Category Archives: Community News

From Walkout to Lockdown: Rockwell Students say ‘Enough is Enough’

by Kaya Garza

Students at Rockwell Charter High School participated in a nationwide protest against gun violence Wednesday by walking out of their classrooms at exactly 10:00 am. More than 65 Rockwell students participated in the peaceful protest that lasted 17 minutes.

IMG_4992“When the walkout happened, quite a few students went to the back parking lot,” said Rockwell sophomore, Katie Hull. “During the 17 minutes, we paid respect to the victims. A couple students read the names of every victim in the Parkland shooting. It was really powerful.”

The walkout lasted for 17 minutes to honor those 17 students who lost their lives in the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Rockwell students exercised their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the right to form assembly as they chanted things like “enough is enough” and “17 minutes for 17 lives” while marching from the back of the school to the front. Some students also marched with signs that said things like “enough” and “17 minutes.”

But not all students felt walking out was the correct approach. Some felt the alternative “Walk Up, Not Out” movement would be more effective.

“I felt like the walkout wasn’t the right way to go about it,” said Rockwell student Mikayla Tanner. “Walk Up is approaching new people and showing them they have someone there. When you’re talking to new people they feel valued. None of those shooters felt cared about. It wouldn’t just help end gun violence, but suicide and self harm as well. But I wasn’t against it, I still support everyone who decided to walk out. Just for me personally, it wasn’t the best approach.”

Approximately 30 minutes later, after students had already gone back to their classes, Rockwell counselor Misty Madsen received a call from police about a man who showed up to the Maverik near Rockwell with a rifle strapped to his chest.

“I was just chilling and teaching when there was an announcement about a lockdown,” said Rockwell teacher Jacob Hampton. “I was already having a discussion about the walkout with my students when the announcement happened, and I also got a text that went out to all the staff. I instructed my students to go to a corner as I turned off the lights and removed the door magnet.”

The lockdown was called off about 20 minutes later when the man left Maverik property.

“The man mentioned that he heard Rockwell was participating in the walkout and he wanted to spread some kind of message about his rights as an American,” said a Maverick employee. “He wasn’t doing anything illegal, as Utah is an open-carry state.”IMG_5002

This man intended to “educate” Rockwell students who participated in the walkout about the Second Amendment, but police confirmed there was no immediate threat to the safety of students and staff at Rockwell.

“Sadly, too many people misunderstood the aims of the walkout – students and adults, alike,” said Rockwell’s Principal Darren Beck. “That was a horrible way to teach people, by scaring them.”

This lockdown taught Rockwell some important lessons about how to stay calm should a similar situation ever arise again.

“I think that we, as teachers, staff, and students, learned that we need to be more prepared if something like this were to happen again,” said Rockwell student Megan Nelson. “We should have more drills. These kinds of things could last for hours and people were freaking out after a few minutes. It really put things into perspective.”

Death of Vista Heights teacher shakes Rockwell community

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Dylan Thornton was killed in a car crash Tuesday. He taught at Vista Heights Middle School.

A much-loved husband, father, and teacher died on his way to school September 12.

Dylan Thornton, a teacher at Vista Heights Middle School, was part of a multi-car collision that ended tragically. Thornton was on his way to work at the time of the crash.

Thornton’s funeral was held Monday, where more than 3,000 students, teachers, faculty, family, and friends gathered to celebrate his life.

Thornton has been an influence to the Saratoga Springs community, and an influence in the lives of students at Rockwell.

Students who have previously attended Vista Heights Middle School were most likely to be a student of Mr. Thornton and could see not only his passion for teaching, but his passion for “Star Wars” as well. To honor Mr. Thornton, students dressed up in Star Wars t-shirts on September 13.

Many Rockwell students loved Thornton and were devastated to hear the news of his passing.

 “He always put everyone else before himself,” said Rockwell junior Kaylee Birnbaum. “He was an awesome teacher.”

Thornton cared about each and every one of his students.

“He was the nicest, most genuine guy,” said Rockwell senior CJ Jacobson. “He was by far the best teacher as Vista Heights Middle School.”

Prom: A Black Tie Event

by Baylee Percell

Prom 2017 is just around the corner!

Prom is going to be held on Saturday, April 15, at Garden Near The Green. This year’s theme is Black Tie (meaning a formal evening).

The majority of Rockwell students are beyond excited for the upcoming  prom

“I can’t believe it’s already Prom,” said Rockwell sophomore Malia Sellers. “I’m excited to see how the theme goes. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Students look forward to dates, but also look forward to spending time with their friends in an atmosphere other than the day-to-day school interactions.

