderson

and Gus Walker

Staff Writers


Out with the old in with the new? With the national chain finally making its appearance in Albuquerque, flocks of people have been waiting in long lines to get a taste of Dutch Bros. Coffee. In the past, Starbucks has been the king of the coffee shops, but with Dutch Bros. trending, which is superior? 

Here, news editors Sam Henderson and Gus Walker bring you their takes on all things coffee.


Gus’s Take

Dutch Bros. is simply built differently in every way. From the coffee to the colorful Dutch Frosts, every aspect of Dutch Bros. is exceptional. 

Yeah, I know the lines are miles long, but it’s worth it to get a picture for Instagram holding your Dutch Bros. beverage. Hot take: Starbucks is overrated. Current Starbucks is like Micheal Jordan on the Wizards. It isn’t the same, right? Starbucks has long overstayed its welcome, and a new star is ready to make the big bucks. 

Dutch Bros. has many flavors to choose from and can create any beverage your heart desires. The hundreds of flavors, the rainbow of colors, and the great prices make Dutch Bros. superior. With Dutch Bros. being the new trend in ABQ, Starbucks, the play is on you. 


Sam’s Take 

Dutch Bros.? It's alright. Overrated, in my opinion. Starbucks is still at the top of the coffee food chain even with Dutch Bros. thrown into the mix of top places to stop for coffee on the way to school. 

Starbucks has everything you could ask for with their drinks, and it offers countless delicious snacks to pair alongside them. From their famous breakfast sandwiches to their lemon pound cake, if you need a treat to get you going early in the morning, Starbucks is the place to go. 

Contrary to Starbucks, Dutch Bros.’ basic menu consists of an assortment of drinks, and that’s about it. They sucker you in with the hype and leave you disappointed with their drinks that taste like 10 cups of sugar mixed with spoiled milk.



Seniors to Vote on Graduation Attire

By Santiago Cooper

Staff Writer


The Class of 2021 will vote on whether to wear caps and gowns or formal attire to their graduation ceremony next May.

After decades of girls attending commencement in white dresses and boys in tuxes or dark suits, last year’s graduates opted to switch to caps and gowns. While COVID brought a drive-thru ceremony, the graduates wore their black gowns as they drove up to accept their diplomas.

Head of School Bill Sinfield said last year’s Senior Senate expressed concern with the white dress/dark suit attire, stating “the suit and dress tradition perpetuated a sexist mindset.” Sinfield noted that caps and gowns will “bring a more academic, scholastic tone to the ceremony.” 

Joseph Romero, who graduated last year, said caps and gowns “changed the graduation experience because it made it feel like a real graduation.” 

This year, many students want to have the choice for their graduation attire. Senior Senate President Evan Clark said he likes the idea of caps and gowns but still feels it’s important that “we get to choose what to wear to our own graduation.” 

Junior Ava Lensi said she also likes the option to choose.

“We should get to pick as a class because it gives us the ability to express ourselves and have what we want,” she said.

Professional Sports Struggles Amid COVID


By Gus Walker 

and Sam Henderson

Staff Writers


Professional sports have struggled throughout the pandemic, with each league taking its own route in an effort to keep players safe--and some doing better than others.  

When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, professional leagues such as the NBA, MLB and NHL postponed their seasons and created a new structure for players and staff. Struggling for months to find a solution, American sports returned in July, providing the much needed entertainment for fans across the country.

“The late spring was a tough time for sports fans,” said Prep English teacher Brian Tregembo, an avid sports fan. “For a while there it was like the Korean baseball league, the Turkish soccer league, and cornhole. Everything else consisted of ‘classic’ games, which got old pretty quickly. But once sports started coming back, I was into the Premier League, the MLS-is-Back Tournament, and the NBA. And, of course, I've been following New Mexico United as closely as possible.” 

Once sports resumed, concerns about the virus began to rise. Some fans did not expect the season to start so early. 

I thought the seasons would have been postponed until a vaccine, or canceled,” said

Prep athlete Mac Manzanarez, a junior.

Almost every league came up with a controlled environment to limit the chance of COVID-19 contraction. The NBA created a “bubble” that required players and staff to stay together at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. 

Freshman basketball player Emily Cook thinks the players should be playing their best in that situation.

 “If I were in the ‘bubble,’ I think I would be a lot more focused and my game would be a lot better,” she said. “I would pretty much only be thinking about basketball and practicing constantly.”

Players stayed in their own hotel rooms and had plenty of activities to keep them busy when they weren’t on the court.

“The creation of the ‘bubble’ was brilliant and the closest thing to a controlled environment,” said Prep math teacher and Los Angeles sports fan Patrick Kelly “There were enormous risks as well as enormous costs, but the NBA has done an outstanding job. Even without fans, the games have been as exciting as ever, particularly the playoffs.”

