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Vol. 98 / No. 4 May 2020

The student-run newspaper of McKinley High School

AJ Ababa

Jonas Adrian Balinbin

Stacey S. Cabatic

Frank Camacho

Leizel Angeline M. Costales

Leoney Fleming

Midori Rensilina George


Colin Guttenbeil Jr.

Mancy Huynh


Raidin Kadooka

Edward John Art C. Lansangan

Kayla Leong

Gilbert Li

Arianna Blaize Llamas

Alyssa Martin

Keoni Martin

Abigail Anne Montero

Social Distancing

Ashley Nguyen

Maya Celine Pegarido

Google Meet

Kihara Jane Petrus

The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the Class of 2020’s senior year. One major change was cap and gown pick up. Because school was switched to digital learning, students had to make a special trip to campus to pick up their cap and gown, practicing social distancing. These seniors shared their cap and gown photos with The Pinion. Another major change was how graduation was conducted. Check mhspinion.com to read about this year’s graduation. Keanu Pimental

Phuong Ta

Aaron Velasco


Ryan Vanairsdale An Vo

Head Reporters Nyler Acasio Thai Bui


Joesph Brown Nickolas Castillo Kelly Cheng Rodney Fano Cheng Hong He Julia Linn Mark Ontolan


Cynthia Reves

Mission The Pinion staff strives to provide and maintain accurate, entertaining and informative news for the students, staff and alumni of McKinley High School. We strive to show diligence in creating all our content so we can make a positive contribution to the public.

Publication Information The Pinion is published by the Newswriting class and printed by Hawaii Hochi.

The Pinion McKinley High School 1039 South King Street Honolulu, HI 96814

Email comments or questions to pinion@mckinleyhs.k12.hi.us




by An Vo, editor, and Kelly Cheng, reporter n March 15, the Hawaii Department of Education decided to close schools for a brief time in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Eventually, physical classes and all in-person activities were canceled for the rest of the year. McKinley High School’s 300-plus seniors knew their final year would be one for the history books. The first casualty of the pandemic was senior prom, which had been scheduled for April. “Our prom was canceled and I was really upset about that because I went through such a hard time picking my dress and working with my schedule.” senior Angelina Soto said. Seniors are hoping their prom can be held at a later date. Seniors also worried about graduation, which could not be the way they thought it was going to be. Many graduation traditions would be difficult to impossible while maintaining social distance. “Graduation is a big thing as an accomplishment of completing the 13 years of school successfully,” senior Jason Cao said. “Lei is given to the graduating seniors as a celebration and online graduation would not work. In MHS, seniors get to walk on the oval on graduation day.” (When this paper went to press, modified graduation procedures had not been made public. Check mhspinion.com to read about graduation). In addition to the disruption caused to their final year, seniors are worried for the future. It is unclear what schools will look like in the fall, so seniors looking forward to college are concerned. “Everything seems so uncertain and it scares me,” senior Mancy Huynh said. “[The crisis] had affected my senior experience of course but it also might be affecting my freshman year of college if it continues to get worse.” One aspect of life that remained the same for many seniors, though, was procrastination. Staying at home and learning remotely increased procrastination because everyone was in charge of their own education. “I have stayed true to my procrastination habits even during this time,” senior Jennifer Pacis said. “I get motivated to do the work at the very last second.” McKinley normally begins classes at 8:10 a.m. every weekday. Remote learning caused people to change their sleep schedules. Students attended classes online instead of physical school. Without the requirement to wake up early every day, students tended to stay up late and sleep in more.

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ALTERED BY COVID-19 “Waking up early is difficult now, so the classes that assign quizzes/tests before noon usually are turned in late,” senior Travis Salyphone said. Students also said they missed the help and structure of meeting physically with their teachers. “It’s much easier to procrastinate doing things when someone isn’t there and when I’m confused,” senior Rachel Awana said. “It’s harder to ask for help from my teachers or even classmates.” Music classes were one course in which remote learning caused problems. “For my orchestra class, because we are not playing together in person, it is hard to collaborate with people,” senior Victoria Nhieu said. All spring athletics were canceled and any exercise students got was through their remote PE classes or what they did on their own. “I am continuing to run to stay healthy,” senior Koby Shuman said. “Since my season is over and I don’t plan to run in college, my workouts have been less intense.” When Governor David Ige issued the stay-at-home order in mid-March, seniors who had jobs were affected. Some lost their jobs because their place of employment closed or limited operations. “I’ve been laid off unfortunately,” senior Jaycee Paat said. “I feel upset because now I’m not really making any money to support my family and my college.” For those who kept working, the cost was high.

“I’m glad I still have a job and that I can provide for my parents,” senior Ahzuray Apa said. “But then again, it is a risk, and customers don’t seem so thankful that my job is still open for them.” Seniors were able to see the bright side to the lockdown, though. Students could spend more time with their families, and learn to try new things to keep themselves from getting bored. Learning remotely allowed room for freedom and downtime in students’ schedules. “Since I have a lot of time on my hands, I cook more and eat more healthy,” senior Mari Collins said. “I work out around the house because I have to stay in shape. I also started writing every day for my mental health and I also started drawing.” Being away from physical school allowed senior Weishun He to have time to relax yet have a bit of structure. “I’ve been allowed time to catch up on sleep and such,” He said. “It’s almost like a miniature summer break, albeit with assignments due every other day.” The stay-at-home rule helped senior Kihara Jane Petrus prepare for her future. “It’s like it put a pause on my life, but I like it because it gave me time to look at a lot of colleges,” she said. Senior Gilbert Li agreed. “The break has helped myself and other students recover from a lot of our stress and mental states. It benefits us by preparing us mentally, ... for college and the next chapter of our lives,” Li said.

A LETTER FROM YOUR PRINCIPAL by Ron Okamura, principal Aloha Class of 2020! Congratulations on making it through your high school years! I am so proud of all of you! Although your last year did not end as it normally does, it does not take away from your great accomplishments! I hope that we have provided you the skills and knowledge to take on whatever life has in store for you and that you will never give up on your dreams! I know that you will take along with you the “pride and tradition” that

makes a McKinley Tiger great! I wish all of you the best of luck and much happiness and success in whatever you do in our futures! You now join the other thousands of McKinley alumni in representing our school in the greater community! Mahalo for allowing me to be a part of your journey and may the next part of your life journey be smooth and prosperous! Mahalo, Mr. Okamura Photo by Erin Song, Photo 1.


