The Chefs

The SCCS Omelette is the product of the Media Writing Class for the first semester of the 2011-2012 school year comprised of Ximena Fagan, Andrea Gutierrez, Lucia Landivar, Nicolas Handal, Sebastian Vedia, Manuel Saavedra, Nicolas Aguirre, and Fernando Monasterio. Instructor and Blogmaster: David Boldt. (Address all complaints and suggestions to To read more items on the "Omelette," including profiles of new teachers and staff, Middle School Medieval Day, and much, much more, go to

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Global Issues Network Conference

GIN Conference attendees during a day at the Zoo studying biodiversity.

Making the World Better
. . . 20 Solutions at a Time

By Ximena Fagan and Andrea Gutierrez

Ten Santa Cruz Cooperative School students selected through a competitive process will be attending a Global Issues Network (GIN) student conference taking place at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in Lima, Peru starting October 2, 2011.

 GIN is an organization that brings together teenagers all over the world to try to find solutions to the major issues they will face in their lifetimes. The hope is that they can unite as a single community and work on building a better future.  GIN was inspired by the book “High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve Them” by Frenchman John-Francois Rischard, former World Bank vice-president for Europe.

The author breaks the 20 issues into three groups. Group One (sharing our planet) includes global warming, biodiversity, deforestation, and pollution. Group Two (sharing our humanity) includes poverty, peacekeeping, education, and disease Group Three (sharing our rule book) includes biotechnology, international finance, intellectual property rights, and migration rules. 

     Schools that participate in the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) will attend the Lima conference. It is designed to bring together students from all over the continent to work for a good cause hand-in-hand with their teachers. This conference involves people from many different backgrounds, and allows everyone to practice being leaders. The students from each school have the opportunity to showcase action projects from their schools that address one of the critical global issues. Eight countries will be represented in this conference.
      Santa Cruz Cooperative School has the privilege to participate in this prestigious conference this year for the first time. Librarian Rebecca Battistioni offered her time and energy to guide the students, which is appropriate since Battistoni engineered SCCS’ participation in GIN. She heard about GIN when she traveled to Brazil to attend the AASSA teachers conference, and GIN conference came up.  She believed that SCCS students would enjoy taking part.  

After she returned, she asked the school´s director, William McKelligott if she could put the group together, and, without hesitation, he agreed. To join the group students had to pass through two phases of the selection process. The first consisted of a short application. Battistoni said, “It was difficult to narrow the number of students, because I believe many had done an excellent job on their applications.” In phase two, high school principal Nicholaas Mostert and Battistoni interviewed the students who survived phase one, and chose the ones they believed would contribute most to the GIN group. “We were looking for students that have excellent English speaking skills and would be dedicated to the project. We chose students who will represent SCCS in the best possible way”, said Battistoni.
The twelve students finally chosen include six seniors: Jorge Melgar, Samuel Melgar, Carla Limpias, Ana Paula Peredo, Sofia Sotelo, and Maria Velasco; five juniors: Anna Sophia Rivero, Maria FernandaVillegas, Hyun Kim, Paola Querejazu, and Karolina Guzman; and one sophomore, Jorge Zankis. Jorge Melgar and Jorge Zankis were ultimately unable to make the trip because of schedule conflicts.  

       After the team was created, biodiversity in Bolivia was chosen as the topic the group would present at the conference. Over the past few months the group has worked closely with the Santa Cruz Zoo, learning about and helping to clean the environments for the animals there. In the process the students “learned how important it was to preserve many different aspects of the animals’ natural habitat,” said Ms Battistoni. The students later served as tour guides for people enjoying a day at the zoo. The group has also done fundraisers like bake sales to raise money for the trip.  

The participants are looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join this prestigious organization’s efforts to find solutions to global problems, while also learning more about their own country. They are eager to be part of this effort to bring together youth to focus on these problems, and are already putting to use the philosophy expressed in the GIN slogan, “Building New Futures by Breaking Old Habits.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An added attraction

New Administration Building 
Presents Opportunities for SCCS

By Manuel Saavedra  and Sebastian Vedia

         There were many questions and rumors going around after the school purchased the house next to the school as the new administration building, so we went to the site of the building in search for some answers.

The questions and rumors were not necessarily worries. Soccer players, for one example, were relieved the school had bought this property because now they could kick soccer balls over the fence into this property -- without having the concern it would come back with a knife hole in it as happened on at least one occasion.

