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November/December 2019

New Air Conditioning and Heating Systems at Ensign

By Emma LeSieur

Over the course of this summer, new air conditioning and heating systems were installed into the classrooms, which are currently being managed by teachers and staff members. These new systems are extremely efficient in combating the winter chill, and, of course, excessive heat during the warmer months. However, it was made aware that some students are concerned with the cold temperatures present in the classrooms as a result. In order to clearly understand the effect of the new systems, members of the Seabee Buzz asked Spanish and French teacher, Madame Maille, and history teacher, Mr. Harrell, about their thoughts on the matter.

Both teachers found the air conditioning very useful, and use it on a day-to-day basis. While Mr. Harrell had no complaints, Madame Maille did say that sometimes her system malfunctions, and can become too loud during listening activities. Both teachers agree that the air conditioning improves kids’ focus, as it “makes things a bit more comfortable for students while they are trying to learn.”

As to what temperatures these teachers prefer their room to be at, Madame Maille said a comfortable 71 degrees, while Mr. Harrell said “as cold as possible.”

Members of the Seabee Buzz also interviewed students Charlie Brach, Sofia Del Villar, and Lilliana Mattias in order to understand the opinions present in the student portion of Ensign’s community. All students had the same answer when the Seabee Buzz inquired about whether or not they liked the new systems, saying that they did like it, but most of their teachers either make the classroom too cold or don’t use it at all. They also came to the conclusion that, though it can become very hot in Newport Beach, teachers shouldn’t be making their classrooms so cold that kids are shivering.

On average, the students thought that their classrooms were about 68 degrees, which they believed to be a bit too chilly. Charlie Brach and Lilliana Mattias found that their focus was mostly unaffected by the new heating and cooling systems, but Sofia Del Villar found that sometimes she can get a bit distracted when the room is too cold or hot.

Though the new installations have created some complaints, it is clear that they have had a mostly positive effect on our Ensign campus, and provide a nice escape from the wild climate of Newport Beach. 

Seabee Buzz logo

Thoughts on Outside Reading

By Victoria King

Books that students read vary between the grades. A couple of examples are To Kill a Mockingbird for the eighth graders and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the seventh.

However, these books are requirements and rather not books they would read on their own time. After speaking to multiple students it is clear they don’t usually read unless their grade is on the line which needs to change.

I’ve noticed there is a commonality between To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which is that they are a definite step up from Dork Diaries and other elementary chapter books.

Lately, it has been becoming more and more clear that students are unaware of the expansion and advancements of books that they can read now, therefore they do not read as much.

Reading in one’s free time has been proven to reduce stress, expand vocabulary, improve memory, and better thinking and writing skills. Having these skills while your brain is still developing could improve the function of your brain in the soon future.

And not only are there so many benefits to reading you get the greatest benefit of all, getting to learn and create a whole new world within your mind. If anything, reading can be magical as long as it is something one enjoys reading.

Students should understand that there is an open library on the beautiful Ensign campus open to all students before and after school and that there are so many opportunities to find the perfect book for you.

Ms. Mueller, Student Teacher

By Vanessa Van Vliet

Ms. Mueller and VanessaYou may know her from your seventh-grade Literature and Composition or ELA class -- it's Ms. Mueller! She is a student teacher for both Mrs. Tolles and Mrs. Cross who recently started teaching here at Ensign. Here, Ms. Mueller gives us glimpses and insight on her experience at Ensign and her history with teaching, with some advice at the end.

Seabee Buzz: How long have you taught and what motivated you to start teaching?
Ms. Mueller: I'm a student teacher, so I haven't taught for long. I've been a teacher-type throughout my life and I enjoyed working with students in junior high inside and out of the classroom. In high school, I knew I wanted to teach because my teachers saw potential in me.

Seabee Buzz: What are some of your hobbies?
Ms. Mueller: I really like going camping and going to coffee shops. I like to paddleboard and play tennis as well.

Seabee Buzz: Do you have any pets?
Ms. Mueller: I have a dog, and her name is Lola - she's quite the little diva. I am allergic to dogs, though, so I can't touch her much.

Seabee Buzz: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Ms. Mueller: I enjoy interacting with students the most - the whole point of me pursuing English is because I enjoy talking about life and helping people think. If I can help someone with doing that, that's my dream.

