Falconer May/June 2023 Issue

Page 7

The search is over

SDUHSD board unanimously selects new superintendent

Following a five-month search, the SDUHSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Anne Staffieri (‘86) as the new SDUHSD superintendent at a board meeting on May 17.

Staffieri’s four-year contract will officially begin on July 18.

Since April 2022, Tina Douglas, the district’s former Associate Superintendent of Business Services, has served as interim superintendent. Douglas replaced the district’s previous leader, Dr. Cheryl James-Ward, who was fired in June after comments she made about Asian students were deemed insensitive by the public. Upon the official start of Staffieri’s tenure, Douglas will return to her position in business services.

During the May 17 board meeting,

board trustees said that they selected Staffieri due to her “honest and heartfelt approach to leadership.”

TPHS Principal Rob Coppo also expressed confidence in Staffieri as the new superintendent.

“I think she’s incredibly well qualified,” Coppo said. “She’s a product of the community, so she knows this area really well.”

After graduating from TPHS, Staffieri remained in education, teaching biology and Spanish for more than 30 years. She joins SDUHSD as a seasoned superintendent, having served Ramona Unified School District from 2016 to 2019 and Escondido Union High School District from 2019 to 2023.

“As a product of SDUHSD and a graduate of TPHS, returning to SDUHSD as the superintendent brings my educational journey full circle,” Staffieri said.

During her time at TPHS, Staffieri played on the basketball, field hockey and softball teams. She was also a member of drama and choir.

TPHS Student Board Representative Julia Liu (12) has many hopes for what will be accomplished with Staffieri as superintendent.

“We’ve had a lot of divisions, both with the last superintendent and then with finding a new superintendent,” Liu said. “One thing that we wanted to work on going forward is rebuilding trust in the district.”

Liu attributed the lack of trust to division over school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and a high turnover of superintendents in the past few years.

Liu looks forward to a “more united” district under Staffieri.

Coppo believes that having a consistent superintendent will help

SDUHSD to have a common vision to “support our kids.”

“I really hope that she comes in to guide us through one of the more challenging phases of education… as we try to address [phones and technology] that has affected us so deeply,” Coppo said.

Staffieri said that she would be working closely with the board and listening to the community in order to establish goals.

In order to address district issues, Staffieri said that she would first have to assess current practices before forming a proper course of action for the future.

“I think she’s going to help bring fresh eyes to our processes, help our board be better … and be a good rep for the rest of the staff, district wide,” Coppo said.

continued on A2 in a Q/A

INTRODUCING STAFFIERI TO THE COMMUNITY: Anne Staffieri speaks during a May 17 SDUHSD board meeting after being unanimously selected by the board as the new superintendent. While it was her first meeting at SDUHSD, Staffieri has prior administrative experience as the superintendent of two other school districts, most recently in the Escondido Union High School District. Eric Lee STAFF WRITER
Vol. 48, Issue 8, 24 pages Thursday, May 25, 2023

Meet the new superintendant of SDUHSD

Dr. Anne Staffieri

Staffieri graduated from TPHS in 1986. She began her educational career as a high school biology and Spanish teacher before eventually serving as a superintendant in multiple local districts. After the approval of her employment, the Falconer spoke with Staffieri to learn more about her educational values.

What is your teaching philosophy?

“ As an educator, I have a moral imperative to provide the very best educational opportunity for all students. Given that every student learns differently, this means that it is up to me to create opportunities for learning that are engaging and supportive to reach every level of learner. I have an open mind, a positive attitude and consistent high expectations for student learning.”

What qualities do you think are important in educators?

“ It is critical for educators to have mastery of the subject matter being taught. They need to have a passion for students and for creating positive classroom environments where students have fun learning and have the confidence and support needed to achieve success.”

What aspects of our campuses make our district strong?

“ High quality academics, athletics, and extracurricular opportunities. The community support is incredible and our dedicated staff is amazing. Our students are inspirational. I have had some limited opportunities to speak with students and can’t wait to meet with more.”

Threat sent to schools classified as hoax by SDPD

On the morning of May 5, TPHS administrators notified families that a hoax threat, sent to a number of schools nationwide, had been circulating among students.

A photograph of the threat was reported to Principal Rob Coppo by a TPHS family at approximately 4 a.m. After notifying the San Diego Police Department, families were told via an email from Coppo, sent approximately at 8:30 a.m., that police had determined the threat was a hoax.

According to Coppo, the photo of the threat was “out of focus” and the wording was “weird.”

“The whole thing seemed strange to me,” he said. “We noticed that it mentioned bells and we didn’t have

bells that week because of AP testing [and] all these red flags, but we had to take it seriously so we called SDPD.”

The Falconer obtained a copy of the photograph of the threat and confirmed that some of the wording was inconsistent with TPHS policies, such as the threat referencing a school start time of 7:40 a.m., yet TPHS does not begin first period until 8:30 a.m.

“Somebody must have found [the hoax threat] and sent it to the family; that’s how [it got to us],” Coppo said.

“We were able to stand down after that because it was clear that this was not legitimate.”

The Falconer contacted the SDPD for comment on the nature of the investigation, but did not receive a response by press time.

It was theorized the hoax threat was


a case of “swatting,” where a threat is called at a specific location to disrupt the people there, according to Coppo.

In a circumstance like that, Coppo urges students to speak up.

“[If you have knowledge about a threat], tell a trusted adult, whether that’s a parent or somebody at school [and] call the police … ‘See something, hear something, say something’ works and it keeps everybody safe,” Coppo said.

Multiple students reported seeing the threat online, specifically on the social media platform Snapchat. Though she did not see the threat on May 5, Morgan Danko (10) learned of the threat via Coppo’s 8:30 a.m. email.

“I wish I could have had more of a reaction [to the threat] because it’s such a terrible thing, but I kind of just

shrugged it off because it happens so often,” she said. “I definitely think that if this type of thing keeps happening, it could be really dangerous if an actual threat did [get sent] and people didn’t take it seriously.”

Another TPHS student, Nethra Mahendran (11), learned about the hoax threat in class.

“Even if measures are taken to mitigate the number of threats a given school receives, I think they will still continue to occur,” Mahendran said.

Even though threats are not preventable, there are strategies that can reduce their frequency, Coppo said. “I think the best way to help avoid these hoax threats ... is to do what we did in this situation: take it seriously, investigate, don’t overreact and don’t underreact,” Coppo said.

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UNDER THE AIRPLANE: Olivia Ty (11) and Will Kwon (12) explore the venue During prom, guests could mingle among the exhibits. SAY CHEESE: Jason Nguyen (12) and Libby Bezdek (12) strike a pose. They joined other students in smiling for a venue photographer. POSE FOR A PIC: Kabir Sanghadia (11), Nicolette Caci (11), Leah Adler (11) and Julian Roma (11) attend the prom together. The group smiled for the camera before hitting the dance floor. PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER STAFFIERI TO SERVE SDUHSD: Staffieri smiles for the camera at the May 17 SDUHSD board meeting. Set to begin her employment in the district on July 18, she will enter SDUHSD with more than three decades of experience in education as a teacher and district administrator.
TPHS Prom May 13 Air and Space Museum

Future of Chinese 1-4 uncertain amid lack of interest

The full Chinese language pathway — classes 1 through 4 — will no longer be offered at TPHS in the 2023-2024 school year following inadequate interest, however, additional course options are being explored, according to TPHS Principal Rob Coppo.

The Chinese language pathway at TPHS has faced a series of debates over whether or not to include its introductory classes; for the most part, insufficient interest has led to the classes from being offered. A phase-out of Chinese 3 classes in April 2022 resulted in only one section of AP Chinese being offered in the 2022-2023 school year. However, a recommendation by district leadership in February 2023 placed Chinese 1 through 4 classes on the course selection sheet for the upcoming school year. District administrators did not respond to the Falconer ’s request for further information.

“I deferred to [district] judgment and so we [put Chinese 1 through 4 back on the course selection],” Coppo said. “We got the same numbers [of interested students]. [We realized that] we didn’t have the sections to support it. So, we [decided to] go back to how it was before.”

Course selection responses for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year revealed a total of 20 to 26 student signups across all four sections of Chinese 1 through 4 combined.

“About a month ago we made the decision: look, we’re not gonna be able to run this because we’ve got over a decade’s worth of data of those numbers being the same,” Coppo said. “We made

the decision to meet with those students to find another option for them.”

Following the closure of the introductory pathway classes, students who chose a Chinese 1 through 4 class for the 2023-2024 school year were brought back into the counselor’s office to rearrange their schedules. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act confidentiality provision, the Falconer was unable to contact those students.

“The kids were great about it. Every single student was like, ‘I get it,’ signed up for another class and we moved on. So fortunately, the students are good,” Coppo said. “Parents are frustrated because they wanted their students to be able to take it.”

However, within the past two weeks, SDUHSD Associate Superintendent for Educational Services, Bryan Marcus, contacted TPHS administration and expressed the district’s recommendation that TPHS “explore the option of additional [Chinese] classes,” according to Coppo. The number of classes or the structure of classes is still under consideration by TPHS administration and the district. However, with the current number of students who had signed up for the four introductory classes, it is likely that any introductory sections of Chinese that are opened would have a class size of approximately 10 students.

“It’s not normal for a class [to run with such a small class size],” Coppo said. “For example, Chorus is probably higher, but we’re not going to be running Chorus. Bringing back a class of 10 is unusual.”

Chair of the World Language

Legends in real life

On May 17, TPHS students arrived for first period to find that a campus myth had come to life overnight: a pool had been put on the roof of the gym. While no students have publically claimed responsibility for the prank, the Falconer received a statement from a group of students who the Falconer confirmed to be those who had designed and set up the pool.

department and French teacher Jessica Huntsberger similarly expressed that she has never seen such a proposition in her department before.

“Obviously, we’re a world language department. We want everybody to learn the language that they would like to learn, and we are just trying to match our offerings to student demand,” Huntsberger said. “I would be very supportive of opening a class with seven or 11 people if it were, say, Chinese 3, and if Chinese 1 was just booming, and the demand was huge, I think it would make sense.”

But, with low current interest in the program, Huntsberger said she is unsure if the program can grow.

This is the growth pattern TPHS has tried to establish since the Chinese program was introduced over 10 years ago. However, according to Coppo and Huntsberger, student interest in the classes has remained low.

“I think there has always been a lack of interest in [Chinese],” Annie Zhang (11), who is currently taking AP Chinese, said. “More students are willing to learn Spanish and French.”

Coppo attributes this lack of interest most directly to the consistent presence of off-campus options for Chinese language education.

“Not a lot of our world languages have such a robust off-site offering. So I think there’s some head-scratching, confusion, with families going, why can’t we just have it at Torrey?” Coppo said. “They’re not seeing the impact of the off-site [options]. It’s because students aren’t signing up for it.”

That said, the recent recommendation by the district to re-explore the option

of additional classes was, in part, according to Coppo, a result of “parent and community input.”

The state of Chinese classes at TPHS has, throughout the past year, been a consistent topic of debate at SDUHSD school board meetings. Numerous parents have commented publicly at meetings in support of reopening introductory Chinese classes, frequently arguing the large, and exponentially growing, population of Mandarin speakers in the district. However, Huntsberger stressed that not offering the course was only a result of low interest.