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Only seniors were allowed to be on campus on May 24. This meant that no one from from The Pinion staff could be on campus. Photos by Pinion adviser Cynthia Reves.




by Ryan Vanairsdale, editor n May 24, McKinley High School had a modified graduation ceremony to give seniors a graduation experience while obeying coronavirus safety guidelines. There was a virtual ceremony from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m., after which seniors could come on campus during their assigned hour to cross the oval. Students were required to wear masks and observe social distancing. Cars first lined up on Pensacola. As they turned into campus, staff checked them in. Cars went either ewa or diamond head of the auditorium. Then, the seniors got out of the car and went into the auditorium. Inside, they received a medallion and had their picture taken professionally. Obeying social distancing, they exited out the front door of the auditorium, two at a time, to cross the oval. After crossing, their picture was taken and they got back in the car. Cars then drove past cheering alumni as the graduate was given a goody bag as they left campus. Senior Rianna Jones-Ichiuo felt sad about the changes to a traditional graduation but also loved some parts THEPINION PINION//44 THE

of the experience. “Standing in the auditorium knowing some of us will never see each other again, all I could think of was that this was our last moment together,” Jones-Ichiuo said. “But having some of my favorite teachers for the past four years cheering me on and even strangers on the street congratulating me was amazing.” Senior Jason Cao found the graduation to be a weird experience because of all the guidelines put in place for attendees. “It was a bit different because only the graduate was able to go outside the car, [you had to] practice social distancing… you were not allowed to have friends lei you in school” (many students did this on their own at home). Senior Keoni Martin was surprised at how much planning had gone into the graduation. He said that being able to see his teachers and McKinley alumni made it a very memorable experience. “Overall, I was surprised to see how much thought and effort the school put in to make this graduation successful, including the decorations, sign wavers, and picture takMay 2020

ing. It put a smile on my face to be able to see some of my past teachers and alumni as the ceremony went by, which made this graduation special,” Martin said. Martin also said that even though the graduation wasn’t what it would have been, the memories he’s made at McKinley will still be there. “Our graduation was different from what we wanted, but it was ours. Not being able to see everyone one last time was tough, but the memories we all made together for four years is something that will always be cherished.” Principal Ron Okamura spoke to seniors during the virtual graduation. He said that the changes to normal life had made everyone stronger, and told the seniors that they were now in a much larger community of alumni. “Now you’ve joined a bigger community of McKinley alumni; you not only represent the school, but you represent a bigger community of McKinley Tigers… Take that pride and tradition from our school and take it to the community and you will join the thousands of other graduates that have walked through these halls and crossed the oval,” Okamura said. NEWS FEATURES



McKinley’s orchestra performs its Pops Concert on March 7. Photo by Jennifer Nakamoto, math teacher.




he Department of Education’s declaration that everyone must stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic impacted McKinley High School’s music program. As a result, all spring band concerts were canceled. Sophomore flutist Rona Lei Duldulao said the cancelation of the High School Parade of Bands and Orchestras was saddening, especially for the seniors. “They won’t have their last Parade of Bands concert,” Duldulao said. Junior clarinetist Angelo Luna was also saddened by the cancelation.

“It’s one tradition in a sense taken away from us because we usually do it every year,” he said. McKinley’s annual Spring Concert was set to take place mid-April in M.M. Scott Auditorium and it was also canceled. “Spring Concert usually has our Parade of Bands music,” Duldulao said. “We do traditions [such as] senior gifts, banners, candle light ceremonies, etcetera. People usually cry since it’s our last big concert.” Sophomore violinist Aniqua Mehdi said the musicians prepared for the concerts by working hard into practicing their music.

“[The] school closure affected our practice by having us not attend rehearsals and section rehearsals (sectionals) so we might have not gotten the help we needed,” she said. Sophomore trumpeter Irika Zena B. Cruz said the Spring Concert is important for the music students, especially for the seniors, because it is the last major concert of the school year. “It is a very special moment for the seniors to perform one last time in the McKinley Band/Orchestra,” Cruz said. “Feelings are flying everywhere and there is this beautiful feeling of us growing up and moving on.”



cKinley High School’s FIRST robotics team travelled to San Diego, Calif., in March to compete against teams worldwide. The team was already in San Diego when the competition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The whole team was disappointed. They were already setting up when they got the news. “My heart dropped when I heard the news,” junior Miyu Thepsenavong said. Thepsenavong joined McKinley’s robotics team as a freshman. Robotic team members are assigned different jobs. Some design, build, and code the robot. ThepsenaTHE 66 May 2020 THEPINION PINION//4,

vong works on designing and machining. Thepsenavong said she understands why the competition got canceled. “I think what they did was the best for our safety because of coronavirus but I still wished we had the chance to compete,” she said. Thepsenavong is lucky that she has one more chance to compete because she plans to stick with robotics in her senior year. “I hope the coronavirus doesn’t affect next year’s season,” she said. “I learned a lot of new things this year despite the circumstances.”

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Photo courtesy of Kyanna Tran.

Photo courtesy of Angelo Luna.



Photo courtesy of Kyanna Tran. Juniors Kyanna Tran (left) and Raeanne Rabago enjoy the beach before Junior Prom.

Photo courtesy of Edrian Leuwin Bautista. Juniors Edrian Leuwin Bautista (far left) and Jordan Seguin (far right) capture memories with Ayla Hakikawa of Sacred Hearts Academy and Angelina Pablo of Roosevelt High School.

by Cheng Hong He, reporter


unior prom was scheduled for March 15, at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Waikiki. That afternoon, the Department of Education announced that spring break would be extended due to the dangers of coronavirus. With such short notice, juniors who were uncomfortable attending prom were offered a refund. No one requested a refund and 161 students attended. Students who went to prom said they had a great night. They danced the night away with their friends, making new memories, and not worrying about anything. Junior Hang Vo said she didn’t want to miss junior prom because it’s an important high school experience. “I feel really glad that I went to junior prom because I got to make memories with my friends before the virus started affecting school events,” she said. Junior council member Kyanna NEWS FEATURES NEWS

Tran said she does not regret her decision to attend prom. “I am very glad that I decided to go because I had an amazing time,” she said. Because the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t too serious at the time, junior prom was something juniors wanted to remember from the year. “I’m happy that I went because it’s a good way to end junior year with no one being able to go outside and hang out with friends,” junior Jayden Acosta said. Junior Kanani Orta said she’s happy about her decision to attend prom. “It was really fun and I did make great memories with all my friends,” she said. Her favorite part of the night was “definitely the energy everyone had.” Ocean Ko said attending was “a great decision because I sat with fun people.” Junior Alea Baniaga also doesn’t regret attending prom. May 2020

“It’s a once in a life opportunity to go to junior prom and I wanted to spend the night with my friends,” Baniaga said. Junior Anh Nguyen said she and her friends had been looking forward to prom and at the time didn’t expect the crisis to become such an issue. “So we still carried on with our normal routines while getting ready,” she said. “I don’t regret it at all, though I do admit that I was anxious at the end of the night when Principal (Rom) Okamura gave us a speech about keeping safe throughout the break. He told us about how we should be grateful for still being able to attend prom, and I think we all were.” Senior prom was canceled in April. Nguyen said she feels sad for them. “My heart goes out to all the seniors who had their own prom canceled. I hope that all of them are okay and staying safe in their homes right now,” she said. May 2020, THE THEPINION PINION///577 THE PINION

TIGERS IN LOCKDOWN by Julia Linn, reporter


hen the Department of Education canceled school for the rest of the school year and students couldn’t meet up with friends and go out, Tigers were, for the most part, home alone, wondering what to do with all this time on their hands. The Pinion surveyed students about how they were filling all this time. “I’ve been playing video games and finishing anything assigned to me,” Freshman Sarah Dao said. “I’m also on my phone constantly reading the news.” Students had to be self-directed by learning at home and finding ways to keep themselves busy. “Doing work here and there but also keeping active by still walking places,” Junior Kiawe Kanekoa-Sepulona said. People generally seemed to be going through their life basically like normal. Many survey answers consisted of sleeping, watching TV, going on their phone, and playing

video games. A lot of people said they contacted their friends online to try to keep the boredom away. Sophomore Arian Joy Marbebe said she kept busy by “socializing with my friends through the internet.” Many respondents said they did their homework to keep from being bored. Sophomore Katherine Liu said she filled her time “completing homework assignments, working out, cleaning, spending time with my family, and watching movies.” Sophomore Princess Cortes said, “I’ve been trying new recipes, I touched up on drawing, redid my dance routines from last year (as well as learning new dances from Youtube and challenging myself!)” As summer approaches, the outside world is slowly opening up. The coronavirus is still a threat, though, so Tigers will have to continue to find ways to fill a morethan-normal amount of time at home.