Seabee Buzz: Is there any advice you would like to give your students?
Ms. Mueller: I want my students to learn to be themselves. I want them to challenge their own opinions and what they've been told their whole lives. I want them to value themselves as people and not worry about what people are thinking.

Seabee Buzz: How is your experience with Ensign so far?
Ms. Mueller: Ensign is an amazing school and I love being here - I've never felt so comfortable so quickly, and that's thanks to all the amazing students and teachers.

That concludes the interview -- if you see Ms. Mueller anytime soon, make sure to say hi to her and welcome her to Ensign!

Pondering Pigeon Problems/Round and Round

By Kerry Kong and Luke Hohman

Pigeons on the Ensign gymPigeons. Everywhere on campus, perched on the classroom roofs, and sometimes even called “rats of the sky.” We’ve all seen them, yet they’re easily ignored. Just a few birds loitering around can’t do any harm, right?
    Unfortunately, this statement is false in a few ways. Hoards of these creatures swarm the lunch tables and anywhere there is food accessible to them, desperately dependent on the scraps leftover from our meals. During this process, the avian pests also leave their waste products at every location they land on, occasionally a student or administrator and their belongings become victims of the disgusting behavior. 
    Despite some having a good laugh at the expense of a tarnished sweater or dirtied bag, the waste left behind has a serious potential effect on the health of the people here at Ensign, however minuscule the actual droppings are. As stated from the “Bird-B-Gone” website, a company that specializes in educating people about and managing bird infestations, “if these droppings are not removed, students will be exposed to any of 60 transmittable diseases—such as Salmonella and E-coli—these droppings can carry” which could make students sick from eating in unsanitary areas.
    Additionally, some stray birds have ended up inside classrooms during lessons, disrupting the teachers’ and students’ concentration. Just last month, on the 22 of October 2019, a pigeon came flying into Mrs. Gunz’s room, an eighth-grade English teacher, lying perched upon the new ceiling fans. Luke Hohman, a former “pigeon catcher” and witness of this event recalled, “Mrs. Gunz had tried to turn on the newly installed fans and air conditioning but the pigeon just went ‘round and ‘round before scooting itself over to the central part [of the fan to avoid its blades].” Instead of continuing on with teaching, Mrs. Gunz had to interrupt the class in order to attempt to shoo the little pest away. However, at least five other teachers and staff had to get involved. Additionally, in the words of Mrs. Gunz, “the pigeon came flying in and banged against the window constantly as well. Then, Mrs. Fox, Mr. Ehrlinger, and Mr. Bambauer came in and were able to get the pigeon out while my class was in the library.” It took two class periods in order to get it out. Due to these circumstances, the students became super distracted, even in the library, and could not get any of their work done.

Do not feed the pigeons
    According to Mrs. Fox, Mr. Ehrlinger, and Frank, pigeons are attracted to light and, in this particular case, the bird was tired out and landed on a picture frame. Then, Frank picked up the frame and managed to carry the pigeon outside where it flew away. 

One final note to take into consideration when addressing a bird situation inside the classroom. Follow the guidelines below:
•    Do not try and bribe the bird to fly out with food.
•    Do not swat at and try and move the bird, it will cause them to get scared and end up being harder to get rid of.
•    Leave the pigeon alone and it will eventually fly out of the classroom.

    So, what can we do to prevent these unfortunate encounters? There is the obvious, cleaning up after yourself and others and although this may seem overly-repeated and cheesy, it is still extremely important to do so and limit the number of birds that are attracted to our lunches. While there are various strategies to defend buildings from flocks landing on them, such as spikes and small electric shocks on roofs to deter the birds from sitting on flat surfaces, the easiest is to simply pick up and dispose of garbage properly. 

If we took a little extra bit of time to only place your trash into its designated bin, there would be no need for a Beautification Club or the additional labor janitors spend on cleaning beneath the tables.
Shocking how little effort needs to be put in to contribute to our school in a positive way.

Sources: BirdBGone Industry Education

Who We Are...

Writers: Axel Ahuactzin, Charlie Brach, Sofia Del Villar, Josh Dodman, Ben Glassen, Luke Hohman, Victoria King, Kerry Kong, Emma LeSieur, Lili Matias, Ryder Rasmussen, Azi Schacht, Vanessa Van Vliet, Avery Wolfe, Maddox Yarnall

Advisor: Kristine Cross