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Matilda The Musical


  Cast of MatildaBy: Angelica Gordon; The Plaid,

       Staff Writer and Photographer

     On Friday, February 7, people walked into the Highlander Auditorium to see the stage, with block letters set across the top, spelling out the name M-A-T-I-L-D-A, and  surrounded by indigo lights. When the lights dimmed, elementary, junior high, and high school students all joined forces to bring to life the comedic story of Matilda. There was improvisation with imaginary objects, dancing across the stage, magic, and the expressions of pain turned to love, which all contributed to a wonderful production on the part of the cast and crew. 

    The actors and actresses worked well together and became a family. Sophomore, Erin Parks played interchangeable parts, as she starred in her last-minute role of Sergei, and then played a part in Cast of Matildathe children and adult ensemble. Parks said, “It’s mostly kinda chaotic. But it’s really fun, like the last role that I was put into, Sergei, I got put into last minute. I would say I had a week and a half to two weeks to learn that role.” 

     The musical delivered an outstanding combination of acting and singing and the cast was rewarded with a standing ovation from the audience. One of the biggest takeaways for the cast and crew was the sense of family and camaraderie that was gained from the experience of putting the show together. Sophomore, Elijah Valadez said, “Putting this production together was a very long process, I have to admit. Matilda CastBut it’s worth it because of all the connections you end up with” Parks concurred with Valadez’s statement when she said, “We basically have a second family now.”

     With the switching out of sets, the configuration of lights and the musicality of the score, the musical, Matilda, had many in the audience laughing and singing along. For anyone who had the pleasure to experience this year’s musical, they certainly were not disappointed. Up next for the Theatre Department is “Comedy Sportz” on February 20th and “Best of Broadway” on May 14th and 15th. 


Celebrating Highlander Day


By: The Plaid Staff Writers

   On Tuesday, February 11th, the annual Highlander Day Event was held, where eighth graders from three different Junior High Schools come to observe what our school has to offer. The event is organized and promoted by the ASB advisor, Greg Lander. When asked how he felt about setting up Highlander Day, he said, “It was a pretty steep learning curve. I’m coming in after the person who was the Activities Director, when the program originated. She kind of had it on lock. I have to figure out how to do it. She's very helpful.” Lander had his hopes set on this event having a good turnout, since it was planned before the school year began. Lander said, “We’re hoping that many of those kids at the junior highs come here as we can get. We don’t want to lose anyone. We want to show the kids what great things we have to offer here and so, they’ll be enthusiastic about coming here.” 

     One of the incoming Freshman, Theo Thompson, arrived from Pioneer Junior High to visit where the next step of his education could be. When asked about what electives or activities he is interested in joining, he said, “I really want to try out for basketball and make the team and be in Spanish.” He also explained the new transitioning to the school as, “Really fun. I will just have to learn how to adapt to it.”  

   Pioneer Junior High student, Alyssa Carol was also asked what electives she was interested in joining and she said, “I’m interested in HOSA. I want to do tennis, especially since I've been doing it for years.”

     The incoming eighth graders hope to make the next step the best it can be, once they arrive at the school, by being involved and pursuing what they love. Overall, the day’s festivities appeared to have been a large success. 




Student Athletes Sign Up for Future


By: Jazlynn Duran and Jeddah Acklin; The Plaid, Staff Writers 

Photography by: Caridad Perez; The Plaid, Staff Writer


Signing day athletes     Signing Day has become an important day for many young men and women across the country. It is the opportunity to celebrate hard work, determination and dreams finally coming true. For six of our very own students, Signing day came on Wednesday, February 6, 2020. Seniors, Michael Munoz, Kyle Floyd, Archie Green, Isaiah Loera, Josh Garcia and Eric Marrujo, have all been training, practicing, and focusing, both mentally and physically, and now they’re headed for the big leagues. The athletes are all taking the first step to the journey called life. 

      Michael Munoz is very excited to join the college of his choice. Micheal MunozMunoz said, “First off, I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me and taking me to different camps and schools across the country. I really wouldn’t be in this position without your guys’ support. I want to thank my coaches and all my teachers for preparing me for football and academics. I want to thank my trainers for developing me and preparing me for college and just life, in general. Lastly, I want to thank all my friends for making my high school experience a lot of fun and supporting me, no matter what. I’m excited to attend Fresno State University.” 

