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The Odyssey

February 16, 2011

Ulysses S. Grant High School

Volume LII Issue 1

Play showcases Grant’s talented acting community By Jazmine Sanchez The first Performing Arts play was finally showcased at Grant High School. Pure as the Driven Snow, a play by Paul Loomis, was performed in Grant Hall on January 13-15 and 21-22 at 7 p.m. The play opens up with a setting at Uland Inn, located in a small town in Northern Vermont. The play includes 13 characters who brought this drama to life. Nicole Burova stars as Purity Dean, Anthony Gabriel played Jonathan Logan, Leslye Salas played Zamah Logan, Ben Villalobos played Leander Longfellow, David Pineda played Mortimer Frothingham, Rudy Lua played Jed Lunn, Israel Taragano played E.Z. Pickens, Zoe Khorenyan played Imogene Pickens, Leslie Lua played Mrs. Ethelinda Hewlitt, Dior Groover played Allison Hewlitt, Marina Sarkisyan played Mrs. Faith Houge, Winnona Mead played Letty

Barber, and Maria Babilonia played Nellie Morris. The basic story of the play is about Mr. and Mrs. Logan who own Uland Inn Services. One stormy day they encounter a girl named Purity Dean. Leander Longfellow, Purity Dean, and Imogene Pickens quickly form a love triangle. Leander is in love with Purity, and Imogene has fallen for Leander but hates Purity. Purity’s past confronts her when evil Mortimer Frothingham comes into the picture. True comedy, tragedy, and romance abound in this marvelous play, directed by the amazing Ms. Blumenberg. In the end, Frothingham is arrested, and at last Purity and Leander reunite. Israel Taragano gave is some feedback on his acting role, “Of course the experience will be unforgettable - to be able to do this wonderful

Laser tag is a hit By Mirvat Hariri Grant seniors hosted their first fund-raiser of the year on Wednesday, December 8, with a fun-filled night of laser tagging at UltraZone on Ventura Blvd. The event was held to generate revenue for the senior class, but moreover, to bring the senior Lancers closer together; the night was successful on both parts. Dr. Pressman, the senior class advisor, even joined in himself towards the end of the night. The game of laser tag is played by dividing people into three groups and sending them into a large maze lit up by varied-colored lights. The maze is designed to feel like a battle zone with all its hidden corners and multiple bases. The objective is to shoot any opponent with the laser gun: simple. But our class of 2011 took this game to a whole other level and enjoyed every minute of it. As people formed into


Zoe Khorenyan and Ben Villalobos deliver their lines.

David Pineda and Nicole Burova portray their characters’ emotions.

play. I loved rehearsals and to finally see it come together so perfect and naturally.” Nicole Burova gave us her opinion too, “I greatly enjoyed playing the role of Purity Dean; however, my character’s motive and personality resembled that of my last year’s character Rosey Snow in Cinderella Waltz. I am so happy that Pure as the Driven Snow was such a great success. The cast and Ms. Blumenberg had to overcome many obstacles to put this show together. It was evident to see that the audience was extremely supportive and motivating, which gave us the opportunity to have fun while performing. Thanks to Ms. Blumenberg and the cast for making this such an unforgettable experience.”

“I am so happy that Pure as the Driven Snow was such a great success.”

Delicious desserts? I’d say yes! By Jennifer Sagastume

groups, some began creating game strategies and assigning locations for every member on the team. Once in the maze, it was as if they were rivals instead of friends - all with one goal: to win. Every round lasted 12 minutes, and at the end of each match everyone went outside and anxiously waited, looking at the scoreboard to see who won. “I felt as if it were life or death every time I waited to see if my team won. It was such a rush, and I just couldn’t wait to play the next round,” said Mery Oganesyan. Between rounds, students and their friends enjoyed the UltraZone arcade or went downstairs to Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and The Habit. The atmosphere was very welcoming, and from the time the event started to the time it finished, people were still coming in, asking to play. Diana Becerra, a se-

Wednesday, December 14, teachers and staff enjoyed what the parents had prepared for them during lunch.

nior Lancer, said, “I love events like this, because it really feels like my senior class is one big family. Put us all together, and you know it is go-

ing to be fun!” The night was a big success, and we look forward to whatever it is the senior class has in store next.




