Mock Trial brings El Diamante to court


Mock Trial is an often under-appreciated extracurricular activity at El Diamante. This competitive faux legal competition involves many of our brightest and most well-rounded students. These intellectual legal contenders work hard over a period of several months to prepare for the competition.

For those of you at El Diamante who are not privy to the ins and outs of the Mock Trial competition, some of the students provided us with a succinct summary of the competition. Students Ryan Priessman, Darcy Thompson and Tiffany Browning coordinated to say, “In Mock Trial we receive a criminal case with witness testimonies and evidence exhibits. Then we form a team of ‘attorneys’ and ‘witnesses’ for both prosecution and defense. One of the sides competes and is judged on how professionally they act out their trial.”

Most of El Diamante is probably unaware of how a team progresses through the ranks in a Mock Trial competition. Here’s the rundown: you go through four competitions, and in each competition you get a Power Score. A Power Score is the percentage of the total points your team received per competition. After four rounds, the four teams with the highest average Power Scores compete in the semifinals. From there, the two teams with the higher Power Scores compete in the final round.

There are two main parts to the trial, which include pre-trial and the actual trial. According to Browning, “Pre-trial is a separate argument before the trial that deals with constitutional issues that are usually related to a minor second charge against the defendant.”

Every year, the case that the students are required to litigate is different, and provides different scenarios that require they argue various laws. This year, the case is a murder trial where the defendant is accused of stabbing her best friend. The possible motives for this illegal act of violence include jealousy, money, and even plagiarism.

For those students who are curious about joining Mock Trial for next year, the competition would be glad to have you. Not only is Mock Trial a fun and interesting experience, students participating in the activity say, “[Mock Trial] taught me how much detail matters, and how the final verdict is ultimately based on the presentation of the trial to the jury.”
When asked how the competition has affected her decision towards a career, Browning said, “I already had another career path in mind. I would say that if you’re not sure about what you want to do with your life, you should join Mock Trial and see if you think being a lawyer would be fun.” Thompson shares a similar opinion. She says, “I thought about it a couple of years ago, but I decided that it wasn’t for me.”

Although this year’s team did not progress to the semifinals, they are taking their loss constructively. Thompson says, “We were a little disappointed, especially the seniors because it’s our last year.” Although there was bound to be some disappointment, the team is taking their loss in stride, while keeping a positive attitude. “[We] got seventh place overall. Seventh place is pretty good. We beat Redwood, which is really awesome,” says Browning.

Tattoos: Tainted art or expression?


Staff Writers

Free Expression

Body modification has been around for thousands of years, including tattoos. There are a number of reasons why people get these things. Whether it be for religion, inspired by art, or just personal taste, many people have this process done every year. It’s safe and quite beautiful if the design is well thought out and taken care of in the correct manner afterwards. If this form of art and expression is so widely expressed in this day and age, why are tattoos frowned upon in general society?

Tattoos have long been associated with people of a lower class, or just criminal actions in general. Honestly, I think that they have been given a bad reputation. Not all people who inscribe themselves with tattoos are unintelligent or destined for a criminal life. If you take a deeper look into the meaning of tattoos, they can serve as memento for lost loved ones with a simple “R.I.P (insert loved one’s name here)”. Or maybe one could get a tattoo as a reminder of one’s time served in the military, perhaps with a fallen comrade’s name.

Tributes can serve as another deep meaning for a tattoo. While this may seem similar to the idea of tattooing for reminders, usually these kinds of tattoos are meant for someone who is still alive. Eminem, the famous rapper, has a tribute tattoo of his daughter Hailey. A word of caution, though. While there are different view points on getting a significant other’s name tattooed on you, my advice would be to not do so. While right now you may think you’re going to be with them forever, time may prove otherwise. And you don’t want to be stuck with a nasty reminder of your past and an awkward conversation starter for future boyfriends or girlfriends.

If you have a passion for something, it can serve as a legitimate reason for getting a tattoo. Perhaps you’re really into a band and you have a particular set of lyrics that really mean a lot to you. That’s a perfectly logical tattoo.