“I [feel there is] a community perception that we are somehow preventing something that there’s a huge demand for, while the facts speak for themselves ... that numbers for introductory Chinese classes fall short after two or three years and are not sustainable,” Huntsberger said.

As of now, TPHS administrators and district officials are waiting to see how enrollment in Chinese courses changes in the coming months before final course offerings are finalized.

In terms of what is certain for the 2023-24 school year, AP Chinese teacher Lu Qi confirmed that administration has “decided not to continue [her] contract next year.”

That said, students hope for the best for the Chinese program.

“I do wish there was an extended program of Chinese class for other students who are interested,” Lauren Suh (10), who is currently taking AP Chinese, said. “I hope that in the future, the classes will come back to Torrey Pines.”

“Our idea for this prank began to take form in July 2022. We wanted to do something that would make people laugh and get students talking. But most of all, we wanted to create something that couldn’t be ignored. So, after a long discussion, we came to an agreement: we were going to put a pool on the gym.

For months, we debated the logistics of the prank and brainstormed different methods of transportation. We didn’t want to harm school property, so we had to come up with a clever way to transport the gear onto the roof. We thought about scaling the side of the gym, putting up a ladder or even throwing the gear up. Ultimately, however, we settled on a pulley-system to get everything onto the roof.

After we’d figured out how to get our gear up, we had to decide when we were going to do it. Ultimately, we decided to carry out the prank between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Friday, May 17. In the weeks leading up to our prank, we practiced our setup and ordered all the necessary supplies.

Finally, on Friday, May 17, our hard work paid off as we got to carry out what was –unbiasedly – the greatest senior prank in TPHS history.”

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- The Aces

Top Falcons Get Gold

At the May 17 TPHS Awards Night, Lindsay Van Winkle and Andy Livingston each recieved the Golden Falcon award, an annual distinction given to two seniors for their dedication to TPHS. Leaders in the class of 2023, Van Winkle and Livingston are set to graduate on June 2 as standout students.

“To have my name next to the words ‘golden’ and ‘falcon’ is pretty crazy. This school has meant so much to me from a young age, and I’ve always dreamed about being among the Falcons.”

Andy Livingston (12) TPHS ASB Senior Class Vice President, TPHS varsity football and Falcons rugby player

“I was so honored to have been chosen to receive the Golden Falcon Award. This school and the TP community mean a lot to me, and I hope that my work in PALs and around the campus has made a positive impact.”

Lindsay Van Winkle (12) TPHS Peer Assistant Listeners President, TPHS varsity tennis captain and TP Unplugged Club President

TPHS students excel in national math competition

TPHS students Derek Liu (12), Elliott Liu (11) (no relation) and Jacopo Rizzo (11) recently received accolades in the USA Math Olympiad contest, held on March 21 and 22. Both Derek and Elliott received Gold Awards, awarded to the top 6% of competitors, and Rizzo received an Honorable Mention.

The USAMO is a two-day senior Math Olympiad competition that grants participants 4 and a half hours to complete three problems each day.

“I was kind of excited going into the test, and it was a fun experience just grappling with each problem,” Rizzo said. “It’s all quiet, everyone’s working, and it’s just you and the problems.”

Qualification for the USAMO, in which the top 500 contestants from the United States and Canada compete, depends on scores in the American Mathematics Competition 10, AMC 12 and the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. Of the USAMO participants, six students are selected to represent the U.S. at the International Math Olympiad.

For the second year in a row, Derek is among the six.

“I feel like I set myself a high goal last year,” Derek said. “I do want to do better this year, but it’s going to be tough. I haven’t left myself much room.”

Each year, 100 countries send their six-member teams to the IMO, the most prestigious high school math competition in the world. The U.S. team placed third behind China and Korea last year. On July 2-July 13 in Chiba City, Japan, Derek has his eyes

Explaining their Expertise

The Falconer asked each mathematician to take reporters through a math problem of their choosing. These are the problems they chose.

set on gold.

“Our team is looking pretty strong,” Derek said. “There’s general agreement that first place is definitely a possibility this year. I guess there’s a bit of pressure there, but also quite a bit of excitement.”

But the most important thing Derek hopes to gain this year is not an award.

“There’s going to be people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds,” Derek said. “I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime — but perhaps twice-in-a-lifetime is more accurate — opportunity to meet students from across the world who share my interests. There’s potential to build lifelong connections there.”

For Derek, Elliott and Rizzo, the journey to get to the elite competition level has been a long one. Derek took his first math competition, the AMC 8, when he was six years old, and Elliott when he was in fourth grade. Rizzo started to become engrossed in math when school shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

“I asked my parents to get a bunch of math textbooks,” Rizzo said. “I spent all day for the first few months grinding through those textbooks, working through every problem and relearning them if I didn’t get them.”

Like Rizzo, Elliott and Derek devote a large amount of time outside of school to compete at their level, sometimes up to two hours a day, according to Elliott. But at other times, even for someone as accomplished as Derek, regular school can get in the way.

“Sometimes I just get bogged down by homework and can’t do math for a whole week,” Derek said. “Sometimes

I just get bored and do seven hours of math, so it’s very variable.”

Unlike math in school, one cannot “study” for math competitions. Instead, the bulk of the time spent is working through problems alone.

“It’s a continuous process and it takes a lot of time, but luckily, I enjoy it,” Rizzo said. “I haven’t skipped math on any single day for the last few years. I kind of just pull up problems, even if it’s for 15 minutes, but on the weekends, math is probably my primary thing.”

According to Derek, however, there’s a common misconception that the more time you spend preparing for math competition, the better your chances.

“I know a lot of people in the math community who do two or three hours every day, and they assume that to get to a really high level, you have to do even more,” Derek said. “But it’s about quality, not quantity, of practice. If you spend three hours just attempting a problem and not solving it, then you’re not really gaining much. But if you spend one hour solving a problem by taking a hint halfway through, at least you’ve still gained some new knowledge and honed your problem solving skills.”

At the end of the day, Derek, Elliott and Rizzo do what they do because they love it. Math is their passion. They live and breathe it.

But a significant part of their interest stems from the nature of contest math, which is drastically different from math in school.

“In school, it’s always clear how you get to the answer, which makes it very boring because you’re doing the same thing over and over again,” Derek said.

“In real math, you’re never actually told how to get to the answer, so you’re really exploring for yourself. It makes me feel like an explorer.”

Elliott agreed.

“It’s not like you look at a problem and come up with an answer,” Elliott said. “You have to apply past ideas that you’ve seen or come up with entirely new ideas to solve these problems; that’s what’s very interesting.”

To the unmindful eye, math may seem like a solo mission of sorts, where each competitor is individually venturing through their own complex maze, walled off from their peers.

But outside of competitions, behind the facade of solidarity, a small and tight-knit group of math enthusiasts exists.

“Throughout elementary school and middle school, there’s been a small community of people that take these math contests,” Elliott said. “It’s really nice to be a part of.”

Derek believes that the “nerd” label often applied to math whizzes is a misnomer.

“When you think that we study a lot, [you think] ‘Oh, we don’t want to go out and have fun,’” Derek said. “Well, for one, I find studying math fun, but also, I definitely do like to go out for some ‘actual leisure.’ I want to make it clear that I’m also a person.”

An extraordinary person, at that. For Derek, Elliott and Rizzo, this is just the beginning.

The path may never be clear and the solution may never be simple. Still, they do not seem to mind. To them, that’s where all the fun lies.

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Elliot Liu (11) Jacopo Rizzo (11) Derek Liu (12) PHOTO

SDUHSD expands support for bilingual students

Mingming Zhang is the new SDUHSD Bilingual Parent/Community Liaison position for Mandarin and is expected to help ease communication between district personnel and families who do not speak English fluently.

Zhang, a long-time Carmel Valley resident and SDUHSD parent, is the second bilingual liaison hired by the district this school year. Following an initiative announced in August 2022, the district now provides one Mandarin-speaking and one Spanishspeaking liaison to families in an effort to decrease language barriers.

“The district is making a very positive move to embrace [increased diversity] and I am very excited and honored to

be part of the new change,” Zhang said.

The liaisons primarily will communicate with parents, according to district Communications Coordinator Miquel Jacobs.

“The liaisons will reach out personally to parents, introducing themselves and sharing the support they can provide to our parent community,” Jacobs said.

These supports include translating parent notifications, attending parentgroup meetings and collaborating with school counselors, according to Zhang. She will work primarily with the five district schools with the most Mandarinspeaking students: Carmel Valley Middle School, Pacific Trails Middle School, Earl Warren Middle School, Canyon Crest Academy and TPHS.

“It’s my hope to see more

TPHS Teacher of the Year

Jacqueline Niddrie

Earlier this spring, Jacqueline Niddrie, a veteran member of the Falcon family, was named Teacher of the Year at TPHS for her “proven track record of success and connection with kids,” according to TPHS Principal Rob Coppo.

For nearly 28 years, Niddrie has led students through the business pathway and introductory law class at TPHS.

“It’s a privilege to work with students every single day,” Niddrie said.

That appreciation is reciprocated by her students.

“[I] always look forward to going to class,” Matthew Broder (12), a student in Niddrie’s Intro to Law class, said. “You don’t always get that with a lot of teachers.”

Indeed, Niddrie’s classes stand out from others on campus, according to her students. Emphasizing projectbased learning and implementing contemporary events into her

curriculum, like a study of Super Bowl commercials in her marketing classes, Niddrie is an engaging educator, her students say.

“She really tries to get on the level of the student … and communicate the information in a way that is applicable [to their lives],” Cade Alcantara (11), a student in Niddrie’s law class, said.

Beyond tailoring her lessons to her students’ interests, Niddrie is also known to seek deeper understandings with her students.

“She’s very intense with her teaching, but [she is also] laid back and listens when you talk to her personally,” Broder said. “We’ve had a very close connection this year, and it felt like I made a friend.”

Other students agreed.

“She’s very much a motherly figure,” Megan Goelitz (11), a former student in Niddrie’s marketing class, said. “It made me so much more comfortable to be in her class and open myself up to learning and new experiences.”

students flourish in our district and more parents and families participate in ... educational and extracurricular programs,” Zhang said.

Having a bilingual liaison will help parents and families from other countries understand the educational system in the United States.

“By having someone who can be an official bridge between the American education system and immigrant parents, families can better navigate education in America and open up possibilities that they were not even aware of,” Crystal Xu (12) said.

Xu believes the liasons are necessary to support diversity on campus.

“We should strive to have these positions for as many languages as possible,” Xu said.

There are other ways to facilitate translation between Mandarin and English, such as through various digital language apps,

“Digital translators are not always accurate and may lead to misunderstandings in the community,” said Mia Szymanowski (10), who speaks Mandarin and is learning English in an English Language Development class at TPHS.

The bilingual liaisons do not need to be certified translators but must be proficient in both English and in the designated second language, according to Jacobs.

Currently, the district plans to employ three liaisons, Jacobs said. The search for a second Spanish-speaking liaison is ongoing, as of May 24.

For Niddrie, seeking these connections is in line with what she sees as the culture at TPHS.

“The school culture changes with the times and we don’t resist the change. The faculty is willing to understand and accept … that the challenges presented to our students change,” Niddrie said. “So, I listen more to my students’ needs … so that they know … I can support them.”

These efforts do not go unnoticed by her students.

“She’s a teacher, but she’s also an adult that I trust,” Haley Epstein (10), a current student in Niddrie’s marketing class, said. “I will sometimes go in early and just sit with her, and I’ll bring coffee and we just talk. She’s really good at listening.”

Broder was among a number of students who sent Niddrie well-wishes. He gathered all of her classes and filmed a montage of messages from each student to send to her.

Upon returning to campus, Niddrie said her connections with her students deepened.

“Everyone should be able to return to a welcoming committee like that,” she said. “Now, when they say ‘How are you?’ it’s with a little bit more [weight].” For Epstein, who saw Niddrie every morning during first period prior to her leave, her return made their connection even more meaningful.

Niddrie was notified of her Teacher of the Year recognition while away from campus on medical leave. Seeking treatment for cancer, Niddrie’s presence was missed by many of her students.

“I was blindsided by the amount of support I got,” Niddrie said. “I knew [my students] would be understanding and they would feel badly, but I did not expect to be showered with the love and support and prayers and concern and emails. It was overwhelming.”

“You only have a certain amount of time with whoever is in your life, so having her back was just more time with her,” Epstein said.

Entering her last year of teaching, as she plans to retire in the spring of 2024, Niddrie will leave her students with the experience of being cared for.

“Yes, they’re my students. Yes, I’m Mrs. Niddrie. But on some level, we’re just people sharing two hours a day, every other day,” she said. “I’m a part of their life experience; they’re a part of my life experience.”

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“On some level, we’re just people sharing two hours a day, every other day. I’m a part of their life experience; they’re a part of my life experience.”
CREATING CONNECTIONS: Jacqueline Niddrie helps Elsie Copp (10), a student in her firstperiod Marketing class, during a work period for a group project. Emphasizing collaboration, Niddrie is known to utilize shared learning experiences to increase connectivity in her classes. PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER A FALCON FAVORITE: Jacqueline Niddrie stands at her desk during an Introduction to Marketing class, where she frequently lectures from. A marketing and law teacher with more than two decades of experience at TPHS, Niddrie was named TPHS Teacher of the Year earlier this spring. PHOTO BY ANNA OPALSKY/FALCONER

Dr. Seuss and Kanye West — what do these two names have in common?

While these artists have both made great contributions to society through their creations, they are also extremely controversial people. Still, their works are celebrated by fans everywhere to this day. It begs the question: is it morally right to support the work of a problematic individual?

Is it possible to separate an artist’s character and actions from their creations? Ultimately, art should be appreciated solely on its content, regardless of the history of its creator.

To start, while it is important to acknowledge a creator’s flaws and how those may affect their work, some creators have truly innovated in their fields, making it unfair to discredit their contributions because of personal issues.

For example, popular children’s author and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, created some of the most beloved children’s books in the world, selling more than 700 million copies of his works globally, according to WordsRated. However, he also created racist antiJapanese political cartoons during World War II. His infamous “Waiting for the Signal From Home” depicted Japanese Americans with the stereotypical East-Asian slanted eyes lining up to receive blocks of TNT, which contributed to the mistrust of Japanese-Americans within American society following the attack on Pearl

With the advent of the Internet and social media, the personal vices of artists like R. Kelly and Kanye West have been splashed across headlines and chronicled in documentaries. This raises a question: Should we link the artist’s foibles with the art? In other words, can you reject the artist and still love the art?

Harbor. Though Seuss’ deeply racist propaganda is inexcusable, if society denounced all of his works, we would be depriving children of many constructive reading experiences and valuable life lessons in books like “The Lorax,” “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Sneetches and Other Stories.” Themes taught in his books, such as the need to protect the environment, are important to expose children to, as they create a basis of morality for the next generation of human beings.

Moreover, people should not be shunned for enjoying an artist’s creations that were made long before the creator was “exposed” for their wrongdoings. One example of this is celebrity artist Kanye West, who became notorious for a series of antisemitic statements he made on Twitter in October 2022, leaving many fans of his earlier songs conflicted over their feelings about his music.

Scenarios like West’s have helped shape a societal standard in which problematic creators’ works are “boycotted,” and those who choose not to participate in the form of protest are considered to be ignorant. In reality, people should not feel the need to give up the media they enjoy, as art can still be celebrated for its societal value, even if the creator cannot.

While some may argue that continuing to support a problematic celebrity’s art makes one a supporter of the ideologies they possess, this is false because while art is about selfexpression, it is more so about the way that people can connect to it. The unique bond that forms between an individual and the art they consume is not and should not be affected by whoever made the art.

In the end, it is up to the individual to view the media they consume through a critical lens and determine whether the enjoyment of appreciating art is greater than the guilt of knowing its creator’s morals. Art is a personal experience, and should not be bound by the character of its creator.

In today’s ever-so-connected world, high-profile artists’ lives and personal vices are put on display for fans and consumers to see internationally. As a result, their works and products are often judged by the public based on their personal flaws and faults.

But this phenomenon presents a difficult question: is it ethical for one to appreciate an artist’s creations even after their wrongdoings are exposed? Is it possible to separate an artist’s crimes from their work? Just like any other person, famous and successful artists must be held accountable for what they say and do. Linking an artist’s art with their character is necessary to enforce the principle that their actions have real and powerful repercussions.

Many artists have made unforgivable mistakes, standing up for all the wrong morals, and yet people still praise and indulge in their art. Rapper R. Kelly was imprisoned for 30 years after being found guilty of “eight counts of sex trafficking and one of racketeering in a New York court” in June 2022, according to BBC World News. Yet, many of Kelly’s fans continue to stream his music. Kelly still has a platform on Spotify with 4.37 million monthly listeners, according to Forbes magazine.

Supporting Kelly through listening to his music translates to supporting his violent behavior by maintaining his stream of revenue despite his dishonorable actions. To him, his

continued popularity reinforces the notion that there are fans out in the world still willing to stand with him despite his impropriety. Valuing his music and ignoring his personal vices amplifies the idea that artists can escape the consequences of their actions through the art they produce.

Another example of a problematic artist is the singer-songwriter Kanye West. In a 2022 Fox News interview, West stated that Planed Parenthood, an American non-profit sexual and reproductive health organization, was founded by its creator Margarent Sanger along with members of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group, to “control the Jew population.” West also claimed that Planned Parenthood was part of a conspiracy to limit the growth of the Black population by preventing the birth of Black children, claiming that “the people known as the race black really are [Jews].”

West faced immediate backlash from both his supporters and lost many of his most prominent sponsors, including Adidas. Despite being condemned for his comments, his music continues to be well received by many listeners, who argue that his art should be treated as its own separate entity. Currently, West still has 54 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Even if one completely disagrees with West’s ideologies, continuing to listen to his music or valuing his art in its pure form is still a way of indirectly supporting him. The fact of the matter is that artists have no way of separating themselves from their own art, and therefore, the direction of their lives is largely dependent on how their art is received. As a result, the only way to hold artists like West accountable for their actions is to condemn both them and their art together.

No matter how harmless it may seem, separating art from the artist sets the dangerous precedent that prominent artists with a large following can be exempt from the punishment they rightfully deserve.


A country’s right to their art cannot be denied

Repatriation is indeed a “restorative justice.” Art pieces taken from nations without their consent should be returned based on the facts that their repatriation reflects property laws, many of these objects carry cultural significance and their displacement is often rooted in unjust practices like colonialism.

The issue of who owns a work of art is a complex one. Many questions surround it: Is art owned by the creator or the buyer? Does art belong to the origin place of its creation, or does it belong to the museums who have added it to their collections?

The modern world still grapples with the not-so-distant past of colonialism, during which countries, primarily Western European ones, looted their conquered territories’ arts and artifacts. Today, most repatriation cases (repatriation meaning the return of stolen artworks to their countries of origin) derive from colonial or imperial subjugation — as well as other forms of conquest and oppression.

As the 20th century progressed, a legal framework for the repatriation of cultural artifacts developed, with events like the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects calling for the return of illegally-acquired cultural property. Though repatriation claims are based on law, they, as Senta German, an associate professor at Montclair State University, wrote for Khan Academy, “more importantly represent a fervent desire to right a wrong — a kind of restorative justice.”

Recently, as the debate over repatriation has come to the fore, museums and other collections have begun to return pieces. In 2023 alone, many returns have been made; the Royal B.C. Museum returned a totem pole to the Nuxalk Nation in British Columbia, and the Manhattan D.A.’s office returned objects like the Khmer Lintel to Cambodia. Locally, the Museum of Us in Balboa Park put out a notice of intent in 2022 to repatriate certain sacred and funerary objects to the appropriate Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.

Such efforts are the correct step forward — even when solely based on the sheer principle of the issue. If a thief steals artwork, then it is both understood and enforced by the law that they should return said artwork. Similarly, if a country steals artwork, the country should return said artwork too.

Beyond that, looted art pieces can be politically, spiritually and culturally important to the people who made them, often representing and playing a role in national identity or heritage. For instance, the Benin Bronzes, a large group of metal plaques and sculptures, were plundered from the Kingdom of Benin (now Edo State, Nigeria) by British soldiers in 1897 and have since been spread throughout museums in Europe and America. The

Bronzes provide a remarkable account of the history of the Kingdom of Benin, including its dynasties and relationships with nearby societies. Nigerian citizens have long called for their return, regarding them as vital cultural artifacts and their displacement as a potent reminder of colonialism. Though there have been efforts to return some of them by American and European collections, Nigerians are still denied a considerable link to their past.

A large variety of objects also serve spiritual functions for their creators. When masks, statues, totem poles and other art pieces that are central to the culture of a people are taken away from them, they are stripped of something essential — their history, spirituality and lineage.

Furthermore, the displacement of artworks often originates from colonial exploitation or ideas of white supremacy. To keep stolen art perpetuates colonist ideologies of nonwhite inferiority and the extreme damage and suffering such ideas have caused. Many repatriation efforts have been made for the heirs of those who lost their art and possessions

during the Holocaust — another example of how art is often stolen in a context of oppression.

On the contrary, there are some who say that showcasing other cultures’ art celebrates it by increasing access to it. However, this access only increases exposure for people from Europe and America. The people of the culture to which the art actually belongs may now have reduced access to seeing it in-person.

Others may argue that some of the countries of origin do not have the resources to preserve the pieces and adequately take care of them. While this is a valid concern, it is ultimately the nation’s right to own art pieces that belong to its heritage.

It is difficult to imagine that every piece of stolen art can be returned, and some have raised the point that if every object was returned to its country of origin, many museums would be empty. Discomforting as that sounds, if a nation requests that an art piece be repatriated, it is unequivocally the ethical course of action to comply and return it.

Raising the debt ceiling should not be up for debate

Republican Party members seem intent on using America’s downfall as a bargaining chip.

America’s global success is reliant on one concept: its historic and unwavering stability. Since the country’s independence in 1776, the United States has never defaulted on its debt over failure to raise the debt ceiling, which the U.S. Treasury Department defines as the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow. Simply put, America pays its bills.

However, with the June 1 deadline to raise America’s debt ceiling looming, congressional politicians have failed to act productively. America’s stability is under attack — and to Congress, it’s business as usual.