NEWS • Pure as the Driven Snow • Senior laser tag • Dessert party

As I walked in Grant Hall, it was still early, but some teachers were already approaching the tables covered

Magnet parents load the tables with a fabulous spread of desserts.

FEATURES • JSU • Winter concert

OPINIONS • SLC outdoor areas • Financial Aid Night • Fashion beat

with plates of fruit, apple pies, donuts, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Others were at the table of refreshments: Starbucks coffee, sodas, water and juice. There were several parents around who participated in organizing this event. Araceli Lopez said that she has a son attending the school, and that’s the reason why she is in the Magnet parent program and helps ny participating in her free time. Later, I interviewed one of Grant’s great teachers, Ms. Kaminsky. I asked her what she had to eat and she responded, “I had fruit and apple pie; it was wonderful.” Mr. Moreno said, “I am going to share cookies with some very helpful students.” A special thanks goes out to all the parents who put this together for the teachers. They deserve it for all their hard work and effort.

SPORTS SPORTS • Girls’ soccer • Boys’ basketball • Power 106 All-Star game

Grant High School Odyssey Page 2

February 16, 2011


Winter Festival musically celebrates the holiday season By Jazmine Sanchez December 9, 2010, was this day that the 2010 Winter Festival took over Grant HS. The Performing Arts Academy devised a show that would bring all of the arts together and bring some great holiday spirit to everyone. The doors to Grant Hall opened and Grant students filled the room, as the curtains were ready to reveal the spectacular show that Ms. Taylor had brought about. Music, Drama, and Dance all contributed to this wonderful celebration for the arts. Ms. Taylor’s choir opened up the show with some amazing music numbers. They first performed “Silent Night” in three different languages: Spanish, English, and Japanese! During the show, the

audience experienced a sneak peak to the upcoming play, directed by Ms. Blumenburg, called Pure as the Driven Snow. Backstage crew member Brenda Ledezma gave us her opinion on what went down behind the scenes. “Backstage was full of anticipation. You could see that everyone was so pumped up to give such a great show. In the end it turned out awesome.” The dancers were also a part of this show, and Tiana Goss gave us the details on the dances she was in. “Knowing that the dance ‘Dream On,’ choreographed by Jazmine Sanchez, was based on true life, I felt a strong connection to the choreography and the song. I enjoyed being a part of such a powerful dance.”

Every year the dancers do the “Santa Baby” dance, which they performed this year to the song “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey. The lighting was great: colorful lights filled the hall showing the spirit for Christmas. Accompanying decorations were put together very well, and the finishing touches of the menorah and Christmas tree brought about such a warm feeling for the holiday spirit. Grant’s Jazz Band also performed some great numbers along with the choir. Then they played some numbers on their own with Mr. Sims directing them. This show wouldn’t have been able to be performed if it wasn’t for the great musical directors, Mr. Sims and Ms. Taylor. In Ms. Taylor’s words,

“The show was extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time. The students achieved more then they ever thought. It was a lot of fun.” As the show was winding down to an end, all the actors, singers, and dancers came together with the

audience to sing some medley holiday classics like “Jingle Bells” and “Dashing Through the Snow.” Overall, the show came out to be something great that everyone will truly remember.

Steven Smith plays the bass guitar.

Jewish Student Union features cultural learning By Bea Naymon When students hear about The Jewish Student Union, or JSU, they think that it is a club where all the Jews get together like any other cultural or religion club, but JSU is more than just a club; it is like one big family. Every Monday during lunch in Ms. Serin’s room, Derek, a speaker from JSU, comes in to teach us more about the community and spread the knowledge of what JSU really is and how we can help it more. During club meetings, we participate in many activities. We play games like bingo, but with a Jewish twist called “Torah.” It is a very fun game, and you learn a lot about Jerusalem. We create the country

of Israel out of food products like pretzels, candy, and chocolate Nutella. We watch videos of other students who took

field trips to Israel, which, from what I saw, looked like a life-changing experience. We also have personal discussions

Derek stacks pizza boxes and reaches into the tote to begin a game.