   Kyle Floyd  Kyle Floyd, who injured himself during the football season, was not able to play for the last half of the season. However, he was still given the amazing opportunity to join Dixie State University. Floyd said, “First off, I want to thank God for this opportunity, to go to this school, that I will very much enjoy for the next four years. They gave me a chance, when I was down this year because they saw something in me that no other coach haArchie Greens seen in me before.” 

     Archie Green has always wanted to be on a football team, since he was a little kid. He was happy he had the chance to play in a bigger league for four years. Green always loved going to school and the impact Upland High school had on him was huge. Green said, “I’m mostly inspired by my parents and my grandma. I desire to be great at what I do.”

  Isaiah Loera   Isaiah Loera, also known as “Chappo,” has learned a lot at Upland. He came into school, not having much knowledge of football but had amazing coaches, teachers, and counselors by his side, who guided him. He didn’t mind the counselors and coaches pushing him academically to be the best he could be because, as he said, “The coaches won’t let you play if you don’t have good grades; so, it’s a big deal.” 

     Joshua Garcia will be attending Southwest Minnesota State Josh GarciaUniversity. The past four years he has been working hard for just this opportunity. Garcia said, “First, I want to say this is a huge honor to be sitting here with my brothers. I want to thank my mother and father for raising me the way they did and giving me everything I needed to get here.” 

     Eric MEric Marrujo is going to join UC Riverside University and has made a lot of friends he calls “family.” Marrujo said, “My journey was very stressful. There was a lot of time and effort put into it. At times, it got rough, to the point where I could cry. But in the end, it all just paid off.” 



Suicide Prevention Classes


Suicide Prevention LifelineBy: Aneshka Abeyratne;

The Plaid, Staff Writer 

      Over the past few weeks, many students have been learning about suicide and depression in a Suicide Prevention class. The class is being held during the students' English periods and only has two sessions. Assembly Bill 2246 was passed in 2016 and requires California public schools to provide a Suicide Prevention class, which was put into place during the 2017-2018 school year.

     It is the second year the class is being taught and according to Noemi Mai, the Behavioral Health Program Manager for the Upland Unified School District, “Suicide in teens or adolescents has gone to the fourth leading cause [of death] to the third leading cause [of death], so we need to be more preventive about it.” Mai discussed how mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are often stigmatized and how she hopes the prevention classes will help to remove some of that stigma and make students more aware. 

     Her co-worker and suicide prevention teacher, Reme Algarin, said, “I strongly believe education is the source of change and to remove the stigma among adolescents, the more we educate, the more likely they’ll reach out for help.” She explained that this was one of the main reasons she began teaching the class, along with going through postpartum depression herself.

     When asked what students should take away from the class, both women agreed that they want students to know they matter. Algarin said that she hopes after the class, students know, “It’s okay to ask for help and not to be ashamed.” Algarin also said that she hopes students know that, “With the proper help, you can get better.”

     Both Mai and Algarin hope that the program will become systematized throughout all schools, to not only continue educating students, but to illuminate staff and parents on this subject in the future. They want everyone to become more aware of this issue, in order to help those struggling with mental illness and to take preventive measures to ensure everyone’s safety.

     If you, or a student you know, is struggling with mental illness please reach out to an adult for help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website, “The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.” 

The Esports Club: More Than Just Gaming


By: Max Newman and Caridad Perez; The Plaid, Staff Writers

    Esports club Formed only at the beginning of this school year, the new Esports Club is already a tightly- knit group with students who have bonded over one common interest: video games.  The club’s goal, as junior, Ashton Wallace said, is to “Create a team and find people with the same interests, have fun and overall, create a community.” The club hosts and includes a wide variety of games from different genres, according to Wallace. “We play everything; from MOBAs like League Of Legends and DotA, to platformers, FPS’s, fighting games, and a favorite right now among us is CS:GO and Rainbow Six Siege, along with Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch, and Call of Duty,” Wallace said. 

