Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 3

June 2013

School Name Here Castlemont High School 8601 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94605

New principal set to replace Castle's Lynch

"Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole ..." —Maya Angelou, writer

What's next for Castlemont?

Students, staff stunned by Memorial Day letter by Jennifer Almendarez, Esmeralda Argueta & Jazmin Stenson

Staff Writers

Students and staff are waiting anxiously for a visit by Castlemont’s new principal, Vinnie Blye, who is set to replace Principal John Lynch for the 2013-14 school year. Lynch anounced he would not return to Castlemont next fall in a surprise letter to students and families just over two weeks ago. Details as of press time were sketchy, but Blye was listed as assistant principal at Oakland High School for the 2012-13 school year on that school's website. He also served as assistant principal at Skyline High School in 2009. In an interview with the Crier last week, Alison McDonald, the OUSD’s network area executive officer for Castlemont, declined to comment on Lynch’s status. But she acknowledged that "transitions are hard” and that “there are a lot of emotions and feelings about” Lynch’s announcement. McDonald said that Blye would be visiting Castlemont “in a few days” and expressed hope that students would meet and get to know him. OUSD spokesman Troy Flint also declined to discuss Lynch’s announcement but called it a “reassignment,” not a firing. “I don’t consider it a dismissal,” said Flint. Other than Flint’s interview with the Crier, OUSD has not directly communicated with students or families about Lynch. In the letter, which Castlemont students and families received over the Memorial Day weekend, Lynch wrote that he “will not be the Principal of Castlemont High School for the 2013-14 school year.”

see LYNCH page 7

Downward Trend From left: Students Alban Lopez and Emiliano Malangi, teacher Mitchell Singsheim, and students Kiana Henderson, Rosa Del Toro, Hernan Flores and Stephanie Vega display posters on Castlemont's declining enrollment, including next year's expected numbers. photo by Carrie Haslanger/used with permission

Plans for next year in flux as united school ends transition year, loses staff, principal by Maira Lopez, Aide Villegas and Jenny Zavala

Staff Writers

Castlemont’s first year as a combined school began last August with high hopes over the consolidation of three schools — the East Oakland School of the Arts, the Castlemont Business and Information Technology School, and Leadership Preparatory School — and ended with a principal and teachers leaving, and some elective courses cancelled due to declining enrollment.

see NEXT, page 7

Tongan dancers triumph by Esther Gamez

Staff Writer

Castlemont’s “Haka Dancers” won $100 at Castlemont’s talent show on May 23, after performing a traditional Tongan dance. Sophomore Villi Paea credited "effort (and) respect" for the win. Assistant Principal Aryn Bowman said that she "was really heartened by all the support people showed for each other." Counselor and judge Samantha

Art at your fingertips Salons and at-home kits offer new fashion trend to teens

Combining Castlemont’s three small schools into a comprehensive whole began with the canceling of advisory periods. More changes over the winter and spring, such as a new tardy policy requiring tardy students to receive passes before returning to class, caused more confusion. As graduation approaches, students and teachers have begun to ponder what the next school year will offer. “I don't have high hopes anymore,” said Kateri Dodds Simpson, who teaches English, adding, “I’ve been working for (the Oakland Unified School District) for eight years.”

– page 4

Odom noted that the performers were judged on "technique, stage presence, entertainment level, and reaction from the crowd." Throughout the show, the audience maintained a cheerful attitude. Sophomore Diane Beltran said, "I cheered more for Villi's group because they were really into it." Junior Elijah Jones said "the Turf Dancers should’ve won because they were very creative."

Men of Haka Left to right: Ricky Tavita, Villi Paea,

George Jones and Mackensie Feaomoeata perform a traditional dance at the talent show. photo by Esther Gamez

Inside Get Real

How the Castle is portrayed far from what students feel

– page 3

Twitter Star Trek

Astronauts tweet, use Tumblr during 146-day voyage

– page 8 Please recycle


June 2013

Ye Castle Crier


School plans to give diploma to slain teen Student in May shooting remembered by friends, teachers at memorial by the Crier staff Forty days after he was killed by gunfire, Olajuwon “Tutu” Clayborn will be honored at the Castlemont High School graduation when his family receives his diploma. But even before the June 14 graduation ceremony, Castlemont community members have been paying formal and informal tributes to the 17-year-old senior, who was fatally shot on a sidewalk on the 8600 block of Dowling Street on Sunday, May 5 around 10 p.m. According to news reports, no arrests have been made. Castlemont paid its respects to Clayborn and his family in a May 13 whole-school memorial that included a haka, poetry, prayer, singing and speakers. Sagnicthe Salazar, dean of discipline at Castlemont, was one of the lead coordinators of the memorial. “It’s super important that we make a big deal every time a tragedy like that happens,” she said. “It’s super important for us to create space for our students to mourn together and heal and celebrate life. At the event, she said, “everybody, whether they knew him or not, shared some words of love, some words of encouragement.” Salazar also noted that even though the memorial service went over the scheduled time by 20 minutes, “everybody stuck around and was super honoring of what we were doing.” Many people who knew Clay-

