Dance takes unexpected 5th at state

Dance takes unexpected 5th at state

By Alex Diaz and Peyton Actkinson

Staff Writers

Dancers moved gracefully, gliding across the gym floor and leaping into the air, as the Parkrose Elite Dance Team aimed toward their sixth state championship after taking home first place in 2014, second in 2015 and fourth in 2016.

The team was excited to reveal their theme of “Transcendent” to the judges and peers at the 2017 OSAA State Championship, held March 16 to 17 at the Portland Memorial Coliseum.

Senior captains Sophia Nguyen, Linda Cha and Ashley Cha prepared their team’s’ morale by strengthening their mentality and confidence to ensure that they ended their season at the top of the pedestal.

However, the strong start to their season caused the team to enter a plateau state, or “becoming comfortable” after winning first place in past competitions, according to the captains. They took it upon themselves to set up a team meeting to plan a way to revamp their work ethic in order to stay consistent in preparation of state.

“We had to make them realize it’s not over yet, there is still much work to do,” Nguyen said.

Both Nguyen and Cha were awarded All-State Team after the second round on Friday, March 17.

Nguyen was given an additional certificate for placing 6th in Drill Down All-State.

Although it’s not what the team was aiming for, they ended their season at 5th in state which for many on the team was a great success regardless. However, a few dancers believed the decision making was unjust, causing a bit of controversy within the dance community.

Leading up to the competition, there seemed to be one competitor that was constantly mentioned by the dancers: Canby High School. Parkrose freshman and dance team member Rosina Delgado described Canby as persistent in placing at the top of the potem in many of the competitions.

However, a strong season for the Broncos leading up to the state competition gave them hope for their most desired accomplishment: bringing home a first-place trophy and banner for Parkrose.

Sophomore Akimi Bledsoe had a key role in the performance as the dancer leaping around a giant compass at the center of the floor.

“For state, I am expecting a lot of good teams and competitors, but I believe we have a good chance this year with all the practices we’ve had,” Bledsoe said.

“The captains have done a great job motivating us and giving us the mentality of champions,” Bledsoe said.

Even if Parkrose did not place first, the dancers believed they would at least place in the top three.

Unfortunately this was not the case, as Canby High School took the show away and became the state champions, leading Glencoe in second, Grant in third, Clackamas in fourth and Parkrose in fifth place.

While the team continued to prove their skill with constant high ranking positions in various competitions and exhibitions, there seemed to be an underlying chip on their shoulder to prove something. This, however, was not the year for Parkrose to prove their dominance. 


Photo By Katie Meighen

Finding identity and acceptance

Finding identity and acceptance

By Bianney Resendez-Zaragoza

Staff Writer

Freshman year is a year of new beginnings. Senior Tyler Martin experienced many new things his freshman year: a new school, new friends, and a new understanding of his identity.

“Right before freshman year, I was starting to realize that I was not really necessarily a regular girl,” he said.

Martin was assigned a female gender at birth, but near the beginning of high school, he began to question his true gender identity. During the same time, he also was adjusting to Parkrose after moving from the North Clackamas School District. Martin said his previous school lacked diversity and made him feel unwelcomed. Moving to Parkrose was an influential point in feeling comfortable in showing his true self to others.

“Parkrose has really been a place where I could be myself and not be as worried about it,” Martin said.

In the middle of his sophomore year, Martin said he realized that he felt more like a boy. He opened up about his feelings with his boyfriend at the time and his closest friends.

Close to his birthday, he came out to his mother through a text message conversation.

Initially, Martin’s mother, Megan Berry, was confused about Martin’s gender identity. However, with time, she started to use the right pronouns and has been a great supporter in Martin’s transition. However, Berry has concerns regarding her son being the target of hurtful comments.

“As a mother I am afraid it will make him a target in ways he wasn’t already, for people who don’t understand what he’s going through,” Berry said.

Although Martin said Parkrose has been a very supportive community for him, he said that there are some people who act differently around him because of his transition.

“I’ve had some really great friends that have been just awesome about it and some have been weird about it,” he said.

There have also been some obstacles in his path. Martin has been a part of theater since early on in his high school career and credits theater teacher Tom Cavanaugh for being a very accepting person who made Martin’s transition a little easier.

Two years ago, when Martin went to state for theater, the district did not know whether to assign him to the girls’ or boys’ room because they had never encountered this issue.

“The district put me in my own room for the time being,” Martin said. “They also paid the difference which was pretty cool.”

This year, the district is seeking parent approval for a gender neutral room for students with a  non-binary gender identity. Martin feels that through his transition, Parkrose has also grown into an even more inclusive environment that is more aware of transgender people.

However, Martin has faced difficulties with his name. Martin’s preferred name is Tyler, but on the attendance sheet, his name is listed as his birth name. People who are transgender often refer to the name on their birth certificate as their “dead name.”

“Whenever there’s a sub, they call me by my given name and not the name I go by, and when I fill out applications, I wonder should I put my preferred name or my given name,” he said.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like hearing the name because it’s not who I am,” Martin said.

Martin was unable to legally start his name-change process until his birthday in late February because he would have turned 18 in the middle of the process, and the papers for the process for minors and adults are different.

“Someone suggested the name [Tyler] to me, and I thought it fit me really well. Turns out that that was a name I would gotten if I was born a boy,” Martin said.

In addition to theater, Martin is also involved in the Spectrum Club, which is a club supporting students with various sexual orientations and gender identities. Martin said the club is trying to be an activist club and motivate students of the Parkrose community to be accepting of others.

Martin said he is very comfortable with having conversations about his gender identity and his transition. There have been students who have come up to him and told him that his story is inspirational to them.

“I have had someone at a cast party very recently asked if they could talk to me. They said they were questioning their gender and wondered if I could talk about that, and I was like oh yeah I can totally talk about that.”


Photo By Joshua Dyer

New schedule, long lines, crowded cafeteria

New schedule, long lines, crowded cafeteria

By Anna Jimenez

Staff Writer

A new semester can symbolize different things for each student; lost hope, triumph, relief, exhaustion, or a clean slate. As the first semester of the 2016-2017 school year came to an end, Parkrose High School students had more than just a new semester class schedule to look forward to.

Unlike the previous lunch schedule in which students were split into two different lunches depending on their fifth period classes, the entire student body currently has a single, conjoined lunch. Lunch is 38 minutes long, and passing time between classes was reduced by one minute. The campus is now an open campus with all students allowed off-campus for lunch, and the gym is available. Mixed feelings regarding the changes have flowed through the student body, ranging from excitement to frustration and even disdain.

“Considering the passing time is shorter and lunch is only longer by like eight minutes, it’s kind of inconvenient. The shorter passing time is definitely a negative,” senior Stephanie Tran said.

An additional concern expressed by Tran and many other students alike is the capacity for the cafeteria to host the 934 students that make up the Parkrose High School student body.

According to Principal Molly Ouche, there is a need for more seating, so additional tables have been ordered to support the single lunch.

Ouche said that the decision to convert to one lunch was made with careful consideration. The administration analyzed data, researched what other schools are doing and received input from students and teachers.

“We believe this change has a positive impact on student safety, instructional time, attendance and school culture, so we knew we needed to try to implement it,” she said.

From Ouche’s standpoint, converting to a single lunch has already caused improvements, and there has been positive feedback.

Freshman Brenda Cruz Morales is happy about having lunch earlier, but recognizes a drawback of a longer, single lunch is the shorter passing time. Additionally, she said getting lunch and finding a spot has become more difficult as well the commute from class to class.

“[The schedule] makes it harder to find a spot to eat and get food,” Cruz Morales said. “We get shorter passing time, so I’m more late to class… I mean I could barely get to class with five minutes, so like with four minutes, it’s a lot. ”

Other students have also expressed that the lunch line is longer, so it takes longer to get lunch. In order to shorten the lines, new grab-and-go options are now available.

Parkrose teachers also have shared their opinions about the new lunch schedule. Social studies teacher Alan Baird said that the new lunch schedule does not impact him personally, but he has noticed it.

“One positive effect is that I don’t have to ask kids whether they have first or second lunch. If I want to meet with another teacher, I don’t have to ask if they have first or second lunch. I actually sit and eat lunch with a couple of other teachers, and I get to sit and eat lunch with some teachers I didn’t get to sit with before,” he said.

Ouche said the administration is planning to keep the new schedule for the next school year.

“We know it’s not perfect, but overall it’s best for students, so we are committed to taking feedback, identifying what isn’t working, and improving it,” Ouche said.


Photo By Monica Maya