Beverly Hills, Calif.
Beverly Hills High School
Volume 86, Issue Five · November 30, 2012
Open Access inspected
BHUSD to cut $3.5 million
Jessica Lu and Mabel Kabani Staff Writer, Opinion Editor
Robert Katz Assistant Web Editor
Under Beverly’s implementation of the Open Access policy, students gain an expanded ability to self-select their classes. When students meet recommended prerequisites such as grades, teacher recommendations and sometimes CST scores, they are automatically eligible for the following year’s honors or Advanced Placement course. However, students that fall short of any of these requirements are able to fill out paperwork and request to override their teachers’ recommendations to enroll into their desired course(s). “In 2006, the WASC team put in our recommendations for implementation. Kids who normally wouldn’t have been recommended for an honors or AP class have the opportunity to be in that class and really stretch themselves and grow,” Assistant Principal Amy Golden said. While Open Access serves to give an equal opportunity to willing students, each department was impacted differently, and departments created guidelines to determine if an override is applicable. “I think the system works fairly well,” Science Dept. Chair Sue Yovetich said. “We’re not forced with a lot of override situations... because most of the science classes don’t require a teacher recommendation, just previous course prerequisites.” Similarly, the Art Department has not felt negative impacts, due to the sequential ordering of the classes. “The counselors always talk to us about [assigning classes] and have been great about it,” Technical Arts Dept. Chair Tim Briggs said. “It’s not a problem with us.” The math department has faced mixed results. Though some students struggled in math classes their teachers deemed them not ready for, other students, such as Aaron Wolfe, felt more comfortable enrolling in the advanced class they opted into. After being a few percentage points short of being able to get into Math Analysis Honors, Wolfe used Open Access to opt into the class. “I feel I made a good decision so far,” Wolfe said. “The class was a little bit challenging to begin with, but it just took some time to get used to.” [continued on page 4]
Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) administrators have begun formulating a reduction plan for the 20132014 school year. While Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 passed on Nov. 6, the district still must carve $3.5 million of the originally estimated $6 million deficit. “I was pretty excited about that and knowing that we’re halfway home,” Principal Carter Paysinger said, referring to Proposition 30’s steps toward financial stability in BHUSD. The plan, officially adopted by the Board of Education on Nov. 27, is currently aimed at cutting $3.5 million of expenses, with measures such as eliminating staff positions, limiting classes and reducing administrative salaries. Trimmed staff positions could range from teaching to maintenance positions, while classes reduced may include language courses and electives. An ultimate decision will be made regarding individual personnel on May 15. Prior to Proposition 30’s passing, a more extensive list of cuts was proposed. However, the top priorities for reductions have been eschewed, with less crucial items being considered for elimination. Proposition 30 will remain for the next seven years to appropriate funds to California’s education. “It gives us some time now,” Paysinger said. “You’ve got a seven year period where at least we can get through the $3.5 million cut and we can project out and budget. However we balance the budget, we’re looking for multiple years of that. We’re hoping to have commitments for those monies for multiple years, so we’re not in the same boat again next year.” The $3.5 million cut is the latest in a series of budget reductions, with the district projected to pay an average of $5,768 per student during the 2012-2013 school year, in which about 4,531 students enrolled. In contrast, approximately $6,449 was spent per student during the 2007-2008 year. Should the mid-year
‘Every 15 Minutes’ encourages safe driving practices Michelle Banayan and Mabel Kabani News Editor, Opinion Editor Tuesday morning, a hoard of juniors and seniors were led down the steps of the school to the front lawn in order to witness the reenactment of the aftermath of a car crash caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol. Black tarp sheilds covered the scene as students sat huddled next to each other on bleachers, waiting for the scene to unfold. A shot rang out and the tarp was unveiled, revealing a car crash with the bodies of blood-covered students sprawled across the ground and in the cars. This was the first lesson administered by the “Every 15 Minutes” program. “Every 15 Minutes” originated in Canada and was introduced to the U.S. in 1995. According to its official website, every15minutes.com, the program “offers real-life experience without the real-life risks” and is a “powerful program that [will]
INSIDE page 5 San Antonio reviewed by Highlights’ awardwinning reviewer
challenge students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.” Beverly first implemented the program in 2006 after “feeling the need to introduce students to the real life consequences that come in hand with making bad choices,” Assistant Principal Amy Golden said. That same year, before the program was put into action, Beverly student Vahagn Setian was killed in a car crash caused by actor Lane Garrison, who was under the influence of alcohol and other illegal substances. The importance of “Every 15 Minutes” was specifically emphasized after the incident, though it was not set up specifically because of the accident. “The point of ‘Every 15 Minutes’ is to reiterate to students the importance of understanding that accidents due to drunk driving or texting are not foreign tragedies,
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Getting ready for the holidays: where to go, what to get pages 6-7
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Cross-country boys and Segal find success at state page 12
November 30, 2012 Highlights
Knowing your limits ‘Every 15 Minutes’ educates students on making right choices EVERY 15 MINUTES [continued from front page] tragedies, but are relevant to each and every student at this school,” Golden said. “Vahagn’s tragic incident only emphasized the importance of making good choices and eliminating distractions such as phones and alcohol when driving.” Though measuring the success of a program such as this is difficult, “every single life impacted, changed or saved is worth all the work that was put into this event.” Golden said. Many of the students who felt that the event was a success this year realized the consequences that could come from making poor decisions. “I think it was an amazing program and it definitely did impact me and a lot of my friends,” senior Rebecca Hakhamian said. “I cried and the speeches really hit my heart and made me think a lot about my actions and actions I’ve seen others do while driving.” Though the event was primarily for and by students, adults also felt greatly impacted by the crash and memorial that took place Tuesday. History teacher Daniel Moroaica felt greatly affected by the program as both a high school teacher and parent. “My little girls are still 13 years away from driving, at least, but these are concerns that I’m going to have for them now,” he said. “It’s good to know that there are programs already that are out to look after them.” “Every 15 Minutes” is a nation-wide program that occurs in high schools and is practiced every two years so that juniors and seniors get to experience the program at least once. Freshmen and sophomores, in the meantime, participate in designated activities related to making bad choices. “While juniors and seniors were at the lawn witnessing the crash, the underclassmen were at an assembly in which they watched the ‘Every 15 Minutes’ video from 2010,” Golden said. “They also listened to Jason Newman speak, as well as a student who was involved in the 2010 incident, and listened to a song.” She continued to say that when upperclassmen were at the assembly in the afternoon, the freshmen and sophomores were in designated “focus groups” under the supervision of a teacher that either performed activities with them or simply talked to students regarding the importance of making right choices. “I think the school should keep this program because when we realized that life is so fragile, we’ll start to cherish what we have and not make stupid decisions,”
sophomore Baibing Qin said. “I enjoyed the activities and am excited to experience the real program later in high school.” Though this program was meant to benefit all students in some way, Golden said that the students who participated in the “skit” were the ones most heavily impacted. Senior Lili Eshaghzadeh played an important role in yesterday’s scene as the “girl who took the safe ride home.” Though she, as well as everybody else involved in Tuesday’s enactment, started rehearsals in September, the car crash still came across as very real and scary to her. “The scene at the car crash when I was crying was not acting at all. It was just my reaction,” she said. “The [administration] did not tell us what to do; they said that once you see the crash and the ambulance and everything, it would begin to feel very real. I never rehearsed crying, but I started bawling after I saw everything.” According to Golden, the student selection process for the program was simple and was based solely on counselor recommendations this year. Counselors looked for people who would be willing and committed to making the event a success, as well as people from different social groups in order to achieve maximum impact on the students. This year, the program was funded completely by the “Every 15 Minutes” organization and was still considered by most to be a success. However, there were complaints regarding the technicalities of the program. “Half of the people couldn’t see anything during the accident because of the tree that was blocking everyone’s view,” junior Chaliz Taghdis said. “I saw videos from the ‘Every 15 Minutes’ event that took place in 2008 and it was much better at that time. I also didn’t like how the dead people were sitting on the stage during the assembly.” Though the views on Tuesday’s events were generally mixed, “impacting even one person makes a difference.” To donate to the Vahagn Setian Charitable Foundation, which “helps youth build healthy and productive lives one choice at a time,” scan the QR code to the left.
Visit beverlyhighlights.com for more pictures from “Every 15 Minutes.” Clockwise: Beverly Hills Fire Department lifts a deceased student, played by senior Nathan Cohen, into a coroner’s van. Senior Lili Eshaghzadeh “grieves for” Cohen’s death. Senior Elbert Kim reads a farewell letter to his mother. Senior Jeremiah Williams is “arrested” due to being under the influence while driving. OLIVER GALLOP, ALEX MENACHE and ARMAN ZADEH
November 30, 2012 Highlights
QUICK READS Groups fundraise Hurricane relief Hurricane Sandy, which carved a path of destruction on the East Coast on Oct. 30, has taken many lives and destroyed homes and schools. Service Learning and Highlights members teamed up to fundraise money for Hurricane Sandy relief on Nov. 19-28. Highlights members collected money during their classes and at lunch on the second floor patio and front lawn. “It’s a great opportunity for us to help those in need, as well as assert our organization as an important leadership group,” Culture Editor Danny Licht said. Service Learning raised money by collecting proceeds and donations Tuesdays and Thursdays during sixth period. “Working together to help those in this great time of need is what I love to do,” Service Learning member Claudia Dayani said. “I am so proud to be a part of a school that can actually help and do our part.” All the money collected went to the American Red Cross. The total amount raised was not available as of press time. Celine Hakimianpour
JFS prepares food for SOVA pantry The Jewish Family Services (JFS) club fundraises for JFS, a non-profit that strives to enrich the community and improve the lives of people of all religions, ethnicities and ages. Since its founding three years ago, the club has hosted many fundraisers including Tools for Schools and Adopt a Family. More regularly, the club hosts monthly trips to the SOVA pantry. SOVA (Sustenance, Opportunity, Volunteerism and Advocacy) is a community food and resource program that provides free groceries and an array of services to individuals of all ages, races and beliefs. At SOVA, five Beverly club members, along with volunteers from other schools, prepare packages of groceries for people who are in need of food. These orders depend on the size and needs of each family. “It is an eye-opening experience to see the people whom we are helping,” senior and president Candice Hannani said. “We are aware that there are many people in need around the world, although we often forget that those people are present just a few miles away from us.” Volunteers of all ages are welcome to be either core volunteers, who commit to a regularly scheduled shift, or occasional volunteers, who work on a more flexible schedule. “The experience made me feel really lucky for everything that I have,” junior Shana Kheradyar said. “It opened my eyes to a whole other part of the world.” Alex Menache
KEY DATES December 5: Applications for Psychology 1 course offered by West Los Angeles College are due at 3 p.m. December 6: ASB is holding its annual Winter Blood Drive. December 14: Deadline for signing up for the AMC10/AMC12 exam. December 24 - January 4: Winter Recess
Highlights receives national awards
The Highlights staff shows off the National Pacemaker Award plaques and Best of Show certificate they received in San Antonio. Courtesy of GABY HERBST
Candice Hannani Feature Editor Twelve members of the Highlights staff flew to San Antonio for the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention from Nov. 15-18. There, the group competed in multiple competitions and won several awards. Highlights received the National Pacemaker Award, the highest national honor that a high school newspaper can obtain, and its online edition won eighth place in Best of Show. Additionally, students participated in individual and group write-off competitions. Senior Jessica Saadian received the Superior ranking for review writing, seniors Pasha Farmanara and Julia Waldow and junior Dami Kim received Superior for online news package, junior Arman Zadeh received Excellent for sports writing, junior Sasha
[continued from front page] slashes have been allowed, expenses would have plummeted to about $5,311 a student, a decrease of around $450 per student. BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods expressed some frustration with state legislation’s continued reduction of funding for education, noting that the state can still submit additional cuts to a district if state revenues are less than expected. “The state can come back at us almost any time they choose to do so,” Woods said. “Part of Proposition 30 was to provide money so they didn’t have to. I’m taking them at their word at this point. But we’ve cut so much over 10 years that all of us are becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to put our district back together after we continue to get one cut after another.” Multiple channels of revenue are available for the district to recover funds, such as a potential parcel tax, which would send local money directly to the school district; the increase of property values, which would contribute to Basic Aid funding; and support from
Park received Excellent for editorial cartooning, and junior Danny Licht received Excellent for feature writing. While in San Antonio, students were required to partake in at least three journalism sessions per day. Sessions ranged from improving page designs to writing investigative articles. The convention also featured two keynote speakers, Rodolfo Gonzalez and Charean Williams, both of whom are renowed journalists and provided the students with a source of inspiration to continue their passions for the field. “I especially enjoyed photojournalist Gonzalez’s presentation of images he took at Columbine High School following the mass shooting,” Print Editor-in-Chief Julia Waldow said. “His emotional, riveting photos really re-enforced the huge role photography plays in capturing the human experience.” During their free time, students were
able to visit sites in San Antonio such as the Alamo and the Tower of the Americas, and walk along the Riverwalk, a four mile long river surrounded by restaurants and gift shops. Students left the city with an increased motivation to excel in journalism, new knowledge about newspaper writing and page designing and greater ties with their classmates. “After seeing other schools’ newspapers, I felt more inclined to produce better quality work and come up with more creative ideas for my page. I was able to spend a lot of time with other members of the staff that I usually did not hang out with. We bonded a lot and it was a great experience and trip overall,” News Editor Michelle Banayan said. The next JEA/NSPA conference is in San Francisco in April. Yearbook and website Pacemakers will be announced.
organizations such as the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, the district’s PTAs and PTSAs and the Beverly Hills Athletic Alumni Association. BHEF began a fundraiser effort on Nov. 15 that may last until the final decision on May 15. BHEF will submit letters to members of the community requesting donations to support the district’s schools. “This marks the beginning of what we
of community support for Beverly’s funding. “It is imperative that families understand that given the state of California’s consistent reductions in education funding, every family needs to find a way to contribute every year,” Rennie said. “Although public education is free, a great education costs money.” Woods was enthusiastic about the prospect of harnessing that revenue to replenish trimmed costs. “To me, that’s the most important concept of all,” Woods said. “We want to spend our energies on restoring each and every position on the list.” Paysinger shared similar hopes. “We want to put ourselves in a position where we don’t have to make any cuts and we can offer the programs for our students that we’ve offered in the past and that have been successful programs,” Paysinger said. The budget plan will officially be made public in January or February. The Board of Education will finalize its choice of affected staff members on May 15, after which the cuts to the 2013-2014 school year will be fully established. BHEF was contacted but could not comment in time for press.
‘All of us are becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to put our district back together after we continue to get one cut after another.’ hope will be a culture of philanthropy,” BHEF Executive Director Matthew Zarcufsky said at Nov. 27’s Board of Education meeting. The PTSA, which offers Beverly support such as supplying classroom equipment, organizing school events and funding campus renovations, will continue its annual fundraiser for the school. PTSA Executive Vice President Franny Rennie stressed the necessity
November 30, 2012 Highlights
Open Access: blessing or curse?
Student voice: “All students deserve the opportunity to prove their academic potential” Robert Katz Assistant Web Editor All students deserve the opportunity to prove their academic potential, but not all students are allowed into the classes that best fit their needs. The Open Access system, Beverly’s solution to the issue of the illsorting of students over the past six years, is undoubtedly an effective gateway for students to enter and succeed in higher-level classes. Yet, the system just as easily allows students to join classes that they are not prepared for, leading pupils into potential failure, as well as diluting classes and CST scores. Perhaps more ominous is Open Access’s removal of teachers’ control over students, entrusting students with an unbalanced control over their educational paths. Giving students the choice to take on new challenges and earn greater rewards in their academic careers is hard to turn down. The Open Access system was likely written with good intentions.
Students disinterested in basic core classes have taken advantage of Open Access’s benefits, although their teachers may not be confident in all of their students’ decisions. These cases are rarified only because teachers recognize the majority of capable students. Still, not everyone who is capable of being in an honors class is in an honors class. I recall fellow peers who have taken regular academic classes and later decided to up the ante the following school year, going on to excel even beyond those who had enrolled in previous classes with previous credentials. With a greater influx of students who did not meet the criteria for enrolling in honors and Advanced Placement courses, it is probable that class curriculum, test averages and CST scores will lessen to meet the needs of a more diverse group of students. Essentially, honors and AP classes may be watered down, provided that a large enough percentage of students enter the classes against teacher recommendation and struggle in
the typical curriculum. This possibility is not a vision of doom and decay, just of the worst excesses of the Open Access program if it is not handled with relative discretion. Interestingly, Open Access raises the question of “what is proper discretion?” In the case of overriding a disagreement between teacher and student, can a student be prepared for a higher-level class when his or her teacher has plainly stated otherwise? This question, which I answer with a hesitant “yes,” throws out a greater question about how much authority a teacher really has over his or her students’ academic fates. While we often assume that students are the most apt judges of themselves, teachers have been judging students for years and have developed their own intuitions and guidelines as to what they believe are the most viable formulas for students’ success. Naturally, some teachers have more sound perspectives than others, but instructors, receiving salaries to manage the futures of bundles of unique teenagers with varying abilities and prospects, should be given more control over their own dominions. Perhaps compromises should be placed to limit Open Access’s gaping ingress and distill classes to the students that should rightfully be enrolled in them. Students overriding prerequisites or recommendations could be given a trial
period in the class. As suggested by Student Board Member Jason Friedman, five weeks would surely allow for enough assessment such that a student’s placement could be properly evaluated. Although a trial period would leave a deluge of work for a student returning to a lower level to make up, that complication, which is lessened due to lower level coursework being covered in advanced classes, is worth saving said pupil from an unfit class and stabilizing class performances. Complementing standardized tests with department-issued placement exams would also act as an effective stabilizer for students entering advanced classes. While the English department writes placement exams for English overrides, tests for each subject would be very useful and likely worth the time spent devising them, especially if the school hopes to continue raising its API score. Presently, the Open Access program leaves myriad difficulties and convolutions, its porous nature opening it up to student abuse and jeopardizing the school’s academic integrity. I am absolutely certain that some degree of thought was put into developing the program, which is noble for its intentions to encourage student ambition. With some modification, Open Access could possibly be transformed from a back-door honors entry to a proper gateway to opportunity.
Students, faculty debate merits of Open Access program [continued from page 1] However, his case may be “more the exception than the rule,” according to Mathematics Dept. Chair Jane Wortman. “[Overriding] allows students to take classes they are not necessarily well prepared for,” Wortman said. “They either struggle in the classes, or they ask a lot of questions to keep up, which slows the pace of the class.” Student Board Member Jason Friedman voiced similar opinions. “To be frank, it’s a flawed system because it gives the students too much freedom in determining their course placement,” Friedman said. “It has the net effect of watering down honors and AP classes.” Though some students are concerned that the quality of their education is being degrad-
ed, others feel that Open Access is a positive opportunity for students eager to push themselves academically. “It gives students a say and control in what classes they feel they should be in,” junior Paloma Bloch said. However, others feel that students automatically enrolled in a class will be unaffected by those who overrided. “If a student really wants to be in a class, that is a personal decision. The higher-performing students will study regardless, and excel,” peer tutor Sharon Attia said. Slower-paced classes could lead to a decline in CST scores, but because many factors impact CST scores, the finger cannot be pointed at Open Access. “It was brought up that CST scores in math have gone down since Open Access,” Golden said, but she pointed out that there may be no correlation between the two. Since 2006, the percent of proficient or advanced in Algebra I has fallen from 69 percent to 35 percent. The most dramatic drop
in scores occurred between 2006 and 2008, when Open Access was first instituted at Beverly. “I think it would be really nice if we had a very definitive tool for saying yes...but it’s very hard to come up with [that],” Wortman said. Both the Board of Education and the administration have been looking into more specific criteria allowing a student to enroll in an advanced course. Friedman suggested that a teacher should be able to decide if a student would be successful in his or her new class within the first five week period. If the student failed to show promise in the class, he or she would be enrolled in his or her originally intended class. The administration is also looking to add more specific circumstances for when overriding is appropriate. Testing has already been done in the English department, which administers diagnostic tests for students, to filter out students that are not at an advanced level academically. Students such as junior
Natalie Friedman made the decision to test into AP Language and Composition this year. “I decided to [test in] because I felt I had become better in English in my sophomore year,” Friedman said. “The class is at a good level of difficulty. More is expected than [from] a regular level class.” The administration is currently looking into requiring more testing in areas such as math. However, Wortman is worried about the potential results. “I think it’d be difficult to come up with a [test] that would absolutely guarantee success, or a lack of [success]. A lot of what we do is dealing with performance the previous year because that’s not a one-shot deal,” Wortman said. These types of concerns will be targeted at future administration meetings. “It’s too early to talk about what will happen, but we are definitely looking at [new guidelines],” Golden said. “If a student does not self-select well, it is my duty to make sure they are in the right place.”
November 30, 2012 Highlights
Students explore conference, boring city Jessica Saadian Staff Writer Members of Highlights traveled to San Antonio to learn more about journalistic writing at the JEA/NSPA National Fall High School Journalism Convention from Nov. 15-18. While in the city, students were able to visit several of San Antonio’s downtown attractions, including the Alamo, a historical site; Tower of the Americas, the second tallest observation tower in the United States; and La Villita, an art village. San Antonio has interesting tourist attractions, but it was not as entertaining as I had expected. The main tourist attraction is the River Walk. It feels like its own little town. People can tour the River Walk by boat and learn about the history of San Antonio. With lights hanging from trees and outside of restaurants, the River Walk looks gorgeous at night and serves as the main attraction for evening entertainment. After spending several days in San Antonio, going out to eat meal after meal of Mexican food lost its luster. A person can only have a certain amount of quesadillas and refried beans. One restaurant that I will never go back to is Rio Rio Cantina. Not only did my waitress take a long time to bring out my salad, but the food did not even taste good. The dressing was an unusual shade of pink and was too thick to even pour on
the salad. In addition, there were whole pieces of lettuce on my plate, which the chef refused to chop. To top it all off, there was an ant in the salad and the waitress did not even apologize for the disgusting creature on the plate. San Antonio is extremely different from Beverly Hills. There are not any expensive cars parked on the streets, but many horses and carriages roam around. People in Beverly Hills are always in a rush to go to places, but the people in San Antonio are calm and in no hurry to get anywhere. Streets in San Antonio seemed empty during the day. It was easy to get lost because many streets looked the same, and it was difficult to ask people directions because many of them were tourists. Waking up bright and early to go three workshops, required by the National Scholastic Press Association to teach students about journalistic writing, was difficult, but definitely worth it. The keynote speakers each had their own personal stories and it was interesting to hear how they got to where they are now. There were many memories that I had in the city and when I look back, I will definitely laugh at my experience in San Antonio. It was an amazing trip with the Highlights crew because we enjoyed each other’s company. Unfortunately, San Antonio is not a place I would go back to, because downtown San Antonio is, after all, boring.
Mexican Manhattan (top), a Mexican restaurant in Downtown San Antonio, is a product of the city’s rich Mexican heritage. In front of the Alamo (above), the stronghold in which Davy Crockett, among others, remained surrounded by Mexican troops during an important stage of the Texas Revolution of 1836, an officer fends off vandalizers. DANNY LICHT and OLIVER GALLOP
Lit students see play, Rihanna releases workshop with troupe catchy, irritating track
From left: Drew Shirley, senior Leah Weissbuch, Jonathan Redding, senior Arya Boudaie and senior Michael Yosef act out scenes from “Hamlet” in the Salter Family Theater. Courtesy of CLEO EGNAL
Max Stahl Staff Writer Seniors from Krisha Deaver and Dr. Steven Rubenstein’s AP Literature classes attended a performance of “Hamlet” on Monday, Nov. 19, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, in order to enrich their understanding of the play. “[Watching it live] gave me a better understanding of the play,” senior Max Eagle said. “Hearing it and watching it be performed gave the play a different sense of stage directions, emotions and character interactions that you can’t get from [just] reading it.” The Broad’s performance of “Hamlet” set the play in the 1940s. Some students doubted the effectiveness of the anachronistic rendition. “I like that the play was really fast-paced because it flips your perspective of what a Shakespearean tragedy is supposed to be,” senior Cleo Egnal said. “I thought it was interesting that the costumes were from the
’40s, but the meaning was lost because there were no other references to it.” The next day, some seniors in fifth-period AP Literature classes attended a “Hamlet” workshop run by the Los Angeles Theater Ensemble, in partnership with the Broad Stage, at the Salter Family Theater. Two men from the theater ensemble, Drew Shirley and Jonathan Redding, led the students in a guided discussion of the tragedy. “When you’re working with Shakespeare, there is an interesting idea of a big truth that is huge in nature,” Shirley said at the beginning of the workshop, “and that’s why [Shakespeare’s plays] matter 400 years [after they were written].” The discussion covered a wide breadth of topics: why the audience does not root for Laertes, the depth of Hamlet’s character, the phenomenon of revenge, a summary of the play in a minute and the emotion in some of the drama’s lines. Rubenstein plans to continue taking his classes to Shakespeare shows in the future.
Singer Rihanna sings “I choose to be happy” on “Diamonds,” a popular track. Courtesy of MOXIE
Danny Licht Culture Editor In “Diamonds,” Rihanna’s Billboardtopping song from her latest album, “Unapologetic,” the singer and her cast of writers and producers fashion a catchy, familiar tune that, owing to its merciless repetition, drags on longer than it should. Its motif, the simile “like a diamond,” is overused until it becomes trite and meaningless and repetitive. Sia Furler, the song’s lyricist, borrowed clichéd comparisons — beauty and diamonds, radiance and diamonds — and ruthlessly hurls them at the listener. At the start of the song, Furler juxtaposes three thoughts — “Find light in the
beautiful sea / I choose to be happy / You and I, you and I / We’re like diamonds in the sky” — in what seems like an attempt to feign poetic depth. (“I choose to be happy, too!” the line begs the listener to respond.) This malarkey is just outside the realm of substance — it has everything but that — so it is powerful enough to trick the listener into falling into its trap. But to be totally fair, the song fulfills each of its vacuous pop-song duties: its lyrics are memorable, its beat is repeatable, its singer is notable. And if iTunes, Billboard and KIIS-FM are indicators of financial success — and they are — then I applaud Rihanna and her cast. Their success is repetitive, just like diamonds in the sky.
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November 30, 2012
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wintertime cheer 3
The Rink: Until Jan. 3, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City is housing a hybrid, synthetic ice rink. Hotel guests can use the rink for free, and others can skate for one hour for $10 or the entire day for $20.
Beverly Hills Holiday Ice Rink: From Dec. 1 until Jan. 6, Beverly Hills will house a full-sized, public ice rink in front of City Hall. This is the first time an ice rink will be located in this area. The ice is real, and the fun to be had is a deal. Skates and admission for children under 12 costs $11 per one-hour session while adults pay $15 for a one-hour session.
Beverly Center Ice Palace: This Los Angeles mall really comes alive during the holidays. Simply walking into the “Ice Age: Continental Drift”-themed snow globe makes mallgoers feel like they at the North Pole. Snow falls as shoppers travel through the extensive winter wonderland. And best of all, finish off the journey with a picture with Santa Claus, because no one is too old for a picture with St. Nick. 5
Sprinkles: Head over to Sprinkles Cupcakes on South Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills or at The Grove for some holiday treats. During the month of December, Sprinkles will produce wintry chocolate and vanilla peppermint, eggnog spice and Hanukkah-vthemed cupcakes. Their regular cupcakes will also be sold, but do not 2 forget to munch on some holiday cheer.
The Grove: A popular holiday locality for all religions, ages and genders, The Grove in Los Angeles provides endless fun with its 100-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s Cottage and magical snowfall every night at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. And while enjoying these festivities, start shopping for that special someone at the shops and carts. The fountain, the snow and the tree: with all this excitement shoppers won’t want to flee!
Danny Licht Culture Editor In the 21st century, Christmas is as secular as Beverly — thank God. Many Jews, Muslims, atheists and others whave co-opted the holiday for its unreligious ethos, which stands for happiness and joy and beards. It all sounds too good to be true, and yet, magically, it is. With the visible breaths and the fire-scented sidewalks and the pitterpattering snow, winter is but an unsustainable dream. Sure, it may seem difficult to feel the Christmas joy when you’re cooped on campus from dawn to three. But remember: it’s the little things that matter, right? And the little things are obtainable, even in your tight schedule. Let me help you. One of the most effective ways to surround yourself with holiday cheer is by closing off the outside world by plugging in Christmas music. Put on headphones and bask in the glory. But you rebut, and you spit in the imaginary snow under my boots. “I don’t listen to old music!” you say. Fortunately for you, you unfortunate soul, there is a handful of musically active artists that continues to produce holiday-themed tunes. Sufjan Stevens, for one, just released “Silver & Gold,” a 58-track album, devoted to the season. He even does a rendition of “Maoz Tzur” for his Jewish listeners. Moreover, The Killers have annually
released a Christmas track since 2006’s “A Great Big Sled.” On these records they have collaborated with Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys and Elton John of Las Vegas, among other famous people. They donate the profits to Product Red, an organization that helps fight AIDS. In addition to music, it is easy to make wintery dishes, which create the illusion of joy and serenity. Make sugar cookies, brew hot chocolate, bake pie. Desserts are so delicious and sugary and wonderful that you’ll almost forget your algebra homework. Not hungry? Fine, build a fire. Fires smell great and are mesmerizing. Your mind will drift into the fire and you will be rapt withal. Get closer, pretend to be freezing — it’s snowing outside! — grab a blanket. It will feel so warm and nice. It will feel so comfortable that you won’t even remember to set your alarm. But don’t be alarmed; be jolly. Feeling totally desperate? Count the hours until Christmas Eve. Count on your fingers. Don’t use multiplication; it’s more fun this way. It will take you back to a time when November was cold. It will take you so long to count that you’ll fall into a joyful slumber and you will dream of a white Christmas — it’s snowing outside! — and you will feel like tomorrow is a brand new day, when, in reality, it will be the same day you’ve been having since freshman year, in which you are tired and bored. For now, though, go back to sleep; you still have a few minutes left.
gift guide Intact and in style
Location descriptions by OLIVER GALLOP. Graphics by OLIVER GALLOP, DANNY LICHT and JESSICA LU.
how to bask in holiday glory when faced with adversity
Mr. Greentrees: Looking for the nicest Christmas trees on the market? Look no further than Mr. Greentrees, located at 702 N. Doheny Drive in West Hollywood. The trees are all carefully hand picked from farms in Washington and Oregon. Their Noble Firs, Grand Firs and Douglas Firs will all make a house look and smell like the holidays. Or purchase a two-foot tree for a festive Hanukkah bush.
by Jessica Lu
Everyone needs phone protection. Why not give a way to keep phones safe and snazzy? A phone case with thin compartments on the back serves to keep track of credit cards, IDs, cash and business cards. To be creative, try custom phone cases from Zazzle’s or Etsy’s online stores.
Give this classic gift with a twist to any family member that needs a new wallet. Stuff the inside with movie coupons, cash, gift cards and memorable pictures. Great wallets can be purchased at Fossil, Urban Outfitters and Target.
Digitize your cheer
Wallet full of surprises
In this technology driven world, a gift can be as simple as a flash drive, a great alternative for those who struggle with other types of homemade gifts. Store slideshows, multimedia videos and music playlists to give to family or friends. Flash drives can be purchased at any office supply or electronics store.
November 30, 2012 Highlights
Students shadow medical staff at local hospital
Students in the Medical Science Academy are given in-depth information about the expectations of medical personnel. Courtesy of COLLEEN LYNCH
Marguerite Alberts Staff Writer Three years ago, science teacher Colleen Lynch traveled with Dana Hills High School students to a healthcare facility where they volunteered for the Medical Science Program. Since seeing the program in action, Lynch has been working toward creating a similar program at Beverly. “That was when I thought that we have amazing health care facilities in our area and we can build a program that really could be academic and career oriented,” Lynch said. Lynch currently coordinates the Medical Science Academy, a three year program in which students learn about disciplines and qualifications in the medical field.
Lynch works with a team of 11 teachers. Their job is to help students succeed in the required classes needed for the program. “The idea behind the teachers’ participation is that it’s a school within a school setting,” Lynch said. In the second semester of their freshman year, students must fill out and submit an application and turn in recommendations from their biology teacher, counselor and another academic teacher. During their sophomore year, students take an Introduction to Medical Science course, which Lynch teaches. “This course would prepare kids for what they would see for the testing [in medical school], for the language that’s used there [in the medical field], for the overall
experience,” Lynch said. As juniors, students are required to take a lab skilled course called Bio Technology, which covers technologies used in medical science and their benefits on humans. Additionally, students must volunteer or shadow doctors their junior year. Rising seniors are encouraged to find an internship. Presently, students volunteer at Cedars-Sinai, but Lynch hopes to work with other health care facilities in the future. The details of the fellowship are still being worked out by the Medical Science Academy committee, a group within the class that includes 11 teachers and eight students. Sophomore David Adelpour, secretary of the Medical Science Academy, not only participates in the program, but also
volunteers at Cedars-Sinai on his own time. “I have learned many useful diagnostic tools used not only by professionals, but also by everyone else,” Adelpour said. The new program allows students to actively participate in the medical field and make an educated decision about their future careers. “I think one of the things [students] are going to receive from this program is exposure to what the possibilities are,” Lynch said. “I think that as a high school student, you may not know what all of your options are if you never are exposed to [them].” Students interested in the Medical Science Academy can find the application online at http://www.medicalscienceacademy.org.
Students to provide books for Mongolian school Brenda Mehdian Staff Writer
Top: A teacher from Temuulel Complex School with her students. Bottom: While on her inspiring journey, Boyarsky attended Mongolia’s national Nadaam Festival. Courtesy of KAREN BOYARSKY
When students walk past the Lili and John Bosse Library, they expect to see shelves upon shelves of books behind the glass window. Imagine someone going into the library and seeing half-filled and empty shelves before them. Such a sight is normal to students at Temuulel Complex School. Temuulel Complex School is an allgirls school in eastern Mongolia with limited access to educational resources. The Student Library Advisory Group (SLAG) has partnered with this school to help its students access more educational materials and books. Librarian Karen Boyarsky established connections with this school while visiting Mongolia with a college roommate, whose daughter teaches English at the school through the Peace Corps. “As a strong proponent of global travel and adventure, I believe that any activity which enhances a student’s understanding of the world, especially in discovering the ways in which teens are similar, is a good thing,” Boyarsky said. SLAG, which meets four to five times a year, will gather books that will aid students in learning and practicing English. Once SLAG begins collecting
Quick facts about education in Mongolia: Before 1934, 2.7 percent of kids between 8 and 17 years of age attended secular state schools.
Before 1993, all levels of education (including higher education) were free.
Students can enroll in technical or vocational training schools after eighth grade.
books at the start of 2013, they will determine which of the books are the best choices for the students, given their school community and small town surroundings. These books will be going to students in grade levels ranging from fourth to 11th grade. Boyarsky presented a visual introduction to the culture, landscape and history of Mongolia to the members of SLAG in order to give them a feel for the types of books that would be appropriate to send. “When Ms. Boyarsky showed the group the pictures she took in Mongolia, I was stunned. I never knew that I could be able to help kids out from halfway across the world,” SLAG member sophomore Christopher Lee said. However, according to Boyarsky, SLAG members will be very careful when choosing which books will be sent because of high shipping costs. In order to pay for the expenses, SLAG will use money from the library’s used books sale. Boyarsky predicts that no more than 50 books will be sent. Boyarsky also hopes that the students will be able to communicate with each other through technology such as Skype. For now, the drive is solely supported by SLAG. In the upcoming months, SLAG members will determine whether or not to have a school-wide book drive. Information from Vienna University of Technology
In 1981, the Mongolian government spent about 20 percent of its total budget on education.
November 30, 2012 Highlights
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November 30, 2012 Highlights 2
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November 30, 2012 Highlights
opinion 11 Israel, Gaza viewed from a different perspective Arman Zadeh Sports Editor After eight days of reciprocating missile firing between Israel and Hamas, the two have agreed to a cease-fire. Both claim a victory for themselves, but more importantly, for the people. This is the most violent assault between Israel and Gaza in years, making it clear that tensions are now running at an all time high. Despite the recently implemented ceasefire, violence continued to erupt on the Israel Gaza border as Israeli troops were forced to fire on a crowd of Gazans moving towards the border on Friday. Although there was one fatality, the newly born cease-fire remained in place. In 2008, the last time Israel and Gaza were at war, over 1,000 Palestinians and Israelis died as a result of heavy bombardment and rocket fire from both sides. Since then, Israel
has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip. It seems that the hostility between Israel and Gaza is not coming to an end soon. With shifting attitudes on both sides, the future is unpredictable. But more important than the dispute over power in the area are the crimes on humanity. Over the years, both sides have lost civilian lives in acts of violence. By Nov. 18 alone, the week’s civilian death toll had risen to over 70. The targeting of civilians by the military is disgusting and should be removed from the “game plan” of both nations’ armies. It is obvious that war is not pretty to begin with. Its very definition is politics in the form of violence. But, in this day and age, these countries cannot commit such obvious crimes against humanity every day and get away with it. Just as SS generals and officers were punished for their war crimes, the people responsible for today’s massacres must be brought to justice. Charges against Israel and Gaza are
currently in place, but they are not enough to describe the unsung stories of those injured. In one article on globalresearch. org, writers told the story of a young boy, Mahmoud, whose family fell victim to an Israeli strike. In a testimony, one of the witnesses spoke on behalf of Mahmoud, recalling how he was “displaying maturity beyond his young age. Mahmoud related the terrifying ordeal he and his family underwent during the January 2009 attacks. The soldiers, while shooting randomly at the family, shot his 4-year-old brother twice in the chest and once in the head and four of his other brothers in their legs and behind the ear.” Granted, the belief that only volunteers put their lives at risk, not the civilians, is an American one. But as an example to the rest of the world, shouldn’t we be putting more focus on urging a diplomatic solution for these countries once and for all?
judge shot down the proposal and it was ultimately withdrawn. Simply put, “the people” should not have the power to dictate individual liberties, religious or otherwise. From a civics perspective, one of the main pillars of democracy is minority protection. James Madison, one of our country’s Founding Fathers, outlined the necessity of minority protection in Federalist Paper No. 51 when he wrote: “In a society under the forms of which the stronger factions can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger.” Indeed, one of the framers of the Constitution argued that minority protection was a pivotal element of our republic. One could argue that the electorate serves as a check and balance to the legislature; therefore voters should have a say in civil rights. But, we must keep in mind that voters are only accountable for their self-interest. Our legislators are entrusted with acting in the national interest. In spite of recent progress to extend civil rights, those cynical of the government’s inten-
tions can ease their fears. Just two years ago, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 passed with overwhelming support in the House (250-175) and the Senate (65-31) before it was signed into law by President Obama. This past May, Obama became the first president in U.S. history to publicly declare support for same-sex marriage. Illinois Representativeelect Tammy Duckworth, who declared on her campaign webpage that “When one person’s rights are threatened, everyone’s rights are diminished,” will be a model legislator as our nation expands civil rights. Contemporary politicians would be wise to learn from one of our nation’s greatest heroes, President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln knew that emancipating the slaves was simply the proper, moral decision. Had he issued a referendum for emancipation, the slaves would likely have been in bondage for decades thereafter. Civil rights may have developed exponentially since the slaves’ emancipation, but evidently the electorate has not. Our political system must make changes accordingly. Instead of continuing to jeopardize minority rights, policymakers must remove civil rights
No one has the right to vote on our civil liberties Benjamin Hannani
Spotlight Editor Recently, Beverly seniors had the opportunity to vote in the November election, which included propositions. Civil liberties may not have been up for vote on California’s ballot, but issues concerning same-sex marriage were on the ballot in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota (the majority of voters in those states supported the legalization of same-sex marriage). But I wonder: should 18-year-olds be allowed to vote on civil liberties? Should civil liberties even be up for vote? I believe such rights should not be subject to democracy, regardless of minimum voting age. I would be horrified if my rights were decided by “the people.” By “the people,” I refer to the fickle electorate, the same voters in Maine who overturned a same-sex marriage law three years ago, which now flip-flopped in the past election. Why should citizens, like those in Maine, regulate our natural rights? Individual liberties are being jeopardized in California, too. Proposed ballot initiatives to ban circumcision gained traction in San Francisco and Santa Monica until a San Francisco
The Staff Ryan Feinberg and Julia Waldow Editors-in-Chief
Michelle Banayan News Editor
Mabel Kabani Opinion Editor
Candice Hannani Feature Editor
Danny Licht Culture Editor
Benjamin Hannani Spotlight Editor
Arman Zadeh Sports Editor
Oliver Gallop Graphics Editor
Editorial District to suffer cuts to education Because of Proposition 30’s passing, the tightly cinched belt around our school board’s budget has loosened a bit. Proposition 30’s passing means BHUSD will not have to face the anticipated $6.2 million loss in budget cuts. However, the district must still cut spending by $3.5 million, so the belt is not completely taken off the board’s waist just yet. The state assemblymen working in Sacramento need to find other parts of the budget to cut; citizens should not have to sacrifice one of the most important pieces of advancing the future of our state: our education. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once remarked that a “genius without education is like silver in the mine.” Americans complain that our nation doesn’t strive to have the best education. According to PBS, as of August 2012, America is ranked seventh with a 77 percent in high school graduation rates out of ten countries in the world. As students, it is discouraging to realize that our nation’s education is in a poor financial situation. On the bright side, the budget cut does provide the district with an opportunity to reassess its allocation of spending. With BHEF’s kind support and effort to make the best of
from voter jurisdiction entirely. Civil rights have no place in direct democracy; once we elect our representatives, we must entrust our republic to prompt equality. Only when power is abused are we, “the people,” constitutionally obligated to check and balance.
what is left in our education, we should be able to restore most of the first group of categorized cuts on the potential budget reductions list. Some of the cuts from this group are the elimination of K-8 school librarians, high school TOSA positions and 13 other cuts. Although the district anticipates to redeem
most, if not all, of the first group of cuts through fundraising and donations, there are concerns with the second group of cuts that the district listed. Some of these items, such as the reduction of hours of special education employees,
should be reevaluated. According to statistics from Autism Society, autism and special learning disabilities are the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the nation, reaching a 1,148 percent growth rate in the last few years. Only 56 percent of these students complete high school. Based on these figures, the cut reducing special education employees’ hours, seated at the bottom of the entire list, worries us about the future of education for the fastest growing population in the district. There is also the possibility of eliminating high school credit-recovery summer school. This means that students may have to pay to attend summer school in order to earn back their credits. These cuts are not guaranteed yet, so in the case that financial flexibility is possible, accommodations can be made to save pieces of our education. We are grateful for the help we can get from our community and we hope to never have to confront these circumstances again. But in the case that we do, which realistically will happen again at some point, we want our district to be better equipped with solving these conflicts so that the education of future members of society isn’t compromised and the district does not have to seek donations.
Pasha Farmanara Chief Web Editor
Robert Katz Assistant Web Editor
Dami Kim Social Media Director
Audrey Park, Sasha Park and AJ Parry Cartoonists
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Gaby Herbst and Katie Murray Advisers
The mission of Highlights is to inform and entertain the community of Beverly Hills in an accurate, objective, timely and well-designed manner. This newspaper is produced by the Advanced Journalism class of Beverly Hills High School, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Send letters to the editor to email@example.com. Participation is appreciated. Visit beverlyhighlights.com Follow @bhhighlights on Twitter. Ads are not endorsed by BHUSD. Beverly Highlights is sponsered by PTSA and BHEF.
November 30, 2012 Highlights
Basketball takes on new lineup, more Arman Zadeh and Marguerite Alberts Sports Editor, Staff Writer Point guard Nima Rafiezadeh began the year practicing with the boys’ varsity basketball team by doing drills and working to perfect his skills with one goal in mind: to win. The team, coming off last year’s historic playoff run, has high hopes for its upcoming season. With the loss of nine key players from last year’s team, including graduates Austin Mills and Frank Brown, the team now looks to fine tune the current weaknesses of this younger team and plan another playoff run. In order to strengthen their defense, the team’s biggest weakness, the team does defensive drills that are one-on-one and full court including defensive shooting, led by head coach Jarvis Turner. Along with defensive drills, the team does a lot of different workouts to get into top physical conditions by running on the track and working in the weight room. “[We] prepare by going 150% during practice, having lots of energy, and we all have to be willing to listen to Coach Turner,” Rafiezadeh said. Besides working hard in the gym, the team works to become a closer squad outside of school. Every year the team goes to team captain Daniel Dayan’s family’s lake house in Three Rivers, Calif., helping
The Starting Five: PG- Justin Ifekunigwe SG- Siavash Yekhtafar SF- Ben Cohen PF- Danny Dayan C- Ronan Massana
From left to right: Forward Ben Cohen, guard Siavash Yekhtafar, captain Danny Dayan and center Ronan Massana. Not pictured with the starting five: Justin Ifekunigwe. ARMAN ZADEH
them become closer as a unit on and off the court. In order to compensate for the loss of experienced seniors, the team’s juniors must now prove themselves worthy of the var-
sity caliber. Juniors dominate the current starting lineup with Siavash Yekhtafar, Ben Cohen and Ronan Massana all representing the future of Beverly basketball. The team has also added a new starting
point guard, Justin Ifekunigwe, to help them better themselves as a unit. “I think Justin is going to help us out a lot this season.” Cohen said. “I’m really excited to see how he plays in real games.” Despite the change in players, both Neman and Rafiezadeh remain optimistic that they will have a succesful season. “I expect us to do better than last years team, win our league and win our section,” Rafiezadeh said. The team began the season with an away game against South Torrance on Tuesday, Nov. 20 where Beverly lost, 50-51, by a buzzer beater. The team now prepares for its next matchup against Bernstein on Dec. 10.
Girls’ lacrosse invests in community’s future Max Stahl Staff writer Girls’ lacrosse strove to increase the popularity of its sport among elementary and middle school students on Saturday, Oct. 27. Four players, Olivia Rehbinder, Inbar Avrahami, Abbiegayle Levi and Chloe Ticknor, worked with the roughly 20 to 30 girls at the West L.A. Lacrosse League’s first clinic of the season at La Cienega Park. They will continue to volunteer at clinics throughout the season and develop the young players’ skills. “Our goal is to introduce younger kids to the sport,” Ticknor said. “We want there to be a program that allows kids to participate in lacrosse like they can in sports like soccer with AYSO. Right now our program is small but our hope is that it will expand with the help that I and
some of my teammates are giving.” In addition to increasing participation in their sport, the players also have a team-based motive for volunteering at the clinic. “At the clinic we held, I helped teach girls that are between kindergarten and eighth grade how to play lacrosse because we’re trying to create a stronger future lacrosse team,” Levi said. “I worked with Olivia and Inbar to teach the girls basics like how to throw, catch and pick up ground balls.” According to Ticknor, though, giving the young players an enjoyable experience was as important as improving their skills. “I really just want the girls to have fun. Year after year we have girls coming to try out for high school lacrosse that have never even heard of the sport. It takes about two years after that to get most of them
to a solid level of play,” Ticknor said. “My goal is that five or six years down the road we will start to see more players trying out for the high school team that already have a knowledge of the game. That background knowledge alone will really increase our ability to perform as a team.” The girls attended the clinic at the suggestion of their coach, Kate Marks, who emailed her team about the opportunity. They are considering coaching West L.A. lacrosse teams in the upcoming season. Two juniors on the boys’ varsity team, Evan Rennie and Yaniv Sadka, are already coaching a middle school team in the West L.A. Lacrosse League. This is their second year coaching youth lacrosse. Last season, Rennie and Sadka led their team, the Princeton Tigers, to the league semifinals. “As the head coach it is my job to teach the young athletes the fundamentals of
57th place, Sean McAlister (17:11) 126th place, Michael Redston (17:20) in 140th place, Sebastien Vericella (17:22) in 141st place and Aaron Karlin (17:27) 147th place. “At first everyone was disappointed with our result,” Batra explained. “However, Coach Fisher did a great job of reminding us how big it was to be the first team in Beverly’s history to make it to the California State Finals. Everyone ran their hearts out and I couldn’t have asked for a better six guys to line up beside me.” Sydney Segal competed as an individual and placed first, making her the CIF State Cross Country Division 3 champion. “I expected to win state since I was undefeated the whole year,” Segal said. “I was extremely nervous because winning would be the perfect way to end a perfect season.” Segal took the lead early and was able to maintain the lead throughout the entire race, ending with a time of 17:40. Segal’s next step is to compete on Dec. 1 at the 9th annual Nike Cross Nationals.
Both Segal and the boys’ team accredited the team’s success to Coach Fisher, who has coached at Beverly for four years. “My freshman year was his first year as head coach,” Batra said. “Coach Fisher single-handedly turned the program around. He set high expectations for us and gave us the guidance to achieve those expectations.”
lacrosse as well as more complex ideas and theories in order to have an enjoyable time and ultimately win games,” Sadka said. “My goal, along with [Director of the West LA Lacrosse League] Mitch Fenton’s is to promote the growth of lacrosse in the city of Beverly Hills as well as to continue feeding skilled and experienced lacrosse players into Beverly Hills High School.” Although coaching takes away time for schoolwork, Sadka continues to commit himself to his team because, to him, the good outweighs the bad. “I learned an incredible amount from watching the kids play the game from a spectator’s perspective,” he said. “I was able to bond with the kids. We share jokes and memories that will never be forgotten. It is one of the greatest feelings when you know that you have become a large part of a child’s life and they look up to you as a role model.”
Cross-country makes history at CIF championships Pasha Farmanara Web editor-in-chief Cross-country made history at the CIF State Cross Country Championship, with Sydney Segal placing first in state and the boys qualifying for the championship for the first time ever in Beverly’s 85 years of existence and placing 12th out of 23 competing teams. The boys’ squad went in with high expectations due to their prior state ranking. “Our goal was to come in the top five in the state,” senior Chanan Batra said. This year’s team was in sync and knew exactly what to do to be successful. “This year we really had a complete team, and everyone was on the same page in terms of what our goals were,” Batra said. “We had 12 guys training together all year and each person understood and accepted his role on the team.” The team was led by Eli Flesch (16:10) in 28th place and Batra (16:25) in 45th place. They were followed by Aaron Wolfe (16:33)
The team poses at the CIF championships in Fresno. PHOTO COURTESY OF BHHS CROSS-COUNTRY
Sydney Segal runs a record-breaking time at Fresno. PHOTO COURTESY OF BHHS CROSS-COUNTRY