From MLA to NYC

NYC trip.JPG

By Samantha Hernandez
Staff Writer

More than 60 music, art, drama and journalism students made their way to the Big Apple for Spring Break 2017.

The group departed April 6th and returned April 10th and was chaperoned by music teachers Sterling Jones and Hector Barrera, drama teachers Krista Flores and Christina Smith, art teachers Xierra Itayem and Mack Jackson, and journalism teacher Jackie Taylor, in addition to several parents.

The itinerary included attendance to two Broadway shows, Aladdin and Wicked, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, One World Observatory and cultural activities such as visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and walking tours of the financial district and China Town.

Daniella Llanes, an 11th grader, shares one of her favorite trip memories, dinner at a restaurant in Little Italy called Puglia.

“It was the most fun I have yet to have on a trip. There was a lady singing songs and everyone got up to dance. There was even a part that she told us to stand on our seats and shake our napkins in the air! The room was lit up with happiness and laughter,” said Llanes.

Students like sophomore Oscar Ospina really enjoyed visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art as “visiting the Met was a time when we got to calm down from all the activities and enjoy looking at art.”

The trip was enjoyable for all and many students became closer with their classmates and teachers as was the case with senior Taylor Garcia. He described the trip as a “one of a lifetime experience!” His favorite part of the trip was “meeting new people and spending time with them. Everything was beautiful over there but it was definitely the people and the teachers that made the trip worth it!”

These students managed to experience the city that never sleeps in just a few days and come back home with fun filled unforgettable memories and friendships.



Survival Tips for College Students

By Emily Mesa
Advice Columnist

When you are fresh out of high school , and excited to finally be free and on your own in college, you may find that your freshman year of college can be a bit of a harder time than you thought as you try to balance school, work, and socializing. For some, it is an easy transition, and for others it might take some time to get adjusted to this new lifestyle.

When experiencing “college life” for the first time, you can get a little carried away and not focus so much on school work because you want to just go out and party. That doesn’t have to be the case though.

There are many ways you can manage school work and socializing so that you can have the best of both worlds. Take college as if it is a job, and at your job you need to do all your work before you clock out.

So once you get out of class, or sometimes even in class, get your homework done or study for a test you have coming up. Then after you’re done studying, or doing the work you need to do, you can “clock out” and go out with your friends and have a great time.

To keep up with the whole job analogy your “pay day” is your grades. Once you see that you’re putting in some effort in school and getting your homework done your grades will show how hard you’ve worked.

You could also reward yourself by going out with your friends or going to that party you really wanted to go to. The best balance is to know the importance of school and what you’re there for.

The biggest thing of all is to not procrastinate or leave everything until the last minute because that is when you start to get stressed out and your grades start to drop.

College is a whole new experience and you should be able to enjoy it to the fullest. Find out what works for you and balance your school work and social life the best way you can.


The Senior Behind the Guitar

Taylor Garcia

By Victoria Gayarre

Some may recognize senior Taylor Garcia as the student playing the bass guitar at every pep rally or the dark-haired boy sitting behind the speakers at each drama club performance, helping to bring each show together wonderfully through the power of music.

Garcia has been attending Mater Lakes since the seventh grade. He speaks about the beginning of his middle school life with a slight frown explaining that in the beginning it was difficult to make close connections with friends, but things have changed as time moves on.

“I typically spend my weekends listening to music and just hanging with friends practicing instruments,” he said.

Garcia has been extremely involved in the Mater Lakes band for many years, and over time has grown extremely close with teacher Sterling Jones. He smiles and laughs saying, “I would like to thank Mr. Jones because he has done so much for me and I have spent so much time with him over the years. He has almost become like a father figure to me.”

Senior and friend Diego Pierri said, “He puts others in front of himself, and takes their feelings into account. He is very passionate about what he does, and really takes the time to listen to others and their stories.”

Taylor recently joined Jones and 63 other students on a spring break trip to New York City. He explains how great it was to spend time with such “amazing” people and grow closer to everyone.

Within his high school life, Garcia brought every high school film to life as he began a band with fellow students and some of his closest friends. The band performed live at school events and once played at a Miami Lakes concert at Optimist Park.  As time moved on, eventually, the band fell apart, and are no longer together. Just because the band ended, does not mean his love for music indeed died, he said.

Past bandmate and senior Liam Idrovo shared, “He is just naturally a very nice guy. He is very sympathetic.”

Garcia continues to enjoy music as he hopes to eventually to go on to study jazz elsewhere and inspire others with his passion. He describes the feelings of playing instruments with a smile, “It’s incredible, to feel the vibrations of the bass.”

He explained that wherever he sees an opportunity to share his love, he will go there to play music. He stated that his biggest inspiration is Flea from his favorite band Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“Man that guy is just so talented. I mean everyone is sort of talented in their own way, but like I am really inspired by him,” Garcia laughs.

His ultimate dream in life to open a jazz club where people can come and value great music. “I just want to go somewhere where people will actually appreciate jazz, like maybe New Orleans or something.”


Although Garcia does not exactly know where his future will take him, he knows that it will be filled with music, the thing he loves most.


Jones Brought the Beat to MLA


By Alexandra Menendez
Staff Writer

Sterling Jones, music teacher, motivates students to do their best and succeed in their musical talents whether they are in chorus or in band.

Jones, who works alongside Hector Barrera, holds a bachelor’s in music education. As he works to help students excel at their musical talents, Jones believes that, “you have to have a fine line in being nice and strict.”