Probably one of the biggest arguments I’ve heard against tattoos, including from my own parents in protest to me getting tattooed, is, “How will you get a job?!” My solution is simple and effective; don’t get tattoos that are clearly visible in your every day clothing, such as neck tattoos, tattoo sleeves, and God forbid face tattoos. While you may not think you want a white collar job now, you may want one in the future. Employers look down upon this highly. My best advice would be if you decide to get tattooed, place them on your chest, back, or maybe biceps. Places that can hidden by clothing when going into a job interview should not be tattooed.

Another argument that is not so common involves safety. While it may been done using needles in a seedy parlor, tattoos tend to be inscribed in a cleaner, more safe environment. Having some experience in body modification with six piercings, I know for a fact that these places live up to a very high degree of hygiene and over-all cleanliness, as it is mandated by law. When the artist pierced my lip, he washed his hands, put on a new pair of disposable gloves and pulled out a needle in a vacuum sealed bag, not meant for reuse. Similar standards are held for being tattooed. As long as the tattoo is well taken care of by the person who received it, there is little reason to worry about them getting infected or injured in the process.

Let’s stop judging so much based on simple body modifications. Done correctly and safely by a professional they are wonderful ways to express yourselves; embrace them, don’t shun them. They’re an amazing way to express your beliefs and views.

 Tainted Art


It is common to make mistakes as a young teenager growing up. Most of the time, we think of it as looking back thirty years from now and laughing at how dumb we were. But the decision of getting a tattoo is permanent and may come with regret. I agree that tattoos are interesting and personable art, but just because that piece of ink art is worth it at the moment does not mean it will be in the future.

Now, people who are for tats may say, “You know what, Mary? I think it looks very cute/hip and I’m perfectly fine with it.” That’s great; I’m sure you will still love it once it gets a bit saggy and the colours are faded. Oh, but that’s only if you have been putting on sunscreen, getting it touched up, and limit the sun exposure everyday.

Your tattoo will sag from getting older and lose colour no matter what. Do you really think it’s worth paying the extra cash to get it touched up over all the years, anyway?

Other tattoo supporters might say, “Well, tattoos express art; it displays another side to others,” or, “This is a favorite memory of ____, and I want it to stick with me wherever I go.” Do you still want that Spongebob tattoo on you when you’re seventy-two years old? Yes, it will remind you of a good memory, when you were seventeen and all your classmates thought it looked so cool and praised you. Then they got over it after two days. But it will also remind you of how foolish you were for even getting that. Your grandchildren may think it is cool, but they will not be watching “Spongebob” religiously like you said you did. I promise you, you will get tired of it. It may not be now, but one day.

If you are going to a special event, and lots of fancy people will be there, I doubt anyone will have a complementary “Patrick Star” tat on display in front of everyone. You can tell who has a regrettable tattoo if they are all covered up on a really hot evening. Would you want to be that person? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any major supermodels who are all tattooed up. Yes, some have them, but small unnoticeable ones on their feet,or a tiny one on their shoulder because companies and jobs prefer clean, pure skin. None are like Kat Von D style.

You may want to feel individualistic and be the only kid with a cool tattoo. Newsflash; there are lots of other kids who are just like you and want to be “different” and get a unique tattoo. Therefore, you are not really that unique, but joined into the I’m-unique-and-rebellious-so-I’m getting-a-tattoo-to-prove-it” pool.

Lastly, another group of people will say, “Well Mary, this is about a special person/loved one/important event in my life that occurred, and I want this to remind me of them/it everywhere I go.” This is a more sensitive topic to deal with, but let’s all be realistic here. That tattoo will not remind you everyday of what happened. You will eventually forget that it was on you, thus losing the value of it. So now it will only be there for people to make judgements about you. Then you’ll remember it only if people point it out to you. If something is so memorable to you, why not write it down, create a shrine, frame it, engrave it into jewelry,or the easiest idea… just remember it? If it was so important to you, you would not need to have something to remind you about it. The importance of tattoos will soon be gone and you will not be able to wear that nice shirt because your tattoo is clashing with it. So why bother?

