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Entertainment The new members of the school’s acapella groups are established.

VOLUME 50.3

Feature Whatever happened to Granada’s own Quidditch team?

Granada Hills Charter High

Sports Girls’ Volleyball team prepares for the City Championship.

10535 Zelzah Ave, Granada Hills 91344

November 16, 2010

50th

Anniversary

excites the Granada community By Madushi Wanniarachchige Granada officially turned 50 years old on November 5, 2010. However, the large spectacle at the homecoming game was not the only way Granada celebrated its birthday. The hype about the school’s 50th anniversary reached many people on campus and in the community with the various activities Granada held to honor the event. “Even Spirit Week was themed to fit with the school’s anniversary,” sophomore Megan Lim said. “You could tell that this was a really big deal.” At the homecoming game the school invited back sports and performing arts alumni to partake in the large celebration that included skydivers, fireworks, and the “Homecoming Parade” under the event appropriate theme “As Time Goes By.” “I think the homecoming game was an amazing way to celebrate Granada’s birthday,” sophomore Philip Alexiou

said. “The stadium was packed, all the entertainment was great, and to top it all off we won the football game.” The festivities continued with Granada holding its own street carnival on Saturday and Sunday in honor of turning 50. Attractions included rock-climbing, Elvis impersonators, and pony-riding as well as many vendors selling food, services and merchandise. “I liked how the festival was diverse,” junior Josh Kim said. “There was a lot to do which made it a really fun and interactive event. I also liked the tacos.” Attracted by the sights of Executive Director Brian Bauer falling repeatedly into the water polo team’s dunk tank and the array of activities to partake in, people flooded the fair, getting into the celebratory spirit. “I thought it was really cool how the entire community was able to get involved,” sophomore Veena Subra said. The fact that the school has existed

for 50 years is something to marvel at and many students took the time to reflect on the school and its significance. “I think it’s crazy that my graduating class is the year Granada turns 50,” senior Bridget Gosis said. “It makes the whole experience more personal. It’s great to be such a huge event.” The activities provided were carefully planned by various staff under Security and Events Manager Mike Panman, and it was thanks to their great efforts that the entire celebration turned out to be such a huge success. “Our 50th anniversary marks a point that all institutions wish to meet,” sophomore Hamidah Mahmud said. “Granada surpassed all preconceptions of how much of an impact it thought it would have on the students.” In short, the school’s 50th birthday was definitely an event that will be marked in Granada’s records as a time that no one will be able to forget.

Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press

Granada hopes to manage Valley Region High School #4 By Danielle Sink GHCHS is currently applying to operate Valley Region High School #4, one of the twelve new Los Angeles Unified campuses up for bid. The new school (VRHS #4) is located at the former site of Granada Hills Community Hospital on Balboa Boulevard and is scheduled to open for the fall 2011 semester. But how it will be run and by whom is to be determined by the community and ultimately the LAUSD School Board as part of their Public School Choice initiative. “[Public School Choice] was approved to provide more high quality public school options to the students of Los Angeles,” Executive Director Brian Bauer said. The program allows district-based teachers and administrators as well as charter operators to submit an application to oversee one of these new schools or existing “focus” schools with a history of underperformance.

While nine applicant teams submitted Letters of Intent to operate VRHS#4, it appears that presently GHCHS and Local District 1 of LAUSD are the two most prominent applicant teams. Applicant teams must write a proposal by December 1 that will be reviewed by an advisory committee. Then, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines will make his recommendation to the LAUSD Board of Education. The LAUSD Board will make the final decision in late February. “November will be an intense month of writing for us,” Bauer said. “We are starting to write our proposal based on community input.” He and the school encourage the Granada Hills community to actively support the community engagement and input process to ensure that VRHS #4 is the type of school the community wants to see in this area. Already the school has hosted a number of meetings including a community and parent information and input meeting held

on October 15, the third such meeting for GHCHS, which had approximately 200 people in attendance. There is also a program design survey available on the Granada website that is open to both parent and community members to complete. “We are asking the community, students, anybody who supports Granada to spread the word that there is a choice,” Bauer said. Many students wish to attend GHCHS, but space prohibits allowing all to attend. “With an annual wait-list of approximately 2500 students, it’s clear this community and those surrounding us want to see another high quality public school like GHCHS in the area,” Bauer said. This is the school’s primary motive behind applying for VRHS #4 – to help develop another high-performing high school similar to this one. “[Running VRHS#4 as a charter school] is about sharing our many success, our proven track record with more

students in this community and around this city” Bauer said. “GHCHS staff has the expertise and dedication required to train and guide the faculty at another high school.” If granted VRHS #4, Granada would operate it as a new charter high school with a new charter petition submitted to LAUSD in January. The new school would maintain some of the more successful aspects of Granada’s program such as the A-G requirements and attendance policy. “Because VRHS#4 is a smaller campus with a smaller student body (1200 students) certain GHCHS athletic, extracurricular activities and courses would not be offered at VRHS#4,” Bauer said. “However, because it is a new school, there would also be certain programs and offerings at VRHS#4 that are not at GHCHS.” More information about the GHCHS application to run VRHS#4 as a new charter school is available on the GHCHS website.