“I’m excited to spend time with my friends,” said Rockwell junior Alexa Camargo.

Student government had a hard time picking the theme of prom this year; it was left up to 11th grade student government members to pick the perfect theme.

“We’ve been ordering decorations, backdrops, and swag for prom court,” said 11th grade Student Government Advisor, Mrs. Petersen. “There are also a few surprises for everyone attending.”

Student government put a lot of time and effort into this Prom. It’s bound to be a great time had by all. Between day dates, dinners, and the culminating event being the Prom itself, there will be something for everyone.

“A group of us are going to Boondocks and Cheesecake Factory for a day date,” said Rockwell sophomore Destiney Johnson. “It’s going to be a great time.”

Runner pulled over for reward

by Camden Lower

Cross Country is something Casey Clinger does every morning while taking familiar routes around his American Fork home, but Wednesday started a little different when he was pulled over by a local police officer and filmed by an ESPN camera crew.

The officer told Clinger to step out of the vehicle while they search the trunk. Undoubtedly panicked, Clinger stepped out of the car, wondering what he did wrong. The officer removed a trophy from a bag, awarding Clinger with the Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year Award.

“It’s definitely been a special year,” said Clinger after recently committing to run for BYU in the fall while keeping a 4.0 GPA.

Clinger is honored to receive such a prestigious award.

“Just knowing all the people who’ve gotten it before me, they’re all studs,” Clinger said on the video honoring him. “And it’s just an honor.”

Clinger won the Nike Cross Nationals Race at just 15 minutes and 28.4 seconds. American Fork has built an outstanding cross country organization and Casey is a great example to prove it.

Salt Lake Comic Con: FanX

by Brooklynn Allen

Salt Lake Comic Con: FanX is coming up fast. On March 17 and 18, FanX is hosting an abundance of well-known celebrities such as James Roday and Dule Hill from Psych, Bonnie Wright from Harry Potter, and Stan Lee (which will be his last con)!

Tickets:

Friday Pass: $25

Saturday Pass: $35

Multipass: $45

Gold Pass: $75  * includes one pre-paid autograph (up to $50)

VIP Pass: $175 *includes two pre-paid autographs (up to $100) 

Aside from the celebrity guests, Comic Con has a lot to offer. From the many vendors, artists, set memorabilia, and, of course, comics, there is something for everyone. In addition to the vendors and comics, there are many events and panels you can experience, like a cosplay contest and a private screening of the new Disney re-make film Beauty and the Beast. 

Rockwells helping hands to a 12-year-old boy who barely survived

 

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By Baylee Percell

Brandy K. Jaynes was arrested on January 9th 2017, after she put one of her three sons through tremendous abuse in Southern Utah.

On sunday January 8th, 2017  the father of the boy found him in a filthy bathroom, weighing only 30 pounds, extremely malnourished the father rushed him to the hospital. He has been said to be locked up  in the bathroom for at least a year if not more but should be able to recover from this horrific event in the next three weeks; One of the worst cases of child abuse.

“I was listening to the radio when I heard he was getting letters from around the world”,  said Mrs Starr’s “I thought it’d be a good service for our students.”

Rockwell students soon stepped in; having mentoring classes draw pictures or write him letters that were appropriate for the situation, Mrs. Christensen was also generous enough to donate some clothes.

“I think that sending letters was extremely beneficial to not only the boy but to me and other students too”, said Rockwell student Malia Seller “it made me feel like I made a difference.”

Change Wars fun had by all

by Dylan Beck

Wednesday’s annual Rockwell Change Wars Assembly was one many students won’t soon forget. We raised a total of $700, which helped 3 Rockwell families with their Christmas.  

For $1000 dollars, Mr. Beck sat in a garbage can filled with ice cold water for 10 minutes. Mrs. Christensen was taped to the wall for $900 and a cast was made from the tape.

For $100 dollars Holt is switching with a student, a student will teach her class and she will be taught by another.

For $200 Shayna and Maddie had a competition to see who could fit the most marshmallows in their mouths. Chubby Bunny was the name of the game.

For $300 Ben and Dylan did Millerberg’s makeup for the day (although it ended up looking more like a painting).

For $400 Shawna and Ranell made a tasty dessert by using each other.

For $500 Mr. Hofmann had water balloons thrown at him by randomly picked students.

For $600 the lunch ladies got their faces smashed with pie.

For $700 Seth shaved off his long beard completely, you might not recognize Seth anymore.

For $800 Mr. Pryor cooked and ate crickets.  

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