Violent threats prompt school closure

Video by Karen Trinh, Ashley Le, & Justin Nguyen

Story by Karen Trinh, Kristie Hoang, & Langa Tran 

An email threat led to the closure of Fountain Valley High School campus on Wednesday, according to the Fountain Valley Police Department. The email was linked to a student, but was not sent from a school-issued email account.

Classes were cancelled for the day at FVHS.  Parents and students were notified via an automated phone call from Principal Chris Herzfeld as well as a mass email.

The email regarding the threat was sent on Tue. night at 10 p.m. and received by FVHS teacher Sean Ziebarth on Wed. morning.  Ziebarth believes that the email was sent to him due to the fact that he is the FVHS webmaster, and his email address is posted on the school website.

According to FVPD Sgt. Tony Luce, the email claimed that explosives were scattered throughout the school.

The email also stated that any survivors will be killed by assault rifle.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Bomb squad arrived on campus on Wed. morning to investigate the threat.

FVPD responded student’s home to check the legitimacy of the email.

The student whose account was linked to the threat has denied any involvement, according to Luce.

The student has allowed the PD to search his computers and cell phone, and home.  No weapons were found, and there were no indications that such an email came from his computers or phone.

PD’s forensics will investigate email account to attempt to track down where the email possibly originated.

“Any situation like this we always take very seriously because of the threat to human life. Until the sheriff’s department gets through the school and we completely investigate the incident, it’s impossible for us to know [how dangerous the situation is]  right now… “ said Luce.

Meanwhile, Bushard Street is closed between Talbert and Slater due to police activity.

“Out of an abundance of caution, FVPD is going to sweep the entire grounds. It will take hours. Consequently, school is cancelled for today. I will send an update regarding afternoon activities,” said Principal Chris Herzfeld.

The school announced that campus had been reopened around 11 a.m. and after school sports activities resumed.



The Fighter


Photo by Tue Duong
Image originally published in Fountain Valley Living magazine.

By Karen Trinh

Linda Muhleman chuckled as she removed her black Baron baseball cap, exposing the bright pink scarf covering her bare head.

“Do you want me to remove the scarf too?” she asked, as she posed by her supervision office for the Fountain Valley Living photographer.Linda’s smile, although she is diagnosed with breast cancer, is still as bright as it has ever been.

Last September, she discovered she has two different kinds of breast cancer, one which responds to chemotherapy while the other responds to radiation. She has been undergoing chemotherapy for two months at the cancer clinic at St. Joseph Hospital.

Muhleman has been working at Fountain Valley High School for 13 years as a campus supervisor, making sure that students and faculty are safe. She had been involved with the school even before that, because her children are FVHS alumni. Because of her cancer, she has had to take time off her work, something she rarely did before. But she still remains deeply dedicated to the school. Even though her cancer has brought complications to her work, it has given her a chance to appreciate the people around her, especially those at FVHS. She said she has received much love from everyone, whether it be students or staff.

“The whole school has just been so supportive and encouraging and I am touched every day by the outpouring love and support that I’ve felt,” she said. “It just really is an incredible place to work. I’m just surrounded by a lot of love and support—everything from the cafeteria workers to the counselors. It’s just incredible.”

After her chemotherapy treatments end, she will start radiation to continue her fight against cancer. Even though she knows she has a long and difficult battle ahead of her, she carries nothing but optimism. She said she doesn’t like to think about the details of her condition because she wants her focus to be on being healthy, not sick. In her future, Muhleman sees herself overcoming her cancer and living a full life with her friends and family.

“I see [myself] living a long healthy life, seeing my children have children, being able to play with my grandchildren and just being here at Fountain Valley High School as long as I can because I just really love being around the students and the faculty,” she said.

Although Muhleman admits to facing many frustrating situations, such as chemotherapy hindering her ability to read, she is finding ways to adapt to her current circumstances and maintain her lifestyle. For example, she plans on getting audiobooks for her next chemotherapy treatment. According to Muhleman, having cancer has allowed her to learn to be more patient, understanding and forgiving to her body and her situation.

“You have to take it as it comes,” Muhleman said. “That’s a lesson to learn.”

Note: Article was written for and published in local magazine, Fountain Valley Living. 

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Bell Week: Don’t believe the hype


Bell Week posters cover school grounds for a minimum of five days. Photo by Tue Duong

By Karen Trinh

Before Bell Week, Senate and ASB have to spend a large amount of time after school making hundreds of posters that they use to plaster the school. ASB members are required to make 60 posters, and Senate members must create at least 40. Not only do these students use up precious time that could be used for studying or doing homework, they also spend school funds on poster supplies. Then, after being up on the walls for only five days, the posters are torn down as soon as Bell Week is over.Every year, FVHS buzzes with excitement and anticipation during Bell Week, which ends with the long-awaited Bell Game against Edison High School. Although Bell Week and the Bell Game builds school spirit, many problems can arise.

