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Volume 29

Issue 4

Calabasas High School

December 16, 2013

Editorial : The debate over legal drinking age is still prevalent Page 6

Photos courtesy of Google Images

New details discredit PETA”s policies

Learn about talented dancer Drew Davis





Inside This Issue

Enjoy the Courier’s holiday Madlibs

Check out varsity basketball’s season goals

2 News

December 2013

Food and Drug Administration

bans the sale of trans fat Daria Gershkovitch Staff Writer Photos courtesy of Google Images

Evidence against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows what really happens to the animals in their care Allison Lipschitz Staff Writer

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) prides itself on its honorable handling of animals. Recently, however, The Huffington Post released information to the public sharing in the beginning of 2013, that PETA harms more animals than the organization helps. PETA makes an annual income of more than $35,000,000 from donations. However, annually, nearly $10,000 goes to the maintenance of PETA’s large walk-in freezer where slaughtered animals are held until the Pet Cremation Services of Tidewater can retrieve the carcasses. The remainder of the money donated to PETA is spent on expensive poisons used to kill animals as well as for the production of

commercials containing wellknown celebrities. Each year an average of 2,000 animals enter PETA’s care, but the majority do not leave the facility alive. In 2011, 96 percent of the animals that entered PETA’s main facility left the building dead. As of 2012, PETA workers have accumulated the blood of 29,398 animals on their hands. When the government released this information, it sparked the public’s desire for more details. In search of the truth, Nathan Winograd, animal advocate and director of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Oakland, Calif., discovered a postcard written in 1994 by the founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk. The postcard states she does not advocate the ‘right to life’ for animals. The corruption does not end there, however. The Pit Bull Policy, which advises the

immediate termination of any dog that enters a shelter with resemblance to a pit bull, is another example of PETA’s hypocrisy. “Nobody has succeeded in making PETA look more ridiculous than PETA,” said Louis Giovani, the director of communications for the New York Citybased Catholic League. “Now it’s even more so for people to see that they’re off the rocker.” When the Houston Health Department sent people to investigate PETA’s main facility, they found that PETA never follows through on its promises. Winograd also discovered that PETA does not even have adoption days that it advertises. Even with all the physical proof, PETA continues to deny accusations but has yet to provide evidence that supports its claims. •

On Nov. 7 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new requirement that would gradually phase out all trans fats from the American food supply by mid-2014. The FDA has confirmed that hydrogenated oils, the source of all trans fats, are no longer recognized as safe. Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils to make it more solid and is sometimes referred to as hydrogenated oils. This specific kind of fat is often used in restaurant cooking and processed foods to improve texture, freshness and overall taste. The FDA’s new requirements will force all companies and eateries that produce foods with this chemical addition to reformulate their recipes. Companies wishing to use the component must first gain approval from the FDA. However, the FDA says the likelihood of gaining authorization to use trans fat is highly unlikely due to its correlation with heart disease. Additionally, foods such as doughnuts, microwavable popcorn and frozen pizzas will now be considered legally banned from stores because they contain this additive. “This act will truly make for a healthier America,” said senior Kinsey Marker. “I have not eaten fried foods for over eight years due to the health effects trans fats can cause. I believe the ban of

trans fat is a huge leap forward for our country.” According to the American Heart Association, trans fat is detrimental to human health and well being. The consumption of this ingredient can cause a rise in the levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol and increased risks of developing heart disease, having a stroke and developing type two diabetes. According to Margret Hamburg, the commissioner of the FDA, this act could potentially eliminate 20,000 heart attacks as well as 2,000 deaths per year. FDA officials claim they have been working on prohibiting trans fat for the past 15 years. Since President Obama came into office back in 2009, the FDA has been working to collect data in order to justify a possible injunction. According to the Wall Street Journal, the final ruling of the FDA will not go into effect until after a 60-day comment period, after which the FDA will determine how remaining trans fat must be abolished. • Photo courtesy of Google Images

Environmental News

Worldwide, several environmental issues have surfaced. These are only a few of the many problems facing the world today.

Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda destroys the Philippines

Global warming continues to impact the world

Allison Lipschitz Staff Writer

Allison Lipschitz Staff Writer

Super Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda hit the shore of the Philippine capital Manila on Nov. 8. The wave, moving at speeds over 195 mph, killed over 10,000 people and injured many more. Around 500,000 homes were destroyed and all electricity and running water ceased to be available to the country for the first week after the natural disaster. Generators began providing pockets of energy to the inhabitants of the islands. Also, small amounts of fresh water are being made available from aircrafts. Furthermore, Jericho Petilla, Philippine Energy Secretary, has vowed to restore power to the Philippines no later than Dec. 24. “It’s difficult to celebrate Christmas without light,” said Petilla in a press conference on Nov. 18 in Leyte in which he promised his resignation if he did not meet his goal. In an attempt to aid the survivors, the international community has donated over $248 million to restore basic necessities such as food and fresh water to the Philippines. In addition, the World Bank has offered a $500 million loan to the country to start construction of buildings that can withstand the harsh conditions that continue to plague the islands. According to USA Today, America has been donating at a rate that may possibly be the third-highest pace ever for over-seas disaster relief donations. Fillipinos have also rallied together to find more donations from Fillipino citizens such as professional golfer and World Cup winner, K.J. Choi who donated $100,000 toward the restoration of the Philippines. “I wanted to represent Korea in sharing the sentiment of my fellow countrymen to our friends in the Philippines,” said Choi to “I send my deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines who have lost their families and homes.” With these contributions, as well as other efforts made by organizations such as American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and Hands On Manila, the Filipinos hope to restore order to their homeland. •

If humans continue to emit an increasing amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, temperatures across the planet will rise drastically in the next 50 years. Scientists from the University of Hawaii have estimated that the average yearly temperatures in 2047 will be higher than ever before. “The coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past,” said scientist Camilo Mora, a member of the Department of Geography at the University of Hawaii to the New York Times. If the greenhouse gas emission rates continue to rise, there is expected to be many consequences. Some of these complications include a rise in sea levels and an increase in vector-borne diseases such as malaria. A decrease in food production and destruction of ecosystems are other possible issues that may arise. Jerry Knox, the Reader of Agricultural Water Management in the Environmental Science and Technology Department of Cranfield University, completed a study in 2012 which revealed that, because of climate changes, productivity of all crops will reduce in most places by eight percent by 2050, and in some places up to 40 percent. This decrease in food productivity will pose a major threat to humanity, especially considering that the Earth’s human population is estimated to be at nine billion by this time. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also assumes that in the next 20 years all the ice in the Arctic Ocean will melt. The melted ice will cause a rise in sea levels. National Geographic predicts that if sea-levels continue to rise at this current rate by 2100, the water will have risen enough to swamp many American coastal cities. According to Michael Le Page, Biology Features Editor of New Scientist, if humans do not change their ways and lessen the amount of greenhouse gas emissions immensely, they will not be able to endure the atmosphere of Earth in 2300. •

Photo courtesy of Google Images

News 3

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

Big Business owners incorporate personal politics in their business strategies Photo courtesy of Google Images

Government cuts funding for food stamps Sami Delavari Staff Writer

Recently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a government program that provides people with food stamps, received a cut of $39 billion for the next ten years. The House of Representatives voted to pass this bill and the Senate recently approved the new budget. This budget cut is the largest reduction in the food stamp program since the Food Stamps Act was enacted in 1964. The program is part of the Farm Bill, legislation that funds food and agriculture in the United States. This budget reduction will cut government costs by $5 billion a year. Because of this budget cut, 3.8 million people will no longer have access to food stamps. There are over 47 million people who rely on food stamps and who will have to take this budget cut into account every month when shopping for groceries. This number includes senior citizens, children, people with disabilities and those who are unemployed. This food stamp program will also make 170,000 veterans ineligible. The amount of people who depend on food stamps has risen with 40.3 million people enrolled in 2010. According to the New York Times, a family of four will receive $36 less a month in food stamps, which also means fewer meals each month. “So many people rely on food stamps,” said junior Brianna Wenger. “It is terrible that they are cutting a program that provides people with food, since it is a vital necessity.” Food banks are expecting a large increase in demand. According to USA Today, food banks have become the primary source of food for low-income citizens because of the lack of funding for food stamps. Food stamps are now unable to cover the costs of nutritional items and can cover the cost of supplementary items, or foods that are of lower nutritional content in the food pyramid. Food banks will heavily depend on the amount of donations they will receive in Dec. “At food banks, we are all high-output, tight-performance operations as it is,” said Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks to www.sfgate. com. “As the line gets longer, you try to prioritize to the degree you can, but there is really not much you can do so it is not pretty.” With these budget cuts, many are worried about how they will cover food costs. There is a possibility of further budget cuts to SNAP, and if so, more people will be ineligible for the program. Millions of people depend on food stamps to survive, and a large backlash may result if further cuts are made. •

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Dish Network verifies closure of retail Blockbuster stores

Carly Berke Staff Writer Blockbuster recently announced that it is closing its remaining retail stores in the United States. With only 300 stores left in the country, digital streaming and online websites have begun to take over the movie business. Blockbuster stores are expected to completely close by early Jan. Blockbuster is bringing its mailing system to a halt and will stop directly mailing discs by the middle of Dec. “I’ve loved Blockbuster since I was a little kid, and I always will,” said sophomore Daniel Glassman. “Other students and I have grown up with Blockbuster, and to see it officially close down is a total bummer. It’s been an ideal place to go to get movies throughout all of our childhoods.” When Blockbuster was founded in 1985, it made movies available for rent using Video Home System tapes. Blockbuster grew popular throughout the 1990s as families opted out of a trip to the movie theater to stay home and watch a movie rental instead. Blockbuster’s success continued into the early 2000s, as DVDs replaced VHS tapes. Blockbuster held a monopoly on movie rentals, and by 2006, at least 70% of the population lived less than 10 minutes away from a Blockbuster. However, as digital streaming arose with online sites, Blockbuster’s popularity began to slowly decline. Netflix, one of the most popular movie streaming websites to date, had 10 million subscribers by 2009. In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy, and Dish Network bought the company in 2011. Though it has attempted to keep Blockbuster cost-effective, Dish Network has been forced to close the rest of the retail stores, firing over 2,500 employees. “Consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” said Dish Network Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton to “Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.” However, Dish Network will continue to offer a streaming service for their current TV customers for a small fee. The network will also keep the Blockbuster On Demand service that they currently offer. •

