Teacher Spotlight: Janel Jones

by Brooklynn Allen

jones_janelMs. Jones was born in Seattle, WA in 1988. Jones attended Hazen High School in Renton, Washington and later attended UVU.

“My entire high school experience was a nonstop series of misfortunes and humiliations,” said Jones.

Ms. Jones enjoyed participating in music programs in high school and loves being involved with the music program now as a teacher.
“In school I was in both band and choir,” she said. “Honestly, I loved getting acquainted with music I wouldn’t otherwise have come in contact with. Like no one is just listening to Latin liturgical music in their spare time (except me maybe), or Fijian folk songs, and so it’s a singular opportunity we have to actually connect with groups of people we wouldn’t know anything about. I struggled sometimes because I was a bossy teenager (ENFJ), but now I’m not bossy, I’m the boss!”

Jones became a teacher because, frankly, she couldn’t help it. She works in the music department here at Rockwell, where she teaches American Music Roots, choir, and band.

Ms. Jones has had quite a few highlights in teaching thus far, but she says the best is when the choir ends the songs on key every time. She also loved their performance of Lux Aeterna from the last music concert.


“I love the music program at Rockwell because I get to work with really cooperative people. It’s so easy to collaborate and plan with Ms. Larsen and Mr. Jewkes. Plus, all of the students I work with are really fun and interesting people that I love having near me.”

– Janel Jones


Ms. Jones enjoys raspberry mochas, visiting Uruguay, watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Jones’s role model is her dad.

“He is the smartest and best human being on this planet, and he spends his whole life trying to help people,” she said. “He taught me that there are plenty of things in this life that two intelligent people can disagree about.”

How free are we to speak?

by Melanie Mortensen

The definition of freedom of speech is the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint. The First Amendment states:”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Freedom of speech includes the right not to speak (specifically the right not to salute the flag), to allow students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war, to allow students the right to not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, to use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages, to contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns, to advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions), and to engage in symbolic speech (for example: burning the flag in protest).

Freedom of speech does not include the right to incite actions that would harm others. An example of this would be someone falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater or saying “bomb” on an airplane. It does not include the right to make or distribute obscene material, to burn draft cards as an anti-war protest, to permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration, to allow students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event, or to allow students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.

As you can see, there are certain extents to everything.

Do Americans really have freedom of speech?

There are parts of our culture where we really do not have freedom of speech. For example, a sports coach can get kicked out of a game for using profane language, and anyone can be silenced from the things they say. All over social media you can find people saying things like “Why do celebrities think we care about their political opinions when we hire them to act, sing, write, etc for us?” or “Why do celebrities think we care about their political opinions as they are only actors and don’t live as normal of a life as most Americans?”

An article released on DailyCaller.com was literally titled “Good News, America! Nobody Cares What Celebrities Think.” But the real question is why shouldn’t they be able to state their opinion? They, as Americans, have the same rights as everyone else. Just because they are famous for one reason or another doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to talk about politics as much as any other American. The political opinions of celebrities hold the same amount of importance as everyone else; no one opinion should be more important than another.

Students are forced to change their clothing if it doesn’t meet dress code standards, or if it displays profanity, and others get in trouble for speaking their mind with simple words. A student at a Tennessee high school got in trouble, and kicked out of class, for saying “bless you” as good manners when someone sneezed. After she was kicked out of class and sent to the principal’s office, she got sent to In-School Suspension (ISS). In 2010, schools around the country banned bracelets that read “I heart boobies,” even though the bracelets were supporting the nonprofit Keep a Breast Foundation. Five year old Cooper Barton was told to turn his University of Michigan shirt inside-out because it violated school rules. The dress code in Oklahoma City’s public schools said students may only wear shirts from Oklahoma colleges and universities. In 2011, one sixth grader in Nebraska was told she couldn’t wear her rosary clothing (clothing expressing faith) to school because it violated the school’s dress code.

You should not be forced to change your clothing because someone doesn’t like it, that is your freedom being taken away.

So, do Americans really have freedom of speech? It seems to be that the freedom aligns with restrictions of larger organizations, regardless of the individual’s personal standards or beliefs. Freedom of speech exists, but is anything really free? That is for Americans to decide themselves.

Teacher spotlight: Morgan Olsen

by Baylee Percell

Mrs. Olsen was born in Provo, Utah on September 17, 1991. She attended Orem High School then later went on to attend Brigham Young University.

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Mrs. Olsen got married last summer. She met her husband on a blind date.

She loved high school, so her first day was exciting.

“I loved the independence,” said Mrs. Olsen. “I looked forward to being able to drive, date, etc.”

She became a teacher because “Why not?!… just kidding,” Mrs. Olsen said. “It’s because I love working with the students, seeing the amazing things they can accomplish when they set their mind to something.”

Mrs. Olsen’s highlight in teaching is building friendships and trust with students, watching them succeed, and seeing their confidence grow as they work hard.”

One of her role models is her favorite actress, Kristen Wiig. She looks up to Kristen Wiig because she is hilarious.

Even though Kristen Wiig’s comedy is something to aspire to, Mrs. Olsen says that her parents are her real role models.

“They are amazing and taught me how to be a decent person,” Mrs. Olsen said. “They always love and never judge, and that means a lot. I hope I can emulate that as well.”