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The Odyssey is published by the Journalism Class of U.S. Grant High School, located at 13000 Oxnard Street, Valley Glen, California. Opinions expressed in The Odyssey are solely those of the authors and do not reflect those of U.S. Grant High School, its faculty, or its student body. Ads are available by request. For more information, please call (818) 756-2700 ext. 2753 (phone number updated 11/14/08).


or topics about what goes on today in Israel. Ela Ben Harosh is Grant High School’s JSU president, Heather Kachlon is Vice-President, Loren Ben Shimon is Secretary, and Leeran Peretz is the treasurer. If you have ever wanted to actually go to Israel with other students from other schools, Derek can also give you all the information, costs, and keep you updated on other trips as well. Derek also invites all students to come by his house every Friday for Shabbat, which is the 7th day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. It basically means eating a free Jewish dinner at Derek’s house and enjoying

hearing some great stories! JSU is not only about the food but we also focus a lot on fund-raisers like laser tag, and finding other ways to help out others in the Jewish community. I myself go to Jew club every Monday, and it has taught me an entire new culture that I had not known so well before. So next time you’re roaming the 200 halls on Monday during lunch, stop by and check it out! Everyone is welcome, Jewish or not, and you will get the chance to learn new things and maybe even get involved in our charity events! So bring your friends, and come meet the JSU community at Grant High!


Editor of Features Jennifer Sagastume

Percy Alania

Editor of News Jazmine Sanchez

Mirvat Hariri

Editor of Sports Percy Alania

Erika Menjivar

Editor of Opinions Percy Alania

Jennifer Sagastume

Editor of Photography Mirvat Hariri

Josh Brown Raul Lopez Bea Naymon Jazmine Sanchez

Grant High School Odyssey Page 3

Opinions SLC outdoor construction is finally finished!

February 16, 2011

By Jennifer Sagastume Months had gone by, and everyone waited for the construction to finish. Some were eager because the noise was annoying, or they were complaining about lack of space to hang out, or because they were eager to see how our campus would look. Only a few just remained neutral. Each academy’s section was finally open, Wednesday, January 19. In my eyes, the work the construction workers did was amazing.. It makes the school look better, at least standing on the inside of the campus. Each learning community has its own section, with a flag and stamp representing each academy. The campus looks unique and improved. What do the students think of their designated area? Do they like it? What are their

opinions? I interviewed several students to find out what they thought. I asked Marco Sagastume, who is in the Freshman Academy, what he thought about the construction on his first day and what he thinks of it now. Marco responded, “When I first entered the campus, I thought the school was too crowded and ugly, although The area belonging to Social Justice is picture-perfect. it was obviously because of the construction. Now, I think the school looks nice and less crowded.” Natalie Johnson, a senior from the Performing Arts Academy said, “I feel like it’s a good change, and it improves the look of the school as well. The new benches are allowing people to hang out in new places.” Senior Pedro Santos added, “The different SLC ar- As soon as their area opened, students rushed right in to enjoy it.

Financial Aid Night

Fashions rock the house at Winter Play

By Percy Alania Students and parents of Grant High School were invited to Financial Aid Night! Workshops were Thursday, January 20th, Wednesday, January 26th, and Wednesday February 2nd from 5:30-7:00. The first workshop was held by Mr. Delatorre; it went very well! Many parents attended and were satisfied with the information that was given. Mr. Delatorre had quite the audience that night while he gave parents a nifty Powerpoint presentation. Basically, the Powerpoint stated where you can find the financial aid, where you can locate assistance if you’re clueless about what financial aid really means, and how much financial aid you can get. Parents received an abundance of information, and frustrated students who were struggling with the financial paper work received one-onone help. Eventually, all the paperwork was completed, and every student and parent turned in the pertinent information to Mr. Delatorre. Students and parents had a wonderful night overall with the first financial aid night workshop. I strongly advise students to encourage their parents to go and get informed, because is it extremely important; it’s your life!