Carin Numa Staff Writer According to a poll taken by USA Today, 55 percent of Americans consider themselves more accepting of the homosexual community, yet large companies and organizations such as Chick-fil-A and Urban Outfitters are all helping to fund anti-gay bills. Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy publicly announced his animosity toward gay marriage in 2012. Following Cathy’s remarks, there were protests and boycotting of the popular fast-food chain, yet sales still went up by 12 percent. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” said Cathy according to The Huffington Post. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business and we are married to our first wives. We live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” Urban Outfitters is another company that funds and supports anti-gay entities. In 2008, Richard Hayne, president and co-founder of Urban Outfitters, donated $13,150 to the presidential campaign of former United States Senator Rick Santorum. If elected, Santorum intended on preventing all same-sex marriages. Urban Outfitters also stopped selling shirts that promoted same-sex marriage after only a week of sales. “I thought [Urban Outfitters] was an amazing store and most of the clothes in my closet were bought from there,” said sophomore Kimia Zargari. “However, once I found out, I was disgusted and could not see myself shopping there as often anymore, knowing I would be indirectly contributing to strengthening anti-gay bills.” Because the The Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional in early 2013, companies are no longer able to deny federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. DOMA previously stated that states are allowed to choose whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages as real marriages, preventing some people from being referred to as spouses under the law. Though DOMA was declared unconstitutional, large corporations are still finding ways to repress the homosexual community. • Photos courtesy of Google Images

Dan Stepenosky explains district safety measures to students

Jessica Smith Editor-in-Chief The Las Virgenes Unified School District Board took initiative in reinforcing the safety of its students. Earlier last month, LVUSD Superintendent Dan Stepenosky shared his research and personal insight on school violence with CHS teacher and The Courier’s adviser Patti Harris’ senior Expository class. Expository English is a college preparatory course in which students learn about and discuss current issues in society through literature and media. Harris was motivated to have a discussion with her class on school violence as she viewed it as a rising epidemic. “I discovered that Dr. Stepenosky did his dissertation on Columbine and I invited him to come to my class as we discussed violence in schools,” said Harris. “He was very excited to come speak to the class and I thought the first-hand information would be a unique viewpoint for my students.” Before Stepenosky became involved with LVUSD he taught courses such as Advanced Placement Physics and Astronomy at Beverly Hills High School. With a background in education, Stepenosky was motivated to expand his career in the educational field and study at the University of California, Los Angeles to get his Doctorate degree. At UCLA, Stepenosky, along with his partner, wrote a dissertation on school shootings. With research from Columbine High School, the site of a major school shooting back in 1999, Stepenosky feels he developed insight on the subject of school shootings. Stepenosky’s background helped him formulate preventive measures for violence within LVUSD. Stepenosky shared with the class that many of these measures go unseen. For example, during early November when CHS underwent major media attention for the Los Angeles Shooting involving CHS teacher Brian Ludmer, the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department had extra cars stationed on streets nearby the campus in case extra assistance was needed at any time. “I appreciate hearing the students’ critical thinking and analysis while we explore serious issues in our society like weapons and violence and guns so I really like hearing the students engage in these thoughtful discussions,” said Stepenosky. “I think sharing my experiences have helped make the students more comfortable and my goal is to help students realize that they are safe and protected and there are a lot of caring adults around them at all times. We are all here for the students and we are doing the best we can. LVUSD students and faculty feel they are more comfortable in their surroundings as they learn more about the protective measures that the LVUSD has in place. Stepenosky hopes to have more critical thinking discussions with more students in the future. •

December 2013


In the face of tragedy

the American people react to the gun violence epidemic With over 310 million gun owners in America, the issue of gun violence has become an extremely popular debate. Due to the recent shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport that involved CHS’ Technical Director Brian Ludmer, this controversial issue now directly impacts the Calabasas community. With all the exposure of this issue, people are wondering if whether the nation has become desensitized or if it has created the need for a gun reform revolution. According to the Independent Journal Review, the United States holds the highest amount of firearms per person in the world with 88.8 percent of its citizens owning a gun. This number has been on the rise since the major school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. When Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold arrived at school the morning of April 20, they opened fire on the students and faculty members, ultimately killing 15 people, themselves included, and injuring 21 others. In the past 15 years, shootings similar to Columbine have occurred all throughout the U.S. Shootings such as the one in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed and another 70 were injured in a local movie theater, are becoming more frequent. Incidences similar to what happened in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in which 28 faculty members and students were shot and killed and two others were injured in the process have been increasing at a rapid rate. However, these are only a small portion of the countless shootings that occur in the U.S. every year. With all the publicity the media is giving to the increase in gun violence, people have begun a heated debate over whether or not Americans have begun to accept gun violence as the norm. •

Photos courtesy of Google Images

A positive outlook on a negative situation

Constant shootings desensitize Americans

In recent years, an excessive number of people have lost family members and friends to the frequent mass shootings in America. American citizens that once awoke feeling content and safe in their surroundings now come home at night afraid to fall asleep. Loved ones are lost and people’s lives are altered forever because of the loss of innocent lives to a person with a gun. However, as horrid as these mass shootings are, they have also helped the better qualities of mankind shine through as communities come together to rally and to advocate against gun violence. They also inspire more education about the dangers of assault weapons and encourage society to fight for a significant change for our country’s future. As news of more shootings spreads, Americans are more frequently joining together to rally and fight against gun violence. When people lose their loved ones in shootings, they are personally affected by the loss. These tragedies inspire people to support one another to offer their help by sending donations and care packages to victims. People are realizing that they are not alone in the grief caused by gun violence and that many people are going through the same pain. While support for one another should be an obvious concept, the world has had to witness numerous mass shootings to realize that fighting for safety is crucial to society, and the fight cannot be done alone. “When watching the news after a mass shooting [has] occurred, the only thing I find redeeming is how much communities come together,” said junior Sabrina Silberman. “People truly realize how much a little help can go such a long way.” Americans are also realizing that one of the best ways to prevent shootings is through education. Many schools now discuss the issues of assault weapons, specifically semi-automatic and automatic weapons, and how our country can come together to prevent these calamities. By educating people at a young age and informing them of the dangers of guns, educators are creating an environment in which everyone has a better understanding of gun violence. With this knowledge, people will start to realize how they can make a difference in the future. The shootings that have occurred nationwide have helped open the eyes of Americans. This country is filled with a diverse population of people with a variety of beliefs, whom have joined together and agreed that they must act to end the incredulous amounts of casualties caused by mass shootings. “The only way things in our country are going to change is if we come together to prevent mass shootings,” said junior Lacey Finkelstein. “The way our country works to prevent mass shootings does not matter as long as we continue to fight for something to be done.” Throughout the CHS community, we have experienced the effects of gun violence on a personal level. After the shooting at LAX Airport in which CHS Technical Director and Stagecraft teacher Brian Ludmer was shot, the community joined together to rally against gun violence. People sent donations and heartwarming cards to Ludmer and his family. When somebody is personally influenced by a shooting, the tragic stories heard on the news are a reality and the situation is amplified to a new level. At times our country seems unsympathetic, but even then, events such as this happen and encourage us to come together as one. Although the massive amounts of shootings are devastating, they are bringing both global and local communities closer together in a positive way. With the use of education and awareness, the country is moving toward eliminating gun violence. •

Columbine used to represent the horrible tragedies of mass shootings. “Remember Columbine,” one could say to another, and people would nod and drop their gaze, thinking of students rushing out of that school building and the anguish on their faces. However, now the shootings have reached Tucson, Newtown, the Navy Yard, the Los Angeles Airport and in other countries such as Pakistan and Kenya. There have been countless shootings over the past few decades, causing our generation to view them as typical, inevitable occurrences. Social media does not miss a beat when a new tragedy happens and the excessive coverage of these stories is numbing society and influencing potential mass killers. Due to rising numbers of shootings, individuals may begin to think twice before going out to a simple movie or traveling through an airport. For much of the 20th century, there were, on average, a handful of mass killings each decade. According to a recent Mother Jones survey, in the U.S. alone, there have been at least 62 mass shootings in the past three decades, with 24 in the last seven years. That number spiked in 1980, and continued to rise thereafter. After six mass shootings during his term in office, President Obama stated that he is worried Americans are coming to believe that death at the hands of mass shooters is a fact of life. Families and friends across the nation constantly grieve for their losses and anti-gun rallies and talk of the latest shootings are becoming routine. Tragic mass shootings have become the norm. “Gun de-sensitivity is slowly becoming more normal because the media attracts the wrong kind of attention to the shooters,” said senior Sarah Smith. “People are beginning to not take shootings so seriously anymore.” The idea that one violent rampage might inspire another has given rise to plenty of articles and debates on whether the press should be more conscientious regarding its style of reporting. Individuals are becoming too accustomed to these news reports as they are slowly becoming standard. Also, giving a murderer excessive publicity makes him or her too famous in the eyes of the viewers. According to social scientist David Phillips, highly publicized stories of deviant and dangerous behavior influences copycat incidents. Starting a news cast with sirens blaring, sharing photographs of the killer, naming the killer as some kind of infamous villain and running the story 24/7 will only encourage future mass murderers who crave attention. The media overly exploits these killers, no matter how negative the publicity. These constant mass killings are starting to make people think twice about going out in public. No one expected a shooter to strike in a movie theater or the Boston marathon, but they did. There is no limit as to where and when these shootings can strike. The tragedies are putting people on edge in some of the most cheerful places, which is corrupting individuals’ views on whether they are safe or not. There are several causes to these frequent mass murders and many place the primary blame on the accessibility of guns. There is no doubt that guns are the weapons of choice for these mass murderers. However, in many parts of our nation, guns are always readily available without the issue of mass shootings. In the 19th century, there were standards that guided how violence was depicted in the media. There was no excessive media coverage and as a result, mass killings were not presented in a way that would inspire imitation. Unfortunately, due to the distortion of media and regularity of mass killings, populations are accustomed to the new “norm” which is a country full of attention-craving killers that are influenced by the easy access to weapons and lack of personal acceptance. •

