TIDE Redondo Beach, CA // Redondo Union High School March 6. 2014 // Vol. XCIV // Edition 10
Overcoming addiction After her niece was born, senior Paris King chose to quit using alcohol and drugs by Nina Gomez
She sits in the corner, hearing her mother’s taunts and accusations, while the guilt floods through her. The only way to rid herself of the burden of feeling inadequate was to drink and use until she could no longer function. Only until the recent miracle of her niece’s premature birth did she have the motivation to enter into sobriety. “My mom was, and still is, an alcoholic and was definitely verbally abusive towards me. She used to tell me that my uncle’s death was my fault,” senior Paris King said. “So to get rid of the guilt, insecurity and sadness that I felt from what she was saying to me, I’d use.” King’s alcohol and marijuana use started at age 12 while living in Tennessee with her abusive mother and enabling friends. “I think part of me started using drugs because alcohol didn’t work. It only worked for so long, only made me numb for so long and then I would feel insecure again,” King said. “With drugs I could get high and the pain would disappear, I’d be in a whole other world.” King made the decision in eighth grade to move back to California to live with her father and give herself new opportunities.
“I knew staying in Tennessee wasn’t going to help me. Yet I instantly fell into the crowd of using my freshman year; it’s just a way we connected somehow,” King said. While in California her father did not monitor her and was completely unaware of her anxiety and serious existing addiction. “My dad just works a lot; unless it’s about work, he’s not really one to sit down and be like, ‘How are you doing? Let’s go do this, let’s go do that,’” King said. “He’s so focused on work and actually had to have emergency surgery after I moved here because his retina detached, so there were a lot of medical problems going on.” By her freshman year King was using alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy and various other drugs daily in attempts to get rid of the insecurity she still had from her mother’s abuse. “Every time I would start to feel inadequate or anything, I’d take another hit, do another line, anything to stop the voices in my head. I never really got caught either because the moment I got it, it was gone,” King said. The realization that she needed dramatic change came from the premature birth of her niece, Danyka, the summer after her freshman year.
[continued on p. 10]
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JUSTIN LEE AND JOSEPH BIESCHKE
Katelin Harris accounts her Matt Cortez has small airways disease but Tommy Chaffins reccounts p.13 // Teacher p. 14 // Senior p. 8 // Freshman experiences with racism. wants to join the marines. his past.
Photos of the Week
Skechers Pier to Pier Walk
PHOTOS BY JUSTIN LEE
Million dollar walk. The Skechers Foundation raised over $1 million, in which $318,000 went to the Friendship Circle and $492,000 went to six other educational foundations. The Redondo Beach Education Foundation accepted a check of $55,000 from the Skechers
Foundation. Skechers president Michael Greenberg also gave a speech to all the attendees thanking all the participants and donors who contributed to the Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. “The money that’s raised goes to teacher’s jobs, improving technology in the schools and supporting programs like the Friendship Circle. There’s a lot of things that the money goes towards and the schools decide where they want the money to go,” public relations manager for Sketchers USA Stacy Held said. “As
far as the presentation went, several of our sponsors came and celebrated with us and many school leaders came to accept the checks.” “Michael Greenberg spoke and thanked all of our sponsors for turning the walk into what it became today. It was the largest walk we had so far and had the largest donation. Our sponsors, field sponsors, support from the schools, the Friendship Circle and the help of our community all contributed to raising the million dollars,” she said.
Child safety. Patty Fitzgerald, education specialist for Safely Ever After, gave a presentation at Washington Elementary on Feb. 27. “Tonight was all about cyber safety: what parents need to know, what kids need to know, and that we shouldn’t be freaked out about it,” Fitzgerald said. “It has nothing to do with Common core, but the district wanted to present this as education for everybody in the district.”
PHOTOS BY CEDRIC HYON
ROTC fundraiser flourishes with help and guidance from Biggs by Vivian Lam
Funds made from a recycling fundraiser proposed by junior Dylan Biggs will help ROTC cadets who cannot afford the cost of ROTC’s end of the year banquet. “A lot of the times, when we do fundraising, it’s just to lower the price in general. Sometimes, the cadets can’t pay for it even if it’s reduced price,” Biggs said. “I want to set the money earned from the recycling fundraiser for cadets who aren’t able to go at all.” Biggs is disappointed that some of the cadets aren’t able to attend the banquet because of financial reasons. “A couple of years ago, if you didn’t go, then you didn’t get promoted at all. It’s slowly becoming more if you didn’t go, we’d understand and you’ll still get promoted, but you’re still missing out on the experience,” he said. “I want everyone to get that experience. It’s really unfortunate when people can’t go.” Junior Henry Ripley and senior Michelle McAdams are assisting Biggs with the fundraiser. Biggs, Ripley and McAdams ask cadets to bring in bags of cans and bottles. Then, they will go recycle the collected items at the recycling center next to Vons and collect the money. “There’s a really motivated bunch of cadets in ROTC. We’ve had huge bags of recycling brought in,” Ripley said. “We started about last week and we’ve had 10 gigantic trash bags and 20 small ones.”
The fundraiser has been going on for about two weeks. They collect at least three to four bags a day. “So far, we’ve made about $100, which would pay for about 5-6 cadets. We don’t really have a set goal; we just want to raise as much money as we can to pay for the cadets and lower the price,” Ripley said. “If we could set one, $1000 would be our ideal goal, but $500 would be a more reasonable goal. It would cover about 25 cadets or it could lower the price for a fair amount of the cadets.” From this fundraiser, Biggs learned about the benefits of recycling. “I learned that I’d like to start recycling more. We bring in 20 bags of recycling and make $40 to $50. It’s a lot,” he said. “There’s almost a sort of thriftiness to it. I throw out bottles and cans, when I can, to help the environment and I like the idea that we’re putting something we don’t even use anymore and get something back. It’s pretty useful.” Biggs’ main goal is to see his friends, who’ve never been to the banquet, at the banquet. “I’m a junior, and I’ve known cadets whom I’m really good friends with who have never gone because they just couldn’t afford it,” Biggs said. “So I’d like to see them there, smiling and getting their awards, and not see them getting their awards a week later in the classrooms.”
PHOTOS BY CEDRIC HYON
Reduce, reuse, recycle. 1. A portion of the recyclables collected, mainly plastic bottles and tin cans. 2. Biggs prepares to bring the collected items to the recycling center. 3. Biggs works with his fellow ROTC members to get as much money as they can out of the recyclables, raising money to get cadets to the ROTC banquet.
ACADEC prepares for state competition
by Roxanne Labat
Internet filtering more stringent Administration agrees that the new iBoss system needs time to be completely efficient.
by Lauren Diethelm
a new and improved wireless network, courtesy of Measure Q. Also, students had gained access to the staff network, so we needed to create a new staff network,” Brandt said. According to Brandt, the old network was “outdated,” and that’s why it was updated. According to Kinsey, the addition of Chromebooks requires the district to become “CIPA compliant.” The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was passed by Congress in 2000 to protect children from accessing obscene or harmful content on the internet. CIPA has certain requirements that schools must follow to protect students from harmful content, and the new filter meets those requirements. Kinsey and Brandt agree that “the old filter was letting too much though.” Regardless of location, the district and administration are obligated to protect minors from inappropriate content. “We also need a new system because students are taking laptops home, but will still be connected to the district server. We need to make sure students don’t access inappropriate material at home on a different network,” Brandt said. Kinsey explains the reasoning behind the new content filter. “Since the Chromebooks are district property, when a students goes to a site the search engine reaches back to the district server that has the districtwide content filter. We filter content based on the fact that most students
are minors. Some seniors may be 18, but the majority of students in the district are minors. The purpose of the filter is to prevent them from seeing anything we wouldn’t want a minor to see,” Kinsey said. The high school, however, should still be able to access topics unavailable to lower grades without too much trouble. “Controversial topics, for the most part, will be searchable; however, it also depends on how in-depth and/or graphic the nature of search request is,” Brandt said. According to Kinsey, the new system tends to “over-block” in the first weeks, but there is a process in place to unlock certain needed sites. “If a teacher is doing an assignment and discovers a site they want their students to have access to, they can contact the district and ask us to unblock the site. Then Dr. Annette Alpern, who is Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services, checks the site to see if it does actually have educational value, and if she determines it does then we unlock it,” Kinsey said. Although the new system has faced criticism by some students and faculty, Brandt advises patience. “I would preach patience at this point. We will assess web sites, searches, and so on as we move forward with our new filtering and the Chromebooks,” Brandt said. “At the end of the day, we will do our best to balance student safety with reasonable educational needs.”