02 news

November 16, 2010

School pursues IB Program Current freshmen will be the first to benefit if program is approved

By Allison Ouchi The school is currently pursuing authorization to establish the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program as part of its academic curriculum. IB is a non-profit educational foundation that offers three academic programs—the Primary Years Program, the Middle Years Program, and the Diploma Program—that presents students of ages 3 to 19 with highquality international education. “IB is an interdisciplinary highlevel liberal studies program that is very challenging and provides a different approach to linking coursework on a global scale and perspective,” Academic Programs Coordinator Judith Baumwirt said. The IB Diploma Program, which is designed for students ages 16 to 19, consists of a two-year curriculum that prepares juniors and seniors for success at universities and the rapidly globalizing world. Under this program, students study six subjects chosen from six subject groups: language, individuals and societies, mathematics and computer science, the arts, experimental sciences, and a second language. Three of the six subjects are studied at a higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the three remaining

subjects are studied at a standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours). “Each course requires an essay component and exterior examinations that are graded by the IB as well as the course instructor. Completion of a high level IB course usually earns the same college credit as an AP class but credit can vary from institution to institution,” Baumwirt said. In addition to the completion of the six subject studies, students must also complete a 4000-word individual research paper, follow a Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), and participate in a Community, Action, Service Project (CAS). The TOK course is designed to encourage students to reflect on the nature of knowledge by exploring different methods of acquiring different kinds of knowledge. The CAS Project requires students to participate in activities related to each of the three components so they can actively learn from their experiences. “Students must have well-developed writing and research skills to successfully complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Completion of the International Baccalaureate Diploma is regarded as a higher accomplishment than completion of a series of AP Courses by

many of the higher educational institutions,” Baumwirt said. Right now, Granada is a candidate school for the IB Diploma Program and is still in the two-year application phase of becoming an IB World School. If the school is authorized to implement the IB Program, the current freshmen will be the first to have access. “The freshmen should consider themselves fortunate to receive more opportunities to succeed academically for college,” senior Vinay Gupta said. A task force of volunteer teachers is being trained at this time to fulfill the requirements and expectations of the courses as well as to add their input into the development of the course of study for the IB Program. However, no teachers have been selected for the IB classes yet. The administration will be notified of the school’s authorization status as an IB World School in spring of 2011 and, if approved, will begin instruction of the IB Program in the fall of 2012. “It’s a long process of approval and training and upon authorization we will be the only school in the Valley that will have the IB Diploma Program. No other schools within LAUSD are authorized as IB World Schools,” Baumwirt said.

Academic competitors come home as winners Robodox takes a major victory By Shilpa Bhongir Robodox, the school’s robotics team, participated in the Vex Invitational Competition at California State University Dominguez on October 16. All four of the school’s sub-teams reached the semifinals. One team became a finalist and two of the other teams were champions. During the competition, robots competed in a particular game invented for the tournament. “In this game we had to have our robots score donut-shaped tubes onto a goal post. Also, in the last 20 seconds of the game, there was this ladder that you could try and make your robot hang on,” Robodox team member junior Fabiha Priyana Hannan said. Preparing for competition requires many hours of diligence and effort. “The environment is very hectic because you are finishing a robot, maintaining what’s there, and getting ready for practice all at the same time,” Robodox President senior Daniel Soski said.

Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press

ROBODOX: Members prepare to battle it out at the competition during practice. Despite the pressure, the team was extremely happy with their results. “I loved how even the new team members were just as enthusiastic as I was. We all really bonded and we were all screaming and shouting when we won,” Hannan said. Still, Robodox has much work ahead of them. “This competition was early in the season, and competitions will be getting more challenging. I expect stiff competition at our competition at Granada on November 20,”

Robodox Head Coach Joseph Vanderway said. The team hopes to improve this year by focusing on a more student-led team and preparing extensively for the World Championships, which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. “We hope to win a spot at the World Championships by winning the regional competition,” Soski said. “It’s a lot of work, but winning is very rewarding. It’s a very accomplished feeling.”

Speech and Debate Team dominates competitions By Jane Pyeon The school’s novice Debate team had a successful turnout at a tournament at Oaks Christian on Saturday, October 30. The tournament at Oaks Christian was a league competition between schools within a certain region and consists of only three rounds. At the tournament, the debaters had to win all three rounds to receive a trophy and two rounds to receive a certificate. Every novice debater either won a trophy or received a certificate. There are many types of debates, such as the Lincoln Douglas (LD) debates and the Parliamentary (Parli) debates. LD debates are modeled after the one between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during their race for the Senate

while Parli are conducted under the rules derived from British parliamentary procedure. It is up to the debaters on what type of debate they would like to do. “I chose to do LD because I like one on one debate better than group debate. Also I am more confident by myself than relying on someone else,” junior Divya Khullar said. At the tournament, seven of the LD debaters - sophomores Elizabeth Avunjian and Eiman Kazi as well as juniors Alia Bakr, Divya Khullar, Starla Schneider, and Andrew Kim - won trophies. Two Parliamentary debaters, junior Josh Issler and senior Gabe Taylor, also won trophies for their achievements within the Parli debates. “Despite the fact that I had a sore throat, I tried my best and luckily I won. Of course,

like anyone else who wins something, I felt great,” Kim said. At an earlier competition at Fullerton, members of the Speech and Debate Team showed off their skills. At Fullerton, two novices of the Debate team along with two novices from the Speech team broke, which is to move on to the next round. These four individuals made it to the quarterfinals. Issler, who is also on the Speech team, won first place in the category of dramatic interpretation. “When I got the first place trophy all I could think was, this is for my team back at Granada,” Issler said. Currently, the Speech and Debate Team is working together to prepare for upcoming competitions.