According to the White House, a default would fundamentally hinder the federal government from serving the American people. Regardless,

On April 25, the House of Representatives passed a Republican Debt-Ceiling-and-Cuts Bill that could force harmful policies on American citizens. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would put 10 million Americans at risk of losing their health coverage and cut $3.6 trillion of vital government services such as transportation, college aid, and child care. And it gets worse: this detrimental bill would only extend the debt ceiling for less than a year, prolonging America’s economic uncertainty.

This has all happened before. American politicians reached a similar impasse in 2011 when, according to U.S. Bank Wealth Management, Republicans in Congress squared off against Democratic President Barack Obama over the debt ceiling issue. Ultimately, both sides came to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling just two days before the Treasury Department estimated it would run out of funds.

In all likelihood, politicians in 2023 will come to a similar resolution. Still, the threat of America’s economic collapse should not be used as leverage

to pass harmful Republican legislation.

Historically, increasing the debt ceiling has not been an issue of contention between Republicans and Democrats. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Congress has increased the ceiling seventy-eight times since 1960, the vast majority of which have not been met with so much debate.

Nonetheless, Republican congressmen today seem intent on drawing out this once-simple political process. While they may be easy for politicians to ignore, the consequences of

their pricey demands aren’t theoretical. For the millions of Americans who rely on government-sponsored health care, budget cuts equate to less medicine, longer wait times, and less reliable health-care policies.

But beyond the costly demands, these extended negotiations reinforce the perceived divide between Republicans and Democrats in American politics. If both parties can’t come to a resolution when the future of the country’s economy lies in question, how can they be expected to protect American citizens in any other facet?

opinion tphsfalconer.com the falconer A7


Editor-in-Chief Jacob Zhang shares his story on the grief of losing childhood memories and finding meaning in the mundane.

The only thing that bothers me about my early childhood is that I don’t remember enough of it. I wish I could recall saying my first words or taking my first steps. Instead, what limited knowledge I have of my early years has been supplied entirely by my parents. For example, my mom says I didn’t start talking until a couple of months before my second birthday, which is oddly late compared to most children. When I finally did speak for the first time, however, I didn’t just utter a single word, but rather an entire string of words, much of which, she says, was incomprehensible.

I first discovered the concept of memory at age six. I remember the exact moment: I was standing with my family on the gangway of a cruise ship, waiting for a stranger to take a picture for us. Out of nowhere came the peculiar thought that I ought to remember this moment forever. The stranger positioned the camera. One, two, three … click!

Of course, I have had memories before that — the spaghetti at daycare, the trees I drew for an art portfolio — but it wasn’t until I stood on that gangway that I realized what I was doing all along was making memories. It was as if my life had started; I was six.

What bothers me about this childhood memory loss — which I find to be a biological defect in humans — is that it feels as if I have missed out on part of my own life. Sometimes I wonder if my current love of trees is a result, or simply a reflection, of my obsession with drawing trees in daycare. Perhaps I liked the shape of the trees, or maybe the color green, or maybe I drew them because everyone else drew sunflowers, and I wanted to be different. The truth is, I’ll never know. This redaction of memories has erased the possibility of me ever understanding some of my most inherent qualities. In short, I’ll never know who I really am, let alone why I am the way I am. Now that I

think about it, even the words I use to describe myself are borrowed from how my family and friends perceive me.

A possibility is that the lack of memory does not deal with the loss of existing memories, but rather the absence of their initial creation.

I’m reminded of a mile-long section of the Interstate-5, parallel to the Torrey Pines State Reserve, where the highway cuts through hillsides awash with the green and brown of sub-Saharan shrubs. Every day for five years in my early adolescence, I watched the hillsides closely as I passed through this mile of road; if I were lucky, maybe twice a year I caught a glimpse of a family of deer feeding on the vegetation. It was my way of avoiding passive living: the concept of letting life speed by without drawing anything meaningful out of the repetitive or mundane. I could have closed my eyes and let the car take me forward on the journey that is life, but instead, I looked out the side window, and searched. Even in the most boring

parts of living — car rides included — there is beauty somewhere, something worth remembering, and often it’s right outside the window – all I have to do is look.

I’ll probably never recover those lost memories from my early childhood. The best I can do now is to focus on making some new ones, so that in 50 years, I can look back, without regret, and try to connect some dots.

For the past four years, with the stresses of high school, it’s been easy to fall into the habit of passive living. Driving through the hills of I-5 last month, I realized that for the past couple of years, I haven’t spotted a single deer. I could attribute this absence to nearby development by biotechnology companies which may have cut off entry to the slopes. I could blame climate change for rendering the hills dead and dusty for most of the year. I could even blame my memory, or point fingers at a million other things. Or maybe, I just haven’t been looking.

Real people are not characters; they cannot queerbait

The Oxford dictionary defines “queerbaiting” as “the incorporation of apparently gay characters or samesex relationships into a film, television show, etc. as a means of appealing to gay and bisexual audiences while maintaining ambiguity about the characters’ sexuality.” Producers have been known to lure LGBTQ+ viewers by teasing homosexual subtext without actually following through on such storylines, in fear of alienating heterosexual audiences.

From “Sherlock” to “Supernaturals,’’ many entertainment offerings have been criticized for falsely promising LGBTQ+ representation to viewers (usually in the form of implied romantic relationships), in turn compounding mental health issues in queer individuals, according to the website Health. Yet, that valid

accusation against the media industry has been undermined by the public‘s use of “queerbaiting” to criticize some celebrities when the term doesn’t apply. From Harry Styles to Kit Conner, many argue that straight celebrities purposely present as queer without actually identifying with the LGBTQ+ community to appeal to and profit off of queer audiences. Yet, in directing this accusation toward real individuals –not fictional characters – the internet toes the line between advocating for representation and weaponizing the term “queerbaiting” to attack those who aren’t open about their sexuality. Ultimately, real people cannot queerbait, and claiming that they can is harmful to the LGBTQ+ community. While individuals often look up to celebrities, this dynamic can quickly turn toxic when it comes to sexuality. One’s sexuality is a deeply complex part of their identity, one that is often hard to be transparent about publically. In fact, according to Stonewall, a charity that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, only half of LGBTQ+ individuals feel able to be open about their sexuality or gender identity to anyone in their own family, much less countless followers across the globe. When fans demand transparency about celebrities’ orientation, it creates an incredibly damaging environment. At the end of

the day, celebrities are people first, and no person owes anyone an explanation of their identity. However, when fans act entitled to such an explanation and go so far as to accuse celebrities of “queerbaiting,” such allegations only serve to create a highly specific definition of queer expression that the public deems acceptable, therefore creating conditional standards of acceptance. But unlabeled people and those who chose not to come out are just as valid as those who have the privilege to express their sexual identity publicly.

Furthermore, some of the rhetoric that surrounds queerbaiting allegations can perpetuate backward ideas. For instance, Harry Styles has continuously come under fire for his fashion sense — from wearing feather boas on stage to a dress on the cover of Vogue . Some claim that Styles is profiting off of queer expression even though he is straight. However, Styles has never explicitly defined his sexuality. Further, even if Styles is straight, calling him a “queerbaiter” only pushes the narrative that straight men cannot express femininity and reinforces the stereotype that gay men are inherently feminine, a stereotype that has been forced on the LGBTQ+ community for generations. Thus, those who accuse Styles of acting “gay” only hypocritically uphold societal norms

that harm the community.

Finally, accusing real people of queerbaiting can lead to incredibly harmful repercussions when the public gets it wrong; often, the public criticizes celebrities for queerbaiting when they are in fact queer. Take Kit Connor, an 18-year-old actor who starred in the hit LGBTQ+ series “Heartstopper.” After being accused of queerbaiting by fans of the show, Connor came out as bisexual on social media, tweeting, “Congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show.” Forced outings like this are sadly common, with other celebrities like Dove Cameron and “Love, Simon’’ author Becky Albertalli outing themselves in response to queerbaiting allegations. Celebrities should not feel the need to prove themselves or their identities to millions of strangers, and fans forcing these admissions can lead to celebrities feeling ousted from the very community they privately identify with.

In essence, celebrities are not the same as characters on television. These are real people who have real, complex relationships with their gender and sexual expression. Thus, it is not viewers’ place to police how people identify nor force their perception of celebrities orientation when they do not have the full picture.

opinion may 25, 2023 A8 the falconer PERSONAL

A starving man sits on the curb of a busy street, holding a sign, begging for food. Someone passes by — in their right hand, a sign meant for the protest down the street to end homelessness and to get justice for a dead man. In their left: wads of cash in a wallet. Just like every other day, the person walks on without a glance to the pained man, who is only thinking that in order to get help and be recognized as human, he must die first.

Chaos erupted at around 2 p.m. on May 1 when homeless street performer and ex-convict Jordan Neely boarded the F train in New York City, fed up with living on the streets, Neely began “aggressively screaming” at passengers and took off his jacket, throwing it to the side, as seen in the four-minute video captured by freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who was at the scene. Just seven minutes later, Neely was put in a chokehold and suffocated by 24-year-old veteran Daniel Penny. On May 5, Penny faced a charge of second-degree manslaughter at his arraignment, which can lead to up to 15 years in prison. Penny has pleaded not guilty to the charge. While putting Penny behind bars for his crime may result in some form of justice for Neely, gaining true justice goes deeper than advocating for only one man. The drastic numbers of remaining unhoused people and the lack of decency granted them from the very people who claim they are trying to advocate for the unhoused shows that the U.S. is far from making the country a healthier and safer place.

With a homeless population of over half a million individuals in the

U.S., demographics in the homeless population are increasing yearly. As of 2022, nearly 70,000 homeless people were from New York alone. With such a high percentage of people without roofs over their heads, it is ignorant of those who have the ability to make a difference to stay uneducated — a point that must be changed as soon as possible.

From birth, children are often taught to disregard homeless people out of fear, causing many to be dissuaded from donating as little as a dollar to someone on the streets. Much of this influence comes from the belief that most homeless people are dangerous and mentally unwell. While it is certainly reasonable to be more cautious in areas with unhoused people, it is immoral to automatically assume that every individual is a walking hazard. Neely, generally referred to as “a talented Black man who [loved] to dance” and a “non-aggressive person with… a beautiful smile” from fans of his street performances, was still tainted by his criminal record and past run-ins with the law. While it is true that Neely had been arrested several times for minor crimes like trespassing, and had been issued an arrest warrant for felony assault, none of these come close to the real crime committed when he was held down by two other bystanders and choked to death by Penny. Still, news outlets like NBC News and New York Magazine make a point to insinuate that Neely was the source of the problem as they use terms like “lashing out” and “aggressive threatening,” as well as glorify the assailant instead of

shaming him.

As more unhoused people are killed, the call for a social awakening grows louder. Despite marches and protests, there are never meaningful efforts being made; unhoused people are still begging on the streets and nobody is reaching out to offer support. Are all of these efforts only made out of guilt for the inherently flawed way we treat homeless people, remaining ignorant and never lending a helping hand until after someone has been killed? After all, it is far easier to call for change when there is a dead victim rather than a living one.

With this in mind, there are changes that need to be made to support unhoused people who need help. While there are community clinics and public hospitals that provide preventative care for those without insurance, many


of these facilities have poor sanitation, such as lack of ventilation in condensed areas of up to 300 sick residents, that may cause further health problems for their occupants.