THE SOLUTION by Julia Linn, reporter


viral video of someone pulling a plastic straw out of a turtle’s nose has led many to believe that reducing the use of plastic straws will save the turtles. Metal straws have peaked in popularity with the recent trend of VSCO girls. The trendy thing to say now is, ¨Ssksksk, save the turtles.” But is this true? National Geographic says no. Eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025% of that. If only 0.025% of the plastic in the ocean is plastic straws, what makes up most of the other plastic in the ocean? According to sloactive.com, “Plastics and polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) comprise 90% of all marine debris, with single-use food and beverage containers being one of the most common items found in the ocean and coastal surveys.” Freshman Janine Lapurga has a theory on why people are only focusing on plastic straws. She said, “Because it’s popular… It’s a trend these days. … People only think of the trends.” THE THEPINION PINION//88

While freshman Chantal Williams agrees it’s a trend, she said she believes reducing use of plastic straws can save turtles. But she wouldn’t use metal straws. “I would use biodegradable straws like bamboo to save the turtles because metal straws are non-biodegradable,” she said. Another popular alternative to plastic straws is paper straws. Freshman Winston Nguyen said he prefers this to metal straws. “They don’t hurt your teeth and you don’t consume minerals,” he said. All of the people I interviewed were surprised to find that plastic straws make up so little of the plastic in the ocean. After hearing the truth, Lapurga said, “Don’t use styrofoam… I think water bottles are fine but recycle them… If we don’t use those plastic bottles, I think it would help a lot.” When asked how we can best help the ocean return to its original shape Freshman Rihanna Choniong said, “I think recycling only can.” May 2020



Mark Auza, Juli Nguyen, Art Penascosas, and Priscilla Ratonel created a poster for their AP Language and Composition class illustrating different types of people on Valentine’s Day.

by Kelly Cheng, reporter


ost people at some point in their life develop romantic feelings for someone, but dating is not always an easy

process. “[What I know about dating are] two people have interests in each other so they come together and date. I think there are different kinds of dating. There is dating to get to know someone and there’s an official relationship type of dating,” senior Kaia LaFave said. Freshman Lily Cheng said it is important to understand that a healthy relationship involves loyalty, communication, and much more. “Communication is something that is needed because, without it, there wouldn’t be a relationship, let alone a stable one. Both people need to lean on one another in them, too,” she said. It is also important to not lose focus on May 2020

other parts of your life. Let your parents know about you and your partner. Respect and understand that your family cares and wants what best for you. What is best for you might be to wait, according to freshman Wendy Zhou. “I think the right time to date some is after college. … You need a good education because you need to find a stable job where you can live in a comfortable home. If you date your partner before then, you might have less time to focus on those things. … You need to take care of yourself. Not (just) for your own sake, but for your partner as well,” she said. Dating is complicated. It is all about making the right connections and learning to accept other people’s decisions. Before you jump into a relationship, get to know the person you like better as a friend, and eventually you’ll find someone to share your happiness. THEPINION PINION//99 THE

Photo by Joshua Damo, Photo 1.


ADAPT AROUND COVID-19 by An Vo, editor


n March 15, everything changed. That afternoon, the Department of Education ordered spring break extended one week because the COVID-19 virus was infecting people worldwide. Eventually, schools were closed for the year and residents were ordered to stay at home. That meant many changes for the McKinley High School community. One change was remote learning. Learning from home creates many roadblocks. Natasha Taketa-Kim teaches piano and chorus. For piano, she said having access to the pianos for her piano class was a big barrier. “Not everyone has a piano at home,” she said. Taketa-Kim said remote learning for chorus was also difficult because not everyone had the materials at their homes and learning a piece as a large ensemble was difficult over the

THE 10 THEPINION PINION//6, 10May 2020

internet. “Sure, we can learn the song individually and from listening and copying from a recording if I post it, but you don’t have that feeling of being a part of an ensemble,” she said. An example of not having the feeling of being a part of an ensemble was the iHeart radio living room concert hosted by Sir Elton John. TaketaKim said all the musicians sang and recorded themselves individually and then someone edited it all together to make it seem like they were singing together. “In spirit they are, but it’s not the same as being in the same room or being on a concert stage in front of your fans,” she said. Taketa-Kim’s plan for her students, aside from the supplemental lessons, was to provide calming music, uplifting videos, and reminders that she posted on Google Classroom. “Many students are unable to go for a walk around the neighborhood or

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go to a park or beach since they’re all closed. The less we venture out, the better,” she said. “If I can give them a video here and there that might make them feel a bit calmer, entertained, or relaxed, that’d be great; and of course, little reminders about washing hands and staying six-feet away from other people.” Junior Tracee Nguyen, student body corresponding secretary, said a lot of students were bored and sad by having to stay home for a long period of time. “Students like me are getting more distracted and unmotivated since we aren’t at school,” she said. “A few friends of mine have been calling each other to work together.” Nguyen said she has been keeping up with school via remote learning and attending meetings for student government. “The difficult part of this would definitely have to be keeping myself from all the distractions at home,”


Best of SNO is a website that showcases great student journalism from members of the School Newspapers Online Network around the country. The Pinion has four stories from school year 2019-20 published on the website. You can read those and more at bestofsno.com.

she said. “An unexpected benefit would be the chance to sleep in more.” Counselor Lisa Panquites said she used Instagram, Google Classroom and email to let McKinley’s students know that the counselors were still available for them in case they needed help or had questions and concerns. “It is hard for us to plan for something that keeps changing,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being flexible and considering many different possibilities as we know things will change.” Panquites had to do her work while also taking care of her own family. “As a parent, I’ve been trying to get my counseling work done while finding work for my teenagers to do so their brains don’t get too lazy,” she said. Taketa-Kim said the last quarter of the year is usually the most emotional with bittersweet events such as prom, senior nights for sports, banquets, final concerts, and of course--graduation, grad-nite, and graduation parties. “These are times that students can never get back or still have it as they’ve always dreamt it would be,” she said. Despite the worries and difficulties, sophomore Ryan Vanairsdale agreed


with the DOE’s decision. “While coronavirus is not especially severe in children, schools act as petri dishes,” Vanairsdale said. “By the time we have one case in school, we probably have so many more undetected. It’s important to act before we feel the need to.” Since, even in summer, Hawaii residents will probably have to spend more time at home than usual, one thing people can do to ease the struggle of staying at home is to spend time with family and talking with elders to learn a little about how they lived during their youth or what kind of adventures they went through. “You may be surprised when you learn that they may have been in a war, or when they had a time of famine or were separated from their families,” Taketa-Kim said. “Maybe you’ll find something funny like how or why you were named with the names you’re given, or that maybe your grandparents were an arranged marriage or a picture bride. There’s so much you can learn if you just ask or take the time.” Tigers can also do as Nguyen did. She said her way of managing stress is by talking to friends. “I actually got to get back in touch with old friends and I made a few new ones too,” she said. Another way to be entertained

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while being restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic is to enjoy nature by listening to the birds, watching a lizard crawl in search of food or water, looking at the flowers and grass, breathing in the air while watching the wind blow through the thicket, and listening to rain as it comes down. Taketa-Kim said people should observe nature to feel calmed by the way it cleanses the earth. “There’s so much serenity in what’s around us,” she said. “We live in paradise, so enjoy it.” Finding a hobby outside of selfies and social media is one of the ways people can find joy in doing. TaketaKim recommends doing a craft or gardening project instead of spending so much time on the internet. Taketa-Kim said she sewed masks to help health care workers who are in the front line. “Just remember to stick within our guidelines to prevent the coronavirus from spreading,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to cry or express your frustration in a positive way. We all are human after all, and we have the right to feel those negative things, too.” Panquites said the coronavirus pandemic will have unexpected benefits once it’s been resolved. “I do believe when we look back at this, we will be able to find some good that came out of it,” she said.