Gabrielle Amar/ The Plaid Press

Democrats dominate the election

By Ahra Cho With Jerry Brown elected as California’s new governor and Barbara Boxer continuing as senator, the Democrats once again took hold of the state’s government in the November 2nd elections. Brown and Boxer, advocating for the “common man” and condemning the privileges usurped by the wealthy elites, won support from many middle and lower class citizens. Both candidates won by slight margins, with the Republican candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, losing to Brown by 13% of the votes, and Republican candidate for senator, Carly Fiorina, losing to Boxer by 9%. Democrats saw triumph in other state position elections as well: Gavin Newsom as Lieutenant Governor, Debra Bowen as Secretary of State, and Bill Lockyer as Treasurer. California’s staggering unemployment rate and increasing voter anxiety towards foreclosures shaped this year’s elections. Job creation remained the central issue among candidate campaigns and debates, along with concerns about tax breaks and public education. The debates over economic and political policies also generated criticism against candidates. Whitman, in the campaign debate, accused Brown of “supporting public employee unions who are only there to collect their ‘I-owe-you’s for the campaign that they have funded,” and of defending past failed policies. In the same debate, Brown painted Whitman, a former EBay Chief Executive Officer who spent around $141.5 million for her own campaign, as an aristocrat “further enriching the millionaires and billionaires who have been doing pretty well these past few years.” Some conflicts based on merit and experience arose as well. Brown was the former governor of California during the Vietnam era; Whitman did not have any experience in state politics. Similarly, Boxer served the state for over 20 years, while Fiorina was previously a businesswoman. On Election Day, in addition to the governor and senator positions, California citizens voted on a number of propositions. The controversial Proposition 19, a measure legalizing marijuana, was rejected by a 54% majority. Proposition 21 (vehicle surcharge revenue), and Proposition 23 (suspending pollution laws) were also rejected. Voters approved Proposition 22, which prohibits the state from controlling local tax revenues, and Proposition 25, which requires only a majority to pass budget regulations, instead of the previous twothirds requirement.


03 spirit

November 16, 2010

ASB MEND has returned By Laura Nunez The Associated Student Body (ASB) is sponsoring a MEND Drive in order to help struggling families in the San Fernando Valley. Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) is a volunteer organization that aims to provide less fortunate families the necessities to feel self reliant. MEND consists of small services such as distributing food and toys to families, and larger programs such as educational courses and job training. As a result of the national economic condition, one out of every five families in California is struggling financially and requires help from organizations like MEND to live day to day. The school offers a helping hand by collecting toys and canned foods to donate to MEND. Every holiday season the school takes part in this cause to make this time of year more enjoyable for those in need. “What we collect will make real families both grateful and happy,” Senior Secretary Ann Phan said. Starting November 15, students can begin bringing donations to the collection boxes in their second period classes. The drive will last five weeks and end on December 17. As a reward, the class that collects the

most donations will receive Chipotle for each student. Last year, math teacher Susan Kim’s second period class collected 500 cans earning the top winning spot. However, food incentives did not persuade her class to bring in the large amount of donations. To her students, helping others was their biggest motivation. “Come on let’s help people in need,” Kim said. This statement alone triggered her classes to get involved and bring in as many items as possible. Kim’s students’ act of kindness should encourage students this year. The overall number of cans gathered last year reached over 2000, breaking the record set in the previous year. ASB hopes to beat that record and collect more than 2,000 cans this year. “We should strive to give back to the community as much as possible,” Phan said. Records of cans collected have been broken year after year, and the addition of friendly competition adds to the excitement of the drive. In order to break the record, ASB has designed a video to raise awareness of the mission of the MEND Drive. “Granada actually is one of the biggest contributors to the drive,” Phan said.

Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press

Mock Trial Club works towards becoming an official school team By Austin Kang Mock Trial Club was started this year, aiming not only to hone the speaking skills of its members, but also to form an official competing team for next year. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation website (crf-usa.org/mocktrial-program), Mock Trial is a national program that was “created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society.” However, the Mock Trial Club here is unofficial because “[the club] simply does not have the funds to function as a competition team right now,” Secretary, senior Fasih Ahsan said. The club is organized into a fundraising committee and an advertising committee that are devoted toward setting the “infrastructure for next year’s team,” President, senior Kenneth Cunanan said. While this overarching goal is primarily directed toward the underclassmen, Mock Trial Club holds public speaking exercises that promote the speaking and presentation abilities of all members. “We usually start off with sparring events between members to build their impromptu speaking skills and allow them to develop their argumentation,” Ahsan said. The formation of the club was largely engineered by Cunanan, who was inspired after attending California Boys’ State last summer. California Boys’ State is “among

the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students [where] participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens,” according to their official website, (calegion.org). “One of the activities at Boys’ State was a mock trial, and after participating in several rounds, I just really fell in love with the idea and wanted to pursue that at my school as well,” Cunanan said. Although Mock Trial Club shares many characteristics with the Speech and Debate team, it is different in that the club emphasizes the legal aspects of an argument and emulates the formal setting of a courtroom. “In Speech and Debate, rarely do you find a forum to argue about legal principles and actually act in a real life trial,” Ahsan said. Mock Trial Club does, however, associate with Junior Statesmen of America (JSA), which is an organization that promotes political awareness and argumentation. “We encourage our members to go to JSA, and JSA does likewise for us, since our clubs are involved in similar activities,” Cunanan said. While the club may still be in its infancy, the officers are hopeful for the possibility of an actual team and an impact on the school’s academic performance. “We’re interested in bringing Mock Trial to government classrooms, so that students can become involved in the legal process so critical to our democracy,” Ahsan said.

“ I Am Granada”

Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press

Richard Chung expresses school spirit on the quad By Lucy Lee Junior Richard Chung has been participating in the quad dance battles for the past three years. The Associated Student Body (ASB) has been encouraging students to join the lunch time pep rally activities on the quad to inspire school spirit. One of the many activities includes the dance battles Chung participates in. Quad dance battles happen every Friday to express school spirit by showing off dance skills. The dancers have an opportunity to represent themselves differently with dances such as break dancing, hip-hop, and freestyle. “At first, my friends pushed me into the crowd to dance and compete, but as weeks went by, I eventually got used to it and enjoyed it a lot,” Chung said. Ever since he made his first appearance on stage, Chung has received a lot of positive feedback from his peers. “I’m proud to see Richard up on stage dancing,” junior Alex Kim said. “He supports the quad activities more than ever.” Chung believes that quad dance battles bring the entire student body together to show school spirit, as well as provide dancers with a chance to show off their skills. “I think I give the other dancers an opening to show what they can do, and I also think I give them the motivation they need to show off what skills they have,” Chung said. And the dance battles are not limited to Chung and his friends. It is an opportunity for all dancers on campus to participate and enjoy what they love doing. “It feels great performing on stage,” Chung said. “Whether it is free-styling or battling, the feeling just overwhelms you.” He wishes to share this exhilarating feeling with his peers as well. “I would like to see more of my friends participate in the quad activity to bring more spirit to the school,” Chung said. His own passion and skills date back to the end of 8th grade when he first started dancing with his friend Mikee.

“We both started out as break dancers, but I eventually branched off to hip-hop,” Chung said. Seeing his friend dance and do flips, Chung was motivated to learn the tricks. As he allowed himself to become interested, he found more reasons to love dancing and continue his hobby as a hip-hop dancer. “Around that time, America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) also came along so it caught my eye even more,” Chung said. ABDC is an American competitive dance reality television series that features street dance crews from the United States. The show helped Chung push himself further in training himself to adapt to the new tricks ever since. “Since 9th grade, I’ve watched Richard progress in his dancing,” Kim said. With a lot of time and effort, Chung managed to obtain the skills he has today. “Whenever I see Richard dance on stage, it makes me want to get up and groove,” junior Rommel Asprer said. To bring a dancing spirit on campus, Chung created a crew of his own and made a school club called Breaker Nation. “By joining the club, I got more involved in school activities such as Club Rush and other events,” Asprer said. The club brought dancers from all over the campus and gave them a chance to bond over their mutual love of dance. “I couldn’t continue the club this year because I had to maintain my grades for my junior year,” Chung said. “But I’m hoping to start it up again next year.” Even though Breaker Nation is no longer a club, there are still groups of students who dance on campus in their free time. Chung not only influences dancers on campus, but also works to promote school spirit through other academic activities. “I am involved in Leo Club as Treasurer and am currently involved in Korean Club as well.” Chung said. “I also sing for the school’s voice ensemble as a bass.” Despite the stressful workload as a junior, Chung still manages to participate in school activities and allows himself to be active within the campus.

November Cancer of the Month

Lung & Pancreatic Cancer

“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.


04 feature

November 16, 2010

Redefining the Traditional Thanksgiving Meal For the Vegetarian: Ms. Mason’s Pumpkin Soup 3 (15 ounce) cans of chicken broth 1 large onion, quartered 2 leeks, chopped 1 garlic clove, chopped 4 tbsp. olive oil 1 cup half & half 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tbsp. chicken base 1 (15 ounce) cans pureed pumpkin Salt & pepper Pinch of nutmeg

“Tofurkey” challenged all of the preconceptions about the dry and tasteless nature of imitation meat. Tofurkey is a blend of wheat protein and organic tofu, with pre-prepared vegetables conveniently stuffed inside. Tofurkey is a healthy option with less calories and trans fat than those in meat. If you are convinced to try it, “Tofurkey” can be found in stores such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

For the Health-Nut:

Directions 1. Roast onions, leeks, and garlic in olive oil in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Remove and purée in blender. 2. Bring chicken broth, pumpkin purée, pureed veggies, and chicken base to a boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. 3. Add half & half and simmer. 4. Season with salt & pepper. 5. Finish with heavy cream and some nutmeg

Photo Courtesy Turtle Foods Inc.

For those of us trying to stick to a diet, Thanksgiving is a nightmare…or maybe not. While it may seem that this feast is filled with butter and whipped cream, there are healthy alternatives. Instead of eating a baked potato with sour cream and chives, you can try butternut squash with paprika and cinnamon.

For the Recycler:

continued on other side...

After Thanksgiving, there are always leftovers, but none of them have to go to waste. Ingredients such as turkey and cranberry sauce can be reused in salads and other dishes. Even pumpkin used for side dishes can be molded into a pumpkin flan dessert. By reusing leftovers from traditional recipes, you can make an original feast. By: Sindhura Seeni

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Home Access Center

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Go to ghchs.com and click the “Home Access Center” Button

Under the classwork tab, select “All Runs”, and click “Refresh View”

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Use your gaggle account information to log in, then click “Classwork.”

To view assignment details, click on the “assignment link”


