February/March Edition "2022" Winter wrap-up!

For students, about students, by students!!!

At BEAR News (brought to you by the MHS Journalism Club), it is our mission to entertain our readers, viewers, and listeners with various newsworthy topics. In order to do this, Journalism Club members creatively pursue news stories on topics that focus on the MHS community from the student perspective. We encourage all MHS students (with staff support) to participate in the making of the BEAR News through all forms of media content including but not limited to written articles, polls, videos, podcasts, art, and more.

News at a glance: in this issue...


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Saturday, February 5 was a great day for Merced High FCCLA students and advisors as they competed in the Region Spring Leadership Meeting at Lodi High School. Students prepared for the competition since December and although many competitions had fewer students due to Covid, Merced High students shined. Seven students competed in various events and everyone qualified for the State level competition.

Isabella Meyer and Jacob Friedman are currently serving as Region Officers. Bella is the Region president and Jacob serves as the Vice President and Treasurer. These two worked together leading the MHS FCCLA Chapter through virtual meetings last year as President and Vice President. This year they have had a few virtual meetings at the Region level. They have been planning for this first in-person meeting for the last few months and did extremely well leading the meeting with poise, confidence, and enthusiasm. Merced students will continue to serve as Region officers next year as elections were held for the 2022-2023 school year. Averie Stockeland will be serving as the Region President and Emily Burroughs will serve as Treasurer/Secretary.

Isabella Meyer - 1st - Job Interview

Averie Stockeland - 3rd - Job Interview

Jacob Friedman - 1st - Culinary Arts

Emmanuel Oregel - 3rd - Culinary Arts

Paige Calzadillas - 1st - Menu Planning and Table Display

Renee Nies - 1st - Culinary Display - Appetizers

Samantha Slocum - 1st - Fashion Construction

Two teams submitted in a virtual competition as well:

Marisa Lunde and Alexa Martin - Professional Presentation

Emma Reyna, Jenna Reyna and Nikki Dietz - Focus on Children

Great job MHS FCCLA students and advisors Mrs. Meyer, Mrs. Wade, and Mr. Calzadillas!

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MHS FBLA students competed in the Central Section Competition at Redwood High School in Visalia on Saturday February 12. Six students competed and they all placed. These students worked very hard on their competitions and represented MHS in a professional manner. Furthermore, their hard work and dedication serve to illustrate why they are future business leaders of America.

Hilda Barragan-Reyes - 1st Place - Public Speaking; 1st Place - Securities and Investments

Amirrah Lopez - 1st Place - Intro to Public Speaking

Brianna Solis - 4th Place - Intro to Business Concepts; 10th Place - Advertising

Alex Saephanh - 8th Place - Economics

Anthony Urias - 8th Place - Business Communications

Omar Uriostegui - 10th Place - Securities and Investments

Way to go MHS FBLA students and congratulations to club advisor Mrs. White as well!


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by Samantha Villavicencio

National FFA Week! Celebrated annually across the nation in the month of February to bring awareness to the industry and agriculture education. This year, Merced FFA celebrated the annual weekly festivity from February 14th to the 18th and hosted many fun activities for students to enjoy. Activities included dress-up days, morning waves to cars on Olive Ave., and lunchtime events.

This year, the Ag Leadership class nominated senior Hannah Isakow, to run the "Kiss the Pig" annual fundraiser event that culminated in a staff member getting the honor to kiss a pig during lunchtime at the end of the week. Students donated money to the fundraiser and cast their votes and the teacher who got the most votes got to kiss the pig! This year's winners were Mr. Wendell and Ms. Zorra. Thank you for being great sports.

In other MHS FFA news, congratulations are in order for 16 State Degree Applicants who were approved in February as well. According to MHS Ag. Dept. Chair, Mrs. Kuhr, this is the highest number of degree recipients in the last twenty years. Great job MHS FFA and Ag teachers!