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

Opinion 5

Photo courtesy of Google Images

The documentary Blackfish exposes the evil nature of whale captivity Rachel Stewart Editor-in-Chief While SeaWorld is selling all-day passes and Shamu plush animals more rapidly than ever before, the park veils animal captivity with a seemingly innocent façade. From a spectator’s eyes, these animals are playful creatures who love living in a tank and taking orders from trainers, yet society often forgets that these are wild animals. These creatures once flourished in the infinite abyss humans called the ocean and they called their home. In truth, animals are robbed of far more than just their happiness when forced into captivity; they also lose their rights and pride. Animals at SeaWorld do not deserve to suffer the way they have for years and are more valuable than a mere source of income for businesses and large corporations. Just as the documentary Blackfish proved, no killer whale has ever been violent toward humans in the wild; they have only acted out when in captivity. With this idea in mind, scientists have observed that the unruly behaviors of these animals in captivity are in fact unnatural and are caused by a state of psychosis. “It makes me sick that there are these businesses that treat living beings so inhumanely,” said senior Siena Goldman. “This has been going on for too long and it needs to stop.” While today’s society views animals as creatures who were bred to obey, these whales are extremely emotional and intelligent creatures, far more than these corporations give them credit for being. Now that these whales have been stripped of their rights to live freely in the wild, they no longer have any outlet for self-expression. If any living creature is denied an outlet for self-expression, that creature’s only natural response to such a harsh environment is to become upset and violent. Because whales inherently base their entire lives around social life, taking them away from their families at such a young age is detrimental to their physical and mental health. Thus, they lose their sense of self and are unable to form healthy relationships with other marine animals, let alone with humans. This situation is certainly not the best way to start off on the right foot when training these animals. However, the advocates of SeaWorld seem to think that removing animals from their family and natural habitat is acceptable and will not affect them drastically at all. These actions are inappropriate. Animals deserve rights too. Although keeping animals in captivity is often seen as beneficial for marine education, educating society on false behaviors and unnatural environments that animals are being forced into is not an accurate way to inform anyone about these creatures. Teaching people about these wild animals by observing them in their natural environment instead of in captivity is the right way to educate. Rather than contributing to the vicious and ruthless cycle that is animal captivity, whale watching in the wild is far more beneficial for gaining knowledge on these creatures and for the whales themselves. Measures need to be taken to ensure that these living beings are being treated how they deserve to be treated, not how SeaWorld thinks they should be treated. These creatures were truly born to be wild, and they are too often deprived of their rights and their natural environmental stimulation when they are forced to live in cages that are three times too small. •

Photos courtesy of Google Images

LVUSD should move STAR program presentations to high school and host anti-bullying assemblies in middle and elementary schools instead Avery Columbus Staff Writer The Success Through Awareness and Resistance (STAR) program of LVUSD teaches elementary and middle school students about the dangers of doing drugs, having a bad attitude and giving into peer pressure. I believe that reiterating the risks of these behaviors to high school students would be more beneficial, as these tendencies are more prevalent in high school. An elementary student doing drugs or drinking at such a young age is unlikely, whereas the same issue in high school is fairly common. Contrarily, high schools such as CHS focus on reducing the issue of bullying even though this is an issue mainly pertaining to elementary and middle school students. Evidently, I contend that if schools reverse the timing

of these programs, they would be school, you really are not aware portant in high school because more valuable and effective. of the dangers of drugs,” said students are more likely to be In elementary school, nearly sophomore Tara Ostad. “Despite influenced by drugs,” said sophoeveryone signs a pledge promis- signing a pledge or banner, later more Sabrina Kay. “This proing not to do drugs or drink al- in life you will forget about that gram teaches them that smoking cohol but completely forgets this and peer pressure can lead you to and drinking alcohol should not petition in high school. In reality, experiment with drugs.” be an escape from the problems the petition was not going to stop High school students are gen- that they are experiencing.” students from experimenting - erally more mature than younger Anti-bulllying assemblies and they certainly were not going kids and therefore better under- usually consist of a video and statistics. These to experiment in eleare shown to high mentary school. I do students not remember any of “I have spoken to elementary school teachers who school believe that bullying definitely starts at an early who already unthe anti-bulling seminars or alcohol warnage, therefore I think these programs should be derstand that bullying is wrong and ings I was taught in switched.” hope to eliminate elementary school, - Honors and AP English teacher Diane McEvoy it. Meanwhile, eleand I am sure most mentary and middle of my peers do not either. As a child, everyone sim- stand and appreciate the facts school students do not know all ply assumes that they will never they learn at STAR programs. As these facts. do drugs, so they do not take a high school student, I know that Learning about these issues these matters as seriously. These people at CHS would take these in high school would be more in-depth programs would have a programs more seriously, consid- impactful to students and their fugreater impact on high school stu- ering they cover subjects and is- tures. A huge issue that elemendents. sues that pertain to our school. tary schools and middle schools “When you are in elementary “The STAR program is im- deal with is bullying. Although

bullying is often times an issue in high schools, bullying is an even larger problem at elementary schools and middle schools. According to www.dosomething. org, physical bullying escalates in elementary school, peaks in middle school and reduces in high school. Therefore, I believe that bullying would become less prevalent if younger students were to attend anti-bullying seminars. A continuation of STAR into high school would be a huge benefit to students because the program covers topics that are relatable to high school students. Continuing the program in high school may help a lot of students, for bullying is an issue that mainly applies to middle and elementary schools. Thus, having antibullying programs earlier would be best. In short, switching bullying videos and the STAR program would help properly raise awareness among students. •

December 2013

6 Opinion

Debates over the current legal drinking age continue amongst teens Daria Gershkovitch Staff Writer

Carly Berke Staff Writer

In America, 18-year-olds have the privilege to vote, smoke, get married and join the army. Many people question why these adults cannot partake in society’s most forbidden fruit: alcohol. This discrepancy is not something new, yet it remains one of the most controversial topics among society. The United States should not lower the drinking age because of the effect that alcohol has on motor skills and judgment, alcohol’s tendency to make people violent and its ability to deteriorate someone’s health. Drunk driving is an enormous public safety issue that our society constantly faces. As new drivers, teenagers must be more cautious and vigilant on the road. However, alcohol clouds judgment and makes safe driving extremely difficult. As a result, 60 percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are alcohol-related. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the highest drunk driving rates were estimated to be between ages 21-25 (23.4 percent) and 18-20 (15.1 percent). After age 25, the drunk driving rate drastically declines. Thus, if the age to legally drink decreases, the fatalities caused by drinking and driving would undoubtedly increase. “We shouldn’t lower the drinking age due to the immaturity of people underage,” said sophomore Tatiana Jae. “If we lower the drinking age, more accidents are bound to happen.” In addition to being physically unsafe for minors, alcohol is associated with violent and destructive behavior, as it disrupts typical brain functions. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, alcohol is directly connected with an increased risk of hazardous sexual promiscuity, drug abuse and academic failure. Furthermore, Rape Crisis Network conducted a study in Ireland that proved alcohol to be the most widespread date rape drug, and 75 percent of male students and 55 percent of female students involved in a date rape had been drinking or using drugs. Despite popular belief, the current drinking age was not set to prevent teens from making irresponsible decisions. The brain is not fully developed until age 21, and alcohol can cause serious health issues among minors. According to, alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking. This habit affects the body’s involuntary reflexes, like vomiting and seizures, which can lead to death. For adolescents, the effects of a drunken night may linger long after their hangover wears off, as their hazy judgment usually leads to making bad choices. Alcohol can cause irreversible brain damage to teens. Underage drinking affects one’s ability to control emotions, recollect memories and process information. People who abuse alcohol at a young age are only crippling themselves by losing healthy brain activity. Legal adults deserve certain rights and privileges, but legally reducing the drinking age by three years not only puts the well-being of teenagers at risk but that of society as well. •

Underage consumption of alcohol at parties and in other social situations is an undeniably prevalent societal norm. This is especially true in college, where social life consists of endless fraternity parties that are often filled with bottles of beer. Although the entire country is aware that college students spend their weekends partying, the United States’ National Minimum Drinking Age (NMDA) remains at 21. Meanwhile, nearly all but seven countries allow alcohol consumption at 18. Because 18-year-olds are already legal adults, the U.S. government should give these young adults more freedom by lowering the drinking age. Lowering the NMDA would also extend supervision of alcohol consumption and decrease the desire to drink abusively. Turning 18 is a milestone for celebration. This country grants citizens with numerous rights such as the right to vote, the right to purchase tobacco and lottery tickets, the right to get married and the right to enlist in the military. These rights allow people to gain freedom that releases teenagers from the rule of their legal guardians. Despite all of these rights, an 18-year-old is unable to legally drink a beer on his or her eighteenth birthday. “If the government trusts us [at the age of 18] to choose a responsible leader for this nation, then they should not have a problem trusting us with alcohol,” said senior Josh Samuels. In addition, lowering the drinking age would have a bigger impact on college students, giving them more freedom in regard to alcohol. If college students were able to drink in public places, there would be less unsupervised drinking at private parties, where college students are more likely to make dangerous decisions. Lowering the NMDA would make excessive alcohol consumption less desirable to college students. Though drinking to get drunk is usually used as a form of recreation, the initial desire to drink comes from the fact that alcohol is forbidden for minors. People naturally want what they cannot have, so allowing people to drink at a younger age decreases that appeal. “Teenagers would not have as much of a need for alcohol all of the time if it was allowed,” said junior Hannah Gold. “Also, underage citizens would not feel the need to get fake identification cards so they could sneak alcohol.” Though alcohol consumption can be dangerous, it is a part of life that every teenager and young adult will eventually experience, directly or indirectly. Some seek a solution to stop those under 21 from partying too hard, but the only solution that would lead to less injuries and fatalities is teaching teenagers how to drink in moderation. Since alcohol has many different health risks, the nation’s youth should learn how to drink responsibly and build a tolerance on their own instead of simply being forbidden to drink. Ultimately, lowering the drinking age in the U.S. will lead to a less excessive and risky lifestyle among young adults and college students. •

Students Say... NO

The Secret Life of Linda Berry


“Life is pandemonium.”

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Modern popular culture has adverse effects on teens

-25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Ellie Berke Sports Editor Entire days were ruined when I stepped on the cracks between my wooden floor’s panels. My fingers had to be counted from right pinky to left pinky, then from left pinky to right pinky and back and forth, until either I became too anxious to continue or satisfied with the million digits counted. All of my stuffed animals needed to be in the correct place before I could take a nap, and, much to the dissatisfaction of my twin and younger brothers, before they could either. The lists of my future children’s names had to be written and rewritten until I could decide that for the time being, the names Tony, Frank and Maria were the best combination of my nonexistent Italian roots and the characters of Saturday Night Fever. In a world filled with unpredictable outside forces including but not limited to the word “penis” and scary, hairy Pokémon like Piloswine, these were the precautions that I felt I must take during my daily routine to maintain control over my crazy life. Much to what probably would have been the dismay of my aforementioned elementary school self, the disorder that I had always been afraid of has caught up with me. As a senior in high school, my once perfectly arranged (according to geographic location and size) snow globes collect dust in a messy non-geometric pattern in my closet. I no longer pack imaginary lunches of peanut butter and banana sandwiches for each of my stuffed animals every night before they go to sleep, and when I stub my toe, I murmur explicit words instead of what was once “gosh darn it” and “shoot”. Sometimes I can hear the younger Ellie screaming at me for breaking the Third Commandment, and I cringe as I consider whether that little girl would even like the older me or if she would be disappointed in the person I have become. However, recently I have also considered the destructive side of my previous juvenile, and rather negative, outlook on fearing disarray on an obsessive-compulsive level. This was never the answer to escaping chaos; indirectly, it had actually made my life less manageable. Perhaps I will never become the perfect person I had once dreamt of being, but as I have grown up, I have concluded that learning to embrace imperfection has saved me from my own insanity. •

Ambika Vartak Staff Writer As the name implies, popular culture has a significant influence on a teenager’s everyday life. Clothing stores, social media and music on the radio are topics that students discuss on a daily basis. However, this type of popular culture may be dangerous, as it has begun to have a negative impact on teenagers in their most formative years. Brandy Melville, a popular clothing store, sells “one size fits most” clothing that is only suitable for thin girls. Girls that do not fit the store’s standard size may feel dejected and may go to the extent of starving themselves just to pull off the “Brandy” look. The brand sends a wrong message to girls by implying that skinny girls are the only ones that can look beautiful in their clothing and are the only girls who should be wearing the clothes. These messages encourage teens to go to radical extremes until they can reach the accepted norm as defined by the store. Brandy Melville should make different sizes for a wider variety of customers and motivate teenage girls to embrace their bodies. Similarly, the portrayal of women in advertise-

ments and fashion magazines establishes a warped image of perfection. “I think that popular culture portrays celebrity and beauty from a biased and unrealistic standpoint,” said junior Mara Goldman. “Young women in particular are given an expectation that they can often not fulfill, making self-worth mistakenly placed in our appearance.” Many posts on www.tumblr. com are images of girls cutting themselves in hopes of displaying their vulnerable and complex personality. However, they are supporting the idea that cutting is the only way to resolve all problems and to show the world that they have feelings. These injuries can cause people to feel even more depressed. Moreover, even if the person overcomes cutting, there is a physical reminder in the form of permanent scars and bruises. Also seen on the Internet is a Brandy Melville shirt that reads “stressed, depressed, but well dressed”. The store seems to take the word “depressed” lightly while in reality, depression is a serious mental illness that should not be ridiculed. These websites and stores should take preventive steps toward banning these harsh pictures and slogans that belittle

these serious issues. Pop music artists also promote promiscuity. Miley Cyrus’s vulgar performance with Robin Thicke during the 2013 Video Music Awards had a negative impact on social media sites throughout the world. Crude performances like this encourage the growth of promiscuity. At such a young age, risque behavior not only has harmful effects on the body, but more importantly, the behavior has the power to destroy a teenager’s self-respect. Seeing celebrities act promiscuously influences a teen’s actions in a negative way, leaving him or her feeling regretful and foolish. According to the Daily Mail, one out of twelve teenagers harms himself and a tenth of these teenagers continue to injure themselves during adulthood. These statistics represent a sign of the country’s teenagers succumbing to the adverse effects of popular trends. Teenagers should understand that there will always be Brandy Melvilles and Miley Cyruses in the years to come who will exploit a teenager’s vulnerability and innocence, but if teenagers have a higher self-esteem and a stronger moral compass, they will be resistant to the evils of popular culture. •

Opinion 7

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

Who’s that girl? It’s Jess “I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!” - Peter Pan

The holiday season stimulates the economy and enhances cheerful spirits among society Sami Delavari Staff Writer

Jessica Smith Editor-in-Chief

On Dec. 24, 2013 I will be considered a legal adult in the eyes of every United States court. In the eyes of my parents, I will be their overly excited daughter. In the eyes of my friends, I will be a jumpy mess ready to celebrate. In my own eyes, I will be an upset little girl who is unbelievably confused. While this may seem startling, I do not believe that I deserve to be an adult or deserve to have the opportunities that come with adulthood. I have lived a relatively easy life so far. While I sat contemplating what Bat Mitzvah dress to buy, other 12-year-olds around the world struggled to find a job to provide for their families. I am extremely fortunate and grateful that I have still not dealt with legitimate struggles such as these; however, I cannot help but realize that these experiences are necessary to progress as a person. Because I have not had worldly experiences yet, I believe that there is no reason I should be considered a legal adult. To me, an adult is someone who is cultured and wise. Although I do have some wisdom and some experience, I in no way qualify to be an adult. I believe that age has nothing to do with being mature. Some people are born with an old soul and some people have traumatic experiences that rush them into adulthood. There are kids living in underprivileged countries that I would consider much more adult-like than I will be when 9:53 rolls around on Christmas Eve. Approaching my 18th birthday has prompted me to reflect on my entire life. I have definitely undergone an extravagant transformation and my mind has expanded substantially. Whether it be learning that colors other than pink exist or that I might completely scratch my car even when I think I can fit in the parking space I have grown as a person. Yes, I have learned and have changed somewhat, but I still do not let food touch on my plate, still love mint chip ice cream and still stay up late to watch T.V. My first adult decision will be that I am not ready to be considered an adult. I would like to think that I am being mature in realizing I am not ready for this future. I am excited to discover the moment when I really feel I have earned my title.

Although snow may not cover the streets of Calabasas, brisk winter air and holiday cheer make the winter months the highlight of the year. During the holiday season, the economy is significantly boosted due to businesses hiring more employees as well as consumers spending money on countless gifts. Along with economic benefits, the amount of suicides during the winter months is lower than other times of year. The holiday season is also a popular time for many to participate in volunteer work, which is extremely beneficial to those in need. The holiday season is all about giving and because of that spirit, most people receive benefits. With frantic shoppers bustling in and out of malls in an attempt finish their holiday shopping, retailers everywhere are profiting from the sales. The mall hours during this season are longer than those of the other months, and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s (LAEDC) Associ-

ate Economist Kimberly RitterMartinez estimates that there will be a national increase of sales by 3.4 percent this holiday season as opposed to years past. Stores are already beginning to advertise the holidays by airing commercials and putting up decorations months in advance. Retailers are hoping to attract more shoppers as well as increase sales by advertising earlier this holiday season. “The mall is always extremely crowded during the holidays,” said junior Emily Eckstein. “Many people try to avoid the traffic, but the amount of sales is very beneficial to the stores and the economy.” While stores experience an increase in sales, society as a whole also benefits from the holidays as well. Recent studies have put the myth of increased amounts of suicides during the holiday season to rest. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide rates are the lowest in Dec. and the highest in the spring and the fall. With suicide hot lines only ringing an average of about 40 times on Christmas Day, the holidays are one of the happier times of year. This is far

less than the usual 100 or more calls received daily, according to Susan M. Self, Vice President of telephonic services and director of Life Crisis Services. Holiday cheer, the cold weather and shorter days are also all possible reasons for the decline in people committing suicide. With the holidays comes hope, and lower suicide rates support this idea. The holidays are the perfect time to give back to those in need. Families line the walls of soup kitchens and food banks as volunteers help people get the necessities they need for the winter months. Toy donations bring joy to millions of children and help spread holiday cheer. This season is the perfect time of year to help the community, and there is no better way to show support than to volunteer and help those in need. The winter months and holidays bring many benefits to society as well as the economy. Everyone loves this time of year, and there is more to the month of Dec. than presents and delicious food. A stronger sense of community, happiness and cheer are all results of the holiday season. •

Photos courtesy of Google Images

Despite its freedom and wealth, the United States is one of the least happy industrialized nations in the world due to differences of values and priorities Ella Morner-Ritt Staff Writer The United States as a whole has clean water, an abundance of food and is one of the most industrialized and advanced societies. With these privileges in mind, why is it ranked number 17 on the World Happiness Index, below nations that are run by corrupt governments such as Mexico and monarchies like United Arab Emirates? Generally, this is due to the fact that America’s priorities and our society are vastly different than the majority of Scandinavian Countries. Scandinavian citizens lead different lives supported by universal health care provided by their government. U.S. citizens adore and glorify material items to the point of feeling despair when they are denied these “necessary” luxuries. With that being said, the nation can no longer achieve “The American Dream” with the large, unequal distribution of wealth that was brought to the public’s eye via the Occupy Wall Street movement. The health care in the U.S. is inadequate compared to the universal health care in Denmark, providing citizens with available resources to cope with any mental conditions such as depression or anxiety that decrease their serotonin levels. In accordance with their priorities, American individuals spent an average of only 6 percent of their income on food in 2007. However, the total amount in 2008 spent on furniture, air travel, car services, technology, clothing and restaurants was $981 billion, which is the amount South Korea makes as a whole in a single year. The most important matters of interest for our nation are warped with excessive advertising and the idea that wealth equates happiness. Consequently, people spend the vast majority of their time working and feeling that they cannot prioritize other aspects of life such as family and relaxation. While wealth can bring security, in reality it cannot truly create a sense of self worth. Ironically, Denmark, which only has .6 percent less unemployment than the U.S., is ranked first on the World Happiness Index. The primary concerns of citizens in the U.S. have shifted from having a strong family bond, a meaningful job and community service to always wanting the newest gadget, nicest car or biggest house. Although these so-called necessities are expensive, their prices do not include a lifetime of happiness. “I believe that a big issue is the fact that American students have lost interest in their education, and prioritize less important things, like social media,” said sophomore Grace Papish. There has always been a large gap between the middle and upper classes in America. Due to this class gap and unequal distribution of wealth, Americans are no longer content with their pay. One percent of Americans have 40 percent of the U.S. annual income, hence the Occupy Wall Street movement; a movement in which people who are outraged stand up to represent the 99 percent. 80 percent of the nation only has seven percent of the nation’s wealth. Along with that, on average, women receive less than eight percent when compared to men’s earnings. This could be a large cause of the stress that people feel when talking about their annual wages. The health care cost of the average American was 18 percent of the average citizen’s budget in 2007. Although this was before the Affordable Healthcare Act, every citizen is not yet covered under the plan. As the name proves, the health care will be cheaper but not free. With proper health care, citizens can make routine visits to a psychiatrist or get medication if they are struggling with a mental illness. Despite being so advanced, the U.S. is far behind in their ability to maintain happiness. Whether it be health care, unequal pay or our mixed up priorities, the U.S. should be happier than struggling third world countries. Due to the fact that America has almost everything it could ask for, a lot of citizens are losing their gratitude.•

COUNTRY OF HAPPINESS: (above) Danish citizens are rated the generally most content in the world by the World Happiness Index.

Photos courtesy of Google Images

8 Features

December 2013

Senior Emilee Sturm raises money for Moyamoya in honor of her brother Written by Cydney Hayes/Opinion Editor

Photos by Stephanie Hartog/Photo Editor and Chelsea Argue/ Photographer

Constantly, teenagers and young adults suddenly face what no person is ever truly ready to endure: the serious illness of a loved one. These trying times too often turn innocence into cynicism, for impressionable young people are never prepared to see the horrors of the real world. However, senior Emilee Sturm is able to rise above the misfortune and turn her life’s hardest times into her biggest triumphs. Almost 10 years ago, Emilee’s younger brother, freshman Josh Sturm, was diagnosed with Moyamoya. Moyamoya is a rare brain disease in which the carotid arteries are blocked, preventing blood flow from reaching the brain. Without immediate revascularization surgery that routes new blood vessels to the brain, a Moyamoya patient is at high risk for stroke and even death. Fortunately, Josh won all his battles against Moyamoya, and Emilee used her family’s victory to focus on how others could prevail as well. Once she realized how much of a toll countless medical bills could take on other families in her situation, Emilee knew she had to help the cause. Thus, she began her club, Money 4 Moyamoya, this year. “The surgery is very rare and there are only two specialists in this country, so the cost of travel and living expenses while undertaking treatment can sometimes become unmanageable,” said Emilee. “All the money we raise will go to help offset these costs for patients and their families.” Emilee soon shared her ideas with senior Stephanie Hartog, who now serves as the club’s Vice President and Secretary. Money 4 Moyamoya’s fundraising efforts include bake sales, restaurant benefits, boutiques and garage sales. Although Money 4 Moyamoya is a new organization and the first branch of its kind, it has not only gained a large amount of student members but has also received support from hospitals throughout California. “The Moyamoya team at Stanford Children’s Hospital has been very responsive and is excited to see our club start and take off,” said Emilee. “I have contacted the program coordinator there to see how our profits can best be applied.” Money 4 Moyamoya has enabled Emilee to tap into something much bigger than herself due to her passionate efforts and driven partners. However, Money 4 Moyamoya’s personal touch makes it all the more meaningful. “It makes me feel lucky that I get to be a part of giving back to people [who are] going through the same thing that I went through,” said Josh. “I am glad that I can impact peoples lives in such a huge way and truly make a difference.” •

The Courier

2013-2014 Staff Adviser: Patti Harris


Jessica Smith, Rachel Stewart

Copy Editor: Laura Mishkin

News Editors:

Madison Hatfield, Evan Krask

Opinion Editors:

Cydney Hayes, Sophia Rome

Features Editor: Peyton Herzog

Entertainment Editor: Gabi Weiss

Sports Editors:

Ellie Berke, Pegah Natanzi

Marketing Directors:

Jessica Fuld, Alex Naczinzki, Austin Shakiban

Online Editors:

Danielle Padilla, Chelsea Skrabak

Photo Editor:

Stephanie Hartog


Chelsea Argue, Talia Plachta

Staff Writers:

Sophie Barnes, Carly Berke, Avery Columbus, Sami Delavari, Daria Gershkovitch, Allison Lipschitz, Ella MornerRitt, Carin Numa, Mabelle Salloum, Zach Testa, Ambika Vartak

Visit us online at to see exclusive articles, photos and more!

The Courier is a student operated publication. Free copies are distributed monthly to the CHS student body and faculty and the Calabasas community.

Meet dancer jun Sophie Barnes Staff Writer

As she puts on her new jazz shoes and ties her hair in a perfec class of the week. Whether she is rehearsing pirouette turns or per else in the world she would rather do. For 13 years, Davis’ life has revolved around endless hours to Carousel Dance Company, where she dances 23 hours a week can be daunting, especially with all of the work that comes wit treacherous work will be beneficial in the long run. “Dance is the main thing in my life that makes me genuinely am truly blessed to have discovered my calling and to be able to Davis performs ballet, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary and mod jazz is her personal favorite. While performing jazz routines, D because she is dancing with other people. Davis feeds off the gro dancing ability. “When I dance, I feel free,” said Davis. “Whether I am danci helps me express what I am feeling when words can’t.” Whether she is performing onstage or simply rehearsing in h who also danced in musicals. Gaynor’s accomplishments motiv Gaynor, Davis finds she always learns new things from her friend “One of the reasons I love dance is because it has helped me as passionate about dance as I am,” said Davis. Davis has competed in multiple dance competitions and has d time she hears the roar of the audience, she falls in love with danc with herself and is able to free her mind from the stress that com Davis has been able to discover many things about herself thr has had to realize that although she would like to win every com absolute best. Davis finds that she is always improving and achi dancing. She is whole-heartedly dedicated to the art of dance a performs. “Drew is always full of energy and ready to try something Carousel. “She has progressed so much since I met her.” With support from family and friends, Davis plans to contin hopes to attend an East Coast school so she can be closer to New dream of dancing on Broadway. She also hopes to dance on tou off her best tilt and jazz turns at any given opportunity to ensure eagerly awaits the day that all of her endless hours of rehearsing c she will continue appreciating the many opportunities already giv

Features 9

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

Photos courtesy of Nick Sanitsky

Freshman Nick Sanitsky performs classic tracks on stage Freshman Nick Sanitsky shares his musical talent and creativity through rock’n’roll performances within the community. Carly Berke Staff Writer Though freshman year is considered the easiest year of high school, the past few months have hardly been an easy first semester for freshman Nick Sanitsky. Between academics, baseball and his role in the Associated Student Body, Sanitsky refuses to let go of another hobby in his life: music. Despite his hectic schedule, Sanitsky still devotes time to this lifelong love and extracurricular. Whether he is practicing on his own or performing with his band, music always provides Sanitsky with thrill and excitement. Sanitsky has loved music, specifically classic rock, for as long as he can remember. After endlessly listening to tracks by bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Sanitsky knew that he wanted to create music of his own. “The Rolling Stones is my biggest inspiration for making music,” said Sanitsky. “Their whole style set something in me and gave me that drive. I still listen to them daily.” When he was 4 years old, Sanitsky listened in on his sister’s drum lessons and then snuck in after to mimic what she had learned. Soon after, he began to take lessons on his own. After 10 years, Sanitsky plays drums, bass, piano and, his personal favorite, guitar. He also loves to sing and is the lead singer of his band, Infringe. Sanitsky and community members Michael Vestal, Matt Morongell and Nick McGovern first came together to play for Sanitsky’s bar mitzvah in March of 2012. After their first performance, they decided to form their own band: Infringe. Infringe means to encroach on one’s rights, and in this context, they used the word to mean copyrighting others’ songs. Although they enjoy giving classic songs their own twist, Sanitsky and his friends want to start incorporating original songs into their set list. Infringe recently performed at a Las Virgenes Unified School District fundraiser, Together Helping Education Event. After a break over summer, Infringe is now starting to practice again and is beginning to work on new songs. “Baseball and school take up a big majority of my time,” said Sanitsky. “I try to play music for an hour before I do my homework or schedule a lesson on the weekends after a baseball game at night, no matter how late it is. I’ll try to fit anything in, no matter what.” Since Sanitsky discovered his passion at such a young age, he wants to make music a part of his future career. With the hard work and effort he puts in to every aspect of his life, his talent is sure to bring him far in the music industry. •

Peer Support helps students find their niche

nior Drew Davis

Photo courtesy of Drew Davis

ct ballerina bun, junior Drew Davis prepares for her first dance rfecting her newest choreography in the studio, there is nothing

s of dance rehearsals, recitals and competitions. She belongs k. Spending the majority of her time rehearsing choreography th being a high school student. However, Davis believes the

y happy, and I can’t imagine my life without it,” said Davis. “I dance everyday.” dern dance. Although she has a love for every style of dance, Davis feels she is able to connect to the piece on a higher level oup’s energy, ultimately improving her overall performance and

ing alone or with a group of people, dance is the only thing that

her room, Davis is inspired by Mitzi Gaynor, a trained ballerina vate Davis to grow as a dancer. As well as being inspired by ds and instructors that help her improve each day. e connect with so many amazing, inspirational people that are

danced in countless performances over the past 13 years. Each ce all over again. When Davis is dancing, she truly feels at one me with being a teenager. rough dance. She has found how highly competitive she is and mpetition, the only way she can truly be a winner is to try her ieving things she never deemed possible when she first started and gives everything she has on the dance floor each time she

Written by Ella Morner-Ritt/Staff Writer

One of the most terrifying feelings of high school is feeling completely alone and having no one there to walk through the halls with you, giggle with you in the backs of classrooms or eat a hearty lunch of Cup of Noodles with you. Isolation and alienation are two aspects that seniors Cheryl Surdyk, Greta Melendez and Katie Thibodeau and junior Spencer Hurwitz combat on the CHS campus through their work in Peer Support. With truly noble and selfless reasons for their actions, these officers of Peer Support work behind the scenes of CHS, taking time out of their own classes to talk to students in need. The students of Peer Support are a part of the group for different reasons, but they all seem to have the same goal: helping students feel at home at CHS. “The goal of Peer Support is to make CHS welcoming and make students feel that they belong here, not that they are outcasts,” said Surdyk. “We really push Peer Support to its maximum potential to create a support system.” This year, Peer Support members have organized the anti-bullying assembly and homeroom program, the lunchtime group Friends and have helped with the gun violence rally. This past month they also created a Peer Support request form in the counseling office, along with an, Facebook page and a new website. Additionally, by running Coyote Connect, they make the transition to high school smoother and easier for freshmen and new students. These students’ dedication to make school more welcoming and less isolating is evident through their daily effort to make people feel less alone. “We encourage all of our members of Peer Support to, if they see a person sitting alone on campus, invite them to go sit with our members,” said Surdyk. “We do whatever we can to make sure that they feel included.” Peer Support wants students to realize that bullying is not what as cliched as what occurs in movies and that it does truly happen on our campus. Bullying is no longer shoving people into trash cans but is something much scarier and more psychological than that. “Bullying is a broad term,” said Hurwitz. “It can be anything from teasing someone’s ugly sweater to alienating someone because of their sexual orientation.” Friends, the new club run by Peer Support, now has its own classroom in room H117 for students to come and eat lunch or talk to one of the peer counselors on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. No matter what problems students face, there are caring students on campus who are here to listen--students who may have once gone through the same situation. Peer Support makes sure no one is ever alone. These dedicated students are the support system that every kid who has ever been in high school wishes he or she had. •

new,” said junior Leanna Pilosof, who dances with Davis at

nue dance in the future and to major in dance in college. She w York, where she hopes she will someday achieve her lifelong ur with pop artists or in commercials. Davis will always show her dreams of becoming a professional dancer come true. She choreography and learning new techniques pay off. Until then, ven to her and will continue dancing every day. •

Photos by Chelsea Argue/Photographer and Stephanie Hartog/ Photo Editor

10 Entertainment

December 2013

Check it out: Sweet Hollywood

Allison Lipschitz Staff Writer I walked through the door and felt as though I had entered Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I was immediately mesmerized by my surroundings in Sweet. The sugary smell wafting throughout the shop delighted my senses, and the seemingly infinite amount of candy overwhelmed me. I could feel my eyes moving rapidly, attempting to see everything at once. There was candy as far as my eyes could see, and it pulled me in every direction. Each of the 12 candy boutiques that make up the shop was fighting for my attention. My first stop was the Chocolate Lab. Here I received the opportunity to make my very own chocolate bar. With a selection of 30 ingredients, I began to create my masterpiece. First, I chose my type of chocolate and three sweet additions. I then watched my idea transform into a reality. I saw a mold of creamy dark chocolate filled with blood-red cherries and plump blueberries get dusted with just the right amount of sea salt. When finished, the treat was taken away to cool and formed into a solid bar of perfection. Once my candy was ready, I made my way over to the Sticky boutique to view magnificent statues of the stickiest and gooiest edible substances on Earth. I watched a live taffy-making show and paid close attention as the taffy makers stretched the colorful mounds of flexible candy. I could not believe my eyes when I saw them turn piles of sugar into multicolored lips, stars and Christmas tree-shaped lollipops. Next I traveled to a place all children want to visit: Willy Wonka’s Inventing Room. Packed with the strangest delicacies ever created, this inventing room offers treats of shooting stars, peanut butter and jamfilled chocolate bars and rainbow-colored hard candies. Decorated with dark-colored curtains containing numerous stars, the little boutique gave off an inviting vibe. After visiting the home of the oompah loompas, I ventured on a candy-themed trip around the world at the Peace of Candy boutique. With a three-dimensional globe accompanied by treats from all around the work (including chocolate-coated pineapple from Hawaii and licorice from Australia), strolling through this area of the shop made me feel as though I just took an international vacation. Having tried the crème-de-la-crème of desserts from all corners of the Earth, I decided to be adventurous and cautiously entered Yucky, the candy boutique of the most grotesque treats ever made. With sugary snacks such as ant-filled suckers and zombie brain-flavored sodas, I did not know how to react when consuming these interesting treats. I then traversed over to Tinseltown, a boutique in which the history of Hollywood is displayed in the form of delicious desserts. My favorite part about the visit to Tinseltown was viewing the picture consisting of jellybeans that came together to form the face of Marilyn Monroe. I loved visiting Sweet and I cannot wait to go back! • 6801 Hollywood Blvd. Ste 201 Los Angeles, CA 90028

Photos courtesy of Google Images and Allison Lipschitz/Staff Writer

Pey Attention “I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.” - Johnny Depp

Dine in a new, unique way a t t h e Ma g i c R e s t r o o m Ca fe

Peyton Herzog

features editor

Sitting at my desk, I stared blankly at my laptop. I had been working on college apps when I came across a supplement: describe yourself in three words. I had come up with dedicated and humorous (the latter being more honest, clearly), yet I could not figure out a final word that perfectly described me. What seemed like a seemingly simple question made me question everything about myself. After a tearful mental breakdown, I came to the only logical conclusion: I was a boring person who would never get accepted into college. After my realization, I ran into my mom’s room to find some words of wisdom. We brainstormed together, and she finally came up with “weird”. Throughout my childhood, I was the epitome of strange. From inventing my own words (shnoodle and coolio snowman) to wearing ridiculously eccentric themed headbands for each holiday, I always marched to my own beat. Although I occasionally received negative comments from my peers, I valued my individuality so much that it did not affect me; I continued to be confident about my weirdness. However, my offbeat attitude eventually began to fade. At some point along the way, I conformed to societal standards. I replaced my pink hippo Vans with sleek sandals, wore a Bebe mini skirt instead of tights with different patterns on each leg and straightened my hair daily to hide my natural curls. I became self-conscious about myself, as well as each of my idiosyncrasies. I lost sight of who I truly was and became what society expected me to be. I continued to follow this pattern up until junior year. After a falling out with my group of friends, I was left stranded and alone. With no one else to turn to, I was forced to face my biggest fear: myself. During those painful few weeks, I realized that I had let go of the weirdness that set me apart from my peers in order to blend in amongst the crowd. As I returned to my computer, I finally filled in that last word that haunted me: quirky. Being myself is what makes me unique and that is what colleges truly want to see. Although I do not plan on returning to my terrible fashion sense, I fully intend on reestablishing the quirkiness that once defined me and embracing my inner “weird”.

Photos courtesy of Google Images

Daria Gershkovitch Staff Writer Ella Morner-Ritt Staff Writer Dogs are not the only ones who can find their next delicious meal in a toilet. At the Magic Restroom Cafe, you can find a Taiwanese dish in a toilet bowl--literally! While seated on toilet seats, enjoy a meal served in tiny toilet bowls or urinals. Magic Restroom Cafe is the first of its kind in America, for the restroom-themed restaurant originated in Asia. Enter this restaurant with an open mind and sense of humor, and let your taste buds and free spirit do the rest of the work. As you first walk into the Magic Restroom Cafe, the aroma of Lysol and fried rice over-

whelms your senses. The waiting area is adorned with real toilets and plungers while urinals hold menus for prospective eaters. Once you are seated, real shower heads attached to the tiled walls hang above your head, adding to the bathroom ambiance of the environment. “I ate the shrimp fried rice which was super yummy,” said customer Nathan Melton. “You come here mostly for a memorable experience.” The menu has a large range of bizarre drinks, desserts and meals. The Magic Curry Chicken is the most popular item on the menu due to its replication of bodily functions. Although its appearance is disgusting, each bite tastes better than the last. The tea menu includes mango

iced tea and rose-flavored tea that tastes exactly like the potpourri that freshens bathrooms. Even the crunchy fried tofu comes in a urinal and is served with tangy soy sauce, which gives it that special twist to make your dining experience more one-of-a-kind than anything you have ever experienced. People say you should not eat in the bathroom, but why not if the food is as good as this funky restaurant? This eatery will leave customers unable to look at his or her toilet bowl the same way again. This restaurant will leave you with a full stomach and a new perspective on the power of the bathroom. Here you can flush your troubles down the drain! • 18558 Gale Ave Ste 222 City of Industry, CA 91748

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

‘Tis the Season

Entertainment 11

Spread holiday cheer this season the Courier way!

Mad Lib: Rudolph saves the day Avery Columbus Staff Writer


Rudolph. Rudolph tried to be ________ with the other (Plural Noun) ___________, but they shunned him. Now, you are probably won(Plural Noun)

dering why Rudolph did not ______________ any friends. It was because he (Verb) had a __________, ____________ ____________ (Adjective)


(Body Part)

that was as _____________ as the sun. All Rudolph wanted was (Adjective)

to ____________________ with the other reindeer on Christmas Eve. Mean (Verb)

while, Santa Clause was _________________________ his final preparations (-ing Verb) for his flight. His elves were ______________ their final touches and (-ing Verb) ___________ them into Santa’s ________________. (-ing Verb)


All the reindeer except for Rudolph lined up and ______________ the (Past Tense Verb) _____________________. “_____________!” shouted Santa as they (Same Noun)

(Make-up Word)

entered the sky. Suddenly, they ____________________ to the ground, for the (Past Tense Verb) sky was dark and foggy. They could not __________________ anything. With (Verb) out hesitation, Rudolph _____________ to the sleigh and with his (Past Tense Verb) __________, _____________ _____________, (Adjective)


(Same Body Part)

he led them back to the sky. “Rudolph!” shouted Santa, “You have saved _________!” From then on, all the reindeer treated Rudolph with _________. (Noun)

Out of 345 polled CHS students, here are the results for next year’s resolutions.

Stephanie Hartog Photo Editor

__________ Christmases ago, there was a ___________named (Number)

What is your New Year’s Resolution?


1. Stay fit and eat healthily --> 46 % 2. Spend less and save more --> 28.4 % 3. Fall in love --> 25.5 %

Visit The Americana at Brand Sophie Barnes Staff Writer

Between kissing under the mistletoe and eagerly awaiting midnight on New Year’s Eve, the holiday season is one of the most romantic times of the year. Winter is the perfect time for a sentimental, holiday-themed date with that special someone. Here are some ideas on how to spend your romantic evening. The Americana on Brand St. transforms into a winter wonderland from Nov. 22 to Dec. 24 each year. Go visit the 100 ft. Christmas tree that has more than 15,000 lights and 10,000 ornaments. The illuminating lights surrounding you that glisten under the night sky will make your mistletoe kiss even more spectacular. Do not forget to capture the moment with a picture that will last forever. Another fun option for a night on the town is to have a candle-lit dinner at Trattoria Amici, where you can share a plate of spaghetti and reenact the famous kissing scene from Lady and The Tramp. Make sure to finish your dinner before 7 p.m., which is when the Magical Snowfall begins. Watch snowflakes fall from the sky right before your eyes. Take in each moment that the snowflakes swiftly float through the dark night sky with your arms wrapped around your loved one. For dessert, walk over to Crumb’s Bake Shop and enjoy the festive holiday cupcakes including Mistletoe and Christmas Tree. Get the full effect of the holidays by spending the ultimate romantic evening with the person you love. • 889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

Match these weird holiday traditions

Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate the holiday season? Surprisingly, many countries outside the United States have bizarre traditions you would have never imagined. See if you can match each of these eccentric traditions to its corresponding country! Ambika Vartak Staff Writer




Not all holiday traditions carry a happy-go-lucky vibe. This country is known for its devilish monster named “Krampus.” Legend says that he is known to scare and frighten bad children who would normally receive coal in their stockings. While children in the United States often think about gifts in their sleep on Christmas Eve, children in this country feel scared as they fear seeing this beastly monster. Usually men like to indulge in this activity and go about the streets trying to frighten the children by giving them a jolting scare. •

5. An unusual ornament is made into a simple yet enjoyable game in this country. A pickle ornament is hung on each Christmas tree and whoever finds the ornament first receives an extra Christmas gift from Saint Nicholas. Also, the lucky person who spots the ornament opens his or her presents first. Finding the ornament ensures good luck for the year as well. This competition is meant to keep families bonded during the holidays. If you want to receive an extra Christmas gift this year, get yourself a pickle ornament and partake in this clever tradition. •



Merging Halloween and Christmas, this country covers up Christmas trees with spider webs made from crystals, metal, paper and plastic. This practice originates from an old Christmas myth, which claimed that a spider’s job was to beautify Christmas trees by spinning webs all around them. The country hangs up fake spiders and wraps its trees with cotton webs in order to remember and appreciate this tradition. Unlike the traditions within the United States, Christmas trees in this country do not have the same glistening presence as they do here. •

Have a Kentucky Fried Christmas! The traditional Christmas dinner in this country is consuming an overflowing bucket full of Kentucky Fried Chicken. At first, Christmas was not even popular here, but persuasive business advertisements and Christmas propaganda have caused masses of people to wait in line and make reservations for this fast food chain. Outside you may see a colonel adorned in a Santa suit carrying a K.F.C.. barrel. Although in America this fast food restaurant is not too popular, this country feels that this food is a delicacy. •

Who knew a goat would be symbolic of Christmas? This country has a man-made Yule goat that is displayed around the main town and serves as the giver of all gifts. Residents and visitors can pay a visit to the Yule goat to make hopeful wishes about receiving everything on their Christmas wish list. Townsmen also visit the goat when wishing to seek advice for the upcoming year. Made of straw and ribbons, this Yule goat is decorated in a festive manner and holds great importance in this country’s society. •

This group’s wild and crazy way to carol outshines the typical way the people in the United States sing Christmas tunes from door to door. Decked in vibrant, medieval attire, “Mummers” dress up as horses or ghosts and loudly belt the patriotic, traditional holiday songs of this country. People give “Mummers” food and drinks in exchange for their blessings. “Mummers” have been known to yield prosperity and luck to the common people. The music that you hear is rhythmic and consists of a mesh of pans, bottles and spoons. •

a. Japan

b. Ukraine

c. Latvia

d. Austria

e. Germany

f. Sweden

Photos courtesy of Google Images

1. Japan, 2. Austria, 3. Lativa, 4. Ukraine, 5. Germany, 6. Sweden

12 Lifestyle

December 2013

Winter in LA Catherine’s Cakes

Some say that homemade goods bring people together more than anything else. However, creating the perfect pastry is not as easy as some cookbooks make the process seem. This season, roll up your sleeves, put on a festive apron and head over to Catherine’s Cakes. This bakery offers customers in-store or at-home decorating parties, making it easier than ever to whip up festive holiday treats. Whether the party is winter wonderland-themed or for New Year’s, Catherine’s Cakes is sure to make the event delightful. This holiday season, remember to stay calm and bake on, because at Catherine’s Cakes, it is “your cake, your creation.” • - Daria Gershkovitch/Staff Writer 21534 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311

The Lakes

Los Angeles residents may never experience snow at home, but The Lakes makes the holiday season more enjoyable for the neighborhood. With festive lights and a cool atmosphere, The Lakes is sure to provide you with a winter wonderland night. Unlike other ice rinks that are synthetic, The Lakes is formed over a real lake. This makes ice skating here a true, authentic experience. Whether you know how to ice skate or not, The Lakes is the perfect place to go with friends and family. Just like characters did in the popular Christmas movie A Charlie Brown Christmas, grab a set of skates and head over to The Lakes for some holiday fun! • - Sami Delavari/Staff Writer 2200 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Mountain High

Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration

Knotts Merry Farm

Candy Cane Lane

Though most Californians may never experience a true winter at home, they have an opportunity to take a trip to Mountain High this Dec. to shred some gnarly slopes. Mountain High is a ski resort nestled in the San Gabriel Mountain Range. With an immense amount of trails for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, Mountain High accommodates all ages and abilities. The popular family vacation spot also has the North Pole Tubing Park that is made of 12 exciting snow tubing lanes that families can race down together. This year grab your family and a mug of hot cocoa and head down to Mountain High for a classic holiday experience. • - Allison Lipschitz/Staff Writer 24510 Hwy 2, Wrightwood, CA 92397

Looking to reminisce on the past this holiday season? Knotts Merry Farm provides an array of nostalgic entertainment that will bring you back to your childhood years. Exclusive holiday activities at Knotts Merry Farm include watching the Snoopy ice-skating show. This heartwarming performance is one that the whole family will love! Knotts Merry Farm’s Calico Steam Engine also provides you and your loved ones with joy as it takes you through the scenic area of the amusement park and gives you the opportunity to appreciate this rare experience. This jolly atmosphere will definitely revive your inner child! • - Ambika Vartak/Staff Writer 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

Just Jew It

While many people spend Christmas day opening presents, the Jewish community is left unsure of how to make Christmas special. Luckily, the amount of fun Jews can have on Christmas is endless. Go to the movies with your friends and see Catching Fire one more time. Once the movie is over, drive to the nearest Chinese restaurant and eat a traditional plate of Orange Chicken. As long as you spend your day surrounded by the people you love, the fact that you are not opening presents under a Christmas tree does not matter. What matters most is that your day is spent with your fellow Maccabees. • Sophie Barnes/Staff Writer for movie times


Halloween Horror Nights may be over, but that is no reason not to return to Universal Studios Hollywood. The holiday spirit is settling across Los Angeles and now Whoville is in town! Check out Universal’s Grinchmas, which started Thanksgiving Day and will last until Dec. 31. Bring your camera to take pictures with the Grinch, as well as Max, the Grinch’s puppy sidekick. Later, explore the town of Whoville as you tour the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Watch Whovians carol and dance as they perform classic scenes from the movie on the backlot. Christmas festivities would not be complete without this annual treat, so be sure to get your tickets soon. Merry Grinchmas! • - Carly Berke/Staff Writer 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Bring the whole family to the 54th annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration on Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. or at 8 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center. Performances at the L.A. County Holiday Celebration include a diverse range of dance companies, choirs and music ensembles. Some vocal performances include Grammy Award-winning Chicano rock band Quetzal and Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea. The show generally lasts around three hours with free admission and parking. If you are feeling the holiday spirit this winter, make sure to be a part of this LA tradition. • Mabelle Salloum/Staff Writer 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Candy Cane Lane is one of the most festive roads in all of Los Angeles. However, it is also one of the most crowded. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your night at Candy Cane Lane. The ideal time to go to Candy Cane Lane is at 7 p.m. when the lighting and crowd size are just right. If you start on the west side and weave your way through the streets to see houses decorated from top to bottom, your journey will be much easier. If you follow these steps, Candy Cane Lane can be the perfect place to indulge in a stunning spectacle. You will go crazy for this Candy Cane Lane adventure. • - Avery Columbus/Staff Writer Woodland Hills (Lubao Avenue and Oxnard Street)

Griffith Park Observatory

Tired of the same hike up Stunt Rd. with the same sights time and time again? Try the Griffith Park Observatory for a night hike. A trip up Stunt Rd. does not truly show Los Angeles’ famous twinkling lights. With so many different trails to choose from, a night hike at the Griffith Observatory never gets old. When the smog fades away along with a cold winter day as the sun dips beneath the hills, start your trek for an amazing reward. Lean on a loved one when the trees sway and the darkness creates shadows that make this hike thrilling and exciting. The cold weather can turn this journey into a cuddly adventure. For this romantic night hike, grab a date and a sweater, and off you go. • - Ella Morner-Ritt/Staff Writer 2800 E Observatory Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Zuma Beach

While some may frolic in the snow during the holiday season, Californians have the option to head over to the beach with their friends to share meaningful memories. This break, take a drive down Mulholland Highway to Zuma Beach for an unforgettable winter activity. Go during the day for a relaxing experience or choose to have an exciting adventure at night. Despite Los Angeles’ warm weather, the beach can get chilly, so be sure to bring a blanket and hot chocolate to keep you and your friends warm. Whether you are sun tanning during the day or bundling up at night, embrace the Southern California weather and head down to the beach this winter break. • - Peyton Herzog/Features Editor 30066 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265 Photos courtesy of Google Images

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

Varsity girls basketball aims to continue on a path to success

Sports 13

Ambika Vartak Staff Writer Ever since the girls basketball team made it to California Interscholastic Federation finals and the second round of state playoffs last year, they have aimed to become more successful as a team. This year’s team is hoping for a repeat of their success last season. Each of the players are determined to put in more effort to improve their game. “This season I hope to continue our legacy from last year and reach playoffs again,” said varsity cocaptain Jackleyne Nguyen. “Our coach Jamie Rauchwarger changed the culture in Calabasas basketball, and I don’t plan on Calabasas girls basketball being a one-hit wonder compared to last year.” The girls put in many hours of practice each day to perfect their skills, and their practices are generally two to three hours a day, six days a week. Practice consists of conditioning, skill training and scrimmaging. Coach Rauchwarger wants her team to be trained and conditioned well in order to be competitive with their rivals. “My personal goal for the team is for them to be in the best shape comparatively to every team we play,” said Rauchwarger. “I expect us to finish in the top half of our league and make the CIF playoffs.” The 2013 varsity starting lineup offers promising players with remarkable talent. Nguyen is a returning starter who averaged the most rebounds in the Marmonte League last season and also made Second Team All County. Varsity co-captain and Courier member senior Ellie Berke has been playing on the varsity team ever since freshmen year and is a leader on and off the court. In addition, Taft High School transfer junior Tal Sahar is a lights out shooter who provides range with her three-point shooting. “At first I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in or that people already had their groups, but after the first few days at Calabasas my worries went away, and I am really happy I transferred into Calabasas,” said Sahar. In addition, sophomore Rojeen Sharifi is a first year varsity player and has worked hard to become the starting point guard. While junior Rana Rod played more of a supporting role last season, months of intense training have made her a starting post this season. Junior Anna Winter is a returning varsity player who plays post and has contributed a lot of time and effort to basketball. Also, junior Carine Rosenberg is a first time varsity shooter, and she is known to be a very charismatic person on the team. The girls are sure to gain positive recognition this season through their exceptional talents. •

“Through my hard work and dedication to the sport I have improved mentally and physically. I hope to win CIF and league this season.” -Winter

“In any game, winning comes from the heart of the players. If we all have the same passion to win and we all do what we’re supposed to do, there’s no doubt that we can win.” -Nguyen Photos by Stephanie Hartog/Photo Editor

Varsity boys basketball works hard to make CIF playoffs Zach Testa Staff Writer

“As a senior, I really hope that we are able to win the CIF championship because this is our last chance to make our mark.” -Foster

The varsity boys basketball team is coming off a couple of big seasons and hopes to go even further this year. Behind the leadership of the many seniors on the team and the great coaching of John Palarz, the team hopes to regain their California Interscholastic Federation title. Last year’s season ended with a heartbreaking overtime loss in the finals against Compton High School, but this year they strive to use that as fuel to get back on top. “Last year’s season was nothing short of a disappointment,” said senior Austin Smith. “This off-season we have pushed ourselves to work harder than ever before. Bringing back the ‘state or die’ mentality changed everything. This isn’t just senior season; it will be a testament to our year of hard work. It will all pay off.” Senior captains Jeremy Lieberman and Smith bring a lot of experience onto the court. Lieberman and Smith, fourth and third years on varsity respectively, have both won CIF championships and are the natural leaders of the team. They have put in the extra work during the off-season, and they believe that can translate into a state championship. “This year’s senior leadership is absolutely terrific,” said Palarz. “The seniors have developed strong chemistry on and off the court. They make great role models for the whole boys basketball program.” Alongside the cast of seniors that Calabasas fans have supported, like Smith, Lieberman, Christian Foster, Amin Ismael and Theron Bruno, there are two new students that look to make an impact. Recently transferring from Marmonte League’s last Champions, Westlake High School, senior shooting guard Larry Bush has helped support the CHS team. Chad Wilcox, a senior who moved from Agoura High School, is a talented defensive player as well. Part of the reason that basketball is one of the more popular sports at CHS is the Pack. At every home game and most away games, hundreds of students file into the bleachers to root for the team. The players love playing in front of their peers and draw a lot of energy from one of the biggest high school student sections in Southern California. “It’s easy to get pumped for a game with the Pack in the stands,” said Foster. “The team would not be the same without the pack - we feed off of them and it makes us want to play that much harder for our school.” •

“All together, the seniors give us the right mix of skills, athleticism and effort that we need to be successful. I’m excited about this coming season!” -Coach Jon Palarz Photos by Stephanie Hartog/Photo Editor

December 2013

14 Sports

Clippers steal NBA spotlight in Los Angeles

Photos by Chelsea Argue/Photographer

Wrestling continues to succeed at CHS

Written by Ellie Berke/Sports Editor

Though wrestling does not receive as much publicity as some of the other CHS sports, the team is one of the most dedicated at CHS. Ever since Coach Falk began coaching at CHS in 1995, the team has had a winning record for all but two seasons, making this CHS team one of the most consistently high performing. “Kids who wrestle are a different breed of athlete,” said Falk. “They work harder than almost any other sport in terms of physical conditioning and have high expectations for themselves, never making excuses when they make mistakes.” Falk’s current goal is to increase the number of wrestlers to 40 or more, so that the team will have 14 weight categories to give them a better chance at beating tough rivals like Royal High School. As captains, sophomores Emerson Painter and Nick Krutilek lead by example as they communicate advice to the younger wrestlers to improve their skills. “Our team lacks three and four year wrestlers, which makes us less experienced than most teams, but with the impressive amount of freshmen, we will definitely have a very formidable core of experienced wrestlers in a year or two,” said Painter. With the many freshmen players who have joined this year, Falk, Painter and Krutilek have high hopes for this season. •

“As captain, I have to balance control and leadership skills with understanding and patience. Every mistake is a learning experience.” -Painter

Photo courtesy of Painter

“We have one girl on the team this year named Judy Gonzalez. CIF recently decided to add girls wrestling as a CIF sport, and next year there will be a girls CIF state wrestling tournament. -Falk

Photos courtesy of Google Images

UCLA men’s basketball shows

great potential for upcoming season Zach Testa Staff Writer

Though University of California, Los Angeles men’s basketball advanced to the Final Four for three consecutive years from 2006 to 2008, the team recently has faced great struggles in succeeding in the regular season and in the tournament. Last year they had one of the top recruiting classes, but still could not translate the team’s abundant talent into wins. However, with many of those recruits returning, the team has high hopes of living up to the media’s and fans’ high expectations this season. Although UCLA did win a conference title for the 2012-2013 season, head coach Ben Howland was let go as a result of a poor showings in the March Madness Tournament over the past few years. New Mexico University’s ex-head coach Steve Alford was chosen as Howland’s replacement, given a contract of $2.6 million per year for the next seven years. Because the buyout clause for his contract is an astounding $10.4 million, Alford is expected to be with UCLA for the long term. After a successful revamping of New Mexico’s basketball program, there are positive conjectures for Alfred as UCLA’s head coach. UCLA is off to an 8-0 start and is ranked 18th in the associated press poll. Adams leads the team in points with 21.5 per game, while Anderson leads them in rebounds, assists and blocks. Standing at six feet and nine inches tall, Anderson’s height gives him a distinct advantage on the defensive end against other guards. Freshman guard Zach LaVine also makes a huge contribution to the team with his consistent threepoint shooting. Led by these talented players and an improved coaching staff, the Bruins are hoping to do more than just make the tournament. Even though the team has not won the NCAA title since 1995, perhaps this season will bring it back to its longtime status as the best team in college basketball. On Dec. 18, they are playing the 10th ranked Duke Blue Devils which will help fans and the press to determine whether or not UCLA is truly as good as their record shows. •

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Zach Testa Staff Writer

The professional basketball teams of Los Angeles have very different pasts. The Lakers are one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports, while the Clippers have never been successful since they joined the NBA. There was never a huge intercity rivalry between the two until a couple of years ago. The Lakers have been the most prominent team in the Western Conference. They have won 16 championships, the second most wins out of any team in the NBA and the team has also appeared in 31 out of the 65 NBA finals. Twenty-one former Lakers have made it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and players like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant

are sure to add to that number in the near future. The team has always been full of talent, but in more recent years, the talent level has diminished. The history of the L.A. Clippers is almost the opposite of the Lakers. Originally, they were known as the Buffalo Braves, but after no success in 1978, they became the San Diego Clippers for six years before finally moving to L.A. They have appeared in the playoffs nine times, only moving past the first round three times and never making it to the conference finals. Despite their history as perennial losers, they managed to win their first Pacific Division championship, and captains Chris Paul and Blake Griffin hope to lead them to a NBA championship this year.

Overall, the Lakers have dominated the Clippers; the Clippers have only won the season series twice since 1984. During that time period the total record is 98-33 in favor of the Lakers, but last year the Clippers won all four of the matchups. In recent years, more and more basketball fans have abandoned the legendary Lakers in favor of the younger “Lob City” Clippers. “Lob City” became their nickname after countless alley-oops between Clippers captains Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Clipper player DeAndre Jordan. This goes against the Lakers more traditional style of play but leads to high scoring games that the fans love. This season will be very interesting to follow between the L.A. rivals. •

Sports 15

The Courier Volume 29 Issue 4

CHS student athletes of the month Sydney Cupingood Written by Ellie Berke/Sports Editor

After a five-year long dry spell for CHS girls varsity volleyball, this season captain and setter senior Sydney Cupingood was able to lead the team to their first league victory, a comeback against Newbury Park High School. Cupingood has been on the varsity team since her sophomore year and has been a captain for two years, which has impacted her in more ways than one. “By being captain it put me in a position to learn how to be a leader,” said Cupingood. “It has taught me to work hard, lead by example and motivate and encourage my team.” Even though her last season at CHS is over, Cupingood is content knowing that her final season brought positive change. “It’s sad to think that I’m not playing for CHS anymore but great to know that I was there for the transformation of the program,” said Cupingood. •

Photo courtesy of Seta Aghababian

Students work to form official Mountain Biking Team Written by Danielle Padilla/Online Editor

Photo courtesy of Cupingood

Shane Viksman

Written by Carin Numa/Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Viksman

Senior Shane Viksman was first inspired to participate in water polo after watching the intense sport in the Olympics. Viksman got started with water polo at the end of eighth grade. He has been a starting player on the varsity team for three years and attended the junior Olympics his junior year. “My role model is Kobe Bryant because of his tenacity for his sport and his creativity,” said Viksman. “Also, my water polo coach Ricky Dyne inspires because he took over our program and basically saved it, which I really respect.” Viksman leads the team with 23 goals, 10 field blocks and 26 steals this season. Aside from all his athletic achievements, Viksman is also very committed to doing well in school. Once Viksman graduates, he hopes to attend a four-year university and play water polo at the Division I level. •

Far too often people underestimate the legitimacy of mountain biking as a sport, and question whether it should be offered to students as a school sport. However, the CHS Mountain Biking Team, run by sisters sophomore Seta Aghababian and freshman Sidra Aghababian, is a club at that is attempting to establish themselves as an official sports team for physical education credit. Currently, the MBT is partnering with Newbury High School to increase support as they try to make mountain biking an official sport for physical education credits, similar to how the equestrian team is worth credit. Seta and Sidra will contact California Interscholastic Federation Administrators in order for the club to become recognized as a school sport. “In the spring we hope to invite CIF Administers to a practice ride, like Newbury High School’s team, to show the physical aspects of the sport to prove it deserves [physical education] credit,” said Sidra Aghababian. If mountain biking is approved as a school sport, in order to legitimize MBT to be eligible for races, the team must find a coach to be responsible for them. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association requires that all teams entering the association must have a coach to run practices and sign off on legal matters regarding the team. Without a coach MBT cannot participate in any races against other teams, and cannot meet regularly at scheduled practices throughout the week like other official sports. “Recently the search has been going well,” said Seta Aghababian. “We have been put in contact with a few local bike shops like Pedalers Fork and Spoke ‘N’ Wheel [bike shops].” If the CIF Administrators approve MBT and NICA establishes CHS as an official member of the association, CHS will have its first certified mountain biking team. •

Sports Features Sandra Arimie Charlie Tipp

Avery Columbus Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Tipp

Senior Charlie Tipp has caught the eyes of college scouts with his will-power that has made him a soccer star. His biggest motivation to perform well in soccer has been his wish to get into an exceptional academic college. “All the hard work has paid off,” said Tipp. “I always dreamed of playing in college, and now it is going to be a reality.” Tipp has not yet committed to a college, but he has received offers to play for Occidental College and University of Massachusetts Amherst. The University of Pacific, University of Redlands and Cal Lutheran University have additionally shown interest in Tipp, and he hopes that this will result in more offers. Education is just as important to Tipp as his love for soccer. Ultimately, Tipp would choose to go to a better academic school in comparison to a school with an exceptional soccer team. He works hard year round so he can receive the best college education. Although Tipp has a lot of natural talent, he has also put in the extra time and work it takes to become the best he can be on and off the field. “I work hard at practice, and I do extra work on my own,” said Tipp. “Whether it’s going on a run, working on agility or even working on my ball skills, I always try to put in extra practice to get better.” Tipp has a great support system that has been with him every step of the way. They not only encourage him, but also urge him to try his hardest. “My family, teammates and coaches have always been there for me,” said Tipp. “They have pushed me hard and supported me throughout my soccer experience.” Tipp’s need to succeed has molded him into the player and student he is. He hates to lose, so he is constantly trying to win. Tipp believes his desire to win has gotten him so close to his dream of playing college soccer. •

Sophie Barnes Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Arimie

When there is fresh powder on Mammoth Mountain, junior Sandra Arimie can be found shredding down mountains on her GS 180 centimeter skis. Since the age of two, Arimie has strived to reach great heights in her skiing. As one of 25 girls on the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team, Arimie specializes in Slalom Skiing, a type of skiing in which one can go as fast as possible through gates on the ski slope. Although she competes 6 to 10 times annually, Arimie gives her competitors a run for their money with her speed and agility. “Even though I don’t get the chance to ski on a regular basis, I still compete just as competitively as the kids that get to ski every day,” said Arimie. Arimie finds herself inspired by skiers such as Lindsey Vonn, Stacey Cook and Julia Mancusco. Between watching other skiers and learning from her instructors, Arimie uses the inspiration from others to help her become a better skier. Arimie also uses skiing as an escape from the commotion of life. When going down the slopes at 60-80 miles per hour, she is able to forget about her problems and enjoy the rush. “I feel like I’m flying,” said Arimie. “Skiing in Mammoth is like being in my own fantasy world.” This coming season, Arimie is going to be a member of an all mountain ski team that competes in multiple forms of skiing. She will be able to learn how to ski on any possible slope. Arimie plans on learning new ways of skiing such as Giant Slalom and Downhill Alpine, other than just Slalom. She hopes to branch off from the style she has been doing her whole life, so she can become a more diverse skier. With a new ski team and the opportunity to learn new skills, Arimie looks forward to what she will achieve in the future. •

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December 2013

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