MIKE JOHNSON / RADFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Radford High School senior Preston Cambra flanks a calf (knocks it to the ground) to tie it in the tie-down roping event, part of a qualifying rodeo competition.
Rodeo tough homework
One student pays for his hobby in hard falls and broken bones
While most teens spend their free time at the beach or malls with friends, an RHS senior spends his free time honing his skills as he vies for a spot to represent the state in national rodeo competitions.
Radford High School
Mary Ann Kurose
4361 Salt Lake Blvd.
Robert S. Stevens
Faculty and staff
Senior Preston Cambra participated in the 2006 National High School Finals Rodeo held in Springfield, Ill., July 23-31. He qualified for the tie-down roping of calves and came in 40th out of 180 contestants.
It was his first time competing on a national level. He wanted to qualify for tie-down roping and steer wrestling, but only qualified for tie-down roping.
Tie-down roping is an event in which the competitor ropes a calf, then jumps off a horse and uses a rope to tie together three of a calf's four legs. Steer wrestling involves jumping off a horse onto a running steer and taking it down by its horns. Bull-riding involves climbing onto the back of a bucking bull, tying down a gloved hand and seeing if the competitor can last the eight seconds to win.
Cambra practices four to five times a week for around two to three hours at the DK Ranch in Waimanalo. He practices on cattle, dummies and junior bulls. He said practice takes up a lot of his time.
"In rodeo, if you're not dedicated, it's really hard to improve," Cambra said. "A lot of people think it's easy, but they just don't realize how much work you have to become good."
Despite sustaining numerous injuries, Cambra remains undeterred.
"I broke my hand and I fractured my jaw," he said. "I got a scar on my leg. It took 32 stitches inside and 18 outside to sew it up."
Cambra is a member of the Hawaii High School Rodeo Association. There are six rodeos per season, held at Gunstock Ranch in Kahuku. To compete in the HHSRA, he has to maintain a 2.0 GPA. The top four local competitors in each event advance and can compete in the national championship. The National High School Rodeo Association includes the United States, some provinces in Canada and Australia.
At Parker Ranch on the Big Island next June, he will compete in the state finals and possibly qualify for the championship again.
The rodeo is a family affair. Cambra's mother competes in barrel racing and roping. He also has a sister who ropes in Virginia and a cousin who competes in bull riding. "My family will support me in whatever I do," Cambra said.
Cambra has been riding horses on his own since he was about 4 years old. Even at that age, one of his first jobs was to cool horses down.
"I walked them around after my uncles rode them," he said.
As for his plans after high school, Cambra said he might move to the mainland. "Hopefully, I can get a rodeo scholarship up there," he said, adding that college representatives were at the national finals recruiting. "Or I can wait until I turn 19 and apply for a permit card so I can enter the bigger rodeos up there."
"I want to do this professionally. It's been my dream to be a professional at this," Cambra said. "I want to make Hawaii proud, make my family proud."
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Study skills course pays off in all others
The new elective helps students hand homework in on time
Radford High School's newest program is making a difference. Advancement via Individual Determination, or AVID, is a new elective class worth one credit per year based on college preparation, study skills, time management and test-taking techniques.
"We get the upper hand on going to college and being well prepared. The AVID program keeps everyone on top of their work and study habits," sophomore Derrell Lee II said.
AVID elective teacher Eulanda Campbell said: "AVID is a support system and tutorial model for students who have the desire and determination to advance both in school and in life. Based on the philosophy that effort creates ability, AVID is a program that is based on the belief that all students can achieve at the highest levels if teachers give them access to rigorous courses and intensive support."
Using AVID's "Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Inquiry" methodology, students use strategies to prepare for rigorous courses in high school and in college.
"This class gives us organization skills, study skills and notetaking skills," said sophomore Brodric Tavui.
Last school year, English and math departments were trained using AVID strategies. During the summer, a team of counselors and teachers representing different disciplines attended the AVID Summer Institute Training in San Diego for five days. The team returned with a plan to incorporate an effective AVID strategy schoolwide.
COURTESY OF RADFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Students in the AVID program concentrate on special note-taking skills to prepare for rigorous courses in high school and college.
With the support of administration, teachers are having their students practice Cornell note-taking in their classes. This format involves writing notes separated into two columns, with questions and main ideas on the left side and information on the right, and a summary of what the student learned from the lesson.
"In my English classes, Cornell notes are used to focus on important themes and symbols of a novel, " English teacher Karen Tam said.
AVID students have noticed advantages with Cornell notetaking.
"The Cornell method has made it so that my notes are easier to memorize, so it's easier for me to study for tests," sophomore Matthew Littlejohn said.
A total of 26 AVID sophomores were selected from applications, teacher recommendations and interviews. AVID counselors Pohai Aquino and Malia Park interviewed 60 eligible students this year.
Students eligible for AVID have a grade-point average between 2.0 and 3.0, demonstrate good behavior and are promising in their educational pursuits. Although more students were initially accepted into the program, Radford's six-period schedule forced some students to give up their spot in the class for another elective.
Students are already seeing positive changes since joining. "AVID has helped me a lot with staying organized," said sophomore Epiphany Golston. "I have been turning in my homework on time. My grades are way better from last year."
"I am certain that most of my AVID students will attend college and eventually be contributing members of our society," Campbell said. "So far, almost 90 percent of Radford's AVID students are earning A's and B's in their academic classes. With the strong commitment and support of the administration and teachers, these students will graduate from high school with honors and scholarships to attend four-year colleges."
Next year there will be two elective classes of AVID, a junior class and sophomore class, with a set curriculum for each grade.
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If you could go back in time, which decade would you choose?
"I would want to go to the 1400s so that I could explore and find a new land or islands."
"I would travel to the 1960s and become a hippie experiencing music of the era."
Ioane Dela Cruz
"I would go back to MySpace when it was first created and destroy it."
"I would go back to the dinosaur decade because I want to see giant monsters."
"I would go back to the '80s because Michael Jackson is my hero and I loved him before his nose took over his life."
"Back to the '50s or '60s. Marilyn Monroe, need I say more?"