STUDENT LIFE IN LOCKDOWN by Nickolas Castillo, reporter

12May 2020 THE THE PINION PINION // 12 8,

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unior Lote Stark’s life changed since the coronavirus pandemic made its way to Hawaii. The Department of Education first announced that spring break would be extended, but as the number of COVID-19 cases rose in Hawaii, public schools closed for the rest of the year. “At first I was kind of glad, because at the time, the break was only extended one week. But the longer it got extended, the more sad I got,” Stark said. “The extended break pretty much took away everything that I looked forward to in life.” Stark planned to participate in track for the first time this spring. However, before spring break started, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced that interscholastic competition would be suspended indefinitely due to the crisis. “I was disappointed when I found out this season was cut short, especially since this is my first year in track,” Stark said. “Also, since sports were like the number one thing I looked forward to every day, it’s been a real bummer not being able to go to practice with my teammates.” With schools closed, teachers switched to remote learning. Online assignments were not a new concept for students, but doing it as the only method of learning had pros and cons. “With online classes, you don’t have the teacher with you, so if you were to have questions, you would have to wait for the teacher to respond to your email, which could be a while depending on how available your teacher is,” Stark said. “Online classes are helpful with organization, though. Since everything is digital, you won’t have to worry about losing any assignments.” Besides lamenting the lost track season and completing assignments, Stark still said she managed to have fun. “I’ve been playing a LOT of video games. I’ve been switching from my phone, to the wii, to the nintendo switch, and all the way around again,” Stark said. Stark said she missed going to school. “I miss it EXTREMELY. I really miss seeing all my friends. I miss going to class, seeing my teachers, and learning new things from them every day. I miss going to practice for any sport and improving my skills every day,” Stark said.



Infog raph

o. ic b y An V

TO WORK WITH OTHERS by An Vo, editor


chool is not just a place to learn. It is also a place to work with others. Senior Alyssa Kondo has used her experience at McKinley High School to grow her personality. “I would not have replaced it with anything else because it taught me more about others and myself, and what I want to do for the future,” Kondo said. One area where Kondo has been a leader is band. Kondo has been playing in a band since middle school with seven years of clarinet playing. Senior Alexandria Buchanan was in band with Kondo during middle school and her freshman year at high school. “She constantly thinks about others and is one of the most responsible and determined people I know,” Buchanan said. Buchanan said she’s proud that Kondo has always been by her side. “I can always go to her when I need someone and she can always come to me,” Buchanan said. “She makes me want to do better in the future because I know she’s going to do some amazing things.” Ignition is another way Kondo has been a leader. She became a mentor in her junior year because she looked up to her mentor, Savanna Charles. “I enjoy working with other students and large groups, as well as helping people when in need,” she said. “I wanted to help freshmen with their transition into high school and I thought this was a great opportunity to not only get them a mentor for this transition but also a friend they could rely on.” Although the word accomplishment comes with the connotation that it was a chore to complete, some of Kondo’s biggest accomplishments were not chores, but things that she values and is FEATURES FEATURES

very proud of. She said she is proud to say that she has made connections with people she can call friends. “In a matter of a few years, I stabilized relationships with mutual care, understanding, and support that I can take with me past high school,” she said. “I hope to help more people in the future, whether physically or emotionally.” School closures after spring break due to the risks of the coronavirus pandemic shortened Kondo’s high school career. “My high school ended abruptly and I was not able to experience all the traditional fourth quarter events,” she said. “Through all the years of schooling, they were building up to this moment that we can’t have anymore.” Kondo said the most difficult part of the crisis is coping with all the events that got canceled and being stripped of the time she had left with her school. “Although it was expected, a benefit that came out of this is being able to spend more time with family, and getting more sleep and exercise,” she said.

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THEPINION PINION//13 May 2020, THE 913


CHALLENGES by Thai Bui, head reporter


aley Nicole Chun, McKinley High School’s 2019-2020 freshman class vice president, said she wanted to push herself to be confident with others. “I want to gain as much experience as possible and see what might interest me,” she said. In her position, Chun had to always think about future plans, school activities (assemblies or events), and new ideas. One thing she learned from being a vice president is that you should always take a lot of precautions while planning and to advertise the plan more. “Being a vice president can be stressful at times since you are in charge of planning activities and ... I am not that experienced with planning activities yet,” she said. Chun’s goal as a vice president was to make the activities more enjoyable and memorable and bring the class of 2023 closer. “It was pretty fun to plan them since I feel like the freshmen will like them,” she said. Despite being busy as a vice president, Chun still focused on school. Her proudest achievement was getting a 4.0 for the first time. Her favorite food is palabok and milk tea since she enjoys Asian food. One of Chun’s hobbies is art since she finds it relaxing and got into it when she did an art project and was complimented for her work. A defining moment of her life was reaching the peak of a mountain after a long hike. “It feels amazing seeing everything down below right in front of you,” she said.

“I want to gain as much experience as possible and see what might interest me.” - Haley Nicole Chun, freshman. THEPINION PINION//14 14 THE

May 2020


RODDEN MISSES SCHOOL by Mark Ontolan, reporter


reshman James Rodden said he missed school after it closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers began providing remote instructions, but Rodden said it wasn’t the same. “I’d rather do all the work in school than doing it in Google Classroom,” Rodden said. “And I kinda miss all the things we used to do in school together.” Even though students still had schoolwork, many had more time on their hands and could get bored. “How I keep myself from getting bored during all of this social distancing is just face timing and texting my friends or just play online video games with them so we can socialize while having fun without playing in person,” Rodden said. Rodden also helps around the house. “I do all the chores for my mom,” he said. “Cleaning my house is another thing I do to keep myself from being bored in the house.” Rodden said he uses his phone a lot to stay in touch with his friends during this pandemic. “I can’t wait to go back to school already.” Rodden said. “I want to hang out with my friends because I miss them so much.”



reshman Mariel Tadena struggled with shyness when she was little. She changed in middle school because some of her classes required presentations and talking in front of the class. “After going through things like national history day, science fair and additional things that required me to speak,” she said. “I officially broke out of my shell in 8th grade.” One of the things she is proud of is her determination to get an education. “Growing up, I’ve always seen kids my age complaining about all the work they have to do. … I was always known to do my work,” she said. “Later on, I continued to excel in my classes, so I was able to develop good grades that have lasted me until now.” FEATURES FEATURES

She said she is an independent person. “I often like to do things by myself. I usually only ask for help, when I actually really need it,” she said. “I enjoy working independently because it really helps me to think outside the box or expand my thinking.” One of Tadena’s favorite memories is when she went to Maui for a family vacation. “The best thing about that whole day was not about the places we visited, but the time my family and I were able to spend with each other,” she said. “Growing up, I’ve learned that we don’t always have time for each other. So, when you actually have an opportunity, you should take it, and savor every second of it because you don’t know when the next time will happen.”