05 feature

November 16, 2010

Granada Misses the Snitch Teachers in Costumes

Maureen Grandchamp English Teacher

Veronique Fastre-Blavier French Teacher

Tommy Ultan-Thomas Science Teacher

Kelly Byars History Teacher

Melissa Mason English Teacher

By Steve Ruiz

Quaffles, and Bludgers, and broomsticks! Oh My! Flying on broomsticks while Chasers fight for the Quaffle and score into one of the opposing teams three goal hoops may sound like a sport from another realm, but now its become a reality in our own non-magical world. Quidditch,the enchanting sport from the Harry Potter Photo Courtesy of International Quidditch Association Series has been played by Muggles (nonmagic people) for several years and has houses consisting of Gryffindor, Slytherin, become increasingly popular. Over 1,000 Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. colleges and high schools from thirteen The Quidditch club was introduced countries have shown interest in starting based on increased student interests in their own Quidditch teams. Quidditch and the Harry Potter series. In the wizard world, Quidditch is The first Quidditch meeting alone had a ideally played on a large field on flying classroom full of over 50 students. broomsticks and involves scoring the Junior Tamy Argueta was a member of Quaffle (ball) into goal hoops; each goal the Quidditch club before it’s rejection. being ten points. “I was pretty upset [about the clubs A Quidditch team consists of three denial], but not completely surprised Chasers who score into the goal hoops and because students would be on brooms two beaters who deflect Bludgers away throwing things at each other, but it makes from their team and try to impair the other perfect sense in the wizard world,” Argueta team. As well as a Seeker who attempts to said. catch the Golden Snitch (earning the team Club meetings would have been used 150 points), and the Keeper who guards to strategize for games and general Harry the three goal hoops. Potter appreciation. Granadawas interested in Junior Jessie Warme was president for having it’s own Quidditch club, but was the clubs short time and believes everyone denied approval due to safety reasons. can enjoy playing Quidditch. English teacher and former club adviser “ You can play with simple stuff, and it Heather Macias along with English teacher can cater to anyone, since it is the child of Melissa Mason thought of starting a basketball, soccer, dodge ball, and ultimate Quidditch club during a school meeting. Frisbee, its hard not to have interest along “We were talking about school spirit with having many positions that can be and we both liked Quidditch so the more played. Since it isn’t an official sport, we thought about it, the better it students can make their own teams and became; we just needed more teachers to choose their positions,” Warme said. pursue it,” Macias said. The future of Quidditch at Granada Along with Mason and Macias, math is still uncertain, but it seems likely that teacher Joseph Chipps, and English teacher students will try again next year with Maureen Grandchamp liked the idea and more thoughts on safety issues concerning became the heads of each of the four Granada’s policies.

By John Cho

ents.


06

entertainment

November 16, 2010

Granada’s A Capella Groups

Smooth White Chocolate vs. Once Upon A Time By Eidah Hilo

Photo courtesy of James Kim

We all know that in middle school, it was practically social suicide if a boy joined choir. However, Granada’s choir has been known to foster some of the most musically talented boys in the city. These boys have joined forces to form the male a capella group on campus – Smooth White Chocolate – who make singing in choir cooler than being a jock. Founded in 2005 by Granada alumni Ryan Valle, Smooth White Chocolate is composed of seniors Kenny Cunanan, James Kim, David Lee, Kevin Matsuno, Bobby Lebeda, Daniel Wiley, Nolan Monsibay, Cameron Cudiament, Kurt Winterhalter and junior Jared Price. These boys do more than just sing- they entertain. “Different songs are supposed to provoke different emotions,” Cunanan said. Smooth White Chocolate keeps the audience captivated with their silly gimmicks and special sing-along songs. “They [the songs] are for the most part upbeat with easy to understand lyrics and

traces of humor,” Cunanan said. Led by the group’s veterans, the group tends to choose Barbershopstyle music because of its harmonies. Smooth White Chocolate has performed at numerous events including the Highlander Tea Party, Granada’s 50th Celebration Community Festival, and more along with the female a capella group on campus, Once Upon a Time. These two groups are constantly compared and sometimes even poke fun at each other. “It’s all in fun. We recognize the talent in [Once Upon a Time]. It’s something that makes us work just that much harder,” Lebeda said. However, Smooth White Chocolate and Once Upon a Time use different tactics in appealing to their audience. “I’d like to think we’re crazier on stage and have a bit more fun. Besides, everybody loves men who sing,” Cunanan said. Either way, these boys know how to have fun.

Team Coco is back! By Matthew Seeman Cable television just became a whole lot funnier. Conan O’Brien returned to TV with the aptly titled “Conan,” a late-night talk show on TBS, on November 8. O’Brien hasn’t helmed his own show since January 22, when he signed off from “The Tonight Show” and NBC to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” with Will Farrell and others. “Conan’s” first show drew record ratings for a cable program, with four million viewers tuning in. Seth Rogan served as the first guest, followed by “Glee’s” Lea Michele, and a performance of “Twenty Flight Rock” by guitarist Jack White and O’Brien himself. Andy Richter returns as O’Brien’s drywitted sidekick, and the Basic Cable Band provides musical entertainment in between commercial breaks. With celebrity cameos from Jon Hamm (in character as Don Draper from “Mad

Men”), Larry King and Ricky Gervais, the debut of “Conan” was nothing short of hilarious. O’Brien took shots at both his old and new networks, his long absence from television, and even the fact that daylight savings time essentially put his show at midnight. “It’s not easy doing a late night show on a channel without a lot of money that viewers have trouble finding,” O’Brien quipped. “That’s why I left NBC.” O’Brien left NBC after a tumultuous conflict between him and network executives arose when the network proposed a half-hour show for Jay Leno, which would bump O’Brien’s “The Tonight Show” to 12:05. O’Brien disagreed with NBC’s decision, and the two sides reached a settlement allowing him to leave the network, with the exception that he could not have another show until September at the earliest. “Conan” airs Mondays to Thursdays at eleven o’clock on TBS.

Megamind thrills crowds By Kathy Zerbib Usually, superhero movies follow a conventional story plot – good versus evil, good eventually triumphing over evil, followed by good being congratulated. But what happens when an evil villain finally accomplishes his biggest goal of beating his superhero archenemy? “Megamind” explores the possible answer to that very question. The film features the voices of wellknown actors Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and David Cross. Will Ferrell voices Megamind, a super genius alien who turns evil when he is unable to adapt well with his hostile schoolmates. His archenemy is the city’s superhero, Metro Man, voiced by Brad Pitt. In the film, Megamind is able to eliminate his foe Metro Man. He becomes bored

with his secure life as an evil mastermind and decides to create another superhero to start a new rivalry with. Although things do not go exactly as Megamind hopes, his character is shown maturing into a kinder and more respectable person, ultimately choosing good over evil. The movie, directed by Tom McGrath of “Madagascar” fame, contained an overwhelming number of life lessons that, in my opinion, suffocated the plot of the story. One asset of the film is its audio appeal, which is apparent with a classic rock playlist. Songs such as “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne are featured in the movie. Overall, the film was hilarious and rather enjoyable to watch.