eas are great because there are more places to sit down, which make much more space for all of us.” Flora Antikyan, a junior from the Business Academy made a prediction before the sections were open. She said, “Yes, it looks more organized, but I don’t think anyone is going to go to their belonging section.” Flora was correct. Most people hang out with people from different SLC’s, resulting in everyone enjoying the designated areas of other academies. Consequently, this project has proved more unifying than exclusionary. Everyone seems to agree that the grant money our school received was wellspent.

By Bea Naymon On January 14th, 2011, an outstanding play called Pure As The Driven Snow was performed in Grant Hall, but instead of discussing

the superb acting, I will report another angle; the costumes. The costumes made the show look very real and believable. With a 1920s twist,


Leslye Salas and Anthony Gabriel are ready for dress rehearsal.

the characters’ unique style was very creative. Seeing the stage and costumes all put together made me truly believe I was in their era. David Pineda dressed up in a brown coat with gray tight pants and military-like boots. Nicole Burova rocked it in a simple black dress with sheer tights and black flats. Ben Villalobos wore a blue plaid top with simple pants and construction boots. Anthony Gabriel pulled it off in a brown country-themed hat, a gray top, a green plaid loose buttonup shirt with black pants and bright-laced rain boots. Leslye Salas toned up in a floral print dress with black slippers and a pearl necklace to top it off. Dior Groover also had a floral dress, but it reminded me of something Lucy Ricardo from “I Love Lucy” would happen to wear. Israel Taragano styled himself in a light brown suit jacket, a black turtleneck undershirt, and grayish-white pants. Winnona Mead wore a peach blazer top with a black pencil skirt, and Maria Babilonia took the stage in a red velvet velour long-sleeved dress. Marina Sarkisyan glazed us in a long, dark floral dress with a bright baby-pink fur coat. Rudy Lua kept it classy in a gray tuxedo, and Leslie Lua brightened us in a white-with-peach floral sun-

dress and a matching hat and white flats. Last but not least, Zoe Khorenyan amazed the audience in a floral print longsleeve ruffled-shoulder top with a classic black pencil skirt and peep-toe heels. Of course there were many costume changes, but those were a few of my favorite. All the characters were stylish, classic, and well thought of. I enjoyed the show as much as I enjoyed the fashion. For those who were not there, you missed an amazing performance from all, and of course, missed enjoying a great classic love story with a comedy twist! All could not have been created without the help of Ms. Blumenberg and her mother. Two thumbs up!

David Pineda, Nicole Burova, and Ben Villalobos show attitude.

Grant High School Odyssey Page 4


Girls’ Soccer Team blanks Sun Valley High School 11-0

Boys’ Basketball Team wins big over Arleta; is still undefeated By Erika Menjivar

By Erika Menjivar

Players huddle up on sidelines.

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, the girls’ soccer team had a home game against Sun Valley High school. The game began with the varsity girls warming up. As soon as the players were ready, the game began. The Lancers were playing extremely well, and in just the first few minutes of the game, Grant scored the first goal. You could feel the excitement of the crowd and the players as that first goal was made. The game continued, and in just minutes, a second goal was made by Grant. You could see in their faces that the Lancers were determined to

February 16, 2011

win this game. As the game went on, there was a 3rd, 4th, and 5th goal made in just the first half of the game. The crowd was pumped up with excitement, because we had won the first half of the game with a halftime score of 5 to 0. The second half of the game came along, and the referee blew the whistle and the game began. The crowd was excited to see who would score the first goal. The Lady Lancers, showing excellent teamwork, scored first again. The crowd cheered with joy; there’s no way they could lose now. As the game went on, there were five more goal made, and they were all made by Grant. It was 3:55 p.m. and the game was now over. Everyone was happy because we had won the game with a score of Grant 11 Sun Valley 0.

