Senator Square: Carson High student shares personal pandemic story

CHS Student of the Week is Oscar Canas Lopez

CHS Student of the Week is Oscar Canas Lopez

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 (Editor’s Note: Written by Anika Bryant. Bryant is a freshman Honors student at CHS, and the following is her response to the poem “A Builder or a Wrecker” by Charles Franklin Benvegar)

During this pandemic, I would love to think I am in fact a builder because I strive to see the best in this, because I have been helping those struggling immensely during these hard times, and because I am doing my best to help the medical professionals I know. The first reason I could be considered a builder is I am doing my best to see the positivity in both the pandemic and quarantine. I have been able to do many things that without this situation, I probably would have continued to put off. I am no longer busy, so I see my family much more, I am extremely grateful for everyone and everything in my life, and, hopefully, by the end of this quarantine and pandemic I will no longer take things for granted as much as I used to.

That is another thing this pandemic has given me. I have begun to self-reflect and think about my actions much more and what I want to be as a person. I could also be considered a builder because I have been doing my best to help those who have been negatively affected in this. I am not at all saying this to brag, but it has definitely impacted me positively and hopefully them as well. I have always loved being able to help people and leave a mark on their hearts. The final and most important reason I see myself as a builder is I am doing all I can to support the health professionals I know.

As the daughter of a nurse, I know exactly how much this affects them; there are things many people do not see, the utter chaos that this is causing them, and how terrified they are for not only themselves but their patients. My mom has always loved her job and used to look forward to going to work, and now it is utter dread. She came very close to walking, but one of her patients reminded her she is needed and she could never abandon her coworkers, and they also reminded her why she does what she does.

It is not only my mom who has been struggling, but most of her friends are also facing this too. They are burnt out, exhausted both physically and emotionally, and they are also beginning to face the most dreaded question: “Should I self-isolate, go somewhere else without my family?” They do not want to put us in harm’s way; at one point, my mom and her friends decided they will try to make themselves as scarce in the house as they can, no hugs, no sharing food, and, preferably, no physical contact.

Keep in mind they change at work, sanitize completely, and nothing from the hospital enters anyone's house anymore. This pandemic has caused them to look at their very core and make decisions which should not have to be made. Personally, I have been trying as hard as I can to make her life easier, baking things for her to hopefully bring up the moral. Every bit helps. Overall, I hope I can be considered a builder rather than a wrecker in this pandemic because I strive to see the best in this, because I have been helping those struggling immensely during these difficult times, and because I am doing my best to help the medical professionals I know. These are rough times, and the light at the end of the tunnel may be dim, but it is still very much there. We have to stick together and build each other up. I think a little bit of us all is struggling.

Former teacher makes pandemic masks

Former Eagle Valley Middle School teacher and head of the Carson City Craft Fair, Cathy Barbie, said, “I started making face masks a month ago when my son Josh called and told me his veterinary hospital could not get any masks until June or July.”

Did Barbie sit still, no way! This local crafter has since made more than 200 masks, some specifically requested by Officer John Dodge of the Nevada Highway Patrol and his wife Darla. Barbie went on to say, “I have sent Josh more than five dozen for their hospital, and I gave some to his girlfriend, also a vet-tech, across town to meet their need for masks.” Many of her hand-crafted masks were donated, but Barbie said, “Since my husband Bill and I are still trying to pay off the medical bills from his hand surgery, I decided to continue making them and post it on my Facebook page at $5 each.” This led to Barbie crafting 15 for CHS nurse Sheila Story and her staff. Next, Barbie said friends and family began requesting masks too. “I put a metal strip in each so the customers can shape it around their noses, and I can also take orders and special requests for fabrics such as doctor, nurse, first responder, military, animal, sports, fishing, etc.” Barbie added. Want a mask? Anyone may place orders by calling her at 775-882-8109, or emailing her at Finally, Barbie said, “I would also be willing to make employee masks for businesses; busy times for a retired teacher and local crafter.”