The MLB took a different approach to restarting their games. They modified their schedules, competing only against teams in their region, and played 60 games. They decided to increase the roster size in the event of someone contracting the virus. 

“Baseball had a shaky start but recovered quite well,” Tregembo said. 


Andrew Eats

‘Andrew Eats’

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice


By Andrew Shoaff

Staff Writer


As the leaves turn orange and yellow and the temperature drops, seasonally themed snacks and drinks come back once again, with pumpkin spice the iconic flavor of the fall season. 

From realistic items like pumpkin spice lattes and muffins to unrealistic events like pumpkin spice oil changes, many businesses have adapted to the popular trend.

  For this segment of “Andrew Eats,” I drove around Albuquerque and tried pumpkin spice foods and drinks. Now, I’m here to tell you whether you should try or deny.

My first stop was Starbucks, which has quite a few things pumpkin spice: a pumpkin spice muffin, pumpkin spice cold drinks and pumpkin spice hot drinks. I chose to go with the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte because even though it’s fall, I prefer cold drinks. 

The aroma can’t be defined as anything but pumpkin pie. The drink came with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin-spiced powder. When I first tried it, it was full of cinnamon and pumpkin notes, hence the name “pumpkin spice,” but it carried a strong coffee flavor as well. Overall, the drink was good. I think you should definitely try it--or the hot version if you just want an intro into this wild craze.

The next item I tried was pumpkin spice bread from Trader Joe’s. You can use this product in many ways, but instead of eating it plain or making it into toast, I decided on something different. I made this bread into pumpkin spice french toast. With the combination of the cinnamon already in the french toast batter and the pumpkin spiced bread, it was a no brainer. And let me tell you, it was good, but it was hard to taste the pumpkin spice. To compare, I tried a regular piece with nothing on it and came to the conclusion that it just did not have a lot of pumpkin spice flavor. If you can, you should definitely pick up a loaf or two, but if you’re a die-hard pumpkin spice fan, it’s probably not the thing for you.



Pandemic Takes Bite Out of Senior Year


By Andres Gonzales

Staff Writer


      COVID has impacted many campus activities, including traditions marking the seniors’ last year of high school.

For the first time, two senior traditions were held on the same day. On Oct. 2, the class of 2021 participated in a socially-distanced Senior Sunrise, and then painted their handprints on the Senior Wall.  

Senior Lauren Sandoval, who is co-vice president of the Senior Senate, said planning traditional activities has been difficult.

“We are trying to keep normal senior traditions, but we have to make sure we keep everyone safe,” she said. “So, as far as Senior Sunrise and handprints go, it was relatively normal. We just had to follow social distancing protocols and wear masks. That’s how I imagine most things happening for a while.”

Traditionally, seniors had the advantage of being on campus and staying connected to teachers and friends in person. However, with guidelines in place keeping class sizes to a minimum, returning to campus has looked different and has changed the way students socialize and meet with teachers.   

Senior Christine Hermina said she misses the school atmosphere--especially “being able to see my friends and building connections with teachers in person, because online is really hard to connect with them if you have never been taught by them.”  

As far as her social life, she said, “I still see people sometimes, but from a distance like at a park or something.”  

Sandoval said she attended classes as often as she could, noting that many seniors opt to learn virtually because it’s “weird and sad.”

“It’s hard to go to school like this,” she said. “Yes, it’s great that we have the chance to go to school, but it’s difficult to see our school like this. Some people also aren’t going because none of their friends are going, and some have family with health issues, too.” 

Senior Lilli Grant, who was also doing hybrid learning, said she gets the same amount of work done in person as she does at home, but that “going in person is more draining.” 

 As far as socializing, Grant said she talks “to four people regularly through text and that is it.” 

Sandoval said she mainly socializes online in order to stay safe.

“Occasionally seniors do get together outside of school,” she said. “I personally mostly interact online, but occasionally I get together with my close friends outside. Of course, we are socially distanced and are wearing masks.”

To stay competitive in their activities, some seniors are participating in events out of town. Senior Isaac Horstman said he “had to quarantine for the past few weeks because I went out of town, but when I’m on campus it’s actually kind of fun.”  

Senior Senate President Evan Clark said he’s proud of the way his grade is handling the pandemic.

“Our senior year is a pretty interesting one due to this pandemic, but our class is the toughest at Prep, and we’ll come out of this stronger and closer together than we’ve ever been  because that’s just how great the seniors are,” Clark said. “Though this year isn’t going as planned, I know that every single senior is so appreciative of all the efforts the Prep staff has made trying to make this year special for us.”