Remembering a fallen Bruin

We all remember Joseph Rivera, either as the good-humored morning announcer, as a famed fellow Bruin, or as a personal friend.

We express our heartfelt condolences to Joseph’s family and friends. Joseph’s premature passing may fill us with despair, but let us be heartened by the thought that he is not forgotten.

The entirety of the first week after Joseph’s death was filled with memorable displays of affection and respect for Joseph “Too Smooth” Rivera. Moments of silence were held, a candlelight vigil was organized, a loving memorial was erected in the Quad, and students of all classes affectionately adorned their class color outfits with seniorly orange in a nod of respect to Joseph.

Several fundraisers resulted in thousands of dollars in aid to the Riveras for funeral expenses, to ensure that Joseph is given a proper burial.

josephtoosmooth.com was also launched as a fundraiser and a place where students and staff could share their condolences and fond memories of Joseph.

We want to say “kudos” to all the effort and consideration displayed by Bear Creek students and staff. The candlelight vigil, the celebration of life, the rally performance—we’re proud of you, Bruins. This is the honor code that Bear Creek should be following. It is truly a comfort to know how much good we are all capable of, especially in the wake of such a tragedy as the death of a student body member.

We also want to encourage students to be cautious as Prom approaches, because alcohol is often involved, and teenagers never mix well with intoxicants and cars. We do not imply that Joseph or the others involved in the accident were driving under the influence, only that accidents occur frequently, especially when speed or distractions such as cell phones are involved. And accidents often cruelly claim the best of us, as in Joseph’s unfortunate case.

When driving or otherwise, we encourage everyone to do everything possible to leave nothing to chance.

Joseph “Too Smooth,” your absence will be deeply felt, but your memory will always remain to warm our hearts. Rest in peace, proud Bruin, from all of us here at “The Bruin Voice.”


Reform needed for TA grading system

Although it is understandable why TAs should get letter grades, the other side of the argument is also completely valid. It is district board policy for students to receive a letter grade in all classes, and the only exceptions are classes like Driver’s Education or intervention classes. The fact that students previously used the pass or fail as an advantage to boost their GPA with minimal effort is also another argument in favor of the new grading policy.

However, the elective classes that would be impacted should also be taken into consideration. It is an appropriate assumption that students will opt to get an “easy A” by becoming a TA for their favorite teacher. The struggling elective classes, already receiving little to no help from the school to be able to keep their programs going, will be even more impacted by the reduced number of students choosing to take those classes.

To prevent this abuse, the school district must clearly articulate a standard for TAs so it does not become a grade boost for an easy A. By its very nature, TA work is dynamic and unique to the teacher and the class. A ceramics or woodshop course demands different assistance skills than a Spanish or math course. If the A to F grading scale is to be adopted, fairness can only be ensured if an equitably applied rubric is erected; showing up to class on time, obeying directions, completing tasks in a timely manner, and remaining on task for the duration of the period should be minimum requirements.

If the policy must be changed, then teachers must hold TAs accountable and provide work that goes beyond merely showing up for class each day.  Grades should be earned — receiving an “easy A” is unfair to students who study hard for their grades.