The Mirador Volume 64 Issue 6

Page 1




Sexist Uniforms:

Freshmen on Varsity:

Vaccinated Students:

The Editorial Board unanimously agreed that Miramonte needs to offer alternative volleyball uniforms to combat sexism (page 3).

Photo: Kirstin Parker

The Volume 64, Issue 6

With increasing eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, many students began receiving the Pfizer vaccine (page 6).

Photo: Kate Sinha

Due to the delayed return to campus, many freshmen got their introudction to high school and the student body through sports (page 11).


Photo: Olivia Rhee


April 23, 2021

Latin Club Participates in Annual Convention REAGAN KAELLE & GRACE LIU

skrit is to Latin and Greek, or viewed an eyewitness account of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. April 9 and 10 marked the yearly California State “It's really cool to be able to get so many ColLatin Convention, where California members of the loquia speakers. This is definitely something I could National Junior Classical League, Miramonte Latin not have done if it were in person because I’m at Club included, met and participated in competitions, school and so there are so many new opportunivoted on leaders, and socialized. Menlo High School ties. There’s a lot of things about being in person for hosted it entirely virtual for the first time through convention that are really amazing. It’s super cool to Zoom and YouTube Live due to the ongoing COhave so many classicists in one place and hundreds VID-19 pandemic. of students dressed up in togas in a gym, but there “It was great seeing Latin students competing and are a lot of opportunities also that we have with virdeepening their understanding of the ancient world. tual and how now you can bring more people in,” Photo: Anna Painter Pomona College junior Rachel Howard, who gave a The Miramonte students impressed Magistra and me with their spirit and enthusiasm and how they threw Carly Hoskins and Anna Painter hold up their first place banner. colloquia session titled "Whose Art Is It? Artifacts themselves into all the activities throughout the weekLooted During and Prior to the Modern Period," end. Delegates not only won many awards but also said. fostered community among students from around the Another favorite activity of many Latin students state,” Latin teacher Matt Davis said. Latin students is Certamen, a Jeopardy-style game where students from all participating schools were encouraged to work in teams. The game tests your knowledge of submit work for art, graphic design, oratory, and spirit Latin and the classical world. “Competitive Certacompetitions all in an attempt to win glory for their men was fun and Kahoots were also fun. The Zoom respective schools. format works pretty well and is well-organized,” This year, the organizers used Zoom links and Latin I student and freshman Sammy Ishikawa said. YouTube Live streams for participants. The organizers Miramonte won first place for Scrapbook and of the event used Sched, an online scheduling platBanner, second place for the Publicity, and third form which presented the various activity offerings to place for t-shirt and Certamen cate. Senior Cara students. Holden received a $2000 schoolarship and junior The convention began the afternoon of April 9 Mallika Dandamudi received an invitation to serve with a general assembly held through YouTube Live. on the CAJCL State Board as the Historian next Afterwards, all students were required to take at least Photo: Miramonte Latin Club year. “I had two favorite parts of the convention. The one academic test on topics ranging from Roman my- Matt Davis shows off his spirit with a goofy Medusa-inspired hat. first was watching the Latin IIIs compete in the thology and daily life to Latin vocabulary and gramcompetitive Certamen finals. While it's regrettable like the great colloquia lectures,” Latin II student and jumar. Once the testing session ended, students were that my own division didn't make the cut, watching free to choose the events they wanted to participate in nior Joshua Severson said. our newest group put on such a promising performance Students also had the opportunity to hear from college makes me feel great about Miramonte Certamen's future. for the remainder of the evening. These included activities such as Apud Nos (Among Us), Pictionary, Kahoots students and professors on a variety of topics relating to The second had to be reacting to General Assembly III. on Roman mythology and ancient culture, and community the Classics and the ancient world through sessions called I was in a voice channel with some other club members colloquia. One of the lectures offered discussed historical and we all went WILD seeing how many wins Miramonte service projects. “My favorite part of convention was definitely the chess figures such as King Herod and Nero, while another cov- brought home. I was happy, everyone else was happy, it retournament. I got crushed, but it was still a lot of fun. ered how Latin can be beneficial in medical school. Other ally was just a magic few minutes,” Latin IV AP student, People have been getting more and more creative with the sessions talked about the question of ownership over clas- Co-Consul of Miramonte Latin Club, and senior Xander online format, but it's good to see some things still around sical art, how closely related the Indian language of San- Deanhardt said.

Leadership Plans COVID-19 Safe Senior Ball INGABORG FOUTCH & EMMA LEIBOWITZ Students previously assumed that Ball, a popular endof-high school tradition for seniors, would be canceled due to the pandemic, but Leadership now hopes to hold the event on May 15. Through email, the Class of 2021 Parent Advisors Board notified parents of seniors about Leadership’s plans to hold a Senior Ball at the end of this school year, despite uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. “I was almost certain that Senior Ball wouldn’t happen and I’m surprised that Leadership and the district are making it possible. Originally, it was quite unfortunate that one of the best high school experiences was gone, but with COVID-19 and college, I ended up focusing less on the dances like Prom and Ball,” senior Shyon Afshar said. According to the email, Leadership sent a survey to the senior class during the week of March 1 to “gather input on several event criteria, including dress code,” the email states. The seniors overwhelmingly voted to make Ball a formal event. Senior Ball will take place outdoors on the Miramonte football field, and seniors will have to follow health

guidelines in order to safely attend. Similar to hybrid masks and such, but we are doing the best we can with school, masks will be required at all times and social dis- what COVID-19 guidelines allow us to do,” Leadership tancing will be enforced. Prior to the pandemic, Leader- advisor Jeremy Foltz said. ship planned to hold Ball at the California Academy of According to a poll conducted on The Mirador InstaSciences. For safety reasons, only Miramonte seniors will gram of 58 Miramonte seniors, 49 responded that they attend Ball, whereas in the past, students had the oppor- plan to attend Senior Ball while only 9 said they would tunity to bring dates from other grades or even schools. not. “I will be going to Ball. I am super excited to finally “As of right now, I’m not sure if I’m going to Senior have a ‘normal’ senior event, even though it will look difBall and I think my decision will change depending ferent than in past years. I'm hopeful everyone will still on if pandemic conditions improve. If I do go, I would have fun and get all dressed up,” senior Lindsey Bliss said. definitely be looking forward to seeing my friends again Leadership will announce more specific details about since I haven’t seen them in a long time. Before Leader- Ball logistics closer to May 15. ship announced that they were going to be holdNon-Profit Organization ing a Senior Ball, I was a little bummed since Ball Miramonte High School US Postage Paid, Orinda, is one of the largest events that all seniors look 750 Moraga Way forward to. However, at the same time, if it were Orinda, CA 94563 Ca Permit #301 canceled, I would completely understand since safety is first,” senior Justice Shin said. The ticket price for Ball this year is $100, but scholarships will also be offered to some students to cover some or all of the cost. “Everybody is very excited to have Senior Ball. We have really tried our very best to make it happen. Of course we all want to have it at a really lovely location with no

2 NEWS 04/23/21


Lamorinda Holds SuperShorts Film Festival

For the second year in a row, the Lamorinda Arts Council will host the SuperShorts Film Festival online. Participants get creative with submissions, drawing inspiration from a year in the pandemic


to transition our ongoing programs to a virtual format and to create new proThe Lamorinda Arts Council will host grams that would provide opportunities their second annual virtual SuperShorts for artistic expression and appreciation, Film Festival on May 19. Poeple of all even while sheltering in place,” Lamages can participate as long as they live, orinda Arts Council Program Manager work, or attend school within Lamorinda. Shelly Rose said. Filmmakers can submit their films anyAll genres of film are encouraged and time between Feb. 22 to May 14. entries can be filmed on any device in“I like making short films because they cluding a cell phone, tablet, or camera. give me an opportunity to express my creStudents and adults are encouraged to ativity and share it with others. I would participate. definitely encourage others to enter this “This is a great opportunity to learn year’s festival, as there is no required level or practice filmmaking skills and share of skill in order to give it a try. Making your creativity with the local commufilms is a fun way to grow your skills and nity. The competition is meant to inspire meet new people,” Acalanes sophomore those who may have never seen themJack Dunne said. Dunne participated in selves as filmmakers to try something the youth category and was one of last new, but it also gives seasoned filmmakyear’s winners. He will also participate ers an opportunity to practice their craft this year. and showcase their work,” Rose said. Photo: Jennifer Wallace SuperShorts films must not exceed Filmmakers use creativity and try out three minutes and all content must be The Lamorinda SuperShorts Film Festival is adverstised on the Lamorinda Arts new mediums within filmmaking. Lois G rated. Short films are categorized and Council website. There, students can sign up and view other participants’ submissions. Reynolds, who was one of last year’s past judged in three different age categories: winners in the adult category, created the of ShortDocs which is a similar concept, except films Youth (under age 18), Adult (age 18+), film “Ten Things” regarding the impact and Family (collaboration between youth and adult). cap at six minutes rather than three minutes. Before the of shelter-in-place as a result of the pandemic. Each person can submit one film per category with an SuperShorts competition was created, the ShortDocs “For me, it is about the process of creating. I love entry fee of $5. The Orinda Theatre hosted last year’s competition ran for four years. “ShortDocs is on hold making films and the competition is a vehicle where the festival, however, due to this year’s COVID-19 restric- until we can find someone to run the program. Plus we novice can share what they have made, gaining expetions, winners will be announced over a Zoom awards really want to do this as an in-person event so we are rience and confidence in the process,” Reynolds said. ceremony on May 19. The top three films of each cat- waiting to get that opportunity,” Lamorinda Arts Coun- Reynolds will participate in this year’s competition as egory will receive a $20 gift card. Winning short films cil President Denise Nomura said. well. Near the beginning of the pandemic, the Lamorinda will go on to the Lamorinda Arts Council’s YouTube The Lamorinda Arts Council website offers tips and Arts Council created the SuperShorts film competition tricks for filming, getting the right audio, and editing the channel and social media accounts. Typically, the Lamorinda Arts Council hosts the to help relieve the stress of staying at home.“Last year, short film. Additionally, Apr. 17 professional filmmaker ShortDocs (Short Documentary) competition. How- when the pandemic put a halt on in-person activities, Adarsh Gupta hosted an online Filmmaker Workshop ever, over quarantine, they created SuperShorts in place our Board members and volunteers had to get creative for filmmakers interested in participating.

Leadership Works to Community Creative Plan Hybrid Activities Writing Contest Starts


Throughout the school year, Leadership offered online opportunities to build spirit within the Miramonte community. As a result of students returning to campus on March 16, the class is switching direction to bring back a modified version of their typical plans and activities. “Leadership plans are changing because we want to make sure that everyone is involved in school activities and we are trying to figure out how to do that safely, following the COVID-19 protocols. We went from an online setting to a school setting so now we can have some more in-person spirit with people actually on campus and seeing each other,” Leadership student and sophomore Julia Berg said. Hybrid school comes with a list of mandatory COVID-19 guidelines from the district, county, state, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so plans for events and activities must remain feasible within the circumstances. Additionally, the Leadership class is split up into two cohorts which requires an additional level of communication in the class. “There is a lot of advisement that we are still waiting to hear about from the County Health Department but for now, it is really just to keep six feet distancing and wear a mask. We are avoiding indoor events and gatherings for now. The plan, for now, is to build community through lunches, class events and

eventually adding in more events like the cultural fair. More information on what we plan on doing will be released as Leadership students get used to being back and oriented with the room and campus,” Leadership teacher Jeremy Foltz said. Thus far, the class offered online opportunities for class bonding, such as a sophomore “Murder Mystery Party” hosted on Zoom, senior drive-thru events, and movie nights. Upon the transition to a hybrid schedule, Leadership welcomed students back by decorating the halls with lights and posters. “Leadership has started to shift back into what we would do under normal circumstances, we have some really fun events coming up soon, we are going to have lunchtime music on the quad, and I believe there might be a spirit week coming up,” Freshman Class President Heidi Sun said. In addition to music, students are working on setting up ping pong on the quad and possibly having Zoom picnics for those in Cohort C who chose to remain remote for the remainder of the year. “We are in the process of planning a homecoming spirit week now that we are on campus. A Mats check might also be in the works. We are working as a class to welcome the whole school back on campus while also accommodating to those who are in Cohort C. We hope to make the rest of this year super memorable and fun!” Leadership Head of Spirit and junior Bridget Mills said.


The Friends of the Orinda Library announced the 19th annual Poul Anderson Creative Writing Contest on March 1, a local writing contest open to all students living or attending high school in Orinda. The four entry categories are Science Fiction/Fantasy, Essay/Memoir/Biography, Poetry, and Short Story. Students are allowed to submit up to three entries, one in each category. Submissions are due by midnight on April 16, and winners will be announced by the end of the school year. Each entry will be read and judged by a local panel of judges who are professionally involved in reading, writing, or poetry. There won’t necessarily be one award in each category, but up to four winners will receive $500 prizes sometime at the end of the school year and entries will be posted on the Friends of the Orinda Library website. “I entered the Poul Anderson writing contest because I love creative writing since I can immerse myself in another world that is entirely free from the happenings of my life. I received an honorable mention for my short story, and I felt very honored that someone read the thoughts I arranged on paper and was immersed in the world that I created,” sophomore Eloise Anagnost said. The contest, originally called the

Friends of the Orinda Library Creative Writing Contest, was renamed in 2002 after the late Poul Anderson, an Orinda resident who wrote multiple popular science fiction novels over the past few decades, including “Tao Zero,” “The Broken Sword,” and “Brain Wave.” Poul Anderson and his wife, Karen, moved to Orinda in 1960, where they lived until Anderson’s death in 2001. “As of today, the books total about 80. Mainly my work is classifiable as science fiction or fantasy, but it also includes historical, mystery, and juvenile fiction, science fact, journalism, essays, verse, and translations. It is more than enough for me to know that my following numbers in it scientists, technologists, astronauts, and others of whose doings I am a fan,” Anderson said, according to the Friends of the Orinda Library website. Junior Ella Dulski, is in charge of monitoring and running the contest this year. “I am the Miramonte Orinda Library liaison, and I am helping coordinate the contest this year. We at the Friends of the Orinda Library look forward to reading all of your amazing submissions,” Dulski said. “Whether or not you win doesn’t affect the fact that you are sharing your creativity and your stories for other people to read and understand. This, in and of itself, deserves an award,” Anagnost said.