The district recently implemented a new WiFi system, with an updated security system that filters based on keywords. “The new system detects certain words to block. For instance, if you search ‘breast cancer’, the filter will block you because the search results containing the keyword ‘breast’ could have pornographic images or other sites we don’t want students to have access too,” Chief Technology Officer of Information Technology Derek Kinsey said, “but if you were to search ‘cancer, breast,” you would be let through to sites about breast cancer research. The keyword detector just sees ‘breast’ first and blocks based on that.” Students are also required to signin to the new WiFi using their ID and birthday, which, according to Kinsey, will later help the district loosen the filtering system. “Students are required to sign in with a username and password for security reasons. When we see a student ID and birthday, we can verify they are in fact students who are allowed on our network,” Kinsey said. “We do archive browsing history, and we use the date to determine if there is a site students try to frequently reach that they can’t, and we can then determine if we should unlock that site.” While several students have run into problems with the new network and filtering system, both Assistant Principal Jens Brandt and Kinsey agree the new network is an “improved” one. “The WiFi changed because we have
Academic Decathlon placed in the top three in Regional Championships and will compete against eleven other schools in state championships on March 20. “The regional competition was us against 55 schools all across Los AngelesCounty,” senior Sam Arrow said. “We’re aiming for the top ten for State. We’re not sure we’ll be able to make it because it is really competitive.” According to senior Bella Hsu, the team’s score has given her and her teammates a reason to work even harder for championships. The top team beat them by 500 points. The team trained for regionals by taking tests, using powerpoints, doing presentations, and practicing with Jeopardy-style questions. For the subjective part of the competition, the team practiced giving speeches, doing interviews, and writing essays. “Training basically consisted of reading and rereading a binder full of information that’s thousands of pages long,” Hsu said. “Once we familiarized ourselves with the information, we basically did anything to make the information stick.” The team’s goal of making it to regionals was achieved by dedicating hours of their day to the competition. “As competition day grew closer, we were probably studying together for at least 13 hours a week,” Hsu said. “We met almost every day, not counting whenever we chose to study on our own time.” Senior Luke Murphy agrees that preparing for competitions takes a lot of time. “Often times, I stay up pretty late doing my schoolwork because we have practice until 5 or 6:30. It interferes with school just a little bit because we have so much to do, but we get it all done. We’re motivated, though, so it’s not something that makes us feel like we have too much in our lives,” Murphy said. Through spending so much time with his teammates, Murphy has made new friends who share his goals. “We spend tons of time with one another. We’ve become a cliché family,” Murphy said. “In past years, I guess you could say that there has not been cohesion between people, but this year our team is really strong. We respect each other. We give each other feedback and we don’t sugarcoat things.” Hsu is proud of the team’s achievements . “I just hope that we all can reach our full potentials as members of the team,” Hsu said. “More importantly, I hope that everyone on the team realizes just how talented they are. That’s the biggest step towards doing better. The awards ceremony makes you realize how well you did, how much better you could have done, and how all of it is within your grasp if you just go the extra mile.”
NEWS . 3
RUHS’s new iBoss software will monitor students’ activity on the school’s WiFi netwrok. Will it make the network safer, or hold us all hostage?
Every student at RUHS agrees to a code of conduct when he/she enters the school that is in place to both protect other students and ensure the best learning environment possible. Recently, the administration has taken steps to make sure these standards of conduct hold true on the internet, with a new software called iBoss being used to block sites deemed explicit, obscene or disruptive. Despite it blocking sites that may be useful to students, the new software will help keep students on track and school property safe. The new software requires student ID number and birthday to access the school’s WiFi network, preventing anyone outside of the school from using and slowing down the internet. The filtering system can archive students’ history and indicate which sites students visit the most, allowing staff to unblock useful sites that may have triggered the software. iBoss prevents kids from accessing inappropriate and distracting sites that could disrupt class activities and allow viruses to attack the school’s network. Most importantly, the new network, with the filtering software attached, will be
faster and more effective than the current network. Before, the network was slow and clogged with users, rendering it basically useless. Now, the network is improved and should be able to handle the amount of traffic and remain consistently fast. In today’s times, secrets are a commodity that need to be protected. Scandals with the NSA and other government agencies have been met with cries for looser internet regulations. “Internet monitoring” has become, in many ways, a bad word. It’s understandable that a software such as iBoss could raise concerns with students, but the monitoring that it can do, and it is very little, is for the good of every student at RUHS. If students were able to do whatever they wanted with the school’s internet, the school and students could face consequences due to legislation like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which protects minors from accessing sites that may be harmful or obscene. The school has no choice but to block certain sites; they are legally obligated to monitor students’ internet behavior and prevent them from accessing sites that could be harmful or illegal. Students should
be worried about their every move on the internet being watched. The software only uses key words that trigger iBoss’s program and block users from accessing sites with those trigger-words. RUHS is a big school, and there are so many students with mobile devices and computers that to not have a monitoring software on the school’s internet would be an invitation for disaster. Also, with the school moving to new web-based testing systems with the Common Core Standards, security becomes paramount. The new Chromebooks and Common Core Standards will move almost every students’ work online. With every students’ standardized tests online, the school’s network needs to be more secure than ever. The school needs to make a safe transition into a new age of technology and make sure we can protect against new dangers. This new software will help. FINAL TALLY:
EDITORIAL STAFF VOTE
ILLUSTRATION BY JOSEPH BIESCHKE
ACTIONS INSTEAD OF WORDS: ELI JARMEL
“A humble plea for intitiative in a time plagued by apathy, useless anger, fear of failure, performance anxiety and a lack of inspiration and courage when we really need it.”
It’s very easy to spot the problems in the world. From news broadcasts to Facebook posts, the problems of our time are put in the spotlight, painting a frightening picture of the reality we live in. We discuss endlessly how we wish things were different and how President Obama is at fault for pretty much everything wrong with our lives. Are these complaints and fears justified? Of course, there is plenty in this world that is worth criticizing and worrying about. Sometimes negativity is the only attitude that can lead to change. We have to be able to recognize what is wrong to do something about it. But ultimately, complaints without action mean nothing. “Actions speak louder than words” is the cliché and it is way too general a phrase to
4 . OPINION
be entirely accurate. Direct, effective, calculated actions are more impactful than meaningless or indirect actions or words. We are acting, sure, but are we making our actions count? It is one thing to picket and riot. It is another thing entirely to communicate, organize and propose a change. A common example is the issue of starvation among the poor and homeless. Anyone can criticize and discuss how people are starving in our country. That helps bring attention to a serious problem, sure. If people didn’t at least accept that a problem existed nothing would ever be done. But the people who take the time to donate food or time at homeless shelters to volunteer are actively helping not only to bring attention to a problem but to solve it.
There is nothing wrong with occasional pessimism. Seeing the glass as half-full sometimes causes people to ignore that there is half a glass that is not there. This world is not perfect. We are not living in paradise. Ignoring that change is necessary is a lot worse than being a little negative sometimes. Acceptance is not the answer, action is. Effective action makes a world of difference. We are a generation of opinions but very little action. We complain, we criticize, we beg for change at almost every turn. That’s a great thing. If we can turn these strong opinions into meaningful action, taking the extra step from recognizing a problem to solving it, we can do a lot more as a generation.
have nothing against people going up Racism and other forms of oppression need to be “andI actually “ saying racism and sexism are bad. If you accept confronted directly, I think. Yes, we have become more other cultures and ways of life then you will be much happier, but there are people that seem to hold on to things like racism and sexism because it is still talked about and use them to their own ends or make money off them, which is disgusting in its own right.
never a good idea to force people to change. If “youIt’shave to go to neighborhoods in the south and say okay be tolerant of everything, that’s not going to help anything, it’s going to make it worse. To be honest, nobody likes to have anything forced on them. I don’t know what can be done to be honest. It’s tough. I think it just has to go away gradually over time. when these people’s livelihoods are based around these ideals, you can’t just come in and change their minds.
Right, but people in the Middle East, especially “women, don’t have things like constitutional rights.
So you can’t apply those things to areas like that where women can’t even drive according to their laws and beliefs. These people have a completely different set of beliefs and customs and we can’t impose American beliefs on people.
progressive in our views, such as with gay marriage,the only reason why these changes have occurred is because there have been people who have confronted those issues directly. So I think it is necessary whether or not people want to do it. And though generations will change, and it depends on families, it needs to be confronted.
course we have to impose ideals onto people that “areOflooking at other races or genders and believing
that they are superior to them. If you don’t think you should impose these progressive views that have been changing people over the years, then to say that you are an American and are looking out for other peoples’ rights, you are going directly against that. You have to inform people and tell them that oppressing someone simply because you don’t like them or think yourself superior is against the American way.
But human rights have to be updated to more pro“gressive times. And I hate to say it, but there are still
people who think that women are lesser than men even in a time when women have the same rights as men, supposedly.
On the fact of jokes, it’s not realistic to suppress With a racist or sexist joke, it depends on the intent. “things “ like that because people are going to say whatThere are obviously comedians that are making jokes ever they want to regardless. If we make certain things of that nature illegal, then we have to make all things of that nature illegal. We can’t be in the middle like that. We have to stop living by all of these double standards.
like that just in simple jest. Where things like this become a problem is when they are meant to cause harm, both psychological and physical, to another person. But at the same time, jokes like this blur the line between what is acceptable and what is not.
meen El-Hasan; Stella Gianoukakis; Shawn Mallen; Grace Zoerner Sports Editors: Ted Cavus; Micah Ezzes Photo Editors: Tyler Eisenhart; Justin Lee Copy Editors Deborah Chang; Lauren Diethelm; Angela Kim; Romy Moreno; Illustrators: Joseph Bieschke; Angela Kim Online Editors: Vivian Lam; Kayla Maanum Staff Writers: Lauryn Alejo; Joseph Blakely; Jennie Bao; Caitlyn Catubig; Jason Clebowicz; Caitlin Cochran; Shaw Coneybeare; Lauren Diethelm; Jason Fong; Vaidehi Gandhi; Nina Gomez; Kelly Harraka; Caterina Hyneman; Eli Jarmel; Roxanne Labat; Stephanie Lai; Sophie Maguy; Shaniya Markalanda; Marie Ona; Chris Paludi; Phoebe Reneau; Jené Price; Amanda Ross; Chandler Ross; Sophia Ruffo; Reema Saad; Amanda Shaw; Laura Smith; John Webb; Luma Wegman; Cody Williams The High Tide dedicates itself to producing a high-quality publication that both informs and entertains the entire student body. This is a wholly student managed, designed, and written newspaper that focuses on school and community events. The High Tide is published by the journalism class at Redondo Union High School, One Sea Hawk Way, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. Signed commentaries and editorial cartoons represent the opinions of the staff writer or cartoonist and in no way reflect the opinions of the other members of the High Tide staff.
oppressed today. We’ve come a long way since slavery, but there is still a lot of tension between ethnicities and different countries over human rights. So racism and sexism are still relevant, but I agree that there are bigger issues in today’s society.