Players get fans fired up.

Friday, January 21, 2011, the boy’s basketball team had a home game against Arleta High school. The game began at 7:00 p.m., welcoming all parents, students, and anyone coming to support the team members. Having not lost any game of the season yet, the Lancers were not going to let this game go either. The Lancers were playing extremely well in the first period of the game; you could tell that they were determined to win this game and see how serious they were about it. With 6 minutes and 35 seconds left in the first period of the game, the score was Grant 7, Arleta 3; we were winning. The game went on,

and there were now 3 minutes and 39 seconds left, and the score was Grant 17 Arleta 5. The Lancers were ahead by 12 points at the close of the first period. Now it was time to play the second period of the game, and like always the Lancers showing their best efforts to win; they were still in the lead with a score of Grant 34, Arleta 20. With 1 minute and 19 seconds left of the second period, we knew we had won the this period as well. Players #1 Travon Thomas , #15 Gor Plavachyan, #12 Travis Wilson, and #23 Gurgen Harutunyan are excellent shooters over all, and all the players on the team are great players. By the end of the second period, the score was Grant 36 Arleta 22. The crowed cheered with joy because we were ahead. It was now half time and the players all huddled up, and for the second time they warmed up. As soon as time was up, the third period of the game began.

The third period of the game is the most intense because thee can be a shift in momentum. With the Lancers still in the lead 47-28 at 2 minutes and 31 seconds in the period, the Lancers grew in confidence. With just three seconds left in the game, the Lancers had lead in this period as well, with a score of Grant 51, Arleta 32. It was now time for the last and final period of the game. The Lancers were up by 19 points. All of the players were trying their best and showing excellent defense. There were 3 minutes and 40 seconds left in the game, and the score was 62 to 47. The Lancers were still winning and the time was almost up. All of the fans were very happy because we were in the lead, and the game was almost over. Making the game look like a piece of cake, Grant had won 66 to 49 points. Winning this game made them one step closer to becoming undefeated.

Power 106 brings hip hop and Bball to Grant’s house By Mirvat Hariri

The Rejectz get down during their halftime performance.

The crowd goes wild - well, actually, a little more than wild!

Grant High’s big gym was crowded the evening of February 3 for our first annual All-Star Game. Los Angeles’ top local hip hop station, Power 106, brought its own DJ and celebrity basketball team to compete against our Lancer students and staff. The seats were packed with staff, students, parents, alumni, and even teens from other schools who heard about the event on the radio. For weeks, people were anticipating who the celebrity guest would be. To our surprise, singer YG came with a few of his friends, and the dance crew The Rejectz also performed for our energized crowd. It was all cheers and screaming coming from every angle of the room. The night started with the Power 106 host throwing out small gifts such as minibasketballs and Power 106 shirts to the people in the audience. As both teams made it to the court, the bleachers started to fill up, and a true game was about to begin. When the two teams

began to play against each other, everyone cheered and danced, at the same time, to the hit songs the DJ was playing. “It’s as if I’m at a big concert and basketball game at the same time; it’s amazing,” said Grant Lancer Manny Crisanto. During halftime, the artists performed some of their hit songs such as “Toot It And Boot It” and performed the popular dance “The Cat Daddy.” After the performance they happily took photos with the young teens and were happy to sign shirts and posters. When asked why they were involved in a program like this, The Rejectz simply said, “Our job is to entertain our fans, but at the same time we are able to show them that there are always perks in being in school. Nothing is more important than receiving an education and being able to achieve whatever it is you want to do.” At the end of the night, the Power 106 All-Star team beat our Lancer team with a score of 91-81.

The night was a major success and students are now asking if we could put on more events that are similar. We are just going to have to wait and see.

“Nothing is more important than receiving an education and being able to achieve whatever it is you want to do.”

Our guest celebrities stopped to take photos with a few Lancers.

Feb 2011  
Feb 2011  

The newspaper of Ulysses S. Grant High School