The students receiving them are as follows: Adriannah Salinas, Analise Flores, Analise Galloway, Andrew Flores, Angelena Montano, Ava Flores, Brevin Nannini, Cristal Esquivel, Jack Dunbar, Jaiden Shelton, Josh Ortega, Melany Garcia, Natalia Robinson, Oscar Santana, Taylor Melgosa, and Ximena Penaloza. Congratulations to all!

Additionally, four FFA members competed in a rabbit show in early February and did phenomenally!

- Angelica Garcia:

Californian doe- 1st place x2

Mini rex buck- 1st place x2, best of variety x2

- Sydnee Stone:

Havana buck- 1st place x2

Californian buck- 1st place, 2nd place

- Angelena Montano:

Himalayan buck- 1st place, 2nd place, Best of Breed in show B

- Melany Garcia:

Dutch buck- 1st place, 2nd place

Dutch buck- 2nd place, 3rd place

A note from Mrs. Harvey, "Many of you have seen our rabbits and this is just one of the many opportunities they have given to our students. If you ever want to check out our rabbitry and see everything these four have learned, feel free to reach out! They would love to show you around."


by Aiden Parker

So our short and sweet winter sports season concluded this past February/March and it’s now time for our Winter Sports Recap!

First off we have our Boys Basketball team. They won their first CCC championship since 2017 and made it to the D2 Sac-Joaquin playoffs where they lost to #5 Oakmont 59-42. Highlights of the regular season included a clean sweep of Merced area high schools as the Bears beat both El Cap and GV twice in going 4-0 to secure City of Merced bragging rights. Senior point-guard Seth Mays-Meneley poured in 31 points as the Bears beat the Cougars 53-49 in the last regular-season league game. The win secured the league title for the Bears and the #1 seed in the CCC. Post-season awards included seniors Jaylen Thao-Booth and Seth Mays-Meneley receiving all-CCC first-team honors and senior Javis Saeteurn was named to the all-CCC sportsmanship team. Sophomore Roman Buendia received an all-CCC honorable mention and head coach Adrian Sanchez was named the CCC’s Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

In Girls Basketball, the Lady Bears competed valiantly in a senior-dominant league. The Bears were led by first-year head coach Willie Steverson and a talented group of players that included junior Mylah Steverson whom was named to the all-CCC second-team respectively.

Girls soccer was led by another first-year head coach, Vic Nazario and they had plenty to be proud of as Senior Vanessa Perez earned all-CCC first-team honors with Analiese Flores and Ariana Gonzalez bringing home all-CCC second-team honors. Celeste Magana-Casillas earned the League Sportsmanship Award for the Bears. One of the highlights of the 2022 campaign included placing first in the Hughson Tournament.

Boys soccer had a lot of success on the pitch this past season too as several young players garnered post-season awards. Junior, Lorenzo Jorgenson was selected as the all-CCC Defensive Player of the Year, and juniors Edgar Vasquez and Fabrizio Alvarez were named to the all-CCC first and second teams accordingly.

Wrestling had an amazing season with the team becoming league champions for the first time in approximately 15 years and qualifying for sections for the first time in roughly 20 years. To cap it all off, Isabel Perez-Zoghbi made it all the way to the section finals in Stockton and then qualified for the state meet in Bakersfield making a run that few will ever make. At the post-season CCC Tournament, Merced finished with eight individual champions. Boys champions were Elijah Valencia (108), Isaiah Serena (115), Abram Granados (122), Colin Krieger (154), and Anthony Nixon (222). The Girls champions included Jessica Flores (123), Isabel Perez-Zoghbi (128), and Evelyn Vargas (172). Post-season recognition for all-CCC wrestlers were doled out to Elijah Valencia, Isaiah Serena, Abraham Granados, and Isabel Perez-Zoghbi.

A great job recognition to head coach Clayton Schneider and the rest of the bears wrestling coaching staff. In spite of the many unforeseen obstacles that MHS wrestlers and coaches faced, they persevered. Way to go Bears!