Although it is clear that the vast issues regarding poverty and homelessness are not expected to be eradicated or reduced anytime soon, there are steps that we as students can take in order to give every Neely a better chance at not just surviving, but living.

By increasing mental health awareness and education, including going to protests and working with people firsthand in shelters and food banks, there may just be another Neely that gets off the train without a body bag.

414 Falcons responded to an anonymous poll sent out by the Falconer. Here are the results...

of Falcons believe that the issue of homelessness is a result of an institutional failure rather than a personal


Assistant Editors-in-Chief

We, the Falconer staff, are dedicated to creating a monthly newspaper with the intent of encouraging independent thinking, expanding our knowledge of journalism, and providing the TPHS student body and community with a truthful, unbiased news source, in accordance with our First Amendment rights.




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

Dixie Wallerius

Jacob Zhang

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Mia Boardman Smith

67% of Falcons feel somewhat hopeful toward the homelessness crisis being solved in San Diego.
67% 33% 24 12 6 0 18 4 5 2 3 1 9 10 7 8 6 Urgency (1-10) Poll responses (% total) 46.6% of Falcons rate the urgency of addressing homelessness in San Diego at a level of 7 or 8 out of 10. 3.1% 2.2% 4.6% 5.6% 9.9% 11.6% 23.4% 23.2% 7.2% 9.2% 69% 31%
One man strangled Jordan Neely, but it was all of us who failed him.
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midst the hum of diesel engines, the sweet smell of coffee grounds and the chatter of locals, three men gather around a Ferrari 330 P3 — a replica of the car featured in the 2019 film “Ford v Ferrari.” The men ogle at the intricate curves in the car’s steel body and discuss the aerodynamics of its fiberglass doors. This specimen is just one in a line of luxury vehicles of every make and model imaginable, parked bumperto-bumper in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe.

This is Cars and Coffee, a oncesecret Rancho Santa Fe luxury car show that has opened up to car enthusiasts across North County.

“Originally, it used to be known as the secret car show, but it went from a secret to everyone being welcome, and that’s the really great thing about this,” Sanji, a longtime car enthusiast and Rancho Santa Fe resident, who declined to give his last name, said.

Cars and Coffee is a staple in Rancho Santa Fe, held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the intersection of Paseo Delicias and Avenida de Acacias.

The Saturday morning informal event is free for the public and offers an opportunity for both car enthusiasts and the passing public to come together and admire a variety of both vintage and modern sports and luxury cars.

“I’ve been coming to this car show for about five years, and it really hasn’t changed,” Sanji said.

“The diversity in the types of cars has changed though. Even though it may sound like it’s exclusive, it’s really not — it’s the polar opposite. Everyone is willing to share knowledge and help out.”

In addition to its welcoming environment for all levels of car enthusiasts, Cars and Coffee also attracts people of all ages.

“I think what makes Rancho Santa Fe’s Cars and Coffee different is that it provides a community of both like-minded individuals

and individuals who may not be as experienced with cars, but still want to enjoy them without judgment,” Chase Erlbeck (12), a Rancho Santa Fe local and frequent visitor of the car show, said.

Something that also sets Cars and Coffee apart is the variety of cars. With new Porsches adjacent to old Broncos and Ferraris, the range of cars is hard to come by and creates a unique environment for all car lovers.

vintage Ferraris, to electric sports cars and souped-up Teslas, every vehicle has a home on Avenida de Acacias.

“I went there expecting people to be mean or snobby, but I quickly realized that everyone there was just bonding and connecting over their love and interest in cars of all types,” Hudson Welty (12) said.

On the bustling street, some have learned valuable knowledge about cars, caught up with a friend or made a special memory – all thanks to Cars and Coffee.

“Every Fathers Day, my family would go to Caffe Positano and my dad would bring his old race car to the show and it was always something super fun and special for me,” Erlbeck said.

Similarly, some of Taggart’s favorite memories are surrounded by cars.

“There’s a lot of wealth in Rancho Santa Fe, which means you’re seeing things that you can’t find anywhere else in California,” Roen Taggart (12), who occasionally brings his own 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air to Cars and Coffee, said.

Unlike some other car shows in Southern California, Cars and Coffee does not have “cliques” or “crews,” according to Sanji. Every car at the meet is parked on one common street, regardless of model or brand. From old-school Fords and

“I didn’t really have a choice,” he said. “Both sides of my family really love cars, so I kind of got caught up around it.”

Growing up, Taggart worked on vintage cars with his grandfather.

Repairing World-War-II-era Dodges and Fords, Taggart gained experience with various makes and models.

“Over the years, I took on more projects with different types of cars and got into it on my own,” he said.

Now able to share this interest with other San Diegians at Cars and Coffee, Taggart is just one story of the community at the show. So, next Saturday, when the smell of coffee and hum of engines fills Rancho Santa Fe, pull over, park and lend an ear to a car lover’s conversation.

Cars & Coffee

Cars and Coffee provides a community ... [for those] that may not be as experienced with cars but still wants to enjoy them without judgment.
Chase Erlbeck (12) STUDENT


A student stares blankly at a Scantron. As the minute hand on the clock inches closer to the deadline, his heart races faster until it is barely recognizable from the hum of a running washing machine. He tries to swallow his anxiety, but his tongue feels like sandpaper: he is not ready for the SAT. Coming from a low-income family, he cannot afford the fancy prep classes and tutors like other kids. His entire future hangs on a score, his apparent desirability to universities determined by a number. If only he had a tool to turn the tides.

Over the past 150 years, the American education system has obsessed over the “gold standard” of academia: standardized tests. These tests come in many forms such as the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, but have come under criticism in recent years for their inherent socioeconomic inequalities.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence software such as ChatGPT and Heimler AI have become

a tool for bridging the existing gap between those twho can afford test prep classes and those wo cannot.

“Historically, standardized test results have been kind of divided by socioeconomic class because if you can afford the test prep centers and tutors, you can learn more efficiently,” Darmin Tarasewicz (10) said.

According to an internal data analysis of the SAT with an essay portion by College Board in 2014, “out of 1800 total points, students from families earning more than $200,000 a year averaged a combined score of 1714, while students from families earning under $20,000 a year averaged a combined score of 1326.”

For those who lack the time or money to make this investment, AI tools are an alternative.

“In AP World this year, I used AI — more specifically, Heimler AI. It allowed both myself and other students to get a better understanding of how to structure a free response question on the actual AP test to improve our scores,” Tarasewicz said. What would have normally cost hundreds of dollars for a test prep course for the AP exam, Tarasewicz got for free. While some use AI software to help with learning how to write a good free response question answer, others use it to generate practice problems to study.

“I asked AI to give me an outline of an example AP Calculus BC, AP Comp Sci or AP Physics test. It just gave me a random set of problems that I would solve and then check the answers,” Erik Shamsedeen (11) said.

Additionally, some students have found a way to use AI to improve their study habits.

“I asked it to create a two-week study plan and I’d follow that study plan along with other resources such as my textbook or notes that I’ve taken to study. It’s really helped me succeed and get an A in a class I had a poor grade in last semester,” Nafis Aboonour (11) said.

While AI tools can help with generic studying challenges, they fall short when attempting to replace human instruction, especially for those who lack the skills or the motivation to study alone.

“My little brother, for example, gets tutoring. For some people, having a teacher or tutor helps to keep them in check and to study better. For those who don’t know how to study by themselves, AI tools are not going to necessarily help them that much,” Shamsedeen said.

Ultimately, AI tools are still under

development; they are an imperfect technology. Naturally, AI falls short on theoretical subjects such as physics, a characteristic that comes with lacking the time to truly grow and mature into a complete replacement for human education and teaching.

“ChatGPT is really, really bad at physics. If you ask it to solve a physics problem, it will give you paragraphs of nice sounding stuff, but with answers that don’t make sense,” Eli Aghassi, an AP Physics teacher at TPHS, said.

Going beyond AP exams, the future of AI as a tool for preparing for the SAT or the ACT remains unclear.

I asked it to create a two-week study plan and I’d follow that study plan along with other resources such as my textbook or notes that I’ve taken to study. It’s really helped me succeed and get an A in a class I had a poor grade in last semester.”

“It’s too soon to say how ChatGPT will impact test prep, but from various articles in The Atlantic and The New York Times it seems it’s already rendered teaching English in college very challenging,” Chris Hamilton, the founder and CEO of Hamilton Education, a local test prep center, said.

In the meantime, many are probing and pushing the bounds of AI tools. For example, Ritesh Verma, a YouTuber and University of Maryland student, released a video on his Youtube channel titled: “ChatGPT For SAT: How To Use ChatGPT To Study For SAT.” In it, he teaches viewers how they can utilize ChatGPT to study SAT vocabulary and, ironically, find the best free resources for studying the SAT.

Regardless of its countless uses today, AI software is still very much in its infancy and its future remains uncertain. For now, test prep centers and tutors remain a monolith for standardized test preparation. But as AI tools continue to grow, so do the options for students to overcome socio-economic hurdles that are inherent in standardized tests like the SAT and AP exams. Meanwhile, the future of SAT and ACT test for college admission is uncertain as well.

AI tools may grow to be a beacon of hope for some, while a sneaking danger for others. One day, test prep centers may see themselves turn obsolete. At the same time, standardized tests may shift from a measurement of a student’s wealth, to one of their character.

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It is clear that Mrs. Qi wants her students to excel inside and outside of her class. One of her lasting impacts on me will be her empathetic and encouraging nature and her optimistic approach to learning.”
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Zoe Huang (10) STUDENT
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If I am anything in this world, I am a diehard bookworm. And as a proud bearer of this title, I also hold the immense responsibility of verbally pillaging any person who has the audacity to utter that a movie adaptation of a book is better than the novel itself. Even on the very isolated occasion where I might kind-of sort-of agree (please don’t revoke my bibliophile status but I am looking at you “The Godfather” and “All the President’s Men”), I still must wholeheartedly defend a book’s superiority with every ounce of crazed passion in me.

In the past few decades, book-tomovie

adaptations have been churned out like hotcakes, whether due to Hollywood’s lack of original thought or their relatively dependable box-office success. However, adaptations walk a minuscule line between a lovely homage to a work of fiction and something that ravages the very essence of the original piece.

There are a few categories that I think most adaptations fall into.

First is the category in which I think they work best: ones that may not copy a book word for word or stay strictly true to the storyline, but encapsulate the spirit found in between the margins of a beloved text anyways. Take for instance the “Harry Potter” franchise — movies that make one’s heart pulse with nostalgia. The movies themselves are by no means a perfect replica — let us not forget the infamous scene in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” where Dumbledore “calmly” questions Harry, but in the movie he instead shakes him aggressively: “HARRY, DID YAH PUT YAH NAME IN DA GOBLET OF FIYA?!” And yet, every viewer ignores these inconsistencies because of the warmth and familiarity that exudes from each film, wonderfully reminiscent of the novels. This technique is also flawlessly exemplified in none other than my most dearly beloved film “Pride & Prejudice” (2005). Mind you, long before I watched the movie, I was deeply devoted to the novel. I was convinced that I could never love any movie adaptation that strayed even a hair from the book, but I was sorely wrong. From the first note of the score, I knew that the director, Joe Wright, truly understood the magic of Darcy and Lizzy’s love, and all of my previous trepidations over potential missteps quickly faded away. Wright masterfully captures Austen’s witty dialogue and tender storylines, highlighting a greater dimension in the distinct qualities of her characters like Lizzy’s quick tongue and Mr. Collins’s excruciating banality (“What excellent boiled potatoes’’ is a prime example of the fresh one-liners which make the film such a success). Others that have perfected this blend of honoring the old within the new include the 1962 motion picture “To Kill a Mockingbird,”

Books to Movies

the Oscar-winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the 2020 feature “Emma,” Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women’’ and the 2021 film “Dune.” All these movies combine reiteration with variation, the comfort of old with a piquancy of surprise.

Many adaptations, however, miss this mark completely by either straying too far from the book that they lose the story’s integrity or by following it too-closely in a way that feels wholly derivative. One can look no further than the two “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” movies, which beyondbelief butchered the best-selling series by Rick Riordan. The movies had such potential for success, but, as if the producers had never even opened the covers of Riordan’s creation, they wasted a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only did the movies make the characters four years older than they were in the books, but they completely altered the plotlines until they were unrecognizable for any fan, creating a thick aura of disconnection. Similarly, as much as the “Lord of the Rings” movies make me want to shed tears of happiness, their “The Hobbit” counterparts are completely lackluster. Instead of one movie for the one novel, director Peter Jackson instead chose to stretch the plot over three, creating a need for filler side-plots and lots of fluff to stuff into the original storyline. His amplification of side characters was executed poorly and left all genuine enjoyers of the book in a state of confusion. Another failed adaptation was Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 take on “The Great Gatsby,” reminiscent of the limpness of reheated takeout, and whose $105 million budget provided only gaudy flashiness and none of the fervor of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prose. Many more have fallen flat in kindred manners: the horribly cringey new “Persuasion” (2022), the terrifying “Cat in the Hat” (2003) and “The Giver” (2014).

Finally, there is a style of adaptations I think are criminally underrated — modern day classics. These movies do an absolutely brilliant job of taking timeless pieces of literature and enhancing them with novelty. From “10 Things I Hate About You” based on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” to “Clueless” based on Austen’s “Emma” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” on “Pride & Prejudice,” these modern retellings open the classical genre to a whole new audience of young people.

The bottom line is: if executed well, bookto movie-adaptations can act as a twin pillar to cherished tales. Done poorly, though, and the movies have the power of ruining an esteemed work of fiction, even turning some away from it completely.


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A woman stands in the dim light of her kitchen, cleaning. An octopus reaches out its tentacles, searching. Hands extend upwards to hold a plant, supporting. The room falls silent, waiting. A silhouette appears, dancing.

The second annual TPHS Arts Fest — held May 19 through 20 — was simply exquisite. Starting at 4:30 p.m. in the lobby of the TPHS Performing Arts Center, community members wound their way through rows of artwork made by students of every skill level. Beautiful paintings, photographs, sketches and sculptures filled the room.

“Her name,” a remarkable oil painting on canvas by Julia Liu (12), featuring a woman cleaning a kitchen, stood upright on an easel, backlit against a window. Many pieces of artwork were displayed just like this, making it feel as though one was standing right next to the displayed subject.

Placed adjacent to the gallery-walk of 2-D art sat a table covered with shiny ceramic pieces. An octopus, created by Daisy Chen (9), was colored in blue and orange and sat upright with its long, thin tentacles seeming to extend toward the viewer.

Projects made of materials ranging from clay to cardboard were scattered around the gallery as well, depicting animals, foods, mugs and vases. A highlight of this selection was a sculpted set of hands cradling a face, created by Kiara Edwards (11), which held a potted plant in its “skull.” The finished product can only be described as peaceful — a state attained by the harmony of the mix of plant and clay

Arts Fest

textiles and the serene expression on the face. For two hours, people strolled through the gallery, enjoying the art free of charge. Later that evening, people were admitted into the Proscenium Theatre inside the PAC to watch live performances by the TPHS Dance Company, members of the TPPlayers and other students who volunteered their talents. Libby Bezdek (12) kicked off the

them and then swiftly left again. The performance was so enrapturing that it was hard to know where to look at some points, trying to take it all in at once.

The music choices for each dance were equally interesting. Many performances started off slow to match the dreamy music before transitioning to quicker movements to keep up with the louder, harsher music. Never was there a dull moment.

Dance was not the only live performance, however. Poetry, music and a short film were also featured.

performances with a small dance and moving speech about the importance of keeping the arts alive.

There were many incredible performances, choreographed and practiced to perfection. The Intermediate and Advanced Dance P.E. classes took to the stage in fun, coordinating outfits, such as black and white sets, matching orange shirts and sparkly tops. Some of the performances by the Dance P.E. classes featured up to 50 dancers at once — a number made even more impressive by the performers’ coordination.

One performance in particular highlighted the skill involved in sharing the stage with so many dancers. Clad in black shorts and white button-down shirts, the dancers twirled, spun and rolled, all while constantly changing the size of the dominant group on stage. With just a few girls starting out on stage, more joined

Gwynnie Kermorris (11) performed “A Gilded Little Town,” an original poem that personified emotions such as envy and narcissism, while also questioning human nature.

Addi Rose (9) performed an original song, “The Way it Was Before,” singing and playing the guitar. With heartbreaking lyrics and a clear voice, her performance was stunning.

“Shelby,” a short film by Ryan Hincy (11), who takes Advanced Video Film and is a member of the TPHS broadcast show Falcon Vision, featured a sweet-natured dog who always wanted to go with his owner to the park. This film was met with smiles and warm exclamations from across the audience.

The Proscenium Theatre brightened an hour later, to the collective disappointment of the Arts Fest patrons. Exiting the packed theater and passing through the rows of art in the lobby, everyone in the audience — including me — was sad to leave.

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The performance was so enrapturing that one would not even know where to look at some points, trying to take it all in at once.”

A hushed audience is immersed, midway through watching the stage from the dark of the intimate Black Box theater tucked away in the corner of the Performing Arts Center. BOOM! A burst of multicolored confetti rains down, flooding the stage. Dionysus and Thalia, played by Jake Fargo (12) and Libby Bezdek (12), pose dramatically in the light, outfitted in Ancient Greek robes as the Gods of Comedy. Ta-daaaa.

Led by student director Regan Guirguis (12), this hilarious yet poignant comedy follows Daphne Rain, a young classics professor, and the debut role of Keira Murray (11), as she embarks on a muchneeded adventure full of switched identities, powerful deities and an uplifting message to seize opportunities in life.


innovations like McDonald’s, take the idiom “pulling my leg” literally, or whip out popcorn

decree, they inadvertently create more misfortune for Rain, much to the glee of the audience.

BOOM! A burst of multicolored confetti rains down, flooding the stage. Dionysus and Thalia, played by Jake Fargo (12) and Libby Bezdek (12), pose dramatically in the light, donned in Ancient Greek robes as the Gods of Comedy. Tadaaaa.

Other major characters include Dean Trickett ( Kate Heppell (12)) and Ralph Sargent (Ron Tal (12)), a dean and a professor at the college where Rain teaches. Sargent has recently recovered a copy of the lost play “Andromeda,” and Trickett planned to capitalize on the find for university funds. However, after Rain loses the invaluable manuscript that Sargent had left with her for safe-keeping, she summons the Gods of Ancient Greece in a panic, initiating a series of misadventures as she attempts to recover the manuscript.

The show opens on the Greek island of Naxos with the souvenir peddler Aristide, the debut performance of Nolan Greer (11). Greer expertly utilizes the audience’s close proximity in the Black Box theater to his advantage, exchanging entertaining dialogue with audience members as he tries to sell his absurdly priced wares.

The sound production perfectly complements the play as Rain saves Aristide’s son from a bus, a heroic action made comical by a perfectly-timed honking horn. As a token of his gratitude, he gives her a gift of a talisman that summons the gods of Ancient Greece to help the wearer in times of trouble.

Perhaps the most captivating part of the play is the dynamic between Fargo’s Dionysus and Bezdek’s Thalia as they praise modern

while watching the human drama unfold. In their attempts to help Rain, lest they burn for an eternity in the Underworld under Zeus’

I also particularly enjoyed the humorous interactions between Brooklyn DeWolfe and Ares, portrayed by Alana Dean (12) and Tanay Gupte (12) respectively, as the arrogant Broadway actress rebuffed the confused god of war’s advances.

TPPlayers’ costume design is on full display in Act II, with colorful, flowing robes and golden wreaths at a costume party in celebration of the “Andromeda” manuscript. After the gods invoke their ability to shapeshift, more antics ensue as Sargent professes his love and kisses Trinkett, mistaking her for Thalia. The hilarity culminates in Fargo’s reveal in DeWolfe’s dress after he morphs into her.

Despite the abundance of funny moments, the play also nails its emotional scenes, with Bezdek delivering a heartfelt monologue about the beauty of new experiences and Murray’s touching performance when Rain completes her journey of self-discovery and gains the confidence to star as the lead actress in her production of “Medea.”

The Black Box as a performance space, coupled with the versatile actors leaning into their comedic sides, created pure, enjoyable fun for the audience. Whether audience members were on the edge of their seats as the Russian janitor Aleksi, played by Eric Lee (10), shreds the “Andromeda” manuscript, or they were whipping their heads around to watch the exhilarating chase as characters physically run to find the lost play, the cast’s incredible acting created an engrossing experience as I watched, inches away. The characters rushing through the midst of the audience, disappearing out of a hidden exit, and the cheering and laughter of an immediate audience established a unique relationship between the audience and the actors, unlike any other show this year.

After a long year of successful productions, TPPlayers went out with a bang with their production of “The Gods of Comedy.” Tadaaaa.

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After a record-breaking first-place win at the CIF San Diego Section level, 10 members of the TPHS swim and dive teams advanced to the CIF Swimming and Diving Championships in Clovis, California from May 11 to 13.

At the San Diego Section CIF championships, TPHS swim and dive won first place for their men’s team and third place for their women’s team. The times made at both this section-level championship and at the previous week’s League Finals qualified 11 TPHS swimmers, from both boys and girls teams, to advance to the statewide CIF championship.

On May 11, Ezra Purcell (12) competed in the Boys Diving Finals, placing seventh in the state.

The following day, preliminary rounds for all swim competitions took place for both boys’ and girls’ athlete groups. Times made in individual and relay races allowed the TPHS Boys Swim and Dive team to finish seventh in the state.

This year’s success at the CIF section level marks the Boy’s Swim and Dive team’s eighth consecutive first-place CIF San Diego section win.

“It’s been a really dominant run and the boys are going to win again next year,” Richard Contreras, Head Coach for varsity swim and dive, said. “And the girls last year were fourth. This year, we [placed] third, just a whisker or two away from second.”

Members of the girls swim and dive team, including Rachel Yang (11), Katarina Whitefield (9) and Aya

Fergueson (9) advanced to states after placing first in the 200 Freestyle race at the CIF San Diego section championships.

“We moved from 17th to eighth place [for the 200 Free at states], so I’m really happy about that,” Yang said.

In the finals on May 13, the girls’ team raced in the 200 Freestyle, advancing from eighth to finish at sixth in the state.

In addition to this sixthplace ranking, Yang ended at 16th place in her 50 Freestyle race at the state finals.

