The Mirador, Volume 64 Issue 1

Page 1




Schools Reopening:

Blue Light Glasses:

Student's Mural:

Governor Newsom's strict reopening guidelines incites questions when AUHSD schools should return to campus (page 5).

Photo: Miramonte

The Volume 64, Issue 1

Local Orinda cafe Genuine Goodness turned to senior Reese Whipple to design a mural for their outdoor seating area (page 7).

Photo: Ally Petek

Due to constant screen usage in distance learning, Blue Light filtering glasses have become all the rage. (page 13).


Photo: Riley Sockwell


September 30, 2020

AUCTS Wins Fight to Bring Back Transfers EMMA LEIBOWITZ & PAIGE MAYS

district transfer students written by Morganstein and Lakhotia. The report documented facts surrounding diversity in the district and financial concerns expressed by the governing board. “I think the racial equity arguments were powerful enough that the district did a re-evaluation of that policy, and from that, they figured out that the financial implications could be largely controlled if they were strategic in rolling out the policy,” senior and student representative of the AUHSD governing board Preston Nibley said.

Miramonte is expected to receive the bulk of interdistrict transfer students. Las Lomas is currently an The Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) “impacted school,” meaning it is filled to capacity, and governing board reached a unanimous 5-0 vote Sept. Acalanes and Campolindo have limited space in their 16 allowing inter-district transfer students access to enrollment. “I think we dipped below 1,200 students enAUHSD schools. The new inter-district transfer policy rolled this year [at Miramonte], so we’re having to start has been formally adopted by the board, but the effective cutting electives because there aren’t enough students to implementation will start at the beginning of the 2021take them. Transfers may be our primary way to actually 2022 school year. save some of those more obscure classes,” Nibley said. The reinstatement of the policy comes following backInter-district transfer students enrolled in AUHSD lash from the AUHSD community in response to the schools prior to the implementation of the ban were aloriginal ban on inter-district transfers imlowed to remain in the district. posed 2018. The Acalanes Union Coalition “I am very glad this topic had so many for Transfer Students (AUCTS), founded supporters because I didn’t realize how by 2018 graduate Zahra Hasanain, 2020 many people cared about the issue and graduate Athena Davis, and seniors Josh wanted to act on it,” inter-district transfer Morganstein, Sachin Lakhotia, and Ava student and junior Reece Harris said. Moran, fought for the inter-district transAfter the Sept. 16 meeting occurred, fer ban to be lifted. The AUCTS consists supporters and members of the AUCTS of students, alumni, parents, and commuboard celebrated with a Zoom call open nity members. The group recently led a to all, which they publicized on their Incampaign that began July 25 and included stagram page, @theaucts. However, they rallies, protests, and attendance at district believe there is still much to accomplish. meetings in a bid to bring back the inter“Now that transfers will be welcomed district transfer policy without regulations. once more into the halls of Miramonte “Last night was heartening. After 2018, next year, we need to work to create an we really thought transfers would be a inclusive environment where they can policy of the past. I’m so proud of how learn, feel supported, and reach their full the community showed up and how many educational potential,” Morganstein said. Photo: Josh Morganstein students put work into this fight. This is far Aug. 4 the AUCTS held a rally at the AUHSD office. Students, parents, and “Another step the district can and should from the end of our work. We are going to alumni alike showed up to voice their support for their interdistrict transfers. take is to add socioeconomic status to the keep pushing for comprehensive data on list of factors that are prioritized during the how many transfers apply, how many are granted transfer, Under the new inter-district transfer policy, appli- transfer student lottery. By doing so, the district would and demographic data,” Davis said. cants are required to have at least a 3.0 grade point aver- ensure that they are prioritizing giving opportunities to AUCTS members and students of AUHSD attended age and no corrective history. According to Nibley, the the students that have traditionally never had equal acthe Sept. 16 board meeting with public comments in fa- children of AUHSD faculty members will be prioritized cess to a quality public education.” vor of inter-district transfer students. According to an in the transfer lottery, as well as kindergarten through The district will attempt to minimize any potential AUCTS poll conducted from July 5 to July 12, 71.8 per- eighth-grade students who are able to attend elementary costs associated with the reintroduction of inter-district cent of the 362 respondents viewed inter-district transfer or middle schools that feed into the AUHSD, providing transfer students by placing them under the instruction students favorably, and 80.1 percent said they disagreed an easier integration for students into the district. These of teachers who have room to legally teach additional with the inter-district transfer ban. regulations are the same as they were before the 2018 students. Teachers are not allowed to have more than AUCTS also published a 37-page report on inter- repeal of the policy. 150 students across all class sections.

Leadership Maintains Spirit Despite Distance CAYDE SCHMEDDING

From Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, Leadership held the first spirit week during distance learning with themes such as Tuxedo Tuesday, Terrible Hair Thursday, and Funday Friday. Leadership encouraged students to dress up for Zoom classes on each theme day. Leadership provided a workout Zoom for students to join during lunch on Workout Wednesday. This is the first in a series of Leadership events to instill Miramonte students with school pride despite the distance. “Leadership’s goal is to make sure students are connected and participating in school events,” senior Michaela Lim, Leadership’s head of student outreach, said. Leadership focuses on bringing students together both emotionally and physically during this time, including plans to have small gatherings on campus such as a movie night if possible to be done safely. Oct. 5 Leadership will lead a revised Club Day. This year, Club Day will be online. Club leaders will submit videos to the Miramonte website by Oct. 2 to Lim’s student email, Instead of parading through the quad and arrays of tables and posters, students will browse through clubs by watching videos from the confines of their homes. These videos

will contain information about the club’s meeting schedule, goals, and sign-up information. The Leadership philanthropy commission, previously known as public service, launched a canned food drive Sept. 20 at Miramonte that will end Sept. 26. The philanthropy students also plan to help sort food at local food banks. Miramonte Leadership encourages students to volunteer on their own time. However, philanthropy isn’t involving other students in the food sorting at the moment. “To be honest we are still trying to figure everything out for Leadership,” junior Anna Crinks, member of Leadership’s philanthropy group, said. With the coronavirus changing how the class would usually handle large school events, most plans require a day-by-day approach. Certain events such as the homecoming dance are unplanned thus far and likely impossible with the current situation. Rally leaders Gio Donofrio, Donald Frank, Camrin Jaffery, Nick Mollahan, and Hannah Mueller plan to continue the Miramonte tradition by sending out videos similar to those typically played during in-person rallies.

Photo: Kinsey Dunne

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2 NEWS 09/30/20


Students Demand Release of Investigative Report EMMA LEIBOWITZ

representative said. The hiring of a private investigator to look into Following specific accusations of sexual harassment sexual harassment allegations is not typical for the against certain Las Lomas teachers and a rally hosted district, as most sexual harassment and assault allegaby the Las Lomas Reform Now (LLRN) organization, tions are handled internally.“I think the reason for this the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) decision by the district was because there were parhired an independent investigator, Alejandra Leon, to ticular accusations made against district management, examine allegations of sexual harassment from students like Amy McNamara [associate superintendent] against faculty members and formulate a report of the and administrators at Las Lomas. It made sense to findings. bring someone in from the outside so that there was Sept. 18, AUHSD superintendent John Nickerno chance of there being internal bias in terms of the son sent an email to Las Lomas parents summarizing investigation,” Miramonte principal Julie Parks said. the results of the finished investigation. Students who AUHSD is required to conduct investigations spoke to the investigator and contributed information when complaints are made, according to Parks. “Evto the report received more specific, individualized ery year I’ve been an administrator, I’ve investigated Photo: Las Lomas Reform Now emails regarding the report. According to Nickerson’s Las Lomas students and alumni shared their experiences with dis- claims of sexual harassment and sexual asault,” Parks email, the investigation uncovered substantiated evi- crimination on campus at the rally organized by LLRN on June 23. said. During the 2019-2020 school year, Miramonte dence of sexual misconduct against one specific teacher physical education teacher Kyle Wood was arrested summarizing email. at Las Lomas and a failure to issue final written decisions to After the Sept. 18 email, the AUHSD placed Las Lomas Jan. 9 and charged with the sexual assault of two minors while complainants of sexual harassment in accordance with policy. drama teacher Taron Hensley on indefinite leave and notified she was a teacher at Acalanes High School in the 1990s. LLRN “The district takes this shortcoming seriously and will take ap- parents that the district would be finding a long-term replace- references Wood’s case on social media, using it as evidence of propriate action to ensure that all complaints within the district ment. The district declined to share more information due to past teacher misconduct. are investigated in accordance with district policies,” Nickerson personnel confidentiality rules. According to an LLRN repreIf there is evidence that a crime occurred within the district, stated in his email. Schools are required to document complaints sentative, accusations were made against Hensley during the in- the police are contacted and a district investigation is run parallel of sexual harassment and assault, a step that was not taken in all vestigation. LLRN created a petition on with over to the police’s criminal investigation. Claims regarding certain cases, according to Nickerson. 1,400 signatures demanding the resignation of Hensley, among district administrators’ responses to harassment allegations, inLLRN is made up of students and alumni of predominantly other staff members, prior to the district’s release of the investiga- cluding the district’s handling of the Wood allegations, also facLas Lomas High School; the group collects testimonies from tive report. tored into the hiring of a private investigator. peers about sexual misconduct and racism within the school AUHSD’s investigation pertained primarily to Las Lomas, “Even if they do end up releasing the report, we still have concommunity. LLRN is using their social media platform to en- cerns; unless they explicitly say their statement is ‘unredacted’ re- with Parks stating that an investigation did not occur at Micourage students to pressure district officials about releasing the garding the report, they can still choose to withhold any facts and ramonte at this time. Organizations similar to LLRN, such as district’s complete report. Originally expected in August, the re- findings that are unflattering to them,” an LLRN representative Miramonte Protectors (@miramonteprotectors), the Acalanes port was delayed to mid-September. said prior to Nickerson’s Sept. 18 email. “Students and families Diversity Board (@acalanes.diversity), and the AUHSD chapter LLRN fights for the release of the complete report by posting deserve to know what teachers have been accused of doing, and of the Grassroots Law Project (@grassrootslaw.auhsd) exist at infographics and organizing demonstrations through their Ins- how the school responds.” LLRN urges the district to maintain Campolindo Acalanes, and Miramonte, using Instagram pages tagram account, @laslomasreform, created in early June. LLRN transparency by releasing all of the details of the investigative re- to spread awareness for their causes. formed a petition titled “Release the Report” with over 600 port to students and families. “Every student deserves to be safe at school. We hope that our signatures on “For the sake of rebuilding trust and “Recently, the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] collective reckoning with racist and sexist practices and instances transparency between AUHSD and the community, Las Lomas called to warn us about AUHSD based on their past, present, in our own high school will inspire others to reflect and protect Reform Now organizers demand that AUHSD release the re- and potential behavior. They are concerned that 1) since the future students. As we like to say, we are brave, we are many, and port, unredacted, immediately upon the report’s availability,” the district is paying the investigator, the findings can be skewed we will NOT be silent!” the LLRN representative said. petition states. The district has not addressed any plans to release in their favor, and 2) we can expect AUHSD to downplay the LLRN, students, and parents continue to pressure the district the investigator’s report up to this point and instead opted for the investigator’s findings and minimize any incidents,” the LLRN into releasing the full, unredacted report.

Oracle Set to Become Power Outages Ahead TikTok’s U.S. Partner Likely to Affect School LAUREN CUNNINGHAM

Oracle, an American multinational computer software corporation, will become TikTok’s U.S. technology partner. This follows President Donald Trump’s executive order Aug. 6 to ban the Chinese-owned app from the country unless the company sold to a U.S. buyer by Sept. 20. The Trump administration deemed the app from the Chinese software company, ByteDance, a national security threat. “The Chinese Communist Party’s access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information through TikTok’s data collection capabilities, could potentially allow China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” Trump said in the executive order. ByteDance, the Chinese software company that owns the social media platform, was looking to either sell the app or find a trusted tech partner. Oracle announced a week before the Sep. 20 deadline that they will provide back-end technology to TikTok. Oracle was originally looking at buying TikTok, but their offers were too low. Rather than purchasing TikTok, Oracle will now be TikTok’s technology partner that will handle TikTok’s cloud operations and help run that side of the company in the U.S. TikTok confirmed that they submitted a proposal to the Treasury Department that they believe will resolve the administration’s security concerns. Trump announced Sept.19 that he approved the deal. This being said, TikTok will continue functioning in the U.S. Initially, Microsoft confirmed that it talked with the company to buy out the app for as

much as $50 billion. However, Sep. 12, ByteDance informed Microsoft that its bid for TikTok’s U.S. operations was denied. ByteDance was unwilling to sell its algorithm to a U.S. bidder. “A critical factor for us, driving national security, is making sure that the technology on Americans’ phones is safe and making sure that it is not corrupt,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC. TikTok has repeatedly insisted that it is not a national security threat and that it does not share any U.S. customer information with the Chinese government. “While it is essential to protect Americans’ data, there hasn’t been clear and undeniable proof supporting the fact that the Chinese government is actively stealing data from TikTok,” junior Thomas Quinnild said. “I use the app pretty frequently every day; however, I wouldn’t really be sad if it got banned because it would get me off my phone more,” sophomore John Williams said. According to Business of Apps, a website that provides analysis, data, and marketplaces for app businesses, TikTok is the sixth most used social app globally with 800 million users. Aug. 24, TikTok responded to the possible ban of the app in the U.S. by suing the U.S. government. “We do not take suing the government lightly, however, we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights and the rights of our community and employees,” TikTok said in one of their blog posts. TikTok stated that the reason for the lawsuit is that Trump failed to follow the due process by using his emergency economic powers to issue the executive order that will ban the app.