Managing Editor: Alejandro Quevedo News Editor: Jason Rochlin Opinion Editor: Chance King Health Editor: Kayla Nicholls Features Editors: Kira Bowen; Yas-
has made great strides in almost eradicating racism and similar things such as sexism and in some ways homophobia. I don’t think racism is as big of an issue as it used to be, there is still oppression in America in a lot of ways and people need to be aware of that.
We have come a long way since the days of our Racism and sexism are still relevant issue because “grandfathers and of segregation. I think our country “ there are still a lot of people and ethnic groups that are
Editors in Chief: Cedric Hyon; Allegra
THE ISSUE: How far should we go to protect human rights?
JUSTIN LEE PHOTOS BY TED CAVUS
A somewhat friendly debate about relevant politics,current events and modern issues
If you have an opinion about one of the articles, letters can be sent to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit them for content, grammar, and space constraints. Letters must be signed and are not guaranteed to be printed.
Letters to the Editor
OPINION . 5
Progressive composition Senior Ty Cetorelli writes and plays original music by Amanda Shaw
Senior Ty Cetorelli debuted one of his own jazz compositions at RUHS’s Jazz Under the Stars last year and has continued to compose music of all genres. “That was the first piece I wrote that was actually performed. That was the first thing I wrote by myself, real ensemble setting, I’ve done some joke thing in the past, but this was the first real thing. I had a group of guys and we played a blues song that I wrote and it was called ‘Lighter Shade of Blue.’ We named it on the spot because I didn’t have a name for it, I had just called it ‘Blues’,” Cetorelli said. Cetorelli was unsure of how his music would be received and was pleasantly surprised by the applause that followed the performance. “I played trumpet on that song and I led the band, so I wasn’t only one of the players, I was the bandleader. I got a really good reaction from the crowd. I was not expecting it at all. It was nice because I didn’t write that much music for the show. I wrote it in an hour to be honest. I wrote about maybe a minute and a half of music, and with jazz music you tend to improvise, so we ended up playing for 10 minutes. It’s was really nice to see how that all came together at the last minute,” Cetorelli said. Cetorelli is very open to collaborating with others and has had many experiences doing so that contributed to making him a more skilled composer. “My friends are very supportive of me. I’ve actually composed with a lot of friends just at different points in time over the last year or so, different people in different genres, just a lot of collaboration and their
ideas combined with my ideas and working together. That’s support in itself,” Cetorelli said. Last year Ty Cetorelli collaborated with senior Henry Pique, allowing them to create music that was more “unique” than if it had been created by only one of them. “Having two people working on it just gives it a lot more diversity since the ideas are coming from two musical backgrounds, and two people with different abilities and ideas,” Pique said. Although he has taken part in many musical collaborations, he also enjoys composing music as an individual. “In terms of actually writing, it’s kind of a release. It’s something that I don’t know if I’m good at, but it’s something I enjoy, so it’s a good stress reliever. It’s nice to see a finished result or even a partially finished result after I’ve been working very hard on something, so it’s rewarding,” Cetorelli said. When Cetorelli writes music, he rarely finishes writing a song completely, and leaves it open-ended for further continuation. “I truthfully finish very few pieces compared to the ones that I don’t finish. It’s really hard to finish songs. Starting them is easy. You have an idea that just comes to you, then you actually have to work and think, ‘How can I expand this?’ The length of time it takes usually depends on the genre. I write punk music too sometimes, so that’ll take me half an hour to notate it. I write on a
2. PHOTOS BY CEDRIC HYON
Musical magic. 1. Senior Ty Cetorelli writes and organizes music on a computer program at home. 2. Cetorelli tries out a line on his guitar.
program on the computer so that in itself takes longer than actually writing a punk song because a punk song is really easy to write. Writing a full-fledged jazz piece or a progressive rock takes forever,” Cetorelli said. While Cetorelli has a strong passion for music, his strong interest that sparked at a young age was not instigated by anyone else’s musical taste. “I wasn’t brought up listening to any certain kind of music, like a lot of people are brought up listening to their parents’ music. I just found it on my own. I’ve been playing guitar since third grade and trumpet since fourth grade, so probably around then is when I began actually experimenting with music,” Cetorelli said. He took to music right away, and has not ceased to actively compose and play music since then. “I played in jazz band for a couple years, so writing music just seemed like a natural thing to do. As far as playing music for trumpet, I enjoyed playing jazz the most, but I actually compose more rock music than jazz music. Progressive music in itself is just very interesting, and it is basically breaking all the rules that are pre-established by other rock genres, specific things like changing styles and time signatures
and overlapping ideas. It’s different and that’s what I like about it,” Cetorelli said. When composing music, Cetorelli lets the ideas come to him instead of forcing the creativity. “I don’t want to sound pretentious, but a lot of times I don’t know where it comes from. It’s not like I’m thinking consciously of ideas, I just kind of hear them. I feel like those are the best ideas. I like writing, so I try to think of ideas sometimes, but it just never comes out as good,” Cetorelli said. While composing music plays a large role in Cetorelli’s life, his academic responsibilities are his first priority. “When you have a lot going on obviously your hobbies have to take the backseat. Ideally I’d like to have ideas all the time, but when I have enough on my mind, it saves me in a way from wanting to compose. My mind’s like, ‘Okay you have to do this now, so I’m not going to trouble you with ideas,” Cetorelli said. Even though Cetorelli loves composing and playing music, he sees it as just a hobby for the future. “I plan to keep writing. I don’t think I’ll do anything professionally in composition or playing or anything,” Cetorelli said, “I’ll definitely continue selfrecording or playing in bands, but nothing on a career level.”
Beefing Up by Caterina Hyneman
Once suffering from asthma attacks and other health issues, he now can bench 350 pounds, squat 465 and deadlift 495. Senior Tennyson Nelson decided to take up bodybuilding to keep himself stronger and healthier. “Bodybuilding is a good thing. Most people just look at it like it’s pretty stupid, the whole sport of it. It definitely helps to boost confidence and your health,” Nelson said. Although the sport is very beneficial, it can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. “I didn’t lift with proper form when I first started and I ended up tearing my rotator cuff. And even with proper form one time I was too dehydrated, so I tore my hamstring. It’s dangerous when you’re not doing it correctly or when you’re not hydrated enough,” said Nelson. Possible injury from lifting is not the only harm that can be done to the body. Many bodybuilders use drugs such as steroids to boost their muscle growth. “I just don’t want to hurt my body. I know kids at this school that do steroids. The whole thing is, if you were to get big off steroids as soon as you quit you’re going to get small again because you don’t have
the steroids in your body,” Nelson said. “I would rather just get big the natural way. That’s going to take longer, but I’ll stay big.” Nelson began to lift seriously two years ago, but became interested in it freshman year when he played football. “I was fat and I would get sick all the time. So I started football and then I was like, ‘I like lifting, this feels good,’ so I started bodybuilding from there,” Nelson said. “I’d say I’m definitely more athletic now. I can run further and I don’t get sick as much. I don’t get asthma attacks at all.” In order to maintain and boost muscle growth, Nelson changes his routine “often.”
More than a game
“For me, I could do a routine for a couple of months and then I just get stagnant, and I don’t get any improvements,” said Nelson. “So I’ll change my routine every two or three months depending on how I’m doing. But it’s pretty consistent.” Nelson helped himself become healthier through bodybuilding and recommends the sport to anyone and everyone. “Get an actual routine, diet and proper form. Don’t try any steroids, testosterone boosters or hormones; most of those are stupid and you’re just hurting yourself. Stay hydrated. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to work out.”
Get swoll. 1. Senior Tennyson Nelson shows off his guns. 2. Nelson undergoes his work out routine.
gether. “When people say that you make a good game, or people are like ‘Wow! That’s really cool, I like playing your game,’ you get this sense of accomplishment and it makes you feel great,” Jackson said. Edwards agrees with Jackson. “When you have the finished game in front of you, it’s like ‘Yeah, I made this!’ You look at the finished product and you’re able to release it for people to play after putting all this work into it,” said Edwards. “It’s honestly just really fun to me. To be able to put codes into something and see things come out from is great. You’re creating these worlds and characters that you can actually see and explore with in this game you made.” Edwards not only enjoys making games but feels that they have helped him as well as a person.
“It’s made me plan ahead a lot better now. You have to plan these games out. You have to plan what you’re going to do before you actually start working so you know what you’re doing and you get what you want from that,” said Edwards. By doing so, Edwards believes it’ll help with his goal to “take another step towards becoming an employee at Valve,” a company known for providing many successful and popular video games. “I want to get better at making games, have more people play, get more recognition and feedback and to get the experience of doing all of this,” said Edwards. “I’m always thinking about what I should add to make my games better, what I should do to improve the overall experience, and I’m just thinking about what would be most efficient way to create a game for me, as a programmer and as a player, too.”
2. PHOTOS BY CEDRIC HYON
Freshmen Joshua Edwards and Luca Jackson make their own video games using online software by Caitlyn Catubig
Surrounded by the endless amount of video games, freshman Joshua Edwards and Luca Jackson bring characters, puzzles and worlds to life as they make their own. Edwards and Jackson both make online games together on a website called “Scratch.” “Scratch” (scratch.mit.edu) allows anyone to create, play and post games all on the page itself. “Scratch is where we make a lot of our games,” said Jackson. “It’s really easy to use; it’s really simple. Anyone can learn how to use it, and I think it was made to teach people how to code for bigger games.” Together, Jackson and Edwards have made several games. These include their puzzle games, “Pipeline” and “Flow,” which have been showcased on the site, as well as a RPG-styled game called “Wastelands.” “I would usually start a project, or make the coding, and Luca does the artwork for it. Luca will do some of the programming, but I would do most of it and send it over to him. It’s pretty easy considering that the website has a built-in-feature for it too,” said Edwards. “Working together makes
the games so much better. Instead of having just one person, you have the ideas of two people, and it works so much better as you put things altogether.” Edwards and Jackson started working together like this five years ago when they were first introduced to the website, and it has become a passion of theirs. “I was playing a lot of video games and I was thinking, ‘Well, it would be fun to make my own game and be able to play it and then have other people play it.’ So it took me a while to find a way to do it, but once I found it I became so interested in it,” said Edwards. “In some ways, gaming’s an escape from reality. You can really do whatever in a video game; you can fly around a city, do a lot of different things and others like that. You don’t have to be limited to things impossible in real life, and I think that’s one of the reasons why games have a big impact.” They believe from creating an idea for a game, “the hardest part of the process,” is“fixing some glitches or bugs in the game’s engine.” In the end the result is the “most satisfying” section of putting a game alto-
PHOTO BY CEDRIC HYON
FEATURES . 7
Freshman Katelin Harris recounts bullying due to being biracial
RACIST ILLUSTRATION BY LULU WEGMAN
by Jennie Bao
Too black for this. Too white for that. Bullied with racist comments throughout most of her life, freshman Katelin Harris has always found it difficult to accept herself for who she is. “Since I am biracial I have always had a lot of trouble knowing where I belonged. I always felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere because I am not fully black and I am not fully white,” Harris said. Harris is often attacked verbally with racist comments from her peers daily. “I was told once that a white guy will never like a black girl because black people are ugly. It made me always have this idea in my head that white people were prettier than black people which is awful,” Harris said. Harris has also been a victim of racial discrimination outside of school.
“There’s a lot of time where people think that I’m up to no good even though they don’t even know me,” Harris said. “I once walked into a store with my friends who were white and the people who worked there wanted to check my purse, but they didn’t check anyone elses. They probably thought I stole something or I had drugs in there.” Harris struggles with her image due to constant remarks about the African American race. “I would sometimes wish that I was white because that would make my life so much easier. It’s pretty awful because I was born who I am, yet I would still wish I was a different person,” Harris said. “I would always hear so many side notes about my race and it really gets under my skin.” Harris claims that most of the comments
REMARKS she receives are stereotypical and do not describe her as an individual. “People always stereotype black people to be from the hood and not everyone is like that,” Harris said. “I get good grades, I can swim, I don’t like fried chicken and I actually suck at basketball.” Harris often finds comfort from her dad whenever she is feeling down about herself. “He’s been a really good person to talk to because he’s gone through the same thing,” Harris said. Harris’ father, Scott, believes that the racist comments towards his daughter is “disturbing.” “I would consider it a form of bullying and I think it should be dealt with,” Scott said. “I would always try to encourage her to speak up about the comments that are racist, hurtful, and degrading. She is well loved
at home and does not deserve that.” Despite all of the negative comments, Harris tries to work hard to be the best person she can be. “I think people need to realize that skin color doesn’t matter and it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” Harris said. “I want people to see me for my accomplishments and not my race.” Harris believes that people should be more accepting of others and be careful about what they say to others. “Stereotypes are not true most of the time and the little things people say can really get into someone’s head,” Harris said. “I think it’s really sad how society has these preferences of what’s ‘normal.’ I hope people will try to stay away from the racist comments because you don’t know how many times that person’s heard it.”
What do you think about the use of racist remarks and racial slurs? comiled by Reema Saad PHOTOS BY TED CAVUS
– ETHAN NOELL, 9
I think they shouldn’t be used because if you think look at the history it’s kind of rude. We shouldn’t take them lightly because it encourages people to become racist themselves.
Even that they are really bad words and have a negative connotation, I still think they’re going to be used in modern language. It’s just a part of society that we have to learn to control.” – ESHAN IYER, 12
It just depends who you are. As far as one race saying a word and the other races shouldn’t be able to say it, I don’t really think that makes sense. I don’t think racist words should be a part of our language because a lot of these types of words people use in everyday language have such a heavy history that have caused people to die or be persecuted for and I just don’t think they have any place in our modern vocabulary. – EBUKA OHIOMOBA, 12
Sailing to a better life
New Channels club takes underprivileged children sailing
by Reema Saad
Some kids, although living 30 minutes from the beach, have never had the opportunity to experience it. New Channels club brings new opportunities for children in need of a new start by taking them sailing over the weekend. “What I have understood over the years of doing New Channels is that the best way to help these fellow teenagers is simply to give them a safe and beautiful environment to have fun for a day,” club president senior Janel DeCurtis said. DeCurtis finds it challenging at first to learn how to handle the underprivileged kids. “Some of them get scared but once they see other teenagers sailing I think they kind of want to jump in,” DeCurtis said. Because these children come from cities like Compton and Central Los Angeles, DeCurtis believes that these teenagers often do not have the guidance provided by family in how to communicate with others. “When they come at first they don’t really want to relate to us because they see that we have it easy and think that we can’t connect with what’s going on with them so they kind of give us that [negative] attitude
at first,” DeCurtis said. With time, however, the children learn to accept others and have fun at the same time. “Once we’re on the sailboat and we’re out with them, they see that we just want to have fun with life even though we might be more studious because our parents tell us to be that way or something,” DeCurtis said. According to DeCurtis, this allows the children to open up to the others. DeCurtis finds that after positive experiences with the club, the children begin to believe that they can do anything that they put their minds to, despite their home lives. “We just joke around about the same things they do and they start to open up and they see that they too have the ability to have the same work ethic as we do and the same outlook on life, especially when they’re in this area where it’s a lot better than where they came from. They too can have a better future even though they’re kind of predestined for the violence that they grew up with in their families,” DeCurtis said. DeCurtis believes that this club offers skills not only to the underprivileged kids but also to the club members. “For us, it’s moreso opening our eyes to
PHOTO COURTESY OF JANEL DECURTIS
Full steam ahead. The New Channels club enjoys a day out at sea.
what we have to appreciate,” DeCurtis said. Sophomore Angela Stuckey also believes that this club is a good experience for both her and the inner-city children. “It’s such a good club because it takes all the people from the inner cities and brings them out and gives them something to do on the weekend. It’s something to do that’s really proactive. Sailing is such an expensive sport and the fact that the Youth Founda-
tion does it for free is super cool,” Stuckey said. DeCurtis believes that the club gives memories and leaves a lasting impression with the children who especially need them. “What I love about the program is that we are able to help these fellow teenagers by giving them good memories to go along with the bad ones which often seem to suffocate them,” DeCurtis said.
Addiction is seen by many as a psychological disorder and by others as just being irresponsible. Doctors do know, however, that it is a disease that takes over lives my impairing behavioral control and emotional response. Free from friend or relative
ADDICTED. OBSESSED HOOKED ABSORBED ENSLAVED DEPENDENT
bought/took from friend or relative
drug dealer or stranger 3.9% more than one doctor other
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 55
Where teens get prescription drugs information from drugabuse.gov
10 . FEATURES
Facts and Consequences
complied by Chandler Ross
Drowning. Senior Paris King struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but when her niece Danyka was born, she realized how valuable life is. “Danyka’s a huge part of my life,” King said. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see her.”
Caused by staying up all night on the internet
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JUSTIN LEE AND JOSEPH BIESCHKE
Withdrawal: If one does not play the game for a long period of time
why teens use
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS compiled by Vaidehi Gandhi
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
easy to get from parents’ medicine cabinets
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
can claim to have prescription if caught 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
easy to purchase over the internet
safer than street drugs
they are legal
safer than illegal drugs
easy to get through other people’s prescriptions
less shame than illegal drugs
parents don’t care as much if caught
information from drugabuse.gov
THE FIVE STEPS TO
[from p. 1] “My niece was one pound 10 ounces, 12 inches long. She was in the hospital for three months and to see a little girl fighting for her life when she didn’t do anything to deserve that while I was sitting there destroying my life, I knew she needed me sober,” King said. “She doesn’t even know she saved my life, and she’s two years old.” After deciding to dedicate her life to her niece instead of her addiction, King immediately, although painfully, became sober and hasn’t gone back to drugs since. “My process of getting sober: I basically quit cold turkey. But when you stop you feel the urges, you see certain things and it clicks, like ‘Oh, I’ve gotten high there’ and you want to do it; you get this pain that you’ve never felt before, and nobody can see your pain ,but you can feel it. Nobody understands your pain until they go through it themselves,” King said. With King’s family having no knowledge of her addiction, she had no one to turn to except for her niece’s mother, her sister, who she was seeing daily while Danyka was in the hospital. “My sister was huge help; anytime I felt like I needed to use we’d go on a walk or we’d talk about what had triggered it and she really helped, she talked me through it and got me to realize that I don’t need it,” King said. Rehabilitation centers or any other group therapy during her process of becoming sober was out of the question for King because of the fear of her family becoming aware of her problem, which caused her more insecurity.