Q&A with Rockwell Drill coaches: Past and present

It’s that time of year again!

Drill is having their annual Drill Review for the 7th time in 9 years. Drill has had a lot of success over the years, including their second place in the State Drill Competition in 2013. Candice Spivey was the coach of that team and current Coach Maddie Beck was a dancer on that team. I sat down with both of them and asked them a couple of questions.

I started with Candice Spivey (assistant director/drill coach for 7 years).

Candice:

Q: How did it feel when you placed second at state?

 

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The Rockettes at State (2013)

A: Well, drill is a very political sport, and that led us to getting the second place. But it was exciting to see us compete with the best. I felt bad when they didn’t get the first place that I felt like they deserved.

 

Candice coached for 7 years, and in that time span she led them to state a handful of times. The most memorable was the year 2012 when they received a 5th place. Equally memorable, of course, was in 2013 when they tied for first and then “coin flipped” for second.

Q: How long have you taught dance?

A: In high school (2002), I taught dance at community rec classes. Then I went to college and didn’t teach for awhile, but in 2005, I started teaching again at Ultimate Dance ETC. I’ve been teaching there ever since.

Q: What are your thoughts on this year’s team?

A: It’s a great group of girls with a lot of talent. If they retain a lot of their members they can have a chance at the state title with their coach.

Q: What’s the hardest dance move to teach?

A: I would say teaching fouetté’s because the dancers struggle with the correct technique.

I then went to talk to this year’s coach, Maddie Beck. Maddie danced for her 9th, 11th, and 12th grade years. She also danced at Ultimate Dance ETC. with Candice as a coach.

Maddie:

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Rockwell’s current Drill Team, The Rockettes (2017)

Q: How’d you feel about state this year (2017)?

 

A: It was rad to see them perform and to see their transformation from the summer to that day at state. I was proud of the hard work they all put in.

Q: How did it feel when you went to state as a dancer and tied for first but received second?

A: First of all, Dylan, let me stop you right there. We didn’t tie for first place, we TOOK first place. The drill team world is full of politics which makes it a very competitive sport. (And yes I said sport, sexists.)

Q: Alright, how do you feel about next year?

A: I’m stoked to see all of the upcoming talent that Rockwell has to offer, and to keep the program going.

Q: How many years have you coached dance?

A: I taught two years with Candice as an assistant, but this year was my first solo go.

Q: How long have you been dancing?

A: Since I was 8, so 13 years.

Q: Who’s your favorite coach? (This one better be an obvious answer…)

A: Candice. She was very influential because she not only trained me in dance and fitness but helped me in my everyday life.

Be sure to go to the FREE Drill Review on March 9th at 7:00 pm here at Rockwell. Watch showcase dances by the Rockettes and others including the famous, sought-after male drill members.

Darren Beck: Principal first, baseball fan second

by Dontel Bautista

Mr. Beck was born on February 27, 1964, in Yuba City, California. He attended Yuba City High School and California State University Chico.

His first day of high school was intimidating.

“I spent the day trying to avoid older students that were trying to intimidate me and my friends,” said Mr. Beck.

Although school may have been intimidating in the beginning, Mr. Beck decided he wanted to be a teacher himself and loves the career path he has chosen.

“I tried other things and never enjoyed them that much,’’ said Mr. Beck. “Teaching is more fun.’’

Mr. Beck has worked in education for 21 years. He has worked as everything from a sub to a fourth grade teacher, to an adult educator, to a high school administrator.

Aside from teaching, Mr. Beck loves attending baseball games with or without his family. He also loves watching movies, and reading books

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Mr. Beck and his family

His list of favorite movies is long, but classics like The Godfather Trilogy, 42, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sandlot, and Blues Brothers make up the top of his list.

“A favorite movie is one I can watch it over and over again and not get tired of it,” said Mr. Beck. “My list changes depending on my mood.”

All joking aside, Mr. Beck’s role model is his dad, Ted Beck.

“My dad is hardworking, honorable, has a strong commitment to family and community, and is funny as heck,” said Mr. Beck.

Though there have been many highlights throughout his years working in education, Mr. Beck says his favorite times are those when kids come back with positive things to say.

“I love when, as a teacher and administrator, kids come back after years and say, ‘Thanks for not giving up on me,’” he said. “That’s a rush each and every time.”

Tryouts at Rockwell

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The Track and Field team at the state meet in 2016.

by Melanie Mortensen

Here at Rockwell we have tryouts for track and field, baseball, and softball all this week.

The first practice for track is right after school Wednesday, March 1st and will go until 5 pm. Meet at the back of the school by the busses dressed and ready to run. Tryouts are Monday March 6th and Tuesday March 7th.

“I’m excited to see how the team progresses this year,” said track coach RaNell. “I feel like we have the potential to make it to state, so I’m just excited to see how we do.”

Baseball and softball tryouts are both after school everyday Wednesday, March 1st to Friday March 3. Make sure to be on time and ready to play your hardest.

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The Rockettes at a recent competition, where they took first place.

There will also be drill team tryouts from Monday, March 20 to Thursday March 23. Workshops will be at 3:15 after school Monday the 20th to Wednesday, March 22. The official day of tryouts is Thursday, March 23. Make sure to be on time to every workshop ready to learn dances and show your determination.

Come tryout for one of Rockwell’s athletics teams!

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.