May 2020



Photos courtesy of Natasha Taketa-Kim, music teacher. From left: Ivan Mamoru Kim, Natasha Taketa-Kim.

by An Vo, editor


horus and piano teacher Natasha Taketa had been looking forward to March 2020 for a long time. She was getting married and planning to honeymoon in Japan. Then, the coronavirus pandemic interfered (Spoiler alert: the wedding took place and Taketa is now Taketa-Kim). Taketa-Kim’s wedding date was originally planned for March 20 and the ceremony was set to take place at the White Beach Chapel on the Hilton Hawaiian Village property where the backdrop of the altar overlooked the lagoon and ocean. The reception to follow was set at the Waikiki Ballroom in the Hale Koa Hotel. Her honeymoon plans were to tour Kyoto, Tokyo, and Mount Fuji while enjoying the sakura season. They were also going to meet up with friends from Hawai’i who live there THE PINION 10, THE THEPINION PINION///16 16 May 2020

and friends she made in Japan that she met through her mother and her mother’s church. “On March 13, I was standing in a line outside of Bath and Body Works in Windward Mall for hand sanitizer when I received notification of the order that all military members, their families, Department of Defense and their family members were restricted from traveling,” she said. The notification of the order made Taketa-Kim think of her wedding. “My wedding is now in jeopardy because we’re going into a ‘war-like’ status,” she said. “But again, it’s okay since the health and safety of everyone and myself are extremely important.” On the morning of March 16, Taketa-Kim contacted the catering office at Hale Koa to check and see if her reception was still set to happen. She said they confirmed that nothing May 2020

had changed and she was still set to have the reception. “However, around 2:00 p.m., I got a phone call and it was Hale Koa telling me they just received word that all events were to be ceased immediately and that I could not have my wedding reception,” she said. She said she and her friends and family had just finished making the party favors for the wedding when she got the call. “I cried a little once I got off the phone and I got comforted by everyone there, but then I set to move on to the next thing,” she said. “Better to use my energy in being productive than to sit and cry over it.” Taketa-Kim said she tends to anticipate and plan for the worst-case scenarios because she’s from Hilo on Hawai’i island and a military family member. “We tend to be prepared for everyFEATURES NEWS FEATURES

thing from blackouts to low resources and my father being activated for duty in war situations and orders,” she said. After hearing from Hale Koa Hotel, Taketa-Kim said she checked to see if her ceremony was still going to happen because it was at a different venue and she could only have 50 people in attendance (the accepted threshold for a gathering of people). “Thankfully, that was not canceled,” she said. Taketa-Kim said the next step was to notify everyone that the ceremony would be a go but that the reception was canceled. “My new husband, Ivan Mamoru Kim, and I were still able to get married on our wedding date and it was in the White Beach Chapel with close family and friends,” she said. Taketa-Kim said she met Kim at the University of Hawaii Rainbow WarFEATURES NEWS FEATURES

rior Marching Band in 2004. “That was both our first semester in college after high school,” TaketaKim said. “He’s from Kaiser here on Oahu and I’m from Hilo High on Hawai’i island.” The ceremony carried on but without Taketa-Kim’s father and sister (bridesmaid). There were fewer people in attendance because of the coronavirus risk either because of age, health, or concern. The wedding was all they had besides some picture taking with no celebrations. TaketaKim said it put a damper on such a happy event and made it feel small in some ways. “I got ready for about three hours with my mother and my bridesmaids with hair and makeup for only 20 minutes of ceremony and maybe an hour of picture taking; that was it,” Taketa-Kim said. Having her own life so disrupted, May 2020

she remained concerned about her students. “Seniors, don’t be discouraged! We will do everything and anything we can to give you all that we can,” she said. “We know it’s a tough time, but we believe in you all.” The school closure was not a shock to Taketa-Kim. “I was anticipating the schools being closed,” she said. “It was more a relief knowing the health and safety of everyone at school was being put first. I am very pleased with DOE’s choice in keeping schools closed for classes but open for meals to students in need.” Now, Taketa-Kim is looking forward to the end of social distancing so she can take her honeymoon. “We’re hopeful that we can try and go in the fall to see the changing of the leaves in Japan, but that’s subject to the coronavirus,” she said. May 2020, THE THEPINION PINION///11 17 THE PINION 17



by Regina Nguyen, Student Body President Aloha Students of McKinley High School, During this time of adversity, we are faced with the reality that the future is filled with many uncertainties. With the last quarter of the school year spent working on enrichment assignments and attending virtual classes, the times we spent hanging out with friends at the park or going shopping at malls feel like distant memories. The amount of time we spend in our homes has begun to feel endless as we reminisce about all the memories we may have taken for granted or wish to relive. We hope to see the end of the COVID-19 outbreak so we may return to our everyday lives and see our friends without having to be six feet apart. It may feel like an eternity before we are able to go outside and maybe even return to school, but we can get through this together if we continue to have high hopes. As a senior, I share in all the seniors’ disappointment at the loss of our prom and traditional commencement ceremony. But also remember the countless memories we shared together, from our first Homecoming as freshmen to Senior Luau, and how we endured the years together. In the same respect, we must stand together though separated by a disease because, like always, we will get through it together as a class and we will emerge triumphant. As hard as it is to accept, going back to normal during this time is not an option and is especially in these times that we must stand united with heads held high. My message to the entire student body is to please continue to stay at home and stay healthy. It is with great regret that we must watch our 2019-2020 school year end this way. But please remember to keep your spirits up and don’t lose hope. Continue to virtually keep in touch with your friends as well as your teachers. The hope is that we can return to school in the fall and return to normalcy, but for now please remain patient and remember that we must stay strong in order to get through this together.  Very Respectfully,  Regina Nguyen  Student Body President

“Remain patient and remember that we must stay strong in order to get through this together.”

- Regina Nguyen, Student Body President.

May 2020


Visit mhspinion.com to find more blogs from The Pinion’s staffers.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that a pandemic can be stressful and provides resources on its website. They recommend that if you feel overwhelmed, call 911 or call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

ARE YOU BORED DURING LOCKDOWN? by Mark Ontolan, reporter


he coronavirus canceled your spring break plans, sporting events, concerts and late night rendezvous. While restrictions are slowly being lifted, we are still facing a summer with no schoolwork but plenty of time at home. When boredom strikes, it’s going to call for some serious creativity. Here are some ideas you can do to keep yourself busy during this crisis. First, chat with a friend. Call, text, email or video chat with your friends and family. Just because you’re socially distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t connect. Research shows that social support can make you more resilient to stress. Second is to listen to music. Listening to music can help

people in the face of a scary and stressful experience. Studies find that music reduced anxiety and while bolstering people’s moods. Third is to sleep. Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep, because when you’re sleep- deprived, your body has a harder time fighting infectious diseases. Fourth is to exercise. Exercising at home can get your body in good shape, and it’s healthy for you. Physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance, and exercising delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. The most important thing is to stay mentally and physically healthy during this outbreak.



et me start with introducing you to my Auntie’s dog Sassy. She is still a puppy. Can you believe that this big animal is still a puppy? Sassy was actually going to be sent to the Humane Society because her original owners were moving into a smaller apartment where no animals were allowed. My auntie brought her home until she could find a home for her. That was six months ago. She still hasn’t found a home for her and now Sassy has just become part of our family. We already have a dog, which is my grandma’s baby. We call her Bella. Bella is a rare black Maltese. When we first got her, she was all black. Now her age is catching up with her. My animals Sassy and Bella help me by taking my mind off of hearing, seeing, and watching COVID-19 updates. Throughout the day, I play with Sassy and feed her. Just spending some time having her lick my face gives me joy. It’s sticky sometimes but she gets excited and jumps up when she knows I’m going to walk by her. Bella loves to jump on my bed when my grandma leaves the house and sleeps with me by my feet. She enjoys cuddling and I have fun turning her upside down and rolling my hands on her belly. My animals give me peace and help me with stress, especially when we have to stay at home away from my school friends. They remind me that I’m not alone and I don’t have to stress and things will get better. NEWS EDITORIALS EDITORIALS

Joesph Brown and Sassy.