During Bell Week, each school day has a different dress-up theme. For example, this year, Tuesday was Twin Day, and Wednesday was Edison Nerd Day. However, although these dress days may seem fun and creative to students, they draw attention away from classroom instruction. Students get wrapped up in their own costumes or other people’s wild costumes and they wind up distracted from their schoolwork. After all, who wants to study geometry when the girl sitting in front of them is completely decked out from head to toe in nerdy Edison gear?

After Bell Week, or after the much anticipated Bell Game, students view the bell as if it somehow symbolizes that one school is better than the other. Fountain Valley and Edison students act as though the bell decides which school is superior, when in reality all the bell stands for is the result of a single football game. One football game does not indicate which school is better. One football game does not indicate anything about the character or academic excellence of either school’s students. The hype around the bell simply reinforces the false notions that students from FVHS and Edison have about each other.

Friendly competition is never a bad thing, and it’s always great to have students cheering each other on whether it be at football games, tennis matches, or volleyball games. Although Bell Week does bring school spirit and excitement to FVHS, it also brings many unnecessary distractions and problems. Fountain Valley High School is already a spirited school with many events that brings together the student body, such as the Baron Games, so there may not be a need to place so much emphasis on whether or not our school can take home an old bell after a football game.

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BBN prepares for new year

BBN students edit videos. Photo by Ashley Le

BBN students edit videos. Photo by Ashley Le

By Karen Trinh

Before the start of the school year, the students of Baron Broadcast News devoted several days to training on Aug. 19-23.

BBN camp was a week of preparation for students new to the class. These newcomers were trained by those who have had experience in the class. Camp lasted four to seven hours each day and consisted of lessons taught by the student producers.

“[BBN camp] is a great camp because the students have an opportunity to teach each other and learn from each other.” BBN adviser Sean Ziebarth said.

Lessons taught by producers Kris Nguyen (‘15), Hoang Nguyen (‘14), and Tue Duong (‘14), who covered many areas in the process of creating the biweekly episodes. The new trainees were taught skills such as story-boarding, composition, how to use camera equipment, and editing.

“We do BBN camp because we want the BBN students to already know what to do once they dive into school,” Duong said. “We want to introduce BBN to the school like, right away and if we don’t train the BBN students beforehand, we might not have that episode for the first few weeks of school.”

Baron Broadcast News consists of video journalists who work together to create fifteen minute videos that are shown to all third period classes every other Thursday during SSR. The purpose of these episodes is to familiarize FVHS students with events occurring on campus along with happenings in the local community that may affect them, as well as entertain the student body with humorous clips.

“The biggest thing about BBN is to inform and entertain the students. Informing and entertaining sometimes don’t go hand-in-hand, but we have to try. That’s the big thing that we want to do, ” said producer Hoang Nguyen.

Although the new BBN trainees worked hard during camp to learn how to fulfill their responsibilities in the class, many are enjoying BBN and are excited for the new school year.

“I think [this upcoming year] will be wonderful. We have a lot of great students,” new student Tanya Wong (’14) said. “Everybody has a great sense of humor, and we all know how to work professionally.”

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Theriault’s student blogs receive recognition

theriault's blog awards

Mr. Theriault announces the winners of the blog awards.
Photo credit: Michelle Bui

By Karen Trinh

Mr. Theriault and his sophomore students celebrated the best student blogs in an awards ceremony during lunch on June 6.

Mr. Theriault planned the “OC Rising Talent Blogging Awards” ceremony for his tenth grade Honors English classes. Student blogs were nominated and presented with awards. Categories included, “Best Post”, “Best Promotional Campaign”, “Best Blog”, etc. All of Theriault’s sophomore students were able to nominate and vote for which blogs they believed deserved the awards, and then the winners were announced during the awards ceremony.

“Because my students put themselves out there so much, because they worked so hard at it, I just felt that I needed to put myself out all the way, and set up the awards,” Theriault said. “If your students are going to do something amazing, you needed to kind of go a little bit above and beyond as a teacher to support that.”

Many of Mr. Theriault’s students attended the event, which took place at the stage by the history buildings, to support their friends and favorite blogs, as well as enjoy pizza that was available.

These student blogs are the result of an assignment in Mr. Theriault’s English classes. His students were to create their own WordPress blogs, and maintain them for the entire second semester.

Each week, a student in every group had to write a “re-framed post”, in which he or she compares and incorporates a lesson learned in class to something else, such as a movie or book. Besides that, the students were generally given creative control over the content and design of their blogs, an idea which appealed to many.

“ I think the blog awards was a nice thing to do for the classes…the people who worked the hardest on their blogs, got the awards. They got awarded for their creativity, and that’s a good thing,” said Zara Mann (‘15), whose group won “Best Blog” and “Best Re-Framed Post”.

Ashley Masuda (’15) felt that the blogging assignment made her a stronger and more creative writer. “Also, I think for some people it was a new, innovative way to put their opinions and views out there, like for the people who are very shy, or don’t really like speaking out loud,” she stated.

