Category Archives: School News

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.

We’ve Got Spirit…How ‘Bout You?

by Sidney Bernabeu

Rockwell may be a small school but their school spirit makes the school seem a lot bigger.

Rockwell’s students are enthusiastic about cheering on their school. They cheer on their peers whenever the chance to arises. Students aren’t afraid to show some school pride; they cheer on the school’s teams as much as they can. Student government organizes activities and assemblies for students so they can show school spirit by getting involved and have some fun while doing it.

Rockwell encourages its students and community to get involved in service, each year the school does a “change wars” fundraiser to raise money to bring holiday cheer to Rockwell families. Rockwell’s students always come out to support their school it doesn’t matter when it is, students always come.

“I love Rockwell,” said senior Aubri Bailey. “I love how small it is. I love the teachers and I love how everyone knows each other. I also love playing volleyball and softball here. Honestly, I’m not ready to leave high school. High school is my safe place. I’m graduating, and I’m excited, but I’m scared at the same time.”

Rockwell students love to support the school at various events.

“I think Rockwell has a lot of school spirit. We come together at basketball games and make sure we support the teams. But I feel like we need to support the school as a whole – not just the athletic events. School spirit isn’t just about cheering on the athletic teams – it’s about cheering on the school.”

– Katherine Pinheiro, junior

Whether students have been here since 7th grade, or have transferred in mid-year, they love what they find here at Rockwell.

“I came from Orem High mid-year, and I love that the teachers are a lot more accessible here,” said junior Peyton McCann-Ashton. “Having moved in the middle of the term and being socially anxious, it is difficult for me to start a conversation to make friends, but here, I didn’t have to. Everyone is friendly and that makes it easier to talk and have fun with others.”

Sterling Parker: The Voice of Rockwell

by Alyssa Smith

Since the age of three, basketball has been of interest to Coach Parker.

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“My mother enjoyed sports and bought me a little hoop that hung on the kitchen door,” he said. “I would put my underwear on backwards and shoot all day.”

Parker grew up on a mink ranch on Dimple Dell Road and had chores as early as five years old.

“My folks taught me how to work early in life,” he says. “I am still working and I am 70 years old.”

This work ethic has carried Parker through difficult times in his life.

 

Parker has been going to high school basketball games since he was a young boy, and sports have always been a big part of his life.

Parker currently enjoys coaching the Rockwell boys’ basketball team. He feels fortunate to know the players and their background stories.

“Teaching them to be successful in life is very important to me,” he said. “I try to help them see that failure is not an option.”

 

Parker has been teaching and coaching at Rockwell for 6 years. He started announcing games as the voice of Rockwell before he began coaching the sophomore boys team four years ago. He looks out for students and is a friend to all.

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“I want each student to know they are loved and that everyone has self worth,” he said. “We are all someone.”

Parker also enjoys having friendships with the staff and working with people he cares about.

“Working at Rockwell is an amazing experience,” Parker said. “I get the choice blessing of working with my daughter, Candice, every day.”

Rockwell faculty members appreciate Parker and his dedication to the students, the basketball team, and the school.

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.”

Athletes of Rockwell: Senior Night

by Alyssa Smith

The girls basketball team celebrated the seniors last week as they played APA Draper at home.

“Seniors: this is your last home game,” said Coach Troy Gifford. “So play your hearts out.”

This year’s team consisted of four seniors – Destiny Dipo, Megan Nelson, Kylee Berry, and Livia Chatwin – and two foreign exchange students – Sofie Larsen and Aom Kayhasai. Some of them have decided to take up basketball this year and have learned a lot in the process. Destiny Dipo has been playing high school basketball at Rockwell since 9th grade.

“Obviously the team changes every year,” Dipo said. “We just keep getting better and better.”

The team will miss having these seniors and exchange students next year.

“I wish I could come back and play next year,” said Aom Kayhasai, an exchange student from Thailand. “I love these girls so much.”

The girls on both JV and Varsity put everything into that game and came out with a win. The varsity score was 48-30.

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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.

Change Wars: Donate to a local family in need

Student government hosted an assembly Thursday afternoon encouraging students, teachers, and faculty, to participate in this year’s Change Wars event.

“This is the kickoff for a fun service challenge for the whole school including us as faculty and staff members,” said principal Darren Beck. “Over the 9 years we have done this, we have provided meaningful holiday cheer to about 2 dozen families.”

Change Wars is a competition taking place from now through December. Jars

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representing each grade can be found in the front office. Students may place pennies in their own grade’s jar to earn points, or they can choose to “bomb” other grades with dollar bills, deducting points from the “bombed” grade’s score.

At the conclusion of the bombing period, all money will be counted and points will be calculated based on how many pennies and how many other coins/dollar bills are in the jars. The winning grade will receive a pizza party during Mentoring.

 

“Hopefully we will get people motivated so we can do some good this year,” said Beck.

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Holiday Night Live performs skit at Change Wars Assembly.

The assembly featured the high school orchestra as they performed the Star Spangled Banner. The high school girls and boys basketball teams, the junior high girls and boys basketball teams, the indoor soccer team, and the cast and crew of Holiday Night Live were also featured.
Ultimately, the assembly was filled with energy. Marshals felt the excitement of the coming basketball season, which starts December 1 with the Homecoming game, followed by the Homecoming dance the next day. Tickets are $15 per single ticket or $25 per couple.

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