Sports The Highlanders’ football team makes the playoffs for the first time in six years
Entertainment Must-see holiday movies are back for the winter season
Granada Hills Charter High
Feature The Plaid Press explores different cultural winter holiday traditions
10535 Zelzah Ave, Granada Hills 91344
December 10, 2010
School wakes up with KUWG
Mr. Mayor pays Broadcast journalism returns with a new name Granada a visit By Steve Ruiz The school’s video production class returns this year, reinvented in the form of “Keeping Up With Granada” (KUWG). This is the third consecutive year that Granada has had a school-wide video production class; however, the new name is a contribution made by the group of new students involved in this year’s production. But what really makes this year’s production different in comparison to previous years is that it incorporates both the serious news along with the more entertaining news. Episodes have included Homecoming fashion, sock puppet Santiago, cooking, and a “What do you think KUWG stands for?” segment. This new direction is due to the help that filmmaking teacher John Crossley has given to the KUWG staff. Crossley assists students when necessary, but allows KUWG to be predominantly student-run. The students first brainstorm story ideas, then consider how to improve ideas, and finally film the segments. After the segments are filmed they are edited, and scenes are compiled into a five-to-ten minute video to be aired during second
Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press
Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press
KUWG: Two broadcast journalists prepare to film this week’s episode. period homerooms. In terms of anchoring, filming, editing, and interviewing, the students have free reign to change their roles with every episode. Senior Malissa Murga works behind the scenes to coordinate various tasks such as revising each episode, assigning segments, and overlooking each segment. Although Murga can become stressed at times, she enjoys what she does. “[I like] the fact that we get to inform the school, because a lot of people don’t know what’s going on, and we get to put it
out in a fun way,” Murga said. KUWG’s goal is to inform and entertain, and if student response is correct, KUWG is serving its purpose. “[KUWG] covers events pretty well. I like how the students’ opinions are given, and how teachers and administration are involved,” sophomore Nilesh Kapoor said. Even teachers seem to enjoy the Friday morning KUWG episodes. “‘Keeping Up With Granada’ shows school events in a creative and original way that gets student interest with humor.
“My favorite thing about Granada is that the culture of success is omnipresent, and perpetuates virtually everything you do here,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
I think it’s a great addition to the school community,” English teacher Shayna Arhanian said. Crossley has heard only positive comments about this year’s video production, and intends to maintain it. “The best examples [of KUWG’s success] are that administration likes it, and so do we. My homeroom is always entertained by it, and [quiets down] whenever KUWG is on,” Crossley said. Students can tune in to KUWG Fridays during homeroom for more school news and entertainment.
Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press
QUAD: After every nutrition and lunch period, students heavily litter the campus instead of properly disposing of their trash in garbage bins.
Student group sets out to Keep Granada Clean By Austin Kang Keep Granada Clean is an informal group dedicated to the sanitation of the school campus by encouraging students to clean up after themselves. The idea for the group originated last year in the Operations Committee to address the heavily littered grounds left after the nutrition and lunch periods. “Many students don’t really see all the trash they leave after they eat since they go straight to class. But if I go outside my classroom and just stare down the hallway, I can see everything, and the amount of trash they leave is appalling and sad,” Operations Committee Chair Maggie Abbott said.
As students contribute to the majority of the trash, the Committee focused on influencing the students’ behavior as the solution for the clutter. “In the past, there were consequences for leaving a dirty campus like nutrition being taken away for a day or so. Keep Granada Clean will be different in that it will serve to provide positive reinforcement and positive rewards if students manage to keep the campus clean,” Abbott said. The deans have started to inspect the campus every day after lunch ends to make a report of the cleanliness of the school. If there are only favorable reports for two consecutive weeks, there will be an
extended nutrition period. “There have also been other rewards suggested such as free ice cream or cookies for the students, or maybe even an iPod day, but nothing’s set in stone right now,” Abbott said. Beyond just changing simple littering habits, Keep Granada Clean furthers a respect for the environment, and a respect for the school campus where “many people spend more time than at home,” Abbott said. “You wouldn’t just throw down trash at home, so why would you do it here?” Furthermore, the Associated Student Body (ASB) has been involved, and plans to create a video every month to publicize
Keep Granada Clean and its purpose. “I think it’s important that ASB take this on because the trash is a huge problem on campus; and as student representatives, it is our job to try and improve our school,” ASB member and senior Deshika Perera said. To encourage students to dispose of their trash properly, the school custodians are now opening the lids of the large trash cans scattered throughout the school in the mornings. “I think students litter because they don’t see trash as their problem. They believe it should be someone else’s responsibility, and that is what we are trying to change,” Perera said.
December 10, 2010
Jasmine Saleh wins Cool Kid Award
Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Saleh
By Jane Ha Granada’s very own sophomore Jasmine Saleh ended her year as Miss Teen San Fernando Valley with the KABC Cool Kid Award. Given by the broadcast channel, the KABC Cool Kid Award recognizes students who strive to make a difference in the community. Contestants must be nominated by their school and interviewed by a reporter from KABC in order to be selected for the award. With avid support from the school, Saleh advanced on to the interview, focusing on her extensive extracurricular activities such as her participation in Rachel’s Challenge. “The big reason I do these kinds of things is to see a change in others,” Saleh said. “It really does affect your daily life and the people around you.” November 17, an announcement was
made that Saleh had won the Cool Kid Award, which was also televised on ABC channel seven the next day. “I was surprised [to hear that I won],” Saleh said. “But I’m glad [it was televised], because now people around our area can understand that not just myself, but teens around the valley really want to help start a chain reaction of goodness.” Saleh’s penchant for community service and public-speaking skills had also earned her the title of Miss Teen San Fernando Valley in November 2009. Miss Teen San Fernando Valley is chosen in a beauty pageant after a series of interviews that emphasize the contestants’ ability to articulate their visions to an audience as well as attaining physical fitness and confidence. The year-long title ends this month. “I’m sad I’m not going to be the title
holder, but I feel I have achieved and learned so much from this experience,” Saleh said. “I gave back [to the community], and felt great about it.” Having won the regional crown, Saleh advanced onto competing for Miss California on November 19. Although Saleh did not continue onto the next round, she reflects back on the entire experience with fondness and composure. “I made many friends and got to go on stage; that was all I wanted to do,” Saleh said. After her fruitful participation in the pageants, Saleh is ready to return to ordinary teenage life though she will continue volunteering on a regular basis. “[The pageants] have been great, but I want to lay low for a while to enjoy my friends and family as a teenager,” Saleh said.