Lost Art Junior Alexandria Rivera paints a memorial mural for Castlemont students

Olajuwon Clayborn (pictured), David Moa and Chris Jones. Clayborn died in a shooting in May and Moa in a car accident in February, while Jones was shot to death on New Year’s Eve in 2011. The mural was a collaboration between local artists and Castlemont students. photo by Elijah Jones

born were profoundly affected by the fact that he left this world right when he was to graduate. “It’s sad because he had a lot of goals and he was planning to go to college,” said senior Marshae Robinson. “He wanted to play basketball when he was older, and

now, it’s over.” Some of Clayborn's most notable achievements were on the basketball court. This year, he scored an average of 2.1 points per game, the sixth most for the Knights, and averaged 2.1 rebounds per game. Donny Wilder, a senior basket-

ball player, remembers Clayborn as “very funny and just full of energy.” Wilder said Clayborn’s death left him shocked and disappointed but also motivated to do better in life. Frankie Navarro, a coach of

several sports at Castlemont, said Clayborn was “someone that recognized that he made mistakes, but also put in effort to make things better.” Indeed, Clayborn was considered hardworking by many who taught him at Castlemont after he transferred from Berkeley High School at the beginning of his senior year. Math Analysis teacher Nathan Coppersmith said Clayborn was the student who taught him “the most about what students are capable of in terms of improvement.” Clayborn “would come every morning with his (academic) contract ready for me to sign,” said Coppersmith. “He was really invested in working hard.” CyberHigh teacher Candice Valenzuela is another teacher who was impressed by Clayborn. “Olajuwon was really funny and had a great sense of humor,” she said. “(He) got my heart early on.” Other recent shootings around Castlemont had left English teacher Brieana Johnson feeling fearful that one of her students might die. She said she has felt cautious around students, “particularly my black male students, because there’s so few of them that I just want to hold on to them, but I can't.” —This story was reported and written by Esther Gamez, Berenice Garcia, Yahaira Garduño, Myriam Gonzalez, Elijah Jones, Soana Katoa, Jacob Mathis, Alexis Milligan, Maggy Vega and Lilybeth Villaseñor.

Crier students learn, paper gets award at SF convention by Yahaira Garduño

Staff Writer

It was two days of nonstop student journalism: From April 25 to April 27, five reporters from the Castle Crier attended the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention in San Francisco. An estimated 4,100 students, teachers and advisers from across the U.S. and overseas attended the convention, which was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel. In an unexpected turn of events, the Castle Crier won 9th place in the “Best in Show” competition, beating out other student papers from across the country. The National Scholastic Press Association is a non-profit educational association that was founded to give journalism educational services to students, teachers and media advisers throughout the United States, according to its website at The San Francisco convention consisted of activities such as preparatory journalism classes that give students a chance to meet professional journalists and professors, and receive advice. An exhibit hall included free giveaways such as bags, candy, and various pins, as well as media tours that gave students a chance to walk and explore San Francisco's streets in addition to attending places linked to journalism.

Castlemont English teacher and Castle Crier adviser Marguerite Sheffer was proud of the students who attended the conference. “I did not realize how strong the Castle Crier was until we competed with the best newspapers from around the country,” she said. Four out of the five attendees participated in the media tours at the convention: Yahaira Garduño and Esmeralda Argueta attended the media tour at Univision, Jazmine Stenson visited the Cartoon Museum, and Janice Davis went to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Museum. Said Davis: "I felt that the media tours portrayed journalism in a very visual and descriptive way." Argueta decided to attend the conference this year after attending one in Anaheim two years ago. “It was really fun because I was with fellow classmates," she said. "We got to see a lot of professional journalists, and we learned how to write for different sections of the newspaper.” Convention attendee Jazmin Stenson encouraged students to sign up for next year's spring convention, next April in San Diego. The fall convention will be held in Boston in November. “It opens up a lot of new opportunities," Stenson said, "like helping students to better their craft and to learn about different journalism — to become better writers.”

Photo by Esmeralda Argueta

En Español An unidentified spokeswoman for Univision (center) gives media tour

attendees a brief lecture on the network’s role in the Bay Area community. Univision 14 (KDTV) is the leading Spanish-language station in the Bay Area, with headquarters located in San Francisco.

Would you like to make the Castlemont community, Oakland, and even the world a better place? Being a journalist for the Castle Crier would be a great place to start. On the journalism team, you will be able to take photos • write stories • write reviews • express your own opinions on topics of your choice • earn class credits • become a published author! Icon by Parker Martin, from The Noun Project

See Ms. Sheffer in W1 for more information


cartoon by Warner Rosales

our reputation is not our reality by soana katoa & Alexis Milligan

Staff Writers

What have you heard about the Castle? “Girl, you better be ready to fight!” “Whatever you do, don’t go to Castlemont!” This is all we heard when we became students at Castlemont High School, "Home of the Knights.” Obviously, the reputation that the Castle has is not the best —more like, horrendous. The Castle’s reputation is so negative that we wouldn’t have dared to step onto this campus if we didn’t have to. Now that we're actually here, everything is different. In reality, Castlemont is a tiny but strong community. The connection that the teachers, counselors, and administrators have with the students is very unique. They treat their students not like another statistic or just another student, but as their future — as leaders of the future.