 But what other advantages did it bring for the school? What, exactly was going to go on there?

As we entered the new building we observed an old fashioned construction with a beautiful old fountain in the middle of a courtyard with water cascading onto rocks. This building was built in the 1970s as a residence and it still looks like a home, but now the school has made some changes that made it look more like other buildings on campus – pleasant, but businesslike. The courtyard opens onto offices for the business, administration, and admission offices, as well as the office of Director William McKelligott.  

 The two-story building has many rooms adequate for small offices, as well as a kitchen for the staff members who work there. There are several bathrooms for the use of staff and visitors. Currently, there are masons workings their fixing the garden and painting the building white. They are also building a fence that matches the barrier surrounding the rest of our campus, so that outsiders realize the property now belongs to Santa Cruz Cooperative School.

 We were hospitably welcomed into Director William McKelligott’s new office by the Director himself to visit with him and discuss the new building.  He was eager to help us answer the questions we had.   McKelligott began by telling us that there is one disadvantage to the new arrangement in that he felt isolated from the school. In his previous office he had the opportunity to go out and interact more easily with the student body. He said he very much enjoyed going out in the morning before school to greet students and have short conversations, which is harder in his new, slightly more remote, location.
         Despite this drawback, which he is working on ways to overcome, he very much likes the new office.  McKelligott is the central presence in the new building, and the meeting rooms and other facilities help him to meet the demands for flexibility imposed on him. “My agenda can change many times throughout the day,” he said. “These changes are due to either security issues, problems with students or parents, meetings with teachers, business affairs of the school, and even the US embassy. He says, “I’m all over the place, OK?”  He attends to about ten meetings a day.

     The director believes the school made a good decision buying this house, which is located on 2800 square meters of property. The building looks large from the outside, but inside it seems modest in scale, with much of the interior space taken up by the bright and airy courtyard attractively decorated with student art work.

     For the people who work there it is a welcome change from the cramped and relatively dark quarters the offices occupied in the ground floor of a high school classroom building. Maritza Chavarria, who is perhaps the most well known person in the business office in her capacity as the person who collects payments from parents, said, “We feel much more comfortable at this new building.”

            This building not only made more space for the school but also opened up office space for a new position, the school improvement director. This position has been filled by Bruna Bellani, from Cochabamba. She is the ideal person for the job because she has a lot of experience in the field. She worked in New York City and Arizona in some of the top-rated schools in the US.  She has worked in schools for 28 years. Her job at SCCS is to help students achieve success in terms of both long and short term goals.  

The main reason the school bought this land was for the extra space that was needed on campus. The school enrolls just under 600 students and there are many demands for added facilities. More space does not necessarily mean more students. It means, among other things, expansion of the fields and playing areas. For example, the school is planning to expand the recreational space for the elementary students because the current area they have behind their building is too small. Some of the space will come from the grounds of the new administration building.

The school is also planning to tearing down one of the high school buildings that contained the former administrative offices to construct a new three-story building that will have a theatre, fine arts rooms, and maybe even house an indoor pool. The school has already made plans to start this project, though no firm dates have been set.

It’s all part of a continuing plan to make SCCS not only bigger, but better.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Middle School Medieval Fair Pictures

Middle School Medieval Day Story

Knights and Damsels Battle

For Honor, Glory -- and Fun

By Lucia Landivar

    Maid Natalia of Medina representing the White House looked determined. But then so did Maid Naira of Rodriguez, who was fighting for the Black House, as they both charged down the track wearing cardboard horses on straps from their shoulders, and aiming long, white PVC “lances” at a small tire suspended above the track midway between them.

     Both girls’ lances skewered the tire simultaneously and the two maids began a desperate struggle to take possession of it from the other. The two galloped together out onto the soccer field, each being urged on by their partisans.

     “I’m scared,” said a sixth grade boy as the girls battled ferociously.

    “I think it’s a little dangerous,” commented a worried Hudson Thurston, one of the teachers who organized the Medieval Day together with athletic director Alvaro Ludueña.
     “This is definitely not baseball,” said Seth Gibson, another teacher who was helping to supervise.

     Finally, Patrick St. Amand, the teacher in charge of the event, called a halt – just as eighth grade Natalia Medina broke free with the ring to the dismay of classmate Naira Rodriguez. There was a protest and a rematch.

