Falconer February 2024 Issue

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cutting-edge coverage

New studio installed for Falcon Vision broadcast class

For viewers of Falcon Vision, the TPHS student broadcast that airs once a week, the usual reporting setup looked different on Feb. 2. Instead of the plain table and white backdrop checkered with the Falcon Vision logo, anchors Karina Shukla (10) and Madeline Guillory (10) opened the show at a sleek desk, flanked by two widescreen TVs and illuminated by a backlit TPHS Falcon emblem.

The new Falcon Vision studio, a $50,000 addition to the program, was installed in late January in the G Building, marking the latest development in a program that has only grown since its inception in 2021. While TPHS aired TPTV in the early 2000s and again starting in 2016, Falcon Vision, as a class, took off under teacher Kara Adler in 2021 and now boasts a staff of 66 students across two class periods.

“As the program grew [and] as we created awesome stories … we made a name for ourselves on campus,” Adler said. “As the class grew and grew, it made sense that our program grew with it, and part of that was getting a studio that helped to replicate the awesome work that we were doing.”

Funded by the TPHS Foundation, the district Career Technical Education department and community donations, the new studio provides the program with both a broadcast set and a control room separated by a glass partition. This replaces last year’s set: a table and backdrop displayed in a room in the classroom — what Foundation Executive Director Joe Austin called “a broom closet, essentially.”

“To see Kara and her students working with basically a [banner] clipped to the wall behind them and makeshift lighting, it felt like a middle school or even an elementary schoollevel program,” Austin said. “They were

doing great work, so to give them a set commensurate with the work that they were doing felt like an awesome thing to put some energy into.”

Adler agreed.

“Prior to the new studio, our stories were really strong [and] our anchors were good at being on air,” she said. “But, when we went back to the studio shots, it just didn’t look as professional as the work we were doing.”

Now, videographers work with multiple camera angles, anchors read from multiple teleprompters and graphics are projected on three screens — developments that Adler said enable students “to feel like they’re on an actual news set.”

“[The studio] has really changed a lot,” Lauren Panebianco (12), the show’s graphics and social media manager, said. “People have been putting more effort into their [stories] and more effort into learning how to use the studio. It’s been really exciting.”

Designed by Broadcast Design International, the studio was adapted to the space, which served as a testing center last year. In the absence of high vaulted ceilings, backlighting was built into the set. To allow for live interviews, one side of the studio was made longer, according to Adler.

This semester, Falcon Vision will air live every Friday at 11 a.m., with a live continued on A2

Broadcast journalism has been present on the TPHS campus since 2016. What began as a broadcast club has become the Falcon Vision class, a 66-student operation, now with a new studio.

A STATE-OF-THE-ART STUDIO: Karina Shukla (10) and Madeline Guillory (10), anchors for Falcon Vision, practice their Feb. 16 live show during a rehearsal on Feb. 14. This month, the filming of Falcon Vision, the TPHS student news and school-interest broadcast, moved to a new $50,000 studio that enhances their coverage with three screens, new lighting, and an adjoining control room.
Vol. 49, Issue 5, 24 pages Thursday, February 29, 2024


continued from A1 interview each show. Each period, which consists of students in both TV Production and Advanced Video/Film, produces a show every other week.

“Last semester, I didn’t really have a lot of pressure on me,” Executive Producer Kyle Busby (10) said. “This semester, there’s definitely more of an assigned role for me.”

With the ability to display graphics more efficiently — “a game changer” for Busby — and run the show through the adjacent control room, Busby said the production is more “organized” and the viewing experience “enhanced.”

“[The studio] brings us state of the art technology and a real professional space,” he said.

Eric Ryu (12), another executive producer, agreed.

“The new studio has made my role both harder [and] more fun,” Ryu said. “I’m playing with more camera angles. I have to go back and forth between behind-the-scenes and the studio. There’s a lot more that we can play around with.”

The new studio is only the latest change to the program. Last year, the program received 22 MacBook Computers from the district CTE department.

“I want to make sure that Falcon Vision stays up to industry standards,” Adler said. “So as technology changes and grows, [I ask myself,] ‘How can we constantly improve our show to match what is going on in the real world?’”

The current studio is something Adler wants to last “five to 10 years until maybe … we can get an even better, bigger studio.” Adler said she hopes to one day add a sit-down interview set to the studio and gain the capacity to do off-campus live interviews.

With the expansion of the program — from an increase in students to the new studio — students see a strong potential for future growth.

“Falcon Vision has gone from zero to 2,000 … within three years,” Panebianco said. “I could see people being more likely to come to Torrey Pines because of our program.”

Adler agreed.

“[With the new studio,] community members, staff members and students [will feel] that Falcon Vision is just as

professional as we all think it is in the classroom,” she said.

Next year, students can receive college articulation by exam through Palomar College for Advanced Video/ Film (the capstone class of the TPHS Film/Video Production CTE pathway), and Falcon Vision anchors may have the opportunity to use a new scoreboard in Ed Burke Stadium, a project pending board approval in March, Austin said.

But throughout this expansion, the community of the class has stayed constant — what Panebianco describes as a family-like atmosphere.

“If you ask a student in the class, they’ll say ‘I love interviewing or I love the new studio,’ but what they really like about Falcon Vision … is the community of the class,” Adler said.

After record amounts of rain fell on Jan. 22 in San Diego, the Falconer spoke with Greg Bledsoe, the meteorologist for NBC 7, about future weather and climate patterns and, in particular, what this means for the San Diego area.

with NBC 7’s meteorologist Greg Bledsoe

What is influencing the large amount of rain San Diego is seeing?

Because the climate is changing, we’re starting to see more extremes. So in the future we are going to see winters that are really wet and droughts that are really dry. As our planet continues to warm our oceans, more of that water evaporates into the air and then we have a lot more potential weather. When there’s more water that evaporates out of the ocean, there’s more water coming up from the tropics and subtropics to create atmospheric rivers and more water available to create bigger storms.

Jan. 22 was a record day for rainfall. What happened to cause this?

We had a very powerful storm move through San Diego county on Jan. 22. So in addition to having a lot of moisture available, we had something happen called training, which is rather than one heavy rain cell sitting over an area for a long time, you have new cells popping up one after another, and so you get the effect of really heavy rains sitting over the same period. So lots of places around the downtown area got a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours.

Multiple San Diego schools were flooded in this rain. Do you foresee this continuing as we experience more extreme weather?

Everyone should probably start preparing for the possibility of more powerful

houses or stormwater systems, everyone in the future should be prepared

Held on Feb. 24 in front of the TPHS gym, the Cultural Bazaar featured many different cultural clubs on campus. Students browsed, explored different groups and learned about their peers.

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storms. So whether that’s schools or office buildings or for more powerful storms. CLIMATE CONCERNS: Greg Bledsoe is the meteorlogist for NBC 7 San Diego. He has worked as a member of NBC 7 in a variety of different positions for over 20 years, starting his career with them as a writer in 2001.

TPHS Principal Rob Coppo

Secondary Principal of the Year: TPHS Principal Rob Coppo

presented by the Association of California School Administrators Region 18

“I’m really honored to go represent Torrey Pines at [the ACSA award ceremony] and be able to promote our school in a way that I think it doesn’t always get recognized.”
Rob Coppo


Business math to become Personal Financial Literacy

In the 2024-25 school year, TPHS will offer a Personal Financial Literacy course, a district-wide replacement for the current Business Math class.

Business Math is offered to seniors and fulfills the Mathematics, Practical Arts or Electives TPHS graduation requirement.

The move to replace the course was an initiative by Business Math teachers across SDUHSD high schools.

“Teachers for the [Business Math] course really think that the personal financial literacy aspect is way more important to focus on,” Integrated Math 2 and Business Math teacher Stephanie Pearson said. “Students enjoy learning it more because … it’s more applicable to their everyday life and future.”

Instead of learning traditional mathematics, instruction in personal finance aims to convey financial knowledge that students can rely on to make future financial decisions.

“It really helps seniors out because we’re about to go off to college, going to

be more independent and open our own credit cards,” Business Math student Josie Robbins (12) said.

The Personal Financial Literacy course, sharing the qualities of Business Math, will cover topics including checking and savings accounts, types of credit, managing credit, paying for college, budgeting, investing, taxes, career planning and insurance.

While the foundational content remains the same, new textbooks will be piloted next school year.

At TPHS, the class no longer follows a Business Math textbook, but instead is being taught according to a personal finance-based curriculum. The new textbook will align with, rather than change, the current direction of the class.

The replacement is also an effort to standardize existing variations in the Business Math curriculum across the district.

“I think the district realized that the content was different at each school site, and we wanted to make it more streamlined across campuses and make

it a better course for students,” Pearson said.

Business Math is currently CSU/UC approved, and articulates with Mira Costa College. Students enrolled in Mira Costa College who earn a final grade of “B” or higher in the class receive three units of college credit for Mira Costa’s Accounting 158 course. Business Math can also earn students college credit at CSU schools, but not at UC schools.

SDUHSD administrators have applied to Mira Costa College for the new Personal Financial Literacy course to be eligible for college credit there; a decision on that issue will not be made until April.

Aside from receiving college credit, teachers and students recognize the value of learning financial fluency during the high school years.

“I think it should be one of the core classes you should have to take because it just reminds [students] to learn how to be financially responsible,” Lauren Panebianco (12), a Business Math student, said.