Joesph Brown and Bella.

May 2020


OPPRESSION IS A PROBLEM by Priscilla Perey Ratonel, guest writer


e have a problem - the systematic oppression of groups in a variety of settings. Oppression happens when power imbalance exists between two or more parties. By definition, it is “when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.” I have seen that oppression does not come only from legal laws but from social “laws” as well. As a member of various oppressed groups myself, such as females and people of color, I more easily recognize and empathize with those caught in this convoluted structure, which is why I am dedicated to actively pointing it out and rebelling against it when I can. As a female, I will be underpaid for doing the same, if not a higher level of, work as a male colleague, conveying that I will be inferior no matter THE THE PINION PINION // 20 20

my level of competence. Every life choice will be stigmatized and every situation turned on me. If we remain ignorant, oppression will continue. This problem can be solved by examining and altering our ways as an individual and as a society. This solution may take time as we have to consciously restrain ourselves from degrading others, but I can do my part by being a role model in empowering others and speaking up when others cannot. When my peers use words meant to degrade females, implying that females are inferior, it is my duty to call them out and make them conscious of their choices. When others, especially in school, make fun of Asians by mocking their eyes or accents, or even their “nerdiness” or lack thereof, it would be unjust to let it go on without defense. When I hear the N-word being used by someone who is not black, I May 2020

cannot let it go without reprimand when African Americans are the only ones to have the right to its usage, as they paid for it with their blood. The LGBTQ+ community also suffers, where a variety of negative and oppressive terms have come into play. This oppression is especially damaging when it comes from someone you love. It can even cost you your life. By the process of social integration, if I implement this behavior into my friend groups and to others I interact with as well as encourage and educate others to do the same, we can reverse misogynistic, racist, queer phobic, or any other type of oppressive culture. While many may think it is foolish to believe that we can better the world in time for us to witness our impact, this issue is not one we can overlook just because we might not live to see the impact.


ESPORTS DESERVES RECOGNITION by Giovanni Luu, guest writer


id you know esports were projected to bring more than $1 billion in revenue in 2019? Well, if you didn’t, that’s completely normal because most people know little about esports. The term “esports” is short for electronic sports and refers to video games played competitively, just like any “regular” sport. Although esports may not be as physical as sports like basketball, esports should be considered a sport because it requires mental strength and skill. The argument that esports are not actual sports because they don’t require physical exertion is weak. There are many sports that do not require much physical exertion such as darts, billiards, bowling and golf. These are still considered sports because these activities are competitively entertaining and require the individual and/or teams to have a set of skills. Esports completely meets this criteria. Allowing esports to be considered a regular sport would open up opportunities for the millions of people who play games. It would allow these people to have more pride and self-confidence in what they do and enjoy. Eventually, these individuals may grow up to pursue dreams free from fear. There is nothing stopping esports from becoming a regular sport other than the outdated notion that a sport requires physical exertion. As we move on, there are only benefits to calling esports players athletes.

Infographic by Ryan Vanairsdale.

VOTING IS IMPORTANT OF BEING AMERICAN by Stephanie Linn, guest writer


s all of the votes are counted and the next president of the United States is announced, the country roars with excitement (or dismay) for what is to come. By casting a vote, the American population is able to voice their opinions to better America for future generations. The very act of voting exemplifies what it means to be an American. With Hawaii’s primary election set for Aug. 8 and the general election set for Nov. 3, it is important for Americans to go out and vote. In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty and said, “Even in times as troubled and uncertain NEWS EDITORIALS

as these, I still hold to the faith that a better civilization than any we have known is in store for America.” Each individual vote is needed for this “better civilization” to come. Voters, however, must be knowledgeable about different policies to make a more informed decision on candidates and how to help America progress as a country. It is critical for Americans to hold true to that quote so America can improve more as a country and uphold positive aspects that make America unique. In the short story “America and I” by Anzia Yezierska, the main character has a revelation about what it means to be an American. “The great difference between the first Pilgrims May 2020

and me was that they expected to make America, build America, create their own liberty. I wanted to find it ready made.” Americans can help build America by voting in elections. Although some argue that they are just voting for the “least worst,” it still gives power to the American people. Through voting, citizens are able to become more aware of issues and take advantage of a freedom that is not available in many other countries. Regardless of what political standing each American has, voting is a vital part of what makes America, America. This is why the act of voting exemplifies what it means to be an American.


‘SWEET REVENGE’ HITS RIGHT NOTES by Cheng Hong He, reporter


atching “Sweet Revenge (Revenge Note)” is an amazing experience. The story is about how a girl tries to find a bully using a revenge note app that’s only designated for the girl. Along the way, she falls in love with a guy. The main characters are Ji-Hoon (Park Solomon) and Ho Goo-Hee (Kim Hyang Gi). In the beginning of the story, Goo-hee, is bullied because of her looks. Then comes the new boy in her class, Ji-Hoon. He is the cute, quiet, and handsome boy featured in every drama. In the middle, trouble starts to happen to Goo-Hee, and that’s when she downloads the ‘revenge note app’ to get back at her bullies. When you enter anybody’s name in the app, bad luck

will follow the person around until the bully has suffered enough. This story is not only about the app. It has a stereotypical teenage life. In the end, I love how Ji-Hoon and Goo-Hee fall in love. In most dramas, the pretty girl always gets the pretty boy. What will keep you on edge is there is a master behind the app; no one knows who the person is, but they might be revealed in the second season. In the first season, the K-pop group Astro made an appearance in one of the episodes. This drama episode is too short for my liking but they also have Sweet Revenge 2 (Revenge Note 2). I would give this Korean drama a five out of five rating.


IS ALMOST FLAWLESS by Kamakoa Faumui, guest writer


he Korean romantic comedy, “Love with Flaws,” was released in late 2019. Viki Rauten, a global TV site used to binge Asian international shows, rated the show 9 out of 10, and I agree. The plot is similar to many other dramas where the female lead shows no interest in the male lead. In this case, the female lead, Seo Yeon, is a P.E. teacher at Shinhwa High School and has an overwhelmingly strong prejudice against people who are good looking. It is a strange way of creating a plot, but it becomes an indicator of how she grows past her prejudice and finally accepts Kang Woo into her life. There is a lot of tension between Seo Yeon and Kang Woo because of what happened between them in the past. The drama also features other relationships that THE THEPINION PINION//22 22

are going on with Seo Yeon’s brothers and best friend. All grow past their obstacles and help each other out when the time calls for it. The entire production of the show is high quality and I was very pleased with the outcome. However, what I think they could’ve done better was to give a little more focus on a couple of the other relationships because I found myself favoring the relationship between her second older brother and the university student. As for the ending of the show, I believe that it was a good way to end and left me with a happy feeling. I highly recommend watching this drama and to have patience throughout the show. Finally, I would like to give an honorable mention to Cha In Ha, who recently passed away. May 2020