It’s annoying that people, to this very day, laugh or smirk when we tell them we go to Castlemont. They are only seeing Castlemont from the outside and don’t know what it is on the inside. Inside the Castle, everyone has each other's back. No matter what obstacles come into play due to violence, we all pull through as a whole. The violence that happens around Castlemont makes everyone assume that Castlemont itself is a violent school. For example, on Oct. 16, 2009, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the stomach around 1 p.m in the 8800 block of MacArthur Boulevard, near the Castle. The Oakland Tribune specifically referenced Castlemont in the headline, instead of describing the violence as taking place on MacArthur Boulevard, and not on campus. We understand the judgments,

June 2013

ye Castle Crier


The Castle, inside and out


the stereotypes, and the criticism that are placed upon us, but then again, that’s expected because that’s how society always is. Castlemont has changed dramatically in recent years, with new and improved security, the attendance of Oakland Police Department officers before and after school, and the continuing presence of Youth Uprising, a nonprofit next door to Castlemont that helps students prepare for college and employment. We just have to do our part as Castlemont Knights and prove everybody and their mama wrong! Gossipers, put your best foot forward and take that extra step — come and witness our school achievements, such as our Honor Roll assemblies, and meet our determined graduating class of 2013 Knights, who prove that we are capable of going far beyond what others think.

one year, one Class, And a new world It was a year ago that Marguerite Sheffer, our AP English language teacher, asked students for suggestions for the name of the school newspaper she wanted to revive. It had gone out of publication several years ago due to lack of funds. Though we wanted a newspaper, we honestly thought it was funny: How would Ms. Sheffer manage to teach us, kids who have no journalistic skills at all, how to write a whole newspaper article? But with the help of her adviser, Beatrice Motamedi, Ms. Sheffer started drilling us on newspaper writing. After a week, we began publishing almost every day at CastleCrier. tumblr. com. We also started putting together longer stories for the newspaper. And we felt ourselves changing — we weren't just a normal AP class anymore, we were the staff of the Castle Crier, running around the school, factchecking and getting interviews. Our biggest achievement came when we published for the first time in December 2012. It was a beautiful moment. We published again in April and won 9th place for Best in Show at the NSPA/JEA national high school journalism convention. A new newspaper placed in the top 10! Journalism has opened up a whole new world and style of writing for us. Though journalism, our class has managed to give our school and its students a voice, something we didn't have or exercise before. It's time for summer vacation now, but next year we'll be back in print with more of our stories to tell. This editorial represents the consensus view of the Crier staff.

Ye Castle CrIer

The Castle Crier has been an untapped resource for our community for many years. Our goal is to return this great voice to its rightful place in our local community. For students to communicate on vital issues occuring in our daily lives, we require a free, open space in which we can express our concerns, skills, and ambitions. The Castle Crier is this space. As young journalists, we are determined to exercise our right to freedom of expression and work together as a talented writing staff. Our main priority is not to assist in the fabrication of biased media, but to offer multiple perspectives throughout every article we publish. We hereby establish ourselves as an open forum for student free expression. Please email us at This paper was published with the generous assistance of The Student Voice Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising literacy rates in high-need schools through journalism study. Mentoring and technical assistance was provided by Beatrice Motamedi, SVP Program Director and 2012 Dow Jones Distinguished Adviser.


Esmeralda Argueta (News) Yahaira Garduño (News) Guadalupe Buenrostro (Science/Features) Maira Lopez (Features) Jenny Zavala (Features Janice Davis (Opinions) Myriam Gonzalez (Opinions) Dezire Hall (Sports) Monica Lockett (Sports) Jasmin Naranjo (Sports) Jazmin Stenson (Editorial)

Cartoon Editors

Warner Rosales & Ricky Tevita

Staff writers

Jennifer Almendarez Esmeralda Argueta Guadalupe Buenrostro Janice Davis Yacida Flores Esther Gamez Berenice Garcia Yahaira Garduño Myriam G. Gonzalez Dezire Hall Elexis Harris Elijah Jones Tanijah Jones


Soana Katoa Monica Lockett Maira Lopez Jacob Mathis Alexis Milligan Maria Muñiz Brandon Ros Warner Rosales Lee Simmons Jazmin Stenson Maggy Vega Lilybeth Villaseñor Aide Villegas Jimmie Ward

Marguerite Sheffer & Nathan Burks



Ye Castle Crier

June 2013



photos by Maggy Vega

Sade Bankston

“I'm happy that I received the scholarship because it's going to help me a lot throughout college.”

photo by Alicia Loera

Rainbow Ready Seniors celebrate by taking pre-prom photos at the Mormon Temple in Oakland. Both prom and the

Latino Banquet showcased the Castle’s diversity, with African American, Tongan, Latino and Middle Eastern students attending.

Bankston received $20,000 as winner of the 2013 Joe Morgan Scholarship. She will attend Dillard University in New Orleans.

