Author Archives: kayleebirnbaum

10 Years: 10 Changes at Rockwell

by Kaylee Birnbaum

Rockwell turned 10 this year. Here are 10 changes to Rockwell in the 10 years it’s been open.

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Original plans for Rockwell when it opened in 2008.

1. Appearance. A big and probably most obvious change to Rockwell is its appearance. The brick in the commons didn’t used to be painted blue, it used to be plain brown brick. There’s been a few changes to the gym as well. The wood floor used to be a darker wood and the words “posse” and “outlaws” above the bleachers weren’t there. The most recent change to Rockwell’s appearance are the images and quotes on the ceilings in the hallway.

2. Uniforms. Boys and girls both were required to wear khaki pants and any color button up polo of their choice. The dress code was actually picked by the students themselves nine years ago. Mr. Beck did it this way so that if the students were to complain about uniforms, it would fall back on them. The idea behind uniforms is that we are a Charter school and we had a certain image to keep.

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Four of Rockwell’s teachers who have been here since it’s opening in 2008: Mr. Hull, Candice, Ms. Holt, and Mr. Young.

“I didn’t really like the whole uniform thing,” said Andy Young, a current teacher at Rockwell who has been teaching at Rockwell since its opening. “I don’t believe a uniform makes you smarter.”

 

The uniforms only lasted for, roughly, the first two years of opening.

3. Sports. Rockwell’s sports weren’t always a part of the UHSAA (Utah High School Activities Association). In its first year, Rockwell sports were not part of this association. In its second year, though, the drill team was the first to compete in the UHSAA. Rockwell won the state basketball title that year.

4. Clubs. Rockwell used to have some really unique clubs. There was a D&D club, a chess club, a snowboarding club, and even golf.

“We have really become a more unified school,” said Rockwell teacher Amy Holt, who has been teaching at Rockwell since its opening. “I think that’s because of all the sports, clubs, and programs we have had through the years.”

5. Cheerleaders. Even though Rockwell has never had a football team, we did have cheerleaders at one point. They cheered for the boys and girls basketball teams and also at the volleyball games. It was a fun way to bring school spirit and energy to our sports games. Due to drama with the girls, Rockwell decided to discontinue the cheer team.

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Rockwell Girls Varsity Basketball team 2013-2014.

6. Enrollment. There were more students enrolled here at Rockwell the first year of opening than ever before. There were roughly 600-630 students the first year with up to 30 students in some classrooms. The average amount of students is 530; we currently have 503 enrolled. Once Westlake opened in 2009, we lost about 200 kids.

7. Cafeteria. The cafeteria used to be called “the outpost.” People claim it was more like a store rather than a cafeteria. They had food and snacks that you could buy and the food was catered for a little while.

8. Teachers. Just like any other school, we’ve gained some and lost some. We’ve had a lot of teachers come and go in the last 10 years.

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Mr. Young in Rockwell’s early years.

“Charter schools are difficult,” said Holt, “especially if you are a first year teacher.”

Mr. Beck has done a great job in unifying our school.

“I think the main thing is teaching, and Rockwell can be more challenging than most,” he said. “I give teachers a hard time because I feel that they need to have all their crap together.”

9. Student Involvement. Students are getting more involved. That’s an important part in becoming a school is to be involved and aware of all that’s going on around. Being involved is also a good way to be able to be social.

10. Change. The last and biggest and change of Rockwell is that it will always be changing. There are things that can always be improved in ours and every other school. It’s about figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

“Every year seems to bring new challenges with incoming generations,” said Candice, one of Rockwell’s administrators. “We’re excited to see what the future has in store.”

Changes at our school have been positive thanks to the administration, faculty, and all the students who have gone here. Happy 10th birthday Rockwell.

Students seek positive feedback via Sarahah app

by Kaylee Birnbaum

There are close to 95 million registered users on Sarahah – an app where people can leave messages to others without a name attached. It’s completely anonymous. There have been a lot of reactions to this app, and most are negative. People are claiming they are being bullied and harassed as others leave anonymous comments about them.

“I feel like a lot of people use Sarahah when they’re sad and are looking for positive feedback,” said Rockwell senior Megan Nelson. “Even though a lot of the things that are said end up making them feel worse.”

If you’re giving people an opportunity to leave anonymous comments, they are probably going to take advantage of that. People have a lot more courage hidden behind the comfort of their screens. It allows users to say mean or vulgar things without getting the bite back for it.

“If you don’t want to be bullied, don’t download an app and post the link to it on your Snapchat where everyone has access to it,” said Rockwell sophomore Jada VonWald. “You are bound to get hate whether a person actually means it or not. It’s an app that allows you to comment anonymously, so it’s inevitable to get hate.”

The people who are making these Sarahah profiles have to understand that not everyone is going to react positively to this. People are going to be hurtful and rude simply because they can be. It’s too easy for them. If you post on Instagram or Facebook to get people’s honest opinion of you, the majority of the comments will probably be kind since their identities are attached to it. The fact that Sarahah allows you to anonymously comment is where the issue lies.

“Nobody actually wants honest opinions of themselves,” said Rockwell junior Tyler Hadlock. “They don’t want the truth, they just want ego boosts.”

