The Den Goes Down Under

The Den has gone down under.

Instead of being in one single classroom tucked in a corner of the courtyard, the center for student life is now in six rooms in Fremont High School’s basement, a space that used to house the JROTC program.

Nydia Baez, community school manager, explained that the Den needed a bigger and more central location on campus. The decision to move was made late last year by staff and administration, she said.

Baez pointed out that the Den’s mission is to provide a space for students to find information for afterschool programs, as well as college and career services.

Baez and her team say the Den is a center for student life, a place where they can be heard if they need someone to speak to or just have a complaint. In addition to many other services, the Den provides a counselor to help students with anything they may need on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.

Jaliza Collins is the counselor, who graduated from Fremont in 2006. Her room is in the Computer Lab.

Many students on campus are happy with the Den’s new location and its services.

“I like the new Den location because it’s more visible for the students,” said senior Alex Revolorio.

The Den’s new look also is appealing to many students with its new bright colors and vibrant atmosphere.

With the help of student interns last summer, Den organizers transformed a room that was once used as a JROTC shooting range into a meeting room, informally known as the “pink room” because of its bright pink color, but officially called the “Teen Center.” The room is open to students to hang out during lunch, make beats and crafts after school and perform open mic on Fridays.

Next to the pink room is the staff office, where some program leaders like Veronica Garcia and Roxy Isaguirre have their desks. It’s also the place where students and teachers can buy snacks and Subway sandwiches during lunch. The profits from the snack sales will be used for Youth and Government and the Subway proceeds will go towards prom, said Den staffer Ana Garcia.

In the main hallway of the entrance there is another Staff office for program leaders including Barbie Penn and Paolo Tsui. Barbie Penn who runs the Mets program (Mills Educational Talent Search) Thursdays from 9-4pm, grades 9-12. Paolo Tsui runs Fremont Beats followed with Musical roots and Open Mic Night every friday.

Down the hall from the staff office is the college center/computer lab, which is also used by students in the METS college program and Fremont Beats.

“I like that the new Den is a very centralized location and is close to other access providers, Also i feel very comfortable in the new Den.” said Penn .

At the end of the hall is Baez’s office, painted bright green and gold, showing school spirit. Leadership also meets in that room, 6th period the second and fourth week of the month.

“I am very happy to have a space and room of my own.” said Baez, “ I am proud to say that the colors chosen for my room are emerald green and flame yellow… [because] Fremont’s Yearbooks from 1910 to 2000 [were] named Flame.”

At the very end of the Den is the book room. Students who need copies of novels they are reading in class may ask a staff members for assistance.

Students such as Sophomore Angel Guzman say they are enjoying the new and improved Den.

“The new Den is cool and bigger, it used to be smaller last year.” said Guzman.

To help even more students, the Den is collaborating with the ASAP Center to help eliminate barriers to academic work and social lives.

“We are kind of like a bicycle,” said Baez, adding that when students’ needs are more social than personal, the ASAP Center refers them to the Den for support.

But the Den also plans on offering tutoring as soon as funding is secured.

Meanwhile, Baez said she wants students to get more involved in extracurricular activities and to speak up about activities they would like offered through the Den. She said that students can suggest ideas through their advisory representatives that meet the first Tuesday of each month.

“If something doesn’t exist,” said Baez, “let’s make it happen.”

The Den also offers a couple of programs including:

The Extended Day Program is a program that is for everyone on campus. Freshmen are required to participate in at least 30 minutes of study hall, attend one after school program and have 18 hours of community service. The requirement may be extended to other grades in the future.

Debate meets every Monday from 3:25 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room B1. Senior Diego Garcia is the debate team’s captain and the coach is social science teacher Elizabeth Siarny. The team also has Bay Area Urban Debate League Berkeley mentors.
Youth and Government coached by Veronica Garcia

Other Den staff workers are Roxanne Isaguirre, who is the internship coordinator for the Extended Day Program and Veronica Garcia who is a the program manager for the Extended Day Program.