California lawmakers are also beginning to recognize the value of such courses. California Initiative 23-0022, which began accepting submissions on Nov. 9, 2023, states that one semester of a personal finance course in high school would be added as a graduation requirement, and may appear on the ballot later this year. If adopted, the requirement will become applicable with the graduating class of 2030. The initiative also mandates that high schools offer a personal finance course that meets the A-G requirements by the 2026-27 academic year.

“I really hope the California bill gets passed and that [the state] requires every student to take personal finance because it is applicable to your life and there’s no better time to learn it,” Kaitlin Hildebrand, an AP Calculus AB and Business Math teacher, said.

With such California initiatives currently in motion and SDUHSD’s development of the Personal Financial Literacy course, a wider implementation of personal finance education might be in the near future.

Chinese American Family group donates to TPHS

A $6,000 donation from the TPHS Chinese American Parent Group, a gift to the TPHS Foundation marking the school’s 50th anniversary, was applied to the most recent round of approved purchases to support campus needs in February. The donation was added to other funds intended for classroom supplies, transportation and other pursuits, according to Joe Austin, the Executive Director of the TPHS Foundation.

The Chinese American Parent Group, a community collective, organized a week-long fundraising effort in early December under the leadership of parents Jennifer Yang, Estelle Chen and Qin Wang. With an initial goal of $2,000, they received more than $1,500

in the first five hours of the campaign, according to Yang.

In total, Yang received donations from more than 80 “past, present and future TPHS families,” as well as from Chinese-American-owned education companies including IvyMax Education, Haddee Education and InGenius.

Yang and other members of the Chinese American Parent Group presented the final $6,000 check to TPHS Foundation President Traci Acers and Austin on Dec. 14 as a holiday gift. As of now, Yang said that the group plans to make the donation an annual effort.

“All the dollars that the Foundation takes in … is an indication that our communities care about providing the best learning experience for the students at [TPHS],” Austin said.

Austin described Yang’s fundraising campaign as a “grassroots effort” and a “major donation.”

Yang met with the TPHS Foundation on Feb. 5 to discuss distribution of the donated funds, which were of the unrestricted category, according to Austin. The Chinese American Family Group asked that the money be donated to clubs — namely the Science Olympiad Club, DECA and the Math Club — as well as classes and facilities on campus, including the Chinese language program, music program, art program, journalism program, counseling office, Falcon Eatery and the addition of ping pong tables for lunchtime recreation.

“It was interesting that this group of parents said, ‘Listen, it’s up to you, but if you want our opinion, this is where we’d like it to go,’” Austin said.

Students in these programs agree there’s a need for such funding.

“Art requires many different supplies and tools that can be quite expensive,” Vivian Ke (12), an art elective student and the president of the TPHS National Art Honor Society, said.

Kevin Gu (9), a music program student, sees a similar need in his program.

“Some students have to borrow an instrument, and buying and keeping those instruments is really expensive,” Gu said.

Yang expressed her enthusiasm for what this donation could do for TPHS.

“I’m so proud to be the leader of this great parent group because there’s just extraordinary support,” Yang said. “We’re raising money for our kids — for education. We take pride in our school.”

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ACSARegion18 SecondaryPrincipaloftheYear

Sophomore violinist honored in local competition

Anthony Kim (10) won the Music Teachers’ Association of California San Diego Concerto Competition for his violin performance on Feb. 11, after more than a year of preparation.

Having played the violin for eight years and participated in many competitions, Kim has “a pretty long history of playing in front of audiences,” which he says lends itself well to his competitions.

“[Preparing for the competition] was a lot of consistency [and] daily practice,” Kim said. “It took a lot of effort to win this, and I knew I wanted it, so I put in the work, and I got it.”

Kim prepared a 15-minute concerto, which he performed in front of a live audience and a panel of three judges.

“[The judges] actually stopped me around seven minutes into my concerto, and the concerto is around 15 minutes. They were like ‘That’s all we need to hear, thank you,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, this is either really good or really bad,’” Kim said.

Additionally, according to Kim, five other people played the same piece as he did in a division of around 15-20 people, which is unprecedented and “makes it easy to compare skill levels,” Kim said.

That worked in his favor because Kim won first place in the highest division — made up of the oldest competitors in violin — alongside his

[Preparing for the competition] was a lot of consistency [and] daily practice. It took a lot of effort to win this, and I knew I wanted it, so I put in the work and I got it.”

sister, Elisha, a seventh grader at Carmel Valley Middle School, who won first in the division below him. Both were given the opportunity to play with the MiraCosta Symphony Orchestra as a result, which will take place on March 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the MiraCosta College Theatre.

“[Playing with the MiraCosta Symphony is going to be] a really amazing experience, so I really wanted to do [the competition],” Kim said.

Having played with other orchestras in San Diego, Kim said he is glad to play a more difficult piece with a larger orchestra.

Kim currently plays with the TPHS Orchestra, led by Director Amy Gelb.

“I’ve seen him be so committed to practicing and working hard and reacting well to setbacks,” Gelb said. “Earlier in the year he would practice out [near the music building] and I would get comments like, ‘Oh yeah, I hear the violin in the morning.’ That was all him.”

Recently, Kim was also awarded the Interlochen Orchestral Scholar Award, a full scholarship of $10,000 for the summer camp program at Interlochen, a prestigious arts boarding school in


More than anything, Kim values the impact he can have on his community through his violin playing. He is involved with nonprofit organizations that allow him to teach music to children with autism spectrum disorder and play for schools in the community.

Community members can watch Kim and the TPHS music program perform their spring concert on March 12, at 7 p.m. in the TPHS Performing Arts Center.

“The Play That Goes Wrong,” running from Feb. 22 to 24 and Feb. 27 to March 2, is the second play of the 2024-25 school year. TP Players have prepared and rehearsed the show since December.
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MARVELOUS MUSICIAN: Anthony Kim (10) rehearses with the TPHS Orchestra. He recently was honored at the Music Teacher’s Association of California San Diego Concerto Compeition. PHOTOS BY HOPE DENNIS/FALCONER PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER Eric Lee Junior Ethan Wong Senior

The National Eating Disorder Awareness Walk was hosted by TPHS PALS on

Feb. 24. TPHS students and staff were encouraged to wear lilac to show their support.

Mock Trial beats rival to advance to state competition

The TPHS Mock Trial team beat long-time rival Westview High School in the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition finals on Feb. 27, advancing to the state level for the first time since 2013.

To Addison Thomas (12), an attorney on the defense team, it “feels like our hard work has paid off.”

Prior to their win in the finals, the TPHS Mock Trial team went 4-0 in their initial rounds, finishing as the second seed headed to the semifinals. A win against La Jolla High School in the semifinals not only secured their place in the finals, but seeded them

first, ahead of Westview, the county champion of the past two years.

While the last month was filled with trips downtown to the Central Courthouse, the journey to States began long before the 2023-24 season. TPHS advanced to the county semifinals in 2020-2021, but lost to Westview. The following year, TPHS made it to finals, and again lost to Westview. Last year in the 2022-23 season, TPHS placed ninth in the county, ending their season before the semifinals.

“I think that’s pretty impressive to go from ninth to first and I think it means a lot for the whole team to finally beat Westview,” Thomas said. “It feels really good knowing that last year, we weren’t on our best game but this year we really are and I think we’re all ready to go to States.”

One major change to the team this year was a new coach: Pratik Shah, a local defense attorney who, to Mock Trial members, is a welcome addition and dedicated coach. Shah filled a vacancy left by the former TPHS coach of more than a decade, who switched to another school’s Mock Trial team.

“We were freaking out because we didn’t know who would step in,” Alina Hsu (12), a witness for the prosecution team, said. “So we didn’t know [if there would be an attorney who] would have the time to come and be willing to help us out.”

Shah joined attorney coach Robert Trestman at TPHS; the two have worked with the team since September.

“[Shah is] a really good coach. He’s dedicated to the team … that’s something that I really appreciate,” Mock Trial President Joshua Yu (12) said. “He takes time out of his afternoons, on weekends and on New Year’s Day just to help the team with meetings. The way that he coaches us really embodies our team.”

Going into this season’s county championship, Yu was the only member of the team to have faced Westview previously.

“[Shah is] really competitive and I really like the spirit that he brings to the team,” Yu said.

Shah has never coached Mock Trial before, but did compete in law school. Following the previous coach’s departure, Shah applied for the volunteer position when the county reached out looking for a coach.

“I didn’t even know I was taking over for an old coach … I assumed there were other coaches here and I was planning on being more of an assistant,” Shah said. “When I arrived and realized the situation, I was a little shocked but decided to jump right in.”

The team met more this season than in the 2023-2024 season, including

more Zoom calls and longer practices, according to Hsu.

“He’s improved our confidence a lot … having someone who’s so experienced really helps the team prepare better,” Hsu said.

Part of Shah’s motivation to be the coach for TPHS’ Mock Trial team comes from his own experience with Mock Trial.

“I loved doing Mock Trial in law school. [When] San Diego county sent out an email asking for coaches, … I saw it as a way to pay the debt that I owe to my Mock Trial coach, Jane Siegel,” Shah said. “She changed the trajectory of my career, and to potentially do that for someone else is a true blessing.”

The team is set to compete in Los Angeles from March 22 to 24, where they have the opportunity to advance to Nationals.

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PHOTOS BY HOPE DENNIS/FALCONER CONSTRUCTIVE COACH: Pratik Shah and Joshua Yu (12) prepare before the third round of competition. TPHS won the round against Scripps Ranch High School. THE PROSECUTION RESTS: Attorneys Kathryn Reese (12) and Hannah Feng (12) prepare at the prosecution table. The team won the county championship on Feb. 27. advancing to States. PHOTOS BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER Cass Love NEWS EDITOR Kathryn Reese Club Member Hannah Feng Club Vice President Joshua Yu Club President Pratik Shah Coach

The argument against further investment in space exploration — often heard amid discussions of pressing socioeconomic, medical and climate change issues — fails to grasp the broader implications of such funding cuts.

While addressing these pressing challenges on Earth is undoubtedly crucial, reducing funding for space exploration is not the solution, especially since, according to NASA and The White House, it receives just over 0.5% of the total U.S. national budget and benefits many different aspects of our society.

Space exploration accounts for a miniscule fraction of government spending in the U.S., despite the misconception that NASA is overfunded. In 2023, the U.S. government spent $6.13 trillion, with $25.4 billion of that amount allocated to NASA — roughly 0.5% of all government spending.

Moreover, NASA has demonstrated that the funding it receives has impacts that extend far beyond the vastness of space.

These funds have significant positive effects on the economic, industrial and technological realms — benefits that profoundly impact our

In 2023, NASA received a $25.4 billion budget for space research and exploration. Although critics argue that those funds could be better utilized to address pressing issues on Earth — like poverty and homelessness — the technological innovation and great economic growth that these funds drive cannot be denied.

everyday lives.

According to NASA’s 2022 Economic Impact Report, the agency supported around 340,000 jobs worldwide and generated an estimated $7 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2022 alone.

These economic benefits are driven by scientific research and technological breakthroughs that transcend space exploration; advances crafted in NASA labs have entered everyday life, including the use of weather satellites, GPS technology, telecommunications and remote sensing, according to NASA.

In addition, space exploration programs encourage historically underrepresented groups, like women and people of color, to pursue work in science, technology, engineering or mathematical fields, also known as STEM fields.

NASA has also established numerous Special Emphasis Programs for the sole purpose of helping underrepresented groups enter the federal workforce, including the Federal Women’s Program, the African American Program and LGBTQ Individuals with Disabilities Program.

While it may seem counterintuitive to look to other planets to improve our own, proponents of space exploration argue that investing in the exploration and colonization of other worlds is not only beneficial, but necessary for the long-term survival and advancement of humanity.

As such, when considering the future of NASA and other space operations, people must look beyond the misleading price tag to the farreaching economic, societal and technological services this exploration provides.

From skyrocketing global temperatures to patches of garbage that cover our oceans, the Earth is overused and abused. Instead of working to counteract the damage on the ground level, our leaders, the enablers and often perpetrators of this degradation, plan for a far-fetched miracle on Mars.

It seems as though our priorities have shifted to such a pessimistic and dystopian state that instead of fixing the planet we live on, we throw money at the possibility of escaping it; in other words, we funnel billions into space exploration.

The U.S. budget for space exploration increases every year. In 2023, it was $25.4 billion, a 5.6% rise from the previous year, according to the Planetary Society, a non-profit space research organization. The proposed NASA budget for 2024 is $27.2 billion, yet another increase.

The funding for space exploration comes from the government’s discretionary funds, which can be allocated toward Earth-centric pursuits like education and infrastructure. While only a small percent of these funds go to space exploration, this money could do more good in other aspects of our society.

For example, $7 billion — less than a third of NASA’s budget — could save 45 million lives, feeding people around the world on the brink of starvation, according to one United Nations estimate.

Another report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that $20 billion could end homelessness. In other words, the same amount of money used to search for extraterrestrial habitats could provide homes to our suffering populations.

But these are just hypotheticals. In reality, programs like NASA receive massive funding while other, less glamorous sectors go without.

Consider education: U.S. public schools are underfunded by almost $150 billion, according to the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. Moreover, low-income school districts and those with large Black and Latino enrollment have a concerning funding gap within districts of different incomes.

This means that in pulling from the government’s discretionary funds, NASA and its space exploits disadvantage nearly 30 million children.

Since the first ventures into space, it seems like the milestones achieved are simply hovering above planets and sending animals to the moon. While discoveries in space research do trickle into the lives of the general population — from GPS technology to the radio — it’s difficult to argue for those benefits in comparison to people lacking adequate education and food: people who would benefit from a small fraction of NASA’s budget.

There is no point in looking to the sky for escape when our own planet can still be saved.


Elon Musk: the try-hard who may be our only hope

the catastrophe of climate change.

According to The Guardian, Musk is “single-handedly tackling the climate crisis one Tesla at a time, helping to forge a clean energy future and pushing for new taxes to drive down fossil fuel use.”

Turning to the sky, Musk is set to “get to Mars before [he] die[s],” according to Walter Isaacson’s 2023 biography “Elon Musk.”

“There’s no forcing function for getting us to Mars other than us, and sometimes that means me,” Musk said.

Elon Musk, whether revered or criticized, has emerged as one of the most influential figures of our time. Rising to prominence with SpaceX’s historic 2012 launch, Musk sent the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station. Now, he owns companies that epitomize innovation, including Tesla, The Boring Company and Neuralink.

While Musk’s pursuits are diverse in nature — from combating climate change to colonizing Mars — they share a common focus: advancing humanity. Musk has undoubtedly earned the recognition he receives, as his unwavering commitment to our future is saving humankind.

In an interview with American media personality Joe Rogan, Musk emphasized the urgency of transitioning to sustainable energy, recognizing the finite nature of fossil fuels and

However, despite the exciting possibilities of Musk’s dedication to innovation, the obsessive way he pursues such goals has garnered him an alarming level of glorification and power.

“There’s a simple answer, which is yes, [Musk] does have too much power,” Isaacson said on Bari Weiss’ podcast.

What Musk is doing for humanity is incredible, but he tends to show signs of having a superiority complex — at times, even a savior complex. His constant feeling of obligation to be the one to save the world is almost narcissistic. He’ll be the one to single-handedly “fix” fossil fuels; he’ll be the master of Mars.

Issacson’s account sums it up like this: Musk is “maniacally focused” on saving humanity, no matter the costs.

Having a person with such excessive power and great overconfidence can only lead one to wonder about the consequences

of placing humanity’s future in the hands of a single ambitious man. This ambition may lead Musk to ruin; humanity may never be saved.

UMG should drop the facade and

Scrolling on TikTok, the shortformat video social media app, has been different recently: its billion plus users can no longer access songs from top artists like Drake, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.

Videos with music from an expansive catalog have been silent as of Jan. 31 following a blunt open statement from Universal Music Group to TikTok. UMG, one of the “big three record labels” alongside Sony Music and Warner Music Group, controls more than 32% of the global music market, according to Statistica and Music Business Worldwide. UMG pulled its artists’ music from the app after months of failed negotiation on the company’s rights to satisfactory royalty rates and copyright concerns in order “to protect the rights of artists.”

After UMG revoked the songs’ licenses — the permission for an agency to use the music — TikTok released a statement responding to the decision, stating that UMG “put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters” and prohibited TikTok from

providing a “promotional and discovery vehicle for their [artists’] talent.”

UMG defended its decision on two points: the right to increase royalties upon the renewal of its contract with TikTok and the worrisome takeover of music generated by artificial intelligence on the app. While their actions may subtract from user experience, UMG is justified in revoking TikTok’s rights to the music, as their drastic approach will prevent false curation of their artists by AI and will spur legislative action to protect artists from this threat.

AI-generated music has filled TikTok feeds in recent months. “Heart on My Sleeve,” a song created by combining the voices of The Weeknd and Drake using AI, went viral on the platform, garnering millions of views. Similarly, Taylor Swift songs on the app have been remixed with AI-generated Ye verses, combining the sounds of two feuding artists into videos quick to receive attention. This infiltration of AI raises multiple legal concerns for artists and their representation, including what constitutes artistic consent and record label approval.

While UMG’s removal of its catalog will remedy some of these issues, its true intention is to garner more royalties for streamed music on TikTok — the rights of the artists and their exploitation by AI are not UMG’s utmost priority.

In a recent New Yorker interview, UMG CEO Lucian Grainge reaffirmed the company’s position against generative AI, declaring he has not “spent forty-five years in the industry just to have it be a free-for-all where anything goes.” This statement eerily

But what matters now is he’s trying. He is dedicating his whole life to this cause — and putting everything else in it aside — to save the human race.

face the music

resembles the concerns that big record labels had regarding artists’ rights after the emergence of sharable MP3 music files in the 1990s and Spotify and other streaming platforms in the early 2010s, according to the Financial Times. As profits dwindled for record labels and the demand for streaming services skyrocketed, “the big three” and other music entities had no choice but to enter into many million-dollar contracts — involving the artist, label and music streaming platforms — to keep profits afloat. With this new financial guarantee, record labels no longer bring up concerns over artists’ rights, as they receive a 50% to 90% of artists’ profits according to Pandora Cloud Cover.

Just as in the 2010s, once UMG’s removal of their music from TikTok succeeds in pressuring TikTok in to satisfy their greedy demands, the AI pretense will be dropped and their inauthentic concern for their artist’s rights will dissipate.

This highlights the need for immediate and concrete federal legislation against AI-generated music and the exploitation of artists via AI.

Accompanying this legislation must be a negotiation between UMG and TikTok, as the app’s ability to increase an artist’s reach is crucial to both new and mainstream artists.


responsibility to both protect artists and provide them with a profitable platform illustrate the need for boundaries and clarity with TikTok that can only be determined by trial and error; in other words, UMG’s removal of music from TikTok is a necessary test. However, such a “solution” cannot last; both entities must agree on a way forward, one that provides legal protection for artists against AI and keeps music accessible to app users.

While UMG may have ulterior motives for removing its music from TikTok, this stand marks the beginning of true protection for artists.

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Assistant Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Reese shares her experiences with homophobia and coping with the fear to speak up.

I was called a faggot for the first time in tenth grade. I was sitting at the edge of the stands at a TPHS football game when a group of boys began spitting “faggot” and “dyke” in my face. I didn’t know these boys by name, nor could I pick them out of a lineup, but that didn’t stop them from presuming to know me. They took in my short hair and masculine clothes and made them stand in for the whole. They did not know that I’m horrible at math, that I write poetry or that I’m scared of giant sea bass but not sharks. They knew me and knew just how much they hated me from what they saw — and that justified the rest.

After that night, I was shaken up in a way I didn’t know how to fix. I only had the desperate need to remember, as if holding onto the moment would make it more real in the face of all

those people nearby who did not notice their taunts, or did not care. Turning to the last page of a notebook, I drew a single tally, using the mark, rather than words, to represent the moment because I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. It’s hard to say why I did it, or why I continued to draw a tally every time I experienced homophobia in my day-to-day life — every targeted remark and fleeting joke. I only knew that it felt important to document those little moments which chipped away at my resolve — the ones that were too inconsequential to mention to anyone but, as a whole, were more harmful than the sum of their parts. That page grew heavy with the burden of hatred long ago, and I’ve since lost count.

Growing up, I was a very assertive kid. From classroom debates to playground disputes, I have never been afraid to

As painful as it is to say, Disney and its subsidiary, Marvel, just aren’t good anymore. With extremely progressive standards at Disney and the absence of the original big-name actors at Marvel, new releases from the two giants no longer draw laughter or tears from audiences, the very things that have intrigued and delighted viewers for nearly 90 years.

“Wokeism” — defined by Dictionary. com as the “promotion of liberal progressive ideology and policy as an expression of sensitivity to systemic injustices and prejudices” — is justified in modern Disney films, as many past productions are notorious for giving roles solely to heterosexual and cisgendered white individuals and including references now considered racist. The first featured characters of color in Disney history appeared in the 1992 film “Aladdin,” in which both Aladdin and Jasmine were Arab. Still, “Aladdin” has been widely criticized for adhering to blatantly racist stereotypes, a concern in many past movies that has pushed Disney to include warning

messages regarding “depictions and/ or mistreatment of people or cultures” before “Aladdin,” “Dumbo,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “The Aristocats” on their streaming platform Disney+.

Even so, there comes a time when pushing a strict “woke agenda” can get in the way of producing truly good movies. Basing an ad campaign for a movie solely on the fact that characters represent historically excluded populations is blatant tokenism, which is the practice of making only a symbolic effort to appeal and cater to minority groups in order to look better for the public. From Halle Bailey’s AfricanAmerican Ariel in the 2023 live-action “The Little Mermaid” to Disney’s hasty inclusion of a kiss between two female characters in the 2022 film “Lightyear” — which was added after an open letter from “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar and their allies” claimed that Disney executives cut “nearly every moment of overly gay affection” in their films — it is clear that Disney is now exploiting minority groups in order to gain popularity for new movies. Despite increasing inclusivity in recent movies, the excessive spotlighting of these progressive (and sometimes drastically minor) details in Disney films appears to be more of a money-making scheme than an attempt to actually support and practice more societal equality.

Separately, Marvel has also faced a drastic decline in viewership and boxoffice success in recent years because of the loss of many notable stars in the franchise.

To a large extent, the Marvel universe was grounded in characters like Robert

speak my mind. But the funny thing is, all those countless tallies represent moments where I, largely, was silent — not only silent by not informing anyone of what I heard, but also by failing to call out the prejudice I so often saw being slung from casual lips. Somehow, in those moments — ones that involved something so integral to who I am — I couldn’t help but hold my tongue. But I was always watching and listening, growing more devastated by how casually homophobia was ingrained in everyday life. Most of all, I was always kicking myself for doing nothing about it. Sometimes I buckle under the weight of all the things I should have said — things I would have said if I were braver, or maybe just less tired.

These days I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I know it is important to advocate for my community, but I also

know that’s a tall order for someone who is only just becoming okay with herself. I have even debated about publishing this story, worried about the implications of sharing such a candid piece. To be clear, I am not writing this in the hope of making up for those missed chances, to somehow persuade my peers to end their intolerance. I have long since accepted that there is little I can change in that regard. I only hope to tell anyone else out there who feels guilty in their silence that it’s okay to be tired. It’s okay to be exhausted by defending who you are. We did not ask to be born into an uphill battle. Nor can we blame ourselves for the hatred we inherit. However, remember that merely existing unabashedly can be an act of defiance in the face of it all. Perhaps breaking my silence here can be my first step.

Entertainment giants sink after self-inflicted wreck

Downey Jr.’s ambitious billionaire Tony Stark, Scarlett Johansson’s humble Natasha Romanoff and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers, the heart of the team. With two of the characters killed off during the climax of the “Infinity Saga” and one too old to participate further, there is now pressure on new characters to harness the energy of their predecessors — something they have failed to do so far.

In fact, according to Visual Capitalist, a publisher of global information through data-driven visuals, Marvel’s most recent films, including those with new, younger heroes, have brought in dwindling box-office numbers in their opening weekends, with 2023’s “The Marvels” grossing just $46 million in its U.S. opening weekend, the lowest in Marvel movie history. Whereas fans

used to buy out theaters for the latest installments in the Marvel universe, now those same viewers are shifting their attention to other productions and genres, like the recent “Barbenheimer” phenomena.

Some may say that this is not a drastic roadblock for big companies like Disney and Marvel, especially since it was entirely expected that after the pandemic the entertainment industry would have to work to get back to its original standard.

But it is evident that this significant downfall can be attributed to more than just pandemic woes. If Disney does not work to right the ship — from meaningfully representing minorities to strengthening casting — the company will inevitably sink, along with its other properties, Marvel included.

opinion february 29, 2024 A8 the falconer

On Nov. 30, 2021, Ethan Crumbley shot and killed four students at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michigan. This month, his mother was found guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter, for each of the four students her son killed. Set for sentencing on April 9, Jennifer Crumbley could face up to 60 years in prison — and the possibility of joining her son, now 17 years old, as he serves a life sentence without parole.

While school shootings are anything but new, this case is different: it is the first case in which a parent in the U.S. is being held responsible for their child carrying out a mass school shooting. Ms. Crumbley’s conviction was justified because of the many instances in which she was an accomplice to the crime; however, this case may set a dangerous precedent for future cases in which the line of blame is not as clear.

Ms. Crumbley was accused of gross negligence of her son’s warning signs before the shooting. Some of these signs included hypermania, suicidal ideation and a desire to harm others, according to ABC News. Even after being made aware of Ethan’s mental health issues, Ms. Crumbley still provided him with a 9-mm handgun, the weapon used in the shooting.

In addition to the warning signs, Ms. Crumbley’s negligence was further demonstrated on the morning of the shooting. One of Ethan’s teachers found a drawing he made of a gun and bullets with the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless,” written next

A son opened fire in a school. They were right to blame the mother.

to a bleeding victim. Administrators called Ms.Crumbley and her husband to a meeting at the school, but they refused to take Ethan home, claiming “they could not take him home because they both had to return to work,” according to ABC News. Such obvious warning signs from Ethan, paired with his aggressive behaviors and clear mental health issues, were carelessly ignored by his parents.

The day before the shooting, Ethan was searching for images of ammunition during class. His teacher called Ms. Crumbley to discuss Ethan’s concerning behavior, but she seemed to be unbothered. In a text message between the two that was later uncovered by police, Ms. Crumbley wrote, “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” This chilling exchange between the two further shows that Ms. Crumbley did not only fail to stop her son’s aggressive outbursts, but further encouraged his violent behavior. She abandoned her duty as a parent; the tragic death of four students was the result of her ignorance.

In past cases of school shootings, the full blame has been placed on the perpetrator or group of perpetrators. The Crumbleys’ case is an outlier; it is clear that Ethan’s parents, through their gross negligence, played a direct role in the crime committed.

But the ruling — the first of its kind — could set a murky precedent for future school shooting cases, in which the line of responsibility between parent and child may not be as clear. Are there specific actions

To what extent should a parent be held responsible for the criminal actions of their child?

that a parent must take for them to be directly tied to their child’s actions? Or should it be at the discretion of a judge to pronounce parental liability?

The answers to these questions are subject to debate. What is certain is the responsibility does not lie solely with the parents; when a child is at school, administrators must be held accountable.

In this case, the administrators at Oxford High School let Ethan slip off their radar even after he displayed blatant and alarming warning signs. Ethan was allowed to leave, unattended, to the restroom with his backpack, where he pulled out the gun and fatally shot four of his classmates.

On campus, teachers act in the

place of guardians — in loco parentis

It is important that administrators are fully aware of their students’ mental states and are actively working with them to ensure they do not intend to harm themselves or others.

School shootings will persist, but holding others accountable is a warning to parents that neglecting their children’s mental health issues has consequences. Liability for a shooting cannot lie with a single person — parents, administrators and the lawmakers who enable a minor to own a gun are also at fault. While negligence was clear in the Crumbley case, future cases may not be as black-and-white.

- The Falconer Staff

“Parents should take their role of nurturing a safe environment more seriously to prevent these tragedies.”
Dou (10) “Parents are accountable for their children’s crimes because it’s their job to teach them their responsibilities.”
Tang (12)
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Evidenced by the sounds of marine choppers overhead, naval ships docking in the San Diego Bay and the 17-mile-long strip of Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base camp, San Diego is clearly a hub for military activity. With this heavy local concentration of the armed forces, the lives of many TPHS families are impacted by the military.

For TPHS students, their parents’ service can be a point of pride; however, it can also bring challenges, especially when their parents are deployed.

For Faith Bailey (11), whose mother previously served in the Air Force and father serves in the Army, this rings especially true; Bailey and her father used to run together before he enlisted. Now, she often finds herself going on runs by herself to “withhold that feeling” of her father’s absence.

Jacob Cava (11) also held onto the things that reminded him of his father, Mike Cava, during his deployment. Mike recently retired after 22 years in the Marine Corps. Jacob was often reminded of his father’s absence through the frequent sight of American flags and the persistent sounds of the national anthem in his elementary school in North Carolina, where he used to live.

A year after Digital Art & Design teacher John Sciarratta enlisted in the Marine Corps, he was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He soon received word that he would be put on a battlefield some 7,000 miles from home.

“In my 39 years of life, the hardest phone call I have had to make is telling my mother that I had to go to war,” Sciarratta said.

While worries for their family members’ safety occupy the minds of those left at home, Jacob and Bailey were able to communicate with their fathers by sending letters and occasional packages.

“We would send candy and packages when we were able to,” Jacob said.

In my 39 years of life, the hardest phone call I have had to make is telling my mother that I had to go to war.”
John Sciarratta TPHS TEACHER

Families also cope with the distance of deployment by leaning on each other. Jacob said that his mother received support from relatives and other military spouses while his father was away.

“She had a pyramid of support,” Jacob said. “She had a lot of military moms [who would] babysit and they would all go grocery shopping together.”

While Jacob’s father was away, support also came from Jacob’s older brother, Michael Cava (‘20).

“[Michael] is definitely one of my greatest inspirations,” Jacob said.

Despite the distance that deployment can bring to military families, this challenge can still bring families closer together.

“We value being a family the most and really make sure to emphasize it and keep in contact very,

very often when we are apart,” Bailey said.

Similarly, Jacob felt that frequent national and international moves kept his family tight-knit, and heavily contributed to their bond.

Aside from the family left at home, veterans are also faced with challenges for themselves upon retirement.

My favorite [memory] has to be when my dad came home a week early when I was in seventh grade and surprised me and my siblings after school.”
Faith Bailey JUNIOR

According to retired TPHS history teacher Lars Trupe and Sciarratta, the memories of war come in all shapes and sizes: the need to always identify an exit, the ability to convince their minds that the piece of trash on the side of the road is not a bomb and even the necessity always to be stationed in a corner of a room, since it is the sturdiest place to be.

“You smell a certain smell and you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, that was like the Euphrates.’ Or, when I eat certain foods, it brings you back to what the locals would make for you,” Sciarratta said.

With the memories of service, veterans often find it hard transitioning back into life back at home. After being discharged from the military, veterans are often supported by their families to adjust to everyday life.

“For the most part, I feel that friends and family already knew they had to be supportive, because that’s what I was going to need,” Sciarratta said.

Despite all the physical and mental challenges that being in the service entails, many still follow in their family members’ footsteps and join the service.

Michael Cava is currently enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program while he wraps up his senior year of college at the University of Southern California.

Trupe also followed a deep family tradition with relatives in the military all the way back to the Civil War, which led him to join the Air Force himself.

When Trupe was asked, “When did you join the military?” he replied, “When I was born.”

While the military helps those serving find themselves, the thought of home is priceless.

“My favorite [memory] has to be when my dad came home a week early when I was in seventh grade and surprised me and my siblings after school,” Bailey said. “It was super genuine and something I’ll always remember.”

These memories stay with Bailey while her father is deployed.

“It’s really sad when my dad has to go off on assignments because it’s like something is missing from our regular everyday life,” Bailey said. “I start to realize just how much I miss him.”


A Guide to Greek Life

atching autumn leaves begin to fall on college campuses buzzing with excitement, many students find themselves wondering whether or not to join Greek life. From the ivy-clad buildings of the East Coast to the sun-kissed campuses of the West, Greek life is an influential aspect of many college campuses across the country. While the age-old tradition of fraternities and sororities can offer a sense of community to students, it also brings with it both controversies and challenges.

A sense of belonging thrives within the walls of a fraternity house or sorority chapter. Members of Greek organizations often refer to each other as “brothers” or “sisters,” forging bonds that go beyond friendship to create a feeling of family away from home.

“When you join a sorority, everyone is so nice to you and treats you like you belong there,” Delaney Ballard (‘23), a student in Greek life at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said. “It has been nice to meet girls in different grades. Now I know a bunch of people who give good advice about life [at Boulder].”

From shared meals and late-night study sessions to philanthropic projects and social events, the daily life of a fraternity or sorority member is marked by a deep sense of connection and support.

“The culture [in Alpha Phi at University of California Santa Barbara] was very positive and collaborative,” AP Literature teacher Sara Boozer said. “That was probably my favorite part of being in a sorority: the collaboration. It was a very positive place to spend time.”

However, the connection forged in Greek life houses can be vastly different at schools throughout the country. On some West Coast campuses, Greek life seems to be more “laid back,” according to Boozer. Sororities and fraternities at schools in the West often emphasize philanthropy and personal development, while acting more as a social club than an extremely tight-knit community.

“I had a really positive experience [at UCSB]. There was no stereotypical movie drama — I met great friends and had a great time,” Boozer said.

Greek life at University of Arizona shows a similar West Coast casualness.

“Being in a frat makes life more social,” Santiago Jonsson (‘23) a student at University of Arizona, said. “It has definitely made me involve myself in more activities. It’s really

helped me get the full college experience.”

Connections seem to strengthen as schools move south. In the Central South, schools like Texas Christian University offer a tight-knit Greek life scene — one that often defines the campus.

“I feel like sorority life is what you make of it,” Giselle Souza (12), a future TCU student, said. “If you’re all-in and crazy for it, then it is going to give you a real sisterhood. It really is a great community.”

Greek life also thrives in the Deep South,

Personally I love it, but I have a ton of friends who are not in Greek Life and they still love the school and have a social life.”

where hospitality and tradition are very important. Schools like Tulane University in Louisiana are steeped in Greek life customs that date back generations.

“Greek life is huge at Tulane,” Katelyn Gardner (12), who plans to attend Tulane in the fall, said. “[As a school] in the Deep South [that has been] around so long, the sororities and fraternities have a lot of history. From what I have heard, there have been nothing but good things about Greek life.”

While some students look forward to joining Greek life, issues of exclusivity have plagued some organizations, sparking debates about the true value of brotherhood and sisterhood. One criticized practice of Greek life is rush, the period during which prospective members explore fraternities and sororities, hoping to be picked for their top choice house.

“There’s definitely cliquey girl drama at every school, but the rushing process is not as bad at TCU as it is at [Southern Methodist University] or most other schools,” Souza said. “But what you look like, your Instagram, your social status and how much money you have definitely have an impact on if you get picked.”

Greek Life can sometimes be perceived as exclusive due to the close-knit nature of the organizations. The rushing and the recruitment

feature february 29, 2024 A12 the falconer

69% plan to join a sorority

processes contribute to this perception, as they can create a sense of belonging for some while excluding others.

“For me [during rush,] I felt like I got a pretty good idea of where I was going to fit in,” Ballard said. “It can be very emotional because houses can drop you, but I just didn’t take it personally. If you don’t take it personally, and you think, ‘I’ll end up where I’m supposed to end up,’ then it’s really easy.”

Despite challenges with exclusivity and hazing, the essence of Greek Life endures, as the first fraternities date back to the founding years of the U.S.

“Being a part of a sorority will be super fun, to just meet new people and participate in the whole rush process,” Souza said.

Like any other social group, Greek life for many is merely another way to get involved.

“I would encourage any student to think about what they enjoy in high school and find where they feel the most connected,” Boozer said. “I think the students that are happiest in college are the ones that find that thing again.”

Ballard agreed.

“Personally I love it, but I have a ton of friends who are not in Greek Life and they still love the school and have a social life,” Ballard said. “You

30% of TPHS college-bound students plan to join Greek life in college plan to join a fraternity


21% were influenced by Greek life when considering a college

don’t necessarily have to be in Greek Life to have a social life.”

That was probably my favorite part of being in a sorority: the collaboration. It was a very positive place to spend time.”

According to a poll done by the Falconer of 104 TPHS students, 29.8% are planning to join Greek life when they attend college.

“I think it’s an individual decision; I would absolutely not [encourage joining] as a blanket statement. Take into consideration your school, your university and what you like to do,” Boozer said. “I think the more

involved a student can be in college, the better the experience [they] will have. But I don’t think there has to be Greek Life at all.”

While there are many ways to make meaningful connections on campus outside of Greek organizations, the overarching values of brotherhood and sisterhood that define Greek Life can serve as a guiding light for students as they navigate the complexities of college life and beyond.

feature tphsfalconer.org the falconer A13
information from Falconer survey out of 104 TPHS students

in the mind of a teenager

“The universe is the ocean and we are all ice cubes,” Chloe Tahmasebi (12) said. “We are all the universe being pulled into its condensed form, and we don’t want to keep taking from the universe, but we don’t want to melt into the universe because that will cause harm. We are all connected because we are all ice cubes floating in the ocean, so every decision we make will cause condensing or melting, and your decisions should reflect that.”

This idea is the philosophy with which Tahmasebi guides her actions every day.

A philosophy, defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the most basic beliefs, concepts and attitudes of an individual or group.” Each person has one, and each one is different and defined by one’s experiences.

We are all connected because we are all ice cubes floating in the ocean so every decsion we make will cause condesing or melting, and your decisions should reflect that.”

Being raised by an agnostic father and a Christian mother, Tahmasebi developed her own philosophy around an idea found in many religions: “to be a good person.” Additionally, she found guidance in astrology; Tahmasebi sees astrological energies as an influence on life.

This is not a universal experience; no two peoples’ roads towards personal philosophy look exactly the same.

For Zahra Imbrahimzade (11), the journey involved something similar to Tahmasebi’s: religion.

“Growing up with religion didn’t exactly leave room for me to create my own original philosophy that didn’t center around it,” Imbrahimzade said. “It did help me create a very strong basis for what was right and wrong, but I still have my own ways of thinking. I think about life beyond religion.”

Choosing which aspects of religious philosophy she aligned with, Ibrahimzade found that many religious morals matched how she wanted to live.

“[Religion] isn’t my whole life, but it is a support system I have to fall back on, something I use to help me move with purpose,” Imbrahimzade said.

Religion is not the only influence when it comes to developing one’s philosophy. Some, like Cassidy Taylor (11), believe that it is solely someone’s experiences that shape their approach to life.

“I believe that we are created through our experiences and what we do in this world,” Taylor said. “Although we are raised a certain way with specific beliefs, it is really when we step out of our comfort zones and live for ourselves that we create philosophy.”

For Taylor, these experiences often involve others.

“My philosophy stems from meeting new people who give me the space to grow and be who I am and cultivate what energy I want to put out into the world,” she said.

Social sciences teacher Austin Wade has had the opportunity to watch his students develop their own philosophies throughout high school. According to Wade, a student’s philosophy can change completely in just one year.

“As a sophomore you are just so excited not to be a freshman that it becomes your personality. Then you get to your junior year and you’re like, ‘Oh s***, I have to start deciding what I’m going to do with my life,’” Wade said. “It’s a really big shift in one summer, where you have to face the expectations put on you about what you should be doing.”

However, while a student’s outlook on life can change fundamentally between grades, Wade believes that the true development of one’s philosophy comes after graduating.

“The day you graduate high school, you are left with an empty thought in your head that’s like, ‘Oh, I’m done, what’s next?’” Wade said. “I think that’s when philosophy tends to be built: in those first few summers after high school.”

Although we are raised in a certain way with specific beliefs, it is really when we step out of our comfort zones and live for ourselves that we create philosophy.”

Regardless of what philosophy someone might develop, there’s no one right answer about what that philosophy should be. According to Tahmasebi, that’s why we cannot judge anyone else’s way of life.

“Personally, I love astrology, and I think a lot of times I’m treated like I’m dumb because of that,” Tahmasebi said. “We have no idea of what’s real. We don’t know what started the universe, and because of that, we have no right to tell anyone else what’s right.”

Perhaps the beauty that defines human experience is the individual power to create your own philosophy. There are no rules and there’s no formula. It’s everchanging and chaotic, subjective and imperfect, and yet it can be an unwavering source of purpose.

feature february 29, 2024 A14 the falconer
Cassidy Taylor (11) Chloe Tahmasebi (12) Zahra Ibrahimzade (11) PHOTOS BY NADIA FADLU-DEEN/FALCONER AND CAROLINE HUNT/FALCONER
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Ozempic, the newest fad for weight loss, is sweeping through Hollywood and the world at large. Praised by numerous public figures, the drug has entered the public consciousness as a powerful weight loss method, as well as a pop culture phenomenon — but the negative effects of Ozempic and drugs like it rarely share the same spotlight.

Ozempic originally was intended to be used solely by adults with Type 2 diabetes. According to the Ozempic website, it’s “proven to improve blood sugar” by helping the pancreas make more insulin.

“It’s only FDA approved for people who have Type 2 diabetes, so insurance companies will only pay for it if someone has that diagnosis. Otherwise they will have to pay out of pocket,” Dr. Robert L. Bjork, a local doctor who has prescribed Ozempic, said.

However, because it can decrease hunger cues, it caught the attention of those looking to lose weight — a development that has allowed many celebrities to hit the red carpets with what appear to be new bodies. In fact, at nearly every award show this season, Ozempic has slipped at least once into a monologue joke.

“I see people talking and joking about Ozempic a lot on social media, which I think desensitizes us to the actual use the medicine has, because the only time it’s talked about is for celebrities losing weight,” Sofia Lundquist (11) said.

I see people talking and joking about Ozempic a lot on social media, which I think desensitizes the actual use the medicine has.”
Sofia Lundquist JUNIOR

Figures like Amy Schumer, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Handler and Rosie O’Donnell are all openly taking the medication. In an almost eerie fashion, people have seen admired celebrities mirror the elite from the “The Hunger Games” series — who took a drug that caused them to throw up so they would be able to continue eating. In reading about this at age 12, it seemed like a dystopian concept, but now it has become close to the reality of the real-world elite.

Media megastar Winfrey has garnered both criticism and support in the past over her public journey with weight loss. Winfrey used to be a very active member and advocate for Weight Watchers, a community-based weight loss program that encourages members to commit to losing weight by consuming a limited number of food “points” per day. Winfrey is still a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, which is expanding its services to include support for dieters who use drugs like Ozempic. According to Winfrey, quoted in a Washington Post story, the weight loss medication she takes today “feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift.”

“The presence of Ozempic has influenced perspectives on diet and nutrition,” Bjork said “Ever since dieting became popular in the 1960s, large segments of the population have always been looking for quick fixes on how to lose weight, fast and easy.”

With its current prominence in pop culture, it is easy for Ozempic — and positive promotion of its weight loss potential — to reach younger consumers, already hyper aware of their appearance.

“It can cause young girls to start overusing and losing weight necessary for proper development,” Talena Ladendorf (12), link crew liaison of TPHS PALS, said. “Allowing it to be accessible for young people in general can push the narrative of developing an eating disorder.”

Ladendorf was a speaker at the TPHS National Eating Disorder Awareness

$1,000 costs around every month

9 million over perscriptions

according to CNBC

15% weight loss on average


according to Healthline

march on Feb. 24, where she spoke about her experience with the process of destigmatizing seeking treatment for eating disorders.

What’s important to know is that Ozempic, as a weight loss drug, is not the solution the media makes it out to be. Ozempic requires a weekly injection and changes the nature of one’s digestive system by increasing the amount of time it takes for food to leave the body, according to FDA side effect warnings.

Potential side effects include hypoglycemia, swelling of the pancreas and increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to the Ozempic website. On top of this, there’s no guarantee of successful weight loss, according to Bjork.

Moreover, celebrities characterize Ozempic as “easily attainable,” but, in fact, it is not covered for weight loss by most insurance plans (it is covered for diabetes). According to Bjork, it costs roughly $1,000 a month, which does not include a doctor’s fee for prescribing it.

The idea of global access to Ozempic is flawed. It is not surprising that celebrities are the most prominent models of the drug for weight loss; they are the main demographic that can afford it.

The misleading media hype surrounding Ozempic also caused a national shortage in diabetes medication, taking it away from those who need it, according to research by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Given that “health care providers wrote more than 9 million prescriptions for Ozempic in the final three months of 2022, representing a 300% increase from 2020,” according to Trilliant Health, it seems that Ozempic is becoming a staple of current culture. It remains, however, immeasurably important to be wary of the drug and to recognize the potential harm in using it incorrectly.




Helpful or Harmful?

As you navigate the Goodwill Outlet Center, groups of teenagers frantically dig through bins of clothes. But as you take a second look through the outlet’s two rooms, you will find a solitary family purchasing clothes to put on their children’s backs.

Originating in the late 1800s, secondhand stores were patronized by those deemed the lowest members of society, and they developed stigmas that discouraged others from using them, according to a 2018 TIME magazine story. Toward the end of the century, however, the demand for charity stores grew, with organizations like The Salvation Army and Goodwill beginning to destigmatize the practice of thrift shopping — now celebrated among many young Americans.

As this process continues, especially in recent years, economically disadvantaged people are no longer the sole, or even primary, customers at second-hand stores.

According to the 2023 Resale Report for ThreadUp, an online secondhand reseller, 83% of Gen Z have shopped or are willing to shop for secondhand apparel. ThreadUp’s report also estimates that the U.S. secondhand clothing market will reach $70 billion in value by 2027, compared to $39 billion in 2022.

Thrifting has become something of a mainstream trend. Gen Z, in particular, has taken up secondhand shopping, promoted by social media and their desire to help the environment, save cash and explore their individuality with clothes.

“I want to buy clothes for a cheaper price and find unique pieces [at secondhand stores],” Gabby Camargo (11) said. “I really care about how clothes affect the environment.”

In the TPHS Costume History and Design class, teacher Marinee Payne’s students often buy clothes from thrift stores to repurpose into various wearable pieces. According to Payne, her students understand the “power” of repurposing and the creativity secondhand shopping allows.

“I think they’re looking for something different,” Payne said. “We all get comfortable with what’s trendy, but there are a lot of students out there who are looking for something that will make them an individual, rather than part of a herd.”

The majority of Payne’s costumes are secondhand.

“When we performed Pirates of Penzance, I took the pirates to source their costumes secondhand,” Payne said.

As thrifting grows increasingly popular and new groups of people shop secondhand, the nature of thrifting has changed. These new shoppers have influenced the price and availability of items at thrift stores. While there are benefits of shopping secondhand — from decreasing consumerism and

decreasing landfills to expanding one’s wardrobe — some say that thrifting has been “gentrified” by the more affluent.

Camargo remembers when she could purchase t-shirts for $0.49. Now she can find a similar shirt at Goodwill for $6.

“It’s upsetting, obviously,” Taya Meluk (11), who shops secondhand, said.

In recent years, thrifting as a practice of the wealthy has been criticized for decreasing available clothing for low-income communities. Exacerbating this trend are those who buy from thrift stores just to resell items at increased prices on marketplace sites like Depop.

We all get comfortable with what’s trendy, but there are a lot of students out there who are looking for something that will make them an individual, rather than part of a herd.”
Marinee Payne

“I think it’s okay when you’re shopping for yourself, but reselling items is getting out of control,” Meluk said.

On the other hand, an increase in purchases benefits organizations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army.

When these organizations prosper, they can, theoretically, better support those who truly benefit from them. Moreover, according to the Goodwill of San Diego Co. website, Goodwill’s mission “is to provide employment and training opportunities to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.”

No matter who purchases, Goodwill benefits from revenue and uses it toward their goal of employing and supporting individuals. According to the Goodwill Industries International Inc. 2022 Annual Report, 96.7% of the organization’s revenue derived from the sale of donated goods. This $73.5 million in revenue went directly into its mission.

The newfound popularity of thrifting has struck the secondhand industry. But it is a double-edged sword: it drives out the lower-income customer while providing an economically friendly option to shoppers and supporting the organizations that sell secondhand goods and their goals of aiding communities.

“At Torrey Pines, we have a very wealthy community, so we can try not to support fast fashion as much as possible,” Camargo said.

In order to fulfill the desire to shop secondhand, it is important to buy only what you need and keep highly demanded but scarcely available items, like winter coats and shoes, available for those who most rely on an affordable price.

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Local Black-owned Businesses

For Black History Month the Falconer spoke to the owners of local Black-owned businesses.

Dancing Around The Oak Tree Art Studio

A safe haven filled with tables of colorful beads, paints and other art supplies, Dancing Around the Oak Tree Art Studio in downtown San Diego is an educational nonprofit organization that allows kids with disabilities not only to express their creativity, but also learn important skills and connect with the community.

Founded in 2014 by Vickie Lawrence, a person with a disability, the organization is approaching its 10 year anniversary in April. “I had a lot of opportunities [as] a person with a disability able to go to college and able to come here and start a nonprofit with all the people to back me up,” Lawrence said. “I just want to be a leeway to a path for those with disabilities and for family members who have disabilities.”

Lawrence achieves this by providing her students with creative freedom. Currently, Lawrence has approximately 25 students,

To have an educational school system for those with disabilities where they don’t need to be in a place isolated from the community [is important.]”

and she spends class time focusing on them and their projects one-on-one. She sets up stations that provide her students with highquality supplies for whatever they require to create their artwork.

“Most of my students love making bracelets; if they want to make five, that’s okay, [if they] run out of beads, I can get some more,” Lawrence said. “Another table is painting, and another table I have is if they want to work on another type of art. And if the student doesn’t want to take part and just wants to sit and watch, it’s okay … it’s designed so that everyone can choose what art they do.”

Not only does this connect her students to their artistic side, but to the greater community.

“To have an educational school system for those with disabilities where they don’t need to be in a place isolated from the community [is important],” Lawrence said. “Those with disabilities — we are capable. Just give each and every person a chance, all you have to do is have patience and … come with a good attitude.”

Improving the treatment of people with disabilities is Lawrence’s main goal.

“To me, this is a very sensitive thing, a person with disabilities and how society treats them; it’s come a long way but it still needs to be improved,” Lawrence said. “I advocate for the others who have been overlooked … I always have to say something, I cannot just watch.”

Lawrence does this advocacy through Dancing Around the Oak Tree Art Studio.

“It’s building the community up not to

shun,” Lawrence said. “If a person is in special education, but they are in a nonspecial education class, have respect. Don’t tease that person because they look different or they talk differently. It’s learning together, which brings success in the community, and that’s my goal.”

The establishment and 10-year growth of the Dancing Around the Oak Tree Art Studio also came with unanticipated rewards.

“Getting the community’s recognition, I wasn’t expecting that,” Lawrence said. “I’m just doing what I need to do, not just to be recognized in the community.”

Lawrence will continue doing “what [she] need[s] to do,” creating lasting impacts on the community through her love of art.

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Maya's Cookies

From doorstep to doorstep across the nation, neon pink boxes make their way to eager customers. Each box contains a set of scrumptious cookies, but these are no ordinary cookies — they are Maya Madsen’s signature gourmet vegan cookies.

While sales started at the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market in 2015, Madsen steadily grew her business by selling her cookies online. Maya’s Cookies’ popularity skyrocketed in 2020 due to actress Kerry Washington tweeting about the brand as well as the rise of movements to support Blackowned businesses amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, Madsen’s business is known as “America’s #1 Black-owned Gourmet Vegan Cookie Company,” as stated on its website.

Madsen’s first location opened in November 2020 at her baking facility, which she upgraded to a retail store in the Grantville neighborhood of San Diego, followed by a second location in July 2022 in San Marcos.

“I started my business because I could not find what I was looking for on the market, which was a … decadent cookie that happened to be plant-based,” Madsen said. “So, I created one myself.”

Since its inception, Madsen knew what she wanted to achieve.

“When I started the business, I told myself I wanted to be a national presence and I wanted to be the best,” Madsen said.

However, the development of her business was not an easy task.

When I started the business, I told myself I wanted to be a national presence.”

“I don’t have any food and beverage industry experience, and I did not go to college to study business, so I made a lot of mistakes along the way,” Madsen said. “I value the mistakes that I’ve learned to overcome because they’ve helped me grow.”

Building a business requires both technical knowledge and a belief in the creation.

“No one knows what your dreams and goals are and what you are capable of accomplishing except for you,” Madsen said. “So when other people try to project their opinions and fears and tell you what they think you should be doing, I think that it’s best to just trust your gut and believe in yourself.”

Overall, Madsen’s business continues to evolve.

“My new goals are to continue to grow. Scale up, be an innovator, provide more jobs, get better and continue to create delicious products that make people happy and expand my brand,” Madsen said.

Madsen has adapted various strategies to achieve the goals for her business.

Mrs. Parker's Charm School

At Mrs. Parker’s Charm School, a local educational program for building etiquette skills, founder and owner Kymberli Parker stresses one key rule above all others: “No matter what you see, and no matter what you do, you have to shake a hand.”

Since its inception in 2011, Mrs. Parker’s Charm School has emphasized “consideration, respect and honesty.” Parker’s very first students were her own kids.

“There were a few moms who said, ‘Man, I wish I could get my kids to behave like your kids or make eye contact.’ And so that was the inspiration for starting the business,” Parker said. “They were the greatest business cards that I could ever have had.”

The only thing Parker was missing was “formal training” to teach etiquette, which brought her to the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vermont.

“I went there for a three-day training called ‘Train the Trainer.’ It teaches people how to teach children and how to teach parents to teach their children,” Parker said. “I was a hit when I came back.”

With that training under her belt, Parker started by teaching private lessons with children at her kids’ school. Lessons include etiquette basics such as how to give a handshake, introductions, using social media and what Parker calls “the art of the handwritten thank-you note.”

While Parker’s work revolves around children’s etiquette, “most of the things that [apply] to the children are the same things

I teach in the Socratic method … It’s very interactive, [and] it’s so much fun.”

that are applicable to a business.”

This revelation brought Parker back to the Emily Post Institute for another “Train the Trainer” program for businesses.

“Qualcomm called and asked if I could teach a group of gentlemen that was going to work with some high-level executives, but they were uncertain of their dining skills,” Parker said.

Since then, Mrs. Parker’s Charm School has taught what Parker calls foundational “life skills” to businesses and institutions such as LPL Financial, Point Loma Nazarene University and even Prada.

“I taught a clasas with a group of minority athletes years ago,” Parker said. “We were arming them with a little bag of tools that they could pull out [to] fit in and make themselves feel comfortable.”

Her comfort in and dedication to etiquette is what brought Parker to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility to teach a program to “reform [inmates] into society.” Parker’s work there and at the California

“I surround myself with like-minded people and industry experts that know more than I do,” said Madsen. “I get involved in the community, which allows me to network and meet more people, and ask for help from my mentors and those that know more than me.”

Madsen makes a point to support other Black-owned businesses, such as buying ingredients from such companies.

This year’s fourth annual Black History collection of Maya’s Cookies is inspired by sports icons, as the Olympics are fast approaching. The three new flavors are: “The Trailblazer,” designed to look like a gold medal inspired by track and field Olympic athlete Florence Joyner, also known as FloJo; “The Grand Slam,” inspired by Olympic tennis player Serena Williams’ favorite dessert, the Moon Pie; and “The MVP,” inspired by Magic Johnson, infused with chunks of magic bars.

To place orders, visit mayascookies.com or visit the San Diego or San Marcos location.

Institute for Women earned her the 2019 cover of the San Diego Reader.

Though Mrs. Parker’s Charm School has, since COVID, limited its operations to only private lessons, it is looking to relaunch a group class environment this coming summer, according to Parker. Past in-person group lessons often involved a partnership between Mrs. Parker’s Charm School and a venue or storefront. Mrs. Parker’s Charm School even partnered with Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the past, renting a room for herself and 10 to 15 students to enjoy a guided meal.

“I teach in the Socratic method … It’s very interactive, [and] it’s so much fun,” Parker said. “I love teaching etiquette and manners.”

Parker customizes lessons for individual clients, making the process of learning etiquette non-threatening, comfortable and personalized. For booking, pricing and all other inquiries, email info@parkercharm.com.

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Sideline Support

Making its debut this school year, the adult Sports Medicine Internship Program at TPHS brings graduate students to Falcon fields and courts, lending further help to the TPHS athletic department staff.

While TPHS already has a sports medicine internship program for high school students, the graduate student program is now running at all four comprehensive high schools in the district. TPHS was the first to welcome the interns in November: two graduate students from Point Loma Nazarene University’s Master of Sports Medicine program.

Now, interns Angelina Hargrove and Ashley Castaneda work with TPHS athletic trainer Zayna Green during practices and games to serve the large population of student-athletes on campus.

“They contribute a ton,” Green said. “Because they have a little more knowledge and they’re allowed to

Because [the interns] have a little more knowledge and they’re allowed to do a little more than our high school students, it helps ... to know we have someone qualified if an athlete gets hurt and I’m not there.”

do a little more than our high school students, it helps when we have multiple sporting events on campus to know we have someone qualified if an athlete gets hurt and I’m not there.”

In addition to offering support to Green, the program also provides the interns hands-on experience in sports medicine at high schools, all while receiving class credit toward graduation.

Both Hargrove and Castaneda have bachelor’s degrees in sports medicine and are pursuing master’s degrees in athletic training.

“Prior to starting the [PLNU] graduate program, I did an internship at Cal State Bakersfield and worked at a physical therapy clinic, which led to wanting to be an athletic trainer,” Castaneda said.

Both interns worked for San Diego Loyal SC, a now-defunct professional mens soccer team, so the hundreds of students they now work with at TPHS represent quite a change.

“Being at a school like Torrey … [the adult interns] get to see a pretty big element of sports medicine,” Green said. “Not everybody’s going to work at a college, not everyone’s going to work at a pro team because there aren’t enough.”

For TPHS student interns in the sports medicine program, working with the graduate students has also been a rewarding experience.

“It has been a really fun experience getting to know people that are going into the same profession that I potentially want to do for the rest of my life,” Addison Jester (10), one such intern, said.

Next school year, a new set of interns will be placed at TPHS. Beneficial to the athletes, the interns and the sports medicine program, the interns are sure to leave a positive impact on the TPHS athletic community.

The Falconer spoke with the TPHS athletic department’s newest additions: Angelina Hargrove and Ashley Castaneda. With their arrival, TPHS student athletes have been offered new support by the program’s growing staff.

CALL TO ACTION: Zayna Green and staff attend most TPHS games to help any athletes in the event of an injury. Green joined the TPHS stafff in 2021, and has become a favorite among students. ALL SMILES: Angelina Hargrove (L), who currently attends PLNU, teams up with trainer Zayna Green. Hargrove has also interned at Cal State Bakersfield and worked as a physical therapist. PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIA KAPLAN PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA SCIPIONE PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA SCIPIONE

f/stop f/stop

Cody Shen

boys basketball

february 17, 8:28 p.m.

camera: sony alpha a6300

lens: tamron 17-70 mm

iso: 10000

exp: 1/800

f/stop: f/4

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Girls soccer wins big

The TPHS varsity girls soccer team (15-5-4) clinched the CIF Open Division title on Feb. 24, as they defeated Eastlake High School (17-4-2) 4 - 2. The last time the team secured the open division title was seven years ago, in 2017.


OVERALL 18-5-1 9-1


Varsity Girls Field Hockey Varsity Girls Soccer LEAGUE FINAL SCORE 4-2

Spleen is California field hockey Coach of the Year

After leading her team to a CIF Open Division Championship title this fall, varsity field hockey head coach and English 9 teacher Courtney Spleen won the MAX Field Hockey award for California Coach of the Year on Feb. 1.

MAX Field Hockey is an organization that focuses on high school level field hockey across the country. The award, a state honor, is given based on nomination and the organization’s own observations.

“I’m obviously very honored to have won the award and honored that I was even nominated,” Spleen said. “It feels good to be nominated and awarded for something that you know comes from the people that matter most in your organization.”

Spleen has been coaching at TPHS since 2019. This season, she not only led the team to a CIF Open Division win against La Costa Canyon High School after two consecutive years of losing in the finals, but also saw the team finish 12th in the West/Mid-West region.

In the fall, the team also returned to the MAX Field Hockey High School National Invitational in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive year, competing against some of the top teams in the nation.

In coaching a top team like TPHS, Spleen focuses on each player individually.

“I’ve really focused on trying to understand my players more ... and find out what really motivates them all,” Spleen said. “I realized that not every player handles the same type of coaching style, so it’s important to know what works for some players and what doesn’t work with others.”

Lindsay Bowman, Spleen’s assistant coach and longtime friend of Spleen, said Spleen’s dedication is a crucial

I’ve really focused on trying to understand my players more ... and find out what really motivates them all ... I realized that not every player handles the same type of coaching style.”
Courtney Spleen

component of the team’s success.

“She deserves this award because of the work she puts in, both in & out of season,” Bowman said. “She truly is one of the most dedicated people I know and her stats prove that.”

Avery Austin (12), a four-year varsity field hockey player, agreed.

“She is very personal when she coaches. Especially with me, she takes time to know who I am as a person and

knows how to adapt to what I can and can’t handle,” Austin said.

That coaching pays off, the team said.

“This year specifically, we took it a game at a time and really [focused] on each of our competitors rather than solely focusing on [winning] the CIF finals,” Sydney Meltzer (10), a twoyear varsity field hockey player and midfielder, said.

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RING SEASON: The varsity field hockey team celebrates a division title for the first time in eight years. This year’s championship was the team’s third consectuive year in the CIF finals. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA SCIPIONE PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA SCIPIONE

wrestling Season

wrestling Season

Bigrigg for the win

Last season, a big rig pulled into the TPHS wrestling team as head varsity coach. Prior to coaching wrestling, Mike Bigrigg attended the U.S. Naval Academy and later enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he continued to wrestle.

“My whole goal is to get kids wrestling as much as possible and focus on getting them to learn life lessons that wrestling teaches, specifically focusing on the journey of wrestling and not just the wins and losses,” Bigrigg said.

This year, the wrestling coaching staff is eight deep, the most coaches in the program’s history. Bigrigg said the expanded coaching staff, which has allowed for an expansion of practice space into two rooms in the “Olive Garden,” allows for more one-on-one time with the wrestlers.

Team Captain Kaisen Umali (12) said this season offered him “the best learning experience at Torrey Pines.”

Stronger together

Prior to the 2023-24 TPHS wrestling season, the program strengthened its connection to local wrestlers through the Del Mar Wrestling Camp, according to Umali. The connection deepened throughout the season, Ruby Julien-Newsom (11) said, in part thanks to 5 a.m. wake-ups on match days — days that sometimes last until 8 p.m. While those days are long and exhausting, Julien-Newsom said they were “really fun” because “you get to cheer each other on.”

Mike Bigrigg Head Varsity Coach

I think when we focus on winning and losing, we focus on the mistakes and we lose sight of taking joy in the journey.”

Ruby Julien-Newsom Junior

A force on the mat

After attending Bigrigg’s summer camp, Julien-Newsom took up wrestling for TPHS in her sophomore season and quickly established herself as a dominant force on the mat. She is one of four team captains on the varsity roster and one of only five girls in the wrestling program.

Julien-Newsom concluded the 2022-23 season with a total of 34 wins by pin, competing in both girls’ and boys’ meets — a “rare occurrence,” according to Bigrigg.

“Ruby is one of the best wrestlers in the state at her weight class. She is our starting boys 126 pounder, so when we wrestle in dual meets, she wrestles against boys, which is incredibly impressive,” Bigrigg said.

Making history

This season, all 14 Falcons on the varsity roster contributed to the most successful season in school history.

According to Bigrigg, they finished with five wrestlers in the top eight in San Diego, with an overall record of 14-2 in dual meets. For the Masters Wrestling Championship, 11 TPHS wrestlers competed on Day One, and four made it to Day Two — the most in school history, according to JV Head Coach Paulo Dominice.

Another notable achievement this season was clinching the Orange Glen High School Memorial Tournament and Glendora High School Thanksgiving Throwdown titles earlier this season.

In light of this success, Bigrigg and Dominice emphasized that every individual on the team was a crucial component of making this season memorable.

“[They] go out on that mat by themselves, but [they] represent a team,” Dominice said.

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ata glance


Frank Falcon, Freddy the Falcon’s evil twin, provides his advice on some of TPHS students’ most pressing questions.

Q: Hi Frank, what courses do you think I should take next year?

A: Advanced Journalism, all seven periods. Next Question.

Q: How do I get my crush to like me back?

A: Um, I’ve never had a problem with that, so I don’t really know what to tell you ... I could be your wingman?

Q: Hey Frank, do you have any advice on how I can afford Coachella tickets?

A: Falcon feathers sell great on the black market. I’m willing to be bald for Lana Del Rey, so that’s my plan. You didn’t hear any of that from me though.

Q: How do I get my spring break plans out the groupchat?

A: Be so for real bbg. That ish is staying in the groupchat.

Q: How should I get my senior assassin target out?

A: Capture a live falcon and make it caw outside your target’s house until they come out. Then you can get them. It’s kind of obvious.

Q: Can you plug my SoundCloud?

A: No, freak.

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