Gabrielle Amar/The Plaid Press

What do you call a group of musically talented and fierce divas? Once Upon a Time, of course! Once Upon a Time, the female a capella group on campus, is composed of seniors Lily Abram, Miranda Mendoza, Shelby Wane, Karina Almanza, Anna Weir, Margot Grozier and juniors Estefania Padilla and Paige Nelson. This year, there is also a new a capella group called “Happily Ever After” which was formed for juniors to gain more experience in an a capella group before becoming Once Upon a Time stars in their senior year. Once Upon a Time has high hopes for the new year with six returning members. “This year, so far, we have a really good group of girls. We make sure we sound our best,” Wane said. As opposed to Smooth White Chocolate which sings primarily barbershop-style songs, the ladies opt to include more modern music like Cold-

play’s “Viva La Vida” or Duffy’s “Mercy” as well as their own barbershop-style songs like their signature “Java Jive” performed every year. Once Upon a Time performs at the same events as Smooth White Chocolate for the most part, which leads to a fun sense of competition. “We’re better because the boys get by on cute jokes while we work hard and earn our respect,” Abram said. Working hard is an understatement, as these girls spend countless hours after school to choreograph for their melodies. Several of the girls in the group are even looking to pursue music as a career in the future. Mendoza has dreams of becoming a pop star one day and Wane aspires to attend her dream college, Carnegie Mellon, and major in musical theater. If you are interested in learning more about Once Upon a Time, please visit their Facebook website or Youtube channel for more information.


07 opinion

November 16, 2010

Political ignorance nonexistent among students

Limited access to Teens break the stereotype by becoming politically involved websites at school than their parents. As various sources of information beBy Laura Nunez “Though my parents identify themselves come available to students, they enter into a nuisance to many When considering the seriousness of politics, adults assume the subject flies completely over our hormonally crazed heads. Adults tend to believe that students play the role of dummies, mirroring the views of their parents’ without any substantial knowledge on topics. Surprisingly enough, between watching episodes of “Jersey Shore” and plotting to land a date to Homecoming, teens actually develop their own personal opinions. Yes, at first our parents serve as our puppeteers. But as we grow and learn, we pull a Pinocchio and become independent in our thinking. “Initially I formed my views based on my parents, but now I look at all view points when developing my personal opinion,” senior Josh Reynolds said. In some cases, the student becomes the teacher and teens become more informed

as Democrats, they aren’t politically involved or very informed,” senior Tyler Rosen said. Rosen recently attended a program with the Young Democrats of America in Washington DC, where politics and its most significant issues were the main focus. So, the idea that adults always know more than us is not necessarily the truth in every scenario. In order to develop meaningful political opinions, many kids do not read tabloids or follow in the paths of their favorite sports star. Instead, many teens listen, watch, and read reliable news sources. A few favored news sources include the radio station NPR, the political magazine “The Economist,” online sources such as the “Washington Post,” and news stations such as CNN and FOX.

scorching-hot clashing political battles that would normally ignite within the adult world. School enables teens to debate these warring ideals in matches to the bitter end. “I became politically inclined in ninth grade when I joined the debate team,” senior Kenny Cunanan said. Granada also provides a sanctuary for those political junkies to bounce ideas off one another. For example, Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) is one club where students can discuss and debate issues until they are blue in the face. So although many people associate teenagers with shallow interests, a significant portion of teens dream of the day they are standing at the polls ready to mark their ballot.

Nap time may be the solution for sleepless students

Benjamin Vivas

By Steve Ruiz Take a peek into any classroom, and you will see at least one student struggling to stay awake. With sleep deprivation comes waking up for school tired, losing interest in class, and feeling grumpy throughout the day. Students even try substituting sleep for Monster or Starbucks; but this remedy is only temporary. The reason for this is simple: high school students just don’t get enough sleep. Overachieving students are constantly overwhelmed with homework, projects, and volunteering. Sleep is usually the last thing on their jam-packed schedules. Underachievers often have a very different excuse. Students are easily distracted while working on school-related assignments because they take frequent breaks, are too busy texting, or are addicted to Facebook. Procrastination on homework means

working later into the night and in turn, going to sleep later. Whether the fault of the student or their overburdened schedule, sleep deprivation has become a well-known problem amongst teenagers without much to be done to find a solution. So, what could be a solution? Nap time. In the glorious days of kindergarten we were encouraged to sleep during nap time and given juice and crackers along with our naps. Nap time songs would even be played to help kids who couldn’t fall asleep. We were even given soft red mats to sleep on. Things have definitely changed since kindergarten. Now we are told to go to the nurse or even given detention for resting our eyes or showing signs of being tired. If we had a nap time after Nutrition then it would lead to a happier student body. We don’t necessarily need an entire 57-

minute period. Even something like 30 minutes would do just the trick. “ Nap time sounds great because it would allow students to catch up on much needed sleep time,” sophomore Diego Bolton said. After Nutrition students could go to their nap time class room and rest on mats like in kindergarten. Even teachers would benefit from nap time. “I think [nap time] would be an awesome way to recharge because many teachers feel exhausted by the end of the day. This would help us teach afternoon classes and give us more energy,” science teacher Laura McIntosh said. Even if teachers didn’t catch some zzz’s, they could use the spare time for grading or putting grades into the computer system. Overall, nap time would help all of us stay awake during the day. If there are any doubts about nap time, sleeping on the idea should help.