    “Whoa, I’m out of here,” said teacher-spectator Kirk Dahlberg, as soon as he heard about the rematch.

     That was more or less the way it went throughout  Medieval Day on Sept 21 when the Middle School students, divided into three “kingdoms” or “houses”  (Black, Red, and White), spent a full day competing in games, contests, and competitions for best choreography, costumes, coats of arms, and royalty – all with a medieval theme. The competition was fierce, but all in fun.

     “The main purpose of Medieval Day was to raise school spirit by sharing and having a good time between students from different grades, without leaving behind the opportunity to gain some knowledge out of it,” said Ludueña, who thought up the idea.

      He wanted to build on the “House” systems implemented last year to improve the links of friendship between middle school classes, and give the middle school a more coherent identity. The medieval theme gave the event a twist that made it distinctive from the usual “sports days” of the past.
       The “medieval” theme offered the opportunity for students to dress up as kings, queens, knights, and other characters of the medieval era, and participate in assorted competitions involving this era somehow.  And it seemed to work. Roberto Maureria from 8th grade had been putting lots of effort over the preceding three weeks in making costumes out of recycled materials and designing a coat of arms on a banner that would lead the White Kingdom in battle.  On the day of the event Maureria and his teammates were anxious for the games to begin. “I really do believe my house has a huge chance to win today” said Maureira.
     His confidence was well placed. Although no one seemed to be paying much attention to the score during the day – they were concentrating more on having fun – the White House did win the overall award in results announced several days later, though not by much. White amassed 1600 points, winning six of the fifteen events including best coat of arms. The Red House was second with 1500 points, and victories in five of the events. The Black House trailed by a narrow margin, with 1350 points and wins in four events.
      For the opening ceremonies the three houses paraded into the gymnasium in sequence while judges assessed the banners, coats of arms, mascots, dance routines, costumes, and general enthusiasm. Indeed, enthusiasm seemed more important than authenticity. The dances, for example, seemed to owe their inspiration more to Radio Disney than King Arthur’s Court.

“Medieval Fair” features games of a different sort 

     The rest of the morning consisted of groups of students representing each house rotating from one activity to another at various locations in the coliseum testing their ability to throw, hit, or toss assorted objects at various targets – all with a medieval theme. The model was the “fairs” of medieval times.

      The knights and damsels were ready for action, cheering on their kingdom, sweating, and jumping up and down. “Faster, you can do it!,”one could hear shouted as the gym became one big chaotic battlefield. Some of the advice was specific:  “Strike the eye of the dragon, and control that sword!” was the cry at one venue. Other admonishments were more general, such as “Hurry, hurry, hurry!”

      The “towers” game was definitely a favorite between the students. Combatants from the seventh grade Red Kingdom described the game as “fun and creative, because we all had to figure out ways to carry as many boxes as our bodies could” across a plank “bridge,” and then into a cardboard “castle.” There the next player would have to pick them all up – and add more – as fast as possible and return. The trick was to stack the boxes systematically rather than carry them in a jumble.
     “Hitting the dragon with the axes was so cool. We acted as if we were Cinderella, and the guys were our knights in shining armor. In the end we all laughed at our interpretations of princesses,” explained seventh grade girls while chuckling and giggling as they hurled cardboard rubber axes at a papier mache dragon’s head. (The axes and dragon were made in art class.) Teacher Rocky Canelas was in a frenzy trying to count the number of “hits” scored by the hail of axes.

     “The horseshoe game was amazing, everyone got excited, and we all started shouted as loud as we could to cheer on the players. We did more physical work in this game, since the horseshoes were a little heavy,” said Raul Cabral from sixth grade. The goal of the game was to toss horseshoes into a metal paint bucket set on a gym mat: the bucket was half filled with sand to weigh it down and stabilize it, but it took a beating as did the gym mats.

     Students also threw crowns, fired balls at targets using small catapults, and launched rubber-tipped arrows from miniature crossbows at fake mice. “We were always bickering about who went first in every game,” said excited eighth grader, Gilberto Chavez.

     The finale of the games inside the coliseum was the “Save the Damsel” challenge. This game involved a small obstacle course that six knights from each kingdom had to walk and crawl through in turn to reach a cage composed of two small soccer goals lashed together with six cable bicycle locks. A “damsel” was imprisoned inside the goals.  “Faster, use your arms!” screamed the knights of the Black Kingdom, as a brave fighter did a low crawl under a net, and arrived at a cage.

