It was a return to the Star Bar for Joe Waller and students in his Careers in Law Enforcement classes last Thursday.
In this Regional Occupational Program of the Manteca Unified School District, they played role in the annual barroom brawl incident.
Many served as bystanders to this two-fold exercise that also involved Manteca Police Department, Manteca-Lathrop Fire District, and Cheryl Behler’s ROP Health Occupation students.
However, plum roles went out to several students in Waller’s classes.
J.T. Johnson, for starters, played the jealous boyfriend and murder victim Sneaky Pete in the afternoon session.
“The fun part was that I got to hit my friend,” said the Lathrop High junior.
Rather than an actual billiard cue stick – that was in accordance to the script – Johnson used a cardboard cylinder as the prop, striking Isaac Quezada, who played Shaky, during the initial go-around between the two characters.
Most of the exercise was staged in Waller’s portable classroom in the MUSD complex. The motion on this incident was set up early on as Sneaky Pete (Johnson) is involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend Jackie, who, in this case, was played by Jasenya Barajas.
“I was nervous, at first,” she said. “I wanted to drop out.”
As Jackie, Barajas had to cry in her role as the victim.
Following the domestic dispute, she makes her way to the Star Bar and finds comfort while hanging out with Shaky (Quezada).
But it wasn’t too long before Sneaky Pete (Johnson) catches the two together and goes on a jealous rage. Shaky gets the worse of the brawl, requiring treatment at the hospital emergency room.
Darian Day, as the Star Bar disc jockey, had a chance to catch all three sessions – Waller’s morning class consisted of Weston Ranch while his middle block had students from Manteca High and East Union.
“The last period (Lathrop and Sierra) may have been the best,” said Day, who used the opportunity to practice his skills as a DJ.
The Manteca High senior hopes to get into the music industry as a radio DJ.
Still suffering from the earlier beat down, Shaky returned to the Star Bar armed this time with a (a prop) handgun.
In front of witnesses, he guns down Sneaky Pete in retaliation. This part of the exercise will be revisited next month during the mock trial.
The Health Occupation class sprung into action. Behler’s students – they’re on the first week working on the various job sites, she noted – were rapid responders, attending to the wounded victim.
Johnson recalled that the Health Occupation students had tough time at first grabbing hold of the gurney. The minor slip up notwithstanding, they handled victim much like clockwork, according to Behler.
“They made sure the victim was safe and that the wounds were cared for before transportation,” she said.
Johnson added: “I learned to play dead.”
Shaky (Barajas) was later arrested for the murder of Sneaky Pete.
“I was loud and talking (stuff) to the police,” said Barajas, who improvised on his tirade towards arresting officers Mitch Balmut and Ikjot Thind.
Waller was pleased with his students putting their personal spin on the characters.
He started the barroom brawl exercise some 18 years ago.