Hamilton, National Competition Winner: Kate Samuelson

On February 16, Mr. Meneley received the following email from the Hamilton Education Program in New York stating, "The student performance video you submitted entitled Boston Mass... in the Hamilton Education Program Online National Competition has been selected as an Outstanding Performance Winner." The student performance video belonged to Kate Samuelson. Her reward is an all-expense-paid trip to New York City in May that includes attending a Hamilton Education Program theater experience including a matinee performance of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway followed by a Q&A with Hamilton cast members. Bear NEWS recently caught up with Kate for a short interview ahead of her New York trip.

BEAR News (BN): You've won, how does that feel?

Kate Samuelson (KS): Now that I have won it feels so surreal! I never in a million years thought I would win a national competition like this.

BN: Are you looking forward to going N.Y. and watching Hamilton the show on Broadway?

KS: I am so excited to see Hamilton on Broadway! I can't wait to see the theater and the overall atmosphere of New York.

BN: After watching the Broadway show, you will be given an opportunity to meet the cast and ask questions. Any idea what you might ask?

KS: What is your favorite role from the show?

After performing the show, do you have a new passion for history?

What was the audition process like?

BN: What gave you the idea to create your performance piece on the Boston Massacre?

KS: When I was reading the list of options of things that I could pick from for the PBL, the first thing that jumped out to me on the list was the Boston Massacre. I started to do some research and began playing with the theme “there was tension”. Because I am a huge Hamilton fan, I knew I wanted to create a “rap” like those in the show. After writing the lyrics, I began to try different drum loops on Garage Band. I then recorded my voice in many layers to create the effect of multiple people. After hours of editing, the song was created and I began to film the various parts so they could represent the different voices.

BN: Did watching the musical in class and going through the Hamilton Education Program Online make creating an original performance piece easier for you?

KS: Yes, it did! I was already familiar with the Musical Hamilton, but rewatching it gave me many ideas on how I wanted my piece to sound.

BN: Do you think that the Hamilton Education Program Online allows students to connect with the people and events from the founding era and revolutionary time period?

KS: I definitely think the Hamilton Education Program Online allows students to connect with the people and events from the founding era and revolutionary time period. I loved using the EDUHAM website for research because everything is right there! You don't have to use multiple websites.

BEAR News can't wait to hear about Kate's trip to Broadway. We look forward to seeing photos and reading about it in the May edition of BEAR News!

See Kate's award-winning entry below. Enjoy!

"Boston Mass...acre" by Kate Samuelson

Happy Birthday MHS!

Merced High School recently celebrated a centennial birthday in name only. If you look it up on the world wide web you will see that MHS was founded on March 14, 1922. If you dig deeper into the Merced County archives, you'll see that Merced County High School was established in 1895 and the name was updated to Merced Union High School in 1917 before officially becoming Merced High School in 1922. Regardless of the name, Merced High School has a storied tradition of scholars and champions as Merced High's own Zon Forest Moua will so eloquently tell you in his following op-ed piece. Enjoy!

MHS: a hundred years... by Zon Forest Moua

One score year ago, our founding fathers brought forth, upon this state, a new school, conceived in championship, and dedicated to the proposition that students take grasp of their opportunities and pursue their American Dream. Isn’t it funny? Merced High has always been recognized as that “one old school.” Today surely marks it as true. Today, we celebrate the old age of this school, one hundred years of age actually. One hundred years. Imagine the lives of all those who lived between the first class of Merced, to now, the millennial class one hundred years later. Wars have been fought, revolutions have been ignited and extinguished, walls have been torn down, and countless lives have been lost… but also many conceived. All within one hundred years.1 But above all the history between 1922 to 2022, I don’t think our forefathers would be surprised by Merced as it is now. Merced continues to transpire the legacy of scholars and champions. Undoubtedly a strong life not many schools, or even universities, can admit. Regardless of the era, the special thing about this school we walk on is its ability to constantly, relentlessly prove the willingness of us students. Look around, you don’t need to walk long to realize the rich, saturated history we carry here. That famous mural (which I believe beautifully embodies the cultural flower that is Merced) off the corner of the music room, the black and orange stripes that run along the sides of our campus like a rainbow, and of course, the walls of titles and trophies that decorate our gyms with wafting immensity. All these remember the legacy that seeps into the heart of Merced. Every victory and every loss is recorded in this century-old Mercedian elder. We stand tall on the shoulders of our giants. What other school can say that?