‘PARASITE’ FILLED WITH SUSPENSE, COMEDY, THRILLS by Michelle Thonavong, guest writer


heck out academy awardwinning film “Parasite.” A masterpiece is what I would call it, one of the best foreign films I’ve seen this year. A spine-chilling movie full of twists and turns, it will undoubtedly leave you with an eerie feeling and full of questions. Many factors led to the film’s success, including its wonderful cinematography, storytelling, music, acting, and plot. The most prominent aspect of the film is the acknowledgment of society’s biggest issue: discrimination in the social structure. Director Bong Joon Ho’s films are known for tackling real-life inequalities. “Parasite” is the most daring of all his other notable works, which include “Snowpiercer ” and “Okja.” “Parasite” starts with a shot of the Kim family’s semi-basement home. The environment of the home isn’t the most ideal. It is cluttered, dirty NEWS EDITORIALS

and infected with bugs. The family makes meager wages by folding pizza boxes. They aren’t even good at it. Despite these circumstances, the family is comfortable but will strive for better when the opportunity is handed to them. Everything changes when Ki Woo’s friend offers him a tutoring opportunity in the renowned upper-class Park family’s home. Despite not having gone to college, Kim Woo uses his smarts to talk his way into tutoring their daughter (with the help of his sister’s excellent photoshopped college documents). The infiltration deepens when he finds out that their youngest son needs an art therapist, thus giving him the idea of gigging the job to his sister. Of course, he had to lie that they weren’t related for it to be more believable. Through various schemes and adlibs, the rest of the Kim family replace the Park family’s housekeepMay 2020

er and chauffeur. At this point, you may have an idea of what the title of the film represents. The poor Kim family is leeching off the Park family’s wealth. Or is it quite the opposite, the Park family feeding off the Kim family’s labor? Perhaps it is both, which is all up to your interpretation. I won’t go too much into detail on the story because it’s best to watch the film with as little knowledge of it as possible in order to enjoy the full experience. One last thing I’ll mention is that there are a lot of metaphors in the film. The idea of “upstairs, downstairs, and farther downstairs” takes on a whole new meaning. The film is highly engaging. It’s a ride packed with suspense, comedy, and thrills. I’m impressed on how all the genres are blended so seamlessly. Indeed, it’s a breath of fresh air and most definitely worth the experience. THEPINION PINION/ 23 / 23 THE


TO OUR TIME by Mark Ontolan, reporter


ne of my favorite old movies is “Outbreak.” This movie is about a dangerous airborne virus called “motaba” that came from an African monkey that was smuggled into the U.S. The virus hits a California town and almost wipes out all of civilization. A team of doctors are working hard to stop the virus from spreading. One doctor, played by Dustin Hoffman, figured out that the military had been hiding the cure for 25 years. His friend, played by Morgan Freeman, is a general who knew about the coverup the whole time and almost didn’t do anything to help people survive the virus. Eventually, Hoffman’s character and another doctor fly a helicopter to stop a plane from dropping a bomb on the small California town in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the ex-wife, played by Rene Russo, of Hoffman’s character was in the town administering a possible cure. This movie has a lot of action that is interesting for me, and this last scene of two doctors stopping the military plane from dropping the bomb is my favorite. The actors did an excellent job on acting and there is a lot of amazing action. The ending was nice as well as the actors.



May 2020


‘DEMON SLAYER’ IS FAN FAVORITE by Jasmine Thai, guest writer


popular 26-episode anime created by Koyoharu Gotouge and was released in 2019 is “Demon Slayer.” The show easily became a fan favorite after its first season. “Demon Slayer” is about a boy named Tanjirou who is gifted with a keen sense of smell. He comes back from his coal delivery to find his whole family slaughtered and his younger sister, Nezuko, has become a demon. Shocked by what happened, he bumps into a demon slayer, who tries to kill his sister to stop her from eating her own brother. This story follows the two siblings’ journey. It is incredibly heartwarming to see such an amazing family bond as they fight and protect each other. We can also see how much they grow in power and as people. Tanjirou is incredibly kind, even to demons. He always finds ways to release the demons to find their inner peace. Nezuko would not devour a single soul, which is why she is considered a special case and was spared from execution. The animation is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. Each episode is well drawn and the opening is one of a kind. The songs are great. I sing them so much that my friends get annoyed. I simply cannot wait for the movie release in late 2020 and the release of Season 2. It is one of my favorite anime and I really recommend for you to watch this touching, eyecatching, amazing story. NEWS EDITORIALS

May 2020


WHY GIRLS FEEL INSECURE by Dana Leong, guest writer


ociety has high expectations, and girls feel the need to meet those expectations. This causes insecurities to blossom. Insecurities about body type, acne and much more, can be overwhelming because girls on social media portray a certain body type (skinny and tall). Models for certain companies encourage the same race and body shape in order to “look pretty” or model their clothes. As girls shop for clothes online, they see models being skinny and start to believe that is the ideal body type. Girls start believing that their body isn’t nice because of such unrealistic standards from the media. Since Insta-

gram models have a similar style, clear skin and are tall, skinny, and tan, girls start to believe that is how they should look, creating insecurity. Being insecure has become like a virus. It has spread to everyone’s mind and has led to negative effects. We often need to feel a sense of belonging and fitting into society’s standards. Comparing ourselves to others has become such a natural instinct that it is hard to stop. All girls want is to feel accepted for how they are on the inside and outside regardless of the size of their pants or their facial features. Unrealistic standards online make this hard.

WHY BOYS ACT DUMB by Giovanni Luu, guest writer


hile there are exceptions such as Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton—geniuses that have changed the world as we know it, in general, most would agree that boys often act repulsive, immature, and dumb. Do boys act this way because that’s just how they are? No. Boys act this way for a reason so incomprehensible that it becomes comprehensible. The reason boys act dumb is for attention. Being dumb has always been a prime way to grab someone’s interest, whether it be in a good or bad way. Despite how idiotic it sounds, seeking attention has evolved into an artform. Attention leads to social interactions, something that boys crave. A lot of boys start off as very reserved, which leads to a painful life, thus as a defense


mechanism, their intelligence seems to drop and they start to act dumb. The defense mechanism is so sneaky that even the boys themselves don’t recognize that they’re acting dumb. It sounds convoluted but to get to know someone, you must lower your understanding to the same level. I, as a male, can vouch for the validity behind this logic. There are many examples of males that were thought to be smart but they act as if they aren’t. The perfect example would be that 4.0+ student that you go to for homework help. It seems he would be the perfect guy for this task, but when you start talking with him, he acts very strangely, almost as if he was a D+ type of student. Persevere. He’s not really dumb; he’s just acting like it to get your attention.

May 2020


WHY TEENS ARE STRESSED by Leila Hirayama, guest writer


eenagers, if you are very stressed out, you are not alone. In fact, today, teens are more stressed than ever. We have witnessed or experienced mental breakdowns, increased anxiety, depression, and more. While some might argue that teens have less stress than adults, that isn’t the case. A big contributing factor to stress in teens is school. During high school, everything counts. Teens need to work hard to get the grades they need to get into college. Without good grades, the ‘ideal plan for life’ is ruined. You won’t get into a good college, nor the career you’d like to pursue. With pressure from family, even more stress is added

on. I think we can all relate when I say that families have high expectations, even if it sounds reasonable. Most families would like their children to get good grades, go to college, and succeed in an honorable career. This idea doesn’t just start to form in high school; it’s been cultivating since you were born. Almost every family just wants what they think is best for their children. This ultimately puts a lot of pressure on teens, as the child does not want to disappoint their family. Not only is school a contributing factor. Teens also face a large amount of social pressure. Today it’s very common for teens to feel as if there are social standards they must live up to. Whether it’s to look a certain way or to act a certain way, it takes a toll on teens in the form of stress.

