Senator Square: Angel Tree Program takes off in Carson City

PHS Senior in the Spotlight is Shania West.

PHS Senior in the Spotlight is Shania West.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

By Margarita Portillo-Hernandez

(Editor’s Note: Portillo-Hernandez is a school social worker and safe school professional at Eagle Valley Middle School)

This year has been extremely challenging and with the impact of COVID-19; many of our families are struggling to ensure they can celebrate Christmas. However, generous community members have come together determined to help these families have a Christmas celebration. With the help of all School Social Workers and School Counselors in the Carson City School District, the Angel Tree Program has taken off. Seventy-seven families are expected to receive a holiday meal and gifts by next week, thanks to our generous community members who have gone above and beyond offering to adopt or give monetary donations to make the Angel Tree Program happen this year. Our families are very appreciative of the amazing support they have received from our donors, bringing joy and a sigh of relief for them during the holiday season. Angel Tree has been a pleasure to be a part of as it brings much joy and happiness to see how well the community has come together to support each other in this unprecedented time. If next year you would like to join our efforts for the Angel Tree Program, please reach out to Margarita Portillo-Hernandez at Eagle Valley Middle School.


The CHS Bands will be combining cohorts next week to perform live-streamed concerts to the Carson City community. They are easily found by ‘liking’ "Carson Blue Thunder Bands" on Facebook.

“We will stream our bands at the following dates and times: Cadet Band, Dec. 14 at 3:30 p.m., Concert Band, Dec. 15 at 3:30 p.m., Wind Ensemble, Dec. 16 at 3:30 p.m., Jazz Band, Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m., and if you cannot make the live performance, we will also be presenting all groups in a broadcast on our local streaming TV station, National Grassroots Broadcasting Network (NGBN) Carson City television at to watch our Home for The Holidays Band Program at 5:00 p.m., Dec. 19,” said Nick Jacques, CHS Band and Capital City Community Band Director.

CHS performing band members are: Nathan Parsons, Grade 9, trumpet, David Gutierrez-DeJesus, Grade 9, trombone, Tessa Payan, Grade 9, drums, Eva Thomas, Grade 9, trumpet, Drea Cabral, Grade 9, alto sax Samantha Radford, Grade 10, tenor sax, Jasmine Wong-Fortunato, Grade 10, baritone sax, Samuel Sanchez, Grade 10, trumpet, Alexis Garcia, Grade 10, tenor sax, Jonah Toral, Grade 10, drums, Aiden Blandford, Grade 10, trumpet, Jake Xie, Grade 10, drums, Paul Edge, Grade 10, tenor sax, Charles Ferrel, Grade 10, piano, Donavan Peterson, Grade 11, bass trombone, Michael Carine, Grade 11, drums, Clark Burns, Grade 11, trumpet, Emma Thomsen, Grade 11, bass, Brock Eckery, Grade 12, trombone, Emma Doty, Grade 12, trombone, Liam Lee, Grade 12, trumpet, Mira Caraway, Grade 12, bass, and Logan Grime, Grade 12, alto sax.

These band members go to great lengths to perfect their craft, meeting for zero period at CHS in the early morning hours, and they also, the same as the players of any sport, must be present to perform long after the school day has finished.

Students at CHS, those who enjoy dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, visual arts, and even the special arts for students with disabilities, are being asked to participate in unleashing their inner artist in this year’s PTA Reflections contest with $500 available in prize money. The 2020-2021 theme, ‘I Matter Because…,’ calls for unique artistic interpretations. Students may enter in the appropriate division for their grade, and may pick up submission guidelines and an entry form in the CHS Library, from CHS teacher Wendy Tims in room 233, or online at Submissions must be entered at the CHS Library by Jan. 15. Visit the Reflections virtual art gallery to learn more about prizes and scholarships at For more information, contact Tims at, or call her at 283-1759.