More chance to dance at prom, banquet by Berenice Garcia, Yahaira Garduño, Myriam Gonzalez & Lilybeth Villaseñor

Staff Writer

Every student looks forward to senior year, including dressing up and going to prom. But what if you had two chances to dance and have fun with all your classmates? Though prom is an epic event for anyone, for the past seven years, Castlemont has held another formal dance, called the “Latino Banquet,” to provide Latino students with a sense of unity about their culture. Though the Latino Banquet targets Latinos with its name, anyone is invited to the celebration, which is sponsored by the Latino Knights, a campus group. In the past, students have tended to choose between the two events, but this year, many Castlemont students chose to attend both prom and banquet.

Latino Banquet was "something different ... fun like every Mexican party ... y'all know how to party." —Kala Kaufusi, senior Prom was held on May 11 in the roof garden of the Kaiser Building, located in downtown Oakland, while the Latino Banquet was held on May 31 at Lakeside Park Garden Center, near Lake Merritt. Prom tickets cost $80 fee while the Latino Banquet was $25 per person or $20 for two or more tickets. Approximately 110 students went to prom; 90 students and 25 alumni attended the Latino Banquet. With prom coming just a couple of weeks before the Latino Ban-

quet, many students celebrated twice, with students of color coming together to have fun. The events highlighted the rainbow of races and ethnicities at Castlemont. One white student attended the Latino Banquet, organizers said. “I think more Latinos go to the Latino Banquet than prom, but every year, we still have … Latinos, Tongans, Pacific Islanders, African Americans come to prom,” said Castlemont counselor Samantha Odom. “I think we always have a

good mixture.” Latina attendee and prom queen Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Arreola said it was memorable "... be(ing) with all the senior class, for one of the last dances of the school year.” Arreola added that she was shocked at her victory, because she was the only Latina running for queen. Seniors Kala Kaufusi and Zelena Smith said that their first time at Latino Banquet was fun. Kaufusi described Latino Banquet as “something different ... fun like every Mexican party … y’all know how to party.” “I liked it,” said Smith. “At first I came in and nobody was dancing, then all of a sudden they turned off the lights and everybody was dancing.” The Latino Knights "should encourage more of other people to come next year," she added.

Fingertips the canvas for trend in nail art by Jenny Zavala

Staff Writer

Everyone loves a good nail artist, so when I came across actual nail artists from Castlemont, I had to share! Women have been coloring their fingernails for a millennia, but the business of nail art has progressed far beyond a Frenchtipped presentation and has evolved to wraps, tips, acrylic nails, and gel manicures that are now available as DIY (Do it yourself) kits to take home. People of any age or gender can create their own nail art. All you need is a few bottles of nail polish and some imagination! DIY nail art can be done with professional tools, or with inexpensive household items, like toothpicks, scotch tape, craft glitter and hole reinforcers. In the Castlemont community, girls of all grades are embracing the

the nail art trend and have evolved her friends and family, too. “I love to do other people’s nails because their simple manicures. There are young ladies who do I love to help them express (themselves) through nail art,” Briseno their own nail said. art that looks With the recent professional explosion of nail as designs art on social medone at a sadia such as Inslon. tagram, Tumblr, “I love paintYouTube, Twiting my nails ter and now Pinand I feel that terest, “digital” it’s a way to be designs have able to express taken on a varied myself but range from edgy also have fun to everyday. while doing Karrie Bowers, it," said senior a Tumblr user and nail enDigital Art Student who is also a nail thusiast Yane Jenny Zavala models a fish artist and manFarias. icurist in MorS e n i o r scale design using nail polish gantown, W.Va, Maggie Bris- and acrylic paint. The vibrant believes that nail eno not only colors are acrylic paints, art is a “way to does her nails easily affordable at WalMart. accessorize in a but those of

personalized way.” Bowers added that, “it’s one of my biggest hobbies and now it’s also part of my job as a manicurist.” Some of her recent most popular nail designs include nail art matching a floral print dress, a design that has received more than 350 notes on Tumblr at http:// Nail art has not only become a fun hobby, but a competition against the clock with other wonderfully talented nail technicians. This year, London will be hosting the 9th International Nail Competition at Olympia Beauty in Kensington, where nail artists all over the world will come together to compete for medals and certificates. —For more about the London nail competition, head to http://www.

Siulolo Pahulu

"I felt blessed, knowing that I can get more scholarships by working hard, and not giving up."

Pahulu received a $600 scholarship from the alumni class of 1954. She will attend San Francisco State University.

Thomas Logwood “The scholarship not only provides money, it is also providing support outside of the classroom that will be much needed during my transition to college.”

Alicia Loera

“I feel blessed (to have) passionate ... mentors.” Logwood and Loera each received an East Bay College Fund Scholarship for $16,000 to attend UC Santa Cruz

Ye Castle Crier

June 2013



Castle students go to City Hall

Presentations focus on neighborhood threats — junk food, vacant parks by Yacida Flores & Brandon Ros

Next @ YU Summer events at Youth Uprising

8711 MacArthur Blvd. (510) 777-9909

Coming Out Party Free food, raffle prizes, and entertainment! Wednesday, June 12 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Staff Writers

On May 16, a group of two dozen 9th grade ethnic studies students from Castlemont went on a field trip downtown to Oakland’s City Hall, to propose methods for peacekeeping in Oakland communities. Students made presentations to local officials, including City Administrator Fred Blackwell, and representatives from the Oakland Unified School District. The presentations analyzed threats that may cause a potential harm in neighborhoods, including liquor stores, parks, vacant lots and detrimental food products. Solutions that were proposed included neighborhood watch teams, replacing empty lots with community gardens and funding block parties for community gatherings. Students were selected to present at City Hall by results of a class vote for the strongest projects. Brian Gameros, Stephanie Vega, Christy Mejia and Sal Gulla proposed ideas for renovating Oakland. Teachers were proud to see a group of young leaders step up to make a change. “ It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as an educator,”

photo by Steven Moreno/used with permission

CITIZENSHIP 101 Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell, at left, shakes hands with Castlemont freshman Giovanni Rodriguez, whose group gave a presentation at City Hall.

said Leona Kwon, Castlemont’s ethnic studies teacher, “to see such amazing and empowered youth forcing those in power to truly listen to their demands and recommendations.” Freshman Rosa Del Toro presented a proposal to improve the

environment. “I felt good and valued because this was a chance that (only) certain people got,” she said. Freshman Dakari Brown gave a presention on various ways on Oakland can be unified through peace, because he said that he

“wanted to change Oakland.” This field trip helped to improve Castlemont’s reputation, by showcasing students’ concern about their local environment. Students will continue to seek change, since they were invited to return and present to the full City Council.

Seniors ready, reluctant to walk the stage

Beautiful Oakland Festival Live music! Friday, June 21

by Maria Muniz, L. Simmons & Maggy Vega

Alameda County Junior Women's Conference Saturday, June 22 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hotter than July Block Party - free food! Friday, July 26 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Staff Writers

Excitement and regret are flowing through the minds of seniors as they approach graduation — the June 14 ceremony in which seniors expect to step into their futures. This year, 130 out of 136 seniors will graduate, compared with 120 out of 130 last year, according to Michael Scott, Castlemont's full service community schools director. Senior Zelena Smith is busy balancing her senior project on the lack of healthy food options in low-income communities, along with extracurricular activities. Preparing for graduation ”feels amazing and (is) a huge relief,” said Smith. She added that she is proud of herself for

managing her various roles as student body president and captain of the cheerleading team. Her busy schedule takes over any free time she has, but she is still able to maintain a grade point average of 3.5, and to look towards college.

way,” said senior Sandra Pelayo. But she added that “I don’t feel accomplished because there’s a lot of things that I could’ve done, and the highlight would be going finally to college.” Pelayo hopes one day to attend San Francisco State University, to further her goal of becoming a forensic detective. Many seniors described being stressed out by their senior projects, but they were also glad to preview the rigor of college assignments. Senior Ana Katoa described the required 10-page research paper and presentation as an “overwhelming and challenging experience” but said that “it gives you some sort of college experience.” Katoa studied how youth maintain their cultural identities after immigrating to the United States.

Preparing for graduation "feels amazing and (is) a huge relief." —Zelena Smith, senior Smith will be attending Xavier University in New Orleans this fall to study biology. Not everyone is satisfied with the results of senior year.. ”I feel very nervous and happy — in a

Cat litter chemistry, stars on science dinner menu by Janice Davis

Staff Writer

Seven science students from Castlemont attended the OUSD “Dinner with a Scientist” event at the Oakland Zoo Snow Building on the evening of May 1 to engage in scientific exploration and discover career opportunities in the field of science. Sponsored by Chevron Corporation, the dinner was an opportunity for Oakland elementary, middle and high school students to be exposed to professionals in different scientific studies, from biology to astrophysics and the medical sciences. The students who were chosen to participate in this event were seniors Goka Bere and Frania Martinez from teacher Claire

Shorall’s biology class; sophomore Juan Magallon and senior Renise Thornton from teacher Alyssa Pandolfi’s physiology class; and sophomore Sharonda Hill, along with juniors Esemerelda Rodriguez and Dennice Romero, from teacher Michele Ramirez’s chemistry and environmental science classes. Not all of the scientific insights and innovations under discussion during the dinner were the kind you might find in a textbook. “There was a woman who talked about cat litter, and the perfect blend of cat litter,” said Pandolfi. “(It’s) really weird that people obsess over that, but it just goes to show that you don’t really think about everyday products like that.”

“The most interesting thing to me was the woman from France who studies stars and how black holes come into existence,” said Thornton. Even what was for dinner ended up being a teachable moment. “All of the dinner options are written on the menu in very technical and scientific terms," said Shorall. The annual Dinner with a Scientist event has encouraged science teachers like Shorall to include more hands-on experience for students in and out of the classroom. “I think it’s really cool being able to become passionate about something and teach others about it," said Pandolfi. "But I would really love to see students doing more of educating themselves next year."

photo by Alyssa Pandolfi

Dinner guest Sophomore Juan Magallon (right), asks a zoologist questions about a lizard's lifestyle. Zoologists were standing outside with animals for students to touch and examine before the annual "Dinner with a Scientist" event, sponsored by Chevron.



June 2013

Ye Castle Crier

Review: Music Fest Truly a BFD by Jennifer Almendarez & Esmeralda Argueta

Staff Writer

Every year since 1994, radio music station 105.3 FM, widely known as “Live 105,” has hosted the BFD (Big Fucking Day) Music Festival at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, in Mountain View, Calif. BFD hosts up-and-coming bands as well as more renowned bands. A mixture of genres, such as indie, electro, and alternative, were present at this year’s festival. The lineup did not disappoint; in fact, this year’s soldout BFD was the largest in the festival’s history. Performances ranged from local bands like Anya and the Get Down, to more established bands such as Jimmy Eat World and Passion Pit. We focused on the Bud Light Festival Stage and the Main Stage, where alternative rock bands performed. New Politics, Twenty One Pilots, The Neighbourhood, The Airborne Toxic Event, and Jimmy Eat World, were the bands that made BFD memorable, well worth the 10 hours of standing in the blazing sun, melting in sunscreen. We were in the depths of the crowd, enveloped in a cloud of marijuana, and the hot smell of beer breath. It was truly an unforgettable experience, in which all people — especially those who aspire to get their adrenaline pumping — should indulge.

photo by Dezire Hall

Beats for Peace Castlemont 's ska band performs in the school courtyard during a recent lunchtime break.

From left to right: Erick Zamudio on base, Elvis Alvarado on electric bass, and Music Director Juliann Moscovitz. Not shown: Freemont Tuuta (trumpet), Vania Baltazar (tenor sax) and Eduardo Martinez (drums).

New ska group plays to ease tension by Brandon Ros

Staff Writer

Castlemont’s band went through many challenges throughout this year: Among the changes were adjusting to a new teacher, Music Director Juliann Moscovitz, and beginning a new genre, ska. Band members still found time to be able to perform despite all the violent disruptions throughout the year; the shooting of a Castlemont student in May (see "School plans to give diploma to slain teen,"

page 2) did not prevent them from moving forward with rehearsals and performances. According to band members, the Castlemont band is the only band in deep East Oakland that attempts to create change and promote positivity through the essence of music. The band's main purpose is to promote positivity and give people a way to ease tension or stress. The band felt that performing in the Castlemont courtyard will allow students to be able to cope with

reality and move forward from all of the negativity that has hit campus this school year. Musical breaks allow students to focus on their education, so they can have a promising life for the future, band members said. “Music calms nerves and helps people find other ways to cope with frustration besides arguments and violence,” said Erick Zamudio, a junior and band member. In addition to performing in Castlemont's courtyard, the ska band has performed at the Castle's

Career Day, Spring Concert, and a local Jazz Festival. Students practice during 5th period and after school at Elmhurst Community Preparatory as part of the band's community outreach efforts. With their new music director coming on board this school year, “things aren’t the same anymore with the band," said sophomore and band member Elvis Alvarado. "But as a group we suggested that performing in the courtyard would bring us together and bring peace in the school community.”

Underground hip hop revives positive voices by Tanijah Jones

Staff Writer

Hip hop is an innovative form of music that both entertains and educates. Emerging in the 1970s in the South Bronx, New York, hip hop has often been used as a lyrical outlet for African Americans to express themselves. However, hip hop is not limited to its musical aspect; it also has a cultural and behavioral influence on listeners. Considering the powerful sway that hip hop holds, it shouldn't be undermined or taken for granted. Unfortunately, over time hip hop has lost its sentimental and cultural values because it is more controlled by corporations and revenue than ever before. As a result, today the voices of everyday African Americans are once again silenced in American society, and have been given back to white corporate America. Worse, hip hop has lost its ability to intellectually advocate for justice and to realistically express emotions. This can be seen in today’s “mainstream hip hop”— the genre most often heard on the radio. In its beginning, hip hop had musical integrity. Now that capital is involved,

hip hop has lost just that ... its mu- can join my private party/bring On the other hand, the drug sical integrity. Mainstream songs the beat/I got my mike/I’ll bring “Molly” is being promoted in are usually songs that are receiving the words /let’s get started baby!” today’s mainstream hip hop. the most media attention, whether Lynguist implies that music “Molly” is the powder or crystal it be on the radio or television. can be a healthy way to express form of MDMA (methylenedioxyLuckily, hip hop’s musical emotions and release negative methamphetamine), a form of the integrity is being represented and energy, as opposed to obsessive drug Ecstasy. preserved through a new genre —underground hip hop. Mainstream hip hop promotes misogyny, violence, materialism and drug use. But underground hip hop opposes these negatives through making music that challenges its listeners mentalscreenshot by Crier staff ly by promoting s e l f - a w a re n e s s , In the Cloud Listening to underground hip hop can be a challenge and advocating for even for listeners who are dedicated to finding new alternatives to justice in the crimmainstream hip hop. SoundCloud, pictured above, is a way to sample inal justice system, educational institu- Enigmatic Lynguist's songs, which aren't currently available on iTunes. tions and economic marketplace. For instance, in drug use. The lyrics also indicate In the song “U.O.E.N.O,” rap“Music is My Anti-Drug,” under- that one does not need drugs to per Rick Ross states, “put Molly all ground group Enigmatic Lynguist have a good time; all one needs is in her champagne/she ain’t even raps, ”Climb up to my level/you good music. know it/I took her home and I

enjoyed that/she ain’t even know it." The fact the Ross seems to be bragging about raping an unconscious girl is very disturbing. These lyrics simultaneously promote drug use, misogyny and hyper-masculinity. Because of hip hop’s massive influence, listeners are negatively influenced. Those who listen to hip hop should be more mindful of what they listen to, especially people of color. They should not let white corporate America take away the voice that their ancestors fought so hard for them to have. Unfortunately, until audiences advocate for high-quality music such as Lynguist, music sampling sites such as SoundCloud are the only option for listeners who want to hear groups that truly have something to say.

illustration by Warner Rosales


June 2013

Ye Castle Crier


Space station astronauts launch social media

Astronauts land in Kazakhstan marking the end of a mission that changed the face of the space program by Guadalupe Buenrostro

Staff Writer


n May 14, three astronauts of the 35th expedition to the International Space Station returned to earth safely, their triumph providing inspiration for youth of all demographics. After spending 146 days in space, Colonel Chris Hadfield and flight engineers Roman Romanenko and Tom Marshburn took a Soyuz spacecraft back down to earth and landed in Kazakhstan. Their time on board the International Space station was spent conducting scientific research, such as investigating the structure of paramagnetic aggregates from colloidal emulsions, which will help build better earthquake-resistant structures. They also worked with the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO), which will analyze the coastal features of the earth to determine indicators of water quality. But they did more: Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, became an Internet sensation, taking pictures of the earth's landscape as seen from space and sharing them on social networks with his 998,000 Twitter followers, as well as with his followers on Tumblr. Hadfield's photographs have offered the world a view of our planet that would otherwise go unseen. Embedded within his tweets and blogposts was an appreciation for the beauty of the earth, rediscovered from the first images seen of the whole earth from Apollo 8. Hadfield has been credited for bringing public interest back to the

Happy Landings Left to right: Col. Chris Hadfield and flight engineers Roman Romanenko and Tom Marshburn get their picture taken with the recovery crew after landing in Kazakhstan on May 14. Hadfield tweeted: “Safely home - back on Earth, happily readapting to the heavy pull of gravity. Wonderful to smell and feel Spring." photo by NASA/U.S. government work activities of astronauts and space exploration. “How many people even knew there was an International Space Station?" wrote Jeffrey Kluger of Time magazine."Well, there is one. It’s an awfully cool machine, and thanks to ... Chris Hadfield, a lot more people now know just how cool.” Now that astronauts Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko are back on earth, they are recovering from the effects of spending such a long period of time — 146 days — exposed to zero gravity. Zero gravity can cause an astronaut to lose bone and muscle mass, develop kidney stones, lose red

blood cells and become frequently disoriented. The astronauts are undergoing examinations to ensure that their health was not damaged during their time on the International Space Station. Remaining onboard the space station are Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, and American Chris Cassidy . They will take part in Expedition 36, along with American astronaut Karen L. Nyberg, and Russian astronauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Luca Parmitano, who arrived at the space station on May 28. The crew launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at

LYNCH: Hope for new principal who will 'listen' and build culture from page 1

"The district has decided to go in another direction regarding the leadership of the school, believing that a stronger candidate exists to lead the school in future years,” Lynch wrote. He repeated the news on May 28 over Castlemont’s intercom system. In an interview with the Crier, Lynch said that the “next step for Castlemont is to find a new leader for this school, and I hope the new leader brings more to the table.” Lynch added he hopes OUSD finds a principal who is “a great listener” and is “able to make some pretty quick decisions when they jump in ... someone who is ready to innovate, but also ready to hold on to some of the things that we have already started.” Lynch faced many challenges

this year as three small schools on the Castlemont campus combined into a comprehensive school, beginning in August. In his Crier interview, Lynch listed the challenges as “the transition into one cohesive school culture, (the) lack of relationships between teachers and students, and creating a safe place around the campus so the young folks feel safe (traveling) to and from school.” Lynch, whose wife gave birth to a second daughter on April 8, is seen by many students as well-meaning but distant. Lynch appeared to realize that more needs to be done. “I hope that (a new) person does a better job of building a community and school culture

than I did,” Lynch said. Reactions from Castlemont students varied, with some saying that Lynch’s dismissal was premature, while others felt that Lynch should leave. Freshman Jowhari Hill, who favored Lynch’s dismissal, said that his announcement was “good, because we need somebody who knows what they’re doing.” But freshman Dashawn Rhoadese predicted that the “school will get more out of hand (after Lynch’s departure) because he knew everybody longer.” Whether or not students want Lynch to leave, many criticized the OUSD for making decisions without consulting students or staff, a point emphasized during a “Day of Protest” on June 6.

4:31 p.m. and broke the record for the fastest trip to the International Space Station — just six hours. A significant transition is taking place in how accessible the activities of NASA and other space agencies are to the public. During Expedition 35, any person with access to the Internet was able to log on to Twitter and Tumblr and check on what the astronauts were up to. The astronaut’s outreach on social media could perform a vital service in this economy, due to the fact that NASA budget cuts are threatening outreach programs that would keep the public informed. One thing is for sure: The work

conducted by this mission, along with the work of all the previous missions and missions to come, will be used to gain more knowledge of the way that our planet behaves and how the biology of the earth works. And that will help us build a better, safer future. But most importantly they are constantly feeding our imaginations and daring us to think of the earth as a whole. —Buenrostro is Teen Volunteer Galaxy Explorer at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. Email her your science questions at

NEXT: Class changes from page 1

Teachers, students and community members held a “Day of Action” June 6 to protest the lack of community voice in decisions affecting staffing.“Teach-ins” covered issues such as security and special education. Students drew posters highlighting Castlemont’s declining enrollment, from 1,450 students in 2003 to a projected 550 students for 2013-2014. "We intend to be relentless in our agitation toward OUSD policies and mandates that continuously undermine our integrity,” said teacher Michelle Espino. Unfortunately, lower enrollment means not only fewer students but fewer teachers next year. “I hoped that next year I could offer AP chemistry,” said teacher Lauchlin Cruickshanks. “But due to a decrease in student body and funding, my position at Castlemont will be consolidated and we

will have one less science teacher.” Other classes will be moved to before or after school. Advanced Placement Calculus will become a zero period class at 7:30 a.m. AP Literature will be held three days a week after school. Despite the changes, some teachers expect next year to be calmer compared with a 2012-2013 school year that included not only academic changes but a fatal car accident in February that claimed the life of popular 2012 graduate David Moa, several shootings this spring on nearby MacArthur Boulevard, and the shooting death in May of senior Olajuwon Clayborn. Aryn Bowman, assistant principal and AP U.S. History teacher, predicted that “overarchingly, there will be more smoothness next year, compared to the chaos of this year when students came back from having small schools ... to not knowing 60 percent of the adults.”

Sports Ye Castle Crier

Motivation, Times Two Below, boys basketball coach Nathan Burks takes a break from teaching computer graphics. At bottom, assistant physical education director Traivon Soto-Johnson leads a 6th period gym class. Burks and Soto-Johnson tied for “Most Encouraging Coach of the Year.”

Give Me A LINDA Cheerleading director Linda Stenson stands in the College Career Information Center. Athletes voted for Stenson, who is completing her fourth year of service at Castlemont, as “Coach of the Year” in a Crier poll.

Loud and Proud Football Coach Lloyd Johnson, above, was voted “Loudest Coach." The 2012-13 school year was his final season coaching the Castlemont Knights.

Not Just 9 to 5 Above: Lady Knights basketball coach Gilbert Lane was voted "Hardest-Working Coach."

On Track Right: Frankie Navarro, physical education director and girls soccer coach, was voted “Coach with the Most School Spirit.”

photos by Dezire Hall, Devon Lane, Monica Lockett, and Jacob Mathis

Year-end appreciation


Good knights

t is a big name for an athlete to become — a Castlemont Knight. Luckily, our Castlemont coaches help us live up to our name. In every sport, and with every practice and training session and game, hard work and dedication put fire into our bodies. Though the coaches above represent many different sports, each of them has inspired us to reach our goals. Coaches, after all the games we've lost and won, the lessons you've taught us have just begun to take effect. You have shown us how not to give up, how to push through the hard times, and how to persevere. With you as our coaches, we are able to handle any struggle that

Win or lose, coaches inspire teens to achieve

comes to us. And we know how to celebrate success and accept failure, but that’s only because we have learned from you. Girls basketball coach Gilbert Lane is a good example. We work hard because he works hard. True, sometimes he yells at us, but only because he expects a lot from us. He makes us run because it makes us more disciplined. This year, we Castlemont Knights have lost a lot more games than we have won. But what each of us has learned from our coaches over the year was that, in the words of Michael Jordan, “you will never learn how to win unless you learn how to fail.” Castlemont coaches, we appreciate all the time and effort you have given to us. We celebrate you.

The Crier made a list of all of the sports offered at Castlemont and asked student-athletes from each sport to vote for the coaches who have made the biggest difference in their lives. Athletes voted for coaches in five categories: Coach of the Year, Hardest-Working Coach, Loudest Coach, Most Encouraging Coach, and Coach with the Most School Spirit. Sports included varsity boys basketball, junior varsity boys basketball, football, cheerleading, varsity girls basketball, junior varsity girls basketball, girls soccer, boys baseball, boys track and field, boys soccer, wrestling, girls track and field, and girls softball. Congratulations to the coaches above ... and see you next fall!

—Dezire Hall, Crier staff writer

Castle Crier Issue 3: June 2013  

School Newspaper for Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA