Senator Square: Carson High, elementary students working together

CHS teacher Colin Belnaps' High Hopes High Altitude balloon release.

CHS teacher Colin Belnaps' High Hopes High Altitude balloon release.

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Editor’s note: The following was written by CHS biology teacher Megan Schuler.

Recently, several Carson High School freshman biology classes had the opportunity to work with fourth graders from Empire Elementary School. Students learned about conservation, the water cycle and the Carson River watershed. CHS students, trained by the River Wranglers conservation group, and on a very windy day, met up with Empire Elementary students at Bailey Pond. Students were then paired up with one another and moved through five different rotations. First, students learned about “the Incredible Journey” of water by creating bracelets of a water droplet’s journey. With the roll of a dice, students traveled to different places water goes to including animals, oceans, ground water, glaciers, clouds, etc. Whichever station they went to, they collected colored beads that symbolized all the places water travels and discussed how they traveled: condensation, evaporation, sublimation, etc. to each spot. The activity was followed up with documenting their journey in an activity book. Second, students learned how the Carson watershed is created using a map to understand the location of all the surrounding mountain ranges, cities and river vocabulary. Students located and demonstrated the headwaters of the river, the confluence, the Carson sink and the direction in which the river flows, which is northeast. Readers, did you know the Carson watershed is one of two watersheds in the U.S. that does not go to the ocean? Next, students learned about conservation by removing noxious weeds and cleaning up the area around the pond. They learned about riparian areas, why they are important and how native plants are plants that have been around for a long time. Riparian areas are the areas between land and rivers or streams, and by having native plants in these areas, erosion is prevented and oxygen release is improved. Then, the high school students worked with the elementary students on understanding and identifying non-point source pollution. They discussed examples, why it is difficult to control and how everyone can work to prevent this type of pollution. At their last station, students learned about the water quality by testing for the amount of dissolved oxygen, pH levels, temperature and turbidity. They found out Carson’s overall water was in good condition. All in all, it was a great experience for students involved. One high school student said, “It was a really good day; the little kids know how important it is not to pollute either by cleaning up after themselves or helping the native plants by removing weeds, and I would definitely do it again.” Another high school student reported, “I thought it was pretty good; the kids were fun and sweet, the kids loved making the bracelets and pulling weeds, and I had a lot of fun and would definitely do it again.” — Megan Schuler


May 21 is the tentative launch date for CHS Intro to Engineering and Principles of Engineering teacher Collin Belnap’s ‘Payloads’ to be launched via High Altitude Balloon. A collaborate effort between Northwest Regional Professional Development Program, CHS and the UNR Engineering Department, the High Altitude Balloon Project teaches students the fundamentals of engineering design and allows them to create experiments that will take place at altitudes in excess of 75,000 feet. All of CHS and the Carson City community have the opportunity to be involved. One of the payloads, dedicated to carrying people’s hopes and dreams for the future to near space will be released back to Earth. These ‘High Hopes’ are printed on bio-degradable paper and infused with flower seeds so they may grow to become flowers this summer. Participants may submit their personal ‘High Hopes’ to be printed and sent up by going to Belnap said, “I encourage everyone to submit three different ‘High Hopes’ — a personal hope, a hope for a person they know and a hope for the planet and humankind.” The balloon will carry a payload of cutting edge experiments designed by Belnap’s brilliant future engineers.


May 22, from 11 10 p.m., HOSA: Future Health Professionals is hosting a fundraising day at Chili’s, located at 3784 U.S. 395 South in Carson City. Mention or present the server with the fundraising flyer in order for HOSA to receive 20 percent of sales. Please see CHS Health Science teacher and HOSA adviser Kelly Gustafson for a flyer or call her at 283-1710. All money raised will help send HOSA students to the International Competition in June, so enjoy some good eating for a good cause.


Dear friends of education, eighth grade students of CMS are participating in its annual Career Study where students research careers and create professional portfolios; soon, they will be ready to put their workplace communication skills to the test, and CMS is seeking volunteers from the supportive Carson City community to conduct student job interviews, which will allow students to practice communication skills while preparing for the workforce. CMS’ goal is to make the experience as true to life as possible with interviewers asking the interviewee questions and filling in a simple response sheet for each student. Those amazing Carson City community members, desiring to participate, please report to the library five minutes prior to a chosen time slot to review the process. Please contact Hilary Mendeguia at, or call 283-2824 to schedule a time. The event begins May 28 with: Period 1: 7:45 to 8:37 a.m., period 2: 8:41 to 9:30 a.m., period 3: 9:34 to 10:23 a.m., period 4: 10:27 to 11:16 a.m., period 5: 11:55 a.m. to 12:44 p.m., period 7: 1:41 to 2:30 p.m. On May 29, interviewers will begin with: Period 1: 7:45 to 9:15 a.m., period 3: 9:19 to 10:49 a.m., period 5: 10:53 a.m. to 12:23 p.m., and period 7: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CMS is grateful to the supportive community of Carson City.


Brain Break Self-Care activities will begin May 20 and 21 in the CHS Library. The Social and Emotional Learning committee, while partnering with guidance counselors, who are making ‘calming jars’ with students, the Safe School Professionals, who are bringing snacks, stress balls, aromatherapy and activities to calm the mind and CHS librarian Ananda Campbell, who is providing yoga, crafts, games, music and more, are endeavoring to take time for a Brain Break and Self-Care extravaganza before finals week kicks into high gear. These wonderful groups of individuals desire to create de-stressing activities. If someone in the community connects with this idea of balancing life’s challenges, please reach out to CHS librarian and media specialist Ananda Campbell by e-mailing her at


It is time to reward members of the CHS Senior Class. They have worked hard over the course of the school year, so order graduation leis for them. Order a Single Purple Orchid Lei or a Single White Orchid Lei for $23 or order a fragrant Single Tuberose and Orchid Lei for $25. Make payment to CHS; orders must be placed by May 23 at 3:30 p.m. An order form is needed, so please acquire one from the Main Office, the Student Store or call leadership advisor and teacher Ann Britt at 283-1789 or email her at


“We are hosting a Job and Career fair, Wednesday, May 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.” said District Work-Based Learning Coordinator Yette De Luca. Students will complete, as follows, a short Pre-Job and Career Fair Survey, an activity to engage the employers during the fair and a post Job and Career Fair Survey. The surveys are intended to improve future events based on participant responses. Yette De Luca, MBA, is the District work-based learning coordinator for the Carson City School District. Please call her at 775-283-1632 or email her at


The award-winning Winds and Percussion is having its annual spring concert May 22 at the Community Center starting at 7:00 p.m. Donations will be gladly accepted! Bring a friend.


Need help with a resume? Schedule an appointment with the career center. From the Carson High School website, go to the Academics tab and select CHS Career Center and select an appointment time.


The Chamber Orchestra is traveling to San Francisco to compete in a regional music festival, visit a renowned violin shop, cruise the San Francisco Bay and experience the San Francisco Symphony performing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7.


CHS Athletic Department’s May 13 through 17 Athletes of the Week are Lukas Taggart for Boys Varsity Golf and Talia Thornburg for Girls Varsity Swim. These athletes, and all students who participate in school functions through leadership, clubs and sports deserve a high level of recognition and congratulations.


Abigail Cowan is the CHS Student of the Week. CHS Fine Arts teacher John Martin nominated Abby and said about her, “Abby is a 12th grade Advanced Ceramics student who earned two awards at this year’s Scholastic Art competition; Abby received both an honorable mention for her Space theme totem and a Silver Key award for her Buddha Sculpture.” Not only is she a talented artist, Martin also said, “Abby comes to class every day focused and on task; she is innovative and self directed in her artistic talents.” Congratulations to Abby Cowan for her outstanding work.


Pioneer High School’s Senior in the Spotlight for May is Raianne Vega. Raianne is hardworking, resilient, loyal and kind. She is always willing to help around campus with any tasks. Raianne has lived in Carson City since third grade. Prior to that, she lived in California. Raianne began attending PHS as a sophomore because she was looking for some extra help with her studies. She quickly gained a fondness for the school because of the fun activities and the family-like atmosphere. During her time at PHS, Raianne has been very involved in school activities. She has worked on the yearbook for two years, been involved with Jobs for America’s Graduate (JAG) for two years and has taken art classes each year. This year, Raianne was an active participant in student leadership. As a student leader, she helped set up for dances, put together Thanksgiving baskets for families in need, helped set up and serve at school barbeques, made placemats for Meals on Wheels, made blankets to donate to local senior citizens and helped redecorate the girl’s bathroom. She also took a Health Information Management class this year, which prepared her to compete in the state HOSA competition. Some of her favorite memories at PHS include going to Project Discovery, helping Mr. Zona move books and other items during school construction, dissecting a cow heart, helping in the office, climbing at Rocksport, and visiting Tesla with JAG. Raianne has volunteered in her community as well as a volunteered as cheer coach. In addition to her school activities, Raianne works at Carson Plaza Retirement Center as a food server and enjoys visiting with the residents and hearing their stories. Raianne will graduate June 8, far exceeding the minimum credit requirement and will attend WNC where she plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Raianne makes Pioneer High school proud. — contributed by Rebecca Allen

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


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