ROAN KAZMIEROWSKI High energy usage due to a heatwave led to the proposal of rolling blackouts Aug. 16, posing a threat to virtual schooling and the ability to work for many. As the fire season begins in California, more blackouts are anticipated. With possible rolling blackouts, schools in West Contra Costa County postponed their scheduled back to school night events due to possible inabilities to virtually connect to meetings. “Power outages would be a huge blow to online learning. We are so reliant on computers that work would be super challenging without them. Power outages are never ideal, but especially right now when we actually need power to do our school work it is very frustrating. Distance learning alone is already irritating, and power outages would only make the process even more infuriating,” junior Kenny Kostermans said. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) made improvements to the power grid following last year’s blackouts when millions were left without electricity for days. PG&E turned off power lines in order to prevent wildfires due to strong, dry winds. The blackouts still failed to prevent a fire in Sonoma, which burned 78,000 acres and destroyed 374 structures, injuring four people. PG&E’s failure to prevent this fire exacerbated Governor Gavin Newsom’s disapproval of PG&E. “There’s going to be a new company or the state

of California takes it over,” Newsom said at a Public Policy Institute of California Luncheon in January. Following last year’s fires and blackouts, PG&E has changed its strategy and worked on improving their responses to power outages. “There’s been a lot of learning at PG&E from the last wildfire season. This year’s blackouts should be smarter, smaller, and shorter,” Director of the Community Wildfire Safety Program at PG&E Matt Pender said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. Currently, short-term power outages will force students to do independent work offline. Schools will continue to be open to offer support and provide meals at certain locations. With multi-day blackouts ahead, the course of action is subject to change. “It’s pretty annoying to have my first experience as a high schooler be online. With the possibility of more difficulties, such as power outages, it is slightly concerning, ” freshman Charlotte Mueller said. “While these outages will likely cause a delay in communication, we will develop systems for students to inform us of outages so we can accommodate their needs. I know that this is causing a lot of stress and anxiety, as the timing is not always predictable and different areas in our community may be impacted in diverse ways, but it is my commitment to be flexible with students to accommodate their needs,” principal Julie Parks said.


09/30/20 NEWS 3

Debate Over USPS Involvement in Election

The mail-in ballot system provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) is expected to play a major role in this year’s presidential election, creating controversy between political parties JONATHAN PHAM

ballot to all eligible voters. All ballots will be mailed out by Oct. 5. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and “Mail-in voting, unless changed by the courts, will concerns with in-person voting, the upcoming presilead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our dential election is expected to utilize mail-in or abNation’s History!” President Donald Trump Tweeted sentee ballots to record votes. The United States July 21. The primary concern of Trump and the RePostal Service (USPS), who is in charge of handling publican party is the threat of mail-in voter fraud. the mail-in ballots, needs additional funding in order Mail-in voter fraud happens when ballots are purto run the election. This issue is sparking a debate posely tampered with or lost. between Democrats and Republicans regarding the “The Post Office could never handle the traffic legitimacy of mail-in-voting. Aug. 22 the Democratof mail-in votes without preparation,” Trump said controlled House of Representatives approved a bill in another Tweet. The president also expressed conto inject $25 billion into the USPS. cerns that due to the massive influx of mail-in ballots, However, the Republican-controlled Senate exmany will get lost. pressed their intention to block it due to their con“I really don’t think that their [Republicans] mocerns about mail-in voter fraud. The Grand Ol Party tive is to prevent fraud. If anything, I think this claim (GOP) led effort to block this bill sparks concerns of was only made to sway the outcome of the election intentions to interfere with the election. in their favor. However, come election time, either A poll conducted by the Democracy Fund and party can claim fraudulent voting due to the whole University of California, Los Angeles Nationscape issue of USPS funding and the climate of the whole Project revealed that 48 percent of voters backing election,” registered voter and Miramonte graduate Joe Biden plan to vote by mail while 23 percent of of 2020 Julian Fairbanks said. The Heritage Founthose backing Donald Trump plan on voting by mail. dation recorded that in the last 20 years, there have “They understand that the majority of mail-in voters been 140 criminal convictions related to “fraudulent will be Democrats. Blocking this population of voters use of absentee ballots.” Photo: Tareq Ismail on Unsplash will give them a better chance at re-electing Trump,” Absentee voters are expected to mail in their ballots, utilizing Because the USPS needs additional funding to be registered voter and Miramonte graduate of 2020 services provided by the U.S. Postal Service for the election. able to run the mail-in ballot system correctly, the Marius Van Dongen said. Trump frequently speaks Republicans’ move to block that funding disables it. Only a handful of states have established that they will out against the use of mail-in ballots. Additionally, them from successfully implementing the system. another poll conducted by SurveyUSA showed that 90 be using universal mail-in ballots while most require that “Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t percent of Democrats supported the no-excuse use of ab- citizens request their ballots and some even demand rea- get the money. That means they can’t have universal mailsentee ballots while 51 percent of Republicans supported soning to receive one. California’s current plan is to send a in voting, they just can’t have it,” Trump told Fox News.

Zoom Hijackers Strike Graduates Face Unique Freshman Experience ERIN SMITH

Miramonte implemented a new Zoom policy during the start of this school year due to cases of strangers joining virtual classes around the country. This policy is meant to ensure safety in the online classroom. In order to keep Zooms secure, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD), along with many other districts, implemented a new Zoom safety policy. The policy only allows participants with an AUHSD email to enter the Zoom classes, intended to prevent strangers from hacking into Zooms. So far this school year, Miramonte has not seen any cases of inappropriate Zoom bombing. However, there have been several reports of malicious hacking at other schools around the country. “The new Zoom policy requires all users in our Zoom meetings to be ‘authenticated.’ This means that they are using an AUHSD email domain. Without this domain, they cannot even enter the waiting rooms of our classes,” principal Julie Parks said. With most Miramonte alumni having college courses online, many joined their old teachers’ Zoom classes throughout the first week of school. “I went onto a Zoom at the end of my sister’s class during the second week of school. My friend, Peyton Smith, and I both had Señora Frank and now both of our sisters have her and are in the same class so we thought it would be fun to come on together and say hi to our old teacher. It was a quick hello but it was a fun way to connect,” Katie Pope, Miramonte graduate of 2020, said. Zoom crashing and Zoom bombing are when hackers or strangers join Zoom classes or take control of someone else’s screen and scribble on it. Despite some Zoom crashing being

nostalgic, other cases of Zoom crashing are inappropriate. Aug. 27, three men hacked McKinley Elementary School’s fifthgrade physical education Zoom class. The men used profane language and then displayed pornographic images to the young students. “My son’s Zoom classroom was just hacked by three grown men, who shared pornographic photos to the children in the fifth grade class,” a student’s mother said in an interview with Fox 2 Detroit. McKinley is investigating further into what happened and who was involved. Hacking also took place at Arizona State University. In professor Lance Gharavi’s first theater Zoom class, a hacker was spotted amongst the 150 students. According to Inside Higher Ed, “Right off the bat, he [Gharavi] said, one of the participants used a Zoom feature that lets a user display an image or a video in the background in order to show a pornographic video.” Last March, Miramonte experienced its first cases of Zoom crashing. “Ms. Hora couldn’t see who was swearing, so people started to tell her that they weren’t in our class. They continued to yell and curse while Ms. Hora tried to kick them off the call. She got two of them off but one was still on the call. She thought she had gotten them all and continued to teach but then people started to tell her that there was still someone on and she eventually got them off,” senior Claudia Gravono said. “I think they [the school] have been doing a good job. Personally, I haven’t seen or had experience with any hackers on my Zooms and the new policy will be helpful to stop anyone who is not a student at Miramonte from getting on the Zooms,” junior Casey Roy said.

EMERSON BOHLIG Amid the global pandemic students are finding their futures at college uncertain, and are forced to adapt to what their school decides for the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year. Some campuses are fully open and functioning, while others have hybrid schedules of online classes as well as in person. Certain schools are completely online. Some students are deferring by taking a gap year and others are buying houses close to campus to take online school from there. Different states are approaching the return back to schools in their own way. Miramonte graduate of 2020 Grace Mills is a freshman at University of South Carolina, where the rules are not as strict. “I am excited to have actual in-person classes and meet people at my school and join a sorority and the social life is different. We wear masks everywhere and in class and they have a lot of rules about being around people in an enclosed space,” Mills said. A majority of California’s universities and state schools are not opening up campuses, which leads students to be creative with the situation. Graduate of 2020 Nicole Van Stralen bought a house close to campus at Santa Clara University where she will be a freshman doing her online classes. “Santa Clara is completely online for the fall quarter. The dorms are closed and all students were recommended to stay home. Some dorms are open for emergency housing, to provide for the students that don’t have access to WiFi at home or other circumstances. I got a house with 10 other girls really close to campus that I will be living with,” Van Stralen said. By living on her own. Van Stralen will still get to exercise independence that is typical of a college experience.

Students who are forced to do online school from home will have to sacrifice freedom from their family for the foreseeable future until the pandemic is under control and their college campus opens. Others didn’t want to miss out on their freshman experience, so they decided to take a gap year. Graduate of 2020 Boo Dewitt, planned on heading to University of California Berkeley for lacrosse but decided to reconsider her options and take a gap year. “I chose to take a gap year because of the uncertainty regarding the reopening of colleges. I really want to have a normal freshman experience. With the coronavirus going on, some benefits of me taking a gap year for me include my ability to start earning money through coaching, taking classes I’m really interested in, and the ability to have more time to focus on myself as an athlete,” Dewitt said. A survey conducted by business magazine Forbes revealed that 33 percent of Americans believe that colleges should reopen but with restrictions, such as enforcing the wearing of masks and practicing social distancing. According to the same survey, about 26 percent believe that colleges should offer remote classes only. 21 percent believe that colleges should reopen right now with no restrictions. Some colleges that are reopening are sending home COVID-19 tests for students to take before they arrive on campus and then another to take once on campus. Schools like University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill have sent their students home for remote learning after an outbreak occured on campus. Colleges and universities’ decisions on remote learning versus in-person learning will be revisited later in the semester, and schools will have the chance to adapt their schedule depending on COVID-19 outbreaks.

4 OPINION 09/30/20


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Editors-in-Chief Audrey Allen, Allison Petek Online Editor-in-Chief Alisha Nazar Managing and Business Editors Roan Kazmierowski, Lindsey Lewis News Editor Jonathan Pham Online News Editors Ania Keenan, Paige Mays Opinion Editor Emma Leibowitz Feature Editor Ingaborg Foutch Sports Editor Henry Hill Online Sports Editor Trent Larson-Deak Entertainment Editor Lindsey Lewis Social Media Manager Degen Naldoza Staff Writers Sophia Acevedo, Ellie Belshaw, Riley Bird, Emerson Bohlig, Aiden Bowen, Malayna Chang, Amali Chatterjee, Lauren Cunningham, Alexa Gutu, Carly Hoskins, Reagan Kaelle, Grace Liu, Sophia Luo, Nick Mollahan, Chris Morrison, Adrien Nibley, Kirstin Parker, Olivia Rhee, Cayde Schmedding, Samantha Scott, Reese Smith, Erin Smith, Chaya Tong, Michelle Zhou Faculty Adviser Donia Gousios Graphic Designer Reese Whipple

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SAT/ACT Should be Optional

Standardized tests have always been an essential aspect of the sitioned to test-optional policies for 2021 applicants, including college admissions process, and in the past few years the em- all of the University of California (UC) schools and all eight Ivy phasis on these tests and the competition surrounding them has League schools. Recently, the UC system announced that they increased drastically. This is seen in a 2019 study conducted by will remain test-optional for 2022 applicants and then shift to the National Association for College Admissions, where over 50 a test-blind policy, meaning they won’t use test scores to make percent of colleges surveyed gave SAT/ACT scores considerable admissions decisions for fall 2023 and fall 2024 applicants. All weight in admission decisions. The increased significance of these U.S. universities must shift to a test-optional policy, which puts tests shaped an unfair system in favor of students with access to less pressure on finding time during this pandemic to take these high-end tutors and those with the specific skills needed to do tests and allow students without a score to feel relief. well on them. This apparent importance limits future opportuniIn addition to the UCs’ shift to test-blind for 2023 and 2024 ties for many and causes unneeded anxiety for students. Recently, applicants, a few other schools have switched to this policy inthe coronavirus pandemic accentuated the flaws in this system cluding Northern Illinois University and Hampshire College. and brought attention to the biases of these tests when applying Although test-blind policies relieve a ton of student stress toto college. All United States public and private universities should wards SATs and ACTs, test-optional may be the better option. implement permanent test-optional policies for future admission Standardized tests help in determining the amount of financial processes because of a flawed system currently emphasized by the aid awarded to students, and this is incredibly important for low global pandemic. income students looking for help with admissions costs. In many cases, students are inhibited by their standardized test “Coronavirus canceling the SAT and ACT tests is a major inscores. A student may possess the grades needed for a school, convenience for the class of 2021. I had to postpone taking my but if their SAT or ACT score is below adequate, perhaps due SAT until the fall, which was unfortunate because I took a lot of to testing anxiety, admission might not be granted. Standardized time to study for the one in March. It’s upsetting that I put a lot tests are not a good gauge of a student’s overall intelligence and of effort into the test during the spring and was then unable to merely reflect how well they can take a specific test on a specific take it,” senior Sydney Gong said. day. A shift to test-optional policies would lessen the stress put on “With the SAT and ACT tests being in a constant state of students to achieve a certain score and allow them to focus time flux it can create another level of stress, especially for our seniors. and energy on other strengths, like grade point average (GPA), Typically students spend eight to twelve weeks doing preparation courses, and extracurriculars. work, however, with multiple test date cancelations many have The incomprehensible stress surroundbeen doing some sort of preparation for ing these tests and achieving a good score six months. The good news is that Standardized tests are over can be seen in many Miramonte students, many colleges have moved to a testnot a good gauge of a optional environment for the upcoming especially due to the highly competitive environment of the school. “Preparstudent’s overall intel- application cycle and some have even ing for standardized tests is stressful and moved to test-blind,” College and Caligence and merely time consuming, especially during junior reer Center counselor Stephanie Brady year when students tend to focus on their said. reflect how well they classes and their GPA. I think schools Some argue that when colleges imcan take a specific test plement letting students decide whether or not a test-optional policy, students on a specific day.” they submit standardized tests may help who do not submit their standardized relieve some of that stress and pressure,” test scores are put at a disadvantage junior Lily Wood said. and are less likely to get accepted into Shifting to test-optional policies would benefit low income colleges than those who submit scores. However, this is not the and first generation students. These students may not have ac- case. A study by the National Association for College Admiscess to expensive SAT/ACT tutors or the money required to take sion Counseling shows there is only a negligible difference in the these tests. By making the submission of scores non-compulsory, overall academic performance of students who don’t submit test applying to certain colleges would be possible for students from scores compared to test-submitting peers. For colleges that have varying socioeconomic backgrounds. According to a New York a holistic admissions process, meaning they consider the appliTimes article discussing ways to help low-income students, “Stu- cant as a whole instead of from a single test score, a test-optional dents typically have to register and pay for these tests and travel policy would have little impact on the admissions process and to an exam center on a weekend to take them. This requires in- shift the focus to other aspects of a student’s application. ternet access, a computer, a credit card and, maybe, a car.” The The transition to test-optional policies by all U.S. universities need for many expensive resources to take a standardized test is would drastically relieve the general stress put on high school stucompletely unfair to students struggling financially and does not dents during the college admissions process, as well as the new produce a level playing field when applying to colleges. anxiety brought on by the pandemic, and help to reduce the acaAlong with a fairer admissions process and less stress for demic emphasis on these types of tests. This shift would be the students in general, universities adopting a test-optional policy first of many steps to making the college admissions process a fair would relieve anxiety towards the lack of test dates available due and well-rounded system that values every student. to the current coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic not only caused testing centers to limit their capacities, but also resulted in the cancellation of certain test dates altogether. This lack of The Editorial Board voted 8-5 in favor of universities permaopportunity generated stress for students unable to retake their nently implementing test-optional policies for standardized exams, tests and for those who haven’t tested at all. To alleviate worry making the SAT and ACT nonessential for the admissions process. in students in these situations, many U.S. universities have tran-