California DMV changes driver license design
Underage drivers are now issued vertically-shaped driver licenses By Ahra Cho California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) started issuing new driver licenses with enhanced security features and a brand-new look beginning October 6. The changes are especially deliberate for licenses distributed to underage drivers. In an attempt to curb counterfeit license production, the DMV decided to issue new licenses with the latest technology in document security. Believing that fraud and license-tampering has been on the rise, the DMV, along with the capitol office in Sacramento, took steps in strengthening California’s security structures. “The new security features, coupled with advanced technology, make California driver licenses and identification cards one of the most secure identification documents in the country,” DMV director George Valverde said in a press conference. The new features on the licenses include the cardholder’s signature and date of birth engraved with raised lettering, thus facili-
tating the identification process. Additionally, photos visible only with ultraviolet light, bar codes on the back of the card for verification, and a laser perforation outline of the California bear (visible only when light is shone through the back of the card) are elements designed to improve security. Most importantly to students, licenses issued to drivers under the age of 21 will now be arranged vertically. This will help make the identification of minors easier and quicker for police officers and shopkeepers, according to the DMV. The department remains certain that the new secured and authentic card will serve well as the primary source of identification in California. “We are confident that the new cards will be well-received by residents, businesses, and law enforcement officials,” Valverde said. Yet, underage drivers remain largely dissatisfied with the new vertically-printed licenses issued for them. Students at
Student Services Committee passes ASB proposal for more student votes By Allison Ouchi The Student Services Committee passed the Associated Student Body’s (ASB) proposal to distribute more votes to the students on December 8, voting to increase student votes in the committee to three. At the last Student Services meeting in November, ASB proposed to increase the number of student votes to five, compared to the one vote they have now. Originally ASB proposed to increase student votes to four votes, but since each group in Student Services is only allowed an odd number of votes, they decided to increase it to five votes. “In Student Services, there is one vote for every department in the school, however we [ASB] thought it was unfair that, out of everyone, students only have one vote to represent 4,000 kids,” ASB sophomore delegate Brandon Camacho said. The Student Services Committee is one of the school’s various standing committees that focuses on the specific tasks and policies of school safety, security, attendance, and student needs. With these five student votes, each grade level would have their own vote on these issues and one vote would be left for ASB.
“This will give students more of an opportunity to voice their own opinions instead of having ASB vote the way the we think the students would want us to vote,” ASB senior vice president Samuel Avishay said. At this past Wednesday’s meeting, however, the committee voted to amend the proposal, and compromised to decrease the proposed five votes to three votes, as several departments felt five votes was too many to represent the students. “Obviously we wish we could have gotten five votes, but we still ended up with more votes than we have now; so it’s good,” Camacho said. The proposal will be introduced to the Governing Board at their next meeting this upcoming Monday and will go to vote in this committee the following meeting at the beginning of the spring semester. If passed, ASB hopes this new distribution of votes to students will go into effect immediately. “We need more students involved in the school, and this is just a way for the school to reach out to the students and give us more of a voice in what goes on in the school,” Avishay said.
Granada are particularly displeased with the aesthetics of the new licenses and find the changed arrangement to be unnecessary. “I think the new licenses are ugly. I don’t think it’s necessary to change the cards to make it slightly easier for the police to identify underage drivers,” junior Alexandria Lewis said. Others focus more on the impracticality of the new designs. “I understand the intent, but the attempts are useless since the old licenses specified ‘under 21’ anyways. People who make fake IDs will make them despite the new layouts and features,” senior Eman Dadashian said. Some students find that the new licenses “emphasize the fact that underage drivers
are minors, unlike the old licenses which symbolized adulthood,” junior Andrew Kim said. “I believe that the licenses do have a point, and it’s very important to prevent the production of fake IDs. However, I feel like these cards no longer signify the maturity and growth of an underage driver and instead it focuses on the young age of the driver,” Kim said. Regardless of the mixed opinions about the new driver licenses, the DMV issued out the new cards to any driver under 21 who applied for new license after October 6. Existing licenses and IDs are not required to be changed, although renewals of those cards will come in the new design.
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December 10, 2010 Thank You Granada
Thank you for supporting M.E.N.D. and the drive sponsored by Rachel’s Challenge and Global Relief fund.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
“I Am Granada” Nominations If you know of anyone who shows school spirit, send their names and a brief explanation to Ms. Mason in A11 or send an email to mmason@ ghchs.com. Everyone is eligible: students, teachers, parents, staff, and administrators.
“ I Am Granada”
Holiday spirit is back By Laura Nunez You can feel it in the air. Tank tops and short-shorts make their ways back into the closet, and out come fluffy jackets and toasty boots. The energy among students becomes friendlier, as the holiday season brings greeting cards and colorfully wrapped presents for friends. Students prepare for their favorite traditions at school by pulling out the bows and ribbon, pots and pans, even the Santa suit. “I wear a lot of Santa hats or reindeer headbands, and pass out candy canes,” junior Amanda Lac said. In addition to a change in wardrobe, baked sweets also tend to arrive hand-inhand with the holidays. Receiving these delicacies is always a favored event during this time of year. “I bake like crazy around the holidays, and bring cupcakes and cookies in for all my friends,” senior Tyler Nixon said. However, the holiday treats do not just end on a cookie tray; other holidays such as Chanukah present a different menu for the
season. “On the first day of Chanukah I bring in latkes for my friends,” senior Aleesa Aronoff said. The tradition of baking and eating far beyond normal capacity seems to be a shared custom around campus. And Santa Claus makes a guest appearance at school to spread around the jolly light-hearted spirit of the holidays. “I wear a Santa hat, and carry around this bag of random things, and hand them out to my friends,” senior Chris Reza said. Others celebrate by passing around gifts in their immediate circle of friends. “My friends and I have started a new tradition of Secret Santa, and on the last day of school we open presents,” sophomore Wynette Vogel said. The student community embraces the holiday season in many delicious, creative, and giving ways. Chances are that everyone knows someone who adds to the holiday spirit on campus.
