Community Voices

Young Observers: Mid-October 2023

Did You Know?: FJUSD Offers FREE Programs to Raise Happiness and Success Index of Students and their Families

by Francine, 12th grade

Pandemic or not, we all go through periods of stress, anxiety, and even depression. Some also find themselves in difficult situations like substance abuse or unhealthy relationships. As a Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) student, I feel grateful that the district has a wide array of FREE programs designed to ensure we are happy and successful in school. Unfortunately, not many people may even be aware of these programs that are valued at thousands of dollars if availed of privately but are FREE to FJUHSD students.

As FJUHSD designates October as Mental Health Awareness Month with this year’s theme of “FJUHSD is the Place to be Supported,” the district shines a spotlight on the first time in the history of FJUHSD that a Dedicated Mental Health Specialist for each school site has been hired in addition to the counseling teams.

According to Mental Health District Coordinator Carlos Alcantara (, the specialists’ job descriptions include coordinating schoolwide campaigns such as the “suicide prevention month” this October, conducting classroom presentations and parent workshops, and providing school-based wellness resources.

FJUHSD has partnered with local agencies to bring in these specialists entrusted with providing support to students and their families.

Here they are and what they do:

Kelsey Rosales, Resiliency Coach from TTC for Success

-specializes in homeless and foster youth and those dealing with substance abuse; provides individual counseling, tutoring, and overall emotional support to help the student engage better in school, which should result in improved attendance, grades, and overall emotional well-being.

Katherine Womack, Clinical Supervisor at Phoenix House California

-provides one-on-one therapy to students and their families to help address issues at home that impact the student’s performance in school; also helps manage anxieties for those who are overwhelmed with their new environment or dealing with the uncertainties of life after high school.

Jessi Brucki, Marriage and Family Therapist at Congruent Lives

-helps students in special education overcome the challenges of meeting their individualized education programs and works on keeping them integrated in school virtually or onsite.

Adriana Guerrero & Brenda Godinez, School Therapists at Vista Community Clinic

-help students manage emotional disturbances such as anxiety, anger, and depression.

Lauren Waltermire & Angelica Ramirez, Program Supervisors at Seneca

-help students improve attendance, complete tasks, stay motivated, and overcome anxiety and depression; also provide individual or family counseling.

If you are a parent or student needing any of these specialists, you may reach out to your teacher, counselor, or school administrator.

For students who may want to incorporate healthy habits or a daily dose of fun and relaxation into their lives, FJUHSD has a virtual calming room on the district website, which is accessible to anyone (FJUHSD Virtual Calming Room ( ). What makes this calming room so valuable is the carefully curated and extensive assortment of apps that quickly let you engage in your preferred activity and are available in English, Spanish, and Korean languages, saving you the time to browse the internet to put them all in one place. I have checked them out and found them very useful and enjoyable.

The assortment includes:

  1. Exercise videos
  2. Yoga videos
  3. Live animal cam (example: puppies and kittens playing around)
  4. Visual relaxation (example: relaxing oceanscapes including the sound of waves)
  5. Sound of Music (example: bird songs)
  6. Puzzles and Word Search
  7. Coloring
  8. Journaling
  9. Guided Meditations

As mental health becomes a priority in our high schools, student leaders find ways to promote this through spirit days, such as dressing up in green (the representative color of mental health awareness) to start the month strong on World Mental Health Day. The Student Advisory Board on Education has also created action plans for better mental health. It even succeeded in passing student-written bill AB 748, which brought mental health posters into school bathrooms and lockers. Even school clubs focusing more on mental health have been started at our high schools.

While our high schools are making great efforts to promote mental health awareness, they may still have to take yet another step to achieve complete success. Knowing how crucial it is for teens to be mentally and emotionally fit to thrive in school, it might help for schools to take a more proactive approach, such as including a few minutes of class each day (10 or 15 minutes, maybe?) dedicated to learning about mental and emotional health through inspiring TED Talks and to letting the students try the apps in the virtual calming room. Ten or fifteen minutes of class each day might be a worthy investment because this will help students adopt emotional and mental health best practices as a way of life.

What do you think?

Kids Rule: Coming Up . . .

by Jules, 7th grade






Viewpoint: Gen Z is Taking Over

by Irene, 12th grade

With a social media presence of over 90,000 followers on her TikTok account @cheyennehuntca, 25-year-old attorney Cheyenne Hunt is running as a candidate for California’s 45th Congressional District, which includes parts of the city of Fullerton. Although Rep. Michele Steel has occupied the seat for her second term, Hunt, if elected, would become the first Gen Z woman to serve in Congress. Building a campaign platform based on progressive policies, the Democrat has promised her commitment to advancing climate change legislation, social justice, infrastructure, and equity in economic policy, according to Cision PR Newswire.

But Hunt isn’t the first, nor will she be the last. Representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District, Rep. Maxwell Frost became the first Gen Z congressman following the November 2022 midterm elections. This upward trend of increased young adult representation in politics is looking promising for our generation and sets a healthy precedent for the future of America’s government. “I think that there’s a lot that our generation has to offer and a lot of things that we are angry about and we’re passionate about, and we think that inaction is immoral,” Hunt said in a May 2023 interview with Politico.

Our generation has proved the power of the youth’s voice, actively engaging in discussions across party lines and advocating for our country’s most pressing issues. To better advance the rights of the people, we need the youth to play their part in politics, and with trailblazers like Frost and Hunt leading the way, it’s safe to assume that Gen Z will soon be taking over.

International Observance: World Food Day October 16

by Mateo, 10th grade

Food is one of the most important aspects of our everyday lives, and not just because we need it to survive. Food connects us with family and friends. It embodies our cultures and beliefs and showcases our distinct personalities. One can learn a great deal of information about a person just by what they eat. In fact, when studying ancient civilizations, archaeologists study the food sources and diets to obtain a better understanding of their cultures and ways of living.

Many of us take food for granted because it is so commonplace in our lives. The typical day consists of three meals at various times, and these meals typically contain a variety of different foods to enjoy. Thus, it can be easy to overlook the fact that, although there is plenty of food in our homes, around 828 million people fall asleep every night with little to no food in their stomachs.

World Food Day, recognized annually on October 16th, is both a celebration and a call to action. On this day, people celebrate the various ways in which food represents them, their family, and their culture, while simultaneously working to end world hunger and establish a network of food security throughout the globe. World Food Day not only promotes the wide diversity of food in different cultures and communities but also the raising of awareness about those who do not have the privilege of eating three meals a day.

In 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an agency of the United Nations, established World Food Day. However, the UN would not officially recognize the day as an official holiday until 1979, 34 years after its creation. Nowadays, over 150 countries worldwide observe and actively participate in this special day by supporting the ideas of feeding the world and ending poverty.

There are many different ways you can support World Food Day. If you would like to donate or know someone in need, there are many churches and organizations around Fullerton that host food banks and distribute free food. You may click this link for more information on free food sources in our community.