The longer you think about it, Merced’s age is certainly one that has universally accepted every generation and every individual to come. And with such a powerful sense of tradition (unsurprising from the Boomer generation that walked before us), it’s often difficult to imagine how to move forward from a school that has outlived nations. We’ve fostered so many souls and aspirations it’s become a centerpiece of speciality in many ways. But beyond the excellent teachers, sport wins, and academic prowess, the true spirit lies in us: the students. A school is only as good as the students who accept it. And though this school is a slight bit older than the rest, it remains forever, our school. We must not forget that. We must love it so much for that, because, only we can do that – we must… by the students, for the students, shall not forgo this school.

  1. Yes, the school was officially established in 1895. But the title, “Merced High School'' was established in 1922.

MHS Students Show off their Science Knowledge!

On March 19, MHS students once again proved why we are the home of Scholars and Champions by competing in 11 out of 20 events in the Regional Science Olympiad. Our students placed 11th out of 21 total teams in spite of not being able to compete in all events because of event scheduling conflicts. All things considered (scoring process, missed events, etc.), this is an outstanding accomplishment! BEAR News congratulates you and your amazing coach, Ms. Downey. Great job!


Codebusters (Decipher cryptic messages and codes, one of the hardest of the competitions) - 1st place.

Team members: Daniel Chen, Elaine Chuang, and Robert Wiebe

Ornithology (Identifying types of North American birds by appearance, habitat, feathers, descriptions, or calls) - 1st place

Team members: Tianna LiWang and Mael Secretan

Anatomy and Physiology - 3rd place

Team members: Daniel Chen and Zon Moua

Environmental Chemistry - 4th place

Team Members: Daniel Chen and Zon Moua

Cellular Biology - 5th place

Team Members: Tianna LiWang all by herself! (Go Tianna!)

Disease Detectives - 3rd place

Team Members: Daniel Chen and Joshua Corona

Special Recognition to Jaden Xiong who stepped up to fill in some areas he wasn't planning or preparing for due to all the changes and still pulled off a 9th place award by himself.

MHS students placed in the top 10 for all other events. Way to go, Bears!

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The Oscars-themed talent show took place this year on March 24 as several MHS students showcased their skills in front of a live audience. Hosted by seniors Kaylie Escobar-Islas and Seth Mays-Meneley, the show featured singing, rapping, dancing, live music, DJ'ing, and even a James Bond expert! After a 2-year hiatus, the in-person show did not disappoint as show attendees clapped and cheered for the contestants for a job well done. Guest judges Mrs. "Steph" Cowperthwaite, Mr. Abejuela, and Mr. Meneley were faced with the difficult task of determining a winner. In the end, singer Daniela Olmos was crowned champion, rapper Malachi Martin received runner-up honors and dancer Jennifer Tovar rounded out the top 3. Every participant was immensely talented and represented themselves and MHS with pride! Great job Bears!


Tierra Banks - Singing

Malachi Martin - Rapping (2nd place)

Damian Martinez - DJ'ing

Youngjun Miranda - Dancing

Daniela Olmos - Singing (1st place)

Tynique Williams & Meron Hailemarian - Musicians

Alina Stone & Dina Mohamed - Dancing

Jennifer Tovar - Dancing (3rd place)

Robert Wieb - James Bond Guesser

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MHS Champions Again!