     On arriving at the cage each knight had to overcome his nerves to figure out which lock his key would open. The knights often had to try each lock before he found the right one. Another complication was that the keys were on ribbons that tended to get enmeshed in the netting of the goals. Once the knight had opened his lock he had to run back to the beginning, and give the keys to the next courageous knight from his kingdom. The damsel was “freed” when all six locks were opened. The Red House won by completing the challenge in the shortest amount of time.

On to the Jousting Field

     After a lunch break the afternoon events in the soccer field started.  Sixth grader Jose Carlos Paz declared these “the best part of Medieval Day,” and many students seemed to agree. Paz at the time was wiping off shaving cream that represented his “wounds” from one of the events.

     The first game consisted of a group of girls from each kingdom participating in a sand castle contest. Each group had 20 minutes to build a castle, which was judged by middle school teachers, Nancy Maya and Kirk Dahlberg.

      Then came the most amusing event of the day, Damsel Jousting, started. (This was the game where Medina and Rodriguez had their clashes.)  “It was one of the funniest and exciting competitions of the day!” said Jose Mario Zambrana from seventh grade. “Go, go, go, go, go,” shouted spectators on the bleachers as the pairs of maids charged toward one another. Cries of “Yes!” greeted each successful skewering of the small tire by a plastic pipe lance.   Spectators shouted for victory or vengeance as the process of elimination advanced.
     “This is more stressful than teaching,” said St. Amand, the organizer, as he strove to keep order.  

       After the Damsel Jousting came the almost equally entertaining “Knight Battles.” This competition consisted of two players from different houses standing on small platforms a short distance apart, and trying to knock the opponent off his platform with sticks that had cloth-covered sponges at each end. Each knight wore a helmet and hitting an opponent in the head was prohibited.  The crowd shouted helpful hints to their teammates as to where to hit the opponent next.
      “The battle was harder than it looked, but I was victorious,” said Lorenzo Monasterio from eighth grade after successfully knocking his opponent off the box.  
      Finally, the Knight Jousting competition took place. This was similar to the Damsel Jousting in that pairs of knights charged one another down a track, but this time the goal was to hit the opponent with a plate full of shaving cream. The knights wore protective glasses to keep the soapy foam out of their eyes.

      “I was nervous that my opponent was going to get shaving cream on my horse, my body, or worse, my face,” said eighth grader Richard Salvatierra, whose horse did get a lethal splattering of foam. “I was sad when that happened, since I lost possible points for my kingdom,” he said.

     Once the day was over, the staff and the students seemed satisfied with the outcome of the Medieval Day. Everyone had the chance to get away from the usual to experience a carefree day in which many new friendships were built, and many new things were learned. Many students and teachers did agree that t would be good to add some water games to future competitions if the weather was as hot next time. .
     But at least the competitors hadn’t had to wear real suits of armor. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pride Week

´Spirit Week´shows Jaguar Pride in Style
By Nicolas Aguirre and Nicolas Handal
The SCCS student government, known as STUCO, gave all middle and high school students a chance to show off their school pride by participating in a week-long series of special “dress” days between August 29 and September 2.
The week also included a pep rally at which the band played spirited anthems and student leaders urged students to turn out for the Santa Cruz Interscholastic League soccer and volleyball games, which also started that week.
The Jaguars are the defending champions in all four varsity competitions ---  boys and girls varsity soccer, and boys and girls varsity volleyball -- but this year the teams will need all the support they can get from students and parents.
A third purpose of the Pride Week program was to allow a competition between the three houses into which the High School has been divided, named after the school colors – Red, Black and White.  The more students each house had participating in the costuming activity the more points it received. Red finished first, with black and white tying for second.
To start the week off, students arrived on Monday in “business attire,” which usually meant jacket and tie. On Tuesday, the dress code was anything as long as it was red-and-white.  Wednesday was “punk” day. Thursday students wore jerseys of their favorite sports team. Friday everyone wore their House’s color – black, red, or white.
There were some outstanding costumes. STUCO treasurer Samuel Melgar probably “won” the punk competition with a greasy Mohican hair style and excessive use of mascara that would have made him a credit to any punk band. Dean Kenneth Davis had the most esoteric sports jersey – an authentic uniform shirt from the Cleveland Indians baseball team, his home town team. 
Friday was also a day of friendly and entertaining competitions involving throwing water balloons (without breaking them), teamwork activities, and dancing. (Students picked their own dance style, and if they heard different drummers, well, that was all right, as long as they go the style right.
These days were full of laughter, and a lot of fun for everyone, there were hopes expressed that STUCO should organize more of this activities throughout the year, which STUCO president Francisco Roda promised he would do.
The ´spirit´ engendered by “Spirit Week” seemed to be working on the playing fields as well. The Jaguar varsities won all their games against Cambridge that week.          