Key Club wraps up the year By Danielle Sink Key Club plans to participate in both the “Basket Packers” and “Gift Givers” portion of the Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) Christmas Program this holiday season. The club is just one of many in “an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character, and develop leadership,” according to Key Club International’s official website. As part of Division 25 East in the organization, the school’s Key Club has over 50 active members. It is one of the most populous clubs on campus. And these members show their dedication through community service opportunities like the MEND Christmas Program. Participation can be in six ways: donating food, donating toys and gifts, being a driver, adopting a family, doing computer database work, and donating money. “MEND seems to be really popular with the members,” Key Club treasurer sophomore Elmer Pangilinan said. “I wasn’t in school the last time we had this event, so to see people so excited about it gets me excited too,” he continued
Key Club members who volunteered to participate will visit the MEND headquarters in Pacoima on December 4 to help store all of the food that MEND workers have collected from donations such as those collected by ASB from homerooms this month. “I attended this event when I was a freshman,” Key Club bulletin editor senior Bianca Alexiou said. “It was actually hard work, but it was worth it to be able to help out MEND.” These food items will then be distributed to families in need closer to the holiday season. Another branch of the MEND Christmas Program is gift wrapping sessions. In this program, MEND provides wrapping paper to the volunteers to help wrap various kinds of toys donated to the program. These toys will then be distributed as gifts to underprivileged children. “A couple of years ago we actually participated in the gift wrapping as well,” Alexiou said. “That was also really fun, but this year it clashes with finals week, so we can’t all attend.” However, some members plan on attending the gift wrapping event on their own.
Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press
Lexus Chiu captures class memories with yearbook By Madushi Wanniarachchige Everyone has seen the banners on the way to school featuring the faces of important members of the community — athletes, teachers, counselors, and students. Among the faces is Tartan Yearbook editor-in-chief senior Lexus Chiu. Chiu is a dedicated and hardworking member of the Granada community, spending most of her time in F1 working on the yearbook to make sure it is as close to perfect as can be. “I spend more time in F1 than I do in bed,” Chiu said. “My advisor, Mr. Mazur, refers to the classroom as ‘the lab,’ but I call it home.” This is Chiu’s second year in yearbook, and she was awarded the title as sole editorin-chief on the staff. “It feels pretty awesome to say that I’m the yearbook editor-in-chief. That’s a mouthful,” Chiu said of her status as the only editor-in-cheif. Usually yearbook has at least two editorin-chiefs. “I was worried about being the only editor,” Chiu said. “But I have a great advisor, and an amazing staff, so it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a co-editor.” “The decision for one editor was easy, because it was Lexus,” Tartan Yearbook Advisor Graham Mazur said. “She leads a team that can work hard and have fun.” Chiu is an effective worker, and under her leadership, the yearbook staff is determined to put together an amazing yearbook that is sure to please this year’s students. “Lexus is a really strong leader. She’s nice, and really gets you on track, especially with deadlines,” staff member senior Calvin Ly said. Aside from her work ethic, her staff genuinely enjoys working with her. “Lexus is a lot of fun. She’s really encouraging, and working under her is enjoyable,” staff member senior Kyle Travaglini said. But why yearbook?
“Memories fade, but yearbooks are forever,” Chiu said. “Yearbook captures a whole year’s worth of memories that otherwise would have been forgotten thirty years from now.” Chiu found yearbook as a fun and productive way to really get involved with the school, so that her life at Granada would have more meaning. “Being in yearbook allows me to be a part of the school,” Chiu said. “We have writers and photographers at every school event, and I get to see all of that.” Having access to practically all of the school’s activities from academics to sports to club activities allows Chiu to look over all of Granada. She is the one that oversees the accumulation of all of the school’s activities in the form of yearbooks. And, with the popularity of last year’s yearbook, the anticipation for the next one is high, as are the expectations of quality from editor-in-chief Chiu. After a year of hard work, Chiu is proud to say she was a big part of something so important to the students, and to the legacy of the school itself. “This is probably really cliché, but my favorite part of yearbook is at the end of the year when the books are distributed to all the students,” Chiu said. She loves everything from “the look on their faces when they see themselves on a page,” to “the way they carry the yearbook tucked under their arms, and pass on their yearbook to have it signed,” she said. The fact that Chiu can physically see her work being appreciated makes her job at yearbook even sweeter. “ Seeing people with yearbooks, I get this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. The idea that my year of hard work actually means something to so many people is priceless,” Chiu said. And we will finally have the chance to see the result of Chiu’s hardwork at the end of the school year.
Students anticipate for their plans over winter break
Lucy Lee / The Plaid Press
“I am going to Mammoth to snowboard with my family and friends.” — freshman Ashley Chae
“I am going alone to Ecuador for New Year’s to see my family.” — sophomore Leslie Santos
“I am going to Elite’s winter boot camp to raise my SAT score.” — junior Joshua Park
“I am going to spend a week in the Bahamas with my family.” — senior Rachel Pellegrino
C U L8R
Proper English By Jane Pyeon
“When I come across a word like ‘gonna’ in a formal essay, it is disappointing. I see it as an indication that the line between text speak and academic writing is losing its distinction and that makes me a bit sad” -English Teaher Sheela Maupin
“OMG did you hear about that girl? LOL! No way! OK, I g2g. ttyl!” This is a typical text conversation between students. Unfortunately, such writing has crept into English classrooms as well. It may seem unbelievable, but students make the mistake of using text language within formal essays. Substituting the word “to” with the number 2, or writing “you” as “u,” are common mistakes of English students. According to CNN, an average teenager sends about 80 text messages per day. This constant use of text language affects the way students speak and write on a normal basis. “What bugs me is when students say LOL. Just laugh out loud, just do it,” English teacher Maureen Grandchamp said. Teachers realize that text speak is a form of habit, but they firmly state that in the classroom, such language is becoming quite a barrier. “I understand that it is a form of communication, but when you try to communicate analytically and use text speak and other colloquialisms, the polish of the paper becomes amateurish,” English teacher Christine Foster said. Teachers are preparing students to leave high school and enter the real world where students are expected to use formal and proper English. “Businesses and colleges want direct communication. They want to see that you understand the rules of writing, both written and unwritten,” Foster said. It seems that all English teachers agree on the fact that text language is something to be kept outside of the classroom.