Although only a few blogs received awards during the ceremony, Theriault’s students still enjoyed the event as a way to conclude their blogging experiences and the school year.

Cindy Wong (’15) and her group won “Best Post.” “I think the blogging awards assembly was a wonderful idea to end the blogging experience with, because the students get a reward for keeping a wonderful blog updated throughout the year,” she said.

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FNL showcases student talent

Natalie Tongprasearth(’13) and Josh Lim(’13) perform their sketch, “Piano Wars.” Photo credit: Tue Duong

By Karen Trinh

Fountain Valley High School’s FNL club hosted its 9th annual school talent show last Friday, May 24.

The show lasted from 7:30 to 10 PM and took place in the school gym. The hosts were Tricia Vuong (‘13) and Bryan Nguyen (‘13).

The judges were Crystal Jerabek, former FVHS teacher, Deeder Lam, FVHS alumnus and former FNL host, and Aimee Le, Miss Fountain Valley 2013. Proceeds from the show went to the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornado.  Performances included magic tricks, original songs, improvisational comedy, poetry, a saxophone group, and more.

“It was a really fun and interesting experience,” said Emerald Nguyen (‘15), who sang a One Direction medley. “I met some new friends from being in the show and it helped me a lot with my fear of performing in front of crowds.”

The show ended with the awarding of honorable mentions, as well as first, second and third place. Maxx Komminsky (‘13) with his electric guitar performance, Brandon Khong’s (‘13) dance, and the saxophone band received honorable mentions.

The first place performance was “Piano Wars”, with Natalie Tongprasearth (‘13), Josh Lim (‘13), and Kevin Takeda (‘16). Their performance was a sketch, centered around a piano medley of well-known songs, such as the Harry Potter theme.

“I didn’t think we would get first place; I just wanted to put on a show for the fun of it… I’m really proud of all of us and it was definitely worth the effort,” said Tongprasearth.

Second place was awarded to Celina Huynh (‘13) and her sister Nathalie Huynh (‘15), with their spoken word poetry. They performed an original poem titled, “When I Was Young”, which had originally been written for Nathalie’s English book report.

“I felt really good that [Celina and I] recited a spoken word poem together, instead of singing a song or reciting a poem solo, because it stood out from what some of the other acts were doing,” said Nathalie.

Khoa Pham (‘13) received third place for his acoustic performance of his original song, “Run Forever”.

“I had a blast performing. To me, it wasn’t about competing against others, but just having a good time singing a song,” said Pham.

Friday Night Live is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to drunk driving and the use of drugs and abusive substances, especially in adolescents. The club was established at Fountain Valley High School in the ‘90s, and the FNL talent show was created in 2004, with the help of club adviser, Mr. Yarnton.

“The idea of the talent show is to give alternative ‘highs’ to students… a student can be high on singing or high on dancing, providing an outlet to express and feel happy about what they do without drug usage,” said club president Tiffany Tran (‘13).

Although the turnout for this year’s show was not as large as previous years had been, the show still went well, and performers and viewers alike were content at the end of the night.

“I liked how there was a lot audience interaction… I also liked how they had a more diverse set of acts, from card tricks to improv,” said Langa Tran (‘15) .

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How to have fun and avoid disaster at prom

By Karen Trinh

  1. Wear deodorant. You are going to be dancing with your date in the middle of a crowded dancefloor, possibly working up a sweat. You do not want to be that sweaty, smelly person who scares everyone, including your date, away.

  2. Act classy. Prom night is special, and you are there to have fun. However, there are ways to enjoy yourself without behaving inappropriately; don’t ruin the night for any of the other people at the dance.

  3. Do not ditch your date. Many of your friends will be at prom with you, and you might want to enjoy the dance with them. However, just because you want to be with your friends does not mean you should forget about your date. You brought a date to prom because you wanted to experience it with him/her, not leave him/her alone on the dancefloor.

  4. Keep the conversation going with your date. You might be nervous, but he or she is probably just as nervous as your are. You can help both of you by just talking and preventing that awkward silence. Casual conversation could also make you both more comfortable, and help you have a fun and memorable night.

  5. Compliment your date. Formal events like prom do not happen on a regular basis, so you and your date have both spent time choosing the perfect attire. Both guys and girls want to look nice for prom. Don’t lie, but giving a simple compliment shows that you acknowledge how much time and effort your date had put in. A compliment could be the pleasant start to a fantastic night.

  6. Make sure you dance. Maybe you, your date, or both of you are shy and do not normally dance public. You might prefer to stand off to the side and watch everyone else. However, prom is a special occasion, a night to let loose and make memories. Dance with your date, dance with your friends, prom will be so much better than you can imagine.

  7. Do not forget to bring a camera. Prom will be a night you will never want to forget when you grow older.  You are going to have an amazing time with your date and/or friends, and you would deeply regret it if you didn’t take pictures of the special occasion. Years from now, you want to be able to look back and how you and your date matched your outfits, how you rode in a limo to prom, how much fun you had, etc.

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