“My doctor was talking to me through the process of getting sober because I became depressed and she sent me to a counselor and they helped a little bit. I didn’t really want to talk to the counselor about my past and drug use because I thought they were going to tell my parents and I was so scared because I didn’t want them to know and I still don’t want them to know,” King said. “They kind of have a clue but they don’t understand. I don’t want to blame them but they didn’t help either and I don’t want them to feel any sort of guilt or feel any anger towards me for it” Even though becoming sober reduced the lifethreatening risks of using regularly, the results of King’s years of abuse has caused her several lifelong medical problems. “Because of my drug use I have holes in my brain that cause me to pass out. I have anxiety, I have tremors, so medically there’s a couple things that are a little screwed up that I’m going to live with the rest of my life,” King said. “There are possible birth defects if I ever have kids and it’s a big risk. I’m definitely going to pay for it” King has decided to take her history of abuse to help guide young addicts to becoming sober as well. “I’ve chosen that when I start college in the fall I’m going to be working towards my PhD in psychology to become a drug and alcohol counselor. I want to help people who have been in or are in my position currently and don’t have that support or older sibling who’s gone through addiction to help them through it. I want to be that person’s older sibling. I don’t want somebody to struggle like I have,” she said.
forming an addiction
1 2 3 4 5
Could prevent one from fulfilling duties in work or school
compiled by Allegra Peelor
- Person is conscious of behavior that is regulated to moderate and safe amounts. - Person does not get “wasted” - Regular recreational activity - Individual has a desire or preoccupation for the behavior
A symptom of withdrawal
-The preoccupation intensifies to something more unconscious - The behavior is an expected way of life - Denial of the seriousness of the behavior followed by mild regret
- Individual feels like they have no choice in the behavior - Individual rationalizes that the behavior is beyond his/her control - The addict knows they are addicted and struggles both internally and externally with this knowledge - Individual feels it is not worth treating information from 12keysrehab.com
of all players play online games more than 40 hours per week
hours per week the average computer game player spends playing of all players play online games more than 40 hours per week
information from internetaddictiondisorder.org
FEATURES . 11
Piecing it together Senior Ilan Avineri wrote a fictional novel titled Puzzled by Nina Gomez
PHOTO BY TYLER EISENHART
After months of religiously writing down his thoughts and ideas in a little green notebook, senior Ilan Avineri has compiled his life experiences into his own novel, Puzzled. Avineri was inspired to write a fictional novel after having a difficult time publishing his first political novel in 2013 and wanting to pursue his passion in writing. His novel follows a young man named Nathan Howard who reflects on life during a family trip to San Francisco. “Originally I was writing in a journal about different things that I thought about growing up and going through high school and moving on to being an adult in the world and all the different struggles that people my age go through,” Avineri said. Avineri was initially interested in politics last year, but the difficulties with writing and publishing his first politically-based book made him realize the difficulties in writing that subject and also what he actually enjoyed writing about. “My editors that I self-hired didn’t like what I was writing, so they constantly rejected and changed what I was saying. I stopped because I got really frustrated with the whole process, so I started writing more fiction,” Avineri said. “I really like analyzing and understanding how things work. I wanted to create this character that’s kind of similar to me that combines elements of other people while explaining how different events in someone’s life helps them grow.” Avineri has taken a different approach on Puzzled because of his experiences with his
12 . FEATURES
first novel. “The thing that makes this book different is that it’s 100% my thoughts. I didn’t hire any editors so nobody’s telling me to change anything or trying to slow it down which is why I’m sure it’s going to come out successfully this time,” Avineri said. His initial inspiration to write a second book came from the people around him who were succeeding in pursuing their passions. “My inspiration was a lot of people around me who were doing amazing things and pursuing their passions. I realized I needed to be doing something because in my free time, I wasn’t really doing anything valuable that I cared about,” Avineri said. After deciding to write this novel, Avineri began to write his first draft in a journal in October 2013. He wrote nearly everyday about his experiences through January of this year. “In high school, there’s so much going on that at some point you don’t know what’s going on. I hadn’t really been paying attention to what I was thinking. I was just going through life, which isn’t great because then you don’t realize what’s happening, so I started writing it down,” Avineri said. “For example, one day I got coffee, and I was sitting in English trying to take a sip of coffee and every time, it squeaked. Everybody was looking at me and chuckling. It’s in the book, and it’s like this funny awkward moment the character has.” Avineri credits his novel’s success to his
experiences with publishing his first book, aid from a different publishing company and support from his teachers and friends. “I showed Mrs. Akhavan the first six pages before I started actually writing, and she was like, ‘All I know is that it was really interesting, and I want to read more.’ That comment made me want to continue writing because if it was intriguing to a teacher, then that means I had something there that could be interesting to more people,” Avineri said. Avineri has received criticism for the novel, mainly because he is young and does not have as much professional writing experience. “The publisher’s first comments were that the writing was flawed, and they liked that. Because I’m 18, I can’t perfectly articulate what I’m trying to say, but I’m eloquent enough that I can be a good representation of somebody my age. They liked it because it’s genuine,” Avineri said. Avineri believes that being young allows his book to be more relatable to people his age. “The main purpose is to provide a story to people my age that doesn’t necessarily mar their lives but provides moments that are relatable to them in an interesting story,” he said. “Everybody likes to read a good book about something interesting that happened, but I want there to be moments in it for each person around my age. I want those moments to either cause them to go out and do something that they find interesting, to
think more critically about what’s going on to them, or to realize that there are other people out there like them going through something similar.” Another concern that others have expressed is that Avineri has made his novel too personal. “It’s a collection of different thoughts that I’ve had, but the character is definitely not me. The whole book is not an actual thing that’s happened,” Avineri said. “But I’m fine with people knowing things about me or being personal because that’s the only way to do things.” Puzzled is coming out May 1 on Amazon. Avineri is pleased with the outcome and has found the publishing process to be rewarding. “The most rewarding thing has been seeing how many people believe that I can do it. It’s really cool to know I have that much support from that many people; that was really rewarding.” His experience with writing Puzzled has left Avineri with the belief that if anyone has a passion, they can be successful if they have support and believe in themselves. “It’s 100 percent doable. You just have to get it down on a piece of paper and make efforts like if you actively go out and try and do something, you can do it,” Avineri said. “I’m not a professional writer and I have no experience with writing besides in my English classes and basically if you think about what you want to do and you pursue it, you’ll get there.”
Chaffins faces his dark past in hopes of inspiring his students to overcome their struggles by Eli Jarmel
PHOTO BY JUSTIN LEE
1706 South Elena Avenue, Suite D Redondo Beach, California 90277 (310) 373-0093 TrotterOrthodontics.com
His father killed his mother, leaving him in poverty, orphaned and without a direction for the rest of his childhood. Rather than seek sympathy, history teacher and girls volleyball head coach Tom Chaffins shares his life’s challenges with his students, hoping to inspire some to overcome adversity while pursuing their dreams. Chaffins believes that when struggling students respect and relate to their teacher, they put more effort into improving grades. “I tell them my story because there are certain kids who have it tough and they may not think that [teachers] can relate to them,” Chaffins said. The death of Chaffins’ mother headlines his story and is one of the many challenges he faced in his early life. “When I was nine years old, my parents had recently divorced and they were arguing. [My mom and I] were visiting my dad and an argument ensued so I ran out of the house,” Chaffins said. “My dad got a knife and he stabbed my mother [to death].” A nine year-old Chaffins was called as a witness after his father turned himself in to the police. “He turned himself into the Gardena police station,” Chaffins said. “A few months later I had to testify against my own father at the Torrance Courthouse.” Following his father’s trial, Chaffins faced bullying and judgment because of his poverty before finding acceptance at RUHS. “I came to Redondo from Mira Costa where I was judged and put down because I was poor,” Chaffins said. “At Redondo I was amazed to see that people were friendly. They weren’t judging me for being poor.” After coming to RUHS from Mira Costa, Chaffins began to find positive male role models in teachers, providing him with some of the guidance and inspiration that he hadn’t been able to find in his father.
“I looked up to Redondo teachers like Mr. Ammentorp and Mr. Fletcher because I didn’t have a male role model in my life,” Chaffins said. “I wanted to be a positive male role model for students [when I became a teacher].” Besides the positive influences of his male teachers, Chaffins found direction in his life from the parents of his wealthier high school friends. “[Some of my] friends seemed to have very high family incomes. When I would see their houses or their clothing, I would always ask them ‘How do you afford all of this?’” Chaffins said. “As it turned out, all of their parents had graduated college, and seeing that kind of helped convince me that I wanted to go to college.” Chaffins decided he wanted to become a teacher and a coach after reading about the positive influence former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden was able to have on his student-athletes. “I read a book written by John Wooden and was inspired to be a history teacher and an coach here at Redondo,” Chaffins said. “I knew at age 15 what I wanted to do. I was blessed because a lot of young people don’t know what they want to end up doing, but I knew I wanted to be an athletics coach.” Chaffins graduated from Redondo and attended Loyola Marymount University before returning to RUHS as a teacher, as he had dreamed of at 15. Chaffins hopes his students take insight from his life story. “I don’t want to hear lame excuses from students. I want students to have goals, long term or short term,” Chaffins said. “I never want anyone to feel sorry for me or to look at me and think I had it rough. I want people to be inspired and to feel like they can accomplish a lot while overcoming things along the way if you have direction and you’re willing to pay the price.”
2850 Artesia Blvd., Suite 201 Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 542-1004 Office Hours By Appointment
Diplomate, The American Board of Orthodontics
Small airways, large desires
Matthew Cortez hopes to overcome small airways disease and join the Marines by Vaidehi Gandhi
He sits down, feeling completely numb. After a few days of eating away his feelings, he starts to get irritable, feeling as if nothing he does will ever play out properly. Senior Matthew Cortez finds himself more motivated to join the Marine Corps after being rejected due to small airways disease in his lungs. “The complication didn’t feel like much of a hindrance other than people telling me it was a hindrance. It motivated me a bit, but it just felt like more of a mental slap,” Cortez said. He found himself striving to be a part of the Marine Corps even more, to prove to others what he was capable of. “It really bothered me that I had very few people around me who actually had my back, but I used that as motivation. I told myself that in four years I would come back, be in the Marines and have my act together,” Cortez said. “I’m pushing to be better and be able to show up one day and say, ‘Look at what I have done.’” Cortez aspires to be involved with aviation electronics for the marines, and became sure of his career choice at the end of his freshman year. “I had no idea what I wanted to do, and not knowing scared me, but looking at the brotherhood and sisterhood in ROTC’S history really motivated me and I wanted to do what they do,” Cortez said. “I want to be a leader, set the standards, which is what ROTC teaches us--to be leaders.” As a second lieutenant in ROTC, Cortez finds motivation through this responsibility and enjoys leadership, as it also helped him cope with his initial sadness. “Putting on the uniform at first felt like a slap in the face, but then I thought it was awesome that I even got to wear it and that helped me out. The younger cadets who I guide especially motivated me, as it feels great to be able to advise them,” Cortez said. In addition to being in ROTC, Cortez exercises in order to improve his lungs. “I am running but it’s up to my recruiters to send in waivers, and once the waiver is complete, after a medical examination, I will know if I can join the Marines or not,” Cortez said. After being taken to a specialist, Cortez found out that he has special airways disease, which is not acceptable and not part of the military’s policy. “Special airways disease is a smaller form of asthma, like remission. I thought it was good until I was rejected,” Cortez said. “It felt like my whole world came down and it took me a couple days, but I told myself I had to get back on my feet like a real marine would.”
14 . FEATURES
Some people around him were a great source of motivation, and gave him valuable advice he continues to carry with him. “One of my family members described to be that I have to step away from the movie, or, my life, and you have to watch it and you have to make one of two choices: you get off your butt and accomplish something, or you can just be wallowing in your self pity,” Cortez said. First Sergeant Steve Mick noticed Cortez’s disappointment after being told he could not join the Marine Corps. “All cadets have ups and downs, and there was disappointment. When you think you have your future planned out, and then all of a sudden something comes out of the blue, especially because everything seems well, you get deflated,” Mick said. Mick encouraged Cortez to try and get waivers and see his doctors to see what he could do. “He was encouraged by the fact that he could put in the waiver. He was more upbeat, more enthusiastic and bright because you can tell people what you’re going to do,” Mick said. Mick believes that Cortez is motivated and ambitious, and has earned his current position as lieutenant in ROTC. “I really think that he would make a good Marine. He has a positive attitude, mental toughness, and the willingness to keep at it,” Mick said. “I admire the persistence in him and his focus, along with the qualities that made him want to be a marine, will allow him to succeed.” Cortez has learned to continue on through difficulties and to not give up on dreams. “You need to stay through the commitments you make and keep the promises you make,” Cortez said. “That’s what keeps me going.”
ILLUSTRATION BY ANGELA KIM
PHOTOS BY LAUREN DIETHELM
Soldier Boy. 1. Cortez does one of his many leadership duties with ROTC. 2. Cortez was motivated by his rejection from the Marine Corps because of his small airways disease. Cortez wants to work even harder to prove to others what he is capable of accomplishing despite his small sirways disease.
Spoken Words Julianna Kadel expresses herself by reciting poetry in front of audiences by Chris Paludi
Faces everywhere. Faces known and faces unknown. The mouth opens and words just fall out. Senior Julianna Kadel reads spoken word poetry at places such as the Coffee Cartel in Riviera Village on Tuesday nights, where there’s an open mic. “I write about anything and everything, depending on the moment. I don’t sit down to write; Usually something will happen in my life that I want to write about,” said Kadel. “A lot of my poetry expresses my emotions; it’s definitely a release for me.” Kadel’s poetry has long served her as a release. “When I was beginning high school I would write things as a way to vent. I was going through a rough time, but I’ve gotten that mostly out of my system. My poems are now more reflective of general emotions rather than the raw and gritty, and I think that now they are a lot more positive,” Kadel said. Her poetic journey began her sophomore year in New York, after inspiration from other readers. “I went to some random open mic in New York, and by the end I was so inspired by the people who had gone up to read that I performed this random poem that I vaguely remembered,” Kadel said. “I was really nervous, but it just spilled out of me. All of these feelings and words coming out was the most surreal and amazing feeling; I wasn’t really aware of what was happening or whether it was good or bad. I just did it and afterwards people responded really well and positively. I kept on doing performanc-
es here and there after that.” Kadel was also inspired by a TED Talk given by spoken word poet Sarah Kay. “I related to a lot of the things Sarah Kay said and I didn’t even know her; I liked that idea of being able to connect with people that you don’t even know but have a story to tell,” Kadel said. “It sounds extremely cliche, but it was so inspiring that it was kind of like when you hear people say that you can feel your life changing in a moment. I kind of felt that, like something inside me shifted because I was so inspired. I felt like before when I had written poems, I wrote it, I read it, and then I had it, but it didn’t do me or anyone else any good.” One frequent observer, Senior Adonis Okuda, praises Kadel. “Julianna’s incredible and has greatly improved than from when she first began. She has her own style when she does it, too,” said Okuda. “Everybody else simply reads while she mixes it up and demands you listen. It all makes it much more entertaining and you can tell she cares about her craft. Every time she’s in front of the mic she kills it and is constantly inspiring and leaving the audience in awe.” According to Okuda, Kadel’s poetry impacts her in a good way. “Julianna has a gift,” Okuda said. “Her potential has no limit if she continues to perfect her craft. The way she’s able to illustrate pictures, able to convey human emotion and able to gain the audience’s attention is only touching the surface of what she’s capable of. The world needs to
PHOTO BY CEDRIC HYON
Stand Up. Kadel’s love for poetry came when she was inspired by a TED talk by Sarah Kay.
acknowledge her as a poet, and she needs to continue writing. She’s truly gifted with the pen in her hand.” Kadel looks to move forward in her life,
carrying her poetic talent with her. “I feel like I’ve found a real passion,” Kadel said. “I feel that this will always be with me.”
Moberg lived in West Africa to experience new culture by Joseph Blakely
While not texting friends for a day may seem impossible for some teenagers, freshman. Amelia Moberg couldn’t contact her friends for a year from her house in Togo, a country in West Africa. “The hardest part of living there would have to be the loneliness,” Moberg said. “I hated not being able to see my friends from school.” Moberg went to Togo with her parents to experience a new culture and take a break for normalcy. “My husband and I needed a change from suburban life and felt the experience would be good for Amelia,” Gillian Moberg, Amelia’s mother said. Gillian believed that living in Togo would provide valuable life experience for Moberg. “Learning about other cultures would make her more appreciative of the life she
has here, make her feel more empathy for people who are not as fortunate and give her a glimpse into the possibilities of life paths not immediately obvious from here,” Moberg said. “She met a lot of Americans working for the embassy, peace core, NGOs, Doctors without Borders and other organizations where a young person can make a difference in the world.” Moberg believes that the people she met in Togo are “really cool”, and share many similarities to people in America. “The people are generally nice and work hard. There’s a lot of crime, but the people I met were nice and happy, smiling and giving everything their best shot,” Moberg said. “Most of them are devoted Christians, going to church every Sunday and always showing their loyalty to God. Often people would stay in church all Sunday singing.”
Moberg was “very resentful” at first about the move. “At first, I kind of pretended like it wasn’t going to happen. Then as it got closer, I got pretty mad about it. I started looking for ways to stay in America, like staying with my grandparents, but I ended up having to go anyway,” Moberg said. “I was really angry and disappointed for the first few weeks after we got there.” In Togo, French is a very important language, it is used continuously and English is rarely used at all. “She did not want to go and was not hesitant about telling us so. She refused to learn French, until we made her take it in school,” Gillian said. A “challenge” was lack of infrastructure. “Most of Togo does not have paved roads, running water and electricity are intermit-
tent and there is not much internet access,” Gillian said. “People have less regard for the environment.” Despite challenges upon first arriving, Moberg quickly became suited to living in a different environment. Since the tap water was not safe, Moberg brushed her teeth with bottled water and she slept under a mosquito net every night to prevent malaria. After living in Togo for a year, Moberg believes the experience has made her more “open and tolerant.” “As a person I’d say I have grown a little. things I used to take for granted like safe roads and maple syrup were suddenly rare and expensive when I got there, but after a while I just adjusted to it,” Moberg said. “When I came back to America, I realized how much I missed all of it and that I should stop taking it for granted so much.”
A step back The girls basketball team loses in the semifinals to Mira Costa after beating Orange Lutheran in the quarterfinals by Sophie Maguy
Girls basketball’s run for CIF lost to Mira Costa 40-33 on Wednesday. “We all played really hard and we felt very prepared for this game, and for the most part, our execution was really good,” senior Natalie Sisto said. “Our defense was good and our ball movement on the offense was good. But ultimately, our shots weren’t falling. We just couldn’t finish like how we have been in our past few games.” Co-captain Tati Maimot agrees that the team struggled against Costa. “It was just hard for us to put balls in the basket and it was really hard for us to compete in an environment like that- it was really hostile and Mira Costa’s crowd was really good. I give props to their crowd for getting us out of our game,” Maimot said. The team believes that it was hard to focus in the “hostile” environment. “The crowd was yelling at us and calling us games. They called me ‘Sharkiesha’ and they called other people traitors and they were just yelling for no apparent reason,” Sophomore Kyra Hamlin said. Maimot believes that the environment of the gym was not what caused the loss. “We were the better team against Costa but we got psyched out and we beat ourselves last night. Redondo beat Redondo,” Maimot said. Although the team “beat themselves,” the work ethic of all of the players was evident. “We dove for every loose ball and we don’t always do that. We tried our hardest last night. We also did really well at rebounding because we beat them on the boards,” Hamlin said. The team wants to shake the loss off and
focus on state if they make it in. “I know we are all really bummed and upset, but we also know that we have a huge possibility of being in the state tournament. If that is the case, we need to shake this loss off and focus on this completely new tournament where we can accomplish much more,” Sisto said. Maimot agrees that the team needs to step up their game during practice in order to increase their chances of doing well in the state tournament. “I think we definitely need to practice more playing under pressure and being more aggressive with each other in practice,” Maimot said. Even with the loss, the team has learned much over the course of the season. “We’ve learned to communicate much much better on the court. That has always been one of our weaknesses. I believe that has improved because we’ve become much more unified and confident as a team,” Sisto said. Sisto also reflects her experience as team captain with fellow captain Tati Maimot. “It has been such a pleasure being captain of this team. I am so proud of all of my teammates. I feel that Tati and I are a good pair of captains,” Sisto said. “She has a natural talent to speak to others and is the one who gets us pumped before games and always knows what to say and to do just that. She is also very blunt, so she keeps people in line. I, on the other hand, am not an extremely vocal person, so I always try to lead by example and try to do positive, good things so that my teammates will follow my lead.”