Students celebrate underground awareness days with enthusiasm By Jane Ha After October’s recent Hug Day, my Facebook event invitation list reads “Irrational Hug Day, to be held on November 22.” I click the link and find out that “Irrational Hug Day” is another underground holiday where everyone hugs each other for no apparent reason. Underground awareness days—I say “underground” because they are not officially recognized as national holidays—are being celebrated with enthusiasm around campus. Almost always, the purpose is to spread awareness of a cause, such as preventing bullying or fighting breast cancer. Not only is the celebration of these unofficial holidays a statement that students care about the world around them, but it has also become a great unifying force that musters school spirit among the students. “I participated in Hug Day,” senior Linda Lee said. “It’s not a hard thing to do throughout the day, and it lets me see how so many people are actually thinking of a good cause. It’s really fun too.”

Take the “Day of Silence,” for example. On April 16, the participants of this awareness day put duct-tape over their mouths and didn’t speak the whole day. The “Day of Silence” was meant to raise awareness of the discrimination against homosexuals. Those with duct-tape on their mouths could easily spot each other, and shared their enthusiasm for their cause as well as the pains of not being able to speak. Strangers became friends and encouragement abounded. A game on Facebook, in which girls posted various “I like it on (fill in the blank)” in their statuses, became a topic of much discussion among Facebook users. The rule of the game was for girls to say in their statuses where they like to leave their purses at home, without ever referring specifically to them. The purse, in the status, would always be called “it.” This game was initiated to spread awareness about breast cancer by making the curious onlookers ask the real meaning of the mysterious statuses, while confusing the

male members to unify women. Many students on Facebook who didn’t get invitation messages debated over what “it” could be, all the while being part of a huge awareness activity. This effect illustrated the painful side of breast cancer that is completely unknown and shielded from the society of men. It is an example of a much-needed event in this school that may remedy one of the biggest issues in school today—school spirit. School spirit has always been stressed on campus, as evident from countless schoolinitiated campaigns and lunch activities devoted to unifying the student body. And yet I wonder if we are overlooking a self-formed solution to this chronic issue. The underground awareness days are being celebrated in big numbers despite less advertisement issued compared to schooladministered campaigns. Perhaps these underground awareness days should be made a little more mainstream and given more spotlight; they may end up playing a big part in boosting school energy as a whole.

By Gabrielle Amar Have you ever had the eerie feeling that someone is watching your every move? Well I’m sorry to break it to all who do not know, but the school does keep a watchful eye on us. No, they do not have hidden microphones in the hallways or video cameras in the bathrooms, as far as I know at least. What they do see, though, are the websites we type in on the school computers. St. Bernard I-prism is a program in which the school connects with to filter out any site that does not qualify as appropriate or beneficial to the learning experience. “There are millions of sites we disable,” Network Manager Ely Jaramillo said. Of course when it comes to surfing the web, the one site we think could be really helpful for a history research paper or photo collage falls in that million range. What is also sometimes frustrating is when a website you know is helpful fails to work, and a website that is practically useless functions just fine. I cannot help but sigh after seeing “the requested page is currently unavailable” across the screen so many times. It is exciting though when a site you expected not to work ends up fully loading. There is that moment right after when you say to yourself, “I must be that good to get around this fancy system.” It is a let down, however when you go on a week later to find it blocked. The school runs daily reports to check on websites that are uncommon and unfamiliar. “It is just impossible to filter everything,” Jaramillo said. “But we do the best we can so students can stay focused on their school work.” Indeed, the school means well when they do not permit students onto certain websites. As of right now though, we will just have to wait until we get home to log onto Facebook.

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, Steve Ruiz, Kathy Zerbib Adviser

Melissa Mason

The Plaid Press is a proud member of National Scholastic Press Association.


08 sports

November 16, 2010

Standout Jacob Smith makes a big impact

New running back creates excitement as he runs through defenses

Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press

TOUCHDOWN: Jacob Smith has the talent to take down any defense.

By Matthew Kahn Some are fast. Some are strong. Some have pure talent. Jacob Smith just happens to be the whole package. Smith has that kind of talent one cannot teach. However, he understands his given talent and has used it to make a name for himself. Starting his tackle football career at the age of ten years old, Smith was destined for greatness. Smith, at 6’1, 190 lbs, steps onto the field before every game, wearing the same under armor and socks, belt off to the side, ready for total domination. With his pregame rituals, he believes that no one can stop him in his path. He sees the defenses’ play before the snap, spins off tacklers, jolts through any crease he finds in the blocking. Smith has the ability to run fifteen yards, stop on the dime, cut back and go the other direction.

Yet, Smith is just like the rest of his teammates: they just want to win. “During every game my goal is to get the ball and do my best for the team,” Smith said. Smith believes that football is about having fun, being with your teammates, who have become like family, and enjoying the time spent on and off the field. “My favorite part about football is going to the locker room after the game and being with my teammates. Whether we win or lose, I know that my teammates are by my side and that is what has made football such a large impact on my life,” Smith said. This being Smith’s first year on campus and on the team, one would think it would be a difficult transition. However, the new environment has not fazed him. In fact, he feels even more at home on campus. “This is where I grew up with all of my friends. I love playing for Granada and love

being with my teammates,” Smith said. The team chemistry that Smith developed so rapidly has greatly helped the football team this year. In the four games Smith has participated in, the team is 2-2. He averages 163 yards a game, almost nine yards per carry, and has totaled up eight rushing touchdowns. Smith’s efforts on the field have given him recognition from numerous Division I universities. He currently has schools from all over the nation interested, such as: UCLA, USC, LSU, and Oregon. All big name schools built for big name players, just like Smith. “Playing football is important to me, but knowing that I gave it my all and had fun, that is the greatest feeling the world,” Smith said. Smith has all the right tools for football. With hard work and dedication, nothing can step in the way of his success.