The Mirador 2020-2021 Letter to Our Readers Editorials reflect the opinions of the majority of The Mirador’s editorial board. Editorial topics are chosen by a consensus of section editors. The Mirador solicits letters to the editor. Signed letters can be sent to or placed in Donia Gousios’s box. Unsigned letters will not be published but names can be withheld by request. The editorial board reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. The Mirador welcomes and encourages comments and feedback from our readers. Please view our editorial policy below. The Mirador Editorial Policy The Mirador staff believes that as preservers of democracy, our schools shall protect, encourage and enhance free speech and the exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life. The Mirador is the official student-produced medium of news and information published by staff writers protected and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and court decisions implementing those principles. California is a New Voices state that ensures free speech rights to journalism students in public schools and colleges.

The Mirador has been established as a designated public forum for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of The Mirador is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editorial board and responsible student staff members assume responsibility for the content of the publication. The Mirador will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected, that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or a promotion of products or services unlawful (illegal) as to minors as defined by state or federal law. The Mirador Editorial Board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in accordance with its advertising policy. Sincerely, The Mirador 2020-2021 Editorial Board


09/30/20 OPINION 5

AUHSD Must Return to In-Person Learning

It is vital for effective learning that the AUHSD reopens their respective campuses for in-person learning. If planned with safety, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and make a return to our schools

CAYDE SCHMEDDING The government of California has kept many schools, including Mirmamonte, closed unnecessarily with a strict and unfair set of COVID-19 guidelines. Although public safety is important, schools like Miramonte should be reopened with the necessary and achievable accommodations for COVID-19. Aug. 28, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new tierbased system to measure California counties in relation to COVID-19. The government places counties into tiers based on two measurements: cases per 100,000 and positivity rate, the percentage of coronavirus tests that are positive. There are four tiers. Tier one, the purple tier, represents counties with the highest COVID-19 threat. Tier one counties have seven or more cases per 100,000 in a day and an eight percent or higher test positivity rate. Tier four, the yellow tier, represents the least coronavirus threat. Counties need less than one case per 100,000 in a day and less than a two percent positivity rate to become tier four. According to the California Coronavirus Monitoring List, schools can return to in-person instruction once their county has been in the red tier, tier two, for at least two weeks. Although this system is a vast improvement above the obtuse previous system with six different guidelines, it is still unfair for the Lamorinda community. Contra Costa County, which encompasses Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette, resides in the purple tier, the worst tier. Because of this, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) is unable to reopen. This tier system is greatly unjust and doesn’t reflect the safety or personal perseverance of the Lamorinda community to socially distance. According to the data provided by Contra Costa Health Services, on an average day, Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda have an average 2.18 cases per 100,000, which places the cities in tier three, one tier higher than what’s required to open schools. Walnut Creek has much higher rates than Lamorinda at 5.64 cases per 100,000, but this still places them in tier two which meets the standard to reopen. Compared to the rest of Contra Costa County, Lafayette leads in COVID-19 safety, Moraga in second, Orinda in third, and Walnut Creek tenth out of 28 towns. The bulk of cases

come from periphery towns like San Pablo, with an average daily COVID-19 case count of 43.4 per 100,000, more than 30 times the numbers of Lafayette. It is grossly unfair that the government penalizes the Lamorinda community even when our cases place us in tier three, well within the safety guidelines to reopen schools and other businesses. Despite our community consistently meeting the guidelines, AUHSD schools won’t open. It’s important that students return to in-person learning as soon as possible in a safe environment to ensure a high quality of education. “I think it’s worse. Anything other than inperson learning is an inferior education. Human connection is an absolutely essential element of learning,” math teacher Steven Louchis said. In-person school also facilitates better social and mental health for its students. A school environment doesn’t only allow for an accumlation of knowledge but also for opportunities to connect with others. According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an environment where students feel safe and connected, such as a school, is associated with lower levels of depression, thoughts about suicide, and social anxiety. The closure of schools has a real cost on student mental health, which should be unacceptable in our community. According to the CDC, children and teens have a significantly lower chance of dying, experiencing serious complications, or even infection than other age groups. Only 0.1 percent of COVID-19 deaths and seven percent of infection were in people under the age of 18. Furthermore, according to the CDC, in each of the last five flu seasons, more children under the age of 18 have died than during this entire pandemic. Students under the age of 18, which encompasses most K-12 students, are actually the safest groups during this pandemic, therefore schools should be reopened, especially in an already low-virus rate town. In Cherokee County, Georgia, after only one week of resuming in-person schooling, almost 1,200 students were ordered to quarantine. Those opposed to school reopening point to this disaster as proof of the inability to reopen; however, in Georgia, masks and other precautionary measures weren’t required and often shunned. If school reopening is considered,

the state and school administration should create measures to ensure the safety of students and teachers. The two biggest factors for the spread of coronavirus is proximity and duration of exposure. The importance of proximity can be mitigated through distance, thus the six feet rule. Teachers, the highest risk individuals, could stand at the front of the classroom for lectures while students’ desks are placed several feet apart. In regards to duration, administration could shorten class periods but have a more regular schedule similar to Mondays. Administration could also cut class sizes if a classroom doesn’t have enough space to accommodate for social distancing.

Anything other than in-person learning is an inferior education. Human connection is an absolutely essential element of learning.”

According to the CDC, “masks block water particles due to coughing, speaking, singing, etc.” Masks should be required at all times while at school, regardless of your location on campus. Other possible health precautions include open-air classrooms, open windows, or air filtration which cleans or replaces the possibly infected air with fresh, sanitary air. In addition, all students should be tested before the first day of school and continue to get tested regularly. For some students or teachers, such as those with metabolic issues, other health compromises, or elderly or sickly family members, even with proper precautions going to school could be dangerous. For these students, or other students who fear COVID-19, an online alternative could be given. Some services like the K12 online public school is already an option. If schools reopen, social distancing, required masks, outdoor classrooms, and other precautionary measures should be required by administration. Public safety in the Lamorinda community can still be maintained with the restart of schools, and thus schools must be reopened.

News Publications Need to Address Biases

HENRY HILL Bias is an uncontrollable fact of our lives. I, as an aspiring journalist, acknowledge that I have personal views on certain issues. Keeping this in mind, I try my best to remain objective in my articles and let the story speak for itself. Professional news publications, such as the Fox News Network, Cable News Network (CNN), and the New York Times, have biases too. The difference between large media publications and individuals is that these publications are accessible to and viewed by millions of people. The current subjectivity we have in our country’s media is unacceptable. News publications must work on eliminating political bias in their publications and addressing the existing bias within their reporting. According to a poll from Gallup, an American analytics and advisory company, 62 percent of Americans believe there is bias in the news. If over half our country acknowledges that there is a slant in news coverage, the public must become aware that reporting from major organizations has become utterly polarized on both ends of the political spectrum. There are many ways publications show bias, but one of the ways is their extensive coverage of stories that benefit one political side or attack the opposition and the lack of coverage on stories that negatively impact certain parties’ beliefs. “Put too many like-minded liberals in a newsroom and you’re going to get a liberal slant on the news,” Bernard Goldberg, former CBS News employee and current HBO correspondent, wrote in his article for The Hill about depicting bias in the media. However, not all biases come from the left. There are a number of right-leaning publications that exist within our media and influence conservatives, including We need to read accurate Fox News, The New York Post, and the unbiased reporting, and Washington Examiner. The New York Post recently came unthat starts with knowing der scrutiny when it published an article the bias behind certain describing Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who killed two people in Kenosha, people in the media.” Wisconsin, cleaning up graffiti before the incident to sway people’s opinions of his character. Following the article, many have called to boycott the New York Post, including actress Viola Davis. “Entertainers, we need to boycott publications that continue to criminalize innocent POC (people of color),” Davis said in an Instagram post regarding the New York Post’s difference in coverage between Rittenhouse and Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen killed by a neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman in 2012. The New

York Post had previously written an article about Martin having traces of marijuana in his system when he was killed, a piece many saw as an attempt to justify his killing. Bias comes from both conservatives and liberals, and it’s time for these slanted organizations to acknowledge their prejudice or attempt to lessen bias within their ranks. A 2007 report from the Joan Shorenstein Center of Press and Politics at Harvard found that 46.7 percent of articles regarding former President Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic Party Presidential Primary were positive, compared to just 26 percent for former New York Senator Hillary Clinton and 31 percent for former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. It’s not that Obama wouldn’t have won the nomination without the overwhelmingly positive coverage from the media, however, it certainly didn’t hurt his chances. There are many different organizations designed to determine bias in articles and in organizations as a whole. AllSides is one of the best websites in determining partiality in articles and publications as a whole. AllSides presents the top stories of the day from both sides of the Photo: Fabien Barrel on Unsplash political spectrum, giving a bias rating to each article. It’s important for all Miramonte students to educate themselves on issues from multiple perspectives. When reading the news, it’s vital to understand the objectivity of the publication and the credibility of the source. As determined by the AllSides Media Bias Chart, the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, National Public Radio (NPR), The Hill, and The Wall Street Journal are among the most neutral and credible news organizations. Biased organizations should not be outlawed or banned, rather the contrary. These publications should admit their partiality so the reader has a clear picture of their perspective. Our country’s “objective” media continues to merge the news and their individual opinion. The responsibility of fixing this problem falls with these organizations. “Major news channels such as MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News all skew drastically towards one point of view. It’s hard for high school students to decipher what is fact and what is opinion. We need to read accurate unbiased reporting, and that starts with knowing the bias behind certain people in the media,” sophomore Kyle Odmark said. In recent years, America has become increasingly polarized with respect to opinions and political views, which unfortunately has filtrated itself into the credibility of the media and, as a result, its influence on the country. It’s essential that the American public is informed in the most objective way possible, and that starts within the publications themselves to attempt to dispel bias within their corporations. The influence and power that the media has on the American people cannot be understated. Media coverage must not be skewed and written with opinion in mind.

6 OPINION 09/30/20


Standards-Based Grading is Harmful to Students EMMA LEIBOWITZ & ERIN SMITH For the 2020-2021 school year, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) decided to test a new grading policy in chemistry and physics classes. This new system, called standards-based grading, assigns points to students on a scale from zero to four based on one’s process to find an answer and their mastery over a topic. Although it is meant to deepen students’ understanding of concepts, standards-based grading will not help students learn and will instead place more pressure on students to master every topic. The standards-based grading system is not a good way to assess students’ achievement and should not be used in classes. The district is planning to continue using the standards-based grading policy for Chemistry in the Earth System and Physics of the Universe classes in subsequent years. “We are piloting it this year specifically for our science courses, because we now have a few teachers who have had experience in standards-based grading and know the value of it, and because distance learning requires more feedback for the students,” Physics of the Universe teacher Tiffany Palmberg said. Although not every physics and chemistry teacher is mandated to use the policy, many Miramonte teachers have opted for standards-based grading. “The decision to use standards-based grading is not a universal district decision, but an option for teachers to consider,” principal Julie Parks said. Schoology, a learning management system and virtual learning platform for students, outlines the differences between a traditional grading system and standards-based grading. In a traditional grading system, credit is awarded based on a 100-point scale, which includes homework, tests, and projects, and overall grades are calculated on a percent scale using the scores from all assignments. Standards-based grading utilizes a four-point scale based primarily on assessments and performance tasks. Standards-based grading is an unfair way to assess students because it places all emphasis on assessments and performance tasks since most coursework does not count toward the final class grade. This means that students must do well on all tests, which adds unnecessary stress. Students commonly suffer from test anxiety, which Oxford Learning describes as feeling nervous before exams. When grades are based solely on test performance, test anxiety increases. “Students who struggle with test anxiety typically fall a half a letter grade below their peers,” Oxford Learning states. Additionally, each test question is rated as a level one, two, or three problem, with one being “easy” and three being “challenging.” With standards-based grading, students must be able to correctly answer level three questions to achieve a higher score, instead of simply being awarded points based on how many problems they can complete accurately. This means that all students must go “above-and-beyond” in class in order to earn their desired grade. This is a completely unreasonable expectation because level three questions are the

most difficult, so students have the highest chance to get these problems wrong, not necessarily because they don’t understand the material, but because the question is new and meant to challenge. “It seems like the grading system is a way to try and bring down our grade point averages, and it’s like teachers are trying to see us do poorly,” junior Kate Sinha said.