PHOTO BY JUSTIN LEE
Knockin’ down J’s. Sophomore Kyra Hamlin shoots the ball over a Mira Costa defender Wednesday night. The girls went on to lose the game 40-33.
Softball’s earlier victories marred by third round defeat Though winning against Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy and Diamond Bar, Softball lost against Fullerton 4-3 by Romy Moreno
Softball lost 4-3 against Fullerton in the third round of their first tournament. The girls were able to start off by beating Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy 20-2 and Diamond Bar 4-1. “We really wanted to come out and keep winning,” junior Brigid Anotnelli said. “But we just fell a bit short and weren’t able to get the win.” Even with the loss the girls were still satisfied with the way they started their season. “We were pumped and ready to go out and play to our fullest potential especially since these were our first actual games,” Antonelli said. Many of the other players on the team had similar thoughts, especially in regards to
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the team’s mind set going into the first two games. “We came out extremely positive and were able to put our training into action which really showed in our performance,” sophomore Allison Betty said. According to the team their basic training consisted of perfecting specific techniques, such as batting. “In our first two games our batting practice really showed,” Antonelli said. “All of us were making contact with the ball which really helped us get the wins.” By achieving the win in their first game, the teams confidence and chemistry increased a great deal. “After we got the win against Harbor
Teacher Prep. we really started to trust each other on field and it really showed what great team chemistry we are building and already have,” junior Morgan Moczygemba said. Overall the girls agree that they are incredibly proud of how they performed in their games. “To come out as strong as we did showed that we not only have we improved as players but also as a whole,” Betty said. “I believe that if we keep playing positive like we did we will do great the rest of the season.” Even with all the positivity within the team there is still some negativity. “Coming fresh off of being Bay League Champs there are definitely some teams try-
ing to bring us down,” Betty said. “But as long as we keep up our team spirit and play for one another I do not think other teams will affect us.” Despite the expectations, the team hopes to strive for even larger goals. “But we are really hoping that we will be able to reach what is expected from us and take it even farther.” Even with these minor setbacks the team still expects to have a good season. “I am so excited to see how this season is going to play out and see what great competition we are going to be facing ,” Antonelli said. “But most of all I can not wait to just get back on the field and play my best for my team.”
Dance guard shows spirit in competition by Shaniya Markalanda
After competing and winning three first place trophies at the West High School Spirit Day Championships, dance guard is confident in more success in the rest of their season. Senior Jullianna Kadel believes the team did the “best” they’ve ever done at their last competition. “I think we did pretty well and the divisions were a good size. I think we performed the best we’ve ever done in all of our routines and they were really clean,” Kadel said. Compared to their last competition, Kadel believes they have improved “so much”. “A huge difference between last competition and this competition was our showmanship, so the quality and all the expressions we had for the routines was good,” Kadel said. “It’s very evident that we are dancing as a whole group. All the music and the tempo is really getting into us as we’re dancing, so it’s easier to dance together.” Senior Ashley Blackman also thinks the team has made “great” improvements. “Just watching the videos, we were more together and there are less individual errors because we’ve been nitpicking at every routine,” Blackman said. Although they’ve improved, Blackman believes there are still aspects of their routines that they must work on. “We are definitely going back on the gym floor and resetting our formations because they’ve improved, but they’re still not where they need to be,” Blackman said. Kadel also believes there are “minor” things the team needs to work on before their next competition this weekend. “For the majority of the routines we did really well, but there were personal errors for everyone. For example, there were some
RU Dancing? Dance guard performs at the Spirit Day Championships at West High. PHOTOS BY JUSTIN LEE
people who were off in timing, including me,” Kadel said. “We need to work on our turns and technique. In our hip hop routine we need to work on synchronicity and also getting into the music more.” In order to continue the team’s success, Kadel believes they should continue to be picky. “Up to this point we’ve been doing a lot of changes in our choreography, so now we don’t really need to make anymore changes. Now, it’s just completely going back on everything and working on it count by count so everything is in sync, in time, and we know where we’re suppose to be at what times.” Kadel also feels the team’s mindset has helped them. “I think if we continue with the same fo-
cus that we’ve had getting to this point, we can do so much and go so much farther,” Kadel said. At their upcoming competition this weekend, Blackman feels the competition will be tougher, but she is “confident”. “This competition is going to be one of the bigger competitions we’ve seen, but we’re hoping that our routines will be clean enough and that we’ve worked hard enough to do well,” Blackman said. Kadel believes that the team’s new strengths and improvements will help them at this competition. “I’m hoping we’ll do well. Our character routine will have some pretty tough competition this weekend, but we definitely improved so much in that routine,” Kadel said. “I’m not 100% sure about how we’ll place,
but I’m confident that in a whole our routines will look good.” Knowing that the team did so “well” at their last competition, Blackman believes the rest of the season will be “great.” “For the rest of the season, it can only go up from here. We are working for that banner at Champs,” Blackman said. Kadel hopes that the success of the team from last weekend’s competition will motivate them. “There was an added pressure because there were so many people that we knew [at the competition], but in a way it helps us push ourselves even harder because we aren’t just doing it for the scores, we were doing it for ourselves,” Kadel said. “And if we keep that idea and motivation we will do so much better this season.”
Band prepares for competition under new leadership by Stephanie Lai
This Friday, the new band director, Raymundo Vizcarra, will lead both Concert Band and Wind Ensemble to their first festival of the season. “The two groups that are preparing are concert band and wind ensemble. Concert band is playing Simple Gifts by Frank Ticheli, Southern Hymn, and Festa, while wind ensemble is playing Mount Everest, a piece called an American Elegy, and also The Legend of the Sword,” Vizcarra said. “It’s always different when they perform because the students might work really hard and be at a certain level, but when you’re performing it’s a different way of thinking. It’s just like something else takes over your body when you’re performing. They perform even beyond the capacity they’re used to and the performance gets taken to
a higher level.” According to Vizcarra, the band has been “working on every little bit of detail” to prepare for the performance. “I wish, as with many things, we had more time, but since I just got hired about two weeks ago, I really had to jump in here and prepare as fast as possible because it’s coming up soon, next Friday. We need to learn one more piece this week and then it’s just about perfecting every bit of music that we can after that.” For the band’s first festival, Vizcarra has “high” expectations of the end result. “It’s definitely between excellent and superior; hopefully it’s superior. This ensemble will definitely not be at the level of good; they’re above that. The ratings that they should end up with for our first festival
would be either excellent or superior but the ultimate goal is to get superior of course, which by the end of the festival season they should achieve a high level of musical performance,” Vizcarra said. Vizcarra also hopes the festival will help the band improve their performance for later festivals. “I hope that they’ll get some great input from the judges because the judges actually work with the group after we perform and they’re usually really experienced teachers or well known musicians. They give the students feedback and give them another way of thinking about the music better than my own vision. It’s always great to have someone else’s opinion so [the students] can form their own opinions about how they perform.”
Vizcarra is “excited” to take both bands into their first festival of the year, and hopes that the students will take away much more than just a high rating. “I’m very competitive and I teach that to my students. I think that being competitive is an important aspect in human life to show students that through music, you’re able to succeed beyond the scope of just a classroom,” Vizcarra said. “When I teach music, I think of the bigger picture as to what they’re going to learn from the experience, not that they’re going to become musicians. What they learn from being musicians in high school and what they learn from when they compete opens up their mind and gives them a big boost of self confidence when they go out into the real world.”
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line The boys meet their match Drum prepares for competition
Boys basketball lost their winning streak to Chino Hills in CIF Semifinals 61-70
by Maria Ona
PHOTOS BY MATT YONEMURA
Challenged champions. 1. Senior Ian Fox goes for a lay up 2. The team comes together after the defeat 3. Senior Terrel Carter dunks. by Caitlyn Cochran
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bounds, but according to Morris the fouls really affected Green’s performance. “Terrell and Leland’s foul situation affected the game tremendously,” Morris said. “Particularly in Leland’s case, he never got into the game, and we missed his usual major contribution.” The team had 19 turnovers Tuesday, but according to Morris, the biggest obstacle for
“...In order to be a champion you have to play like one, and that’s the challenge.” – COACH MORRIS
the boys was rebounding.
The boys basketball team played in the CIF Semifinals on Tuesday night at Chino Hills High School but fell short losing 6170. According to coach Reggie Morris, the team did not play their usual game and lost focus as the game went on. “I expected that we would come out, compete and play as a team the entire game,” Morris said. “We had too many lapses and failed to band together, and we experienced the outcome together.” Both senior Terrell Carter and sophomore Leland Green got into foul trouble in the third quarter and had to sit for the majority of the quarter. “I got some dumb fouls out there, and it was hard to watch because I knew I could have helped my team,” Carter said. Carter still got 16 points and 11 re-
“The rebounding situation really put us in a bad place, and we can’t beat any team if we give up so many possessions,” Morris said. The game started out close, and the teams were tied at halftime, but in the third quarter, the team began to fall apart. “They scored off all our turnovers and outrebounded us by a lot. Every time they missed a shot, we just did not box out. We did not play our game,” senior Ian Fox said. Although they lost this game, they will still go to the state playoffs. The question is whether or not they will remain in open division or if they will be back in Divison II. “The state playoffs give you another chance to prove if you’re worthy of being called a champion,” Morris said. “But in order to be a champion you have to play like one, and that’s the challenge.”
Drum captain Bryant Lozada prepares drum line for their first competition in late March. Currently drum line is trying to meet requirements to compete in their first competition. “We’re almost ready. Our whole show is five minutes and right now we’re almost done with reaching that third minute, so we’re almost done with the first competition but then we have more to go for the other few competitions that we have planned,” Lozada said. Drum line competitions are held in gyms. Lozada asks administration to use the gym for practices to be “better prepared”. “We have practice and learn in new environments because in a gym it’s so much louder, the acoustics are different,” Lozada said. Drum line has its challenges, but Lozada sees success. “Every year our music changes and sometimes the music will be a little more difficult. This year it is more difficult. A few of our drummers are kind of struggling with the music, but they’re actually improving a lot better,” Lozada said. “There are actually a few freshmen who joined this year and they’re doing really well. They’re just really interested in trying to have a successful season. I’m really impressed with everyone in our group.” Drummers are struggling with technique and music. “Sometimes there’s hard rudiments that require a lot of muscle coordination, handto-hand coordination and the first time is sometimes really difficult,” he said. Lozada understand how drummers can improve. “Sometimes music can be difficult and tedious so sometimes you just have to spend more time slowing the tempo down to get used to it, get the muscle memory to play it out and getting the tempo,” he said. He encourages drummers to get practice at home. “The more everyone practices at home and away from rehearsal time, the better the music and the show will be once we come together because it’s really self motivation and if a persons trying to improve by themselves it really help,” he said. Lozada tries to help in other ways as well. “I’ve been trying to work one on one with a few people to see who is struggling to give them that extra help and direction to perform better and how to have better technique to execute the more difficult things so they can understand it,” he said.
Boys soccer again surpasses expectations The boys soccer team ended their season last Tuesday with a lost against Servite in the second round of CIF
Solid Finish. 1. Senior James Tanaka maintains possession against defenders 2. Senior Take Yamaya shields the ball away from the defender as he regains possession 1.
by Sophie Maguy
The boys soccer team lost in their second round of CIF last Tuesday with the score 3-0 to end a “great” season. “Overall, great season, I could not be prouder of the team,” sophomore Trenton Klatte said. Klatte believes that their last game against Servite was a strong way for them to end the season, despite the loss against the Servite
PHOTOS BY PETER TRAN
High. “I think we played extremely well on Tuesday. The score did not reflect the way the game happened,” he said. “It was a strong way to end the season. For us to make CIF playoffs and get to the second round was huge. It was the farthest we have ever gone.” Senior goalkeeper Griffin Thomas be-
lieves that the team’s defense has allowed them to go so far in CIF. “Our defense is really solid which has allowed us to give up a few goals to keep us close in a lot of games,” Thomas said. Guidance on the field from key players and coaches is another contribution to the team’s success this season, according to Klatte. “Our coach, Nacho, really pushed us to be the very best we could be,” Klatte said. “Leadership from Shane Staudle and James
Tanaka were some of our key strengths this season.” The leadership of these players was a major asset to the team’s chemistry this season. “We had a lot of experienced seniors and their leadership on and off the field was huge,” Klatte said. The team is extremely pleased and grateful to all of the leadership and successes this season. “I just could not be prouder to be part of this amazing team,” Klatte said.
Cheer team’s competition season ends on a positive note
Cheer girls are satisfied with their efforts during the competition and are overall proud of their entire season by Jené Price
Taking third place at a national competition, the cheer team is satisfied with their performance but sad it will be the last one with the team as a whole, including the coaches. “This competition we had good performances and bad performances, but I’m happy our last performance was our very best one,” senior Shadae Downey said. Although the girls felt they deserved second place, they are overall satisfied. “This performance felt really good especially compared to last year,” junior Suzanne Cole said. “In this performance everything stuck and we are so proud of ourselves and how we performed.” The girls are overall proud of their season, but some of the younger girls are sad to see their coaches and the seniors leave. “It’s sad to see them all go especially because this year we all bonded, and it was like we were a family,” Cole said.
As for some of the seniors themselves, they are sad to leave their high school competition team but at the same time are happy the season ended on such a positive note. “I am fully aware that this is my last high school season, and I am so glad I got to spend it with such wonderful, hardworking girls and dedicated coaches,” Downey said. According to Downey, cheer has done a lot for her throughout high school. “Joining cheer allowed me to be more comfortable with people, trust people more and improve my self-esteem,” Downey said. For Cole, cheer has also taught her some meaningful lessons that could be used in life. “Cheer has taught me a sense of leadership, and I just love being apart of school spirit,” Cole said. As for the underclassmen, they are a bit nervous about the new coaches that are coming next season according to Cole.
“We are nervous about our new coaches and of course we will miss the coaches we have now. They are great choreographers and coaches,” Cole said. “We are keeping an open mind and are ready for something new,” Cole said. Although the season is over and their last competition went well, the cheer team has
learned valuable life lessons through cheer and created some “unbreakable” bonds. “I’ve learned throughout my time on the cheer team that when ever there is a moment when someone feels unsure about anything, the girls will do all that they can do to help and support them because we are like a family,” Downey said.
PomPom Power. The cheer girls holde up the Redondo sign with pride at the basketball game.
PHOTOS BY PETER TRAN
athlete of the issue: Emily Coan
The silent hardworker by Jason Clebowicz
Her graceful twists and silent feet lie to you; the music serves merely as a distraction for the countless hours spent falling, twisting out of shape and becoming frustrated. For freshman Emily Coan, Dance Guard is a lie that tells an evident truth; that in the end all the pain and amiss is worth the one seamless dance that triggers a standing ovation. According to Coan, dancing is a way to feel happiness and escape from daily worries that bog her down. “Dancing always makes me happy and escape from everything else. It makes me feel good inside knowing I’m doing what I love: dancing in front of an audience and keeping my body healthy,” said Coan. Despite her young age, Coan has a mature work ethic that has been noticed continually by her coach, Ms. Slemmons. “Coan is an extremely hard worker, so as a freshman coming in she has more than earned her place on the Dance Guard team as well as the Small Dancers Team, which is mostly upperclassman,” said Slemmons. When dancing in competitions, Coan makes sure to keep a simple mentality, only focusing on the rhythm of the music rather than her technique or a specific move. “When I dance, especially at competitions, I don’t think at all about my technique or moves. If I do, it throws me off and makes me really nervous. Which isn’t good,” said Coan. For Coan, dancing was not immediately something she liked to do, but rather evolved from a casual sport to an undeniable passion. “It used to be just a hobby for me but become one of my greatest passions. I can honestly say I cannot live without dance anymore,” said Coan. Coan makes sure to spend as much time in the studio as possible to get better at what she loves. “Everyday I dance for at least three hours. Usually during the week after school I’ll be at the ballet studio for 10 hours on top of the 17 hours a week I practice with dance guard. And on the weekends I have a competition almost every Saturday. It’s just a lot of dancing,” said Coan. One of the things she makes sure to practice everyday is her turns, which she considers to be her biggest strength in dancing. “Turns have become really easy for me. I’ve been doing them my whole life and it has gotten to a point where I can keep goPHOTO BY CEDRIC HYON
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ing for a long time with lots of momentum and perfect balance,” said Coan. Slemmons believes that Coan is a technically strong dancer and that her abilities are a big part of the team’s success. “Coan is an amazing technically trained dancer because she has done ballet most of her life. It’s so great having her on the team because despite her young age, she contributes a technical factor which helps a lot when we get critiqued by judges,” Dance Guard coach Sarah Slemmons said. But it hasn’t been just a smooth ride for Coan. A year ago she went through the struggle of not being able to dance because of an injury to her foot. “One year ago I broke my big toe, and it made dancing nearly impossible. For ballet I couldn’t stay on point because of the pain, so I had to stop dancing for two months. It really frustrated me not being able to do my favorite type of dance,” said Coan. In contrast with her struggle through injury, she considers one of her greatest achievements to be her flexibility and ability to do different splits. “My greatest achievements in dance I can account to my flexibility. I can get all of my splits including right, center and left. It also allows for me to be able to kick really high, which is good for dancers,” said Coan. According to Coan, Dance Guard isn’t the only type of dance she performs. She also dances to six other types of music besides Dance Guard’s “Hip-Hop” genre. “I also like to dance to Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Palm and Character genres. Its different than what I do in Dance Guard which is basically all HipHop,” said Coan. Coan may dance to many different types of dance, but always her personal style is prevalent in every move she performs. “She is true to herself in all of her routines and shows herself through the dance. You can see it in practice when she doesn’t bother getting caught up in all the gossip and crazyiness. She comes in and just works,” Slemmons said. Coan believes that dancing holds something deeper than the ability to move in a coordinated fashion; it reveals a sense of need within every dancer for attention. “The reason dancers dance is to get attention. All they want is for people to spend their time watching them do what they love,” said Coan.