Girl’s Tennis Girl’s volleyball prepared to retain city crown readies for a three-peat as they practice to bring glory to the school By John Cho Winning a championship is tough. Going back to back is even tougher. But girl’s tennis plans to make it a third straight championship and establish its dynasty. Coach Simon Robertshaw is confident that this year’s team is better, faster, and stronger than years past. Although they have much to live up to due to past teams’ successes of winning two city championships in a row, this year’s team is optimistic that they can repeat this triumph. Robertshaw has helped rear his players into formidable forces on the tennis court for many years. He understands what it takes to win on the court. In order to continue the legacy of the past teams, he has brought on a new training regimen based on intense practice and team bonding. “We’re going to win the city championships once more. The team is working on overcoming mental and physical difficulties on the court. Every day they are steadily improving,” Robertshaw said. In order to be as successful as the last two years, the team practices daily during sixth and seventh periods to perfect their technique. To be competitive, the team practices reflex drills, volley drills, and constant conditioning. These grueling practices not only increase their already strong talents but bring the teammates closer to one another. The team is led by their spirited captain, Senior Alexandra Tallas. Tallas led the team as they won the city championships last year and has helped boost her team’s morale and technical skills on the court. “I am very excited about all the new prospects available and in the team in overall. I have high expectations and we can pull through by relying on one another,” Tallas said. The girl’s tennis team has come together quite nicely as they finished the regular season with an impressive 10-1 record and secured the top seed in the City Section playoffs. Under Tallas and Robertshaw, the team is confident in their abilities. Both leaders have helped push their team to new extremes both on and off the court. The team has improved both mentally and physically through training and have their eyes set upon their unified goal: to win the city championships once more.

By Nicole Martinez The varsity girl’s volleyball team is determined to take the city championship home again with their coach, Tom Harp and their two senior captains, Amber Hawthorne and Hanna Levanen. Nine girls have returned to the winning team, raising their chances of winning the city championship. Not only that, but many of the players play club volleyball during off-season where intense competition makes them stronger players. “We have become more disciplined and built great chemistry,” Levanen said. Both captains expect much from their teammates, such as being competitive, showing confidence and doing well in the state playoffs. As varsity captains, Hawthorne and Levanen always stay on top of the team and make sure everyone plays how they have been taught technically, strategically, and mentally. “Being a captain means being a leader and being able to back up your team in tough situations and always being there for your teammates,” Hawthorne said. Both captains have received scholarships for their volleyball talent. Hawthorne received a scholarship to UC San Diego. UC San Diego places as the fourteenth best university in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. “The best part is knowing that such a great academic school wants me to play volleyball there,” Hawthorne said. Levanen has a scholarship to University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. “Getting my education paid for while playing volleyball for potentially one of the best teams in the country is pretty much one of the best deals you can get,” Levanen said.

Coach Harp is very proud of his team and his captains. “They are outstanding players and show quality leadership. I am pleased with what they have done and look forward to making outstanding achievements in the future,” Harp said.

The varsity volleyball team has many goals set for themselves, but with all of their perseverance, the reigning champions will accomplish their mission of winning, especially with Hawthorne’s and Levanen’s leadership skills.

Gabrielle Amar / The Plaid Press

BUMP. SET. SPIKE: Liz Landon prepares for each game by working on her passing ability while the team hopes to make a run at state playoffs.

Coach Cicciari takes us back to his high school days By Bridget Moreno It can be hard to imagine what our teachers were like when they were our age, and some might even say they were nothing like we teenagers are today. Girl’s basketball coach Lou Ciciarri gives us a glimpse of what his high school life was like. Ciciarri was not one of those crazy hippies from the 70’s. Instead he was a die-hard athlete; he lived and breathed sports. Being in a wheelchair never stopped him from pursuing his natural talent for basketball and other sports. “Sports had a very positive impact on my life, it shaped me, and it is the reason why I am a basketball coach today,” Ciciarri said. In 1976, at the age of 16, he joined a semi-professional wheelchair basketball team in the San Fernando Valley named The San Fernando Valley Hawks. Being the youngest player on the team (of 20-40 year

olds), he strived to push himself as hard as he could and as much as he could. His hard work paid off when he became a member of the Los Angeles Stars wheelchair basketball team. While in the Los Angeles Stars, he and his team were League Champions for 10 consecutive years and in 1987 became the number three wheelchair basketball team in the whole country. Apart from sports, in his teenage years, Ciciarri learned one of his most important life lessons that he still lives by today. “My dad taught me work before you play; you cannot have fun before you get your needed work done. I would always try to finish my homework before the weekend started or else I’d have that voice in the back of my head reminding me I have an essay due on Monday,” Ciciarri said. Ciciarri’s teenage years consisted of both ups and downs (mostly ups). One of the things he did enjoy the most was develop-

ing new relationships with people and being involved in sports. Even back in the 70’s, Granada had a rivalry with Kennedy High School. Ciciarri, being a devout Highlander in high school, figured that he and his friends should show off their Granada pride to the Kennedy students and staff. “Some friends and I decided to go to Kennedy and paint green stripes with big GH’s on as many trash cans as we could and thankfully never got caught!” Ciciarri said. As a coach and teacher, Ciciarri strives for his students to learn what he did in high school which is to get involved in any way possible at school and to do your best to move your life forward. “High school is going to be what you decide to make it; don’t waste your time spinning your wheels. You always need to be progressing, and these are the times you will never get back,” Ciciarri said.

GHCHS November 2010 Plaid Press  

GHCHS November 2010 Plaid Press

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