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Habitat for Humanity

SCCS students help build a better future

By Lucia Landivar

            The SCCS bus arrived at the dusty construction site located on a flat piece of terrain outside La Guardia at about 8:30 in the morning. About 20 students, many really just waking up, tumbled out and began preparations for a day of building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
      There were at least 20 houses under construction, most about half-finished. When completed they would be sold to poor families who would pay $60 a month to acquire what for many of them would be the first decent housing they had ever lived in. The job of the SCCS students was to provide non-skilled labor to finish these houses, which were being built as part of the world-wide Habitat for Humanity (HFH) program.
   “Our main goal is to have an opportunity for meaningful community service”, said Hudson Thurston, the middle school teacher who is in charge of the program at the school,  after the first SCCS Habitat For Humanity build of the year. The “builds” will continue through the rest of the year taking place every few weeks.
    Habitat For Humanity is an international nonprofit organization that welcomes volunteers all around the world to eliminate substandard housing in their communities. Since 1976, HFH has constructed over 400,000 houses around the world, providing decent shelter for over 2 million people. SCCS is proud to be part of this effort.
Habitat For Humanity has building sites all over Bolivia, from La Paz to Santa Cruz. SCCS has worked in the Chiquitania, La Guardia, El Torno, and Cotoca. This year, students will spend most of their efforts in La Guardia.
 In SCCS, students and teachers work as volunteers along with construction workers (and the families who will eventually own the houses ). Students develop a sense of community service, and learn how to work hard. They also learn about partnership, and leadership skills.
SCCS started working with HFH many years ago, but the partnership was suspended for a few years. Three years ago, Mike Vandeloo who was working as SCCS’s school counselor, and Thurston contacted HFH and arranged to renew SCCS’ involvement in the program. Mr. Thurston and librarian Rebecca Battistioni are going to the builds with the high school students.
The  SCCS students work on several houses, digging  holes for septic tanks, moving bricks, tiles, leveling out the floors, and basically doing whatever needs to be done that doesn’t require training.  The students work alongside the masons and other skilled workers and help in any way they can.
It’s hard work. By midafternoon Estefania Sauto, a junior, was so tired and dusty that she said she was ready to go to sleep -- but she kept going.
Tae Ho Cho, another junior, said his arms were aching from taking wheelbarrow loads full of sand and tiles from place to place.
Girls quietly compared their new callouses on their otherwise nicely manicured hands.
 Thurston is pleased with the way the program has progressed. “In the past three years, I’ve done a couple dozen builds, and I’m always pleasantly surprised on how our students conduct themselves. They are very polite, and show very good manners with all the workers in the site,” says Thurston.  Students from ninth to twelfth grade come out and give their best effort, he says. They  work together and get along nicely.
Working in Habitat For Humanity is both rewarding  and tiring. When this writer got home she went straight to bed, so tired I couldn’t even take a shower. My body was a little sore the next day from all the shoveling, but I felt a sense of satisfaction and happiness from my work in building homes for those families. It was fun to watch even the small children of the families who would live in the houses passing bricks up onto the roofs.
 Habitat For Humanity is a fun activity for students to  spend half of their Saturday doing a little labor for  families in need to benefit the community.  
Afterword: During the school's second Habitat for Humanity on Saturday. Oct. 22, members of  the SCCS group were invited to participate in a ceremony at which titles to some of the newly constructed houses were turned over to the new owners, and the school was honored for the work it has done at the La Guardia site over the past two years.The ceremony was attended by Habitat officials, local home owners, and officials from the La Guardia mayoral office. SCCS was also mentioned by name in Habitat for Humanity's most recent annual report.  

Pictures of New Lower School Teachers

Silvia Davis

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