Henna is a great alternative to tattoos. It’s not permanent, and is perfect for you if you want to express your rebellious, teenage unique-ness at the time. Once you’re over it, you would not have to deal with removing a tattoo through lasers leaving weird permanent dots. If you want to prove to the world how much you’re interested in that cool underground band, wear a t-shirt or something. So later when you’re sick of it, you can move on.

After reading this, I know that hardcore group of people will say, “You don’t know anything Mary, I’m still going to get a tat once I turn seventeen in May, in two years, cause I’m still a freshman…” Just be aware and know that once you get inked, it is permanent, along with it becoming saggy, and faded. Even if you get it removed, it will never go back to your normal, pure looking skin again.


Sierra Hyland

Miner of the month

Staff Writer

Sierra Hyland, a junior who is pitcher for the varsity softball team, has been picked as Miner of the Week.

Her parents introduced her to softball at an early age, and her love for the sport has been apprent ever since. love of Softball has been apparent ever since. She says, “Ever since I got out of the hospital I [have been] watching softball games.” She was always destined to be involved in Softball.

Sierra loves the intensity that culminates durig a game, and she says that her favorite moment is when she hears the crowd cheering during the last few seconds. Hearing the crowd go wild during the apex of the game is what motivates her to succeed. Another thing that motivates her is adversity. Every time her coach tells her she isn’t capable of something, it only provokes Sierra to prove him wrong.

Before each game, Sierra and her teammates wrap tape around their wrists. On the tape, they write inspirational words of encouragement. Each player chooses a word that has a special meaning, and that word inspires them to triumph over their adversaries.

Practice is the key word for their successful record in El Diamante softball record. They practice every day after school for two hours. But sometimes it is prolonged when they are competing against a tough team. Which means that they work even harder to reach their greatest potential.
The future for her looks very successful. She has already been scouted by Cal Poly. We wish her the best!

Republican Presidential primary season begins

Staff Writer

In the world of politics, all eyes are on the Republican Presidential candidates as primary season has begun. Here in California, our Republican Presidential primary isn’t until June 5, but in other states, the primaries are well under way. At the beginning of primary season, Jon Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry were all in the running for the Republican presidential nomination. But, many candidates have dropped out of the race.

The first primary of the season occurred in Iowa, where the Iowa caucus was held on January 3. Rick Santorum won the majority of the delegates, with Romney and Paul coming in 2nd and 3rd. The next week, in New Hampshire, where the second primary was held on January 10, Romney pulled through in 1st place and Paul finished in 2nd place. In a surprising turn of events, Gingrich came in first place in the South Carolina primaries, leaving Paul, Romney and Santorum behind. Super Tuesday, one of the most important days during primary season, is scheduled for March 6th, when ten states will be having their Republican primaries, including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

The Republican debates this year have been plentiful, occurring in almost every state. They allow the candidates to voice their views on a number of topics, including the economy, immigration and other issues. Polls have shown that debates have become increasingly important in the process of choosing a candidate for many voters participating in the primaries. According to an exit poll done by NBC at the South Carolina Primary, the debates were a major factor to voters, when choosing which candidate to cast their vote for.

Come August, America will have it’s Republican Presidential nominee, who will be officially nominated at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Then, the attention will shift to President Obama’s campaign, who is seeking reelection, and is expected to receive the Democratic nomination in September at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This year, the general election will occur on November 6.

Replay: dance show does an encore


This year marks the tenth anniversary of the El Diamante Dance Show. Our school is fortunate enough to have had a dance program for every year that we have been open, and the dance show has quickly become a yearly tradition at our school.

The theme of the show this year is “Replay.” Katie McKernan, a junior, says, “Ford is taking all of the dances from the past ten years, and all of the crowd’s favorites. She’s reteaching them, and we’re performing them all again.” This means that now El Diamante students can relive all of their favorite moments from dance shows past, albeit with different dancers and slightly tweaked choreography.