Teachers of Rockwell: Faculty Shares their Best and Worst Dates

by Kaylee Birnbaum | Dates can be super fun, but some can be a total waste of time; you never know quite what to expect. We interviewed teachers at Rockwell to hear about some of the best and worst dates they’ve ever had.

“I was casually dating this girl. I picked her up in my freshly painted VW Squareback on our way to Raging Waters. After about 15 minutes, she slipped off her sandals and put her foot right on my newly painted pinstripes. I asked her ‘Will you take your feet off my dash?’ She rolled her eyes and took her feet down. A few minutes later, she put them back up again and started wiggling her toes trying to prove a point. I pulled over my car and told her to get out. I had a great time at Raging Waters by myself, though.” – Andrew Young

“My first and only date was going to a drive in movie on a TWO seat red tractor. After that, I was the ‘nerd of the school.’ Everybody had trucks and cars and I had a tractor.” – Sterling Parker

“My best date was the first date I had with my wife. Part of it was at the beach near San Francisco. As we were walking in the ocean, the current got ahold of her and took her completely under. I reached down in the water, grabbed her shirt as hard as I could and lifted her out. So I saved her life on the first date making me look really good!” – Brian Hull

“One of my favorite dates was playing Finger Paint Pictionary! Painting Chuck Norris was a challenge, but he figured it out. I also went on a date from a dating app and we went out to eat. At one point he stopped in the middle of his sentence, paused and said ‘Sorry, I just got lost in your eyes.’” – SarahKay Larsen

“On the first date with my second fiancee, we ordered a pizza, headed up the canyon, roasted marshmallows, and just talked. Talked for HOURS. We got attacked by a wild raccoon (true story, he stole most of our candy), lit a page on fire from ‘Wreck This Journal,’ and kissed in the rain. It was simple and sweet.” – Marshall Madsen

“I went on a date in college to a concert. My date asked if I could drive and not thinking much of it I said yes. Once we got to the concert, I realized that he had only bought his ticket and I had to buy my own. During the show, he had left and said he was going to go the bathroom but really went to get high with some of his friends he had met up with. He insisted on driving my car home and totaled it. When the police came, he pointed to me that I was the one driving. Best worst date ever.” – Heidi Grey

Teachers of Rockwell: Jacob Hampton

by Kaylee Birnbaum | Marshal Magazine |

Jacob Hampton is a new teacher at Rockwell this year. He teaches English 11 and Intro to Film. Students have gotten to know and love the way he contributes to our school.

“I love when my students and I can joke together,” Hampton said. “Telling people what to do all day is taxing, so it’s nice when we can all forget about that dynamic for a minute and just laugh together.”

Hampton attended UVU, got a black belt in karate when he was 12, and secretly wishes he had mind reading powers. He has a passion for film and has written for UVU’s newspaper, worked as a film critic for a website called Rogue Auteurs, and even had his own band in high school called Juice Box. They won Orem High School’s Battle of the Bands in 2011 and continued to advance to the state level of competition. Music and movies have always been a big part of Hampton’s life.

Becoming a teacher is something in which Hampton finds great fulfillment.

“I wanted to become a teacher because I love being able to share things I’m passionate about with others in ways that help them learn,” Hampton said.

Hampton works hard in what he does and always has the students’ interests in mind. Helping students is what he loves to do.

To those wanting to become a teacher, Hampton says to have a thick skin.

“Don’t worry,” Hampton said. “Not all the kids who act like they hate you actually do.”

Rockwell is glad to have Hampton as a member of the team.

3 Tips for Conquering Senioritis

by Kaylee Birnbaum | Marshal Magazine |

1)  Keep yourself healthy – Health is the key here. When you’re healthy, you’re feeling better, and when you’re feeling better, you will be more focused. Make sure you are going to bed at a decent hour and eating nice healthy meals throughout the day. When you wake up after a good night’s rest, you will feel fresh and ready to tackle another day.

2) Get involved – You’re not going to be in high school for much longer, so you might as well make the most of it now. Join clubs or teams that you are interested in and enjoy. “Being on the baseball team has kept me motivated to do my schoolwork,” said Keegan Beck, Rockwell Senior. It’s very easy to overlook these things, but it’s important to keep in mind that you may never have opportunities like this again.

3) Don’t work hard, work really hard – This is your last chance to prove to colleges that you are motivated and determined. You have gone to school almost all of your life, don’t give up now when you’re already at the end. One more year compared to 12 is a piece of cake. “You have to keep the end goal in mind when focusing on your future,” said Mya Salinas from Rockwell Charter High School. “My supportive teachers have really helped me a lot.”

Teachers of Rockwell: Stephanie Christensen

Rockwell Charter High School’s very own special education teacher, Stephanie Christensen, has made a huge impact on the special needs program.

She works very hard in what she does to accommodate all of her students and their individual needs.

“Challenges do arise, just as they would with regular education students,” Christensen said.

Special Education teaching is something she has always been interested in.

“My brother is special needs, and because of that I knew that I wanted to become a teacher,” Christensen said. “Special needs children and adults are often misunderstood.”

Christensen says that since becoming a teacher, she has learned a lot.

“I have lots of compassion for people who struggle and the desire to help them.”

Rockwell is lucky to have a teacher like Christensen.