This music teacher also encourages discipline amongst the students as he believes that if one does not have discipline, then it is his job to teach them so. Throughout his chorus and band classes, Jones constantly states how vital discipline and concentration is so that someone may be able to correct their mistakes and continue further on.

Sophomore Sergui Velez said, “Mr. Jones is a very hardworking teacher. He is always pushing everyone to do their very best in the class. I enjoy the class because Jones makes it fun and he chooses songs the students recognize and know that they will have fun learning to play.”

Jones has strong feelings toward dedication stating that he will always be, “determined to get the job done, and do what I have to do to get it done.”

Jones’s devotion to the art of music inspires the students who enter his classroom. Many students  find themselves enjoying his admiration towards the art and his sense of humor.

“I think Mr. Jones is an exceptional teacher,” said colleague Jackie Taylor, journalism teacher. “You can tell how passionate he is about what he does and how committed he is to his students. He teaches them the skills to be better musicians but he also seeks enrichment activities such as field trips to inspire and motivate students.

Sarah J. Estime, freshman and chorus student said, “Mr. Jones does an excellent job, alongside Mr. Barrera, in teaching us to sing and helping improve on our skills, such as pitch and articulation when singing, and I am highly grateful to have them both as my teachers.”

Whether it is helping his students surpass their own expectations, or teaching them the meaning and importance of core values like discipline, Jones delights in his days working alongside students while doing what he loves.


FBLA students advance to nationals


From left, FBLA sponsor Giovanni Lorenzo, freshman Anny Licor (who placed 4th in Electronic Career Portfolio), senior CJ Acevedo (who placed 2nd in Sales Presentation), senior Melissa Machado (who placed 3rd in Organizational Leadership), and team Isabella Santiago, junior, and Kevin Vega, sophomore (who placed 5th in Sports Management). These members will be advancing to the national competition held in Anaheim, California this summer.


Author Ana Menendez Visits MLA

Author holding gift from Ms.Sky

By Ada Inigo
News Editor

On March 30th, Solsiree Skarlinsky’s English students and members of National Honor English Society gathered in the cafeteria to hear a speech and have an open discussion with author Ana Menendez.

The students in Skarlinsky’s class read Ana Menendez’s novel, In Cuba I was a German Shepard earlier this school year.

Menendez opened her speech up by discussing the importance of Latin writers. She encouraged the students to use their personal stories about suffering and loss to clear up misconceptions, which was her goal when writing In Cuba I was a German Shepard. Menendez talked about her travels and life as a source of inspiration for the novel.

She also shared how the novel was originally completely different, but it was not until the current version that was published that she felt the book was “right.”

NEHS sponsor Michelle Alonso said, “It is so important to me that a classroom reflects the lived experiences of the students. This year, students are getting to read multicultural literature that is rich, complex, and not canonical. If you pair this with the fact that they got the chance to meet Ana Menendez (who is one of those brilliant multicultural authors doing away with convention), I would say that this year has been such a stellar success for Mater Lakes English and for the NEHS.”

After the speech, a Menendez held a Q&A session. When asked what inspired her to be a writer, she cited a Rolling Stones documentary that talked about doing what you know and love, and for her, that was telling stories. She discussed what she loves most about telling stories and that it is their power to transform experiences.

Menendez was later asked what inspired the book she is currently working on, in which she talked about her grandmother and other strong women in her family who have shouldered the burden to grant her the privilege she has today.

Everyone in the audience was moved by Menendez’s speech.

“It was cool seeing an author I read in class in real life,” said junior Nannette Esquijarosa.

Skarlinsky, who organized the event, said, “[Ms.Alonzo and I] met her in graduate school and it was kind of her to talk to the kids and showcase that a Hispanic women can be successful writers.”

When  Menendez was asked about her experience about talking to the students of Mater Lakes, she said, “It was one of the most enthusiastic and committed crowds I’ve ever spoken to. I am very grateful for the invitation.”


The sixth grader who stole the show


By Tiffany Carrazana
Staff Writer

If you attended any of the pep rallies this year, you might remember seeing a middle school student by the name of Abel Alvarez, the outgoing sixth grader who loved participating in the events by dancing to the rhythm of some of the most popular songs with his not-so-modern dance moves.

In response to why he loves to dance so much, Alvarez stated, “I don’t know. The rhythm of the song just takes control.”

He explained that his friends are happy that he is out of his shell, but slightly embarrassed because his dance moves are not the best. “He is cheerful and a bit crazy, but he is an awesome friend,” stated, sixth grader Daniel Fonseca.

In class, he is usually wearing his thick rimmed glasses and calculating numbers in his favorite class and when switching classes, he is casually speaking to Mrs. Zenab Taliaferro, his favorite teacher.

In his free time, Alvarez enjoys playing Call of Duty: Black Ops or Grand Theft Auto 5 on his Playstation 4, or running around and playing with his four siblings. He also likes to spend time with his parents.

High school students know Alvarez as “the kid who is always dancing at the pep rallies.” He is always making the crowd go wild and making the pep rallies a lot more fun for everyone else.

Senior Joelyn Perez, who danced with Alvarez at one of the events, stated, “Although they are high school pep rallies, I feel that as long as everyone’s enjoying themselves it doesn’t matter who participates. The point is to get together, have fun and not be salty because a middle schooler is hyping everyone up.”