There are several crowd favorite returning, including Jai Ho, Proud Mary, Boom Boom Pow, and Hide and Seek. The Indian flare of Jai Ho, impressed once before, and is sure to do so again. McKernan says, “Proud Mary is really upbeat, and is going to keep the audience awake and ready to move with us.”

The dancers get to perform in a variety of styles, including swing, tap, modern, lyrical, and even hip-hop. Although the choreography is old, it is just as innovative as when it was first created. McKernan says, “Hide and Seek is really modern and is different than any other lyrical dance we’ve done.” The show is sure to entertain and bring back waves of nostalgia for those that have seen El Diamante dance shows in the past.

Our dance class fosters a cooperative spirit that is incomparable. Samantha Chapa, a senior, says that her favorite part of the show is” when we all come together and dance for the last time!” The work that leads up to the performance is just as great of an experience for the dancers. McKernan says that Boom Boom Pow “is a bonding experience. We’re always helping eachother out.”

The dancers of our school all have a great passion for dance. Chapa says,” I love the dance class, the dance people, and the thrill it gives me as I’m performing.” McKernan feels similar, saying that her favorite part is “getting to perform in front of everybody. The final pose where everyone is clapping is the best.”

The Miner population is in for a great show, full of great talent, excellent music, and intense showmanship. “Replay” is set to perform at the LJ Williams Theater downtown on Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, the 29th. Tickets will be sold for $8* at the door, at our finance office, and from your favorite dancer friend. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the doors will be open at 7:00 p.m.


* Please note that this is a correction from our print edition which listed the price as $10. We apologize for the error and any confusion it may cause.

12 Causes of dishonesty

Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered why someone was a “liar, liar, pants on fire?” Or a “cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater?” Well, don’t flip, potato chip! Here are the reasons why:

1. It could have been inherited through birth.  So when your mom screams “eat your lunch, honey bunch” and you reply “I just finished,” while you throw your food under the table to the dog, it’s not your fault. Your mom probably did the same thing when she was little.

2. Parental Examples. When your dad’s friends ask him “Why so cranky, Yankee?” and he lies and says he just lost his winning lotto ticket, he is setting a bad example for you. Just ignore his lies and when he is alone ask him, “What’s the deal?”

3. Employers can also influence one to lie, so if your boss starts committing fraud, you better skadoodle! Try finding yourself another job.

4. The next cause for someone lying is the strive for extravagance. If your mom’s friends ask her, “what’s shakin’, bacon? You wanna hang out tonight?” If she suddenly starts going on and on about how she’s hanging out with her hot boyfriend who doesn’t exist, you should probably not send her a look that says, “nice thinkin’, Abe Lincoln.” Instead, you should try to encourage her not to lie.

5. Debt is the fifth reason people lie. When people are in debt, they seem to get really embarrassed and think that they have to lie about how much money they have. Instead of just getting their problems off their shoulders, they constantly tell themselves “don’t slip” and continue on with their “I have money in my pocket” charade.

6. Reason number six is bankruptcy. Although this could be in the same category as debt, it deserves it’s own spot because it is so common. It is mostly found when people overspend. Instead of stressing to pay off their debts, they declare bankruptcy.

7. The law allows moral dishonesty. Instead of telling people in court to “get lost” when they lie, they encourage it. Lawyers are allowed to lie; in fact, it’s their job!

8. Political dishonesty is a huge cause of lying between adults and you should try your best not take any of it too seriously. After a while, crocodile, you may find yourself helping to spread the lies.

9. A corrupt public sentiment can also produce dishonesty. As horrible as it may seem, In society, there are bad men who are honored, trusted, and respected.

10. Number 10 is financial agents. Financial agents are especially prone to lies because they have a good deal. They have access to all kinds of funds that they can use to their advantage.

11. Executive Clemency has also tempted people to become dishonest. When criminals have a record they can lie and file for executive clemency so that they have their legal rights restored while secretly committing crimes.

12. Lastly are commercial speculations. For example, when you see a wonderful looking Subway sandwich on TV and you go to Subway in a rush, only to receive a glop of mustard running down the side of your soggy sandwich. (P.S. I will never forgive Subway for that!)


Track and field

Promotions Editor

Another sport that is up and running is Track and Field. With nine coaches and 140 participants, the season is sure to yield great results. Their first meet was Thursday, unfortunately after this edition was submitted to press.

Unlike other sports that focus on a certain skill, Track and Field has several events, which allow people of different talents to compete in their own area of expertise. These events include jumps, throws, distance, sprints  and hurdles. The nine coaches involved are Caleb Rice, Pete Murietta, Louis Muro, Brian MacDonald, Chris Ashford, Robert Skipper, Greg Jones, Ben Gimlin and Bob Croft.

There are 140 students on the track roster this year, but as always there were some that showed up and did not return, and others who were not as entirely committed. Though large numbers are great for track, one of the main problems is that Track and Field only has two buses to use for competition. Coach Caleb Rice says that though they “cannot take everyone to meets, all students are able to compete in Home meets.”

Coming into the season, the girls have won Western Yosemite League the past three years, The boys have not yet won WYL but with their strong group of freshmen and sophomores, as well as an outstanding group of  returning members they hope to take WYL this year.

A few students with outstanding track records, within their respective categories are Liz Casteneda, Brianna Croft, Melissa De La Mora, Andrea Mann, Marissa Lemus, Henry Fuse, Dominic Crooker, Christian Sanchez, Brian Fraser, Marissa Lemus, and Shaun Stevenson. Also returning this year are Katie Reeves , who went to state last year for high jump, and Lauren Torres who went to Valley, also for high jump.

In the words of Coach Rice, “Track is a unique sport where you get all kinds of backgrounds; from Cross Country kids to Football players. Also, it’s a mixed sport so you get boys and girls. It’s an awesome experience and I would encourage more kids to consider it and try it. It’s a unique sport that more people should get into.”

Tips for roadtrips

Tip Writers

Hey Miners! With spring break just around the corner you may be thinking to yourself, “What am I going to do for my one week of freedom?” And the answer is ROAD TRIP! It may be a little hard to convince your parents to l=et you go but once that step is done, you can use these helpful tips to make your road trip an epic one.

1. Plan ahead. Road trips are always best when they’re premeditated. Don’t try to plan a road trip the night before and think that everything is going to be all fine and dandy… Trust me, it won’t be. Things like this need to be planned with at least a week’s notice. That will leave you enough time to get people and money together.

2. Get a group. Everything is much more fun when you have people to share it with. Choose your road trip companions wisely. You don’t want people who are mean and whiny to go with you.  Pick great friends who are always down for a good time and will be a great addition to your spring break memories.

3. Destination. Pick someplace fun, with a lot of activities. You should also put the time of year into consideration. If its winter time go to snow, but if it’s summer time go to the beach and get your tan on! Pismo beach is always a classic place to go for us valley folk.

4. Transportation. Find a person who has a car. You’re not going to be able to get far without a set of wheels. If it’s going to be a place where you can’t necessarily drive around catch a bus to your destination.

5. Gas money. You can’t really get anywhere without gas. So if you’re going with a group of friends figure out how much gas money you need and make sure that they all in pitch in for gas money. Otherwise you’re going to be stuck funding the whole trip on your own.

6. Food. After a long day of driving and walking around you are going to be hungry, so make sure that you either pack a lunch or bring extra cash to buy yourself a meal. Don’t forget to also bring snacks to munch on in the car on the way there.

7. Road trip tunes. If you’re going to be in a car for several hours you are definitely going to want to jam out to your favorite music. Bring an iPod loaded with fun, upbeat songs that you and all of the other passengers will enjoy. Some LMFAO may just do the trick to get you pumped up.

8. Get comfy. Bring a blanket, snuggie, fuzzy socks, favorite stuffed animal, and sweats before hitting the road.  Being comforatble makes your trip tens times more enjoyable while crammed in your car.  Wearing stiff jeans and having nothing but a seatbelt to lay your head on is a no-no.

9. Bring a camera. You’re not going to be young forever, and it’s not everyday that you go on an awesome adventure with your closest friends… so document it! Those pictures will last you a lifetime, and when you’re older you’ll be so thankful that you had those memories to look back on.

Baseball vs. Softball

Graphics Editor

Baseball and softball. Which is cooler? Obviously all the boys would favor baseball and girls would prefer softball. But let’s layout some good arguments that may determine the winner at the end. First off, baseball was created by Abner Doubleday in 1839 and softball came after in 1887 from George Hancock. Before softball was created as an indoor version of baseball because during winter time it would be impossible to play with snow on the grass fields. So one point for baseball.

The sizes of the fields and mounds also differ. With baseball it is a bigger diamond and the pitcher’s mound is basically elevated. For girls, the field is a bit smaller, but the pitching area is flat so they are on the same ground as the batter. So softball gets that one due to having to pitch at eye-level rather than on a slope. When pitching, baseball has it harder because they are farther away from the batter than softball.

To counter that argument, softball must pitch underhand, really relying on the speed and strength of the arm. In baseball, the pitcher would throw overhand, while on the mound. So softball also reigns supreme in pitching. Another factor for the decision is the equipment they each use. Baseball uses a smaller ball, a thicker bat and mitts while girls use a bigger, softer ball, with a thinner bat and mitts as well.

So one would say that the girls have it easier when batting or catching. Then it looks like boys would win the title. But then again Beyoncé says that girls will run the world, so yeah, girls win.

A different dimension of creativity

Opinion Editor

Every high school student gets tired of the core curriculum, of the classes with a focus on writing and a highlight of traditionally academic subjects. One of the more unique and much less mainstream courses available is 3D Art, an arts class that teaches students how to create three-dimensional works.

The class is taught by Mr. Bret Leal, a new teacher at El Diamante. Though this is his first year at the home of the Miners, Leal has been a teacher for ten years, instructing first at Farmersville, heading the painting and drawing classes there, and creating and supervising the entire AP Art History course; he’s no rookie to artistic instruction.

At first glance, one may wonder why to take a class as unique and different as 3D Art. The class as a whole differs from Studio Art and other similar courses due to the exclusive focus on building and creating works of art in three dimensions, rather than a two-dimensional picture or painting. Mr. Leal proposes several important reasons to choose it: it counts towards graduation and it’s, “a break from the academic pressure of core classes. It’s a great stress release and can be a good way to express yourself.” According to Leal, a student doesn’t truly need an intense amount of skill or natural ability to succeed in 3D Art. “You’re graded on effort and attitude,” Leal affirms.

In addition to the respite it provides from academia, 3D Art can help to improve a student personally. “The class builds confidence,” Leal says enthusiastically. “It can really get someone into the school spirit. And it helps ingrain some self-discipline and problem-solving skills.”

3D Art 1 is only the beginning tier of the curriculum, moving onward through the years and starting with simple projects like paper-mache names, masks, and glue-foil pictures. As a student moves up through the classes he or she can create sculptures, mosaics, and even useable drinking glasses.

The best part of the class, Leal contends, is, “when the student finally gets it and realizes what they can do. They have a tangible product that they created and when their parents see what they’ve done and are surprised, it’s a great feeling.” 3D Art has a benefit that most other subjects do not; an actual reward for hard work. A well-created piece of art is easily distinguishable from a hurriedly scraped together mess.

For students looking to cross out a graduation requirement but place a little flexibility into their busy schedules, 3D Art can provide the perfect solution, a concise and fluid blend of academic instruction and free thinking creation. The class is more than just a grade; it’s a chance to make something valuable and to gain a reward that is more than just a spot of ink on a paper.