Good money, normal hours, and a truly safe and familiar place to work, the Carson City School District, and CHS in particular, needs students to become stewards of the facility. Wages begin at $10 per hour, along with 15 or more hours per week, Monday through Friday. Students must be 16 or older, and they get to choose which school site within the district they would prefer to work. This could be the beginning of a new career. Three letters of recommendation from teachers, administrators, former employers, etc. are needed, and students must be passing all their classes and have good attendance. If absent from school, then students would be unable to work that day. Those hired will work with a Lead Custodian to clean, mop, scrub, and vacuum floors, dust furniture and equipment, and clean windows, along with other custodial duties. To apply, go to


Future Health Professional (HOSA) students will be hosting a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings, 3815 South Carson Street, Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Please let the server know, on both dine-in and take-out orders, this is to support HOSA students at CHS, and 10% of the proceeds will go toward the benefit of HOSA. All money raised will help send HOSA students to State and National Competitions. Keep on the lookout as there will be more HOSA fundraisers around Carson City. HOSA students are not only busy learning at CHS, they also volunteer their time around Carson City at places like Health and Human Services Drive Through Flu Pod at the DMV. In school and out of school, HOSA students excel.


CHS students are asked to send their photos to for a chance to win a Dutch Bros. gift card. Voting for the best photo will take place online Dec. 15 and 16.


The CHS Athlete in the Spotlight is Abby Golik. Regarding her inspiration to become an athlete, Abby said, “I started participating in sports at a very young age, so my parents played a huge role in why I became an athlete; they let me try any sport I really wanted to, and once I found my passion for competing, and the feeling of being a part of a team, I was so glad they encouraged me to become an athlete.” Abby grew up competing in almost every sport in the book. She tried everything from softball to soccer to volleyball to gymnastics and even tennis, but the two sports she became most serious about are softball and basketball. Abby said, “I really found I had a love for basketball I did not have for any other sport. Abby maintains a 3.97 GPA and a weighted GPA of 4.78. After graduation from CHS, Abby said, “My goal since I was a little girl was to play a sport in college, and I am so grateful I have been offered that opportunity.” When Abby finishes at CHS, she will have both her high school diploma and her associates of arts from WNC. She will then move to Oregon where she will attend Linfield University to lay for the women’s basketball team. Abby’s major at Linfield will result in her receiving a bachelor of arts in nursing. Eventually, she would like to work in neonatal care. Her motivational quote comes from Mia Hamm who said, “Somewhere behind the athlete you have become, and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you, is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back…play for her.” In speaking with younger athletes, Abby said, “I can inspire upcoming athletes by being the best possible teammate I can for my team and by always giving all my effort…it is not always about how talented you are or how much skill you have because if you can continuously put effort into the game and the team, it will show when the moment matters most. Congratulations to Abby Golik on being nominated CHS Athlete in the Spotlight.


CHS Student of the Week is Gabriella Laguna Anthony, a Sophomore at CHS. According to her nominating teacher, English Language Learner Paraprofessional, Gabriela McNamara, “She is very mature and respected by her teachers and peers, and all those with whom she interacts.” With so many students at CHS, being nominated as Student of the Week means the student stood out as someone whom the teacher noticed as going the distance academically and relationally. McNamara also said, “Despite so many challenges throughout her life, including English, not being her primary language, she has persevered to become an ‘A’ student” added McNamara, and “Presently, she works part-time and wants to attend college to become a Graphic Designer; Gabriella displays the great potential to achieve any goal she sets for herself.” Employees within Carson City School District nominate the CHS 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


Senior Shania West decided early she wanted to graduate as a Pioneer Panther and chose to attend Pioneer High School for all four years. She thought it would be a good fit for her, and she has no regrets. And now, with those years nearly behind her, Shania is looking forward to achieving her goal of going to college. As a student who loves nature and the local beauty of the Carson Tahoe region, Shania spends her free time going on hikes, finding waterfalls and exploring new places. Soon, she will be exploring the campus of WNC to pursue a career in either criminal justice or the medical field. Shania has a desire to help people who are ill and believes all people deserve a fair case if they run into trouble. Shania’s dream, to go to college, is just a few months away; she credits her success to her teachers, her mom and her boyfriend. Shania said, “All these people have told me to never give up when I just really wanted to; thank you Mrs. Watts and Ms. Danielle for being there when I needed help or someone to talk to, and thank you for having faith in me.” Shania says Pioneer has helped her in many ways by teaching her to never be afraid to ask for help, because, she believes, most people will help students. “Once I leave Pioneer, I will be sad because this is one of the best schools I have been to,” she said. “They are the most caring people I know: the atmosphere there is amazing, it is like a big family there, so thank you Pioneer for everything that you do.” Pioneer will be sad to see Shania go, but even more so, they are excited to see what she has yet to accomplish. ~ Contributed by PHS Counselor Cary Jordan.

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment