Falconer April 2023 Issue

Page 3

Inclusion takes the stage

Diversity Week highlights multiculturalism on campus

With national Diversity Month in full swing, TPHS held a Diversity Week from April 17 to 21.

Each day featured a different event, including a cultural dance performance and club fair, all aimed at raising awareness for diversity on campus, according to Nethra Mahendran (11), the co-president of the TPHS Multicultural Student Association.

“[We want to] show students on campus that this is how many cultures we have, these are the people that we represent at Torrey Pines and this is what it means to be a Falcon,” Mahendran said.

A collaboration between the TPHS ASB and TPHS MCSA, Diversity Week has been in the works since the beginning of the year, according to ASB Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion

Muddathir Nauaz (10). The week’s first event was a presentation by antropolitical linguist Dr. Ana Zentalla, a Professor Emeritus at University of California, San Diego, who advocated for confronting linguistic intolerance in the United States.

As put by Mahendran, Zentalla’s message about the oppression of different cultures was “impactful.”

“Maybe we don’t see as much from the Torrey Pines campus but once you were exposed to that [oppression] in her presentation, you start to notice little things that we can fix in our community,” Mahendran said.

On Tuesday, a group of students from the TPHS branch of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano De Aztlǻna organization performed the Chinelos De Morelos dance in the quad. The dancers were even joined by TPHS Principal Rob Coppo, who waved a Mexican flag.

The next day featured a presentation by the TPHS MCSA during Student Connection time about the diverse cultures and languages at TPHS, accompanied by an activity where students could draw flags of countries they identify with.

“I was excited [about the flag activity] because students could recognize how much cultural diversity we have on this campus,” Greyson Rojo (11) said, after completing his own Mexican flag.

Thursday’s event featured a diversity fair in the quad at which 23 TPHS clubs promoted the groups they represent. The fair featured such clubs as the Japanese Club, Korean Club and South Asian Club. According to ASB Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion Georgia Wallerius (10), the goal of the fair was to both increase membership of the clubs and teach students about the diverse groups found on campus.

“Even if [students] don’t join the clubs, [they will be] learning about them and learning what they teach, so it’s an opportunity for clubs to get more members and students to get more educated,” Wallerius said.

For some clubs, their top priority was recruitment.

“[Our main goal] was to promote a new community on campus that wasn’t there before,” Maya Alam, the copresident of the South Asian Student Association. “Since our club is pretty small, I think that’s more important than educating people on the history. For kids to have a safe place to go was the most important thing for me and the other founding members.”

Spanish teacher Viviana Alvarado said she was “excited” about the diversity fair event.

“There are so many [clubs at TPHS] continued on A2

INCLUSION IN PRACTICE: Gonzalo Pacheco (10) walks through the quad to perform a cultural dance during Diversity Week. Pacheco joined other students dressed in traditional outfits to perform during lunch on April 18, marking the second event of the inaugural TPHS Diversity Week, which will be an annual tradition going forward, according to ASB Clubs Commissioner Kayla Sozinho.
Vol. 48, Issue 7, 24 pages Friday, April 28, 2023

and I was really impressed with the cultural diversity of all the clubs,” Alvarado said.

The week concluded with closing ceremonies on Friday and performances by a Spanish band, Tinku, in several fifth period classrooms.

According to ASB Commissioner of Clubs Kayla Sozinho (10), ASB plans to hold Diversity Week every year, and the MCSA plans to expand such events off-campus.

“We ended up making connections with some kids at [Canyon Crest Academy] and came to partner with CCA. So one of our next steps is looking to do more school district events and programs,” MCSA co-president Isabella Tassara (11) said.

“[Our main goal] was to promote a new community on campus that wasn’t there before. For kids to have a safe place to go was the most important thing for me and the other founding members.”

Maya Alam JUNIOR

Diversity Week was only the latest development in diversity initiatives on campus. ASB’s Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion, a three-person position,

is a new addition to campus leadership and the MCSA’s membership has grown this year. With these advancements, as well as future events in the works,

students plan to cultivate a “warm environment for people to learn about each other’s cultures and beliefs, and to create this engaging, friendly, conversational community,” according to Tassara.

Creating this environment was the aim of Diversity Week. As Alvarado put it, events like this create an opportunity to “understand what makes us unique” and “appreciate our differences.”

“I don’t think you can really appreciate a person if you don’t know their background,” Alvarado said. “Our language, our traditions, our culture makes us who we are, so you can understand a person more if you take the time to actually get to learn more about that person.”

A conversation with an anthro-political linguist

Dr. Ana Celia Zentella is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She visited TPHS during Diversity Week on Apr. 17 to speak about confronting linguistic intolerance in the United States. The Falconer sat down with her later that day to talk about how TPHS can better encourage diversity.

Is diversity week a step in the right direction toward more linguistic equality?

“I think all of these efforts are laudable, and I see that the students who helped today are very committed and that lifts my spirits. I do think that just as Black History Month cannot be relegated to one month, these issues really have to be part of our everyday conversations. That involves more fundamental change, more systemic change. And I think that the students would have some great ideas about how to go about that.”

What can we as students do to combat linguistic intolerance?

“I asked people to scan that [link] so that they could fill out and record any incident of linguistic intolerance that they were either subjected to or experienced themselves ... I’m trying to get that compiled, because the hate statistics in the United States do not separate out the incidences of linguistic intolerance and violence against speakers of languages other than English.”

Anything to add?

“There are academic aspects of [my work], and there are also emotional aspects because I just lost a sister who was a bilingual Spanish English teacher ... and who at age 70, she learned Korean. She was a perfect example of reaching out and beyond. So that’s what makes me continue to go in her name.”

news April 28, 2023 A2 the falconer
CLUBS WITH CULTURE: Co-Presidents Maya Alam (11) (right) and Roma Panchal (10) (middle right) speak with visiting students about the South Asian Student Union. Featuring 23 TPHS clubs, the Diversity Week Club Day celebrated and spotlighted multicultural groups on campus. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY O’REGAN DANCING FOR DIVERSITY: TPHS Principal Rob Coppo joins students for Chinelos De Morelos, a cultural dance. The performers are all members of the TPHS Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano De Aztlán, a new club on campus that has roots in a national political organization for Chicano unity.
DIVERSITY WEEK continued from A1
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE: Dr. Ana Celia Zentella, an anthro-political linguist, speaks during TPHS Diversity Week about linguistic intolerance. At the University of California, San Diego, she is currently collecting data on that intolerance to study its prevalence in the United States.
Viviana Alvarado
“I don’t think you can really appreciate a person if you don’t know their background. Our language, our traditions, our culture make us who we are.”
PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER PHOTO BY COLE FROST/FALCONER Scan to access linguist intolerance reporting form for Zentella’s research.

TPHS students struggle to park amid space shortage

The TPHS student parking lot has seen a higher demand for parking this year, leading to an increase in tickets and student complaints.

While TPHS has heard complaints about the lack of space for student drivers before this year, the current parking shortage is partly due to a junior class that has 150 students more than in previous years, according to TPHS Principal Rob Coppo.

Administration considered this issue before the school year began, reinstating Smart Start — a two-hour safe driving course — as a requirement for obtaining a parking permit and restricting all underclassmen from parking in the lot, which was a policy directed by the district, according to TPHS campus supervisor Robert McKeon.

The decrease in parking permits and spots in the lot has upset many students; sophomores report needing to park without permits to make it to class on time and seniors complain of underclassmen in the senior lot — the top row of parking spaces unofficially claimed by the top class on campus.

“Every morning, I get here on time, but once I get to the parking lot, all the spots are full. I have to park on

the side or on the street, resulting in a treacherous journey to get to class and a tardy,” Ryan Munsch (12) said.

Unpermitted and hazardous parking has led to an increase in warnings and tickets, according to TPHS administrators. With approximately 548 student spots and only 482 valid parking permits, there should be empty spots, according to McKeon. However, due to unpermitted and illegal parking, McKeon has issued 227 tickets this year.

With all the student complaints surrounding the parking lot, Aidan McCarthy (12) began compiling accounts of issues in the parking lot to share with TPHS administrators.

“I was spurred to begin taking an active and investigative approach to this issue after my teachers began saying how the issue of people leaving early was getting worse,” McCarthy said. “I held my suspicions that a root cause of this was the situation in the parking lot, and I felt that helping to settle the parking lot problem could have far-reaching benefits for students and staff alike.”

For now, TPHS administration has multiple new initiatives planned and is brainstorming long-term improvements.

“We are going to meet this summer

TICKETS AND TARDIES: A warning ticket sits on a dashboard in the TPHS student parking lot, warning that parking is only available for permitted vehicles. An increase in student drivers has overwhelmed the lot, leaving students demanding more space and admistrative intervention.

to see what we can figure out because our freshman class coming in is going to be over 600, so now that won’t affect the parking, but it does affect traffic,” Coppo said. “The good news is next year, the junior class is smaller, and if we get some spaces back from construction, that could ease it.”

A drastic parking lot expansion is impossible due to the location and layout of the campus, according to Coppo. However, McKeon said he is looking into the possibility of adding more parking spots and redrawing spaces.

Regarding monitoring the overcrowding, TPHS plans to hire more

campus supervisors to monitor traffic in the lot.

“We are working on getting additional campus supervisors to help monitor down in the lot so that if we can better enforce, maybe we can convince people to get there earlier, but I don’t know if it will necessarily affect the overcrowding,” Coppo said.

For now, without a clear end to the overcrowding, TPHS administrators recommend that students follow the parking lot rules to avoid a warning citation or ticket. Until a solution is found, they recommend students manage their time wisely to arrive at school early enough to secure a spot.

SDUHSD joins others to sue social media companies

The SDUHSD Board of Trustees announced plans to sue muliple social media companies with a unanimous vote at a board meeting on April 20, alleging the platforms have caused a mental health crisis among adolescents.

Along with two other school districts in San Diego County, Coronado and Oceanside, SDUHSD will join a statewide mass action lawsuit against platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

The district claims that the platforms are designed to specifically target youth, feeding them “harmful” and “exploitative” content that “compromises mental health through

deceptive practices including malfunctioning age verification, flawed parental control technology and profitcentered algorithms,” according to SDUHSD Communications Coordinator Miquel Jacobs. These practices, the district alleges, have encouraged “unhealthy social comparisons, eating disorders, harmful behaviors, acts of violence and cyberbullying,” Miquel said.

The lawsuit will order social media defendants to cease “harmful marketing strategies and require more accurate and reliable age verification and parental control settings,” according to Jacobs.

Multiple TPHS students attribute stress and other mental health

struggles to social media use.

“I believe that schools have a moral responsibility to address the mental health crisis of our youth. With the legal action taking place currently, companies will hopefully begin to take the deteriorating mental health of our generation more seriously,” Shyla Mighdoll (10), the treasurer of the TPHS Peer Assistance Listener Support, said.

Spending more than eight hours on social media platforms like TikTok and Discord, Kiera Lucero (10) said this screen time has led to a desire to remain updated at all times on online happenings.

“I find myself checking my apps constantly even when there’s nothing

new to look at,” Lucero said.

Mighdoll agreed, noting that schools have a responsibility to address this dependence.

“Since we spend most of our time at this age in a school setting, the school staff should care about what happens outside of school as it eventually affects what goes on inside of school and affects the performance of students in class,” Mighdoll said.

Jacobs reiterated Lucero and Mighdoll’s sentiments, stating that the board will seek financial damages in the lawsuit intended to “recoup district funds expended to address our youth mental health needs to cover the cost of counselors and the development and delivery of support programs.”

TPHS academic team ends successful season at finals

Eight of the highest-scoring academic teams in the region gathered at TPHS on April 18 for the North County Academic League tournament.

TPHS joined Canyon Crest Academy, Del Norte High School, Mission Hills High School, Mission Vista High School, Rancho Bernardo High School, San Dieguito Academy and Westview High School in four rounds of high-stakes trivia ranging from music history to current events.

The participants were either champions of their regional divisions or had qualified via special rounds.

TPHS entered the tournament with a 5-1 record and a regional championship title. However, they were defeated 5960 during their first round against


“It was tough losing by one point, but that’s the nature of the game,” Timour Mammadov-Vaurie (11), a member of the TPHS Varsity academic team, said.

“I’m really proud of our team and the season we had nonetheless.”

The final winner of the night was Del Norte, who defeated Westview 112-50 in the semifinal round.

“[The Del Norte team] developed a very strong chemistry had a really diverse team, so I thought we had a great chance to do really well,” Aman Jain, a senior on the Del Norte academic team, said.

Preparing for the tournament, the TPHS team devoted six hours a week to practices.

“We were definitely confident heading into the tournament, maybe

a bit too confident,” Ron Tal (12), a member of the TPHS Varsity academic team, said.

The tournament marks the end of

the academic team season for TPHS

“Winning our division was great, and we fought until the very end of the final match,” Tal said.

news the falconer A3 tphsfalconer.com
Lexi Lamb STAFF
PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER Michele Kim ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR A CLOSE CALL: Varsity members Alyssa Wakefield (12) (left), Ron Tal (12) (middle) and Timour Mammadov-Vaurie (11) (right) sit in disappointment following their 59-60 loss to Westview High School. While TPHS entered the finals with high spirits, Del Norte High School left with the trophy. PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER

Future Falcons of ASB

TPHS students voted for next year’s Associated Student Body leaders on March 31. The Falconer spoke with the newly elected ASB president and three class presidents about what they believe is most important in a leader.

“I think communication is the biggest [skill] in a leader because if you have poor communication skills, then you can’t work with the people around you. You need to be able to work with a team because collaboration … allows for other people’s inputs.”

ASB President Elect Camille Samarasingne (11)

“I think it’s really important for leaders to be bold, to … say what they want, [because] people will start to follow and understand what you care about and why you care.”

ASB Senior Class President Elect Matt Conway (11)

“I think you need to let people be people. They’re gonna have great ideas, so if you can appreciate and execute and implement their ideas … you’ll be seen better because you’re doing what people want.”

ASB Junior Class President Elect John Prior (10)

“I think a needed quality for a good leader is being understanding and considerate. Having that vision of what people want is helpful to make activities and events which interest the greatest number of people.”

ASB Sophomore Class President Elect Dean Smith (9)

TPHS robotics ends season at world championships

Competing against 77 international teams, the TPHS Millennium Falcons robotics team advanced to the semifinal round of the FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston, Texas, from April 19 to 22, ending their season with an 18th place finish.

The Millennium Falcons consistently ranked high in regional competitions this season, including a fourth place finish in Idaho that qualified them for the world championship.

“We knew we wanted to go to the world championships, and we knew we had a robot that could do it,” Rohan Inamdar (12), the team’s head of design, said.

Earlier in their season, they received the Ford Autonomous Award, an

international award given to the best autonomous performance by a robot.

The format of the world championship changes annually, challenging teams to develop new robots for the competition.

“They release a new game every year so you always have to build a new robot because the games are always completely different,” Victor De Oliveira (12), the team’s head of electrical, said.

This year the championship featured an arena divided evenly into two sides with three rows of grids stacked on each other on each end to act as goals, with obstacle-like game pieces. Each side hosted one alliance, red or blue, with each consisting of three teams. Points were scored by each alliance for autonomous and manual capabilities as well as to how many grids they were

able to fill with game pieces. Although easier said than done, the Millenium Falcons dominated their way through the ten qualification rounds.

“Since we were one of the highest scoring robots in San Diego as well as in the competition, we focused on scoring while the rest of the alliance focused on support,” Ella Ju (11), the co-driver and apprentice head of build, said.

However, despite their strong performance, the Millennium Falcons faced many challenges. From making the robot faster at collecting game pieces to optimizing its movement, the Millennium Falcons rebuilt their robot over five times throughout the season. In their attempts at perfection, the rebuilds put them at a strategic disadvantage on the day of the championship.

the love of robotics, even if we don’t speak the same language.”

“A major failure we had this year was we were often rebuilding to make better iterations, when really we needed to have the design down at the very beginning of the competition and have it available for the driver to practice with,” Inamdar said.

During the championship, their alliance began to struggle during the semifinal round.

“We had forgotten to Velcro the battery down into its holder and it actually ended up flying out of the robot and breaking our main circuit breaker in half,” De Oliveria said.

Though the radio failure was not enough to drop them out of all of the semifinal matches, that critical mistake on the Millennium Falcons’ part was the nail in the coffin.

While the Millenium Falcons closed their 2023 season with a bittersweet defeat, they look back on the opportunity to compete with pride.

“It was an honor just competing with and against the best robots in the world,” Ju said.

Competing on an international stage, they formed connections that transcended the language barrier.

“You can still communicate with these people from different backgrounds purely through the love of robotics, even if we don’t speak the same language,” Ju said.

Regardless of the points on the scoreboard, the Millennium Falcons end the season with lessons learned and hungry for more.

news april 28, 2023 A4 the falconer
Martin Lee STAFF WRITER ROBOTS ON THE WORLD STAGE: Edward Sun (12), the president of the TPHS Millennium Falcons poses with TPHS Principal Rob Coppo in front of the Millennium Falcons’ robot at the San Diego FIRST Robotics Competition in early March. Competiting in two regional competitions, they qualified for the FIRST International Robotics Championship in Houston, Texas, where they advanced to the semifinal round and finished 18th.
“You can still communicate with these people from different backgrounds purely through
LEADERS IN ACTION: Camille Samarasingne (11) (bottom), John Prior (10) (left), Dean Smith (9) (top) and Matt Conway (11) (right) are set to fill the top presidential positions next year in the TPHS Associated Student Body. After their campaigns and the election, they will be joined by their vice presidents and commissioners to will plan dances, class activies, charitable events and student connection initiatives. PHOTOS BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER PHOTO COURTESY OF EDWARD SUN
HE THE DRESSING ROOM 681 JAMACHA RD. EL CAJON 92019 619.401.7400 TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TDRFASHIONS.COM advertisement the falconer A5 tphsfalconer.com

Profanity in childrens’ entertainment damages youth

Younger generations’ exposure to profanity in the media and entertainment has proved in recent years to be drastically increasing, which may have some parents worrying whether or not a film from companies like DreamWorks or Pixar may be appropriate for their kids to watch. From works like “A Bug’s Life” from Pixar, to the newly released “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” from DreamWorks, vulgar language in youth films is used very casually and could prove harmful for young and teenage children.

Since Robert Altman’s 1970 movie “M*A*S*H” was the first American major motion picture to drop an f-bomb, expletives in cinema have skyrocketed, bleeding dangerously into children’s lives and dialogue. Clear signs of this have shown up in even more recent works: as of 2021, PGrated movies were granted the ability to use language including “s---”, “b---”, “a--” and “d---,” all of which were considered underneath the scope of “mild bad language,” according to a 2021 article in the Daily Mail. F-bombs are also on some occasions permissible as long as it is not too aggressive and is not a frequent occurrence. Although modern companies are currently working on limiting their foul language in animated children’s movies, there

are still considerable instances of profanity coming from characters that young kids view as heroes and positive idols. Some examples include speech by protagonists in Pixar’s first movie, “Toy Story,” including insults like “idiot,” “dirtbag,” “shut-up,” “stupid” and several others, all repeated throughout the film. Additionally, in the newly released DreamWorks movie featuring its own fearless tabby cat, viewers are given a front row seat to hearing their favorite character spout words like “hell,” “wuss,” “idiot” and “crap,” as well as a ten-second frame of a dog covered by bleeped-out swearing. These instances are just a few out of the many in a larger and increasingly popular trend movie-makers have been following to gain viewership and the attention of their viewers.

In reality, employing the use of profanity has very short-term effects, grabbing the attention of its older viewers while younger ones watch in confusion. Also referred to as the “shock factor,” incorporating swearing provokes rapid psychological reactions and puts the character speaking in an authoritative position. Additionally, directors use profanity as a way to make their audience laugh and keep them wanting to watch more, but this practice is inherently flawed. Profanity is slipped in mindlessly, presenting humor to the audience that is outwardly crass and superficial.

Still, while this system does benefit filmmakers and elicit emotions in viewers, there is a great chance that with its continued use, the young, impressionable children of our next generations could form destructive habits as they grow and collaborate with others, seeing insulting and harmful speech glorified in the entertainment they watch.

According to studies by Discover Magazine, being exposed to profanity at a young age, whether it be on video games, in one’s environment or in the movies, can increase “stress, anxiety, depression and a decreased sense of belonging.” Due to these sudden and intense feelings, children are also more prone to physical aggression, according to a study by TIME Magazine. Children who experience hearing and using these words in their lives are those who undergo early emotional, mental and sometimes physical repercussions for themselves and, in some instances, their peers.

Further, this is something that is already being addressed in movies and television today. From the coming-of-age flick “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” to the 2012 animated film “Brave,” Disney movies exhibit a constant pattern of teenage rebellion and ignorance of negative remarks made from both parents and children alike. This recurring theme in even our most juvenile-centered films depicts the normalization of using vulgar speech and action in real life; as younger viewers grow up watching live-action movies and remakes of their

childhood favorites, it is getting harder and harder to shove the profanities, no matter how insignificant they may seem, to the side, as it is clear the standardization of using profanity in everyday life may very well be harmfully affecting kids in the long run.

Some may say that a reduction of curse words in animated movies will have little to no effect on children, as cussing is becoming more and more normalized among many youth in our society.

Nevertheless, this is incorrect. While it is nearly impossible to limit the amount of cursing children hear around other influences such as parents and peers, it is perfectly reasonable to limit the destructive language used in television and children’s movies that is blocking more uplifting and constructive lessons, themes and morals from being conveyed.

Aggression and depression is on the rise among our youth. Instead of letting our future generations grow up listening to harmful language on the entertainment they watch, we should be focusing on raising them to follow positive and morally just behaviors.

Texas’ abortion pill ruling sets dangerous precedent

been in use for over 20 years. Beginning in Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the FDA improperly approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago, and the case recently hit the Supreme Court, which preserved the pill’s broad access. The Texas court ruling highlights the fragility of the American judicial system and lack of respect for preexisting, science-based agencies, like the FDA.

For decades, women’s right to an abortion and other reproductive freedoms have been challenged and debated. Anti-abortion politics have made relentless attempts to strip away womens’ rights to make decisions for themselves and their bodies – proving successful recently more than ever. Last November, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, stating that the FDA falsely approved mifepristone, the abortion pill that has

According to a study released by the Guttmacher Institute in Feb. 2022, medication abortion accounted for 54% of all abortions. It is clear that mifepristone, used in tandem with misoprostol, is an effective and scientifically legitimate method of abortion that has aided women across the U.S. for decades. This should not have been in question after its approval by a long-respected federal agency like the FDA, especially two decades later.

But the Texas ruling sets a dangerous precedent for any pharmaceutical company aiming to have their drug in mainstream use. It sends a message

that no matter how much scientific data and evidence supports the legitimacy of a prospective drug or how hard a company works to satisfy the FDA’s stringent measures, a single opposition group, blinded by their biases, can take it all away.

While this case’s path to the doorsteps of Washington is alarming, the public outcry against it that was

largely responsible for the opposing cases and its ultimate appearance in Washington should be an inspiration for Americans.

Though the case belittles any preexisting pharmaceutical legitimacy and trust in our judicial system, the unified and infuriated response to it shows that our voices are still capable of making some difference.


Last month, Utah passed two new bills — together dubbed the Social Media Regulation Act — that limit and restrict the usage of social media for minors. They include sweeping measures like requiring children under 18 years old to receive parental consent to have social media accounts, barring children from accessing their accounts between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., and giving parents and guardians total access to their children’s accounts.

The passing of these bills is a positive step that will bring more attention to the significant and detrimental issue of social media addiction, and will hopefully spur further action across the nation.

Once the bills go into effect next year, parents will be provided with a better sense of the damaging environment their children are exposed to on social media. Societal norms cause adolescents to witness unrealistic and detrimental body images on social media and experience an increase in cyberbullying.

In 2018, a study conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that 59% of teenagers in the U.S. have experienced some form of cyberbullying.

Having grown up in a different world, parents are unaware of just how significantly their children’s life is affected by screens. Often, the damaging effects of social media aren’t revealed to parents until it appears too late to fix the damage. Utah’s new bills will allow parents to be aware of any harmful content that their kids scroll through on a daily basis, helping to prevent any negative impacts it could have on them.

On March 23, Utah passed the Social Media Regulation Act, significantly strengthening parental control over minors’ social media use. Although the act may threaten children’s privacy in some ways, it is ultimately necessary to address the negative impacts social media has on their well-being.

Another currently harmful aspect of social media that will be addressed by the bills is content and advertisements targeted toward minors. By collecting data off of children in the accounts they use, social media companies have been handed the ability to “psychologically hack” users and provide them with personalized content and advertisements, not to mention manipulation.

According to KPBS, the majority of the largest technology companies receive a significant amount of profit through targeting advertisements to their users. These advertisements popping up on the side of kids’ screens oftentimes display content that is far too sophisticated and inappropriate for their age.

The bill has the ability to curb and resolve this issue. Under one of its measures, social media companies are now prohibited to present advertisements and personalized content to minors using their apps.

Perhaps the biggest concern that these bills try to address is the overwhelming presence of screen addiction among teenagers. Many social media companies’ main goals are geared towards greedily drawing their users into uncontrolled usage in order to line their pockets, which can have significant impacts on minors’ sleeping habits.

According to an article by Business Insider, adolescents’ loss of sleep due to social media is around the equivalent of losing one night’s worth of sleep a week. Nightly usage of social media takes away from the time minors need to develop their brains and rest, which can result in harmful effects like depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

The bills’ prohibition of social media use between 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for minors will directly address this issue, allowing for healthier sleeping habits that will positively impact other areas of their lives.

Utah’s passing of the Social Media Regulation Act will ultimately cause the significant and necessary changes to properly address the social media addiction crisis. It prioritizes the wellbeing of our youth and will hopefully spark similar action in other states.

Recently there has been much debate over increased governmental restrictions on social media, and Utah’s two new social media regulation bills are an extension of that. Signed on March 23, 2023, Utah’s Social Media Regulation Act states that parental consent is required for children under 18 years old to sign up for sites like TikTok or Instagram. It also bars users younger than 18 from accessing accounts between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m, unless their parents change the settings, and it gives guardians complete access to their children’s social media.

The bills stem from concerns over social media’s impact on minors’ mental health. While these are important concerns, Utah’s legislation is not a positive step — it is generally ineffective and hard to enforce, and it deprives minors of their privacy and rights.

In order to verify kids’ ages and their parental relations, online platforms will collect sensitive information such as government-issued IDs and birth certificates. This would put minors’ information at further risk of breach, vulnerable to hackers or tech employees, and it could even help exploitative advertising. Overall, the bill will make all users less secure since all of them will have to input sensitive information to verify their ages.

Because the law also allows parents to see their children’s social media activity, kids’ privacy from their parents is hugely at jeopardy as well. This could further harm children’s mental health — something the bill intends to improve — if they are denied any right to privacy. Especially in certain circumstances, for example if children are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and their parents are unaccepting, or if they are in an abusive family situation, allowing parents access to the entirety of their children’s accounts, including their private messages and posts, can have detrimental effects.

Beyond an attack on privacy, the bills are an attack on minors’ rights. An entire age demographic being restricted on social media is damaging because it prevents all of the good that can come out of youth having access to social media. Kids use online platforms positively by connecting with their peers

and supporting social movements, for example, and should not have these opportunities taken away from them. This regulation of a public speech forum, on which any person should be entitled to free speech, is just a continuation of online censorship that has manifested itself in many ways recently.

Beyond that, not only does the act deprive minors of certain rights, it is just generally ineffective. There is much uncertainty over how the bill will actually be enforced, due to how ambitious its plans are and how vaguely they are defined. Besides, it is highly likely that kids and teens will find ways around the regulations. Currently, 13 years old is the minimum age to have a social media account, yet research conducted by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Center for Software, confirmed that “children of all ages can completely bypass age verification measure” to sign up for social media apps like TikTok, Snapchat, Discord and others. According to Time Magazine, minors can “use someone else’s ID [or] kids can link their accounts to someone else’s who’s registered as an adult.” Kids are creative, and the options for bypassing the bill’s restrictions seem virtually endless.

The act is set to take effect next year, on March 1, 2024. Currently, other Republican-led states like Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas are attempting to pass legislation that would limit children’s social media access. This may be a legislative trend for the foreseeable future — invasive, violating and seemingly-ineffective though Utah’s Social Media Regulation Act may be.

opinion tphsfalconer.com the falconer A7


Assistant-Editor-in-Chief Helene Gao reflects on her childhood struggles with accepting her cultural identity and shares her journey to finding pride in her Chinese heritage

In preschool, I drew a self-portrait for an art project: misshapen stick arms and legs, a rainbow flower-covered dress and bright, curly blonde hair. I don’t have blonde hair. I stuck out in my class pictures, my stark black hair in a sea of my Caucasian classmates and teachers with light-colored hair. I longed to fit in, and even as a young child, I was painfully cognizant that I was different.

My Chinese-immigrant parents struggled to keep up with complex English conversations, much less able to teach me English. Because Mandarin was my first language, my English felt awkward and clunky. I shied away from other kids, unable to speak in their language of Disney movies I never watched and American foods I never ate.

Although I grew up speaking only Mandarin and in a household that felt transplanted from China, I still felt a distinct disconnect from being truly Chinese as I was enveloped by the American culture around me. In an attempt by my parents to connect

me to my culture, my afternoons were occupied by Chinese after-schools that taught me to multiply ten-digit numbers with abacus, my weekends were filled with Chinese school and my free time was filled with hours of piano practice. While other kids looked forward to the weekend, I remember dreading the hours spent memorizing the thousands of characters that make up Chinese, stroke by stroke. I remember resenting my parents for forcing me to remember roots I never had, for spending my childhood toiling over perfecting skills that weren’t mine.

The summer before 8th grade, I visited China for the first time. But despite being surrounded by people who looked like me, I felt even more alien. I was a “waiguoren,” or “foreigner.” I greeted hundreds of aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-great secondremoved cousins that were my family, yet I never felt more uncomfortable and unfamiliar. They commented on my American accent when speaking Chinese or my tan skin and weight that didn’t fit their beauty standards,

further emphasizing the fact that I was again, different. Meeting my great-grandmother for the first time, I remember her mournful exasperation when I couldn’t understand her old Jixi dialect.

Growing up, I tried to hide my culture: I never spoke Chinese, I internally rebelled during the Chinese holidays, celebrations and festivals that my parents forced me to attend, and I never joined any Asian American organizations or clubs. I tried to minimize my Asianness, restricting any experience, feeling or familiarity I had with my culture to the checkbox for ethnicity. It felt like something I needed to hide, something that held me back and something that I couldn’t be proud of.

The shyness and self-consciousness about my speech, appearance, interests and identity that had been ingrained in my demeanor still follow me today. As I got older, however, I was able to view my culture outside the lens of a child. I met Chinese Americans who are proud to have that connection to their heritage,

encouraging me to volunteer at the House of China or eat at new Sichuan restaurants. Reflecting on vignettes of instances when I resented my culture, I no longer wanted to hate a part of myself. I am now able to see Chinese culture not as its academic stereotypes or its differences, but as the mish-mash of ingredients bubbling in hotpots, the tranquil summer spent in my family’s hometown, and the beautiful thousandyear tapestry of my ancestors. Looking past my childhood resentment, I can embrace being Chinese American as a vital part of my identity because that’s what makes me, me. I no longer see being different as something shameful, but as something I can proudly proclaim. I have learned to love my unconventional fusion upbringing: the Chinese I learned has helped me connect with countless people, and maintaining Chinese traditions such as preparing dumplings with my grandmother or watching the Spring Festival Gala has helped me feel connected to both my heritage and my present.

The Willow Project’s approval betrays our generation

enough oil to produce 260 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of driving 56 million gas-powered cars for one year, according to Earthjustice.

A willow tree’s characteristic drooping branches and mournful curve seem to exude an aura of sadness and grief. The elegance of its masterfully crafted structure displays the inherent fragility and preciousness of nature. The tree is a symbol of how beautiful life on Earth can be when it flourishes, and how devastating it can be when it is taken away.

With regard to the second aspect of this dichotomy, the Willow Project couldn’t be more appropriately named: it embodies a pure cry of devastation and loss, born from nature’s throat, raw from generations of relentless human abuse and exploitation.

The Willow Project is a gargantuan oil drilling venture — spearheaded by Houston-based energy company ConocoPhillips — on Alaska’s North Slope, in the National Petroleum Reserve. The project encloses an area that contains close to 600 million barrels of oil, and is projected to extract

Given the stage the world is at with regard to the climate crisis, it seems only logical that a project like Willow would immediately be struck down. Haven’t scientists across the globe been ringing our planet’s alarm bell for decades? Isn’t the collective roar of fury and frustration from our generation the loudest it has ever been?

The answer is a simple yes. And yet, the ignorance, incompetency and pure selfishness of those with the capacity to make change in our world has shone through once again.

On Mar. 13, the Biden Administration approved the Willow Project. Their action is not only a betrayal of the dreams and futures of the young generation, but of the burning planet whose fate rests on our weary shoulders.

Biden’s inauguration in January 2020 served as a beacon of hope for youth climate activists, a blazing spark of tangible change and progress in the midst of a dark void of inaction and hopelessness. It seemed like the Biden Administration would be the champions of climate action, a sweeping force of change fueled by the voices and hopes of our generation. And so far, they have been — at least compared to the administration that came before them.

Biden has reestablished the U.S. as

part of the global climate discussion after a four-year hiatus, been a major driver of international climate cooperation and helped pass a flurry of climate legislation in Congress, including last year’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

But the recent approval of the Willow Project is a brutal wake-up call to reality. It is a slap in the face for all those who believed Biden to be one of the few global leaders who truly cared about the climate crisis, about the future of their youth and the planet they will inherit.

In his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden confidently pronounced his commitment to ending new oil drilling on federal land. His administration has set an overarching goal of halving U.S. emissions by 2030.

Biden’s rubber-stamping of the Willow Project cannot be more glaringly at odds with the ambitious climate goals he set for the U.S. and the swift climate action he solemnly vowed to implement during his presidency. It is an act of pure hypocrisy, of blatant contradiction between the rhetoric he preaches and the actions he takes.

It is far too late in the climate crisis for a global super-emitter like the U.S. to be approving massive oil drilling projects. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s AR6 Synthesis Report, released in March, underscored the severity of the climate crisis, stating

that based on the current trajectory of global emissions, our planet will likely warm by 1.5° Celsius by 2030 to 2035, and by 3.2° Celsius by 2100. The science cannot be more clear: emissions must be immediately cut. Biden’s own climate goals align with this truth. But his approval of the Willow Project turns a blind eye to it.

Biden’s action also spotlights the larger and damaging trend of the extreme politicization of the climate crisis in our country. His submission to the pressures of both ConocoPhillips and Republican lawmakers in the hopes of appeasing a wider range of political demographics sends a crystalclear message to our generation: his personal gain is more important than our collective future.

In the week before the project’s approval, anti-Willow content amassed millions of views on social media. Over a million letters were written to the White House condeming the project. Biden appears not to have heard. He has failed the generation who believed him to be a climate champion. He has prioritized his own short-term economic and political gain over the long-term wellbeing of our planet.

This is not what our generation deserves. Our future, and the one of the planet crumbling in our hands, is withering in the flames of undelivered promises and empty words. A tsunami of change is needed to save it.

opinion april 28, 2023 A8 the falconer

EDITORIAL The expulsion of Tennessee lawmakers leaves a wound in our democracy

To think an act of civil protest would result in the severe expulsions and censorship of elected U.S. political representatives appeared to be nothing but a sheer impossibility. However, as we witness the glaring divide over topics like abortion access, gun violence and LGBTQ+ rights throughout the federal government as of late, there no longer seems to be any guarantee of legitimate democracy.

On March 30, Tennessee State Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson sparked a protest from the House floor calling for gun reform laws in the wake of the recent school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, which killed six people, including three children.

A week later, Jones and Pearson, the chamber’s two youngest black representatives, were put on trial before being expelled from their House seats due to a violation of decorum rules during their protest. Meanwhile, Johnson, a white woman, narrowly escaped expulsion.

Even before their expulsions, Jones and Pearson had established themselves as two prominent and outspoken leaders in the Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives, combining to represent over 130,000 constituents.

The protest was meant to be a powerful statement of opposition to the relentless waves of shootings and a call for legislative change to prevent further gun violence – the leading cause of child and teenager deaths in the U.S., according to CNN – through civil protest, a First Amendment right. However, it slowly devolved into a partisan movement filled with baseless accusations, with parts of the Republican-dominated chamber arguing the act “did

knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.”

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, a deeply concerning trend of U.S. citizens’ ideals and rights being silenced and overturned by a minority of opposing politicians has followed. From the growing movement banning the abortion medication of mifepristone to the ceaseless waves of legislation espousing more lenient gun laws or educational censorship, there appears to be no end to this war on democracy. The same politicians oppose solutions to gun violence, concurrently proposing legislation arming teachers in classrooms or lowering the required age for gun permits.

Enough is enough.

The decision from a minority of Republican politicians to oust the two Tennessee representatives constitutes a suppression of their very constituents. For that disagreement to arise in the House and lead to complete censorship of the people’s opinions undermines the self-governance the U.S. prides itself on and corrodes the democratic tenets that predicate the country. It certainly highlights that the core values of democracy are assailed, vulnerable and unprotected.

The expulsion of Jones and Pearson sets an extremely dangerous precedent for other representatives and politicians to hinder the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech and protest. Not only does this act of political partisanship unshelve the sanctity of democracy, but it instills a sense of fear and threat within politicians in opposition party-controlled legislatures and deters any future uprisings of justice in these houses.

Jones and Pearson have been reinstated, with much more national recognition and following. Their outcome symbolizes the truth of the disconnect and division between the youth generations and the Republican party itself.

According to a Harvard Youth Poll, 63% of youth adults of varying education, race and gender backgrounds support stricter gun control laws. The perpetual agenda for the Republican party to express their opposition toward the same values that today’s generation will forever hold on to reveals the disproportion they currently face.

This constriction of youth voices ignited a swift and unified response across the country, sparking outrage until the two representatives were reinstated.

It is impossible for any politician to experience the same fear and anxiety children and teenagers experience

issue that ends the lives of countless American children has become so politically divisive that representatives


whenever a school shooting occurs. Politicians cannot see themselves in the shoes of a victim of a school shooting like the youth of our society can. Their decisions to align in stubborn support of their party’s beliefs of extending gun rights while lives are imperiled on a daily basis marks a reality far too long accepted. Though the upcoming generation still has to wait to take to the stands to represent their ideals and beliefs, change seems to be imminent.

Though there may exist a divide between supporters of different parties over gun legislation, there must be a recognition that human lives exceed any form of economic gain or party support. A true generational shift in our country’s positions of power is the key to unlocking the bipartisanship and progressiveness that will bring fair representation and tangible movement in the nation.

I certainly hope so, but so many politicians have

3710 Del Mar Heights Road San Diego, CA 92130

PHONE: (858) 755-0125 x2245

FAX: (858) 523-0794

E-MAIL: falconer.ads@gmail.com

WEBSITE: www.tphsfalconer.com

The Falconer is the student newspaper of Torrey Pines High School. Its content, which is the responsibility of the Falconer staff, is not subject to


Jacob Zhang

Helene Gao

Jerry Wu

Natalia Mochernak

Anna Opalsky

Rami Kabakibi

Caroline Hunt

Kathryn Reese

Adriana Hazlett

Michele Kim

Cole Frost

Regan Guirguis

David Zhang

Maddy Miller

Martin Lee

Hannah Meltzer

Macy Swortwood

Sophia Gorba

Makaylah Gerling

Joy Ma

Elsa Goodman

Liv Weaver

Lexi Lamb

Cassandra Love

Ellie Koff

Eric Lee


Mia Boardman Smith

opinion tphsfalconer.com the falconer A9
I think it’s horrible that an
administrative approval. Unsigned editorials represent the opinions of the staff, while opinion columns represent the writer’s perspective. Advertisements do not represent endorsements. The Falconer, an open forum, welcomes signed letters or guest editorials on pertinent issues from the TPHS community, which may be submitted to room 102, via email at falconer.ads@gmail.com or to Mia Smith’s mailbox in the administration building. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.
Assistant Editors-in-Chief Copy Editor News Editor Opinion Editor Feature Editors Entertainment Editors Sports Editors Backpage Editor Staff Writers
We, the Falconer staff, are dedicated to creating a monthly
with the intent of encouraging independent thinking, expanding our knowledge of journalism, and providing the TPHS
body and community with a truthful, unbiased news source, in accordance with our First Amendment rights.
student voices
1. What are your thoughts on the expulsion of the two Tennessee representatives?
Given the polarization of American politics, do you think gun violence will ever be adequately addressed?
advertisements april 28, 2023 A10 the falconer DEL MAR - 2652 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, California 92014 858-866-9599 K-12 TUTORING & TEST PREP ONLINE & IN CENTER READING. WRITING. MATH. STUDY SKILLS. SUBJECT TUTORING 1-800 CAN LEARN HuntingtonHelps.com Personalized Attention. Proven Results. GET RESULTS WITH HUNTINGTON’S INDIVIDUALIZED SAT ®/ACT ® PREP PROGRAM Huntington helps students build the skills and confidence to ace the test! ©2021 Huntington Mark, LLC. Independently Owned and Operated. *Not valid with any other offers. **Grade level results are based on cumulative average grade level increases in reading and math for 17,445 students from 2010-2014 using the full set of available student data. ***Results are based on surveys of 3,289 Huntington students graduating in 2019, using their initial Huntington Academic Evaluation and final SAT/ACT test score. HLC4235.3 REACH YOUR SAT/ACT GOALS AND GET COLLEGE READY WITH HUNTINGTON! Higher test scores will help you stand out amongst your peers when applying to college and achieve success. Prep now to increase your college options and scholarship Need more academic help? We offer tutoring in: SAVE $100 ON AN ACADEMIC EVALUATION (VALUED AT $195) DEL MAR • 2652 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, California 92014 • 858-866-9599 TUTORING & TEST PREP IN-CENTER OR ONLINE 1-800 CAN LEARN HuntingtonHelps.com Personalized Attention. Proven Results. AVERAGE INCREASES on SAT score** on ACT score in scholarship offers** GET RESULTS WITH HUNTINGTON’S INDIVIDUALIZED SAT ®/ACT ® PREP PROGRAM Huntington helps students build the skills and confidence to ace the test! ©2021 Huntington Mark, LLC. Independently Owned and Operated. *Not valid with any other offers. **Grade level results are based on cumulative average grade level increases in reading and math for 17,445 students from 2010-2014 using the full set of available student data. ***Results are based on surveys of 3,289 Huntington students graduating in 2019, using their initial Huntington Academic Evaluation and final SAT/ACT test score. HLC4235.3 REACH YOUR SAT/ACT GOALS AND GET COLLEGE READY WITH HUNTINGTON! Higher test scores will help you stand out amongst your peers when applying to college and achieve success. Prep now to increase your college options and scholarship dollars. Call today! Need more academic help? We offer tutoring in: Algebra • Geometry • Sciences AP Exams • Study Skills • and more SAVE $100 ON AN ACADEMIC EVALUATION (VALUED AT $195) DEL MAR • 2652 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, California 92014 • 858-866-9599 229 POINT INCREASE 5.4 POINT INCREASE $71,149 PER STUDENT TUTORING & TEST PREP IN-CENTER OR ONLINE AVERAGE INCREASES At Play Occupational Therapy Services Inc. is a full service private practice that supports students who have difficulty with handwriting, activities of daily living, sensory processing, self-regulation, visual spatial skills, and fine and gross motor delays. Lulu Nails for a quality set of nails done by licensed professionals in a relaxing spa experience where you are guaranteed to unwind Book your appointment today! (858)-924-8222 Del Mar Highlands Shopping

olivia bogert olivia bogert

first-time falcons

In a world full of uncertainties, students know school is a constant. As leaders of the classroom, teachers have high expectations for students while simultaneously demonstrating empathy and support. This wellkept balance is especially prominent in teachers new to the profession.

“In third grade I had a teacher, Mr. Redding,” Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3 teacher Annie Polan said. “I loved him so much; he was so kind and I remember from that point on think[ing], ‘I could be like Mr. Redding.’”

Polan, who has been teaching for two years, began her journey at the University of California Santa Barbara studying economics and accounting. An accounting job seemed to lie ahead. However, Polan did not find her calling on this pathway so a family member convinced her to go into tech. That also feel not quite right.

“It kept eating at me that I was not doing something I actually wanted to be doing,” Polan said.

After a few years in the tech world, Polan decided to take a leap and got her teaching credential from California State University San Marcos.

with reading and writing, but I was interested in the justice and legal system,” Bogert said. “I was always involved in helping [kids] learn different activities.”

Moving into education after graduating from CSUSM credential program, she began her first semester of student teaching at Escondido High School and spent her second semester at her alma mater, LCC.

“[Working at my former high school] was a unique experience,” Bogert said. “[I got to see] teachers in a different light”

Once in her own classroom, she continued supporting her students both inside and outside of school.

“I loved getting involved … going to sporting events and dances and really trying to get to know the community of the school I was teaching at,” Bogert said.

Bogert’s empathetic nature continues to inspire her students.

“She keeps her students engaged in the class and motivates them to succeed,”

annie polan

annie polan

She began working under Kristin Sandy as a student teacher at TPHS the same year the pandemic broke loose. Through this obstacle she kept her positivity.

“I knew that [virtual learning] was not going to [last] forever … I am not a quitter so I could not give up right away,” Polan said.

In her classes Polan preaches the ability to think critically and push through adversities — life skills she believes will prove invaluable to her students even after they no longer need the formulas and mathematical laws she teaches.

“She very equally [values] academics and connecting with the students’ social life,” former Integrated Math 3 student Ava Wehlage (12) said. “This makes sure that the students are aware she cares about them but she also cares about their grade and passing her class.”

Polan’s professional path was not always clear, but the effect she has on others makes it clear she chose wisely.

“You get to make an impact big or small on a lot of people’s lives,” Polan said. “And it is fun. Teenagers are funny; they keep you on your toes.”

jeana crossland jeana crossland

Autumn Bellenbaum (11), a current student said.

While some individuals found their way into teaching, others knew it was for them from the start. For Jeana Crossland, who has been teaching for four years and started working at TPHS this year, her destiny was set at age five.

“When I was little, I had a desk that my grandma and grandpa would let me play school at,” Crossland said.

This dream further crystallized as Crossland made her way through school.

“When I was in ninth grade I met my future basketball coach [who was then a] social studies teacher,” Crossland said. “I knew then that was what I wanted to do.”

Before starting her student teaching she worked as a substitute teacher, knowing she wanted to get her foot through the door as soon as possible.

“I just knew that was what I wanted to do,” Crossland said. “And even when I am stressed and tired, and worried about grades and lesson planning, I have the good days that make up for all the stress.”

Switching the calculator for a pen, fourth-year teacher Olivia Bogert currently teaches AP English Literature and English 11 College Prep. As a former La Costa Canyon High School Maverick, she traded in her horns for Falcon wings two years ago. This was not the first time she has made a big change; she double majored in English and political science on the prelaw track at the University of Washington before realizing it was not for her.

“I knew I wanted to do something

Crossland’s authenticity inspires aspiring teachers such as Lillie Rietman (12) who takes Crossland’s sociology class.

“The connection she has with her students is really great and I hope to have that with my class,” Rietman said.

With their passion and fresh perspectives, TPHS’s newest teachers, especially, have a unique ability to inspire students to go into teaching. Just as Polan once knew she wanted to be like her teacher Mr. Redding, new teachers can become the role models for the next generation of teachers.


hen Russia invaded Ukraine in March of 2022, Natasha Novoradovskaya, a San Diego resident with family in Ukraine, could think of only one thing: the eyes of her niece, Masha.

“When the bombing started, each night [my family] had to go to the basement of their fivestory building to the very cold basement and sit there for hours,” Novoradovskaya said. “I remember the photo that Marina sent me of Masha with very scared eyes, very cold in all winter clothes. It was so sad to see them like this. So we had to figure out a way to take them out of there from this nightmare.”

When Novoradovskaya received the heartbreaking image of her family members hiding in the basement of their home in Ukraine, she felt the overwhelming need to get her family to safety. The Yershov family began working with their relative, Novoradovskaya and the program Uniting for Ukraine, to get the Yershovs out of Ukraine and to safety in the U.S. as quickly as possible. The program, created on April 21, 2022 by the Biden administration, provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens to stay temporarily in the United States, provided they have a sponsor here.

“There was no way for them to come until the Uniting for Ukraine program started to work. As soon as the program started to work I needed to be cleared for sponsorship,” Novoradovskaya said.

In May of 2022, the Yershov family began working with the Uniting for Ukraine program to get Novoradovskaya approved as the sponsor for their family. Under the program, sponsors like Novoradovskaya are required to raise $2,275 per refugee, create a plan for the

refugee and pass background checks.

“It took maybe 10 days for the whole process to be approved. The Uniting for Ukraine program was very easy to use and it works very fast,” Novoradovskaya said.

Soon the Yershov family was planning its journey out of Ukraine, but the decision to leave was nowhere as easy as the approval process. At the end of the day, leaving Ukraine went beyond the necessary forms and documentation; leaving Ukraine would mean leaving behind their home and their lives up until then.

“It was really hard to make a decision to leave behind my mother and grandmother.” Yershov said through a translator, “They would


“This was very scary for them. It was very dangerous,” Novoradovskaya said.

The Yershov family made their journey from Poland to Los Angeles where they were picked up by Novoradovskaya and her husband and brought to their home here in San Diego.

Once in the U.S., there were many things to figure out in order to ensure that the Yershov family would be able to live comfortably. One of the biggest sources of assistance during this time was the Jewish Family Services, who helped the Yershovs adapt to life in the U.S.. Temple Solel, a synagogue located in Encinitas that works closely with JFS, decided to take the Yershov family under its wing.

“We feel safe and supported here. The community here is very friendly,” Yershov said through a translator.

Temple Solel has helped provide the family with a phone, clothes and food and has also assisted in finding them an apartment and jobs. They also encouraged the Yershov family to attend college classes and helped enroll their daughter in a local elementary school.

not be able to leave the country because my grandmother was in really bad shape.”

Leaving behind loved ones was not the only challenge of coming to the U.S. though. They had to drive from their house in the East through the whole country to the West during the war in order to get to the

Uniting for Ukraine has provided families like the Yershovs with quick approval to become legal refugees in the US, while also aiding them in finding resources they can use to become independent in a short period of time. In just a few months, the Yershov family was able to escape their freezing basement and arrive in warm, sunny San Diego with family to support them.

Uniting for the Yershovs

I remember the photo that Marina sent me of Masha with very scared eyes, very cold in all winter clothes ... So we had to figure out a way to take them out of there from this nightmare.
feature april 28, 2023 A12 the falconer
Natasha Novoradovskaya SAN DIEGO RESIDENT

Teaching and Learning

Childhood nostalgia is a smile and wave from a librarian, the smell of an old classroom, a picnic table nestled in a playground.

Twice a week, those memories greet teacher aides, who say goodbye to TPHS and hello to campuses out of their past.

The Teaching and Learning program, a class that introduces students to teaching through on-site experience at local elementary and middle schools, is a unique experience for all involved, from the TPHS teacher aides to the primary school students.

Sam Riddle (12) is a teacher aide in a third grade class at Solana Highlands Elementary School, a campus she called home nearly a decade ago.

“It’s just so weird to go back and be like, ‘Oh, that’s not as long a walk as I thought it was’ or ‘This teacher isn’t as scary as I thought,’” Riddle said.

While it may have been disorienting at first, a greeting from her old librarian reoriented her to the campus.

Visiting her classroom twice a week to spend a lesson, snack and recess with her students, Riddle is joined by Emmy MacRae (12), another teacher aide at Solana Highlands in a second-grade class.

Like Riddle, MacRae attended Solana Highlands herself, even working with a student aide from a local high school when she was in third grade. Returning to the campus in her last year at TPHS, the familiar smell of the campus marked this full-circle moment and brought reflections of her own childhood.

“It’s nice to work with kids one on one because … it’s a fresh perspective on life,” MacRae said. “It’s very optimistic to see the world that they’re going to go into and to see them grow up.”

Not only did MacRae return to her old campus, but she also works with her former elementary school teacher, Christine Murphy, who has partnered with local high schools in

teaching programs for more than a decade.

“The positive energy that the high schoolers bring into the classroom and the excitement of the kids, it changes the tone of the classroom,” Murphy said. “It’s a little perk for everybody involved.”

With this warm welcome from their students, TPHS teacher aides are able to observe the classroom environment beyond academics.

from school is when we were in school,” Leahy said. “I think [Teaching and Learning] teaches students a lot about the education system.”

Taking on this new role in the classroom, TPHS students in the Teaching and Learning class spend the beginning of the year familiarizing themselves with learning styles and child development.

“If you demand work from [younger students], they might do it once but they might not do it the next time,” Kameron Scott (12), who works with a third grade class at Carmel Creek Elementary School, said. “You have to be nice with them and have patience.”

While TPHS students serve their elementary school counterparts, that time in the classroom is mutually beneficial; multiple student teachers say they have adjusted their own learning patterns after observing how primary school students learn best.

“I think [the elementary school students] see a teenager as a … celebrity,” Murphy said.

For MacRae, this celebrity status has earned her the title of math virtuoso.

“‘What kind of math do you do?’” MacRae recounted the students asking. “‘Can you do two plus two?’ They think up ‘really crazy’ math questions, but they’re always something random.”

For Riddle, her celebrity status has attracted questions about high school.

“They’ll ask me how my school is going and what it’s like to be in high school and what homework is like,” Riddle said.

Between these questions, there is never an idle moment. The teacher aides lead games on the playground, guide students through worksheets, and grade papers for teachers.

“I have more appreciation for the thought that goes into every assignment,” Riddle said.

Lynn Leahy, who teaches the Teaching and Learning class, said this behind-the-scenes look at education is a benefit of the course.

“The only experience that we have

“I’ve tried to focus a lot more in class,” MacRae said. “I was always like ‘I can be a little off task and still get all my work done.’ But now I … just get to work.”

Most of all, the course provides students with career experience.

“I have kids who take this class and say ‘I never even want to have kids’ and I have kids who take this class and say ‘This is what I want to do,’” Leahy said, noting that she has also seen the course inspire careers in speech pathology and occupational therapy.

Regardless of whether they plan to return to the classroom after graduation, TPHS teacher aides reflect on their year fondly.

“I could have taken another science class, but I’ve already sat at a desk for seven periods a day for three years,” Scott said. “I wanted to do something active and on my feet and get real life skills. If you are looking for a unique class, take this class.”

feature tphsfalconer.com the falconer A13
I wanted to do something active and on my feet and get real life skills. If you are looking for a unique class, take this class.””
Kameron Scott STUDENT
advertisements arpril 28, 2023 A14 the falconer
advertisements the falconer A15 tphsfalconer.com


Lights illuminate every inch of the sky as drones zip through the air above. Below, what once was grass has since been turned into dirt from the footprints of hundreds of people. Creative energy floods the air as art installations and people in fun outfits pass by. Nearby, loud music and screams reach across the festival grounds.

One of the biggest annual events, Coachella, is a music and arts festival attended by artists, celebrities and ordinary people alike, including many TPHS students.

One of these students, Chloe Lam (12), attended the first weekend of the festival.

“There was always so much going on, and there are so many things to do and see at the festival itself,” Lam said. “The weekend itself was super chaotic and although it was definitely exhausting, it was so fun. [The best part] was getting to see so many of my favorite artists in one weekend.”

Some of the artists that performed at Coachella were Bad Bunny, The Kid Laroi, Kali Uchis, Frank Ocean, Gorillaz and Labrinth (who also brought on Billie Eilish) and many more, all of whom drew large crowds.

“I know it’s expected during a festival as big as Coachella, but there are always people pushing and shoving; especially during a performance, it gets super stuffy and tiring,” Lam said.

However, the culture of Coachella includes more than just the music; it is also known for the parade of outfits people come up with. For Tatum Loseke (11), dressing up was one of her favorite parts of the whole experience.

“You can literally wear whatever you want, and the creative freedom gives me the opportunity to show up and out every year,” Loseke said.

Another reason people go to Coachella each year is to get exposure to new music.

“This year I was with [my friend] and so we kind of just went where we wanted,” Keith said. “We got to know new music, which was great because now I’m listening to new people.”

As eventful and exciting as many students find Coachella, others may be hesitant to attend due to its reputation for drug use and frequent mishaps. This year, there were many complaints concerning late artists, overcrowding and the intense heat. Other problems included Frank Ocean pulling out of his second headlining Coachella show —

something many fans were furious about.

“I do understand how [personal] issues may have restricted, but I think by agreeing to headline, an artist is kinda just agreeing to show up on time and actually perform,” Lam said.

However, not everyone was disappointed.

“The Skrillex x Fred Again x Four Tet set was only announced Thursday since Frank Ocean dropped out, so that was a surprise,” Loseke said. “I was super happy about it because I like those three much more than I do Frank Ocean, and it’s always good to end Sunday on a high note with dancing and high energy.”

Savannah Keith (11), who has been to Coachella twice, thinks that Coachella does not deserve the “bad rap” it gets.

“It’s really chill, and everyone is nice,” she said. “Even if you’re in the middle of a bunch of people seeing someone popular and you’re at the front, you’re not that squished, and everyone is really conscientious. You’re not worried that anything bad is going to happen to you, and I feel like it’s really safe because there is security everywhere.”

This is not to say there are no safety concerns to address when planning to attend Coachella.

“If you go, make sure to keep everything on you and be super aware of your surroundings. A lot of my group was getting lost and a few people lost their phones and bags, [which is] not unlikely at a festival,” Lam said.

Another thing to think about when considering attendance is the overpriced food and the overall expenditure. Fries cost around $20 and drinks cost around $15, according to Lam.

“I think it’s worth it if you really like the lineup because you don’t want to spend all that money on food, accommodations, the ticket itself and everything else,” Lam said.

Yet even when concerns are taken into account, students recommend the experience of Coachella to others.

“I think if you really like music, not even just the people there but just getting to know new music, it is definitely the place to be … I love it, everyone that I know that has gone has loved it — including me last year as a sophomore and my parents who were 50 — so it’s for all ages,” Keith said.


advertisements the falconer A17 tphsfalconer.com CERTIFIED AND NON-PROFIT OPERATES YEAR-ROUND ARTISANS FOOD COURT • LIVE MUSIC • ARTS & CRAFTS OCEAN VIEWS • FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE Saturdays 12 -4 pm Rain or shine Del Mar Civic Center 1050 Camino del Mar FREE Parking in Garage @delmar_farmersmarket 858-751-2221 Near Jimbo’s and Skydeck World-class general and cosmetic dentistry $199 New Patient Special Refer a friend for $50 TEETH WHITENING $150 OFF 5600 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego, CA Phone: (858) 459-1200 Email: elcaminoflowershop@rocketmail.com Wrist Corsages, Boutonnieres and Body Flowers! Call or stop by our shop today!

Live-action Disney’s Live-action Remakes


A twinkling star lights up the blue night. A train crosses a bridge above a winding river. A flag flies high atop a castle as fireworks light up the night. As the iconic Disney movie intro starts to play, live-action characters appear on screen, shattering the magic of the animated original.

Disney’s classic animated films are treasured by people across many generations. They are so iconic that in theory, revamping them seems like a no-brainer — but it is still unclear whether or not the movies have been done justice in their liveaction forms. Live-action films, for the most part, do not measure up to their animated counterparts because they become less watchable for children, and the animals and inanimate objects talking does not work. On the whole, they are typically unnecessary downgrades of the original animated version, although they do occasionally offer a new perspective on these traditional films and include very modern elements.

The original version of “The Lion King” was released in 1994, and the hand-drawn lions allowed audiences to watch the vibrantly colored animals in the Pridelands. Its live-action counterpart, on the other hand, features the true roaring lions that one associates with the African savannah, and they make the graphics of the story less suitable for younger audiences. In particular, when Simba’s dad dies, it appears that an actual lion lies on the ground, unmoving. Further, having realistic animals talking on screen is strange and does not translate as well as the cartoon version does. Animals in real life do not speak English, so it is unclear why Disney thought that this concept would work in the live-action “The Lion King.” To rub salt in the wound, it also was not cheap for the mediocre results that the live-action produced, as it cost an estimated $260 million to create the liveaction “The Lion King,” released in 2019.

Many young children also grew up watching the brown-haired

bookworm princess in a yellow gown with her entourage of dancing silverware. In live-action form, however, some of these concepts are not appealing. While the computer-generated version of Beast in “Beauty and the Beast”’ is remarkably well done, the dancing candelabra and cutlery are very out of place and create an uncomfortably hallucinatory scene that is both

form but in its live-action counterpart, “Cruella,” it is even stranger. With this realism comes more harsh emotions than the cartoon version, especially when Cruella becomes angry when things do not go her way. While these plots are not exactly alike, they feature similar characters and ideals; additionally, there are more advanced ideas such as homelessness and theft. The movie’s rating is PG-13, whereas “101 Dalmatians” is for all audiences. However, what is done exceptionally well in “Cruella,” released in 2021, is the music, which does not even come close to comparing to “101 Dalmatians,” with songs such as “Call Me Cruella” by Florence and the Machine, an original, and “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” by Nancy Sinatra. Still, even the music can be a bit unsuitable for young children as it is more moody with a rock-and-roll twist that can eliminate a certain watchership.

bizarre and unwelcome. The live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 2017, is very different from the animated version because of the CGI effects involved. Creating Beast took a whole team that had to be on set as well as adding on the visual effects after the filming. The actor who played Beast, Dan Stevens, essentially played his part twice. First, he walked on stilts and in a big suit to make him look the size of Beast. Then, he would go through the scenes a second time and these two versions would be overlaid to create the final result. None of this was cheap, according to the New York Times, which estimated that the project cost $300 million. The cartoon beast, many kids could handle, but seeing him climbing through his castle and into the dark dungeon looking like a true beast from one’s nightmares is much more frightening. Parents likely would not want their six year olds watching that.

“101 Dalmatians,” released in 1961, features an eccentric woman who kidnaps many, many puppies; this idea is already odd in its caricature

In April of 2023, Disney announced that “Moana” was also going to be converted to a live-action movie. While there are some things that Disney has done right with these movies— such as their soundtracks and special effects— there are also a great number of concerns with this particular movie. When Moana tries to “go beyond the reef” in her boat for the first time in the animated version, she is plunged underwater and her foot becomes caught in coral. In the animation, this may already be slightly frightening for younger audiences, but with a real-looking girl, this could be downright terrifying if it is not done carefully.

In under a month, the live-action movie “The Little Mermaid” is set for release. In a teaser from Disney, waves the size of small mountains and realistic coral reefs are featured, along with a mermaid played by actress Halle Bailey. Nowhere was there any imagery of Flounder, Ariel’s fish friend, which would be very strange if a real fish was involved as a fish talking would be out there, not to mention hard to pull off. Ursula, who is usually considered the villain in Ariel’s story, was also not shown, and this character in CGI could be frightening for children. Disney fans will find out how Disney worked through these issues on May 26, 2023.

Overall, live-action movies fall short of their original, animated versions: the talking animals or inanimate objects are strange, they are less suitable for young audiences and they retell the same old story in a less enthralling way.

entertainment april 28, 2023 A18 the falconer
The Falconer examines and reviews Disney’s recent trend of remaking their beloved animated films, including “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as upcoming “The Little Mermaid” and “Peter Pan & Wendy.”
Though they do occasionally offer a new perspective on traditional films and include unique, interesting elements, on the whole, they are unecessary downgrades of the original animated version.”

Master of Ceremonies

Jason Nguyen (12) shuffled onstage April 19 to kick off the night’s Student Showcase, introducing a host of musical performances by TPHS students to an enthusiastic audience.

A student-led performance, the Student Showcase gave students with musical talent a spotlight to show their stuff.

Beginning at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, it was immediately apparent that this show would be a fun one. Though the audience was somewhat small, the front rows were packed to the brim with excited students, parents and music fans, sharing encouragement, laughter and even some friendly ridicule with the performers.

Perhaps that communal environment is what made some of TPHS’s most talented hidden stars come out — most notably the composers of a collection of original compositions. The first original song came from Addi Romero (11), with a classically tragic love song entitled “The Way It Was Before.” Romero’s performance, with a tap of her foot and a gentle strum on the guitar, was truly a wonder to see.

Another marvel of the show was the trio of songs written and sung by Raisa Tuxerxan (10), whose deep, powerful vocals overlaid the skilled

piano playing of Annie Wu (12). Tuxerxan’s original songs: “At Least,” is a powerful ballad of emotive vocal fluctuations; “Chem-Is-Die,” an unapologetically apologetic song bemoaning the stress of chemistry classes on TPHS students that included the line, “Sorry Mr. Rall for writing this song”; and “Wait,” a jazzy, gritty ode to a love lost with vocals evoking Fiona Apple.

The cover songs played, in addition to TPHS originals, were consistently jaw-dropping. Pillar of the TPHS arts community, Libby Bezdek (12) started the show with a bang, switching nearly effortlessly between Broadway baby vocal stylings, operatic belting and contagious scatting in her rendition of “The Girl in 14G” by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan. Enhancing the performance was her playful banter with pianist Edison Choy (12), whose seamless playing was only enhanced by his casual “Yeah” in response to Bezdek’s exclamation “That felt good!”

Bezdek finished the show with “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak over the lone violin of Anthony Kim (9). Another stunning performance was the simple, oh-so-sweet rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Ours” by Nethra Mahendran (11). Playing a small acoustic nylon string guitar alongside her enchanting, folksy vocals, Mahendran’s performance embodied a stroll through a grassy field, a perfect homage to Swift.

But one group cannot be forgotten: the musicians — perhaps best represented by the

murmur “This is our moment to shine” spoken by violinists Caden Jiang (11), Jaemin Kwak (11) and violist Eric Kim (11) as they stood up to perform. The musical talent displayed in the Student Showcase was no surprise given how successful the music department has been this year. (The orchestra just last weekend won a “Gold” rating.) Jiang, Kwak, Kim and pianist Justin Pan’s (11) performance of “Merry Go Round of Life” by Joe Hisaishi truly felt like a journey through one’s life, from the somber pits to the jaunty peaks. Kayley Kang’s (11) “Flute Concerto in D Major,” accompanied by her mother Sunah Chang on piano, made the fluttery flute shine in a way not often heard.

Sneha Lele’s (10) “Andante and Allegro” by J.E. Barat on euphonium, backed by Gene Stone (11) on the piano, turned, no matter how briefly, the TPHS PAC into a moody jazz club. And appropriately met by gasps and cheers as she brought out her bench, Velana Valdez’s (12) grace on the harp, as she played “Rhapsodie” by Marcel Grandjany, was simply magical, her fingers causing ripples through the instrument like petals falling on some magical pond. All in all, this showcase was a pure expression of the talents and passions of TPHS. From Wu’s chunky combat boots delicately pressing piano pedals, to the commitment Music Department head Amy Gelb shows her students, the Student Showcase was chock-full of talent, community and fun.


entertainment tphsfalconer.com the falconer A19

Calling all Falcons! Now is your chance to get behind the wheel

Who we are and what we do:

Teaching an individual how to drive is a huge responsibility that molds upcoming and future generations on the road. Here at Poway Driving School we offer flexible scheduling that works around school, sports, events and more. Since 1982, families have been trusting our school to create structured lessons provided by a team of extremely patient, knowledgeable instructors who help students pass their behind the wheel test and become responsible drivers. Our instructors are qualified, fully background checked and licensed by the state of California. We provide vehicles equipped with a second foot brake and an extra set of mirrors, so you never have to feel out of control. Whether you are nervous to start or have a tight schedule to manage, now is the time to call us, so we can guide you in the right direction and kickstart your driving journey today!

➢ Flexible online drivers education course available for $39.99

➢ One lesson = Two hours

➢ Pick up and drop off at home or school

➢ High passing rate

➢ Experienced, friendly instructors

➢ Serving Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Rancho Penasquitos, 4S Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Poway, Sabre Springs, Scripps Ranch and surrounding areas.

advertisements april 28, 2023 A20 falconer
Scan the QR code to sign up on our website, or give us a call at (858)
to get started! Don’t forget to mention our code “FALCON20” to receive the Falcon Rate Discount! Falcon
Rate : $425 / 3 lessons (6 hours total)
: $445)

TPHS boy’s tennis defeats La Jolla Country Day

The TPHS Falcons boys varsity tennis team trounced the La Jolla Country Day School Torreys 11-7 in their first round of Open Division CIFs on April 18.

As Coach Abby Bacharach began peeling off the metal seal from the can of balls moments before the game, the air around the Falcons was already thick with tension. The boys huddled around for their pre-game traditional chant — a caveman-like, guttural “huh” that grows louder and louder as they sway their bodies side to side. An honorary senior stands in the middle,

“We are TP!” he interjects. “One, two, three…”

Their voices join together in unison for the last part:


The boys break up and head to their respective courts: Robert Freedman (11) first singles, Nico Bohrer (12) at second and Donatas Chachisvilis (12) at third. Each boy will play one sixgame set against each of the top three singles players at LJCDS.

Freedman was expected to have a decently difficult first round match against LJCDS’ top player. The Torreys, however, utilized a somewhat unexpected and fruitless strategy of having their best player play at number two, thus facing off against Bohrer first and Freedman only second.

Though outmatched ranking-wise, Bohrer put up a good fight, employing a variety of unconventional shots from slices to net game, trying to throw him off. He lost 3-6, but his classy attitude was a win for the Falcons.

Freedman cruised through his first round with a 6-0 win over the Torreys’ number two player, while Chachisvilis, nursing a shoulder injury

that obstructed his ability to serve, scraped by with a 6-4 victory.

Bohrer and Chachisvilis both lamented the fact that many of the Falcons top players were absent from CIFs due to illnesses, injuries and more.

“We have some of the best talent, but we’re struggling a bit because they are gone,” Bohrer said.

Their fears were not without substance — what should have been an easy win for the Falcons actually came pretty tight.

At the end of the first round the Falcons were leading 4-2, after a number one 6-4 doubles win by Anirudha Rajesh Rao (11) and Daniel Shafer (12), and a 6-1 win by Robert Kleege (10) and Alejandro Astiz (9). Third doubles, Jeffrey Xia (12) and Evan Zeichner (10), though, suffered a 1-6 defeat.

“You caught us on our worst day,” Zeichner said.

Moving into the second round, Freedman’s match against LJCDS’ top player got off to a rocky 0-3 start. Freedman struggled to get his lefty forehand angled enough to his opponent’s weaker backhand, and so he was able to attack consistently and deeply with his forehand. The fight, however, was long from over. With determination and lots of self-talk, Freedman was able to comeback and win the match 6-4, his wonky sidespin and extreme consistency annoying his opponent to his wit’s end.

At first doubles, Rao and Shafer were trailing behind LJCDS’ second doubles, a match-up that should not have caused them as much trouble as it did. Though Rao and Shafer had nice hands at the net and balanced chemistry, their sporadic double faults and plentiful shanks led to a loss of 5-7.

Bohrer won his second

round 6-0 and Chachisvilis lost 3-6. Xia and Zeichner dropped another set while Kleege and Astiz bageled their opponents, bringing the second round score to 3 all. Though the Falcons remained ahead at 7-5 total, the tied second round brought heightened anxiety.

Coach Bacharach, however, remained cool and


Though technically an individual sport, the boys’ bond and support of each other is what led to their 4-2 finish in the final round. Though Bohrer and Chachisvilis lost their last singles, Freedman clinched a 6-0 win. The Falcons finished off with a full doubles sweep to seal the deal.

Natalia Mochernak COPY EDITOR Donatas Chachisvilis (12): New Girl Nico Bohrer (12): South Park PHOTO COURTSEY OF ABBY BACHARACH ON THE RETURN: Nico Bohrer returns the ball against Dylan Patterson. Bohrer has played an integral role for the team. SERVING HIS SHOT: Donatas Chachisvillis serves his first serve in his match againstTyler Stein. Chachisvillis won 6-3. Anirudha Rajesh Rao (11): The Boys PHOTO BY NATALIA MOCHERNAK PHOTO BY NATALIA MOCHERNAK

Jeffrey Owen, a social science teacher at TPHS, has been running and swimming competitively since he was 10 years old. He attributes his introduction to racing to the Junior Lifeguards “Stud Ironman” race – an annual competition held in Long Beach consisting of a five-mile run and a three-mile swim.

“I knew that I loved it from the very beginning,” he said. “It’s just stayed with me ever since.”

The now 41 year old ran his first triathlon during his junior year at UC San Diego. Since then, he has run, swum and cycled his way through Ironman races in Mexico, Austria, New York and Arizona. The Ironman is a race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run. It tests not only an athlete’s fitness of body, but also sharpness of mind, as the race can take upwards of 10 hours to complete.

In order to prepare for his races, Owen swam every day, biked 300 miles a week and ran at least 50 miles a week. While he may no longer be participating in full Ironman races, Owen frequently competes in smaller Southern California races like the Campagnolo Gran Fondo and the Oceanside Half Ironman.

“Everyone’s more supportive [in smaller races],” Owen said. “We’re all there to enjoy each other’s company.”

While he has spent the majority of his athletic career as a runner, swimmer and road biker, Owen is always open to new opportunities. Last year, the four-time Ironman contestant discovered a passion for yet another racing sport: mountain biking.

“Most guys go through a midlife crisis and buy a Corvette,” Owen said. “I got a big orange mountain bike.”

In recent months, he has participated in mountain biking races like the

“Whiskey 50” in Prescott, AZ and the “Filthy 50” in the San Dieguito River Park.

Above all, Owen enjoys the social aspect of mountain biking.

“There are only so many books on tape I can listen to, and it gets kind of lonely when you’re riding by yourself,” Owen said. “So it’s really nice to be able to get away and ride with a friend.”

As a full-time teacher and father of two, Owen does not yet plan to return to the full Ironman compeition.

“The idea of getting the best time is probably in the past for me,” Owen said. “Now it’s just about having fun and enjoying the adventure.”

MR. owen

Racing Through History

MR. cornforth

“I ran that and I was like, ‘Okay, that went okay.’ And then one of the running groups I was in, this guy recommended that I do the America’s Finest City half marathon,” Cornforth said.

From there, the same question would be posed over and over again.

“Everyone would ask me: what’s your next race? What’s your next race?” Cornforth said. “So every time I heard about someone’s new race, I was like, ‘well I’m going to do that and I signed up.’”

His selection of the Paris Marathon was somewhat coincidental.

“I was talking to this woman who was running the Chicago Marathon and I knew I wouldn’t be ready for that because it was in October,” he said. “Then she said she would be running Paris on April 9 which happens to be my birthday, and I was on spring break.”

Though the race was actually scheduled for April 2 and not on Cornforth’s birthday, April 9, everything else fell into place — Cornforth received his mandatory doctor’s note and signed up.

“It worked out because Paris is a beautiful city, and I love it,” he said. Cornforth spent many months training daily, including an especially grueling run by the coast that he did every Sunday.

Most people spend their birthdays eating copious amounts of cake and relaxing cozy in bed.

TPHS history teacher Colin Cornforth, however, celebrated another trip around the sun by running 26.2 miles along the Seine and down the landmark-studded cobblestone paths of Paris.

Together with 52,000 other contestants, Cornforth ran the 2023 Paris Marathon on April 2. His running journey, though, began long before the 8:45 a.m. starting gunshot in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

Cornforth began running in middle school and was part of the track and cross-country teams at Oceanside High School during his junior and senior years. After a lengthy hiatus, Cornforth’s love for the sport was rekindled about a year ago in April.

“It’s just a perfect blend of meditation and working out,” Cornforth said. “You’re focusing on body awareness and your breathing and you can get very kind of lost in that and you get a really good workout at the same time.”

His first race back was the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K in downtown San Diego, suggested by fellow history teacher Chris Drake who also participated.

Even with a hamstring strain weeks prior and a painful finish, Cornforth persevered and concluded the race with a time of 2:58:52 — an average pace of 6:44 minutes a mile. Cornforth did not just leave France with an impressive and improved time, his experience also left him with a sense of ‘joie de vivre,’ the French phrase for an exuberant enjoyment of life.

“I tried to be very present and enjoy the beauty of Paris,” he said. “Anytime there was a station with music playing and people cheering I’d stop to give a fist bump … I wanted to enjoy it.”

To celebrate his triumph, Cornforth had dinner at an Argentine Rotisserie restaurant and cheered on Messi and Mbappe at a PSG game that night.

Looking to the future, Cornforth hopes to keep growing and has a new goal of running the Boston Marathon next April – he was able to qualify with his Paris time.

“So at minimum I’ve got to keep running for a year,” he said. For other rookie runners with a desire to develop their skills, Cornforth suggests:

“Start slow. Start small.”

sports april 28, 2023 A22 the falconer
Most guys go through a midlife crisis and buy a corvette. I got a big orange mountain bike.

DAY IN THE LIFE elian vera elian vera

In the bare, echoing box of a squash court, the only sounds are shoes squeaking, the ball bouncing and hitting and the loud exhale of TPHS student Elian Vera (11) as he plays a round against his opponent. Although squash may not be a popular sport among the TPHS student population, Vera has been playing the sport since he was very young and hopes to keep playing through college.

Taking place in a 32 by 21 feet court, when players hit the ball with their rackets, the ball cannot hit below the lowest line on the front wall and must also bounce once, at most, before being hit again. Matches are in best of five sets, with each round up to 11 points.

Vera has dedicated endless hours to the sport, practicing six days a week and traveling out of state for one or two tournaments each month. His squash journey started when he was introduced to it as a toddler.

“My mom has been playing ever since she was in medical school, so she would often just bring me to the clubs and practices. We bonded through learning and playing it together,” Vera said.

With his mom’s support and his 14 years of experience, Vera has competed in many tournaments throughout his career, all through the nonprofit membership association, U.S. Squash. The organization hosts tournaments for all ages, 25 of which Vera competes in per year.

“There are Junior Championship Tournaments that only happen five times a year and have the top 32 in the nation competing, but there are also Gold Tournaments, which have 28 per year and are one level below,” Vera said. “I compete in both.”

To keep his training at a constant level, Vera connects with different coaches from around the country in order to maintain his workouts and practices as he travels and attends competitions.

“It really is beneficial to meet some coaches and get to know them because coaches for squash are a lot closer to their players than coaches for other team sports would probably be,” Vera said. “Sometimes I’ll have a good tournament in a specific area, and I’ll just fly out to wherever it is and my coach will be able to help me while I’m there. It’s all about trust and putting yourself out there as a player and individual.”

One of Vera’s coaches, Tyler Smith, lives in Washington, D.C. and has been training Vera since 2019.

“Elian is quick, dedicated and has the experience and goals to play squash at the collegiate level,” Smith said. “While he still needs to work on being patient, he is working on being more consistent with his training and dedication.”

Vera’s training sessions with Smith normally consist of solo hitting, weight

lifting routines, and private lessons for specific tactics, although both Vera and Smith are strict when it comes to his one day off for rest, as it is a necessary part of what keeps a competitive player like Vera up and running.

In addition to his rigorous workouts with Smith, Vera also practices regularly with college athlete Oli Bikhazi-Green.

“When I first started working with Elian, he was initially just a training partner, but our relationship grew into more of a wonderful friendship over time,” Bikhazi-Green said.

As their relationship has grown since meeting nearly five years ago, BikhaziGreen has seen firsthand how good Vera’s skills are in action.

“Elian is easily better than his results show. You need intelligence, coordination, speed and power; he already has a great hunger to improve beyond his talent and he’s only getting better as we push each other.”

In tournaments as competitive as squash’s are, while it is extremely important to stay fit and train, it is also necessary to prepare oneself mentally, which is a constant quest for Vera.

“The day before [a competition], I like to fall asleep at 9:30 p.m. and wake up at around 8 a.m. Then I have to get in the right mindset and be relaxed; it’s majorly important to be prepared both mentally and physically,” Vera said.

In the not-to-distant future, Vera is hoping to showcase his skills on the court in college. Until then however, his peers are there to ground him.

“In squash or anything, Elian just needs to trust himself and those around him. He has the opportunity to be the best, but more importantly, he needs to remember to have fun,” Bikhazi-Green said.

sports tphsfalconer.com the falconer A23
You need intelligence, coordination, speed and power; he [Vera] already has a great hunger to improve beyond his talent and he’s only getting better as we push each other.
Vera’s teammate

Welcome, AP Student who craves academic validation!

AP English Language

Practice Questions Avaliable: 3 out of 45 Completed

AP Computer Science

Practice Questions Avaliable: What is even on this exam?

My AP Profile:

AP United States History

Practice Questions Avaliable: In Progress

Directions: Carefully read the question and all the answer choices. There is only one answer that is considered correct, despite the other three also being factually correct.

1. Which word accurately describes the author’s tone in the passage cited above?

A) Excited

B) Jubilant

C) Overjoyed

D) Elated

2. Which noun promotes the setting in which the passage is portrayed in?

A) e Beach

B) A park adjacent to the beach

C) Coastal Sanctuary

D) e exact coordinates where the sand meets the water

3. What is the author thinking about right now?

A) Cats

B) What to make for dinner

1. How would you code the word “avocado” when replacing every vowel with the letter “C”?

A) Cvcccdc

B) Grape


D) Acovedo

2. How do coders get girls?

A) “Are you a semicolon? Cause I can’t go on without you?”

B) ey program one

C) “Are you a power button? Cause I want to turn you on.”

D) ey don’t

1. Which of the following is true regarding the Gilded Age?

A) e Met Gala portrayed it horribly

B) e population grew

C) e economy grew

D) Entertainment skyrocketed

2. Who wrote the U.S. Constitution?

A) Old men

B) Greek Gods

C) Mr. Drake

D) Alix Earle

C) eir laundry piling up at home

D) Teslas

Hey TPHS Students! Are you looking to ace your AP Exams and receive credits that may not even exempt you from a college course? Thankfully, we have provided an insightful and honest guide to help you get a five on your exam to fulfill your hunger for academic validation. Additionally, it is always important to remember that every single answer is basically identical , so you just have to take a shot in the dark and choose the one that is seemingly the most correct. Good luck!

backpage april 28, 2023 A24 the falconer
< > apclassroom.collegeboard.org

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.