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04/23/21 OPINION 3


Girls’ Volleyball Uniforms are Sexist “Shorter and tighter clothes allow for better performance from players.” Every female volleyball athlete has heard some form of this phrase. While this may seem reasonable, it’s no secret that men’s sports uniforms don’t reflect this same mentality. Female sports uniforms have always incorporated aspects of current fashion trends. Until the 1960s, conservative skirts were worn as part of women’s volleyball uniforms. Today, female athletes wear shorter and tighter clothes while men’s uniforms are designed more for performance, not appearance. Not only are these unfair outfit standards used in professional volleyball, but also within Miramonte’s girls’ volleyball team. Miramonte’s sexist female volleyball uniform standards and requirements should be amended to allow for clothing styles and options other than the stereotypical “tight and short” uniforms. Just through mere observation, women’s volleyball uniforms are overly sexualized. “I just can’t help but notice that for volleyball, where the sport is the exact same regardless of gender, the girls wear tight shirts and spandex while the boys wear longer loose shorts and not tight shirts,” volleyball player and sophomore Emi Ross said. This same trend of women’s volleyball attire is visible at Miramonte. Miramonte reuses their jersey tops for a couple seasons before buying a new set for women’s volleyball. While there is no problem to this, it does mean there is no variation whatsoever in the style of uniforms; one must wear the uniform provided to them. Whether students are on varsity, junior varsity, or even the freshman/sophomore team, players’ jerseys are tight-fitted long-sleeves. If they wanted a looser fit, they could go up a size, but even then, larger sizes are not plentiful and, since a larger fit is not the intended style, it could potentially fit strangely. Miramonte should allow players to choose among various styles and fits. Miramonte provides uniforms for athletes but allows players to choose their own warm-up clothing used for practice and to wear over jerseys before games. But even with these casual warm-up outfits there were few options. The vendor of Miramonte’s volleyball warm ups for the 2020 season, the Nike Digital Catalog through BSN Sports, had no alternative styles to pick. Every warm-up top option was skin tight. The only variation was color and sleeve length. Players were never given the option to change their fit or style. Miramonte should provide uniforms that are meant to be functional, not just look pretty. Furthermore, while Miramonte doesn’t explicitly say what type of shorts girls should wear, there is a societal expectation and an accepted norm that women should wear spandex when playing volleyball. Before high school volleyball, the majority of girls played for local club teams, such as Red Rock Volleyball Club and Xceleration Volleyball Club. Local clubs are associated with the Northern California Volleyball Association. In its “Uniform Requirements and Reminders Handbook”, they do not list anywhere what type of shorts girls must wear, yet only pictures of spandex shorts are used as examples when referring to women’s uniforms. In no way is it against the rules for local clubs to offer other options, they just sim-

ply don’t. Popular local clubs such as Pacfic Rim Volleyball Academy and Vibe Volleyball Club also provide their uniforms with a pair of spandex instead of providing alternative options. “At times it [spandex shorts] can feel like you are wearing a bathing suit bottom. Most of the clubs I have played for haven’t offered any looser fitting options or other styles of bottoms,” volleyball player and freshman Keira Elliott said. Elliott has played for Vibe Volleyball and Xceleration in the past and is hoping to play for Miramonte this season. When coming into high school volleyball, even though players are able to choose their style of shorts, there is a presumption that spandex is what should be worn. “Every female athlete should be able to choose what style of uniform they want to wear. This way, the current styles of uniforms can still be available for those who are most comfortable and perform best with them. Athletics performed by females are just as valid as male-performed sports and we shouldn’t have to be validated by what we wear,” Ross said. The importance of women’s sports should not be measured based on the attractiveness of the athletes’ uniforms, and Miramonte should actively advertise that other styles of shorts are acceptable to wear to disband this stereotype on campus. It is apparent that sexist female uniforms are not standard across all sports, such as basketball and soccer. But this shouldn’t be an excuse to disregard the multiple current examples of female uniforms being sexualized. Women’s volleyball has been oversexualized for years and has been altered to appeal to audiences not by the athletes’ talent, but by their looks. Doing this degrades the sport itself. “Being a guy, I’ve never felt sexualized wearing a sports uniform, although I am aware and understanding of the sexualization of women’s sports uniforms,” sophomore Fred Neuburger said. A uniform not only should unify a team but should be designed for the best performance for each player. Miramonte’s volleyball uniforms should respect and embrace this by challenging societal norms and offering different styles of volleyball uniforms. The Editorial Board voted 13-0 in agreement that Miramonte should implement alternative girls volleyball uniform options to combat sexism.

Photo: Kirstin Parker

Students Should Attend More In-Person School HENRY HILL The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed their COVID-19 guidelines for K-12 schools on March 19. The new guidelines specify that students only need to be separated from teachers and classmates by a distance of three feet, a shift from the previous standard of six feet. At a meeting on April 14, the district Governing Board discussed the possibility of returning to four days a week of in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2020 to 2021 school year, changing the district’s current hybrid schedule of two days per week. A three-foot distance between desks, along with 39 percent of district students opting to stay online, safely allows classrooms to fit entire classes as opposed to a single cohort, which would enable the school to combine Cohorts A and B. After hours of discussion and public input, the Governing Board decided against pursuing this option, effectively prohibiting students from having any resemblance of traditional education this school year. The Governing Board should have allowed its students the option of returning to four days a week of on-campus schooling because of the benefits of increased in-person instruction and the importance of returning to normalcy. While the district’s decision to pause in-person instruction for over 75 percent of the year was backed by national and local COVID-19 health guidelines, their solution to keep students in hybrid schooling once COVID-19 restrictions lessened was made with disregard to updated guidelines and state law. Under California Assembly Bill 77, which was created to deal with school rules in the 2020 to 2021 school year, “A local educational agency shall offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.” Our district has the legal responsibility to deliver the greatest amount of in-person instruction, which is now possible under the current CDC guidelines. By failing to give students an option of returning to four days a week of in-person instruction when it can be executed in a safe manner under the new CDC guidelines, the Governing Board has defied state law and failed its students. When hybrid schooling was implemented on March 16, our school was designed to meet the six-foot CDC guidelines. Hybrid schooling finally gave students the opportunity to see their teachers and classmates in person and receive invaluable instruction. However, this model only lets students attend school twice a week and each individual class once on campus. Hybrid schooling served its purpose as the transitional system between fully distanced learning and normal in-person schooling, but it’s time to take a step closer to the normal five days a week of in-person instruction. Ultimately, hybrid schooling does not offer students the same educational experience as the

proposed four-days-a-week system. By extending the amount of in-person instruction students receive, even for only the six weeks left in the school year, students will have learned more and better prepared themselves for their final exams. In a typical school year, students taking seven periods receive over 1,000 hours of in-person instruction from their teachers, a stark dichotomy from the 50 hours students taking seven periods this year have received. While implementing four days a week of in-person instruction wouldn’t undo this monumental amount of instructional loss, it would let students finish this year with the teaching they deserve. “Even though the hybrid is a step up from online, going back to four days a week, even for a little bit, is beneficial because we can end the year off strong. Having almost a full week of in-person school will help us make better connections with our teachers and classmates,” junior Ellie Hawkins said. With COVID-19 guidelines changing and a rapid decline in cases and hospitalizations, it’s finally safe for students to receive full-time in-person instruction. The updated CDC guidelines cautiously assume that teachers and students are not vaccinated against COVID-19. At Miramonte, this is simply not the case; the vast majority of Miramonte teachers are vaccinated and many juniors and seniors have also received the vaccine. Wearing masks is required around campus and the administration would ensure there is a three-foot distance between students and faculty. Safety alone can no longer be the reason why the Governing Board continues to keep delaying students’ return to pre-COVID-19 life. “I really value in-person instruction a lot because we sometimes forget about how much we are actually missing out on as students. I know that hybrid was definitely a step in the right direction, but compared to pre-COVID in-person instruction, normal school, it is only a fraction of the school experience. Transitioning to four days of in-person instruction will only get us closer to that goal of ‘normal,’” junior Miles Owens said. The feasibility of returning to four days a week of in-person schooling with only six weeks remaining in this school year is a legitimate concern. However, returning to full in-person schooling has a variety of academic and social benefits that outweigh any potential transitional issues. By switching to this model in April, students and staff could’ve worked out potential problems in the transition back to full-time in-person instruction and prepared for finals and Advanced Placement (AP) exams with more in-person teaching. The Governing Board was given a decision: allow students the choice of returning to four days a week of in-person instruction or continue to delay our return to normalcy. Their decision to keep AUHSD schools in hybrid learning for the rest of the 2020 to 2021 school year prevents students from having even a quarter of traditional schooling, displaying the gravity and shortsightedness of the Governing Board’s ruling and jeopardizing the learning of its students.

4 OPINION 04/23/21


Two Way Street:

The Flipped Teaching Model As students and faculty return to campus under the hybrid system and new teaching methods, The Mirador staffers Paige Mays and Erin Smith debate which hybrid teaching method is the most beneficial to students PAIGE MAYS


PRO: With the hybrid model fully in motion, teachers juggle both in-person and online students at the same time. Instead of teaching both cohorts—A and B—simultaneously, the flipped teaching system, which allows educators to release Zoom participants at the beginning of class to complete separate work while focusing on the in-person students, is the best method for having an engaged classroom. The flipped model maximizes the most out of the class period without added chaos. Although an effective model on paper, hybrid learning produces various problems such as technical issues and wasted class time because of the dual classrooms occurring simultaneously. This forces teachers to split their attention between both at-home and in-person participants.“I like the flipped teaching system because I think it’s a lot less chaotic, and the teacher can focus on one thing at once. It helps the class move a lot more smoothly and gives us the opportunity to do assignments and projects we would not have been able to do online,” junior Isabel Stice said. Adjusting to hybrid is already complicated; having to also multitask is an unnecessary burden for teachers. “Teaching both an in-person and virtual lesson can be overwhelming for teachers because it requires a lot of multitasking and forces teachers to split their attention,” Stice said. Along with avoiding wasted class time, students can have an efficient school day when teachers use the flipped teaching system. Students have many assignments thrown on them every week: tests, projects, quizzes, and more. Reducing the amount of screen time will allow students to leave Zoom, complete their classwork, and work on other assignments so they can adequately prepare for the next day of instruction. One of the reasons the district transitioned back to in-person learning was to reduce the amount of screen time students and teachers endure throughout the week. Choosing to educate both in-person and online students concurrently prevents the school from accomplishing that goal. Students have already spent months at home staring at a computer screen; allowing at-home students to complete assignments off-screen will create a less draining environment. Staring at computer screens all day is scientifically harmful to people’s eyes. According to the National Education Association, “Despite high-speed internet connections, there’s a lag, maybe a millisecond delay, and that can trigger the brain to look for ways to overcome that lack of synchrony. The brain begins to fatigue, causing us to feel tired, worried, and anxious.” The flipped model would allow this screen time to decrease, preserving the health of both students and teachers. “The flipped model allows me to take advantage of the small class sizes of hybrid. I can focus on the students I have in-person and those on Zoom on their respective days. After a full year of distance learning, especially still being a sort-of-new-to-MHS-teacher, connecting with students in-person seems to be quite important,” Law and Society and history teacher Matthew Sweeney said. Overall, the flipped teaching system is the easiest and best way to teach hybrid learning. There are too many variables, including numerous technical problems, that arise with virtual learning. Exposing students to the same material on different days gives each cohort the best opportunity to retain information and reduce Zoom fatigue.

CON: Under the hybrid system, teachers are trying to find the best way to teach students in two different mediums: Zoom and in-person. However, the flipped system, which many teachers are adopting, is destructive to students’ education because it provides students with only a short amount of time with their teachers and makes them less engaged in the lesson. Teachers need to instruct students using the regular system in order to efficiently educate their students. The regular system, where students learn the same material together with a teacher regardless of whether they are on Zoom or in person, is superior to the flipped system because students will get the maximum amount of time with their teachers. Students are already limited to around three hours a week per class, including asynchronous Mondays that take up 40 minutes. This leaves teachers two hours and 30 minutes a week to teach the material in-person or on Zoom, however, with the flipped system, this time is limited to one hour and 15 minutes. Teachers only have a certain amount of time to introduce and explain material, and having students complete almost two hours of asynchronous work a week is not efficient. “75 minutes [of working with a teacher] a week is so short. Even in college, you would see your instructors for more than 75 minutes a week. Students benefit from hearing the responses of others, being engaged with their peers, and being part of a community that is trying their hardest to learn together, not just the curriculum, but the beauty of sharing ideas, knowledge, and ourselves,” computer science teacher Cynthia Boyko said. A regular system is more beneficial because students can better communicate with their teachers. “I typically don’t ask questions that come up during my asynchronous work the next day in person because the information we learn on Mondays doesn’t tend to ever come up again, ” junior Kate Sinha said. Because students are learning information asynchronously, they do not have easy access to teachers to immediately answer questions, so students are left trying to find the answers themselves. Another factor to consider regarding the flipped system is student engagement. Some teachers find the flipped system harmful to students because they cannot gauge whether or not a certain area of study is understood by their students when they are working asynchronously. Students have been on Zoom for nearly a year, and to some, assignments have become part of a checklist rather than a tool to help them learn. “I feel like I do the asynchronous work just to get it done. It feels like some of my teachers are just assigning us work because they feel required to, so it’s not meaningful,” Sinha said. Students’ educations are being harmed by the flipped system because students are not engaged in their activities when they are off Zoom and working asynchronously, and they are not learning the material the proper way. Overall, the flipped system has a negative impact on students due to the lack of time to learn the material, decreased engagement, and less time to communicate with teachers. All teachers should switch to the regular system because it provides the most effective learning method and will promote better learning habits.