Fantasy geopolitics class wraps up Match madness competition 

CHS teacher Nicole Fagundes's Honors World History class just wrapped up the March Madness brackets in their Fantasy Geopolitics competition. In times where so many events have been canceled or postponed, this online activity persevered, and the winners are: Representing A1, Kevin Lopez and Nadia Hill with Japan, Mexico, and Argentina, A3 winners are Ethne Meyer and Jonah Stickney with China, Japan, and Thailand, B2 winners are Talia Thornburg and Madie Fontaine with China, Germany, and Switzerland, and the B6 champions are Jasmine Wong-Fortunato and Nathan Thornton with South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Ethne and Jonah scored 2,218 points and were the overall winners from all classes. In Fantasy Geopolitics, students draft different countries and earn points based on how often their countries are mentioned in the news. Trading countries, and seeing how they stack up against their classmates, creates a fun, competitive atmosphere which enables students to get excited about studying current events, reading the news, and learning about the world. Congratulations to all students who participated. Keep kickin' Djibouti.

Health teacher to arrange Zoom meetings for everyone

CHS Health teacher Erin Been said, “I developed, alongside Partnership Carson City, a family engagement series to run throughout spring.

“I did host, at CHS, my first speaker from Health and Human Services, and it was very successful; however, with the change in the world right now, my students have been asking if we will proceed, and I said ‘yes,’ and this is the reason I am reaching out to you today with a new revamped project and family engagement series” Been added.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Been decided to take her health program to the next level and then said, “In a partnership between CHS and PCC, I am going to host a series of speakers via Zoom video conference, a family engagement series which promotes a variety of health topics we teach in high school health class and link them to overall wellness, ultimately teaching how to maintain healthy relationships, learn about the importance of addiction and recovery in the time of a pandemic, and various other topics including coping skills and mindfulness; we will also include COVID-19 ties in all presentations.”

Been already has her first two presenters for April, and she is solidifying others for May. This is for both youth and adults as well; they do not have to attend CHS in order to participate, as this would be for anyone interested. Throughout the next couple months, Been will have presenters from both CHS and community partners and agencies like PCC, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mindful Social, Emotional Learning with Academic Development, and others. So far, Been has Zoom meetings scheduled for April 23 at 6 p.m. with Grant Denton from the Karma Box Project speaking about drug addiction and the dangers of relapse, and to stress the importance of having a support system, especially, during a pandemic. The other meeting is April 27 at 6 p.m. with Terry Kern's from the Attorney General's office speaking about opioid addiction in Nevada and how to deal with COVID-19 in healthy ways in order to avoid falling back into addiction.

College applications and scholarships

Senator Scholarship Scoop is online at by clicking Academics, Counseling Department, and The Scoop on the left. The CHS Guidance Office is also there to help students by calling 283-1915, or emailing counselor Amanda Chambers at to make an appointment.

Counselors and Safe Schools professionals available to students

School counseling and Safe School Professional (SSP) support is available while students are home. Experiencing a mental health emergency, contact the Nevada Crisis line at 784-8090, text HOME to 741741, the crisis text line, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Want to contact an SSP or CHS Counselor?Though counseling is best done in person, there are systems in place to support students, answer questions, and hold meetings digitally. Below are links to set up digital meetings on Google Meet or by phone. If a student makes an appointment, the student will receive a link or an invite to the Google Meet for the time of the appointment, so please check emails, and make sure to stay connected to Google Classroom for important updates. If a student did not get to meet with a counselor to schedule classes for next year, send an email along with a picture of the registration paper and list of desired classes.

Scholarship applications are going to be digitally uploaded to page too, so check there regularly. Students may take a photo and email it to Lynn Garrett at Direct scholarship questions go to CHS Counselors Amanda Chambers or Bridget Gordon-Johnson. Students need to check Google Classrooms, daily, for assignments as teachers will be maintaining an A-B day schedule. AP teachers will be pushing out information from the College Board to help students prepare for tests. Video and phone appointments may be made by going to Schedule a Google Meet Appointment Here: and typing in the counselor’s last name after the backslash. Also, send an email to CHS Counselors Amanda Chambers at, Susan Grunert at, Nicole Hendee at, Fawn Lewis at, Cynthia Reyes at, Monica Weaver at, or Bridget Gordon-Johnson at to let them know an appointment is desired. Safe School Professionals are Kelly Edmundson,, Erik Tedrowe,, Rob Olivas,, or bilingual and Spanish SSP Alejandra Ayala-Ayala at

Student of the Week

The Student of the Week is Oscar Canas Lopez. Gabriela McNamara, Oscar’s nominating teacher, said about him, “He works hard, is dedicated, and is a portrait of good behavior.” Employees within Carson City School District nominate CHS students for Student of the Week, and it is often the students’ teachers who do the nominating though anyone in the district may do so by sending an email to Senator Square columnist Phil Brady at

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


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