Disrupted by the effects of the pandemic, the girls’ swim team has struggled in the past few years to regain their status, especially in comparison to their 2019 first-place win at CIF states, which a win that marked the end of their 11-year win streak at the section level.

“Next year, we should probably regain [the CIF San Diego section title],” Contreras said.

The boys’ team saw their own share of unexpected wins.

“We had a great 200 medley relay [at the section level],” varsity swimmer Elek Zettle (11) said. “It was the first event of the meet, and energies were really high at that point. We got second to CCA in that event last year, so we really wanted to get the title back.”

The relay team went farther than this, increasing their joint speed enough to break the previous CIF section record for San Diego.

“And then at states, we broke it again,” Zettle said.

These relays gave freshman swimmers a chance

PERFORMING SWIMMINGLY: TPHS men’s swim and dive team finished first at CIF and seventh at States. Their seventh place finish was an improvement from their 18th placement last year.

to compete at the state level alongside more experienced swimmers, such as Lukas Stein (9), who stepped in to race alongside Zettle in the 200 medley relay at states when one swimmer couldn’t attend.

“We were all freaking out a little bit because we weren’t sure who was going to swim that leg. But [Stein] stepped up and he really pulled it. He did his part and helped us break the section record again,” Zettle said. “So I’m

just so excited for the next couple of seasons because he’s only a freshman.”

Kaito Kermabon, varsity captain of swim and dive, shares Contreras’s and Zettle’s excitement for the team in the upcoming season.

“Half the people that went to CIF states, or at least it feels like it, were freshmen,” Kermabon said. “So it’ll be very good to see how Torrey Pines does in the next three years.”

DIVING INTO STATES: Rachel Yang, Katernia Whitefield, and Aya Fer gueson placed first in the 200 Freestyle race at CIF. This placement at CIF qualifed them to compete at States.

Rachel Yang (11): Clif Bar

Melanie Barcenas, 15, makes historic debut for Wave

Fifteen-year-old San Diego native Melanie Barcenas shattered history when she signed a three-year contract with San Diego Wave Fútbol Club on March 21, making her the youngest player in the history of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“I literally [have been] training on those fields my entire life, and now to be playing and representing the women’s soccer team is crazy ... I am so excited and blessed,” Barcenas said in a signing day interview with Wave.

Prior to her regular season debut, Barcenas appeared in a pre-season game against Angel FC on March 18. She then made her official NWSL debut at Snapdragon Stadium on April 29 against Orlando Pride. Stepping onto the pitch in the 72nd minute, Barcena’s “creativity” contributed to her team’s offense, Wave Head Coach Casey Stoney said in a press conference regarding Barcenas’ debut.

At the end of the match, Wave lost to Pride 3-1.

“I thought [that] was a night that we needed a little more quality on the ball,” Stoney said in the press conference. “I

felt that [Barcenas] brought that and that she showed us what she’s about.”

Growing up, Barcenas played for her local traveling team, San Diego Surf. Her recognition started at a young age and later led to her initial recruitment to the Mexico Youth National Team, and later her transition to play on the United States Youth National Team.

Even prior to her NWSL career,

Barcenas’ talent was recognized and exposed to the world. She appeared on the cover of TIME magazine at the age of nine and signed a NIL deal with Nike in 2022.

While she was still at Surf, Barcenas trained with the Wave team and worked with Wave’s Technical and Development Coach, Craig Barclay, as well as the Assistant Coach and Head

of Goalkeeping, Louis Hunt.

“She came back this year fitter and stronger than she was last year when she trained with the team,” Hunt said. “She has been able to handle the physical challenges of being a 15-yearold playing against professional adults really well this year in training and pre-season games.”

In December 2021, Wave held a press conference revealing the team’s future plans, including the team’s crest and colors. The team is currently wrapping up their second season in the NWSL.

“Being from San Diego, I always looked forward to when the U.S. National Team players like Alex Morgan and Abby Dahlkemper would get to play here,” Barcenas said during the press conference.

At the end of the conference, Barcenas expressed her excitement regarding new opportunities for young female athletes like herself.

“She has shown that with dedication and passion for the game, there really are no limits these days for female athletes,” Hunt said. “Now the real hard work starts for her in how she can make a big impact for the team and achieve even bigger goals.”

TPHS girls gymnastics wins league championship

TPHS Varsity Gymnastics team has had a busy month competing in the Palomar Leagues Division, earning a first place title, and collecting a third place title at CIF.

TPHS Gymnastics competed in the Palomar division for Leagues located at Rancho Bernardo High School on May 10. They competed against Rancho Bernardo, La Costa Canyon High School and Del Norte High School. This first place win at leagues marked the end of a successful regular season and the opportunity to compete in CIF San Diego Section Championship, which was held on May 19th.

Although they had a successful record going into Leagues that did not make the team any less nervous.

“We were a little nervous after getting our scores back but we still pulled it out in the end with some pretty high ones,” four year TPHS gymnast and varsity captain Tristen Palmberg (12) said.

At Leagues, TPHS placed first with a score of 213.875 points. This was an impressive win as the second place team earned a score of 210.275.

Advancing to CIF marked a historic

moment for Head Coach Jennifer Parker, as it was the first time in her nine years of leading the team that they had won Leagues.

“We won this year because we have very talented, hard working athletes who together made this year undefeated and super successful,” Parker said.

Confidently yet cautiously facing

eight schools at West Hill High School in the champion round, the TPHS gymnastics team knew who their toughest competitor was going to be.

“For CIF, Westview [High School] is definitely our competition … they won CIF last year and have had the highest team score for a while,” Palmberg said.

Falling to Westview by only 3.35

points, TPHS finished third.

Overall, competing in CIF resulted in gymnasts performing in ways they were proud of.

“I am most proud of my beam performance because it was one of my best routines of the season,” Dylin Dean (11) said.

For these past two high-stakes competitions, two junior varsity athletes advanced to compete with the varsity team. These athletes proved themselves worthy with their scores, helping contribute to TPHS’s third place win at CIF.

“I did pretty well; my score was used in the team score for valet because I placed as one of the four highest on my team,” Reese Dugdale (11) said.

With their season now at a close, dedicated gymnast Palmberg finds herself reflecting on what she wishes she could tell her younger self.

“[I would tell freshman me to] not give up on myself and keep working hard,” Palmberg said. “I am impressed with where I have gotten at this point.”

The TPHS Varsity gymnastics team had success at both leagues and CIF and hope next year brings just as many trophies.

Girls lacrosse wins

The TPHS varsity girls lacrosse team defeated the Cathedral Catholic High School Dons (13-4) in their CIF Open Division Championship on May 19. The win marked the Falcons’ sixth CIF Open Division Champion title.

sports may 25, 2023 A22 the falconer
Makaylah Gerling STAFF WRITER Hannah Meltzer and Macy Swortwood STAFF WRITERS BALANCED AND COMPOSED: TPHS gymnastics celebrates winning the Palomar League championship. Following a successful season, the win advanced them to a 3rd place finish at CIF. NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Melanie Barcenas makes her professional debut in Orlando. A San Diegan, Barcenas is the youngest player in the history of the National Women’s Soccer League. PHOTO COURTSEY OF JUSTYNE FREUD PHOTO BY ANNA SCIPIONE PHOTO COURTSEY OF SCRIPPIX


From waiting for late-night drops to ironing out creases on the toe vamp of rare Jordans, “sneakerheads” — people for whom sneakers are sacred — have become prominent consumers and collectors of these retro-style shoes.

There are many sneakerheads on the TPHS campus. Ayana Johnson (12) has been into shoes since she was in eighth grade. For her, sneaker culture has deep ties to her own heritage as an African American.

“I think my shoes are definitely a huge part of my identity. Being part of the African American community, I think that we have always had an edgy style, and it’s part of being a unique community,” Johnson said.

For others, like Jack Tiernan (12), sneakers are more of a hobby.

“My cousin [first got me into sneaker culture] and I know a lot of people that buy into certain shoes and collect them, so I got into it from that,” Tiernan said. “I don’t take it too seriously or anything.”

If there’s one thing that sneakerheads can agree on, it is that the origins of this popular subculture have attracted fans from various generations, ages and cultures. With roots in downtown New York, sneaker culture arose in line with hiphop through the city’s Black youth population.

“I find a lot of my inspiration from Black artists, actors and influencers,” Johnson said.

Sneaker culture picked up steam and grew quickly as it was highlighted by many rising artists of the time. Most famously, hip-hop group Run D.M.C. was known for the popularization of Adidas Superstars through their popular hit “My Adidas.” The song opens with the line: “My Adidas walk through concert doors and roam all over coliseum floors.” The song led the group to sign a $1.6 million deal with Adidas, as they endorsed the brand through numerous songs. The deal made history as the first hip-hop group to ever sign with a sportswear brand. For

Adidas, the brand deal led them into a longstanding identification with hip-hop culture.

“I think for the Black community, [sneaker culture] came from the roots of hip-hop and rap,” Johnson said.

Sneaker culture was associated with music, but soon brought athletes into the fold. Nike introduced NBA legend Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe, the Jordan 1, in 1985, during his rookie season. That release led to a $2.5 million endorsement deal between Jordan and Nike. But, NBA officials felt Jordan was undeserving of such special treatment as a rookie, so they banned Jordan from wearing the Jordan 1 during games and fined him $5,000 every time he played in them. The shoe was selling so well, Nike decided it was worth it for them to pay the $5,000 fine every game so Jordan played on in the shoes that would go on to become icons of the sneaker world. The shoe is still a wildly popular bestseller and available in many more colorways than the first version.

The sneakerhead culture is not just for the younger generations; many adults, like Sociology and World History teacher Jeana Crossland, enjoys collecting shoes as well.

“I have a pair of [Adidas] high tops that are white and turquoise that are my favorite,” Crossland said.

Many sneakerheads have a favorite shoe in their collection.

“My most expensive sneakers — I’ve probably only worn them twice — are my Travis [Scott] Fragments,” Tiernan said. “Those go for about $1,200 right now, but I got them for retail.”

While sneaker culture is often boiled down to shoes looking “cool,” it is the connection to nostalgia that keeps sneakerheads coming back for more.

Crossland is known for her unique shoes, a trait which stems back to her childhood.

“I started playing basketball when I was in second or third grade. Even then, I always wanted to have different shoes than everyone else,” Crossland said. “I remember the first time I got to customize [my own] Nike ID shoes on the website. It was the coolest thing ever.”

sports tphsfalconer.com the falconer A23

“Yo, yo, I’m Cole Frost and I love pickup b-ball. Hit my line if you want to talk about the political and economic state of the world right now. Will take unsolicited photos of you in your sleep; just searching for my next muse.”

“Hey, I’m Dixie Wallerius, but in the streets they call me Dickle. My hobbies include lighting up the dance floor and embracing my Irish heritage. Always down for The Bachelor-style hangs; don’t talk to me unless you’re good to skydive.”

“Hi, I’m Jacob Zhang, an old soul with a kind heart <3. On rainy days we can sit down with a nice plate of duck and a screening of Frozen. Deal? Let me know @jakey4123.”

“Hey, I’m Maddy Miller. I have a fear of heights and redheads, but I’m never afraid of a good time. Contact me if you’re always down for a good bowl of microwave mac and cheese at 1 a.m.”