     Many of the students that attend club meetings have had a history in which their childhood consisted of video games.  Since they’ve learned to read, they’ve incorporated video games into their life. “I remember when I was seven, I got my first DS with Pokemon Platinum.  It’s been my favorite Pokemon game since,” Wallace said. His love for the game, including many others, would carry on as he grew older, which would eventually dEsports member playingrive them into the competitive scene.  Students, like Wallace, thrive on the competitive aspect of gaming, such as junior, Kevin Perez. His first experience with video game competition was at a young age, in an arcade. Perez said, “We went to this Arcade in San Fran in 2015, and my brother kept destroying me at Tetris, and it made me so mad.  I play Tetris to this day still in hopes of beating him.”

     Sometime in the future, the club would like to hold Esports competitions at Upland High and at neighboring schools.  Wallace said, “It’s just a small group right now, but we’re trying to - if we get big enough - hold an actual team.”  

     The club meets Tuesdays, after school and Wednesdays, during lunch, in room G169. Perez said,  “If you like video games, or want to find people who play the same video games, or want to get in the competitive scene, this is the club for you.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


"Looking In" Dance Show Well Worth The Price Of Admission


By: Gabby Munoz and Venerise Shadday;

The Plaid, Staff Writers

  Express Dancers in White   On Friday, January 10, 2020,  the Express Dance Team and the Dance Department had their annual, Winter dance show. Express and the Dance Department had been preparing for this dance show, since the beginning of the summer and have worked very hard to perform and put this show together. 

     The tickets were sold for 10 dollars, at the student store making this the Dance company’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with approximately 500 tickets sold. Captain of the Express DExpress dancer in poseance Team, Paulina Rivera, said, “It was very stressful but I’m glad that it all turned out good in the end. We worked very hard and stayed after school for many hours, to make this show work.” The amazing performance showcased great talent and brought many dancers together. Junior Express member, Veanah Pen said, “The show really came together and I’m so happy and proud. Plus, I'm extremely grateful to have been able to dance with such a talented group of people.” 

      Although the show appeared to have been effortless, a lot of hard work and dedication was put into it. JV Express member, Kaylee Miranda, said, “The team had been working on their pieces since summer,Express dancers in blue along with having many weekend and eight-hour-plus practices.” An important member of the dance community and director of the dance show, Angelique Tahajian said, “The kids worked hard, they rehearsed for long hours and several weeks, and they pulled it off by just smilling, and pointing their toes. What I loved the most was that alumnis came to teach and show current students new techniques and ways to improve their dancing skills.” 

     The annual performance of the show proved itself to be well worth the cost of the ticket.


The Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team Takes A Shot


By: Jeddah Acklin and Jazlynn Duran; The Plaid, Staff Writers

    The Girls’ Varsity Basketball team has one goal for the year and that is to be the aggressor in every game they play. To meet their goal, the teamGirls  Varsity Basketball Team has been working hard at each and every practice, since the season began in November. 

     At practice, the players are running the floors and getting on the fast breaks. Coach, Cristine Aguilar said, “Our goal is to make the playoffs and hopefully, win a few games and advance deep into the playoffs.” The team lost some pretty talented seniors and even though the team is young and inexperienced, the coach believes that this season will be the one to help improve the team. Coach Aguilar also said, “Our expectation is to make the teams that play against us, win their W’s and to make sure you know we come out and do our best to solidify a place in the playoffs.” The team is still working to reach their full potential and is reaching new performance lengths every day. 

     Even though the team is smaller than in previous years, Coach Aguilar thinks that it could possibly help them in the next season. Without the seniors from last year, the team is working harder and becoming stronger to make it to the playoffs. At practice, it is obvious that they are talented. Coach Aguilar also engages with them during practice, by playing with them and helping them to improve. 