December 10, 2010
Peer College Counselors (PCCs) Look Out for Students’ futures By Lucy Lee The Peer College Counselors (PCC) have been around schools all over the country for many years. Their goal is to provide college bound students with equal access to college information. “Many students feel like getting [college] advice from another student who’s roughly the same age reduces intimidation,” PCC senior Bonnie Brooks said. The program works to provide students with the most comfortable surroundings when receiving college advice and information; this is the reason why student counselors are an essential part of the program. “Every single one of the students this year has so much potential,” college counselor Sarah Olczak said. “They love what they are doing and are so enthusiastic to help other students.” PCCs not only experience the joy of reaching out to others, but also learn as they train themselves to help others. “Aside from giving information to the students, there have been several times when a student walks in for counseling and I ended up learning something new,” PCC junior Alex Oh said. With their knowledge, the PCCs wish to see more outreach and encourage students to achieve their true potential. “I hope to see the overall student body, not just the seniors or juniors, be a little more informed about the options that they will have once it is time to make the big decisions,” Brooks said. PCCs try to inform others, throughout the campus, about school opportunities and allow the students to be open minded about college choices. “I hope students will not choose a college based solely on prestige and ranking, but rather the important things, such as the majors and programs a college has to offer or even class sizes,” Oh said. The program provides students with better
Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press
understanding of college options and also creates an opportunity to expand leadership skills of the members. “I’m sure anyone who is interested in becoming a PCC in the future will whole-heartedly enjoy the experience from beginning to end, and even beyond that,” Brooks said. There are two ways to become a PCC. One way is to speak to your counselor and request the elective class, and another is a recruiting system where college counselors ask an outstanding student to join the program. “If they are willing to commit and be comfortable with working with students, we welcome them with open arms,” Olczak said. Many of students who are given the opportunity to serve as a member of PCC feel that it has given them variety of learning experiences. “Becoming a Peer College Counselor has really helped me to discover a lot of the opportunities that are actually out there and available to me, and has also helped me to discover a lot more about who I am as an individual,” Brooks said.
Photo Courtesy of Dustin Rael
By Shilpa Bhongir
Retraction: VAPA teacher Matthew Bivens was misrepresented in the “Teacher’s Playlist” article in the November 16th issue. The article implied that he plays music all the time, when in reality, he ony uses music in the classroom for specific presentations.
The classic holiday movies have found their way back on television, our cherished festive songs have hit the radio; it seems the holiday season is finally here. Nothing marks the celebratory season better than its famous, and often catchy, holiday tunes. But in our frenzy to belt out the next line of “Jingle Bells” or the “Dreidel Song”, we often forget those who cannot listen to these classic holiday songs. The deaf and hard of hearing population may not have the chance to listen to a verse of “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, but they watch as these songs come alive through dynamic and exciting ways, thanks to Granada’s ASL (American Sign Language) Holiday Show. The recent ASL Holiday show, put on by Granada’s ASL students, took place on December 4th at Mayall St. Elementary School and shortly after at the Marlton School for the Deaf. The ASL students signed songs such as “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” and “Oh Hannukah, Oh Hannukkah,” and ended the performance with a rendition of “What Christmas Means to Me” by Stevie Wonder. Along with signing the songs, ASL students performed choreographed routines. Other students helped with the production of the event, and some even helped produce the audio for certain songs such as “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
The recent ASL Holiday show differed from previous years’ shows, which were held in Granada for a mostly hearing audience. This year, the classes changed locations and went to a elementary school where the majority of students were deaf or hard of hearing. “This holiday show was more meaningful due to the fact that we got a chance to perform in front of a mainly deaf audience. When we sign during school, it’s to hearing people. But getting the opportunity to sign for deaf children was a fantastic experience. By the look on their faces, you could tell that this truly meant a lot to them,” ASL 2 student and sophomore Ariel Martinez said. The holiday show gave ASL students an opportunity to utilize their skills and communicate with deaf or hard of hearing children. “I loved socializing with the kids. It was really cool to actually put the language to use to get to know the kids and see how they liked the show,” ASL 3 student and junior Angela Medrano said,“With ASL, I am able to be immersed into a different world, the deaf world. My ASL classes made me realize that being deaf is not a handicap, it’s simply another special characteristic that makes an individual unique.” With the thought of uniting both deaf and hearing audiences in mind, the ASL students produced an unconventional holiday show with a clear and impacting message--one that anyone could hear.
December 10, 2010
Where: Europe What: Boxer Day commemorates the servicemen of the Medieval Ages. When: December 26th By Nicole Martinez and Bridget Moreno When thinking about December, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Most likely Christmas. However, out of the 6 billion people in the world, only 2.1 billion celebrate Christmas. What about the other two-thirds of the population? In one area of the world, some Hispanics celebrate La Posada, a nine-day holiday in which many people gather in honor of the birth of Jesus. Going from door to door, the people called Peregrinos sing and pray while others carry candles. In light of the same historical event, Rosca de Reyes takes place on January 6th. Families share a big oval sweetbread with one hidden figure of Jesus. Who ever finds the figure in his/her slice has to invite everyone to his/her house on February 2, to celebrate the Candelaria. To the East of Mexico, China celebrates an ancient tradition called Dong Zhi. It began as a harvest festival, although today, the Chinese celebrate it as a festival of a new beginning. Dong Zhi is celebrated on the longest night of the year, usually falling on December 21 or 23. In northern China, families gather on Dong Zhi and enjoy a soup called tang yuan. Tang yuan consists of a sweet or meat broth and has rice balls. In southern China, families eat dumplings filled with meat, pork, or vegetables. This tradition commemorates the Han emperor who distributed hot dumplings to the poor to help them cope with the harsh winter. Most winter celebrations date back hundreds of years, but some are relatively new. In the United States, Maulana Karenga created
Kwanzaa in 1966 to honors African American heritage and culture. Kwanzaa, a seven day celebration, involves gifts, decorations, a feast, and candle-lighting. The celebrators also dress in their kaftans (traditional clothing) as a reminder of their lasting culture. Each day of Kwanzaa represents a set of principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Hanukkah is another holiday that involves candles. During this celebration, the Jewish celebrate the re-dedication of a holy temple in Jerusalem, where the Jewish people gained victory over the SyrianGreeks. This re-dedication required eightdays worth of oil, when only one-day’s could be found. Miraculously, this was enough for all eight days. The Hanukkiyah (more commonly known as the Menorah), a candelabrum with nine candle holders, remains a central part of the tradition. Each day, a candle is lit. Another tradition is to eat fried foods such as Latkes, a pancake made out of potatoes and onions and Yibbish, jam filled doughnuts. Children play with the Dreidel, which have different words such as Nun, Gimel, Hey, and Shin, which mean “a great miracle happened here” on each side. The Children also receive gifts, usually consisting of Gelts (chocolate coins) and small amount of money. There are far more diverse celebrations apart from Christmas that 4 billion people celebrate every year. So if you ever get tired of the same tradition, branch out and try something new.