“I’m Lexi Lamb! Right off the bat, my twin is off-limits, don’t even think about it. Please don’t judge me just because I have a nose ring; I am not a delinquent.”

“Hello Miss Roomie!! I’m Hannah Meltzer and I am always ready to lend you a claw clip when you need one. I’ll be your cheerleader for life! Will answer to Anna or Hannah. Peace and love xxx.”

“Hey, I’m Jerry Wu, a fashion bro from SD! I like long walks in the park and a good SunnyD at the end of a hard day. Hit me up if you want to feel inferior in your fashion sense, but gain the bond of a lifetime.”

“Hiya! I’m Regan Guirguis. Hit me up if you’re up for show-tune singalongs and theater trivia nights. Bonus if you’re into comics. Will sing at all hours, so be prepared >:)”

“Hello! I’m Helene Gao, your dream roommate. I’ll always keep it real and will open your relationship troubles to a socratic seminar debate. It’s the only way you’ll learn. :)”

“Heyo, it’s David Zhang here (a.k.a. dzgolf). Heads up, I won’t remember your name, but I will remember to quadruple snap you at all hours! Let me know if you’re down to hit the greens and we’ll be bros for life.”

backpage may 25, 2023 A24 the falconer Find-a-Roommate.com findaroommate.com/falconer.profiles=03321
x findaroommate.com +
doesn’t snore has rich parents keeps things clean falconerds
preferences likes to party
college map tphsfalconer.com the falconer B1 Universityof Arizona College Map2023 Welcome! Welcome! Washington State University You’re in! Yale University You’re in! Keep In Touch Class of 2023 Torrey Pines High School 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd, San Diego, CA 92130 congratulations

from: Your Falcon Family to: The Class of 2023

Gonzaga University

Addison Christie

Oregon State University

Luka Radovic

Molly Varela

University of Oregon

Matthew Broder

Jack Bennett

Cooper Matsui

Kovi Myron

Maggie Sweeney

Jack Tiernan

Willamette University

Ryan Doyle

international students

American University of Paris

AnaSofia Mercado

Escuela de Alta Dirección y Administración

Hansen Frohna

Northeastern University London

Silke Brandrup

Salzburg College

Emma Kreindl

Trinity College

Dixie Wallerius


University of Washington

Saul Johnson

Ani Kradjian

Aleyna Laba

Gisella Miele

Tristen Palmberg

Jakob Pahler

Oscar Raysman

Jeffrey Xia

Western Washington University

Hank Rogaski

Idaho State University

Samantha Steele

Brigham Young University

Andy Livingston

Lauren Nelson

Maya Widdison

University of Utah

Everett Alden

Isabella Kayrouz

Lillian Paul

Shane Peterson

Tasman Wall

Westminster College

Jacob Mendez

University of Arizona

Chloe Briggs

Kate Campbell

Mia Dodd

Emma Fields

Bethany Jennings

Colorado School of Mines

Loui Derrien

Colorado State University

Lauren Jacobs

Carson Loedel

James Stallworth

Jonas Wilf

University of Minnesota, Artem Grigoryev

Regan Guirguis

Saint Olaf College

Kathryn Olson

The Falconer has spent weeks soliciting the post-high school plans of all seniors. The college map includes the information provided to us by the May 24 deadline. The Falconer is not responsible for reprinting the map on account of anyone who missed the deadline and did not submit their plans or submitted information with spelling errors. Some colleges may not be in the correct geographical location due to space constraints.

Andres Madrazo

Hannah Meltzer

Lexi Moran

Ava Wehlage

University of Colorado Boulder

Delaney Ballard

Danny Eisendrath

Elle Nordstrom

Chase O’Connell

Trevor Peck

Tara Trabucco

University of Kansas

Jacob Flohr

Arizona State University

Aiden Sisson

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University -


Minyoung Bang

Grand Canyon University

Karma Noble

Texas A&M


Illinois Colten

Northwestern Brock

Jerry University


Myles University


Aidan Wong

Texas Christian

Lucas Levenberg

The University of Faith Bigelow

Tulane University

Paloma Ezzet

Chloe Lindo

Amelia Mullen

Cole Spector

United States Air Force

Aidan McCarthy

Israeli Defense Forces

Nisso Adato

Tom Peled

college map may 25, 2023 B2 the falconer

Minnesota, Twin Cities

Yilin Lu


University of Wisconsin - Madison

Ryan Boyes

Dylan Croce

Will Demos

Lily Gano

Grinnell College

Keely Yeager

Illinois College

Myles Sullivan

Illinois Institute of Technology

Colten Farrell

Northwestern University

Brock Brown


Karina Janik

Mia Saldivar

David Zhang

University of Michigan

Alyssa Wakefield

Indiana University - Bloomington

Dartmouth College

Ellie Davidson

Boston College

Colin Poe

Boston University

Alex Mannion Velana Valdez

Harvard University

Smilla Klas

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Derek Liu

Northeastern University

University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign

Jessica Ye

University of Kentucky

Chloe Thompson

Christian University

Levenberg August Thut

of Texas at Austin


Julian Woodman

military service

Sean Montana

French Foreign Legion

Fabian Soto

Lucy Holliday

Stella Mikolajewski Evan Patrick Issy Tone

Purdue University

Thomas Marlowe

Laird Tassara

University of Notre Dame

Dominik Bartsch

Austin Peay State University

Alana Owens

Belmont University

Siena Bacino

University of Tennessee

Ella David Taylor Geiserman

Vanderbilt University

Yuxuan Huo

Emory University

Aidan Zhao

Savannah College of Art and Design

Lexi Lamb

University of Georgia

Ella Chakravarty Ava Loizu

University of Florida

Alexis Molnar

University of Miami

Julia Lane

work force

Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Braxen Fry

Real Estate

Ivan Rokitski

Rebecca Golts

Morgan Johnson Olivia Shi McLean Smith

Williams College

Audrey Adam

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Rohan Inamdar

Colgate University

Christian Camaisa

Cornell University

Marissa Gaut Keira Hsu

Fashion Institute of Technology

Kate Park

Marymount Manhattan College

Aliza Cassell

New York University

Edison Choy Cole Frost

Parsons School of Design

Josie Rose

Syracuse University

Ella Simon

United States Military Academy

Kyra Jacobs

Pennsylvania State University

Emma Levy Evan Wamstad

Rutgers University

Chris Liu

Bowie State University

Ayana Johnson

Johns Hopkins University

William Song

University of Maryland

Douglas Jutronich Alex McGillivray

The George Washington University

Chase Erlbeck

Howard University

Mikayla Luciano

Duke University

Kaija Kudirka

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ryan Wittenberg

Clemson University

Laura Rucks

gap year Force

Ariel Adato

college map tphsfalconer.com the falconer B3
Beckett Bateman Sofie Brown Roen Taggart Forces

Biola University

Elijah MinWeiro

California Baptist University

Christopher King

California Polytechnic State University, Humboldt

Maya Sherman

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Alex Bejar

Ashton Bejar

Lacey Dadian

Connor Frasch

Indie Fraser

Aaron Golts

Meghana Gutlapalli

Danica Jagd

Sarah Kabban

Maia Lambson

Eva Lefferdink

Mona Lingenbrink

Luke Meyer

Kylee Russell

Tristan Searcy

Sophie Sipes

Daniel Shafer

Jack Story

Jordan Twitty

California State University, Channel Islands

Mark Williams

California State University, Fullerton

Nylah Knight

California State University, Monterey Bay

Marissa Banken

California State University, Northridge

Lia Turner

California State University, San Marcos

Stephanie Espinoza Perez Melody Ziari

Chapman University

Landon Blazer

Mikalah Hanna

Chloe Lam

Madison Miller Jacob Press

Claremont McKenna College

Chris Kim

Fresno State University

Jack Knorr

Loyola Marymount University

Coast Academy

Alexander Vaghefi

Harvey Mudd College Emily Zhou

San Francisco State University

Asia Arbaugh

San José State University

Antonia Hastings

Kaito Kermabon

Leonardo Mascaro

San Diego State University

Melodi Abasta

Zeena Al Bachachi

Carlos Cardona Bedoya

Mia Chen

Brenna Filler

Izzy Flower

Mattias Lundquist

Kaitlyn McCarthy

Yasmin Parsa

Melissa Tan

Vivien Vu

Daniel Wen

Santa Barbara City College

Remi Baere

Max Griffiths

Dane Nicholas

Gavin Strup Jake Tracy

Santa Clara University

Josh Chen

Maira Clotfelter Bastias

Stanford University

Annabelle Wang

Grace Flanagan

Courtney Wong

Universal Technical Institute

Finn Roche

University of California, Berkeley

Rini Ampelas

Victor De Oliveira

Alex Han

Julia Heo

Kelly Hu

Carson Kuehnert

Haley Kim

Noah Kon

Ethan Kung

Alex Laughlin

Emmalee Lazarus

Andy Li

Johnny Li

Andrew Lin

Angela Liu

Julia Liu

Madeleine Ren

Lindsay Van Winkle

Crystal Xu

Grace Zhou

University of California, Davis

Grayson Bonanno

Zoe Garrett

Jae Kim

Emmy MacRae

University of California, Irvine

Yulian Gogov

Tom Schwaiger James Trussell

MiraCosta College

Asli Baydar

Alana Dean

Jake Fargo

Sebastien Jabbour

Jiwon Kim

Jaemoon Lee

Ofir Nagar

Mateo Ruiz-Karr

Arthur Tsvyk

Sri Ujjini

William Yang

Kimberly Zhou

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Kylie Cava

Otis College of Art and Design

Camryn Jacobs

San Diego Mesa College

Logan Hershey

Jooyoon Kim

Maya White

San Diego Miramar College

Mariam Kharraz

Pomona College Jacob Zhang

Courtney Demos

Honoka Kato

Katarina Kotanchek

Michele Kim

Eduardo Leyva

Tisya Nair

Curtis Wang

Z Zabarsky

University of California, Los Angeles

Libby Bezdek

Natalie Christmore

Dylan Friedland

Helene Gao

Matthew Lee

Ted Li

Katerina Lutz

Taisiya Rubtsova

Edward Sun

Ron Tal

Andrew Tsai

Amy Zhao

University of California, Merced

Noah Wise

University of California, San Diego

Elana Aftahi

Nikhil Banwar

Cindy Cao

Nik Dhir

Sophia Dwek

Orli Gollan-Myers

Emma Sun

University of California, Santa Barbara

Joshua Chung

Nikki Dorostkar

Sammi Dorostkar

Seoyeong Lee

Angela R. Liu

Carly Marks

Morgan Mullins

Cole Nakata

Sofija Popovic

Johnny Seo

Anna Vo

Adam Wang

University of California, Santa Cruz

Sofia Aminifard

Kate Heppell

Ryan Munsch

Sydney Nauss

Ava Sassen

Eric Xu

University of San Diego

Tyler Arnold

Bailey Nelson

University of Southern California

Malik Brown

Nick De Fina

Selina Mejia

Jason Nguyen

Mitchell Ralph

Colin Scott

Kameron Scott

Jaden Taylor

Lexi Thomas

Preslea Wilson

Woodbury University

Danika Blease

college map may 25, 2023 B4 the falconer

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