Archive for the ‘ Extras ’ Category

Pink Diplomas: Gender Bias in Upper-Division Math and Science

By Amanda Bertsch

This essay was written for Tri-City Prep’s Math Honors class, which asks students each spring to write a paper on a topic in mathematics.

“What are you even doing here? You belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.”

These are the words that greeted Eileen Bertsch when she went to ask her calculus TA a question. Shocked, she didn’t respond, walking away without the answer to her query (Bertsch). The year was 1980.

Almost a century after the first women graduated from engineering programs, she was facing some of the same blunt rejection that these pioneering women engineers struggled through. As a freshman in college, she was hearing the same sexist rhetoric that had persisted for decades, still as sharply obvious as ever. Her calculus TA, while a particularly blatant example of why women are underrepresented in engineering, was only one of a series of challenges she and her sister Patricia Haslach would face as they earned engineering degrees. Continue reading


Envirothon Takes First!

By Amanda Bertsch
On the weekend of April 1st, 60 Arizona high school students gathered at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center. The students were there to participate in the Arizona Envirothon competition, an ecology challenge.
The Envirothon competition has four areas of testing. In aquatic ecology, students test water samples and answer questions about water conservation concepts. In soils and land use, students test soils for texture, chemical content, and color, and use land use booklets to determine best land management practices. In forestry, students use National Park Service equipment to identify trees and determine uses for various types of lumber, and in wildlife, students identify pelts, skulls, photos, and habitat ranges for species.
Each year also has a special topic. This year the competition centered around sustainable agriculture and land use, meaning that the students had two hours to prepare a presentation on the management of a hypothetical farm with a host of issues. They synthesized a thick packet of information into a 10-minute presentation.
Ten Tri-City Prep students participated in this year’s competition, forming two teams. Amanda Bertsch captained a team of Kaleb Lyonnais, Kim Zamora-Delgado, Brianna D’Angelo, and Ethan Krafft, while Tieran Rashid captained a team of Audrey Guess, Julia Goswick, Deven Kohler, and Natalie D’Angelo.
“It truly felt like a team and professional experience,” Tieran Rashid said, adding “we had a lot of fun.”
Bertsch’s team took home 1st in aquatic ecology, 1st in forestry, 2nd in wildlife, and 3rd in soils and land use. They also won the first place overall, meaning they will represent Arizona in the North American Envirothon competition in Baltimore this summer. This is the second time Tri-City has won the top award but the first time the school will be attending the North American competition.

Essay: Hamlet and Finding the Reality in Ecstasy

By Katherine Christians

This essay was written for Tri-City Prep’s College Composition 102 class.

The protagonist’s father appeared before him; ashen and dressed for battle. The form of his hulking parent is transparent enough to grant him the ability to see the trees behind the once-living man. The ghost of his father tells the harrowing tale of his death to his son; one not of natural causes; but of murder. The son is left alone, bloodless and shaking, with one task: to avenge his father’s death. Though the dramatic air to this moment is admirable, the fact that a ghost appeared to tell his son of it’s murder; is questionable, to say the least. If someone assaulted someone else and then proceeded to tell the jury that they did so because a ghost told them to, their sanity would most likely be questioned. But when such a thing happened in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the audience seemed to have no qualms believing in the actions of a madman.

The Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, is the story of a young man who’s father just died, and an uncle who stole his throne. Wrought with anger and confusion, Hamlet is told, by the ghost of his father, that his uncle, the new king, was his murderer. Bent on getting revenge for his father’s wrongful death, Hamlet “pretends” to be corrupted with ecstasy; or madness. As the play progresses, Hamlet’s actions, and sanity, grow more questionable; until, finally, Hamlet’s deranged activities lead to the death of his uncle, mother, peer, and himself. The question that haunts the audience during the play is: was Hamlet truly mad, or was he just pretending? Continue reading

Tablet Program Ending

Tablet Program Ending

We are saddened to announce that the administration has made plans to end the tablet program. This decision comes after several broken tablets recently. Office TAs told Denobis that the school cited high school students as being “not responsible enough” for the tablets. They will be donated to Stepping Stones.

Tablets must be returned by the end of April. To return your tablet, please navigate to the share menu on your sidebar (this can be accessed by swiping from the right). An option will appear to “export tablet”. Click this option and your tablet will be returned to Mr. Halvorson’s office.

The administration would like to thank the staff and students for their cooperation in this time of transition.


Happy April Fool’s Day from Denobis!

The Gay Panic Defense: When Law and Social Justice Intersect

By Amanda Bertsch


In many Middle Eastern and African courts, there’s an easy way to escape murder charges: prove that the victim was gay. In these areas of the world, “gay panic” laws allow a judge to dismiss a case if the victim was attacked specifically for their sexuality (or, in the case of transgender individuals, their gender identity).

The legal theory is similar to that of “not guilty by reason of insanity”: the accused admits that they committed the act, but claims they were not in their right mind at the time of the crime. The gay panic defense represents a form of temporary insanity, where the perpetrator is so shocked by a gay person’s unwanted advances or surprising sexuality that they cannot be held accountable for their actions.

This is unpleasant, but not entirely shocking; after all, many of the countries that most enthusiastically endorse gay panic laws are also countries where homosexuality is illegal. In some of these countries, homosexual behavior is punishable by death, and thus crimes against gay people are seen as small offenses. What’s more surprising is that the gay panic defense has been applied a number of times in the United States, with varying success. Continue reading