      Approaching the games, a few of the teammates don't have The team at practicewinning as their main priority. Player, Jenna Mchenory said, "I think me and my teammates are just trying to give it our all, that's our main goal, to work as hard as we can and see how it goes." Another teammate, Jada Pigoni, said that some of the team’s goals are, "Focusing and playing together [as a team] a lot better and as a team coordinate together." Although they believe they played better last year than they are playing this year, they do have an impressive achievement of playing Scherr high school and winning. Apparently, Scherr is known as a really difficult school to beat. Mchenory said, “I guess we weren't ‘supposed to win’ that game.” The team may think that they are inexperienced, due to the loss of many teammates, but clearly they are doing just fine with the talent they have now.


Theatre III Wins the House Cup




                               By: Vincent Arroyave;The PlaidTheatre Group III, Staff Writer

     Upland High School’s Theatre Department won big at the 2019 METFest One Act Festival this past month. Taking place at Etiwanda High School, METFest is an annual district theatre festival, where top schools perform a 20 to 25 minute, one-act play to be judged and awarded. Theatre III performed their production of “Puffs,” a play based off of the beloved Harry Potter series, with an interesting twist; the story is told from the point of view of the Hufflepuffs.

     Theatre III walked out of the competition with first place overall, as well as “Best ensemble,” an award chosen by the judges. But, the triumph didn’t stop there. Matt Morales, Nasibah Ismail, Austin Wood, and Cici Ball all received individual awards for “Acting Excellence.” 

     Success is common for the program as Ms. Rich said, “We usually do pretty well at this competition; last year we got fourth place. We try to do better every year; we’ve won first at this competition before. Second. We’ve woTrophy wonn third, fourth, fifth...ever since we’ve been going, we’ve always placed.” 

     Although success is customary for the department Ms. Rich also said, “The arts- it is very subjective. You can go in and perform and if someone doesn’t like that play, for whatever reason, then they already made a decision before they even get to see you perform. You just never know (if a play is first place). It was just our day and our time, and it was nice.”

     Overall, it was a big win for the department as Ms. Rich said, “We take that information (the awards) back to the school district. We announce it at the school board meeting, so it shows that our program is growing and that we are competitive.” With the awards boasting Upland High School’s theatre talents, the credibility of the program will continue to grow, brightening up the stage for years of prosperity to come.


The Robotics Club: Raising Money and Interest


By: Hailey Hampton, The Plaid, Copy Editor

     The Robotics Club is having a fundraiser to raise money to meet the required costs for competitions. As of now, Robotics Club has raised $9,000 out of the estimated $15,000 required to pay registration costs, hotel fees, and transportation. Graciously, Citizens Business Bank has donated $5,000 to the club. So far, they have entered two competitions, which will be held on  March 5 through March 8 and April 1 through April 4, 2020. 

     Robotics Club is attempting to raise enough money to register for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, beginning later in the year. President of Robotics ClubJunior, Jacob Fernandez, the clubś president, said, “I'm excited to see what the team can come up with, to accomplish all of the tasks that the robot needs to perform. It'll be a difficult competition, at least more than last year...I'm confident we’ll build a good robot this year.” 

     To win the competition, teams have to build a robot that can successfully perform specific tasks, depending on what the year ́s theme is. For instance, this year, the theme is Infinite Recharge. The robot is tasked with shooting balls or power cells into power ports (plastic sheets with three holes, each varying in heights and depths). Among other tasks, the robot also has to be able to turn a disc that's connected to a “Lazy Susan” for a certain rotation or until it reaches a certain color. The competition grows more complex, when several teams form alliances, in order to work together and maximize their points.  

     The Robotics Club has about twenty members that meet up every day, except Wednesdays, from 2:40 pm to 4:30 pm. JuniorSerenity Torrez and club member, Serenity Torrez said, “The club is accepting of all students, with all backgrounds and interests. Everyone gets along well and it's a fun and safe place for kids to express their interest and show off their skills”  Robotics club has something for everyone, from business and coding, to even artistic skills. The remaining amount of money needed must be reached by January 31 and club members will remain selling chocolates, for the next two weeks or until they are out of chocolates to sell.


The French Polynesian Club Perspective


By: Leilani Sanchez and Venecia Jacobo-Martinez

                         The Plaid, Staff Writers

    The French Polynesian Club The French Polynesian club is a friendly and welcoming environment that is open to any student to join. The club’s main focus is on the Islands and embracing all of the wonderful culture. The club meets every other Tuesday or Thursday of the month. during lunch, in G171. Meetings begin with, "A lesson on one of the Islands, by one of the officers.” Before the lesson, the students are given a snack to eat during the lesson. 