The Annual MUHSD Battle of the Books was BACK in-person this year at El Capitan High School on March 25. Eight high schools from around Merced County competed to bring the championship to their campus by testing their knowledge of literature against a list of 20 books (10 young adult novels, 5 works of non-fiction, and 5 classics). The MHS Book Club student and staff teams led by MHS librarian Mrs. Pedrozo toppled the competition and secured another B.o.B. championship for MHS. Way to go BEARS!

MHS Color Guard Shines

March 26 and 27 was a great weekend for the MHS color guard in sunny southern California's Manhattan Beach. They performed in a WGI competition with their Saturday Prelim performance earning them a spot to perform in the finals on the following day. When the dust settled, MHS color guard earned a TOP 5 finish. Outstanding showing BEARS!
MHS Color Guard WGI Manhattan Beach 2022
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Town Hall Meeting at MHS

The Merced Youth Council held a Town Hall Meeting at MHS on Monday, March 28 sharing information critical to their mission, functionality, and membership requirements. Merced High's own Hilda-Barragan Reyes, Kaylie Escobar-Islas, and Olivia Bruner among others were there to represent the MYC and engaged the student audience in meaningful dialogue and even a spirited game of musical chairs. City of Merced Parks and Community Staff were also on hand to support the youth council and assist in handing out MYC information.

The Merced Youth Council was created to represent the youth of Merced by communicating with the City Council in order to promote youth involvement, and their general welfare, and to improve the overall quality of life for the youth of Merced. They do this by communicating with City’s youth in gauging the needs and desires of youth and collaborating and/or engaging with other community agencies, advisory bodies or youth groups in areas of mutual concern and benefit. Once they identify concerns, interests and needs of youth, the MYC makes recommendations to Parks and Recreation staff, Commission and City Council.

To find out more information about the Merced Youth Council click on the link below and/or watch the video clip embedded (above right).

Attention: Poetry Wanted!

by Natalie Burgos

April is National Poetry Month and I am putting together student submissions for poetry on campus. Entries can be submitted via the google form link provided and poems will be published in the April edition (published in May) of BEAR News. Your voices need to be heard in writing. Remember, you can submit as many entries as you want. Poems will be collected through April 30. Thank you.

by Tynique Williams

Merced High School's Black Student Union is celebrating Black Student Excellence Week May 2-9! The week is dedicated to embracing and acknowledging excellence at our school. Black excellence is defined as a high level of achievement or ability demonstrated by an individual Black person or by Black people in general.

The week of May 2-9 we will have different activities to engage with the BSU. Stay posted with our social media for more information. IG: mercedhighschool_bsu

All African-Americans have achieved black excellence in their lifetime. It represents us rising above the standards set for us and displaying talents and passion in academics, athletics, and artistic ability; along with many other areas.

Our BSU is looking to highlight these talents in the BEAR News for a feature in May. Four deserving MHS students will have their talents, skills, and abilities proudly showcased.

If you are interested in being highlighted, please nominate yourself or a friend with THIS LINK. We encourage everyone to nominate somebody from teachers to parents, to of course students.

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If you have an event that you want the Journalism Club to cover, just ask. We aim to shine a positive light on events and MHS happenings that are not necessarily covered by other media outlets. Bear News "for students, by students, about students".

Bear News is brought to you by:

2021-2022 Student Staff Members/Contributors

Isabel Perez-Zoghbi: Editor-in-Chief, Journalism Club President

Zon Forest Moua: Managing Editor, Journalism Club Vice-President

Aiden Parker: Sports Editor, Journalism Club Member

Carlos Melgar: Opinion Editor, Journalism Club Member

Jessee Mendez: Student Life Editor, Journalism Club Member

Natalie Burgos: Journalist, Journalism Club Member

Samantha Villavicencio: Journalist, Journalism Club Member

Morgan Carroll: Story Contributor

Cynthia Messing: Story Contributor

Tyla Williams: Story Contributor

Tynique Williams: Story Contributor

Faculty Advisor

Mr. "Jake" Meneley

Social Sciences Teacher

Room 115