Teachers Must Follow Fair Hybrid Testing Policies ERIN SMITH Students and staff are experiencing the hybrid school system for the first time. One of the biggest challenges that teachers are trying to navigate is the testing system. Because each class period is now made up of students learning online and in-person, there is controversy concerning how teachers should administer tests. Inevitably, the system is flawed since many teachers use conflicting testing methods, and the district needs to create strict guidelines to make testing as fair as possible. Since students at home have access to resources to aid them during exams while in-person students do not, teachers are trying to find the most equitable testing system. The district has no real guidelines for how teachers should create a fair testing system. “The district has stated nothing specific [on guidelines for testing], but they have stated that we need to be consciously considering if our testing is equitable for all cohorts, and making adjustments if it isn’t,” AP Physics and Physics of the Universe teacher Tiffany Palmberg said. Every teacher is creating their own unique testing system that best suits class curriculum. Some teachers are choosing to give all students tests online while they are at home. “Nothing is set in stone [regarding the testing system], but for AP Physics, I am going to continue testing on the day students are at home [over Zoom]. This seemed like the fairest option for everyone, since some students will never be in the classroom to test,” Palmberg said. This testing system is logical and more fair because students will all be taking the test in the same format and under similar conditions, whether or not they are in Cohort C, the fully remote group, or part of one of the two hybrid sections. Students tend to favor Palmberg’s system of testing. “I think the most fair way to give tests while we are in hybrid would be to give them at home. Some students chose to stay all online and so that would mean they would take all their tests at home. I would say that all students should just take the tests in person, but that would not be possible for the people who chose to be all online,” freshman Campbell Lovell said. To address the question of potential cheating, some teachers have also opted for an open-note testing system. “When Miramonte switched from distance learning to hybrid

learning, I changed my testing policy to allow all students access to their notes. This modification was made to bring a measure of student testing equity, irrespective of where students take their test: in the privacy of their home or in the public classroom. Although I am not able to make the difference in test settings fully equitable, I believe my new testing policy helps to lessen this problem quite a bit,” math teacher Carolyn Manning said. By allowing students to use notes when they are taking in-person tests, the in-person students will have access to the same helpful materials as the online students, leveling the playing field, which is necessary for creating a fair testing system. “In my math class, students will be taking the test the same day, but students both in-person and online will be able to use their notes. I think this method is fair because the people in-person will Photo: Sophia Acevedo now be able to use notes, which some people online may have been able to use already. I also think it is more fair to keep the tests on the same day to prevent anyone from sharing what was on the test,” junior Ava Christofferson said. Giving all students access to the same materials during exams is important for maintaining a fair testing environment, and holding tests on the same day for all cohorts is the best way to curb large-scale cheating. Another system that select teachers could implement is elinimating written tests altogether and moving towards projects to allow students to show a more comprehensive and individualized understanding of certain concepts. “For Physics of the Universe, we will most likely be doing projects or performance tasks instead of a written tests because they fit better for our upcoming units,” Palmberg said. There are a variety of ways teachers can administer tests, however, only a few of the ways will be equitable for students in all the different learning platforms. The district needs to make specific guidelines for teachers on how to administer tests because students’ grades depend on it. Any slight advantage in the testing system is harmful to the students who lack this opportunity. Students should not be punished through the testing system for coming back to in-person learning and therefore the district needs to standardize the testing system.


04/23/21 OPINION 5

School Must Address Intersectional Feminism

March’s Women’s History Month does not cover the history and hardships that women face. Miramonte must implement curriculum about intersectional feminism to address the importance of women’s rights MALAYNA CHANG Since 1987, Women’s History Month in March reflects and celebrates advancements women made throughout history. However, women still face oppression, systemic sexism, and misogyny that is ingrained in everyday society. Female suppression and systemic sexism must be addressed and the district must continue to add more women’s education to the curriculum and acknowledge sexism and intersectional feminism in academic sessions such as Cohort Academy or the mandatory sophomore health classes. “Intersectional feminism expands on the capitalistic liberal feminism that centers cishet, able-bodied white women. It fights to abolish the patriarchy, not just for white women, but every kind of misogyny-affected person, making intersectional feminism one of the only ways to achieve liberation from misogyny,” sophomore and AUHSD Chapter of Grassroots Law Project President Gemma Leach said. Women have the ability to progress society forward in unprecedented ways. According to The Journalist’s Research and the Congressional Research Service, “Women can be more effective legislators than their male counterparts, with the average female congresswomen bringing more funding back to their districts and sponsoring and cosponsoring more bills than their male counterparts.” In politics and beyond, women have the necessary skills and abilities needed to progress, but the lack of societal equity downplays the potential impact women can have. “I think that in order to truly achieve equity, we need to empower each other. I think that intersectional feminism is important to help lift each other up. I think that staying aware and educating people will help people stay involved,” junior Bridget Meagher said. Similar to Black History Month, Women’s History Month is a form of tokenism, despite its good intentions. The few weeks dedicated to women and the daily posts of influential women in history on the Canvas homepages are not enough to bring about change for the prevalent issues that women still face today. “We, as students, as women, and as people need to be

Photo: Giacomo Ferroni on Unsplash

Annual women’s marches led by female activists occur across the nation to fight for gender equality. doing as much as we can for intersectional feminism. It’s important for misogyny-affected people to be using their voices, when it’s safe for them to do so, in order to work intersectionality against the patriarchy. Men also have to call out other men and hold each other accountable,” Leach said. Sexual assault rates have not decreased in the past decade. According to RAINN, 1 out of every 6 American women are victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime. The issue of sexual harassment and assault in America must be acknowledged by the district, especially as it is an issue at our schools, as seen on multiple Instagram accounts in which students share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. “This summer, I was recently sexually harassed by a Miramonte student. Leading up to it, there was a lot of cyberbullying and him targeting me out of a group of people. He even tried recording me in the bathroom. My family told his parents but he has received no punishment and continued to make fun of me and make a joke out of it to this day,” a student who wishes to remain anonymous said on the @miramonteprotectors Instagram account. The school must increase sexual assault and consent education in the mandatory tenth-grade health classes. The Miramonte Intersectional Feminism Club is working to combat these issues by advocating for the addition of extra consent and sexual assault education in the district’s mandatory sophomore Human and Social Development classes. This is an important step towards addressing

a problem that is specifically higher against women in proportion to men that can lead to further progress in other areas where women are targeted or oppressed. Fortunately, many district and community groups are taking action to reach the ultimate goal of gender equality. The Amnesty Orinda Club, which consists of students as well as community members, is lobbying Congressional representatives on passing the Global HER Act, which would ensure permanent abortion rights for all women, as well as basic health rights. The AUHSD Diversify Our Narrative group is holding monthly forums to foster courageous conversations about these prevalent issues in our society. These clubs are student-run and are taking a step in the right direction towards reaching gender equality. The school should partner with these student groups and raise their voices in the community to represent women and the oppression they face in modern-day society. More importantly, as of April 12, the district announced the upcoming implementation of sexual orientation and gender identity educational sessions during Cohort Academy. These sessions will be led by the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County, and focus mainly on sexual orientation and gender identity expression, as well as other facets related to gender, including intersectional feminism. “The Sexual and Gender Alliance (SAGA) at Miramonte helped craft the lesson and is leading the Cohort Academy sessions on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE),” Wellness Center Coordinator Andie Nishimi said. “The goal of these lessons is to increase knowledge on SOGIE for all students so that our schools will continue to grow in inclusiveness,” principal Julie Parks said. There are no excuses for not speaking up and taking action for every one of us. The district is taking important steps in the right direction. In order to progress towards gender equality and the absolution of women’s rights, Miramonte must continue to raise awareness for intersectional feminism through adjustment in the curriculum, studentled presentations, and improved education. Students and staff must be vulnerable and confident, and everyone must be unafraid to make a change.

Students’ Artwork Honors Cultural Heritage Photo: Ethan Lee

Photo: Ink Chavapanit

Photo: Ben Cardoza Photo: Allison Tam

Photo: Vera Nguyen

Photo: Skyler Lee

Photo: Jonas Dao

Photo: Cyrus Claassen

Photo: Jayden Thai

Photo: Harman Bath

Photo: Karanvir Singh

Photo:John Keene

Photo: Benjamin Tieman

Photo: Aidan Swenson

6 FEATURE 4/23/21


Feature Photo: VectorStock

Teenagers Eagerly Receive COVID-19 Vaccine SAMANTHA SCOTT You enter the bright convention center and are greeted by two kind volunteers. They guide you to a check-in booth that confirms your appointment to receive your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nerves collect in your stomach as you descend down the escalator and follow arrows taped on the ground. Nurses eventually come into view and you anticipate your turn. Finally, you are ushered to a private area and asked, “Which arm works best?” In a few seconds, the shot is administered. Millions of adults in America are vaccinated against COVID-19 each day, but trials are still underway to determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in children. While the approved Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are cleared for those who are 18 and older, the Pfizer vaccine is cleared for those 16 and up. With recent adjustments to qualifications in California that determine who can get vaccinated, all teenagers over the age of 16 who live or work in Contra Costa are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. This vaccine is administered into the upper arm and requires a three-week interval between the first and second doses. Most Californians can be vaccinated at nearby hospitals, community vaccination sites, doctor’s offices, clinics, and pharmacies. To check one’s eligibility for the vaccine, go to and answer a few questions. Those who are able to receive the vaccine can also book their appointment through or through Contra Photo: Evy LaVelle Costa Health Services.

“I got my first Pfizer vaccine at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and I was very pleased by the organized system that was set up by volunteers. Personally, I expected the shot to be very painful, but it was actually very quick and I hardly felt it. I didn’t really have any side effects besides a sore arm for a few hours post-vaccine and fatigue. Overall, I felt hopeful after receiving the vaccine because it made me realize how far we have come since the start of the pandemic. I am excited to get my second shot for sure,” junior Kate Sinha, who was eligible in early March for the vaccine because of volunteer work, said.

Photo: Kate Sinha

According to USA Today, Moderna and Pfizer have both completed enrollment for studies of children ages 12 and older and are expected to release the data over this summer. If regulators clear the results, younger teenagers could start getting vaccinated once there’s enough supply. “I didn’t really feel anything after my first vaccine besides a sore arm for a few days. My second vaccine was three weeks later, and after this shot I felt very minimal side effects as well. I was tired for a few days after, but I never felt any severe flu-like symptoms,” junior Laura Boifort said. Boifort qualified for the vaccine in early March through her job as a food service worker. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Dec. 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on how to administer and use vaccines and related agents

for the Director of the CDC and the general public, issued an interim recommendation for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged older than or equal to 16-years-old for the prevention of COVID-19. Immunizing children and teenagPhoto: Lauren Taylor ers is a key step in establishing herd immunity and curbing the emergence of new variants of the virus. “The upside for getting vaccinated is many fold. I can work in confidence at the hospital knowing that I am much better protected. I don’t have near the level of anxiety on meeting patients who I am worried that have COVID-19 or once had COVID-19. As for teenagers receiving the vaccine, I think the data is quite good for older teenagers. Since there was such a rush to get the vaccination process through the Federal Drug Administration, it was important that they limited the age group to older teenagers. The data is quite good for very mild reactions, if any, in this age group,” interventional radiologist at Walnut Creek Medical Center John Rhee, MD, said. After a nurses and doctors monitor you for 15 minutes, you get up from your seat and walk proudly towards the escalator. This time, you ascend up to the main floor and are met once again by volunteers who lead you out of the building. Although your left arm is sore, your heart is full as you acknowledge that receiving the vaccine brings the entire nation one step closer to normalcy and brings you one step closer to a reunion with friends and family.

The Grammys Face Racial Bias Accusations SOPHIA ACEVEDO With eyes peeled to the CBS Channel, remote in hand, and the company of a bowl of popcorn, a student awaits to see their favorite celebrities in the annual Grammy Awards Show. The usual celebrities fill the TV screen, with very few new faces. Yet among the sea of white faces, the student sees a handful of powerful Black artists like Megan Thee Stallion, H.E.R, DaBaby, and Beyoncé performing and winning awards. The Grammy Awards Show sparked praise and criticism in its nominations for African-American artists. At this year’s show, Black artists took half of the show’s four biggest awards with pop singer H.E.R. and two Black co-writers winning Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe,” and Megan Thee Stallion taking Best New Artist. Despite this year’s winnings and efforts of the Recording Academy, the music organization that hosts the Grammys every year, to diversify its nominations, students still believe the show should be even more inclusive. Students acknowledge that the popularity of a song doesn’t mean it fits the artistic criteria of the Grammys, but many see the lack of diversity among Grammy voters and the Recording Academy’s executive ranks as unfair to the African-American community. In 2020, USA Today states that the Recording Academy’s membership, those who make the nominations, was only 26 percent female and 25 percent underrepresented people in racial and ethnic communities. “Even though there was obvious progression in the amount of Black people being nominated, I believe the Grammys are still extremely racially one-sided. I think most award shows, including the Grammys, will throw in two or three Black artists to fill their ‘we’re not racist’ quota and then call it a day. I was surprised (but happy) to see the few Black artists who won Grammys this year,” junior Allyna Baga said. The University of South Carolina Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its findings from its “Black Artists on the Charts & Nominees at the Grammys” exclusively to CNN days before the annual award show. Black performers represented about 38 percent of all artists on Billboard’s signature chart from 2012 to 2020, yet they received only 26.7 percent of top Grammy nominations during the same period. Only 24 percent of this year’s top Grammy nominees were Black. Dr. Stacy L. Smith, leader of the study, said that the popularity of Black artists has not translated well into recognition in major Grammy categories. As successful African-American artists were passed over in their consideration for awards over the past few years, students can’t help but question the Grammy’s motives for being more inclusive this year. Many also argue that the Recording Academy should be speaking out about these issues first-hand. “Handing out an award to people

of color after an entire worldwide movement is not going to do anything unless the Recording Academy is ready to speak on these issues. If the show will not do its job in supporting those who changed the industry as a whole, then one, it’s performative, which never helps, and two, neither will the industry at large acknowledge the issue that affects these artists today,” senior and co-president of the Black Student Union Ava Moran said. The progress made this year began with the allegations regarding the Grammy’s lack of racial diversity and favoring of male artists for the past few years. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced new initiatives developed in partnership with its Diversity Task Force to diversify their nominations. The efforts made last year included the hiring of a diversity officer, creating funds to distribute to “women in music” organizations, and frequent meetings with the task force to examine the voting process for racial prejudice. Regardless of the efforts, some Black artists felt they had been “robbed” of their awards. When the 63rd annual Grammy Award nominations were announced on Nov. 24, 2020, singer The Weeknd took to Twitter to express his feelings after not being nominated. “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me and my fans transparency,” The Weeknd Tweeted. The chart-topping, Black performer has drawn critical acclaim with his song “Blinding Lights” and performance in the Super Bowl Halftime show in February. Despite his popularity this year, the singer received no nominations, drawing the blame to the anonymous expert committees who make up the voting membership of the Recording Academy. The Weeknd, suspicious of the committee’s integrity, made a statement to the New York Times that he would boycott the awards from now on. In a poll on The Mirador Instagram, several students agreed with The Weeknd’s disappointment, with 66 percent of the 62 voters believing that The Weeknd should’ve been nominated for a Grammy this year. Fans of the pop singer were confused as to why The Weeknd wasn’t nominated after having a successful year, questioning whether the Recording Academy used any bias in their decisions. “Although I believe the Grammys this year held more diverse nominations and winners than in the past, I think that The Weeknd not receiving any recognition could’ve been racially motivated,” junior Riley George, fan of The Weeknd, said. In the absence of one of their favorite singers, The Weeknd, the student avidly watching the Grammys couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed and question the motives behind the more diverse nominations. On the other hand, they also witnessed influential Black artists like H.E.R. and Megan Thee Stallion claim highly prestigious awards. With mixed emotions, there’s always hope that next year the show will include an array of diverse musical artists.


04/23/21 FEATURE 7

Anime Catches Interest of TV Enthusiasts

After gaining traction in pop culture, anime, a Japanese style of TV featuring hand drawn animations, is seizing the attention of Miramonte students and breaking entertainment stereotypes JONATHAN PHAM After finally overcoming their skepticism, a young watcher gets absorbed into the vibrant worlds portrayed by the anime. Time flies as the watcher becomes heavily invested in the show’s narrative. Covering a variety of genres such as adventure, action, horror, slice of life, and comedy, Japanese animation provides a visually stunning medium where one can find refuge from the monotony of everyday life. With increased popularity of shows such as “One Piece”, “Attack on Titan”, and “Jujutsu Kaisen”, the overall interest in anime is gaining traction among those who previously did not watch. These shows are available to watch on a variety of platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, or Funimation. “Attack on Titan”, one of the most popular anime in recent months, currently occupies three of the top five spots in the Internet Movie Database list of highest rated TV show episodes of all time. Other anime episodes now take up 16 slots in the top 50 of the same list. “I was in elementary school when I first discovered ‘Naruto’, my first anime. I’m glad that anime is becoming more mainstream. When I was in high school, there was a lot more stigma surrounding anime fans. Now that anime is more mainstream, I have a lot more people to talk to about my favorite shows and characters because the animation style has spread to wide audiences beyond the stereotypical ‘weeaboos’,” English teacher Rosie Nguyen said. Anime is not tied to one topic or genre as it is simply an animation style. This leaves a lot of room for creators to cover a multitude of topics in a variety of ways ranging from lighthearted adventures about friendship to serious commentaries

Photos: Internet Movie Database

on the nature of warfare and the cycle of human hatred. “Anime shows have amazing world building unlike any American shows. Animes can also have deep and nuanced themes that a lot of American animations lack. Overall it’s a different watching experience than any American shows,” Anime Club co-president and junior Laura Boifort said. Despite their increasing popularity, some remain skeptical of anime due to the language barrier. Anime shows are oftentimes not in English and the creators opt to have English subtitles instead. This can be a nuisance to some, but shows will occasionally receive an English dubbed version depending on the demand.

“My friends have really tried pushing me to watch anime. I tried watching a few episodes of shows they recommended but I just couldn’t get past just how different they were from shows I am used to. Also, the fact that most shows are only available in subtitles is just inconvenient to me,” junior Dominic Clerici said. Unlike American shows, animes receive their influence from Japanese culture and are largely unaffected by western culture despite having a substantial amount of American viewers. This can lead to new watchers feeling alienated or intimidated by the foreign themes, tropes, and norms. “I think stigma against anime is a reflection of biases against foreign forms of culture or media. A lot of Americans dislike how ‘different’ anime is from traditional American animation. However, learning more about foreign cultures through media such as anime or foreign films can be a really valuable cultural experience and give more insight into other societies’ worldwide,” Boifort said. Boifort and Nguyen along with fellow anime fan and junior Jayden Thai founded the Anime Club for Miramonte anime fans to come together. “We founded the Anime Club to build a community at Miramonte where people could share their love for anime. The spark for this idea came when we met a great teacher at our school who also shared a love for anime. With her as our advisor, we developed this club,” Thai said. Nguyen serves as the advisor for the club. Glad that they heeded their friends’ recommendations, a student finishes their assignments for the day and proceeds to re-immerse themself in the worlds created by Japanese animators.

Community Saves Orinda Theatre From Closure AIDEN BOWEN

In an update on their page on March 18, Zemrak stated they chose to extend the opening date to “give our staff more time to get completely vaccinated and The Orinda Theatre was built in 1941 for Donald Rheem, an early Moraga- continue our restoration projects throughout the theater.” Orinda developer and son of William S. Rheem, the president of Standard Oil Passing west down Highway 24, every car can spot the brightly lit Orinda California. The Orinda Theatre is one of Orinda’s most iconic buildings and sign posted through the trees on the historic theater, a quintessential piece of named the 25th most beautiful cinema in the world by Timeout Magazine and Orinda and its history. “I like having a local theater plus I think it’s a focal point eighth by the Architecture and Design online magazine. After surviving the of the town,” sophomore Chase Bliss said. possibility of deconstruction efforts in 1984, the theater was saved. The COVFor many Miramonte students, the Orinda Theatre provided lasting memoID-19 pandemic made the furies of great movie experiences ture of the Orinda Theatre look from their childhood. “After grim again, almost forcing it learning about their page, I to close indefinitely. Yet again, would definitely consider helpwith the help of the Orinda ing out the theater. I would be community, theater lovers, and devastated if the theater, which a GoFundMe, the landmark was a central part of my childwas saved. hood, closed permanently,” juOn March 16, 2020, theaters nior Jack Packer said. around California shut their Although many theaters are doors for what seemed to many closing or facing closure, the as a couple months at most. Orinda Theatre is doing its Over a year from the beginning best to stay open. The new Goof the COVID-19 pandemic, FundMe goal plans to help the Orinda’s 80-year-old treasure is Orinda Theatre reach operawithstanding another attempt tion on May 1 to ensure when at destruction with the help of opened, the theater is safe for its beloved followers. everyone. “When the theater For the almost 15 months of reopens, I’ll try to support it by closure, the Orinda Theatre has going there more than bigger stated costs-of-operation each chain theaters,” Packer said. month as upwards of $15,000. In 1984, the Orinda Theatre The calculated total expense faced almost certain closure the theater paid during the when a plan was formulated lockdown was $212,742 dolto re-develop the theater into lars. Although the theater made a mall. When the plan was a small amount of revenue proposed, a group labeled the Photo: Roan Kazmierowski through events like the Online An iconic feature of downtown Orinda, the classic old-fashioned look of the theater is enjoyed Friends of the Orinda Theatre Virtual Cinema, which allowed by Orinda residents with it’s alternating neon lights, beacons, and notable vintage decor. stepped forward to fight depatrons to watch current movconstruction efforts and saved ies, only 50 percent of profits from this fundraiser went to the theater. Overall Orinda’s most beloved landmark, leading it to its reopening in 1989. Today, 32 as a private business with little income, a GoFundMe seemed like the only years later, the theater faces yet another challenge with closing, but with a new solution from being shut down indefinitely. The GoFundMe, created by owner group fighting a very similar battle. Zemrak and Lamorinda residents are savof the theater and low-budget movie director Derek Zemrak, in late May of ing the theater yet again, bringing hope to return to its joyous galas, free movie 2020, had an initial goal of $165,000 and made $18,000 dollars above that. The nights, and normal showtimes. campaign was supported by an increasing number of Lamorinda residents as the goal recently skyrocketed to $225,000 on March 19, 2021. As of March 14, Contra Costa County reached the red tier for COVID-19 To donate, visit the Theater’s GoFundMe page: cases, allowing theaters to begin opening with regulations that reduced max capacity to 25 percent or fewer than 100 people. Despite being able to open now, the opening date of the Orinda Theater is expected to extend to May 1.

8 FEATURE 04/23/21


Ackdoe-Pagey Creates Gorgeous Postcards

Senior Nejla Ackdoe-Pagey travels the world, capturing breathtaking sights in the form of timeless pictures. Ackdoe-Pagey recently channeled her love of photography into a postcard making business








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be ordered off her website, NatureNotesbyNej, which come in packs of one, five, or 10. Customers can choose whether they want quotes on their postcards which are also customizable. Her postcards are available in two sizes depending on the photograph. A 4.25 x 6 inches or 5 x 7 inches postcard can cost anywhere from $2.50 to $4.50 for one card. Having recently started her company, the workload is manageable so Ackdoe-Pagey is able to balance schoolwork and her business. “[My business] hasn’t grown exponentially as of now — I only get a few orders every two to three weeks — so I am not working on printing orders 24/7,” Ackdoe-Pagey said. Ackdoe-Pagey loves taking photos anywhere, especially out in nature. A postcard of Mammoth Lakes is one of the most popular postcards on her website. “I really New Zealand enjoy taking landscape photos of scenic views around the world [but it] doesn’t have to be somewhere out in the wilderness for them to be beautiful,” Ackdoe-Pagey said. After arriving back from her Thousand Island Lakes, California trip, Ackdoe-Pagey makes small edits to the image before printing it onto postcards. Ackdoe-Pagey immortalizes the photos and memories of her trips and turns them into something her customers can enjoy. As orders come through, Ackdoe-Pagey packages them individually, sliding in a postcard and a business card. Her love of photography and the dedication to her Bryce Canyon, Utah work makes each postcard extra special. Customers refriendly practices with my sales,” Ackdoe-Pagey said. ceive the postcard in awe of the scenic view presented Once Ackdoe-Pagey takes photos, she edits them right in their hands. What started as an unfortunate before she prints them out on her 100 percent reusable event, turned into a business of sharing photographs that paper postcard and ships it off for delivery. Postcards can others can enjoy. oto

As she travels through the streets of Europe, a single click of the shutter captures a priceless moment permanently. With this timeless photo, senior Nejla AckdoePagey is able to turn it into a piece she can sell for her business, NatureNotesbyNej. NatureNotesbyNej is a small business run by AckdoePagey. Ackdoe-Pagey has always enjoyed traveling the world. As her love and passion for photography grew, she started traveling more and eventually started her own business, turning her own nature photography into postcards. “I’ve been taking photos on trips since I was little, which was one of the main reasons why my parents bought me a camera in fifth grade: They saw how enthusiastic I was about capturing the world around me, and ever since then I’ve taken a nice camera every scenic place that I travel to, even if it’s just a short trip to the city,” Ackdoe-Pagey said. Ackdoe-Pagey always enSierra Nevada, California joyed photography but it wasn’t until her camera got stolen just a few months ago that she got the idea for her business. “I knew that I wanted to use my own money to pay for a new [camera], as it would be even more rewarding to know that my hard work paid for something so awesome. I decided to make the best of the situation and turn my passion for photography into a way to earn money and buy a new camera,” AckdoePagey said.­ Wanting to pursue environmental studies in college, Ackdoe-Pagey values the Earth and is cautious to include packaging that is safe for the eco-friendly in her

business. “I make sure that the postcard paper, no matter what size or amount one orders, is made from 100 percent recycled paper. I am also very passionate about sustainability so I made sure that I tied environmentally-



Parent Volunteers Transform into Substitutes ELLIE BELSHAW & KIRSTIN PARKER

students social distance and clean everything before leaving. I make sure Ms. Watson is on the Zoom and it’s set up from here inside the classroom,” McAninch said. Classrooms that were once bustling with students, were left vacant for over a year Art teacher Erica Amundson was also unable to return back to school, so Miraafter schools were forced to become fully virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. The monte parent Cindy Pearson stepped up to be her substitute at school. “I love feeling date, March 13, was never erased from whiteboards, and dust collected on window the energy of the students. The kids are amazing, they’re polite, smart and friendly. sills. On Friday nights, the football It’s super fun to see the kids I know. field and bleachers remained empty. And it was great communicating After almost exactly a year, Mirawith the teacher I was helping, Ms. monte was finally in the clear to Amundson, whom I didn’t know transition to hybrid learning. Some before. She’s really nice,” Pearson students opted to stay fully remote said. as well as a handful of teachers Students may have faced some who chose not to return. Parents obstacles when it came to not havof Miramonte students volunteered ing their teacher in the classroom, hours of their time to fill in these but were very understanding. “Not missing shoes. having Ms. Watson in the classIn cases where teachers are virroom is a little difficult just because tual, volunteers supervised classI feel like it is harder for teachers rooms to make sure students stayed to understand when students are focused and benefitted from their confused over Zoom and ask spework. For example, math and physcific questions. But of course, it is ics teacher Katie Watson decided to totally understandable why she is stay fully remote until after spring staying home,” sophomore Avery break due to health concerns. DurWelch said. ing the first week of hybrid learnSophomore Charlie Algert ing, Ellie McAninch, mother of found sit-in parents to be a good three Miramonte students, filled in change. “I don’t mind it. It is defiPhotos: Julie Parks for Watson as the class substitute. Parent volunteers Cindy Pearson (left) and Janet Tarkoff (right) were substitute teachers nitely easier to learn and focus with While Watson continued to teach for Erica Amundson and Donia Gousios during the first couple weeks of in-person school. the teacher in person but it honestly over Zoom, McAninch was physiisn’t that different from what we cally in the classroom making sure students behaved and followed health guidelines, were doing before. It’s also just nice for the students because the parents are usually and also assisted students with any non-academic questions or needs. super nice and it’s always interesting to have someone new in the classroom,” Algert “The school sent out a note saying they were looking for people for on-call help said. and I had some friends forward me the email, and then from there I decided I wanted “Welcome Back” is written on the white board in big blue letters. Desks are now to help,” McAninch said. Lisa Hoskins, Janet Tarkoff, and Tyler Rust, also Mira- occupied by students and class projects finally fill up the empty spaces on the walls. monte parents, volunteered as well. The routine of going back to school slowly starts to feel normal again. All the volunWhile teachers Zoom-ing in was a perfect solution for the learning part, this still teer parents play a huge part in allowing schools to transition back to normal, ranging left the physical in-person roles unattended. “I am here to facilitate and make sure from just supervising the class to all the small, yet important roles they take on.


04/23/2021 FEATURE 9

Women in Leadership Club Educates Students

The Women in Leadership Club brings representation, support, and recognition for women in the workplace and provides opportunities of empowerment to the female student body and staff PAIGE MAYS

don’t need to follow the same path. I decided to join the club because women During club day, students browse have a lack of representation in certain through various clubs that pique their jobs, mostly involving STEM, and was interest. While frantically looking for a curious to hear how they achieved such community to join, the Women in Leadsuccesses,” Huynh said. According to ership club pops up on the roster, promisHuynh, women often feel the need to ing an informational and fun atmosphere that will teach participants about women hesitate to claim leadership positions, in influential roles. The anticipation sets which is unfortunate, and being a memin for many students as they wonder ber of the club guides young girls like what lessons and guest speakers the club her to be confident. will feature. President and senior Sydney The Women in Leadership club enGong is anxious to witness the various incourages its members and other studividuals who choose to participate in her dents to respect the authority every invalued club. The Women in Leadership Club is led dividual can possess regardless of their by President Gong, Vice President and segender identity. “One of my friends nior Jeromy Chang, Secretary and junior took me to one of their meetings, and Emma Leibowitz, and Publicity Chair it was super encouraging and inspiraand junior Erin Smith. English and jourtional, and I think it’s super good for all nalism teacher Donia Gousios serves as young women to witness that and hear the staff advisor for the club. Gong and Photo: Emma Leibowitz powerful women talk. I also think it is the officers created the Women in LeadThe current and future club officers of the Women in Leadership Club smile for ership club in 2018, intending to empower important for all people, not just woma picture side-by-side on Zoom during a meeting, to inform the new participants. and encourage women to claim powerful en, because it breaks the stereotypes positions in various careers. about men being in power,” sophomore as Kim Peddle Rguem, the CEO of Dreyer’s Ice Cream. “The response towards our club has been very engaged. Students can hear about Zoom meetings through the club’s Sandra Hoselton said. We usually range between 10-20 participants per meetInstagram page @women_in_leadership_miramonte. After joining the weekly club meeting, you’re surprised ing,” Gong said. Encouraging women and removing the “We obtain guest speakers by reaching out through by a guest speaker from Sephora: Kim Tarantino, who stigma surrounding women in supervisory roles was a task Gong and her other officers wanted to take on. “We want- emails if we are interested in their occupation. We have serves as Sephora’s Vice President of Corporate Commued to empower women and let them know that they can also hosted people that we know personally that hold the nications. You participate in the meeting and learn about take the opportunity to have influential leadership roles in same types of jobs. Guest speakers allow our members to the experiences and challenges guest speaker Tarantino listen to a specific job of a female in the workplace with a the workplace,” Gong said. has gone through, all while widening your perspective During the club’s weekly Zoom meetings on either leadership role. We host women from diverse fields, like about a different career. Towards the end of the meeting, Wednesdays or Thursdays, Gong and the club officers ac- STEM and business,” Gong said. Students, including sophomore Olivia Huynh, regu- Tarantino announces a Sephora giveaway with all of your quire guest speakers who educate participants about their leadership position and experiences they’ve undergone in larly attend club meetings to further learn about impact- favorite products. After leaving the Zoom call, you head their respective fields. Some guest speakers have included ful women. “Every speaker has a different story to their to your next class, raving about the club to all your nearby Rachel Gate, Co-Founder of Dropprint Genomics, as well achievements which is inspiring because it shows that we friends.

Teachers Learn to Adjust to Hybrid Learning HENRY HILL & JONATHAN PHAM

then switch the following day. Others keep all their cohort groups on the same schedule, doing activities or lessons simultaneously with their Zoom group displayed on the front The loneliness in the empty classrooms finally ceased to exist as the campus began screen and students in the classroom. to fill with masked students, eager to see their teachers and peers in person. Although “There are lots of different models for a hybrid class, and everyone is taking some time this change in the atmosphere brought muchto find a model that works for them and their curneeded company into the lives of teachers and riculum. In my class, we are doing a partial flipped students alike, it did not come without chalmodel, meaning that all cohorts are together for the lenges for both parties. beginning of class, and then Cohort A works on the With students both in person and on lab and Cohort C works on problems. We picked Zoom, teachers must juggle what is essentially this model because it was the smoothest transition two classes at the same time. “Interacting with for our students from distance learning,” physics students is life-giving, it gives me energy as a teacher Tiffany Palmberg said. teacher. I am so happy to have in-person inWhile many teachers opted to use the flipped struction again. However, I feel for those on model for their instruction, some teachers are siZoom as I’ve noticed that I cannot support the multaneously teaching in-person and hybrid stustudents on Zoom as well as I could during disdents. Proponents of this model state that they can tance learning. It’s odd to feel as if I am talkstill follow their usual class schedule and that it aling to one group, and then the next moment lows hybrid and online students to participate in I’m addressing the other group. It’s a very difdiscussions via Zoom and classroom speakers. ferent experience. I feel like my focus is on the “My students, like me, benefit from hearing the in-person students, and the Zoom students are responses of others, of being engaged with their just along for the ride,” math teacher Steven peers, of being part of a community that is trying Louchis said. their darndest to learn together, not just the curPrior to the start of the hybrid schedule, sturiculum, but the beauty of sharing ideas, knowlPhoto: Jonathan Pham dents received assignments to Cohorts A, B, edge, and ourselves. Also, I really like my students,” Math teacher Steven Louchis decides to teach Cohort B their lesand C loosely based on their last names. Cocomputer science and math teacher Cynthia Boyko son plan, while simultaneously, instructing Cohorts BC, A, and AC. hort C is for students who opted to stay home said. and it is further split into cohorts AC and BC Despite the many changes that teachers have which are also based off of last names. implemented to their courses for hybrid learning, students are appreciative of the efTeachers must now split their attention between the students they have in person and fort and time teachers have put into their new environments. “All of my teachers have the students that are still on Zoom. “Zoom classes are pretty different from what they made difficult but great adjustments to hybrid schooling in different ways. Their quick were like before. When everyone was on Zoom, it felt like we all got equal attention, but adjustments to hybrid have helped avoid disruptions that I thought would come with the now that I’m staying at home while other people are going back in-person, it feels like transition and kept me on track with my work,” junior Nolan O’Brien said. the teachers pay more attention to the kids who are in-person. It makes sense why that’s As students once again fill their teachers’ classrooms, they’re greeted by a variety of happening, it just kinda sucks,” junior Ronnie Hollis said. approaches and formats for hybrid learning. While these new styles certainly pose an Teachers handle the separate groups of students in a variety of ways. Some give asyn- adjustment, students know their teachers are working their hardest to create the best poschronous work to the at-home cohort while providing a lesson to the in-person group and sible learning environment throughout the final quarter.


10 FEATURE 4/23/21

Science Labs Return With In-Person School Many traditional classroom activites were altered because of distance learning, including various hands-on science activities. Now with hybrid, students can finally perform experiments in-person


fected by in-person instruction, such as physiology, where students dissect cats. Peering over the top of the bunsen “I prefer interacting with the things I am burner, you grin with excitement with learning about so being in person really your lab partner as you see bubbles beginhelps that. I retain information and parning to form. Grabbing a thermometer off ticipate better in the classroom. I enjoy another table, you hurry back to your lab learning about how bodies work, specifito—“Hello? Are you there?” a classmate’s cally what triggers what and why; it’s recrackly voice through Zoom shatters your ally cool. We’re currently dissecting cats thoughts. Shaking your head, you reply: that have passed away and I’m excited to “Yeah, sorry! Just thinking.” Sighing, you continue that,” junior and physiology stureturn to your virtual lab. Moving your findent Zoë Frank said. gers lethargically across your mousepad to Hands-on science teaches students complete your online boiling point lab, you to rely on observed data, think independesperately wish that you could do this exdently, and increases motivation to learn. periment in person. “This will provide students with an opWith the hybrid schedule starting the portunity to do science and experiments week of March 15, Miramonte students in a way that allows them to explore the are now able to attend their classes in percontent in a real tangible way. There’s so son. This means students can participate in much more that can be learned when you hands-on labs and utilize school equipment actually see the content happening right in class, something that many science lovers in front of you, and I can’t wait to see the Photo: Grace Liu have been missing. interactions our students will have with In the photo of the chemistry lab above, students developed lab procedures to “I am most excited about getting stuthe learning opportunities we have in match unknown liquids to their correct names based on the molecular weight. dents back in our classrooms! The personal store!” Porter said. For example, in their connection between student and teacher, first in-person lab, chemistry students laboratory-oriented courses, including physiology and AP and student to student is an invaluable part used baking soda and acetic acid to genof in-person instruction. That connectedness really makes Chemistry, benefit tremendously from hybrid learning as erate a new substance, which they practiced measuring the classroom that much more enriching. The second big students enter the lab for the first time all year,” senior using stoichiometric calculations, an experiment unatplus is getting to do actual chemistry labs! We did our best Preston Nibley said. tainble over Zoom! One class that will benefit tremendously from in-perto adapt some for in the home experimenting, but most of Peering over the top of the bunsen burner, you turn to the labs we normally do need supplies and supervision in son labs is chemistry. “I am excited to do chemistry labs face your lab partner. Even though you’re both wearing the classroom,” chemistry and AP Environmental Science in person! I think that I will learn a lot more in person masks, it’s evident that both of you are smiling. The classthan with the online labs we have been doing,” sophomore room is bursting with energy and light, chatter filling the teacher Cassi Porter said. Students are excited for in-person science classes. Stella Symonds said. atmosphere. This is so much better than virtual labs on Other science classes besides chemistry will also be af- the computer, you think to yourself. “While some classes are suited for remote instruction,

Teens Work With Born This Way Foundation


As a mother of two children, Maya Enista Smith always felt it was important to focus on building a kinder world for future generations. Early on, she noticed the growing stigma surrounding adolescent mental health and wished to spread awareness about the issue. Smith’s desire to make a difference led her to work in youth empowerment, including her current occupation as Executive Director of a nonprofit organization. Over the last 12 years, programs initiated by Smith, a current Lafayette resident, have inspired Miramonte students and high schoolers worldwide to seek mental health support and aid fellow peers.

Photo: Maya Enista Smith

Smith serves as the first Executive Director of the Born This Way Foundation. The Born This Way Foundation, which is co-founded and led by popular singer Lady Gaga, supports the mental health of young adults and works with them to create a kinder world. Smith joined the foundation in August of 2012. Prior to this, Smith had over a decade of experience in the civic engagement fields. As Executive Director, she engages in an array of projects to conduct research, build youth-focused programming, and lead effective campaigns. “I love being Executive Director of Born This Way Foundation. I love it because of the people I work with, because of the mission we work towards, and because of the hope that I get from this work every day,” Smith said. Students can visit the website

to join a global campaign pioneered by the foundation. This campaign, named #BeKind21, is an invitation to think and act kindly towards yourself and others for a period of 21 days, annualy from September 1 to 21. Individuals are invited to participate and share their experience on social media using the hashtag #BeKind21.“I’ve been at the foundation for almost nine years so I have many favorite moments, but one of my favorite moments is from here at home with my son Hunter. One of our most successful campaigns at the foundation is called #BeKind21. This campaign started at Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette,” Smith added. Other ways students can become involved include applying to join the foundation’s Advisory Board, where they will play a pivotal role in the planning and execution of programs, campaigns, and projects. The topic of mental health and wellness has become increasingly important during the pandemic. COVID-19 has brought about a complex array of new factors to the lives of teenagers. Adolescents are facing changes in routine, loss of security, and missed significant life events that all can be causes of heightened stress, anxiety, and depression. In the midst of these changes, outside support from adults is important in recognizing this uncertainty and taking steps to keep teenagers healthy. One way to receive support is through the Miramonte Wellness Center. The Wellness Center team works with the Counseling Department to support the mental health of the student community. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, Monday through Friday. Students can participate in a variety of services provided such as mental health counseling, nursing services, support groups, and referrals to community agencies. Wellness services are free and welcome drop-ins. In addition to inperson support, students can find self-care tips and mental health check-ins online through the Wellness Center Instagram, @miramonte_wellness. “To me, mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental health does NOT mean a mental health diagnosis; rather, mental health can refer to one’s overall psychological and emotional wellness. Students can schedule time to do activities they like, find activities to release stress, or can connect with people they enjoy being with as some examples of how to promote their mental

health,” Miramonte Wellness Center Coordinator Andi Nashimi said. The Born This Way Foundation has also teamed up with the National Council for Behavioral Health to bring teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA), a program that establishes in-person training that teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and skills they need to support their own and others’ wellness. Currently, district Wellness Centers are exploring the idea of implementing this program into AUHSD schools. Although no plans are finalized, a successful partnership with the Born This Way Foundation in the future is very possible, according to Nashimi.

Photo: Andie Nishimi

“I think that the programs created by the Born This Way Foundation are super fascinating. I love that a famous singer like Lady Gaga has become so involved in destigmatizing mental health and providing resources for teens because I think it validates our feelings and recognizes issues that are often overlooked by adults,” junior Ally Smith said. After a draining day of staring at the computer, you transition to a pile of homework laying next to you. Your room is dark and your eyes are heavy, as you search for someone to talk to. Suddenly, you find encouraging messages, helplines for support, and self care tips on the Born This Way Foundation website, an organization you knew little about. Your anxiety calms as you read through the tips and decide to incorporate into your daily routine.


04/23/21 SPORTS 11


Freshmen Experience Unique Varsity Seasons

Photo: Miramonte Boosters Club

While freshmen have spent the majority of the year in online schooling, varsity sports granted a select group of underclassmen athletes the opportunity to assimilate into their new and unfamiliar school OLIVIA RHEE Feeling both exhilarated and nervous for his first ever varsity tennis practice, Cameron Berg ‘24 steps foot on the Miramonte tennis court. Despite the social distancing and mask wearing, a group of boys welcome him and ask him to warm-up with them. Rally after rally, point after point, he begins to feel more comfortable with the unfamiliar faces who he would soon call teammates and friends. Although most freshmen varsity athletes, including Berg, were eager to experience their respective sports seasons under normal circumstances, the coronavirus has impacted their introduction and overall experience on the team. For freshmen athletes on varsity teams, their first experiences in high school did not consist of meeting new teachers in the classroom, finding a place to sit, or getting lost on the big campus. Instead, due to nearly the first three quarters of the school year distance learning, sports became freshmen athletes’ first introduction to high school and the student body. As the school year began and coronavirus cases decreased, many sports teams invited freshmen to participate in their informal practices and camps during the atypical season. “The pandemic has affected my start because I feel that we are all pretty behind. It is extremely difficult to learn things over a computer, and a lot of learning has been delayed. I think as a varsity athlete, the adjustment has been easier because all of the girls and coaches are super nice and supportive,” varsity tennis player Soleil Skjorshammer ‘24 said. While many freshmen find it challenging to adjust to a new school environment, especially after missing over half a year of in-person school, sports continue to help their integration into the Miramonte community. “Transitioning into high school I thought that we would be assigned a lot of homework, and I was right. I thought that it would be hard to meet new people, but I was wrong. Being on a team has definitely helped me socially, because the sport I play is something that I have in common with them,” varsity soccer player Kai Thomas ‘24 said.

Filling out daily screenings, wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing when possible is the new normal for student athletes. Keeping these safety protocols in mind, district, county, and state league administrators shortened sports seasons and canceled many major high school tournaments, including the North Coast Section (NCS) Championships. Many freshmen on varsity teams looked forward to participating in the annual sectional and state championship tournaments; however, COVID-19 has crushed these expectations, causing freshmen athletes to wait until next season. “My biggest hopes were to meet new people and to play at NCS. I have met new people from the team, but unfortunately NCS is cancelled,” Skjorshammer said.

As a freshman on the team, I am able to learn a lot from the upperclassmen just by watching them play.”

Photo: Olivia Rhee

Soleil Skjorshammer ‘24 is one of three freshmen on a varsity sports team this year, girls varsity tennis. As freshmen athletes on varsity play with upperclassmen teammates, many develop relationships with students in higher grades and improve their game through the teaching and assistance of veteran teammates. However, the transition onto the team remains challenging for some, as it was their first introduction into Miramonte student culture. “It took some time to get used to because I never really played on a team with upperclassmen, but as time went on, I got a lot more comfortable with the team. As a freshman on the team, I am able to learn a lot from the upperclassmen just by watching them play,” varsity basketball player Willa Mapaye ‘24 said.

Despite the schedule changes in this year’s sports seasons, many sports teams, including football, soccer, lacrosse, softball, and tennis, continued their season with games against local high schools. “My expectations were to have a somewhat normal year, but obviously all of our expectations have had to shift because of COVID-19. I didn’t even expect to have a season this year, so we are extremely lucky,” Skjorshammer said. Even with all the changes to this sports season, freshmen athletes continue to adjust to both academic and athletic life at Miramonte with the support of their new teammates and coaches. After experiencing an unconventional start to high school, freshmen athletes remain hopeful for a more competitive and spirited future partaking in Miramonte sports. Even though many freshmen on varsity teams are sad to see their short seasons come to an end, they’re appreciative of the experience and lessons they have gained in their first season as a Miramonte student athlete.

Being on a team has definitely helped me socially, because the sport I play is something that I have in common with them.”

Photo: Willa Mapaye

Willa Mapaye ‘24 (above) and Karina Eberts ‘24 are the first freshmen to make the varsity basketball in two years.

Freshmen varsity athletes must learn how to manage the substantial commitment to their team on top of academic challenges students regularly face. New to the rigor of high school academics and balancing daily practices and weekly games, many freshmen varsity athletes recognize the difficulties of succeeding in both athletics and high school. “My expectations for high school were that it was going to be a lot more work, but being involved in a sports team made me realize that high school is a lot more intense than I thought because you now have school work on top of practices and games,” Mapaye said. Freshmen generally face a difficult transition into high school and sports can sometimes complicate this transition. However, some freshmen see this experience as a beneficial way to transition into high school life, especially in the midst of this unique school year. “It has helped me adjust to high school. I am able to be on track with school work because with the team practices and matches, it makes it so I don’t procrastinate, so I have to use my time wisely. Also, the pandemic has kind of affected my social skills because I haven’t been at school for a while, so I would say the adjustment has been easier,” Thomas said.

Photo: Cameron Berg

Cameron Berg ’24 is the lone freshman on an predominatly upperclassmen varsity boys tennis team.

12 SPORTS 04/23/21


Indoor Sports Return After A Year of Lockdown

HENRY HILL After over 13 months without Miramonte basketball, Caden Breznikar ‘22 finally returned to the Miramonte basketball court for tryouts due to the new COVID-19 guidelines regarding indoor athletics. Breznikar and his teammates painstakingly watched as outdoor sports teams returned to their fields for competitions, while they were restricted to the harsh concrete of outdoor courts. As Breznikar steps foot on the hardwood, he’s flooded with the joy of being able to return to the sport he loves. When updated California Department of Public Health (CDPH) youth and recreational sports guidelines were announced on Feb. 26, there was one notable exception: indoor athletics. The guidelines permitted outdoor sports to resume play when their county was at or under 14 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, leading to seasons for all Miramonte outdoor sports, regardless of transmission risk. The guidelines did not change the tier system for indoor sports, which required counties to be in the yellow tier, requiring one or fewer cases per 100,000 people, in order to have indoor competitions. At the time of this update on Feb. 26, there was not a single California county residing in the yellow tier, and the prospect of indoor sports happening through this tier system seemed unlikely at best.

It was difficult to not be around my teammates and playing against each other when outdoor sports were able to have seasons.”

While these new guidelines meant that runners could compete again, soccer athletes could cleat up, and even football players could resume playing their sport, indoor athletes were devastated. “It was difficult to not be around my teammates and playing against each other when outdoor sports were able to have seasons. We were all grinding outside during quarantine trying to prepare for a potential season,” Breznikar, varsity basketball forward, said. Though the status of seasons was uncertain, Miramonte’s indoor athletes and teams stayed ready. The

Miramonte boys basketball team, who couldn’t practice indoors or scrimmage outside, quickly adapted to their new circumstances. Led by captains Niyi Olabode ‘21 and Ryan Schwartz ‘21, the team participated in outdoor workouts and drills on the Miramonte blacktop. “The workouts before the season helped us stay in shape and prepare ourselves for when we were allowed to return to indoor practices. They also helped us develop team chemistry and learn how to play with each other,” varsity basketball guard Ben Murphy ‘22 said.

testing weekly in a fashion similar to collegiate athletics. While there were still questions to be asked about the logistics of each season, this settlement was a huge victory for Miramonte volleyball, basketball, cheer, and wrestling athletes. “The team was ecstatic, we had been practicing outside for several months without knowing if there would be a season so it was quite a relief to know that it was actually happening. I give them all a lot of credit for sticking it out. They could have easily quit but refused to do so. They are an extremely resilient group,” girls varsity basketball coach Vince Wirthman said.

I give them all a lot of credit for sticking it out. They could have easily quit but refused to do so. ”

Photo: Beverly Sopak

The boys varsity basketball team played their first game on April 22 against Alhambra High School. The prayers of indoor athletes were answered when the state settled in a lawsuit with two San Diego high school athletes, Nicholas Gardinera and Cameron Woosley, on March 4. The two athletes sued the state government over restrictions on youth sports, citing that the state was violating their equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment, as the state was allowing collegiate and professional indoor sports to resume seasons while restricting youth sports. The state’s settlement with the plaintiffs led the California Department of Health to release new guidelines on indoor sports. Similar to the outdoor guidelines released in February, counties with 14 or less cases per 100,000 people were permitted to have indoor athletics, as long as indoor teams in the county were

After the new guidelines went into effect, the Diablo Athletic League (DAL) and its Athletic Directors scrambled to plan schedules for indoor seasons. Athletic Directors needed to fit boys and girls basketball, volleyball, and wrestling into a window of roughly five weeks, with only limited gym space. Seasons for all indoor sports will run from April 5 to May 27, with games and competitions this year happening over finals week. As a part of the new guidelines, indoor athletes must test for COVID-19 weekly and wear masks when not actively playing. Rules on spectators vary by school and league, but Miramonte is currently allowing two members of an athlete’s direct household to attend indoor competitions. Like with outdoor sports, North Coast Section Championships were canceled and the length of indoor seasons was shortened. While these changes are certainly not ideal, many of these athletes are just happy to have a season at any degree. “I think the team is all super excited to get back to playing and have a sense of normalcy. I can’t wait to see our coaches and get back into the groove of playing with Miramonte athletes again,” girls varsity volleyball player Natalie Kurtz ‘22 said. As Miramonte indoor athletes finally return to their sports, their preparation and hard work in a unique offseason will look to propel them forward in their seasons.

Mina Jenab Shines On and Off the Lacrosse Field CHRIS MORRISON

After seeing her brother and his friends playing an unknown sport in the yard, a young fourth grader walks outside and begins to annoy them, hoping to join their game. When they finally allow her to play, she discovers lacrosse, a sport that she would continue to play until the end of high school. Mina Jenab ‘21 began playing lacrosse after watching her brother, Miramonte graduate of 2018, Diego Jenab, practicing with his friends. Soon afterward, she signed up to play for the Lamorinda Lightning Lacrosse club and currently plays goalie for the Miramonte girls varsity team. “I think my favorite thing about playing lacrosse at Miramonte is the team chemistry because in other places where I would play such as club, I had never been this close with a team. Playing in high school and at Miramonte is different because we see each other every day. We’ve always been really close so it’s really fun to see teammates at school, especially with people in-between grades,” Jenab said. In 2405 minutes for the Lady Mats, Jenab made 326 saves, an incredibly impressive statistic. Jenab serves as the team captain and is regarded as an extremely positive and motivational teammate. “Mina is always super positive about everything. Her positivity makes it super easy to communicate with her and makes her very approachable. She is super supportive and she brings a great energy to the team,” Taryn Pearce ‘23 said.

Mina is always super positive about everything. Her positivity makes it super easy to communicate with her and makes her super approachable.”

Throughout her high school career, Jenab contributed to the girls lacrosse team significantly. She played on varsity as a freshman and was a part of their 2018 North Coast Section Championship win. “That game was surreal. Everyone showed up and we were playing Acalanes. It was the craziest experience, everything was so high-stakes. It just felt like a movie that night, it was so insane. It was a really stressful situation, but it was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like that. It actually felt like a movie. It was super cool,” Jenab said. Along with her contributions on the field, Jenab is a passionate and supportive leader of the team. Before games and during practice, she inspires

Photo: Emerson Bohlig

her teammates to work hard and compete. “Mina is a leader on and off the field. In the goal, she is quick and focused. As a teammate, she is inspiring and welcoming. Mina makes my job easier by being a vocal leader at practice. She does a great job of getting everyone hyped up before games as well,” head coach Jackie Pelletier said. Although Jenab does not plan to continue playing lacrosse after high school, she wants to leave the opportunity open.“I don’t intend on playing competitively, but maybe in my sophomore or junior year, if I have time in my schedule, I think it would be fun to play on a really relaxed club team. Or maybe do some coaching, depending on where I end up because I really enjoy coaching,” Jenab said. When she is not on the lacrosse field, Jenab also focuses on her studies and future. Jenab will be attending Occidental College in the fall. Though freshmen at Occidental must take a year of general courses before declaring their major, Jenab is interested in pursuing Cognitive Science. “I’m looking at Cognitive Science programs because I want to be a speech pathologist. It’s a smaller area of study, so it definitely made my college search easier. It’s also the perfect job for me. It combines working with people of all ages, language, and communication, and helping people directly,” Jenab said.





Students Rank Popular High School Websites Inevitably, at some point in any modern and technology-focused high school experience, students are required to use some form of a website to supplement instructional learning. These educational platforms can have a variety of different focuses, ranging from language to reading comprehension and everything in between. Naturally students prefer some web pages over others, and The Mirador has compiled a definitive ranking of the best and worst common school websites used at Miramonte.

and assignments. “School Loop was very straightforward and simple. Using Canvas, I have to check several different locations to see what assignments I need to do and then I need to check several more places to make sure I turned everything in correctly and that makes it very easy to miss things. School Loop on the other hand has all your information together and in an orderly fashion. It also had a much better system for checking grades and I felt much more on top of my academics. If we are in person next year, I really hope that we can go back to using the School Loop,” junior Francis Pope said.

Kahoot: This game show formatted site allows students to compete against each other to answer timed questions and move up on the leaderboard. The second that the iconic Kahoot music plays, the classroom atmosphere fills with excitement. “Kahoot is such a fun way to actually see what you know and be competitive with your classmates, plus it doesn’t really feel like school so it’s an enjoyable way to review in class with your friends,” sophomore Kay Lankford said. Kahoot clearly deserves 5 stars.

Quizlet: This website is perfect for studying and, chances are if you have a question on a worksheet that you need help with, you can find an answer here. The site allows you to create your own study guides and use others while offering games like word matching and Quizlet Live, a team version game show review game. Quizlet is simple to use and the settings are easy to personalize so that the program is tailored to your learning style. This typically isn’t a required platform to use so students may simply prefer it because it’s voluntary.


A+ A-

School Loop: Perhaps it’s the memories of better times associated with the pre-Canvas era, or maybe students miss the satisfying to do checklists of their homework. No matter the reasoning behind the nostalgia, many students miss this familiar platform for checking grades

B+ C

Membe an: This website has a vocabulary focus but remains a dislike among the student body. “It’s so boring and I feel like I learn nothing because it gives me so many words,” sophomore Siena Esopa said. The addition of “dubious minutes”, or minutes where the program tracks

that the user’s attention decreased, makes it hard for students to meet their weekly requirement of minutes. “I don’t know when I get ‘dubious minutes’ but it still tracks my progress so it’s really difficult to know when I’ve completed my minutes,” Esopa added.


NoRedInk: This website was much more common in middle school, but the occasional Miramonte English teacher will still assign grammar work using this platform. The issue is not with the lessons, or even the length of the segments but instead with the format. Whenever you answer a question incorrectly, NoRedInk requires you to complete three questions correctly before you can resume the lesson. Say you get the first two right and then the final wrong, you are back to square one. “I hate NoRedInk because it takes me so many questions to get through, whenever I make a small mistake it forces me to stop my lesson, which adds more time to the assignment,” Lankford said.


Conjuguemos: This language website offers timed vocabulary quizzes, and verb practice for those learning French and Spanish at Miramonte. It may be the unattainable passing grades, creepy frog logo, or loud beeping that signals the wrong answer, whatever the issue, students are not fans of the platform. “I can’t stand Conjuguemos because it takes forever to get the scores I need and it is really difficult to actually learn new vocab because it is set up in a confusing and difficult way,” Pope said.

How to Stay Engaged Quick Guide to Using and Defeat Senioritis Crystals for Wellness LINDSEY LEWIS

Although senioritis kicked in for many at the beginning of the second semester, students of all grades are now in the last stretch of finishing this crazy year. For some, being in person means more responsibility of not falling asleep in class and having to speak to their teachers face to face, bringing even more dread of stepping onto campus. However, the last few weeks are always difficult so here are The Mirador’s tips on how to stay motivated for the rest of the school year.

1. Don’t Overwork Yourself:

With AP testing, final exams, and projects all approaching, on top of other extracurricular activities, the end of the year can be a stressful time for many students. Figure out your priorities in school and manage your time wisely to alleviate stress and add time for fun things other than academics in your schedule. “I would recommend students study for their AP tests and final exams for extra preparation but not to stress too much because they should be confident in what they learned this year,” senior Fiona Akazawa said.

2. Manage Your Time Wisely:

Keeping a healthy balance of school life along with other activities will keep you motivated these last months of school. Make time for the important things in your life by not procrastinating your schoolwork. It’s easy to leave all your assignments until one night, but instead spread out your work to help manage and balance your stress. To avoid procrastination, try checking your Canvas pages frequently throughout the week and use your Academy time wisely. “I’ve waited until the last minute to turn in missing assignments before and I wouldn’t recommend it because you are stressing over your grade,” junior Ayyan Gohar said.

3. Keep Track of Your Grades:

No one wants to panic the last day of the semester when you find out you have three missing assignments you didn’t know about. Keeping track of your grades will let you know what you’re in for when it’s time for report cards to come out. This also gives you time to contact teachers about grades instead of nagging them in the first weeks of summer, which I’m sure your teachers will appreciate.

4. Have Fun!

As the weather starts to get warmer and in-person students can see their friends and teachers at school, there are many things to look forward to. Many of us missed being on campus and now with the opportunity to do so we shouldn’t take it for granted, especially seniors who are finishing up their last week at Miramonte. Before we know it, the last day of school will be here so we should enjoy it while we can.


In recent years, crystals have gained popularity and forefronted wellness trends. Here’s everything you need to know about crystals and how to use them! Crystals aren’t just a new trend adopted by Gen Z, they have always been found hand and hand with humans. The use of crystals dates back to at least the fourth Millennium BC to the Ancient Sumertians who used them in magic formulas. For at least 5,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine used crystals in their practice for healing. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians both frequently used crystals as well. Now that you know the origin of crystals, here are a few crystals perfect for beginners. Choose the one(s) that you feel most drawn to or in need of ! Amethyst: Whether you are swimming in stress or looking to avoid it, these purple crystals will help dispel those thoughts away and bring calmness into your life. Rose Quartz: This light pink stone is known as the “love’” stone. The gentle energy of this crystal will help settle old relationships, bring new ones, and remind you to love yourself. Selenite: Purify your life by eliminating negative energy with this white crystal. You can also use it as a booster for your other crystals. Pyrite: Also known as fool’s gold, this crystal represents wealth and money. This shiny gold crystal will help build up strength and stamina. Lapis Lazuli: This deep blue crystal enhances focus, helps you speak your truth, and evokes confidence. There are a million websites online that you can buy crystals from, but here are a few great local shops! East Bay Nature, located in Walnut Creek, has a vast selection of crystals for reasonable prices. In Oakland, The Raven’s Wing Magical Co. is a bigger store with not only crystals but other spiritual items. Stone Room 2, located in Berkley, has a variety of crystals and many helpful signs that give more in depth information about each one. These are just a handful of places you can check out, a quick Google search can help you find many other amazing stores. Once you have chosen your crystals, you must cleanse them before using them. Doing this will return your crystals back to their natural state. There are several ways you can do this, but here are a few examples. Run your crystals under water for four to five minutes and then pat them dry. Another option is to leave your crystals under sunlight or moonlight for at least four hours. Lastly, you can use quartz or selenite to cleanse your crystals. Leave your new crystals in a bag with either of those crystals for six hours or overnight. Now that your crystals are Photo: Kirstin Parker charged, here are a few simple ways you can try using them. On top of using your crystals as decor, their presence will circulate their energy in the room. Put them in a jacket pocket or carry them to remind you of their energy. Finally, hold your crystals in your hands and say affirmations that correlate with your crystals’ properties. “I like using crystals because they help me learn more about myself and I have the freedom to work on what I want with them,” sophomore Stella Symonds said. These are just a few tips and tricks to get you started, but what you get out of crystals is up to you!



Tong and Safahi Taste Free Cafeteria Lunches EMMA SAFAHI & CHAYA TONG

With the return to hybrid school, Miramonte announced that it would be providing free lunch to all students with just a simple scan of their student ID card. However, after a year away from campus, many students are probably wondering: “What exactly is on the menu?” Fellow senior Emma Safahi and I got lunch at school every day we were on campus for the first two weeks back, and can safely say that we have sampled most of the menu at this point. Here are our reviews:

Chicken Caesar Salads: 9/10

In terms of the classic caesar salad, Miramonte’s is pretty spot-on. It comes with romaine lettuce, dressing, a sizable amount of chicken, and packaged sides of parmesan cheese and croutons. The chicken looks odd and rubbery, but it tastes just fine! The salad came cold straight out of the fridge, so I know it was properly handled and safe to consume. If you’re unsure about the other menu options, choose the chicken caesar salad for a dependable, safe meal.

Turkey Sandwich: 10/10

Both Emma and I agree that the turkey sandwich was hands down the best meal Miramonte has to offer so far. The sandwich comes with whole grain bread, turkey, swiss cheese, tomatoes, and pickles. I honestly don’t have any critiques for this sandwich. The bread was soft, the turkey was moist and flavorful, and I liked that it had a lot of variety with both tomatoes and pickles. One thing that was a little odd was that the sandwich came with ranch dressing on the side. I tried dipping my sandwich in it, and it was not very good, so I ended up just eating it plain. Another thing worth mentioning is that the packaging was beautiful. The sandwich came individually wrapped in a paper bag with a clear front, which was aesthetically pleasing.

Bean and Cheese Burrito: 5/10

The burrito was honestly my least favorite of the lunches I have gotten so far. The tortilla was good, but the filling was a little watery. Also, the filling had a lot of extra spices, and after reverting to a toddler over the quarantine (think: plain pasta with butter and chicken nuggets), anything beyond the basic bean and cheese was, frankly, troubling. The spices made it taste like the beans were covered in barbecue sauce, which while not disgusting, surprised me when I took my first bite.

Spaghetti with Bolognese: 7/10

I was excited when I walked into the cafeteria one Friday morning and saw spaghetti on the menu. Overall, the meal was pretty good. I liked that the pasta noodles were short, which made them easy to eat. I also liked that there were real tomato chunks in the sauce, which provided a nice texture, and extra flavor. The sauce was a little watery, but the taste was there. I wish there had been cheese on the top or on the side to add in.

Sides/Drinks: 7/10

All the meals come with fresh fruit (so far they have had oranges, apples, and pears), all of which I would highly recommend. Some meals also come with a side salad that has iceberg lettuce, carrots, and ranch dressing. I thought the salad was pretty good, and made a nice addition to the meal. Unlike most boxed salads, the one in the cafeteria actually came with enough dressing to cover all the lettuce! In terms of drinks, students can choose from water, milk, soy milk, and chocolate milk. The soy milk was good, but very sweet. The chocolate milk was definitely too sweet and had an oddly thick consistency, and the regular milk and water were both fairly normal.

Photo: Emma Safahi & Chaya Tong

Cheeseburger: 8/10

The burger was a little dry, and came only with a meat patty, cheese, and ketchup. I wish there had been other topping options, especially mustard since I personally always put mustard on my burgers. The highlight of the meal was definitely Miramonte’s iconic tater tots (10/10) — a little smushed, but delicious. I also really liked the portion of this meal. The cheeseburger was on the small side and easy to hold and pick up. It was also not too messy, which is always good when you’re eating at school.

Photo: Emma Safahi & Chaya Tong

Photo: Emma Safahi & Chaya Tong

Photo: Emma Safahi & Chaya Tong

Asian Chicken Salad: 7/10

I didn’t know what this was and, when I asked, the cafeteria staff didn’t know either. Upon inspecting, the Asian salad is like an Americanized chopped salad. It has lettuce, green onions, carrot shavings, chicken, slices of cucumbers and tomatoes, sesame dressing, and some miniature crunchy breadsticks. This salad offers more variety in vegetables than the caesar salad, so it’s up to your discretion which salad you prefer. One thing to keep in mind is that the sesame dressing is really sweet (it was similar in sweetness and texture to a syrup or the sauce on Panda Express’ Orange Chicken). While it was an odd flavor combination with some of the vegetables, by itself the dressing wasn’t half bad. Overall, this salad offers more nutritional benefits than the caesar salad, so I recommend that you try it at least once. Taste the dressing before you pour it on the salad. If you don’t like it, you can substitute it with some of your own, eat it without, or possibly ask the cafeteria staff for a replacement.

Will Students Be Saying Goodbye to “Grey’s”? OLIVIA RHEE For many students, Thursday nights are spent preparing for a math test the next morning, playing soccer at a team practice, or eating dinner after a long day of school. While these are all typical parts of a daily schedule, Thursday nights are particularly special for all the “Grey’s Anatomy” fans out there, eagerly waiting for the new episode to air on ABC. The unexpected plot twists, devastating goodbyes, tear-jerking moments, and, of course, the dramatic love stories grasped the attention of millions of watchers, who are all invested in every single episode of the 17 season show. From best friends to enemies, and exes to lovers, a tightly knit crew of doctors have experienced the greatest and worst of days. From the first day “Dr. McDreamy’’ locked eyes with Meredith Grey in the hospital, fans, including many students, have stayed updated on the drama of their favorite doctors. However, the show may discontinue the days at the iconic Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital as speculations regarding the end of the show spiral among the “Grey’s Anatomy” circle of followers. SPOILER ALERT! “I’m planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale,” screenwriter Krista Vernoff said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m planning for both contingencies and it’s hard and it’s not ideal. It’s not where I wish we were.” Vernoff intends to either end the 16-year-old show or leave the audience with a major cliffhanger that will continue with more seasons to come. “Grey’s Anatomy” followers hold mixed emotions about the potential finish to the beloved show. Some hope that “the show would just go forever,” in the words of junior Riley George. “I love the storylines and the drama that comes through the show. It is so interesting that you just feel like you can’t stop watching!” George said, who watches the show at least twice a week.

Although sharing a love for the show, other “Grey’s Anatomy” fans support it ending. “I do think that the show should end relatively quickly, because of how many seasons it has already had. As much as I love the show, all good things must come to an end, and they will run out of storylines to follow at one point,” freshman Chloe Ebel said, who finished the first 15 seasons and is currently watching the last two seasons. In reflection of the current topics today, producer and creator Shonda Rhimes decided to produce a season that involves COVID-19. While the season introduced an intense storyline relating to modern day experiences, some have mixed feelings about the possible ending of the show. “I understand that as a medical drama and a show that raises awareness on global issues, it was the obvious decision for them to use it as the main focus point. However, for me, I love how when you are watching a show, you enter an alternate reality, and by using COVID-19, it just reminds me too much of the life we are all living,” Ebel said. On the other hand, many were excited that the producers brought back some of “Grey’s Anatomy’s” favorite doctors, after facing tragic deaths in seaPhoto: Digital Spy sons prior. Throughout this season, Meredith Grey struggles to awaken from a coma; in her dreams set on a beach, she reunites with husband, sister, and friends, all who have all passed away. “The beach has been a really nice touch this season because some of my favorite characters have come back for guest star appearances, and hopefully some more will show up in the future. It was great seeing Derek and George, as sad as it was,” Ebel said. As the craze over “Grey’s Anatomy” continues to trend, many are sad to see the beloved doctors, famous fictional hospital, and adored television series potentially come to a final end. Even though the story may finally come to a conclusion, the love and obsession for the show will likely continue, as it is still available on Netflix.


Two Way Street: In-Person vs. Online


Students are adapting to the new hybrid schedule and debating whether online or in-person days are better. The Mirador writers Carly Hoskins and Trent Larson-Deak discuss their take on the hot topic TRENT LARSON-DEAK


In-Person Days It doesn’t get much better than a great day at school. Maybe it’s one of those perfect days where the sun is shining, you had an exciting lunch with friends, attend a rally before the big football game, and even scored a good grade on an important test. In an online setup, this ideology is nearly impossible. In the classroom, a teacher’s value extends beyond just teaching the class. To get the best out of their students, a teacher’s role is also to motivate, encourage and supervise. Supervising has been the toughest part for teaching remotely. The teachers have no control of what the students can or can’t do. With in-person school, teachers have full control of students and promote the most fair and accurate grades for students. As well as online school not being as effective in the learning category, it’s just flat-out boring. You’re stuck in your house for six hours a day staring at a computer screen, and you’ll see only the top of your friends’ heads in Zoom class. The only excitement throughout the day occurs if your teacher or fellow classmates forget to mute and say something embarrassing. Although online school is much more flexible and relaxed, it creates disorganization and contributes to students’ struggles with procrastination due to the hours of self-directed work at home with no monitoring course lectures, video instruction, assignments, assigned textbook reading and discussions alone. With in person school, a vast majority of the material is taught at school, which allows for the teachers to reduce procrastination options for students. If students have questions or concerns with the material, they have access to ask the teacher immediately, while online students may have to reach out to teachers through email or during academy or their friends. “I like in-person school much more because I get to see my friends and it’s much easier to focus and form a bond with my teachers,” junior James Frye said.

Online Days Nothing beats being at home with your kitchen, personal bathroom, and comfy bed just steps away. Being able to do school while having access to all those amenities is really the best of both worlds. Online school offers more time to work, more comfort, and more luxury than in-person school, making the days of hybrid schedule spent on Zoom better than the days spent in the classroom. Although many students right now prefer in-person days because being on campus is new and has been missed, soon they will realize that being online is better. Because most teachers have reserved academies for in-person students or fully asynchronous students, “Zoomers” get an extended lunch of one hour and 20 minutes, giving those students plenty of time to get homework done, relax, or study. Students may even find the time to get lunch with their friends at a local restaurant, which is a luxury we sadly do not get at school. No time is wasted trekking from the 400s block to the 100s block during passing periods. Being at home on your own also makes it easier to stay focused and tackle your work, which can sometimes be an issue in loud classrooms or when you are with your friends in class. “Online days are better because I am sort of on my own schedule and have more freedom to do work or do my own thing,” freshman Henry Engs said. Online school provides the comfort of being home while attending class. You can quickly move to your bed right as class gets out or even sit in your bed during class. No more using the gross, cramped bathroom stalls when you have your own bathroom down the hall. When you are at home, there is no need to step outside to have a snack or to drink your water, and there’s no requirement to wear an uncomfortable mask all day. There’s no need to wake up early, pick out an outfit, pack your backpack, drive to school, and walk to your first Graphic: Reese Whipple class, saving you almost an hour of your morning to sleep or do homework. “Online days eliminate commute time, and getting out of the Miramonte parking lot is a hassle. Being at home basically guarantees you won’t get the coronavirus,” junior Evan Feldman said.

What Your Dream College Says About You SOPHIA ACEVEDO With college acceptance letters trickling in, students face the question: what school is the best fit for me? Whichever college you pursue says a lot about your personality. Is it the high-spirited Oregon University where attendance to football games is practically religious? Or is it the University of California, Santa Barbra so you can sink into the golden sand and ride some waves in between classes? Nonetheless, here are some popular colleges among the Miramonte student body that may fit you.

New York University (NYU): If NYU is your dream college, you’re definitely in touch with your creative side. Whether that means you have aspirations to be on Broadway, crave the city life, or take an interest in liberal arts, at some point you’ve wanted to attend NYU. Creativity and uniqueness are valued at the university where students seem to be artsy and fashion-forward. That being said, one could definitely see students with an aesthetically-pleasing Instagram, a unique fashion sense, and an obsession with the Netflix hit “Gossip Girl” going to NYU. Along with the grand atmosphere of towering buildings and city life, the school offers extensive degree programs for Visual and Performing Arts, Social Studies, and Health Professions for its students.

University of Hawaii, Manoa: If the University of Hawaii, Manoa is your top choice, you definitely countdown the days until summer, day dream about the beach in between Zooms, and drive a Jeep Wrangler. But I don’t blame you! University of Hawaii, Manoa is located in Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu which offers buzzling town life and access to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. In 2020, two students from Miramonte attended University of Hawaii, Manoa. The school itself is widely recognized for its strong research programs, earning it a high rank among the top 15 universities in the country for being a global leader in Earth and environmental sciences. The school is also wildly known for their top notch marine biology programs. Manoa’s website explains that the school is committed to being the leading Indigenous serving university in the country, delivering a unique multicultural experience in a Hawaiian place of learning. The University of Oregon: If University of Oregon is your dream college, you can be one of two kinds of people. One being a tree hugger who idolizes their AP Environmental Science class and preaches vegetarianism. Or you can go the athletic route, being a person who downs creatine in between workouts, prioritizes their fantasy football brackets, and is ready to become a hardcore Ducks fan. If you fall under one of these descriptions, you’ll definitely be content with going to University of Oregon which lies in Eugene, an area perfect for hiking and satisfying a love for nature. In addition, the school prides itself upon their Division I athletics that students religiously attend, painting their faces and dissolving into a sea of yellow and green after class. Nine students from the class of 2020 ended up attending the spirited school last year.

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB): If UCSB is your ideal college, you definitely own a Toyota Four Runner and are exceptionally ranked for water polo. The school’s mens water polo team was given the number one spot in the 2019 College Water Polo Association national rankings and has a reputation for strong water polo programs in general. Students wishing to attend UCSB can be easily identified by their igloo coolers, bleached hair, and their constant rush from the J-Lot to morning water polo practice. Last school year, five Miramonte students attended the lively college. The school is known for its scenic location along California’s pacific coast and its helpful teachers and extensve options of undergraduate programs. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly): If California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo is your ideal school, you probably aren’t ready to leave behind the wonders of California or your classmates at Miramonte. Cal Poly is known for its exceptional Engineering, Business, and Biology degree programs as well as attracting half of the Miramonte student body. Although that may be an exaggeration, one can see why the 13 Miramonte students who attended the school in 2020 were so drawn to the university. Cal Poly, known for its prestigious education, also has an inviting environment where students enjoy the conveniently located Avila Beach, ride bikes, and surf in between Zoom classes. All photos: Unsplash



Students Rate Their Favorite Masks to Wear EMMA LEIBOWITZ As students return to in-person school for the first time in over a year, many are wondering how a new fashion necessity—masks—will change their outfits. While you struggle to find the perfect mask to match your clothing needs, The Mirador has you covered with a comprehensive review of the most popular mask styles so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy experimenting with new fashion statements. The Classic Black Mask You can’t go wrong with a black mask, especially if you’re worried about it clashing with your outfit. Black is certainly easy to wear with all kinds of clothes, even when you’re sporting a bunch of patterns and colors. Black masks are also one of the most popular mask choices, so you’ll blend into the crowd easily. In an Instagram poll of 133 Miramonte students, 61 responded that they wear a black mask to school. Solid, dark colors are always a safe route, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous with your style, this generic mask might not be the way to go. The Disposable Mask These hospital-grade, throw-away masks are guaranteed to be safe, but they’re not exactly the most fun. These masks are effective and nondescript, and students won’t have to worry about washing or cleaning their mask since they can simply throw it away once they’re done with it. You won’t be alone wearing this type of mask since 30 out of the 133 polled students said they use surgical masks. Black hospital masks are also available, which might be better for fashionistas. However, these masks are more wasteful than their reusable counterparts and probably aren’t as comfortable or durable. The Vibrant Cloth Mask Fun and unique, these cute, reusable masks are perfect for anyone who wants to stand out from the crowd. Students can find a variety of colors, designs, and sizes from websites such as Vistaprint, Rickshaw Bags, or even Etsy. Vistaprint also lets customers design their own masks! These are perfect for anyone who wants to showcase some of their personality, and many are machine-washable. In the poll, 32 of 133 students said they wear some sort of patterned mask to school. Some of these masks can be a little too over-the-top for some people, so it’s best to do some thorough online shopping before making your final purchase.

Photo: Sydney Gong

Photo: Marcus Winkler


The Solid Fabric Mask Like the black masks, solid colors are always an easy way to fulfill your mask requirement without spending too much time trying to match a mask with the rest of your outfit. Solid colors like green, blue, and even light pink are great neutral options that still add a pop of color. They’re easy to pair with any outfit, and the fabric material makes them super sustainable. Many Miramonte students go for this type of mask, with 28 of 133 saying this is their mask of choice, and you won’t have to worry about standing out too much. The N-95 Perfect for making your own hazmat suit, the N-95 masks are a fairly standard choice for anyone looking to avoid COVID-19 contamination. You can even see these stylish masks being worn on construction sites! While these masks are definitely one of the safest options, since they filter air particles much more effectively than normal cloth masks, they are generally more bulky and sometimes uncomfortable. The N-95s tend to protrude from the face more than fabric masks, and N-95s are the least popular mask option with only 10 of 133 respondents voting for this mask. “I wear an N-95 mask because I think it’s safer with the built-in filters,” junior Giri Mase said. The Ultimate Double Mask Last, but certainly not least, the double mask has become fairly popular among students, especially because it is one of the safest mask options available. In an Instagram poll of 164 Miramonte students, only 13 percent, or 21 students, said that they use double masks. Generally, students who opt for the double mask wear a hospital or N-95 mask with their choice of cloth mask covering it. The only downside is that wearing two masks isn’t always the most comfortable and it can be irritating to remove and then replace both masks before and after eating. “At first, I double masked, with a cloth and surgical mask, because I thought it was safer, but it was really tight and uncomfortable, so wearing it the whole day was unrealistic, so I chose to wear only a cloth mask with a filter in it,” junior


Photo: Visuals on Unsplash

Photo: Sophie Weber

YO MATS: The Mirador’s Fresh Satirical Segment Parking Lots Are A Danger Zone At School ALEXA GUTU & MICHELLE ZHOU Upon the return to campus with the new hybrid schedule, newly licensed students are parking in school lots for the first time. Inexperienced drivers combined with Miramonte parking makes for a dangerous return to school. As many sophomores obtain drivers licenses, especially with months of dealing with frustratingly long delays to take the behind-the-wheel driving test, they are having trouble parking properly. Sophomores were recently permitted to park in the J-Lot in order to ease the transition to hybrid, “I recently got my license and I think I am really struggling with parking especially in a new environment like the Miramonte J-Lot. I never really learned how to park to be honest, but I mostly passed my driving test so I should be fine,” sophomore Kiana Farrell said. When asked about the “mostly passing her driving test,” Farrell refused to elaborate, however, insisted that her driving was good. According to the Institution of

Adolescent Automobile Accidents (IAAA), 77 percent of newly licensed sophomores are struggling to properly park, and these statistics are confirmed by the looks of the Miramonte campus. The hybrid schedule allows for no more than half of the student body to be at school at once. This means that there is more space than ever in the J-Lot for students new at driving. “I got my license sophomore year, and I was never able to find parking until junior year. The lots were so crowded so I had to wait a while,” senior Marissa Jenkins said. This was the standard for many new drivers that had to wait for a parking spot, and in waiting, they were able to gain experience behind the wheel before being able to park in the lot. This year, however, there actually is space for drivers with less experience which adds to an element of danger. “The J-Lot is so dangerous this year, it’s so scary driving around with little sophomores who just got their license. They also can’t park whatsoever so some of the parking spots are just unusable,” Jenkins said.

The dangers of returning back to Miramonte are not only covid related, but rather driver related. According to a study by the California Driver’s Safety Bureau, there’s been a 90 percent increase in students and teachers’ risk of being hit. Even for the more experienced drivers, an estimated 83 percent have forgotten how to park on campus after a year of distance learning. There is also confusion for juniors as well. This year they are allowed to park in the pool and the tennis lots, leading to even more mishaps in what used to be senioronly parking areas. “I scratched my car on the first day in the J-Lot. My parents weren’t too happy, so I suppose it’s safe to say I’ll be taking the bus for a while from now on,” junior Flora Riggs said. Many students coming back have complaints about the parking jobs of fellow students. “After coming back to school, I had a totally crazy experience where a sophomore parked on a line, causing me to move one parking space over. It was really annoying because that’s one less parking space for everyone,” junior Melissa Woods said.

Photos: Alexa Gutu and Michelle Zhou

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