By only responding to level one and two problems, a student can only earn up to a B, which does not necessarily reflect the effort a student is putting into the class. “I hate the standards-based grading system. It makes it so much harder to get an A,” junior Bridget Meagher said. “I think standardsbased grading will end up being harmful to our grades rather than beneficial.” However, some students and teachers feel that standardsbased grading is a better way to gauge students’ understanding and show what students need to improve on. “I think standards-based grading benefits most students, because students don’t get penalized for learning slower than the class, and there is more understanding of grades and support for the students built into this way of grading,” Palmberg said. But this is not the case for many students because, under the grading policy, failure to understand every concept at a high level actually penalizes students by resulting in lesser grades. Because of the emphasis on tests, standards-based grading does not take into account students’ practice assignments and homework, so they are forced to perform above average on all assessments in order to achieve a desired, high grade. For example, in Palmberg’s classes, 30 percent of the grade is based on labs and quizzes, while 70 percent is based on unit tests, performance tasks, and finals, leaving no room for coursework to factor in. Practice assignments are very important for

the learning process, so not being awarded for this hard work is discouraging for many. “I don’t like how homework isn’t graded. I think this will cause many students to do worse in this course, because they won’t do the homework and therefore may not know the material,” junior Lindsey Lucas said. Most homework and practice work does not count toward the overall grade for the classes using standards-based grading, even though practice assignments are a crucial step for many students to get a better grasp of the material before exams. But a few students argue that standards-based grading will not affect motivation to complete assignments. “I would say I feel equally motivated now as I did before to complete my homework regardless of the grading system,” sophomore Giovanni Bottene said. Nonetheless, the new grading policy is overall a worse system than the traditional method because it punishes students for struggling with the difficult material instead of promoting an environment where students can learn from their mistakes. According to the Aurora Institute, “Standards are criterion or proficiency-based” in a standards-based grading system. This is hurtful to students because their “proficiency” with a standard affects their grade; students who struggle with a specific standard will see their grade disproportionately reflect that while students who excel will not see a large or helpful improvement in their scores because only one grade is assigned per standard. Because grades are only based on student performance during exams, standards-based grading should not be implemented. “I do feel pressure to complete and understand the very challenging problems in order to get Graphic: Reese Whipple an A because you must be able to do these problems to receive that grade,” Lucas said. Standards-based grading places unnecessary pressure on students to complete the above-average problems perfectly instead of helping people through the learning process, which should be the main focus. Since standards-based grading is being tested this year for the first time in chemistry and physics classes, current students in these courses will be stuck with potentially poor grades as a result of this year’s new grading system. “I think it is a bad time to try out standards-based grading because of the fact that we are so new to online learning, so this just makes it more complicated for everyone,” Sinha said. With such a major shift to distance learning this school year, forcing people to work through a brand new grading system places unnecessary stress and confusion on students. The standards-based grading system should not be utilized at Miramonte and is not indicative of students’ knowledge of the subject and effort in class. It is no longer enough to work hard for an above-average grade; now, students must be able to complete all high difficulty problems and tasks based on the standard or risk their grade falling. Standardsbased grading places extra stress on students who are already working extremely hard with no advantage to the policy. Standards-based grading must be revoked in favor of a traditional system in which students are rewarded for their successes instead of being penalized for their shortcomings.



09/30/20 FEATURE 7


7 New Teachers Join the 2020-2021 Staff

Miramonte welcomed several new teachers across a variety of subjects at the start of the school year. All Bay Area returners, these new faces are making the adjustment to a new school and teaching style CHRIS MORRISON & JONATHAN PHAM

school, and then I took up trombone in my sophomore year of high school. I came to Miramonte to build up the music program so that there are several symphonic, jazz, and orchestral groups,” Dwyer said.

was his favorite subject, but he didn’t become interested in teaching it until after two years into college when he realized A teacher gets ready for their first day of teaching at a new he didn’t have a passion for his chosen major, accounting. school. However, rather than going to a physical classroom, Before coming to Miramonte, Mickle taught at Mt. Diathey log into Canvas and start a Zoom call to meet blo High School in Concord. This is his second their new students through a virtual medium. In a full year of teaching. Mickle teaches Geometry, rather challenging time, seven new teachers have Geometry Advanced, and AP Computer Science been adapting to their new jobs at Miramonte. Principles. “I’ve really enjoyed my experience at Prior to teaching AP Physics and chemistry at Miramonte so far. I hope to help students gain Miramonte, Joe Escobar worked in the marketthe skills they need to be successful as they naviing department of a company that sells equipment gate life. Seeing the passion for learning from the to fire departments and later became a strength students inspires me to be a better teacher,” Mickle and conditioning coach. Escobar grew up in the said. Lamorinda area. Although he now teaches two Along with the other teachers, Samantha Holscience courses, he struggled to connect with the comb grew up in the Bay Area and also attended subject until the later on in college. “Miramonte Northgate High School. She teaches Geometry has been an incredibly welcoming community so and Algebra 2. Holcomb found her passion for far. I hope to impress upon my students the immath in her eighth grade algebra class and began portance of making positive change in the world, to pursue a career in math. She earned her bachthrough science or otherwise. I want to make scielor’s degree in mathematics and her teaching creence more accessible to students who may have dential at California Polytechnic State University. struggled with the subject the way I did,” Escobar “I hope to inspire all of my students to appreciate said. Mathematics,” Holcomb said. Jackson Avery came to Miramonte after Just like Mickle and Holcomb, Rose Nguyen teaching at Canyon High School in Anaheim. attended Northgate High School and grew up He is an Acalanes alumnus and grew up in Lafayin the Walnut Creek area. Nguyen loved reading ette before attending Chapman University in Orand writing and had encouraging English teachers ange County. In his adolesence, Avery dreamed of who inspired her to become one herself. Before Photos: Joe Escobar, Rose Nguyen, Taylor Mickle, Tom Dwyer becoming a sports announcer. It wasn’t until he she came to teach English at Miramonte, Nguyen tagged along with his older sister to her graduate- Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise: Joe Escobar, finished her master’s program at Stanford Unilevel education classes that he decided to become Rose Nguyen, Taylor Mickle and Tom Dwyer smile for pictures. versity and taught for a year at Cupertino High a teacher. He currently teaches AP U.S. History School. and World History at Miramonte, and U.S. History at CamCassandra Porter is teaching chemistry and AP Envi“My parents are both immigrants from Vietnam. Growpolindo. ronmental Science at Miramonte. She went to high school ing up in predominantly white neighborhoods and commu“I’ve always been a history nut, so when I decided to go in Marin County and taught in Santa Monica for the past nities was pretty difficult because as Vietnamese-Americans, into teaching it was the obvious choice for me. Getting the seven years. Porter moved back to the Bay Area to be clos- we were always seen as outsiders to some extent. There was chance to teach AP U.S. History has always been a life dream er to her family and is excited to teach at Miramonte. She always pressure to speak in ways that were acceptable to those of mine,” Avery said. originally studied to become a physical therapist, but decided around us and my teachers pressured me to use an English Like Escobar and Avery, Tom Dwyer also grew up in the she would rather use her love for science to educate the next first name that would be easier for them to pronounce. I Bay Area. After graduating from San Jose State University, generation. wanted to become an English teacher to show my students he worked at a music warehouse, as a garbage man, substi“As a science teacher, I want to help inspire young people that their ways of speaking, writing, and being in the world tute teacher, and finally, a teacher. Dwyer is now entering his to seek answers from the world around them. I want my were all valid. I never want my students to feel that their third year of teaching after spending four years as a substitute students to ask thought provoking questions and engage in language skills are somehow inferior or broken, because the teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified District. Prior to creative problem solving to uncover possible answers to those way that you speak is so crucial and unique to your identity,” becoming a teacher at Miramonte, he taught music in the questions,” Porter said. Nguyen said. Pleasanton Unified School District. Dwyer teaches SymYet another teacher from the Bay Area who returned after The school day ends and the teacher logs off of their first phonic Band and Jazz Band at Miramonte. “I played trumpet college, Taylor Mickle grew up in the Walnut Creek area and Zoom meeting with their new students, excited for the day in seventh grade, then tuba in seventh grade through high attended Northgate High School. While growing up, math when they can finally meet them in person.

Student Designs Mural at Genuine Goodness

had another week of work ahead of us, so I shouldn’t have judged it so early. One of the most important things in art is not to ever give up too soon— it’s insane When the owners of Genuine Goodness, a cafe in how much of a difference a couple brush strokes can Orinda, came up with the idea to display a mural by make,” Whipple said. their outdoor seating area, they were not sure who to This is the second mural Whipple has worked on ask. Turning to another mural director in Lafayette, and she also enjoys many other types of art. “Art is they got the idea to invite senior Reese Whipple, who my absolute passion,” Whipple said. Along with takpreviously contributed to a mural in Lafayette, to join ing four years of art and digital design at school, she the job. Two weeks later, the mural was up and ready is the courtroom artist for the Mock Trial team. She for customers to enjoy as they sat beside the San Pablo would have gone on to represent Contra Costa County Creek in Orinda located just outside of the cafe. at the state competition, however, it was canceled due Over the course of two weeks, Whipple planned, to the coronavirus pandemic. Whipple also enjoys spray painted, and perfected the mural. “I was told to make painting at an outdoor street art gallery in Albany. it scream ‘lunch by the creek’ and have space for kids Although at times it was stressful, the whole process to paint animals on,” Whipple said. Sketching out and was enjoyable for Whipple because she got to do someblocking the entire composition, she had total creative thing she loves. Her favorite part was completing all of control over the project. “We only had two weeks to the little jobs along the way. “Going to hardware store do the entire process, so it took a lot of dedication and after hardware store asking for rejected paints, folding focus,” Whipple said. up the canvas and driving it around in my truck, and The owners of Genuine Goodness wanted elemenPhoto: Allison Petek digitizing the sketch to block out colors. It made me tary and middle school kids to also be a part of the Reese Whipple’s mural hangs outside of the Genuine feel like I was professionally working on something,” mural and had them paint animals on the canvas. Goodness cafe, located across from the Orinda Library. Whipple said. Whipple then brought the canvas home and added Enjoying a smoothie or salad from the cafe, anyone can now sit in the outdoor seating another layer of depth to every part of the mural, making sure it was up to a standard she area of Genuine Goodness and observe the completed mural. With the San Pablo Creek could be proud of. running alongside the seating area, the mural emphasizes the nature surrounding it. “I remember at one point I was a little skeptical of how it would turn out, but we still


8 FEATURE 09/30/20


Virtual Lunch Offers Connection in Isolation

cause it provides a sense of normalcy. During a normal school year the Wellness Center is packed with students who come to hangout Let’s face it: the period you miss the and play games or do a craft we have availmost during quarantine is lunch. You miss able. We thought it would be helpful to try your club meetings, and walking down the and provide that same opportunity virtually,” salmon-colored hallways. You miss your Rose said. Virtual lunchtime runs similarly to friends. how the Student Union ran lunches during Luckily, the Wellness Center has the in-person school, and is an open space for the perfect solution! On Tuesdays and Thursstudents to use. days, Miramonte Wellness is hosting “virThe purpose of these sessions are for social tual lunchtime” over Zoom from 11:45 a.m. time rather than counseling. “The Wellness to 12:15 p.m. The Wellness team, consistCenter is a great place to interact with others. ing of advisors Savannah Rose and Andie While people can get mental health resources Nashimi, host a wide range of activities for at the Well, these lunches are mainly just for students from onlines games, to crafts, to socializing. Don’t be deterred from coming by just chatting. “We offer a ton of activities to hang out!” Boifort said. or games. I like to go on YouTube and find The Wellness Center also offers other serstep-by-step drawing tutorials and see how Photo: Chaya Tong vices beyond the virtual lunchtimes. Individual different everyone’s drawings turn out. Most Students play Pictionary during lunch with Wellness Advisor Savannah Rose. counseling appointments can be scheduled at of the students like to play, this Collaborative lunchtime meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. any time with the Wellness Center by emailis an online version of pictionary,” Rose said. ing the Wellness team. For one-on-one socialwith friends the way they would have during in-person “I like to let the students pick what games, they are way more creative than I am and come up with learning. Lunchtime sessions offer the perfect opportunity izing, students can casually drop into a Zoom call (via the links on the Wellness Center website page) on Wednesdays some great stuff.” Zoom links can be found on the Mira- for structured social time aside from class. These lunchtime drop-ins can serve a broader purpose and Fridays during lunch for a quick “how’s it going” with monte website under “Virtual Wellness Center Services.” Students can attend virtual lunchtime to connect with beyond pure entertainment. According to a March poll by Rose. In addition, the “Bring Change to Mind” club will friends or even new people. “It is really nice to detox by Common Sense and SurveyMonkey, “about half of teens start holding club meetings through the Wellness Center. Walking through the hallways at school and sitting at talking to the wellness staff about my day. Furthermore, (48 percent) say they feel less connected than usual with during the normal school schedule, lunch is a time to so- their friends right now.” Facilitating connection is more a table with your friends just isn’t possible during distance cialize. It is really nice to talk to others and possibly meet important than ever, and the Wellness Center is doing just learning. But that doesn’t mean connection has to stop. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no excuse to miss the arnew people,” junior Laura Boifort said. While in their usual that. “Students Should come to Wellness lunch activities be- guably best period of the day! Zoom classes, students rarely have the chance to connect CHAYA TONG

Healthcare Workers Endure COVID-19 SOPHIA ACEVEDO March 23, a registered nurse arrived at work at the John Muir Health Center, the halls bare on the recovery floor and the faint rattles of hospital beds heard every so often. This nurse received 15 patients that day, 45 less than she usually does. For the next six to eight weeks, this would become a norm. Only the most sick patients in need of immediate medical attention were allowed through the doors of pre-operation. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the population, economy, and daily life. First responders have put themselves on the front lines to help stabilize it. However, the rapidly spreading virus has proven to be a significant burden on healthcare workers, subjecting them to intense safety precautions and long hours. In the early weeks of the pandemic, only non-elective surgeries were performed, meaning only people in need of an immediate surgery were allowed into hospitals, excluding positive COVID-19 patients. This regulation lasted until May 15 in the Bay Area in order to reduce potential outbreaks and spread between patients. Eileen Talford has been a nurse at John Muir for 15 years and works in the recovery room. “I have never worked through anything remotely like this. The first couple of weeks of the pandemic I cared for less than half the usual amount of patients I do in the recovery room, it was really strange. This also caused a shift in my work hours too, I only came to work a couple days a week,” Talford said. Just by going to work, healthcare workers are putting their lives at risk and potentially exposing their loved ones to the virus. Many call in sick or have people cover their shifts out of fear of bringing the virus home to their families. Not only were nurses and doctors adjusting to limited resources in hospitals, but also to shortages of staff. Masako Longley is a nurse at John Muir who had to adjust to her increasing work hours. “It was incredibly difficult to keep up with the coronavirus and its effects on the atmosphere and working conditions at John Muir. A lot of my coworkers would reach out to me to take their shifts because they were scared to take the virus home to their families. I ended up having to double my shifts within the first week, leaving little time off to spend with my own family,” Longley said. On top of brutal work hours, healthcare workers must wear large, uncomfortable masks for extended periods of time. Selfies of exhausted doctors and nurses, faces bruised and creased from their masks, can be found on multiple social media platforms. As the coronavirus rages on, healthcare workers may become more susceptible to severe skin damage due to these face coverings. According to Healthcare Finance News, “After so many hours wearing this form of personal protective equipment, the wearers begin to sweat underneath their masks, causing friction. This leads to pressure damage on the nose and cheeks, and can result in tears to the skin–opening up the possibility of infection, one more health worry facing healthcare professionals as they continually expose themselves to infected patients.” Scientists predict that this pandemic will gradually come to an end with the implementation of social distancing, constant mask wearing, and antibody tests. In the meantime, health care providers are working hard to protect the lives of U.S. citizens. They have made significant progress in their understanding of the COVID-19 virus, the extent they can go to stop it, and our efforts to stop the spread. As the weeks wore on, the registered nurse slowly regained her normal amount of patients in the recovery room. However, her work hours continue to fluctuate, the heavy masks have become increasingly irritable to wear, and the constant feeling that she’s putting her family at risk remains in the back of her mind.


09/30/20 FEATURE 9

Drama and Choir Adapt to Online School

Drama and choir are forced to figure out creative and interactive ways to perform on the virtual stage. Regardless of the unfortunate challenges presented by distance learning, the show must go on what we do. We are making it work, but I am now faced with learning how to become a sound and video editor (on top of everything else). It can be fun, but it’s no match for being in The curtain rushes up, and students feel a queasy yet exthe same room and singing together. There is no adequate citing feeling in the pit of their stomach. Audience members replacement for that. I hope my students will be patient and rush in, and tickets sell out in a flash. These are the typical hang in there because I have to believe we will be able to do markings of a performance at Miramonte. The drama and that again this year,” Meredith Hawkins, director of Choral choir departments usually host plays and performances Music, AP Music Theory, and Musical Theater Workshop, throughout the school year, showcasing their talent and love said. for the arts. However due to COVID-19, both departments Within the choir department, there are different levhave to regroup and find new ways to perform. els: Choral Performance 1 & 2 (Mixed “We do plan on having virtual perChorus, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Enformances! Ms. Cousins has always been semble), AP Music Theory, Choral Pera very hardworking and driven teacher formance 3 (Bella Voce/Concert Choir), and has never given up on us. She loves Choral Performance 4 (Chamber Singto say how theater never quits and can ers), and Musical Theater Workshop. never be stopped. We’re planning our Each choir that performs usually has a fall play already! She hasn’t told us what repertoire of songs up their sleeve for it is yet, but we’re definitely going to be each showcase. Since everything will be performing over some virtual platform. virtual, the choir classes plan on finding Last spring, we did a play over Zoom an interactive and new way to produce for the first time, but this year we’ll be their music. improving our methods and changing “I know in Chamber we are working some of our techniques so that it is even on learning a few songs on our own and better,” drama student and senior Mina then going to combine them to make it Jenab said. sound like a complete song. We’re workAlthough drama teacher Heather ing on a way to present our songs to the Cousins has concealed the title of the public, so we still have the opportunity upcoming virtual performance, she’s Photo: Heather Shinn to sing and perform,” choir student and hopeful and determined that students Last spring the drama department performed “Quarantined Drama Students Perform junior Aubrey Rosso said. will continue to perform and apply their a Play?!?????!??***SHOCKING****EMOTIONAL***” online because of qurantine orders. Without the intensity and enthusiskills to the adjusted stage. asm they receive from their peers in class “Last spring, the Miramonte Players and on stage, the choirs are developing performed their spring production live on Zoom. This fall, “It’s for sure harder to do this class virtually because it’s very new strategies to give passionate performances. we will be stepping up the use of technology for an even interactive, but it’s still so much fun with all of Ms. Cous“Because we have access to different kinds of software, more polished and professional production. The play will live ins’s activities! So far we are learning virtually through group we’re all learning how to use it and adapting together, and it’s stream on on November 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. projects, and getting exposure to many different Stagecraft definitely exciting to be singing in a new way. Once again, it’s As theater artists, we currently have two choices: either we crews,” Stagecraft student and junior Anji Bhatthal said. not the same as being able to sing in the choir room together, call it quits and pursue other interests, or we adapt and evolve Similar to drama, the choir department plans to figure but it’s still just as fun,” choir student and junior Anaya Buto this new virtual stage. We have chosen the latter, and it is out a way to perform virtually, but they don’t know precisely dayr said. exciting to be a part of this new revolutionary theater plathow they’ll achieve this. “Essentially, my particular skill set Although life is difficult for everyone during the panform,” Cousins said. when it comes to teaching is really being challenged durdemic, the Miramonte drama and choir departments are doUnfortunately, seniors enrolled in drama face the possibiling online learning. My classroom is highly collaborative, ing everything they can to ensure a familiar and stimulating ity of not performing on campus during their last year in the and rehearsing and performing together is the majority of school year. program. “I am upset, but not completely heartbroken. The PAIGE MAYS

way I see it, this situation is what we make it. I could spend all my energy being upset about not being able to be with my classmates in person, or I could just appreciate the time I do have with them,” Jenab said. Stagecraft is a class within the drama department for students interested in the design and creative process of theater. Since Stagecraft is a hands-on, interactive course where students learn how to build sets and props and manage lights and sound, learning online has proven to be difficult. Even so, Cousins still plans on having the students create from home.

Hands-On Classes Adjust to Remote Learning LINDSEY LEWIS You sign up for a semester of Net Sports to fulfill your Physical Education (PE) requirement, expecting to play some basketball and tennis in the fall. But with the start of the school year, all of your expectations have quickly changed. Now, you have to log onto Zoom and exercise on a video call with your classmates. With all classes taking place online this fall, every teacher is forced to make adjustments to the execution of their curriculum. However, more hands-on classes such as PE and Publications, formerly known as Yearbook, are forced to make bigger adaptations as to how the classes are taking place virtually. Publications, taught by Rebecca Promessi, is one of the classes with the most changes due to distance learning. “The biggest changes we’ve had to make to the yearbook have been to the ladder (basically the table of contents) because we have come up with new ideas to replace old topics,” Senior Class Editor Christine Pearson said. Typically, the yearbook editors are able to plan out what topics they are going to be covering at the beginning of the year. However, due to uncertainty of how the school year will unfold, they are unable to do that. Promessi allows the editorial staff to take over the Zooms and teach students how to create different components of a yearbook page, which they are able to do on their own devices. “It has been a new experience to train the staff, but everyone has been doing a great job learning about how to put together the yearbook over Zoom,” Senior Editor-in-Chief Hannah Klein said. Zooms usually last 30 to 35 minutes each day and following the meeting, students are expected to work independently on assignments for the class. “This year’s book is going to be quite unique and special. Our goal is to create a historical publication that covers everything that is going on in our world right now. We are

going to cover as many of the traditional items that we would normally cover as we can,” Promessi said. For academic classes, they are planning to cover Zoom periods and interview students and teachers. The editorial board is unsure as to how they will cover sports. “With the extra space in this year’s book we are really excited to include spreads about what has been happening in our community. For example, we will have a spread covering the Black Lives Matter movement and the discussions that movement has created in our community,” Klein said. Another class impacted by the switch to distance learning is PE. “In ninth grade PE we start the year with a ‘What is PE Lab’ where we learn about the five components of fitness and have the students test themselves in each area. We then transition to a dynamic warm-up followed by a strength high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that lasts from 20 to 30 minutes,” PE teacher Anna Gunn said. Zooms usually last 40 to 60 minutes and students are expected to have a 5 by 5 foot area to move in. “I’ve actually found that most students are ready to get up and exercise after sitting in Zooms all day. Also, since no one can really see them, they are not as embarrassed and seem to really be putting in some effort!” Gunn said. Graphic: Reese Whipple Some students are happy to take a break from their normal classes during a long day of staring at their screen. “Net sports is definitely a lot different than my other classes but I’ve gotten used to doing my exercises on Zoom. I use a yoga mat in my bedroom and I have enough room to move around,” senior Fiona Akazawa said. Although it’s difficult to make these changes to normal class routines, it is a precaution taken by the school to keep everyone safe. Students and staff will quickly become more accustomed to these adjustments as the year goes on.


10 FEATURE 09/30/20

Online Learning Impacts Teen Mental Health Days spent on Zoom and decreased social interaction with peers is negatively impacting many students’ mental health. The Wellness Center offers resources for students struggling during this time

ERIN SMITH You’re sitting at the wooden, run down desks, staring at the board and talking to the twenty other students in your class, struggling to keep your eyes open as boredom sweeps through your body, wishing the day could end so that you could finally go home and hope for school to be canceled the next morning. This picture was a reality for many students. But now, we are all wishing to go back to school and get out of our homes. Miramonte students’ mental health throughout the start of online school is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue, and students have reported new stressors as they adapt to online learning and the lack of socialization at home. Although students get to see each other on Zoom calls, it is drastically different than being face-to-face. “It is more difficult to tell how someone is doing over Zoom. In real life you can feel other people’s emotions and tell whether or not they are well, over Zoom it’s a bit harder to identify certain gestures that can help you analyze someone’s well being,” senior Shyon Afshar said. When two people are talking in person, they are able to read each other’s body language. However, through a screen, it can be difficult to gauge these same signals in order to tell how the other person actually feels about the conversation, leaving students unable to determine if their peers are struggling or depressed. “We have switched all of our Wellness Center services to be offered virtually. We offer a range of different services from lunchtime activities and 15-minute checkins to individual Wellness appointments and counseling support groups,” Miramonte Wellness advisor Andie Nishimi said. The Wellness Center allows drop-ins on Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 to 9 a.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., and Monday and

Friday from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Drop-in Wellness Zooms are group-based with a Wellness Advisor there for support. During the drop-ins, students have the opportunity to check in with their mental health. The lunchtime activities take place on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Wellness Center also allows students to schedule one-on-one appointments with a Wellness Advisor. The Zoom links can be found on the school website under the Wellness tab. Although the Wellness Center is trying to create an online center, some students do not feel comfortable going on Zoom to talk with others about sensitive topics “I don’t like to talk about my emotions on Zoom because I don’t think I can connect with anybody,” sophomore Giovanni Bottene said. Seeing others over Zoom does not always commensurate to the in-person interactions in the classroom, during lunch breaks, or in the hallways. Many Miramonte students agree with the statement

that human contact helps distract the mind from the constant stress around us right now. “I do believe that human contact is good for your mental health because I know myself and many other people like to be around people and it makes them happy, relieves stress, and calms anxiety,” junior Ava Christofferson said. Anxiety and stress also come with trying to figure out the brand new aspects of online school this year. In addition to staying on top of their workloads, students now have to worry about keeping up with teachers’ new online class policies, getting to the right Zoom calls on time, and dealing with technical issues. “I have been a bit stressed the first few weeks of school making sure my WiFi is always working,” freshman Soleil Skjorshammer said. According to the World Health OrPhoto:Ania Keenan ganization (WHO), “Nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional.” Mental health is worsening because students are not reaching out to get the help that they need and they can no longer depend on someone to reach out for them. “I would not feel comfortable reaching out to the Wellness Center on my own if I needed help because it would make me feel uncomfortable and awkward,” Christofferson said. Now imagine your reality: being stuck in your house, not able to see anyone, sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, forced to figure out a new learning platform for online school. Think about your mental state and picture how much it could improve if you took the time out of your day to talk to other people outside of your regular classes. Envision how much stress you could get off your back if you simply went to the Wellness Center’s Zoom meetings to get help and talk to others.

New Associate Principal Joins Administration ANIA KEENAN As a new associate principal on the Miramonte Administrative team, most of Bruce Giron’s day is spent behind his computer screen, either on Zoom calls or sending emails to help students and staff adapt to the new Canvas platform, the new learning management system that the school district adopted this year. Just last semester, his day to day schedule looked very different. At his previous job at Las Lomas as a chemistry and Work Experience and Education teacher, Giron made it a point to try to form connections with the student body. For him, this meant taking time out of his day to play basketball with kids at lunch and leading extracurricular activities. In the new reality of distance learning, Giron worries about forming these bonds with students. While he admits that forming the same kind of connections will be difficult in distance learning, he hopes to fill that role for students at Miramonte. This year marks Giron’s eleventh year of teaching. Before working in the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD), Giron taught at schools in both Pittsburgh and Oakland. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s in education, Giron entered a brief tenure in the business world. He soon figured out that he desired something else with more human connection and turned towards teaching. “After college I went into the corporate world, but I soon realized that that wasn’t

the world for me and I was introduced to the world of education and fell in love with it immediately, so I went back and got my credential,” Giron said. According to Giron, he was inspired to pursue a career in teaching after reflecting on the impact that his former high school teacher, Ms. Rachel, had had on his life. “I reflected on the influence she had had on me just around becoming a better student, and I admired that and wanted to be able to have the same impact,” Giron said. Giron shared that he likes to think of himself as a positive person and hopes to promote positivity and connectedness among Miramonte students. “It is easy for us to fall into self-isolating patterns, and it affects not only you but the people around you. I try to be a positive person and I try to bring other people along with me,” Giron said. Giron is determined to find ways to connect with the student body at Miramonte. Despite the difficulties that social distancing poses to student-staff connection, he hopes to form a similar bond like the one that he was able to build with students at his prior schools. To do this, Giron plans to lead virtual activities with students, staff, and parents. Some of his ideas so far include virtual book clubs and other extracurricular activities that would give students a chance to connect with staff. When Giron is not brainstorming ideas to improve distance learning at Miramonte, he enjoys getting outside in nature and tries to spend as much time as possible with his family.

Photo: Bruce Giron

Giron jumps for joy while posing for a picture at Yellowstone National Park.



09/30/20 SPORTS 11

Major Conferences Alter Fall Football Season

Banner:StockUnlimited of Pixlr

Following an annoucement from the Pac-12 and two other conferences, all ten FBS conferences will now be playing amended fall football seasons. The NCAA is postponing all other fall sports HENRY HILL

and welfare that was shared in your postponement press release. The decision to release the Sept. 24 the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) Conferschedule, only to postpone the season less than ence decided by board vote to move forward a week later based on ‘risks and uncertainties,’ with a seven-game season their fall football has taken an emotional toll on our sons,” Uniseason due to COVID-19. This announceversity of Nebraska parents wrote in a letter ment comes following the Aug. 5 decision addressed to the Big Ten Conference. by the National Collegiate Athletic AssoPresident Donald Trump also talked with ciation (NCAA) to cancel the fall seasons of Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren Sept. 1, all Division II and Division III universities, Tweeting that he had a very productive call excluding the season of the Football Diviwith Warren. Many speculated that Trump sion Subcoference (FBS). The Pac-12 had was using a potential season of the Big Ten originally planned to postpone their season as a tactic to win voters in midwestern swing to the winter or spring. However, the Pac-12 states, many of which contain Big Ten univerfollowed the Big Ten Conference’s reversal of sities. their own postponed season, announcing a “There are voters who voted for him in fall season only two weeks after the Big Ten. 2016 who don’t want to vote for him this time, The NCAA doesn’t govern the FBS, mostly because they don’t like him personally. which is the top tier of Division I football Those voters need to be reminded why they made up of ten conferences. This division’s supported him in the first place,” Republican conferences made their own decisions. The strategist Alex Conant said to the Associated Photo: Jake Weirick of Unsplash NCAA is postponing all other non-football The sun sets at Autzen Stadium, home of the University of Oregon Ducks. The Ducks Press. fall seasons of all Division I universities, with will be one of the twelve Pac-12 universities that will now be playing football this fall. Two weeks after the call and continued plans to play a shortened spring season. criticism from fans, the Big Ten unanimously Now with the announcement of a fall footvoted for a fall season on Sept. 16. They will ence was set to receive 276.4 million dollars from their conball season for the Pac-12, the Mountain West Conference, and tracts this year. Many schools depend on the revenue of their play a nine-game conference-only season that will start in the Mid-American Conference, all ten major FBS conferences athletics program for academic purposes, including the salaries late October and end mid-December, with very similar dates will be playing a fall season compared to the original six. The of teachers and the improvement of their respective campuses. to those of the Pac-12. The Pac-12’s seven-game season will conferences range in the number of games in their seasons, but Many Miramonte students, especially University of Califor- begin in early November, with plans to also end around midthe conferences are all playing seven to ten games. Certain uni- nia, Berkeley and Stanford University fans, are very excited for a December. versities, mainly those in the Southeastern Conference(SEC) season, regardless of length. “Football is essential to our country, “The August 11 decision of the Pac-12 CEO Group to and Big-12 Conference, are allowing limited fans to attend and with good testing available, I was originally angry at the postpone sport competitions was based upon three central congames, while many schools have opted to keep stadiums empty. Pac-12’s refusal to play in the fall. I’m very happy we get to see cerns cited by the Medical Advisory Committee: consistent Six FBS conferences, including the SEC, Big-12, and At- any Pac-12 football, even though it’s just seven games,” junior testing capabilities across all Pac-12 universities, the prevalence lantic Coast Conference, have already begun their season.There Bo Lagomarsino said. of the virus in Pac-12 communities and nationally, and conhave been 22 games postponed or canceled through only the The Big Ten originally planned to postpone their fall sea- cerns related to possible cardiac concerns potentially associated first four weeks, making an already altered season even shorter. son along with the Pac-12. Parents of Big Ten student-athletes with COVID-19. The decision to resume sport competitions This potential of the Pac-12 not having a season could’ve protested the conference’s initial announcement outside the today is based upon updated Medical Advisory Committee ended up costing the organization millions of dollars. The Pac- Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, Aug. 21, citing a recommendations that point to material improvements in each 12 currently has a three billion dollar agreement with ESPN lack of communication with athletes. “We fully appreciate your of these three areas, along with updated state and local public and a separate contract with Fox Sports Network. The confer- ‘care and concern for our athletes’ mental and physical health health guidance,” the Pac-12 said in a statement.

Cheerleaders Create New Friday Night Lights

GRACE LIU It’s October 2019. A soft autumn breeze floats through the stands that are packed with students, parents, and Miramonte alumni. As the football players race onto the field, the cheerleaders launch into a routine, waving their pom-poms with jubilation. “Go Mats!” they shout to the crowd, who replies enthusiastically with a chorus of yells that can only be interpreted as rousing Matador pride. Now, at the start of the 2020 school year, that first semester experience seems like a dream. July 20 the North Coast Section (NCS) of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) released an updated sports calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, announcing that they will be pushing back the fall season due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, even though there may not be any teams currently playing at school to cheer for, the Miramonte cheer program is still up and running. With coach Cassandra Montgomery conducting their practices through Zoom, Miramonte cheerleaders have been able to teach and learn new dances while maintaining a strong sense of community. Unfortunately, cheerleaders can only practice dances and cheers, no stunting. Both varsity and junior varsity teams practice together for four and a half hours each week in three sessions. The varsity team is captained by Cara Holden ‘21. Despite having their first year on varsity cheer interrupted, the juniors have maintained a positive attitude. “Cheer is very different on Zoom, but we’re all adjusting. I really miss talking to my teammates—being online makes it harder to get to know everyone. But I’m super glad we can still do something, and it’s a good way to stay busy,” Bridget Meagher ‘22 said. The incoming freshmen aren’t letting a pandemic stop them from enjoying their first year of high school, either. “Doing cheer over Zoom feels different, but you get used to it! It’s super fun,” Sophie Wampler ‘24 said. On the junior varsity team, there are 17 new freshmen and one new sophomore. The junior varsity cheer team is led by captain Stella Symonds ‘23. Both teams practice together. However, with online practice comes inevitable technical issues. “The only difficulties on the Zoom calls are that sometimes it’s hard to do the dances because some people don’t have a very good WiFi connection so sometimes we are out of sync. However, I think it’s really fun because even though we can’t be together we can still do cheer,” Abigail Gardner ‘24 said. In the end, however, the Zoom cheer calls yield a positive result. “A couple positives about the Zoom calls are that you can pin people’s videos if you are ever confused and

need someone to follow, and since you’re at home, if you forget something that you needed for the practice, it’s right next to you,” Chloe Ebel ‘24 said. Instead of the typical Friday night lights that shine down on the football field and stands from the stadium lights up above, the Miramonte cheerleaders are instead greeted by the new Friday night light emitting from computer screens while dancing together over Zoom.

Photo: Miramonte Boosters/Twitter


12 SPORTS 09/30/20

Club Sports Adjust to New Safety Guidelines LAUREN CUNNINGHAM

Athletes everywhere looked forward to their upcoming club seasons, especially after high school sports were canceled in the spring and coronavirus mandates stretched on through the summer months. However, some teams are modifying practices to allow athletes to have as close to a regular season as possible, while at the same time maintaining social distancing limits and following safety precautions. Lamorinda Water Polo is allowing its players to come to practice in groups no larger than 12. Multiple groups practice simultaneously in three different sections of the pool, but players can’t socialize with anyone outside their own group. In addition, all players are required to wear a mask to and from practice. Originally there was restricted passing, and the athletes couldn’t shoot on the goals, so the practices were mainly lap swimming and conditioning. Lamorinda Water Polo is now allowing passing and more contact with the balls while trying to maintain social distancing. Similar to Lamorinda Water Polo’s approach to practice, Xceleration Volleyball Club allows their athletes to practice with restrictions. “Xceleration hosts some beach and indoor clinics with limited spaces to allow players to get as many repetitions as possible while taking necessary

precautions. I love getting the opportunity to play in a safe environment during this time,” sophomore Amber Chu said. Xceleration Volleyball Club hosts their practices in their gym in Martinez. Many Miramonte athletes play for Xceleration Volleyball Club because head coaches Leslie and Lindsey Ray are the Miramonte women’s junior varsity and varsity coaches. Xceleration maintains social distancing guidelines by having groups of 12 players on each

court. All players are required to use hand sanitizer during water breaks and upon leaving practice. Each player’s temperature is also taken before entering the gym. Another big organization that is currently trying to work out a season is the Moraga, Orinda, and Lafayette (MOL) flag football league. MOL is for both boys and girls from third to eighth grade. No flags will be used due to contact restrictions, so instead, MOL is creating a program that will provide five weeks of football skills and conditioning for players. The teams will be composed of no more than ten kids from the same town, grade, and school. There will be no spectators or parents allowed on the field, everyone must wear gloves, and coaches will wear masks. “This is a great opportunity in this environment for kids to get exercise and be a part of something,” Patrick Blair, a MOL board member, said. Photo: Carly Hoskins Around 500 families have participated in MOL in the past annually, and even with COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, almost the same number of families have signed up again. The Eclipse Soccer Club has been trying team and club Zooms twice a week, which include simple workouts and technical ball skills. “We definitely won’t start practicing again in the fall, the earliest would be January or December,” junior Lila Hill said.

Morikawa Wins First School Sports Adopt PGA Championship a Modified Schedule

OLIVIA RHEE Aug. 9 the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour kicked off their first major golf tournament after a lengthy hiatus due to COVID-19. Multiple new faces attracted the crowd’s attention, including American professional golfer Collin Morikawa. The 23-year-old rookie of Japanese and Chinese heritage became a memorable part of golf history, winning the 102nd PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. In the fourth and final round of the competition, Morikawa broke away from the seven-way tie for the lead. Ending his game by finishing 13 shots under par, Morikawa beat runners-up Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey by two strokes. Winning his first major title as a professional golfer, and after only his second major tournament, Morikawa’s bright smile shined at cameras as he finished the round with a final putt on the 16th hole. “The win was historic, as Morikawa joins Jack Nicklaus (1963), Tiger Woods (1999), and Rory McIlroy (2012), as the only 23-yearolds in history to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy, even if Morikawa almost lost the lid,” New England Sports Network (NESN) said regarding Morikawa’s win. Morikawa not only became an instant celebrity within the golf community but also became the first University of California, Berkeley graduate to win a professional golf championship. The recent UC Berkeley student and class of 2019 graduate was a strong member of the men’s golf team. Morikawa graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and signed as a professional the same year, according to the PGA Tour’s official website. Through grit, endless determination, and tireless hours of practice, Morikawa’s career skyrocketed. Morikawa received loads of praise from legendary competitors for his latest accomplishment. “He’s not going any-

where anytime soon. He doesn’t have a weakness in his game. He doesn’t have a weakness mentally,” Tony Finau, Morikawa’s fellow opponent, who received third place in the tournament, said. Morikawa has become a true inspiration to many of his fans, including local high schoolers and golfers everywhere. “Morikawa won a major! For how new he is to the tour, that’s incredible. He is basically the new generation of the to-be-greats. I see him as one of the up-and-coming potential next great Tiger Woods,” Orinda resident and golfer Matthew Lin ‘24 said. Many not only celebrated his victory but also learned from his game. “Morikawa’s win at Harding Park was inspiring, to say the least. As a young golfer, it’s important to see other young people achieving such great things because it is a motivation to continue golf. Every player aspires to be as clutch as him because he was under a mountain of pressure but stayed calm and got his first major title of his career,” Miramonte student and golfer Kaylen Tu ‘22 said. While thousands of fans admire Morikawa’s work ethic, attitude, and skill, his family recognizes his love for the sport. According to a Lafayette resident and cousin of Morikawa’s mother, “Ever since he was a young child, he wanted to be on the green.” Continuing, she claimed that Morikawa’s mother always said, “He truly is doing what he loves.” Morikawa wrapped up the tournament at the award ceremony by humbly thanking his family and friends for their support. “It’s been a life goal. As a little kid, you’re kind of watching everyone, all these professionals. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I felt very comfortable from the start—as an amateur, a junior golfer, turning professional last year— but to finally close it out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent my last four years [at Cal], is pretty special,” Morikawa said to CBS announcer Jim Nantz during the trophy ceremony.


The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) released a statement July 20 announcing that all schools in the state will follow a modified schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. The announcement came after COVID-19 shut down school campuses last spring, continuing into the beginning of the academic 2020-2021 year. Miramonte is part of the North Coast Section (NCS), one of the 10 sections of the CIF. The announcement stated that each section can choose their start date for sports, but they will all fall between December 2020 and January 2021. Miramonte Cross Country, Football, Boys Water Polo, Girls Water Polo, Competitive Cheer, Boys Volleyball, and Girls Volleyball will begin their usual fall seasons in the winter on Dec. 14, while all other sports, both winter and spring, will begin March 8 or 15. Soccer will start Feb. 22, closer to their normal winter season, which will help open up field space during the spring seasons, according to Athletic Director James Lathrop. The NCS Football quarterfinals will be March 26 and 27, and the championship round will be on April 9 and 10. With the uncertain condition of COVID-19, there are minimal announcements regarding the precautions taken during sports this year. If the CIF or NCS announcements restrict the attendance of spectators, Miramonte will attempt to allow virtual viewing for sports this year, according to Lathrop. “We aren’t going to travel to super far away games. We also don’t really know what kind of environment we will be playing in: if there’s going to be a crowd or some sort of clearance system we have to pass to play,” football player Ethan Berndt ‘22 said.

Along with the postponement of sports to the winter, multi-sport athletes that play in the winter and spring are forced to pick one sport for this year, as they’ll be overlapping throughout the spring. The overlap will be possible but more complex as the increase of sports in one season will limit field space for teams. “It’s conflicting. I wish each season could just have a smaller portion of the total year rather than overlapping because I can’t really play both,” basketball and lacrosse athlete Jake Disston ‘23 said. Coaches are adapting around the new restrictions with new practice schedules, and the restrictions provide positives such as more individual training for Miramonte athletes. “I don’t know how things will look once we reach the regular season, but the health guidelines have already had a huge impact on how we operate. We aren’t able to practice with the entire team but working in small groups lets coaches spend more time with each individual player. It also makes it easier to divide players by position group and design practice plans that emphasize specific techniques or concepts,” boys lacrosse coach Byron McGovern said. Due to the change in schedule, the CIF decided to suspend Bylaws 600-605 for this school year, allowing players to participate in teams outside of school during their respective sport’s season. For example, if a boys water polo player competed on a club team during the winter season, he can now play for both Miramonte and his club team simultaneously. Along with the current announcements, the CIF, NCS, and Miramonte Athletic Department will continue releasing new information on the condition of sports for the 2020-2021 seasons.




Kanye West Announces Presidential Campaign SOPHIA ACEVEDO & SAMANTHA SCOTT

ticians and government officials, but also to distressed citizens. Many are concerned about the legitimacy of West’s campaign and the future of their country. Even students at Miramonte were confused to see West physically running for president. Many didn’t take his presidential claims seriously years ago, so the execution is surprising. “I was really surprised when I found out Kanye was actually trying to run for president. I think his campaign is very dif-

I think that people shouldn’t vote for him because of his lack of experience in politics. Also, voting for Kanye takes A wave of shock and bewilderment settled upon many important votes away from other candidates,” sophomore Twitter users as they opened the app July 4. There, in two Fiona Hughes said. concise sentences and one emoji, stood Kanye West’s anWest’s improbable push to appear on the presidential nouncement that he was, in fact, running for president. It ballot prompted concern from the celebrity’s friends and felt quite surreal, witnessing one of Hollywood’s most erfamily. West openly spoke to the New York Times in a ratic celebrities running for the highest position in Amer2018 interview about his mental health and stated that he ica. was diagnosed with bipolar disorWest is a 43-year old billionder in 2017. Those close to West aire, rapper, fashion designer, and fear for his health and ask for unnow, candidate in the 2020 presiderstanding from the public. Kim dential election. Seriously moving Kardashian, wife of the candidate, forward with his religiously devotstates that she is taking steps to ed campaign, he’s chosen Michelle protect their children from their Tidball, a Christain preacher from father’s public outbursts and urged Wyoming, as his running mate. West to abandon the campaign to West’s political platform consists focus on his mental health. “He is of advocating against abortions, a brilliant but complicated person endorsing environmental stewwho on top of being an artist and ardship, restoring school prayers, a black man, who experienced the and providing a strong national painful loss of his mother, and has defense. However, West and his to deal with the pressure and isolacampaign are quickly falling betion that is heightened by his bihind as they’ve missed the filing polar disorder,” Kardashian wrote deadline in more than 10 states. in a lengthy statement on her InsPhoto: Universal Music Group So even if he qualifies to be on the tagram story. ballot, he won’t be able to win the “Graduation” and “Ye” are popular albums from West. “Graduation” is West’s highest selling During his campaign rallies, election due to the 270 remaining album, released in 2007. “Ye”, released in 2018, reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. West voiced some controversial electoral votes he couldn’t obtain. opinions. Some examples from his Many aren’t taking the rapper seriously, as his position ferent in comparison to his running mates, so he’s bringing rally in South Carolina on July 20 include the declaration on political matters is unclear and not as actively voiced something entirely new to the election. However, it makes that Harriet Tubman, the famed abolitionist, “didn’t actuas his running mates. When asked his opinion on govern- me uneasy that a celebrity with little political background ally free the slaves” and his statement “everybody that has ment taxes, Kanye responded with, “I haven’t done enough would be able to run for president,” junior Ava Lagaay said. a baby gets a million dollars” while discussing the topic of research on that yet. I will research that with the strongest Other students feel concerned that West’s campaign abortion. experts that serve God.” may rob deciding votes from other candidates. “I think the Publicity stunt or not, West is fully attempting to run in West’s campaign not only brought shock to fellow poli- fact that Kanye is actually running is a little bit funny, but the 2020 presidential election.

Rating the Best Blue Light Filtering Glasses

The start of another school year usually means it’s time for some new binders, pencils, or erasers. This year your back-to-school shopping list may look a bit different. Blue light glasses are all the rage right now, filtering out harmful blue light emitted by digital screens. Not sure which pair to choose? Four Miramonte students give their ratings on their favorite blue light glasses to wear during Zooms LINDSEY LEWIS

3) Marc Jacobs

1) Felix Grey Sophomore Lauren Anthony purchased her glasses from Felix Grey in hopes of reducing the strain on her eyes from staring at a screen for hours at a time. “Now that I wear them my eyes don’t hurt as much and I don’t get bad headaches from looking at the screen all day,” Anthony said. “I recommend them 10/10 because they’re practical and work really well.” The brand’s glasses filter blue light, eliminate glare and have quality frames. Prices start at $95 and they offer free shipping. The brand has a five star rating on their website.

Photo: Lauren Anthony

Photo: Kate Swan

4) Feiyold

2) Warby Parker Senior Riley Sockwell bought his glasses from Warby Parker. “Before getting them I would get headaches after spending a lot of time on the computer or watching TV but now they’re a lot less often. Sometimes I’ll still get headaches if I forget to wear my glasses or I’m on the computer for a super long time but the glasses have helped a lot,” Sockwell said. “I would definitely recommend them especially because you can find pairs for like $20 on Amazon and they have really no negative impact whatsoever.”

Junior Kate Swan purchased her glasses from Marc Jacobs and added the blue light filter in addition to her prescription. “I feel they really do make a difference because my eyes will sting less and become less dry from staring at a screen. I think they relieve me from a headache but sometimes I still do end up having a headache by the end of the day,” Swan said. “I would recommend it because it can’t harm, so you might as well try to see a difference and give it a shot!” Swan also likes her glasses because they make her feel ready for the day.

Photo: Riley Sockwell

Senior Sally Peterson was gifted her glasses from the brand Feiyold. “When I stare at a screen for a while my eyes don’t hurt or turn red which would happen without them,” Peterson said. “I give them a 10/10 just because they have so far helped me and don’t cause any harm.” These glasses are available on Amazon in a pack of two for $20. They offer many different frames and styles. Their products recieve all 4/5 star reviews on Amazon and the company offers free returns if there is an issue with your order.

Photo: Lindsey Lewis



COVID-19 Inspires Quarantine Haircuts

With COVID-19 safety guidelines forcing salons to close, many Miramonte students are picking up scissors and hair dye to style their own locks. This is inspiring some fun and creative new hairstyles

CARLY HOSKINS With a substantial amount of time on her hands and fresh inspiration from the movie “Selena” starring Jennifer Lopez, senior Mina Jenab decided it was time for a change with her hair. The coronavirus pandemic left all beauty salons closed, leaving Jenab with no choice but to cut her own bangs. “I watched a few videos first and figured out how to get a look I wanted. Then I FaceTimed a friend of mine so I wouldn’t ‘wig’ myself out, borrowed my mom’s hair-cutting scissors, and chopped them!” Jenab said. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restricted the operation of hair salons, barbershops, and all hands-on beauty shops because of the inevitable need for one-on-one contact between workers and customers, which violated the safety guidelines of COVID-19. A portion of salons and barbershops are beginning to open up with added precautions to abide by CDC guidelines. Some are limiting the number of clients or people inside the building at once, and others have moved their shops entirely outside. Unfortunately, the self-employed workers paid close to minimum wage run most of these small businesses and

Photo: Hannah Kosi

Parker Sockwell and Bridget Mills pose for a picture on a hike with their recently trimmed and dyed hair.

Photo: Abby Beckerman

Abby Beckerman takes a picture, proudly holding the 12 inches of her hair she chopped off to donate. work paycheck-to-paycheck, relying on a steady in-flow of customers. According to a survey by the Brookings Institution, “Personal and Laundry Services” is ranked third in a list of industries most likely to be affected by the coronavirus and employs about 2.6 million people across the country. Because “Personal and Laundry Services” mostly require hands-on work with customers, there was no way for these businesses to conform to the COVID-19 mandatory requirements other than shutting down their stores. Not only did the closing of these salons harshly affect the employees and owners of the shops, but their customers were left with no professional help for their beauty needs. For many, this meant letting their hair grow out to unflattering lengths or revealing outgrown roots and their true hair color. In some cases, people felt so desperate to fix their look that they turned to YouTube tutorials and their own skill to learn how to mend their hair. On the bright side, there wasn’t as much pressure to get the job done perfectly because of the quarantined isolation from the outside world and the judgement that comes with it. Some people have embraced the cut-off from beauty sa-

lons and decided to be creative and unique with their looks, just like Jenab. Sheer boredom and a want for something new encouraged people to experiment with cutting, dying, and styling their ‘dos. Junior Parker Sockwell, inspired by her friends, spontaneously decided to dye all of her hair pink for fun and a new change. “Afterwards, I realized it wasn’t my best decision and I regretted it after a few days, but it was still fun for a little!” Sockwell said. In some cases, one’s fun activity resulted in another person’s gain, which made the decision even more special. “I wanted to cut my hair myself, and I donated 12 inches to a company that makes wigs for children with hair loss,” junior Abby Beckerman said. “I was super happy with how they [the bangs] turned out. During the first few days after I cut them, they looked very different and shocking to me, and now I think they’ve really grown in the way I want them to,” Jenab said. Unfortunately, COVID-19 severely impacted the lives of many personal care and beauty industry employees. However, for better or for worse, it also encouraged many people to be unique and step out of their comfort zone by taking their beauty needs or wants into their own hands.

Photo: Mina Jenab

Mina Jenab takes a selfie of her newly cut hair. Cutting bangs was a popular activity during quarantine.

Jonathan’s Stock Talk: Predicting Safe Bets


Nvidia (NVDA) One of the biggest winners of the pandemic, Nvidia, manufactures video processing cards known to be used by gamers. Additionally, the company found other markets to dominate, such as artificial intelligence development, autonomous driving, and Bitcoin mining. However, one of the biggest catalysts for its growth is the entry into cloud computing data centers. Due to millions of Americans working and attending school from home, streaming videos, and doing virtual meetings, the demand for cloud computing has only grown.

Recovering after the initial drop sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. stock market is now a “bull market.” A “bull market” is an extended period of time where a large portion of stock prices are rising. They tend to last for a few months and sometimes even years. This effect is characterized by investor confidence and expectations that strong results will continue on for a long period of time. Most strategists consider the bull market to have begun at the S&P 500’s low of 2,237.40 points on March 23. While the market grows now, it’s important to be wary of possible drops due to the ongoing pandemic and upcoming catalyst events such as the presidential election. Here are some safe bets: Zoom Video Communications (ZM) During the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom’s value soared due to its use in nearly every medium, including virtual classes, meetings, and even concerts. The demand for Zoom is high, but some might worry that after the pandemic, its relevance will fade. However, analysts argue that video calls are here to stay and will continue to play a large role in businesses and schools post-pandemic due to their convenience. Additionally, the company launched the platform, Zoom Phone, which packages phone chat, meetings, and video calls all in one platform.

Photo: Jonathan Pham

Amazon (AMZN) Due to the decline of retail and established prominence of Amazon’s online commerce and retail empire, the company entered the pandemic positioned to dominate. Trapped inside, many Americans turned to Amazon to complete the bulk of their shopping. However, once COVID-19 is under control, the likelihood of consumer patterns shifting back to in-person retail is slim due to many department stores such as J.C. Penney, Pier 1, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Aldo, GNC, and others filing for bankruptcy. The availability and convenience of Amazon makes it hard for any American to want to switch back to in-person retail.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) The upcoming election is expected to shake up the market depending on who wins. However, regardless Coca-Cola (KO) of a Trump or Biden win, there will most likely be a Although their revenue dropped by 26 percent in the major infrastructure spending bill. Both the Republisecond quarter (April 1 to June 30) due to restaurant can and Democratic parties have talked about the need closures, Coca-Cola’s status as a staple in any restaurant for infrastructure for years now. Recently, the number will likely make the stock price shoot up once businessof unemployment claims sparked comparisons to the es fully reopen. Due to a lot of its revenue stemming Great Depression. Back in the 1930s, the government from restaurant sales, Coca-Cola has fallen behind combatted the depression and stimulated employment Photo: CNBC in the past few months. However, this lag in sales is by funding massive infrastructure projects. Due to the Large portions of stock prices are rising after news of hopefully only temporary. Additionally, for the long large amount of unemployed Americans, there seems to COVID-19. The graph shows a sharp increase after April. term, the company has invested in developing healthier, be no question that an infrastructure spending bill will low sugar drinks as well as the growing energy drink get passed. The only uncertainty is in how large it will market. Depending on the success of its newer products and the end of the panbe. These conditions put Brookfield Asset Management as one of the top companies demic, one of the most iconic brands in history is expected to rebound and make its to invest in right now. Brookfield is an asset manager that specializes in infrastructure. investors a lot of money. Because of these conditions, Brookfield will be in a position of high demand.



Popular Hit Albums to Blast While at Home

The Mirador takes a looks back at the most popular albums and songs over the last six months that hit the top charts, while Miramonte listeners stayed quarantined at home and enjoyed these tunes


Photo: Generattion Now, Atlantic Records

Photo: Colombia Records

Lil Uzi Vert - “Eternal Atake” Released about a week before our quarantine began, this hip-hop album was highly anticipated by all Lil Uzi Vert fans and long overdue, being his first album in almost three years. The artist quickly released a “deluxe” version of the album a week later, doubling the number of songs and making his fans even more excited. Some fans were disappointed because the album did not live up to their hopes. “There are definitely some slaps in the album, but it was way too overhyped and should’ve been dropped way sooner,” sophomore Keoni Wong said. The most popular songs include “Baby Pluto”, “Futsal Shuffle 2020”, and “Prices”. Polo G - “The Goat” This album is the young Chicago artist’s second of his career and earned him an even faster-growing fan base. A relatively new artist, Polo G has a strong following already with his unique hip-hop sound that mixes his great vocals (which is sometimes uncommon in rappers) and his impressive raps that give the listener a look into his life. “I really like the way he uses his lyrics to talk about his own experiences,” senior Parker Hett said. Some top songs on the album include “Martin & Gina”, “Wishing For A Hero (ft. BJ The Chicago Kid)”, and “Flex (ft. Juice WRLD)”.

Photo: Columbia Records Erskine

Photo: Interscope Records

Megan Thee Stallion-“SUGA” This new female hip-hop artist made her debut with her single “Hot Girl Summer” last year and has earned a strong following throughout this year. Megan released “SUGA” March 5, and it was well-received by fans. Megan often collaborates with other artists and can be found featured on many artists’ popular singles. Some of her top songs include “WAP (with Cardi B)”, “Savage”, and “Girls in the Hood”. Photo: OVO Sound Republic

Photo: 1501 Certified Enteratinment, 300 Entertainment

Photo: Republic Records

Taylor Swift -“Folklore” After about a year of dormancy for Taylor Swift, she finally released her newest album “Folklore” in July. The album was both written and produced during the pandemic and surprised (but pleased) Taylor fans with its diversion from Taylor’s recent pop sound to a more indie-folk sound. Some top songs of the album are “cardigan”, “the 1”, and “exile (ft. Bon Iver)”. “Folklore is an amazing album. It embraces the country lyrical style once again with a very different tone. I absolutely love how each song tells such a clear story, and it is truly amazing that the entire album was written and produced in quarantine,” senior Grace Barmmer said.

Harry Styles - “Fine Line” This pop album had almost everyone singing along because of its catchy, summer feeling that only Harry Styles could craft so well. Some top songs on the album include: “Watermelon Sugar”, “Adore You”, and “Falling”. Although its release was at the end of 2019, songs on the album continued to hit the charts this summer with their popularity. “My favorite album of the summer was probably Harry Styles’ album because it has a lot of really good songs, and I have loved Harry Styles since I was young,” freshman Natalie Stryker said.

Juice WRLD - “Legends Never Die” Juice WRLD is a very popular hip-hop artist of the younger generation and has continued to become more popular with each new album or song released after his death in 2019. This album, released in July, surprised and intrigued many because it’s questioned to be his last one. The songs on this album were chosen from Juice’s large collection of pre-recorded songs by his family. Some of the top songs on the album include “Wishing Well”, “Come & Go (with Marshmello)”, and “Conversations”.

Drake - “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” Hip-hop artist Drake came back yet again for a new album in May. Drake is very consistent in his production of music and always keeps his fans wanting more. Some of the top songs of the album include “Toosie Slide”, “Chicago Freestyle (ft. Giveon)”, and “Pain 1993 (with Playboi Carti)”. “I really like this album because it encompasses many different styles of music, and all of the songs are really good, they are great to listen to when you’re in all different types of mood. This was definitely one of my top picks over quarantine,” junior James Frye said.

Photo: Carly Hoskins

For songs from these artists plus many more, scan the Spotify playlist code in the app. You can also access the playlist by visiting my Spotify (carlyhoskins-us). The playlist is called “Mirador”, and it’s collaborative! That means anyone with a Spotify account can add songs, but be mindful of others’ additions and please do not delete any songs.

Newest James Bond Film Coming November AIDEN BOWEN With even more guns, cars, and explosions than the last, the newest James Bond thriller, “No Time to Die,” promises to be an exciting 163 minutes. Coming Nov. 20, there will definitely be no shortage of action and plenty of popular actors, including star Daniel Craig as James Bond, returning villain Christoph Waltz, and Rami Malek, a new addition to the cast. In just two months, the five-year wait for a new 007 film is over. With indoor theaters closed, there might not be a 40 by 50 feet screen to watch the crazy action. Let’s be real, there’s no better place than a theater to watch Craig run from an explosion or shoot machine guns out of his car. But currently, as of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 reopening map, Contra Costa County is in the purple, the highest tier out of the four reopening levels. This could mean that Contra Costa and the rest of the Bay Area isn’t seeing any chance of theaters opening in the near future, and quite possibly not in time for the premiere of the newest Bond addition. “I’m excited that they’re making a new James Bond. But at the same time, I’m disappointed theaters are going to be closed,” junior Addy Ireland said. Despite this looking like a great movie, the closed theaters make Craig’s final appearance as Bond slightly disappointing. Yes, sadly, “No Time to Die” will be the end of Craig’s 007 saga. From “Casino Royale” in 2006 to “Skyfall” in 2012 to “Spectre”’ in 2015, there is one final movie that will be the icing on the cake. Thus, “No Time to Die” should be one of the best additions to the movie franchise, which stretches back to 1962. As Craig returns from retirement to defeat a new supervillain, the movie should be all the more interesting in revealing which actor takes the role of the new 007. Now with only a couple more months until the premiere, we have a limited time to see if theaters will open. But, in the near future, there seems to be little hope for that. Regardless if “No Time to Die ‘’ can be viewed on the big screen, it’s going to be an epic movie. Photo: Eon Production Ltd



The Best Ways to Spend Your Zoom Breaks

What was once strolling through the salmon halls during passing period is now an awkward gap of time between online classes. The Mirador has got you covered with ways to utilize your break 4. Declutter your workspace


Take some time to declutter and organize your workspace. Having a clear area to work can help reduce stress and increase productivity throughout the day. You’ll be even more prepared to take on your next task or class. Consider buying a planner or some organizers to place in your space to organize your supplies and manage your time.

The Miramonte 2020-2021 school year started, Aug. 17, and since then, students are adjusting to the new norm. Instead of walking to class and chatting with friends between periods, you now have an awkward gap of time between online Zoom meetings. Everything is different, and adjusting to the abnormal school year can feel stressful and overwhelming. Here are a few things you can do in those 15 minute window between classes to pass the time, relieve stress, and prepare you for your next Zoom. Photo: Angelo Pantais on Unsplash

1. Grab a drink or a snack

Hobbies are great ways to pass the time, so why not try and find a new one! You could take up drawing, learn how to play a new instrument, experiment in the kitchen, or pursue any other interests you have. Not only could you do these activities in between class, but you could also enjoy your hobby after school. Stress doesn’t disappear when you log off of your last Zoom, so you can use hobbies as a healthy activity to help break up long hours of studying or doing homework.

A nice snack is a fun and delicious way to refuel your brain. Preparing and eating a snack can give you a little distraction from school stress. Pair that snack with a refreshing drink, or just plain water! Drinking water is beneficial to your health and brain function. You can also leave a glass of water nearby while you’re on your Zoom so you can hydrate throughout the call. Switch up your water with some lemon slices or a flavor packet. Photo: Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

2. Listen to music Music can improve your mood, help you relax, and manage stress. According to the University of Nevada, Reno, “Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.” “Disco” by Surf Curse, “505” by the Arctic Monkeys, and “Midnight Sky” by Miley Cyrus are examples of some upbeat songs you can welcome to between classes. “Music just lifts my mood and it’s comforting to turn to familiar songs I enjoy,” sophomore Phoenix Dennis said.

5. Find a new hobby

3. Step outside to get fresh air and exercise Fresh air helps get more oxygen and blood to your brain, which can help you feel energized, remember new information, and improve your concentration. Short exercise also has benefits for your brain. According to research news website Science Daily, “A short burst of exercise directly boosts the function of a gene that increases connections between neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory.” You could go on a short walk, do some jumping jacks, or any exercise that gets you up and moving.

6. Relax, take a break, or meditate Sometimes you just need a break. School can be overwhelming, so a 15 minute passing period is a productive way to give your brain a reset before another Zoom call. You can also try meditation, a calming practice that can help train your awareness and focus. It helps relax the body, and according to Harvard Health Publishing, mindful meditation helps relieve stress and improve concentration. Meditation apps like Calm and Headspace provide meditations to fit your personal mental goals. Meditation is a great way to escape from the stress of online school and just relax.

Consumer Trends Rise COVID-19 Impacts Throughout Pandemic Popular TV Shows REAGAN KAELLE You scroll through Amazon, your glazed eyes and laptop fan practically screaming at you to take a necessary break from the hours of non-stop exertion. Your goal is simple: to ensure maximum nutrition for the seemingly endless quarantine you are enduring. Already residing in your cart are eight cases of La Croix’s and several vats of peanut butter. However, your final purchase is the pièce de résistance, a 50-pound bag of popcorn that is sure to last you until 2021, perfect for binging TV shows and the occasional post-Zoom snack. Throughout 2020, analysts are baffled by the sharp uptick in online sales and the once trivial items that are now staples. Despite the almost entirely practical intentions of consumers, the occasional unneeded item has worked its way into many people’s shopping carts. According to Rakuten Intelligence, a consumer analysis company, “E-commerce spending in the U.S. is up more than 30 percent from the beginning of March through mid-April compared with the same period last year.” Online retailers are experiencing a massive increase in sales due to the current global pandemic and safety concerns involving leaving the house. Amazon, essentially the foundation of E-commerce, has experienced a 43.4 percent growth in sales. Amazon and many other companies are proving that the extended time at home has enabled even more time for shopping. While the majority of these sales are in the realm of unavoidable purchases, the typical quarantined consumer has other things to consider. Staying safe is still everyone’s top priority as people are stocking up on disinfecting wipes,

masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. However, what many reports neglect to show are the random and unexplainable purchases that many have regrettably made. Buzzfeed took a poll on Aug. 5, and the results came back with some questionable purchases, including a baby bearded dragon, jars of garlic powder, boxes of Jell-O powder, several packages of “Trolls”-themed Oreos, boiled peanuts, 50 pounds of popcorn, Air Wick wall fresheners, a pink wig, cases of La Croix, yarn and a bidet. Miramonte students have supposedly spent money on ukuleles, disco balls, plants, drones, blanket hoodies, electric candle lighters, yellow watermelons, and lightsaber keychains just to name a few. Sophomore Zoe Petty is looking for ways to stay entertained. “I bought a disco ball because I needed something fun to keep occupied during the start of quarantine and I thought it was fun,” Petty said. Boredom has forced students to think outside the box, and because of this, purchases are becoming very creative. “I bought an electric candle lighter because it looked like a taser,” sophomore Maya Martono said. Jokes aside, online retail sales have skyrocketed. According to Digital Commerce 360, an internet retailer analysis group, “In the first quarter that ended March 31, consumers spent $146.47 billion online with U.S. retailers, up 14.5 percent from $127.89 billion for the same period the prior year.” At the end of the day, what you choose to purchase is entirely up to you. Whether it is 50 pounds of popcorn or several vats of peanut butter, just know that you are one of the many the bored people who are most likely stuck on a Zoom call, trying to make the best out of unprecedented circumstances.

“We’re disappointed to have to make these decisions due to circumstances creatThis year, the television industry was hit ed by COVID-19,” Netflix said in a statehard by COVID-19, and dozens of series ment to Deadline. During a time when many people are have been delayed or canceled. Netflix ofstaying home, they are forced to find new ficially canceled two well-received shows ways to stay occupied, which is proving due to the coronavirus pandemic: “The harder to do. According to the New York Society” and “I’m Not Okay With This”. Post, “A study of 2,000 Americans with acAccording to Netflix, “The Society” origicess to a streaming service found the avernally planned to begin filming their second age person is now streaming eight hours of season this September, but plans changed content per day and binge-watched three due to the show’s now-canceled status. The shows in the past week.” uncertainty of production start dates and The New York Post also noted that 42 unexpected increases in the budget were percent of people had shared their passmajor reasons behind the cancelations. words for streaming Additionally, shows like services with another I am dismayed “The Society” had a large person since the start number of cast members, that a lot of of the pandemic. making it hard for everymy favorite TV “I am dismayed one to film on set together that a lot of my favorwhile maintaining social shows are getite TV shows are getdistancing guidelines and ing canceled at ting canceled at this other safety measures. time. I know that I this time.” Production shutdowns am not alone because are affecting the way studios film and resume production. With shows and movies are a lot of people’s prithat said, it is unclear whether Netflix will mary source of entertainment now. I would be canceling more shows down the line due have guessed that some shows would be to financial impact and higher production thriving since of the abundant number of costs resulting from COVID-19. Some people at home. However, the new guidepopular shows, including “Outer Banks” lines and boundaries make it difficult to and “Stranger Things”, are delayed. As of produce new shows,” junior Dominic Cleri now, additional seasons of shows like “The said. A lot of people are having trouble enterCrown” were pushed back more than a year, taining themselves. With the strange outand others like “Soundtrack” were pushed come of this year, many shows have been back indefinitely. “I’m so mad they pushed pushed back or canceled, making it hard back shows because Netflix is my main for the production companies and viewers source of entertainment,” sophomore Auat home. brie Jalowiec said. MICHELLE ZHOU

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