WHY I AM IN BAND by Karen Huynh, guest writer


veryone has reasons they do what they do. I did everything purely because my older cousins did them. My whole life, I was always told to do everything that they did. They were the smart ones, always being shown off by everyone. “Shawn does really well in math; now he’s moved up a class.” “Paula won first place in the spelling bee; now she’s going to states.” I blindly followed them wherever they headed in life. My mom desperately wanted me to go to Kaimuki Middle School and I refused because “my cousins go to Washington Middle.” My dad begged me to go to Kalani High School and I refused because “that’s not where my cousins go.” You could say the same thing about my extracurriculars. I only joined Band because that’s what my cousins were doing. My oldest cousin came home one day with a saxophone and I was amazed. My parents never played instruments and music was never a big part of their lives. Seeing him play (albeit it poorly) made me think he was so cool. The following year, my cousin came home with a clarinet. I thought, “I want to be successful and cool like them.” I started in sixth grade and chose flute based on the poster in the music room at my elementary school. I didn’t really have a passion to play, and just wanted to do it because Shawn and Paula did it. I didn’t take music seri-


ously as I continued through middle school. It wasn’t until high school that I finally found the joy in playing within such a big ensemble. Maybe it was the energy from the football games or the cheerfulness of the Christmas parades. But I know for a fact that part of it was the people that surrounded me. My friends from middle school were still there but now we had something to look forward to. I thank my seniors that year the most for making me feel so comfortable and welcomed.

May 2020

Art by An Vo.


MORIKUNI PLANS FOR FUTURE ATHLETICS by Ryan Vanairsdale and An Vo, editors


hen the coronavirus became a pandemic in March, Hawaii closed school campuses, which also ended the spring athletic season. “It happened really fast. … Before spring break, I was hoping we would be able to come back in April, and it’s now May 1st and we’re not going to come back at all,” Bob Morikuni, athletic director, told The Pinion staff during a virtual interview via Google Meet. “I was at first hopeful that we could do something, especially for the seniors and the final sports, but it just went quick and now it’s over, pretty much, sports-wise.” Without sporting events to organize, Morikuni spends his time in virtual athletic director meetings and helping around the school where help is needed, such as distributing the daily grab-n-go lunches for students. “I try to come in and help with the vice principals and principal. They’re doing a lot for the school, getting the word out about packet pickup, trying to figure out graduation. … I come in and try to help where I can,” he said. Morikuni said he feels sad about the loss of the spring sports season. “I wish we got to finish the season,” he said. “I just feel terrible and disappointed for the seniors and for the teams.” As schools and athletics look to the future, Morikuni said it will have to start with getting the green light for students to be back in the physical classroom. “The first thing we want is to hear from the governor or the superintendent when schools will be open. … That’ll be our first indication on whether we can start doing all these other things and I think that goes for other school activities,” he said. Beyond the initial reopening of schools and school activities, there are many issues to be addressed with sports in the wake of new behaviors and safety precautions. “Can we be safe with our student athletes? What sports can we do? And in sports like football and girls volleyball, can we bring in these crowds and will it be okay to do that?” he said. Morikuni said budgets might be cut by up to 50 percent. “We have to work around that,” he said. Although nobody is certain what the schools will be like in the future, Morikuni is among the many people working to be prepared for what might happen. “With my work as athletic director, we’ve been meeting once a week trying to figure out plans for next school year. … We don’t even know what the schools will look like, but we’re just trying to be ready,” he said.


May 2020

Photo by Erin Song, Photo 1 Infographic by An Vo.


Photo courtesy of Paxton Nouchi.


PAXTON NOUCHI W by Nyler Acasio, head reporter, and An Vo, editor

hen you think of an up-and-coming student athlete at McKinley High School, freshman Paxton Nouchi is one of them. “I started playing sports when I was quite young, I was four years old when I started my baseball career,” Nouchi said. Nouchi took a break from baseball during middle school and played intramural flag football, which created a long-term love affair. During his break from baseball, Nouchi “fell in love” with football and the NFL team Miami Dolphins, played one more season of flag with an outside league, and played tackle football during middle school. “My interest quickly shifted gears and I watched a lot of football,” he said. As a freshman at McKinley, Nouchi was one of the only freshmen chosen to play ball with the upperclassmen when McKinley decided not to have a junior varsity season last fall.


“I am really grateful for the chance Coach Pat gave me to play varsity football as a freshman. … I was a little shaky about having no JV, but I took this as an opportunity to take a bigger step into playing on a [higher] level because not many kids get to play varsity as a freshman,” Nouchi said. “It feels pretty special… I am just grateful for the opportunity.” Nouchi decided to return to baseball and tried out for the junior varsity team in February at McKinley. His early start paid off and he made the team. “It was a fun time but right after that (I’m) thankful for my coaches that they promoted me to play varsity baseball,” he said. Before spring sports were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team had multiple scrimmages to get the team ready for the regular season. “At least we got some action before the season was postponed,” Nouchi said. Nouchi said he feels “devastated”

May 2020

that the season was canceled after the team had worked so hard to prepare for the season but he is looking on the bright side. “I should be thankful to be a part of this team instead of feeling angry about the season being canceled,” he said. Nouchi plans on playing sports throughout his high school career. He said it would show disrespect to his coaches if he quit. “Sports is also the one that gives me that motivation to stay up late and finish all my work or study for an upcoming test,” he said. “[I have] no doubt about playing [for] all four years!” Nouchi feels pressured to maintain his grades while playing a sport. He said he feels grateful for his parents. “That is the beauty of being a student athlete, knowing that there is a meaning behind everything you do,” he said. “Every ball I throw, every 240 yard runs I run, I know that I am doing this for my own good.”




Photo by Cynthia Reves.


very year, The Pinion staff votes for a most valuable staffer. I am honored to have been chosen this year. On behalf of the staff, thank you for supporting The Pinion this year! We hope you enjoyed our content. The Pinion staff appreciates all the feedback you have given to motivate us to work hard and improve our product. During this pandemic, our staffers have worked extra hard to generate content for you. We want to thank Principal Ron Okamura for helping us get a print issue out this quarter. Keeping The Pinion’s traditions wouldn’t have been possible without his support. Finally, we want to say congratulations and thank editor Alexandria Buchanan for being a part of The Pinion for all four years of her high school career. She will be missed for her contributions. We hope you continue to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic and the summer.

This art shows a rebirth at McKinley High School. With the lessons learned from the crisis, schools can start fresh with a stronger education system. The wings were inspired by archival issues of The Pinion. “Pinion” is a synonym for wing. Art by An Vo.

“Journalism is the first draft of history.” - Phil Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post.

CHECK OUT ALL OUR 2019-2020 CONTENT AT mhspinion.com! WE WILL BE BACK WITH MORE STORIES IN AUGUST. NOTICE: The Hawaii State Department of Education and its schools do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, color, national origin, May 2020 THE PINION / 30 religion, or disability in its programs and activities and provide ONLINE HIGHLIGHTS equal access to designated youth groups, including Boy Scouts.

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The Pinion Vol. 98 No. 4 May 2020  

The Pinion Vol. 98 No. 4 May 2020  

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