     President, Paea Pahulu, was inspired to, "Introduce Upland to a beautiful Polynesian culture,” after transferring to UHS her freshman year and realizing that there was no club involved with the Islands. One of her main goals for this club is to, "Keep it fun and chill, with good connections and positive vibes." At a school of nearly 4,000 students, there are only about twenty students who are Polynesian, so many of the students decided to come together as a group and, “Share with others a culture that plays a big part in [their] lives."

      The club is not only about embracing culture, but the members also work together to help the school and community. On January 20th, they are volunteering at a community church, to help put together items for those suffering from the tragic fires in Australia. The club has also helped  others in many different ways and tries to focus on the environment. 

        The club is more, as Pahulu said, “Like a family,” where most people actually are related. However, everyone is welcome, as Pahulu pointed out, the club is, “Very flexible and easy to get along with.” Pahulu said she hopes to make everyone feel, “Happy, relaxed, and connected, no matter how different one may be.”


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Upland Takes Mustangs Back To The Stable


By: Tim Johnson, The Plaid, Staff Writer and Photographer

   Upland #4 runs the ball  On Friday, September sixth, The Upland Highlanders went toe to toe against the Rancho Verde Mustangs, in their third game of the session. Returning to the field where Upland won their CIF championship last season, The scots dominated the first half of the game. They lost some of their momentum in the second half but quickly recovered and swept the mustangs with the outstanding score of 30-7.    

     Starting the first quarter, Upland received the kick-off and then hit the ground, running straight away, with some amazing runs by Tyevin Ford, also known as “Night Train.” After the Mustangs were flagged for roughing the passer, the quarterback, senior, Evan Rowe, threw a 12-yard pass to  senior, Earl Estell. It gave senior, Tyevin Ford the opportunity to run a 10-yard touchdown, with an extra point scored during the P.A.T, thanks to the Highlanders kicker, Archie Green.

     Upland handled Rancho Verde on both offense and defense. Each time Rancho Verde was in possession of the ball, it resulted in a punt or a fumble, whereas Upland scored each time they had the ball.UHS Cheer with signage

     Continuing into the second quarter, Upland kept up their intense tenacity to win and it paid off for them. It was close, however, when Earl Estell was short one-yard, after he had gained six-yards. But the Scots were able to gain that yard when they did a quarterback sneak, thanks to the offensive linemen. Unfortunately, they were unable to make a touchdown but the Highlanders still held the lead with 17-0. Due to the efforts of the defense, Rancho was unable to score in the first half of the game, so they had to punt every time they had the ball. When Upland got the ball back, senior, Jon mondragon ran an amazing game, starting with a 13-yard run and a few other short runs. Unfortunately, the Scots were 11-yards short for another touchdown. But after attempting a field goal, they were successful. At the end of the half, the score was 20-0, with what seemed like a one-sided game. 

     The Upland Highlanders kicked off to start the second half and because Upland grew sloppy with receiving penalties, Rancho Verde was able to make a touchdown and earn the extra P.A.T Both teams on the groundpoint. It gave Upland the wake-up call it needed, because it was the only point Rancho Verde was able to score, due to The Highlander’s strong defense. After several amazing offensive plays by Ford, Mondragon and junior, Daniel Sosa, Upland was able to make another touchdown and P.A.T, which brought the score to 27-7. What the third quarter demonstrated was that Rancho Verde played well but did not have the willpower to win.

     The fourth quarter started with Upland kicking off again. There was an amazing 60-yard punt by kicker Green. Upland next intercepted a pass, followed by a field goal. They finished off the game strong, with a score of 30-7. Head Coach Thomas said “The kids played well and did a tremendous job in every aspect of the game. Archie Green was awesome, with three field goals and hit a 65-yard punt. They all did tremendous overall.” Upland now has its eyes on Central Catholic, and will prepare for a home game on Friday, September 13, at 7:00 PM.



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