Where: China, Korea, and Japan What: Lunar New Year that celebrates the coming of another successful year. When: Falls in mid- and late-January
Where: Middle East and Egypt What: Eid Adah celebrates God’s covenant with the prophet Ibrahim. When: Last month of lunar calendar
Where: Iran and Afghanistan What: Yalda celebrates the triumph of good over evil When: Winter Solstice (December 21)
A special thanks to all the people who contributed their holiday photos!
The Controversy Behind the Waterpipe, Hookah By Kathy Zerbib
Smoking hookah has become a trend in our society, especially amongst the youth who have overlooked its many dangerous consequences. Hookah is thought to have originated in India and spread to various places around the world. Recently, there has been a rise in the number of hookah users in many continents around the globe including Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and North America. People are attracted to its exotic flavors and use hookah as a means of social interactions. But the effects hookah have on health are controversial. Research on this topic turns out mixed results. While one website claims that hookah is
less harmful than a normal cigarette, another website claims that smoking hookah is far worse than puffing on “cancer sticks.” Some web-sites argue that hookah does not have any traces of tar and is 30% tobacco and 70% fruit flavors and honey or molasses. According to “Hookah Canada,” fruitflavored hookah only has .05% of nicotine and is not as addictive as standard tobacco smoking. The website further details how those who do not really know what the waterpipe contains often stereotype smoking hookah. However, additional studies show that hookah is, in fact, much more life-threatening than other tobacco smoking. Since some users frequently share a
mouthpiece, there is an increased risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases, viruses, and other illnesses. Oral herpes, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and influenza can all be passed along while smoking hookah. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that although the smoke from the hookah has been filtered through water, it still contains cancer-causing chemicals. Because hookah is usually smoked for longer periods of time than regular cigarette smoking, hookah users are more likely to develop oral cancers from tobacco juices. One web-site reports that a typical 45 minute smoking session is the same as 50 average cigarettes. The web-site also argues that just half an
hour with hookah produces 36 times more tar than a cigarette would. However, judging by the negative response that the article received, the general public does not seem convinced by what the article claimed; this could be a problem. Whether true or faulty, the number of hookah bars continues to rise in the United States. According to the previous website, since October 2008, over 500 hookah bars are reported to be in business in the country today, with about five new bars opening each month. With more bars opening in many communities, students should be aware of the dangers of smoking hookah. Websites used: Hookah Canada, Ygoy
December 10, 2010
Five holiday favorites to check out on DVD
By Jane Pyeon
Jack Frost This movie focuses on the story of Jack Frost, an immortal winter sprite, and his adventures as a human. Jack falls in love with a human girl by the name of Elisa, and he asks Father Winter to make him human. Father Winter only agrees if Jack can prove that he can be a successful human. For Jack to prove himself, he must acquire a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife before the first day of spring or he will turn back into his original form. Throughout Jack’s journey, Snip the snowflake maker and Holly the holiday snow gypsy aid him and try to keep him out of trouble. This story will make those who watch it smile and perhaps even tear up a little. It is the perfect movie to get you into the holiday spirit.
photo courtesy of rankinbass.com
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
This is a story about Rudolph’s journey to find the Baby New Year. Rudolph has just returned with Santa from delivering the presents on Christmas Eve when Father Time asks him to go find Happy, the Baby New Year, who has run away due to constant humiliation because of his big ears. Unless Happy is returned, the New Year will not begin and it will be December 31 forever. Rudolph sets off with General Ticker, the military clock and The Great Quarter Past Five, a camel with a large timepiece in his hump. Throughout the journey, Rudolph encounters the Old Years, including a caveman who soon aid Rudolph in his exciting journey to find Happy. Watch it to find out how it ends!
Most of the reruns on television during the holidays are mainly about Christmas, but this one tells the tale of Hanukkah and a man’s journey in finding himself again. Davey Stone, voiced by Adam Sandler, is a 33-year-old man who hates the holidays and anything to do with them. On the first night of Hanukkah, he winds up in front of a judge who is ready to send him to jail. But an old man by the name of Whitey offers to try to change Davey. Davey is sentenced to community service for Whitey’s Youth Basketball Team as a referee-in-training. If he violates these conditions, he will be sent to jail for ten years. Davey is given his last chance. This not-so-traditional holiday cartoon is sure to lift your spirits.
Santa Claus has become sick with a cold and is told to change his yearly routine of delivering toys to children on Christmas Eve. He has come to think that no one believes in him anymore and decides to take a vacation and cancel Christmas. Mrs. Claus and two elves by the name of Jingle and Jangle go on a journey to find people who still believe in Santa Claus to prove to him that people do care. On their journey, Rudolph is mistaken for a dog and placed in the pound. In order to prove that he really is Santa’s reindeer, Jingle and Jangle end up having to talk to two famous characters in this story, Heat Miser and Snow Miser. You’ll be singing their iconic song all winter. This is a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone.
In a gloomy town called Sombertown, Mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger bans all things fun and happy. One day, a baby is dropped off at the door of the Mayor’s house, and he sends one of his men to take this baby to the orphanage. By chance, this baby ends up at the Kringles’ home. The Kringles are a family of elf toymakers who make toys that have nowhere to go. The baby named Kris grows up and decides that he will deliver the toys to the children of Sombertown. But when he does, the evil Mayor takes away all the toys and does everything he can do to stop Kris, who enters childrens’ homes through the chimneys. This movie tells the story of the tradition of Christmas and Santa Claus.
Hot video game arrivals Bollywood glitz By John Cho Call of Duty Black Ops: At almost 12 million copies sold in just two weeks, “Black Ops” is the most anticipated game this holiday season. “Black Ops” is a single player campaign that primarily focuses on covert operations against communist countries during the Cold War era. With a more streamlined multiplayer experience, players will get a blast out of this game over the holidays. Fable 3: With a game play system designed to be “noob-friendly,” “Fable 3” offers a thrilling experience to both seasoned and new players. It offers new ways of playing and establishes itself as a serious competitor to other RPG’s hitting the shelves this holiday. Fallout 3 New Vegas: “Fallout” offers one of the most personal ways of playing by offering a wide variety of character choices. The game also allows you to make choices that drastically alter your gaming experience. The choice is in your hands this upcoming season. Star Wars Force Unleashed 2: The “Star Wars” series is back offering a new story line that will immerse you once again into the Star Wars world, where you must defy the forces of evil and take a stand. With many planetary systems to explore, this new game is a must have for the holidays. Just Dance 2: For those who prefer family orientated games, “Just Dance 2” is action packed with a wide variety of different dance moves and songs. It will surely please the whole family!
Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press
By Sindhura Seeni Bollywood. It is a name that evokes images of elaborate dancing, festivities, and melodramatic one-liners. It is also the largest film industry in India. “Bollywood” is a mixture of the words “Hollywood” and “Bombay,” and was coined in the 1970’s when India overtook USA in film production. However, unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a physical place. The permeation of modernday romantic dramas into the Western world has caused other countries to conclude that this genre is the only genre expressed in Bollywood movies. It is partially true, as the late 1980’s and early 1990’s only featured family-oriented, romantic musicals. However, the most widely appreciated films do not fall into this time period. Instead, they are encased in Bollywood’s “golden age,” an era of great social and political change. This era, regarded by film historians as the greatest in Hindi cinema, was the period from the late 1940’s to 1960’s. Some of the most critically acclaimed films that dealt with social issues, such as working class life in India, were released on the eve of India’s independence. Directors Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, and Shyam Benegal were widely overlooked in their time, but are now considered some of the greatest Asian filmmakers. Presently, Bollywood’s popularity has skyrocketed due to great enhancements in quality special
effects, cinematography, and innovative story lines, as well as animation and special effects. Regardless of varying themes, there is one aspect of the films that unite them all; songs. Filmi songs, as they are called, are pre-recorded by professional playback singers, while actors lip-synch and dance on screen to them. These songs are added for mass appeal, as filmmakers try to target a wide audience. Sometimes songs are worked into the plot by way of a “dream sequence,” where the songs are representative of the main character’s thoughts, and anything can happen. Songs can make or break a film and are good marketing techniques as well. “Item numbers” in which an attractive female character performs a catchy song and dance numbers are often inserted just to attract an audience. Filmi songs have certainly caught the eye of Hollywood producers. The song and dance sequences in the film “Moulin Rouge” were directly inspired by Bollywood musicals. Even Bollywood composers are highly in demand. In fact, director Danny Boyle roped in Academy Award winner A. R. Rahman along with singer M.I.A. to compose the soundtrack to his film “Slumdog Millionaire.” Though only 60 years old, Bollywood has exploded in growth and popularity. Its impact on the Western world proves that not only is Bollywood getting noticed, but that it is here to stay.
December 10, 2010
VRHS #4 should be under Granada’s supervision
High school cliques Going charter is the best choice for Valley Region High School #4 have their benefits By Kathy Zerbib Recently, there has been much debate over the fate of Valley Region High School #4 (VRHS #4), also known as Hospital High, and whether it should be an LAUSD school or a charter school under Granada’s supervision. Personally, as a junior, I would think the decision is clear enough as it is. VRHS #4 should go charter, with Granda’s help, in order for the new school to succeed as a high-quality establishment. I fear that if the school were to ignore this opportunity to turn charter, it would become just another LAUSD disappointment. I want the best for this school and for future high-schoolers, since I believe education is truly at stake here. Why should my fellow students compromise their education just because LAUSD wants more money for themselves?
So, no, I do not feel VRHS #4 will succeed under LAUSD authority. The school will lack essential supplies, be unable to provide good programs, and overall fall short of the community’s hopes and expectations because of LAUSD’s tiny budget. Now is clearly not the time for LAUSD to attempt to pick up the pieces of their failing system. Not now, when parents are already exasperated with the way their children’s educational needs are being cut short by bigger classrooms and reduced programs. Not now, when the school has such a brilliant opportunity to be successful as a charter school. After all, what harm is there to allow the school to be led by Granada? Granada boasts a superior API score of 874, compared to El Camino Real High School’s score of 798 and Taft High School’s
score of 745. Students, as well as the parents, know that Granada is fully aimed at providing the best education possible for everyone who is willing to work for it. That explains Granada’s 96% pass rate on the CAHSEE testing, its 99% graduation rate, and its 98% attendance rate. What more can possibly be said about the school? Imagine VRHS #4 as a charter school, with students eager to learn with the supplies the school is able to afford for them. Imagine 99% of the students that graduate being admitted to two or four year colleges, just as Granada has. Now imagine that same school, but as an LAUSD school without the necessary supplies, the same graduation rate, or such high API scores. Students, what if the choice were yours’? Which school sounds better to you?
Pet shelter dogs are better friends than pet shop dogs
By Eidah Hilo Before you spend several hundred dollars to buy a designer dog, consider adopting one from the pound or a shelter. There are countless reasons why adopting a dog is a better option than buying one. First and foremost, think of those poor innocent puppies trapped in doggy jail cells (also known as pet shelter kennels) all over the country, patiently waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come along and save them. Bad news: they can’t wait forever. With the overflow of dogs coming into the local pounds each day, the city’s pet shelters find themselves lacking the resources and room to keep every single one. This eventually results in the sad but true reality of euthanization, the process by which dogs are lethally injected to their death. At this point, you can either hope that all dogs do, indeed, go to heaven (all 3-4 million of them, according to The Humane Society of the United States), or you can adopt
a dog in need. In addition to saving the lives of these helpless creatures, you also save lots of money. The price of designer dogs these days ranges from the high hundreds to the thousands depending on whether the dog is pure bred and/or toy size. However, adopting a dog from a shelter costs no more than $200 and sometimes even cheaper when shelters have special deals, especially around the holidays. With all these benefits, it is hard to think why some people would still opt to buy dogs for outrageous prices from pet shops, some who get their dogs from puppy mills where dogs are abused and mistreated. Most of the dogs you find in a pet shop are bred in puppy mills—a dog’s worst nightmare. The Humane Society of the United States describes puppy mills as warehouses where dogs are forced to breed so that the babies can be used to sell for profit. So the supposedly healthy puppies that
many people take home from the pet shops are actually unhealthier than the dogs in the pet shelters because they were raised in the inhumane puppy millls. Often times, the female is bred continuously until she dies. Usually her puppies are torn away from her, sometimes even at the weaning stage when they are very young and still rely on their mother’s milk. The dogs are then stuffed into overcrowded cages in dark warehouses where they do not get sufficient exercise, veterinary care, or food and water. By the time they reach the pet shops and subsequently your hands, the dogs may have suffered from malnourishment, personality disorders, and various diseases because of the horrendous puppy mill conditions. In a sense, buying puppies from pet shops that were bought from puppy mills is supporting animal abuse. Therefore, the best way is to simply adopt a dog that needs you, rather than feed to the monstrous animal-abusing puppy mill monopoly.
Misleading racial stereotypes still exist in some student minds By Mel Zernow, Science Teacher “Gimme that money, you Jew!” I heard those words coming from around the corner and down a nearby hallway. Gasp! That was my reaction as I was leaving my classroom one recent Friday afternoon. It had been a long, difficult week and hearing that expression of ethnic prejudice was one of the last things I wanted to hear coming out of a student’s mouth (or anyone else’s mouth for that matter). The words felt like a hot, steel knife going into my heart. Ouch! I could not readily identify who said it, but if I had been able to confront that student, my experience tells me I probably would have heard the defense: “Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it. It’s just an expression” or “I was just joking; I have nothing against Jews.” Uh huh. Someone who has “nothing against Jews” would never use that expression, or
even think to use it. The expression is a reflection of bias and stereotyping every way you look at it. It casts all Jews as possessing characteristics of stinginess and compulsive preoccupation with money. It’s an image that is utterly false and that should have been cast aside long ago. Yet the image remains, like some kind of weapon meant to impose power and shame over someone. This at the expense of people who have nothing to do with the issue at hand, as well as the vast majority who do not match the weapon’s stereotype image. To be certain, bias against Jews is not the only prejudice I have encountered here at the school. For example, some of my Islamic students have shared with me their being singled out (fortunately by only a few students) as presumed anti-American terrorists. Sometimes it’s stated “in jest,” other times, not. Either way, they too suffered the
“Ouch!” In truth, they told me they are immensely grateful for the freedoms and focus on individual human rights offered here in the United States. For the students who have shared this with me, it’s clear that they appreciate America’s dream far better than those that attack them. As we enter the winter holidays, most of us, at least for a brief period of time, will shift our focus from the daily routines of the classroom toward a focus on family and friends. During this time of warmth and relationships, try this: Be introspective of the words and expressions you choose to use. Whatever the situation, you can get your point across without having to resort to expressions of bias, prejudice or hate. Maybe, just maybe, if everyone stops using stereotypical expressions, the world, this country, this school, and yes, even you, will be that much closer to a reality of peace and goodwill toward all.
By Gabrielle Amar One clique, two cliques, three cliques, four. There are so many cliques; they are just impossible to ignore. Cliques are inclusive groups of people who share interests, certain behavior, or ethnicity. High school is incomplete without them. With 4,000 plus students, many with different qualities and passions, we are bound to group like herds of animals of the same species. Lunch is a perfect time to see all the packs gather around the quad, or should I say, watering hole. Cliques have always seemed to have a history of negative connotations, however I don’t think people take into account the positives that come with them. In high school, cliques exist for security. They provide the opportunity to make friends who have similar interests and gain a sense of belonging, which might be difficult for many in a time like high school. Some would argue that always sticking together is a negative thing. This appears true when cliques give off the “we’re better, and we know it” attitude, which most people take as unfriendly and unapproachable. It is this assumption, though, that fuels the racial and social stereotypes that come with cliques. Students develop generalizations about the qualities possessed by those in choir, drama, debate, science bowl, cheer, athletics or other social groups. In animal terms, only cheetahs can have spots, and only zebras can have stripes. If they do not fit the mold, they might feel left out. Maybe high school is portrayed like one big jungle of animals that stick with their group to survive. We must all realize that in such a heavily populated jungle, cliques are absolutely inevitable. The best we all can do is stay open to the diversity, be friendly, and show respect for one another’s contributions on campus.
The Plaid Press The Plaid Press is published by the Advanced Journalism class at Granada Hills Charter High School. 10535 Zelzah Ave. Granada Hills, CA 91344 Phone: (818) 360-2361 The Plaid Press welcomes all letters and commentaries on all matters and reserves the right to edit as required. Unsigned letters will not be printed. Opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Plaid Press, its adviser, Granada Hills Charter High School faculty or student body.
Eidah Hilo Danielle Sink Madushi Wanniarachchige News Editors Jane Ha Austin Kang Entertainment Editor Sindhura Seeni Opinion Editor Allison Ouchi Feature Editors Shilpa Bhongir Ahra Cho Sports Editors Matthew Seeman Matthew Kahn Spirit Editor Lucy Lee Photo Editor Gabrielle Amar Business Managers Austin Kang Jane Pyeon Editors-in-Chief
Staff reporters: John Cho, Nicole Martinez, Bridget Moreno, Laura Nunez, Jane Pyeon, Steve Ruiz, Kathy Zerbib
The Plaid Press is a proud member of National Scholastic Press Association.
December 10, 2010
Football team makes playoffs
BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL Kennedy - W (42-30) Venice - W (51-42) Oaks Christian - W (55-50) Royal - L (53-55) Hart - December 9 Grant - December 15 Camarillo - December 17 AGBU - December 27 Cleveland - January 12 El Camino Real - January 14 @ Birmingham - January 19 @ Chatsworth - January 21 @ Taft - January 26 @ Cleveland - January 28 @ El Camino Real - February 2 Birmingham - February 4 Chatsworth - February 9 Taft - February 11
GIRLS VARSITY BASKETBALL Grant - W (47-38) West Ranch - L (48-60) Simi Valley - W (60-30) Thousand Oaks - L (42-43) Verdugo Hills - December 13 Oak Park - December 27 Crescenta Valley - December 28 @ Thousand Oaks - December 29 @ Hart - January 4 @ Cleveland - January 12 @ El Camino - January 14 @ Campbell Hall - January 15 Montclair Prep - January 19 Chatsworth - January 21 Taft - January 26 Cleveland - January 28 El Camino Real - February 2 @ Chatsworth - February 9 @ Taft - February 11 BOY’S VARSITY SOCCER Van Nuys - L (1-2) Verdugo Hills - W (3-0) Kennedy Community - L (0-1) @ Canoga Park - December 10 Golden Valley - December 11 @ Canoga Park - December 12 @ Sylmar - December 15 @ Harvard-Westlake - December 18 Kennedy - December 18 Cleveland - January 12 El Camino Real - January 14 Birmingham - January 19 @ Chatsworth - January 21 @ Taft - January 26 @ Cleveland - January 28 @ El Camino Real - February 2 @ Birmingham - February 4 Chatsworth - February 9 Taft - February 11
Photo courtesy of O’Connor Photography
TOUCHDOWN: The Highlanders pose for their panorama picture, with head coach Billy Parra standing in the left-center By Madushi Wanniarachchige For the first time in six years, the varsity football team made it to the playoffs. Though they lost to Crenshaw High School, 44-0, the fact that the team was able to go to playoffs was an impressive feat on its own. “They had such a strong desire to make it to the playoffs,” coach Billy Parra said. “They overcame many obstacles throughout the season.” The players do not feel as discouraged by their loss as they are excited to turn the name of the school’s football team around. “I think this establishes a sort of precedent for years to come,” defense lineman senior Henry Marshall said. “I think that the teams after us will be able to make the
playoffs, and hopefully we’ll win some more games as well.” The team has improved, ending the season with 4 wins, 7 losses, and zero ties. “We didn’t lose every game this season,” offense lineman junior Jacob Speer said. “I want us to play our hardest, working like a well-oiled machine, and go all the way.” The players have acknowledged their improvement as well as their success and hope to keep the pace going. “Even though I’m a senior and my time is over I expect a lot of things from the juniors as well as the junior varsity team,” Marshall said. With that mindset, they are eager to begin training again and get ready for the next season.
“I think we worked really hard this season since we did a lot better than the previous season,” junior quarterback Nicolas Boutros said. “But next year I want to do better. We have a lot to look forward to.” They plan on focusing on improvement in order to exceed the success they gained this season. “They know how it feels, know what it takes to be a caliber playoff team,” Parra said. “To see them excited like this reassures me that they’re prepared to win.” The team has tasted victory more than once and want to taste it again. “Being in the playoffs is an experience you want more feelings off,” linebacker junior Victor Rabago said. “We want to play more playoff games - and we want to win.”
Editor’s Opinion: Soccer is a lost cause in U.S. By Matthew Kahn America’s past time: baseball. Sundays are dedicated to football and basketball thrills throughout the country week in and week out. Even watching Rodger Federer play Rafael Nadal at tennis’ U.S. Open has become a joy for the ages. Our country practically revolves around sports. Whether it is watching Adrian Peterson run through tackles, Lebron James dunking over a defender, or Albert Pujols hitting another game-winning home run, sports have become the center for all things American. So where does soccer fit into the mix? My life has always revolved around sports. I’ve played them; I’ve watched them; I’ve even studied different sports. There hasn’t been a sport I haven’t been willing to try at least. Well, maybe not curling or cricket. But, after studying each major sport in the world, I have come to the conclusion that, although soccer is the world’s most popular sport; it’s not a sport built for the American people. Soccer takes a lot of skill. You have to be athletic, quick on your feet, and have a unique sense for where the soccer ball is at all times. I do not doubt the skills it takes to become a professional soccer player. However, my point is that in Europe,
people thrive on soccer, or as they call it futbol. In America, that same passion, fire, excitement for soccer just does not exist. The fans in Europe go crazy after every missed call a referee make during a match. There have been situations where a referee had to be escorted off the field and guarded by security due to rich and passionate European anger. In America, the soccer obsession is nonexistent. There has never been a case of helping a referee to safety. I remember watching my first game of soccer. I had to be about eight years old, already a big Dodger fan and a huge Duke basketball fan, making me a bit of a young sports expert. It was the L.A. Galaxy versus some other team. Possibly the most boring 90 minutes of my entire life. I remember the score being 1-0 and that was only because of a lucky kick and bad defense by the other team. I could not believe that at eight years old, I was so bored from watching a sport. I even tried playing soccer in P.E. during my middle school years. Although my competitive edge forced me to play hard; I didn’t find playing the game to be much better than watching it. Now I know what you’re thinking. How
can I be so biased against soccer? Well, on the positive side for all the soccer lovers out there, I did watch the World Cup. I saw America lose early on in the competition. That defeat did not spur my beliefs about American soccer one bit. America dominates in every sport; but the simple fact is that America has never won the World Cup, soccer’s most coveted tournament in the world. It comes as an embarrassment to our country; no pride, no heart, no excitement. However, I did enjoy watching the Germans and the Spaniards play. They had that kind of passion that I have been looking for in American soccer fans to possess. When I hear from a soccer enthusiast, “Go Mexico!” or “Go Espana!” I think to myself, soccer, a bandwagon sport? Absolutely! Soccer fans say all the time that America sucks at soccer and therefore they root for a different country. That’s certainly not patriotic. I have yet to hear basketball fans rooting against America during international play. Soccer in America just does not make the cut, especially when compared with all other major sports in the world. People are extremely passionate about soccer, just not in this country.
Cool off with great snow sports By Matthew Seeman Living in Southern California has its perks, but one of its more disappointing qualities is the lack of snow. There are no go-to places for skiing, snowboarding, skating, or just having an old-fashioned snowball fight. However, if you are willing to drive a little, you can find plenty of places to play in the snow and play a sport at the same exact time. Big Bear resorts are just a freeway drive away from the San Fernando Valley. At Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, you can have access to all of their great features by purchasing a single lift ticket. Snow Summit features trails ranking from beginner to expert for skiers and snowboarders, while Bear Mountain has its own superpipe for the most experienced snowboarders. Other locations to ride the slopes near Los Angeles include Mt. Baldy, Snow Valley, and Mt. Pinos in Frazier Park. But if you would rather not have to trav-
el far to have some winter fun, Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley host many ice rinks. You can find ice skating at the Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, the Woodland Hills Ice Rink, and the Iceland Ice Skating Center in Van Nuys. The best place to skate this time of year has to be at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live. The rink, sponsored by the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, is located right across the street from Staples Center and provides the most spectacular skating experience in Southern California. For more serious skaters, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo offers ice hockey leagues for both youths and adults. You can play hockey in the facility where the Lakers and Kings hold their practices. You can find more information at Toyota SportsCenter.com. Los Angeles may not have Rockefeller Center’s famous ice rink or the ski resorts of Aspen, Colorado, but it does have many choices for snow lovers of all kinds. You just need to know where to look.
Matthew Seeman / The Plaid Press
SKATES ON: L.A. Live’s ice rink, shown just before its opening, brings joy to all.