Raven Report 2022-2023 Issue Cycle 4

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Table of Contents
Ono TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND By Amara Bakshi 12 14 16 21 22 26 6 26 20 7
ALLIES + ONE YEAR REFLECTION By Nicholas Lawrence and Minou


A note from our editors-in-chief

This second semester has been a rollercoaster. The record-breaking weather created chaos, disrupting the junior classwide testing, safety on campus, and even our ability to step on campus. However, with the confusion came the talented reporting of Raven Report staff. Reporters stepped up to the plate to cover the events not for a grade but out of curiosity and commitment to the Sequoia community.

This issue has been all about prioritizing community. The first change inflicted on the unsuspecting staffers was our goal of highlighting news stories on and off campus. Our news section has always been barren, and we knew that people were shying away from the topic because they didn’t know how to write a news article in a timely and accurate way.

Obviously, our first solution was to make our reporters as uncomfortable as possible. Each reporter was pushed harder to come up with news ideas, researching and thinking deeply about the impact of their writing before pitching their ideas to the editor team. With the uptick in news articles and genuine excitement for writing this issue, the resentment was definitely worth the results.

The next change was the “pods”. With a long list of accepted story ideas, it was our job to create small groups of similar articles (pods) to make a more visually cohesive


magazine. This was not a popular assignment. It was hard to convince the new reporters that their voices were just as important as those with more experience. Although it took some work, the pods started to make cohesive looking layouts.

We were so impressed with the flexibility of the staff reporters that we felt it was time to announce update number three: leadership changes. This year has gone by so fast, it doesn’t feel very long ago that we welcomed the new reporters and now, those same reporters were sending in editor applications for next year. This was not a responsibility that we took lightly. There were more applicants than years prior and, for the first time, there wouldn’t be enough positions for everyone.

As we were brainstorming the characteristics of next years editorial board, we were forced to reflect on our current roster.

With the hard truths faced, we took the steps and made the changes. The loss of a teammate was confusing, but we knew that we were promoting the very thing we pounded into the brains of the poor staff reporters: cohesion and community.

The Raven Report is its own community, but it also works tirelessly to participate in and represent the community built on Sequoia students, staff, family and many more. The reporters’ work does not go unnoticed by us and we hope you can see the weeks of work that went into creating the pages waiting for you.

THE RAVEN REPORT IS A Sequoia High School student publication produced in the journalism class through the efforts and decisions of the staff and the publication’s editors and adviser. The Raven Report is a public forum for students, staff, parents and community members.

THE RAVEN REPORT STRIVES TO provide Sequoia High School with informative, engaging and relevant news. The staff will exercise integrity and adaptability while promoting justice and transparency through professional reporting about the school, the community and the world.


THE RAVEN REPORT STAFF welcomes signed letters to the editor so that readers might share in the opportunities of the scholastic free press in open forum. The written views of students, parents or community members must be responsible, in good taste and free from libel, slander or obscenity. Letters may be edited for grammar or content if necessary; furthermore, editors will not guarantee that letters will be published.


and web posting funded by
EDITOR Allison
King Rylan Butt Hope Callaghan COPY
Sieling Adam Trinklein Pedro Vail ADVISOR Diana Nguyen

Living in Silicon Valley, a region that is constantly evolving with new innovations and technology, it can be hard to remember or bring to light the rich history of the past. One close-to-home example of this is the San Carlos Circle Star Theater.

Opened in the early 1960s and situated in between Redwood City and San Carlos, the Circle Star Theater was a unique and intimate venue that attracted visitors from all over the Bay Area and beyond.

For locals, it’s hard to imagine that a theater existing in our suburban community was able to draw in large crowds and celebrities. The venue provided a wide array of entertainment, including live music, comedy, and plays, and had the honor of hosting iconic music legends like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Beach Boys and more. The theater suffered from a decline in popularity in its last few decades, leading to it being demolished in 1997 and turned into a series of office buildings.

Today, all that’s left of Circle Star is its street sign and the memories held among older generations of Bay Area residents.

Stories from Sequoia Alumni

Students who attend Sequoia today may not grasp how significant the theater was at its time to the community. Many alumni were eager to share their stories on the various ways Circle Star impacted their lives. Some went to the theater on first dates, birthday parties, or worked there as an usher.

One Sequoia alum, Beverly Morgan, highlighted her most notable experience, which was going on a first date with her future husband.

“Back in ‘79, George Carlin was coming to town, and I got a single ticket in the Star aisle in the front row to see [him]. The night

before, I met the man who would become my husband, and we hit it off. We had a great time. And he said, ‘So what are you doing tomorrow?’ I said, ‘Well, I have tickets to see George Carlin.’ and he says, ‘Well, why don’t you trade them in and get two tickets and we’ll see him together.’ And so I probably wouldn’t have gone home with George Carlin that night anyway, but Tom Morgan and I had a good time. And in fact, we’ve been married 41 years,” Morgan said.

Another Sequoia alumn, Cindy Johnson, shared her experience working as an usher and seeing shows for free.

“I ushered almost every single weekend on a Saturday afternoon. You would just get there before the show started and would seat everybody and then once the show started after, you would wait for the stragglers to come in. We got to see every single thing that was played there because all you did was spend a few minutes seating people and then you got to see the play for free. You didn’t get paid for being an usher, your payment was watching the show,” Johnson said.

Concerts today

With the removal of Circle Star and theaters like it, today’s concert goers are missing out on intimate experiences with big stars in small venues. Having seats no further than 50 feet away from its rotating stage, Circle Star brought this unique small concert experience to the backyards of San Carlos and Redwood City locals.

Melissa Uchet, another Sequoia alumni, describes how the personal nature of the theater made her feel closer to performers.

“I mean, they were right there. There was no big stage separating us from them. There was no separation of any kind, which is a big difference than what concerts are like now,” Uchet said.

Art by Amara Bakshi 1980 Diana Ross Ad

A great loss: the upcoming closure of Great America

California’s Great America has about a decade left of lifespan after its operator, Cedar Fair, sold for roughly $310 million. The deal, officially made public in summer 2022, promised up to 11 years of continuous operation on the park before a full closure.

Since its opening in 1976, the park has been under the ownership of Marriott, Paramount and, as of 2006, Cedar Fair.The sale was meant to lower Cedar Fair’s company debt. Cedar Fair made a press statement on their decision June 27th, 2022.

“For our investors, the sale and lease agreements allow us to monetize a highvalue asset in the heart of Silicon Valley at a very attractive multiple. The transaction also provides us with a substantial sum of incremental capital which we intend to use to further advance our strategic priorities and generate enhanced returns for our unitholders,” Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman said.

The buyer was San-Francisco-based real estate developer Prologis, who is leasing the land for six years with the option to renew for an additional five. Their plans for the land are currently unknown.

Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gilmor stated that the land is zoned for theme park use only. She also clarified that the city found this information at the same time as the public, and that she wants Great America to continue operation. Gilmore made a press statement on June 29th, 2022.

“My hope and goal is to keep California’s Great America there as long as possible in the

long term,” Gilmore said.

It is currently unknown where the attractions will go, however, they will be sold when the time comes to close the park.

One Fresno resident, Chris Smith, has started a petition to move those attractions to a new park in Fresno, making it a great tourist spot. Though the petition has nearly 2000 signatures, updates have been scarce.

For Sequoia theme park goers, losing Great America is also losing convenience.

“It’s unfortunate, once it closes there’s not going to be any parks close anymore,” junior Cameron Abrams said. “There’s [Great

Knowing that there is a theme park in the Bay Area, it’s kind of cool,

Percentage of students surveyed who hadn’t heard about the closure (dark) and those who had (light)

and it’s sad that that’s gonna go away,”
Roman Pepa, Junior
Art by Sasha Efimchik Percentage of students surveyed who hadn’t been to Great America (dark) and those who had (light)

What a young mind can do

How a Sequoia student’s passion project turned into a real brand

Young Minds, a colorful, trendy clothing brand founded in the summer of 2022 by Sequoia junior Robinson Hirano, started off as just an idea but has evolved into a money making business. Hirano’s passion for graphic design and desire to create something for the world inspired him to make clothes, but he says the brand is more about the message than the product.

“People obviously think it’s about age but really it’s not, it’s more about a state of mindset that you could have[...] If you can just let [limitations] go let your creativity shine. I feel like that’s what it means to be a young mind,” Hirano said.

The latest drop in January included colorful button up t-shirts with a cloud print for $65, regular cotton tees for $35 and a Young Minds branded letter man jacket for $350, making the prices comparable to mainstream brands.

“People do say the price is high a lot, but I think that is a great thing because I want them to go out and make their own clothes in the rice range they want,” Hirano said.

Hirano confirmed that Young Minds was making a profit but would not disclose any specific numbers.

The brand mainly sells shirts but has also branched into jackets and accessories, all of which are personally designed by Hirano.

“Maybe I’ll have a piece of paper with me. I’ll take a photo of something [...] I just take ideas I have either on paper or my phone, then just make a quick sketch. That’s all I need,” Hirano said.

The process of starting a clothing brand or any business in general can be confusing, especially for young students who haven’t had the opportunity to learn about business management yet. Hirano, like most people would, turned to the internet for help.

“You can learn most of it online, but it is it’s a confusing thing to go through,” Hirano said.

Once a design is made, Hirano finds measurements that are comfortable then matches his design to the measurements of

the product. The next step in the process is to find a manufacturer who can create samples then full stock if the samples turn out good.

Despite Young Minds being a one-man mission, Hirano still asks his friends for favors to save money where he can.

“I’ll ask my friends for favors like modeling. I feel like I just have to be more creative with my resources because I don’t have models at my disposal. [...] I’ll get someone that knows how to work your camera or is interested in photography to [take pictures] of my friends having fun dressed in the clothes,” Hirano said.

A hidden challenge that can easily be overseen when starting an idea like this are small technicalities like legal work.

“It’s crazy amounts of [legal work]. It’s very confusing. You have to come up with an LLC but mostly everything you can learn online,” Hirano said.

Although Young Minds is a full fledged business with an online webstore, Hirano tries to keep it fun and not super stressful.

“I see [YoungMinds] as less of a clothing brand and more as a hobby in a way because although it is about clothing, it’s more of an interest that I have about just having an idea and putting it out there into the world,” Hirano said.


The best Sequoia animal is the squirrel. Squirrels are cutest animals on campus, and not as annoying as pigeons or seagulls. Squirrels are masters of parkour, running and jumping through trees. It can be entertaining to watch Squirrels chase one another.

“I think of them as delectable fuzzy tree rats,” senior Jack Lanham said.

However, the one detraction I’ll give squirrels is that they can be blind while crossing the road, leading to a squirrel pancake. Because of their cuteness and


To start, bigger is better, and the ravens have size. As the school’s mascot, ravens represent power, pride, and respect. Ravens are majestic, mysterious creatures. They are highly intelligent animals and at the very least, they aren’t stupid like some other birds on campus.

Simply by not being a pest, the raven is well ahead its fellow birds, the pigeon and the seagull. While the raven is neither the hero we need or deserve, being the school mascot earns them some bonus points, so they get a 7.

seagull’s dedication to chasing the bag, trying its hardest each time to snatch some trash from students and staff. As with the raven, the seagull gets some points for its size but unfortunately, seagulls came equipped with a worse color palette than the raven.

In dead last is the pigeon. The pigeon is the bottom feeder of Sequoia. They’re just as dirty as the rats, but unlike rats, pigeons doesn’t any special skills. Pigeons are not pretty or particularly smart, they’re simply pests. Constantly going after food scraps and trash, they hound students and simply won’t go away. To add on, their poops uglifies the campus and sometimes, pigeons poop on people. Getting pooped on is an unpleasent experience, to say the least.

The pigeon gets the lowest rating possible, a 1.


Modern Bullying

If an adult brings up the subject of bullying, an eye-roll from a teen typically follows.

Having had our consciousnesses develop alongside our favorite social media platforms, we struggle to take adults who lack the same online literacy seriously when they lecture us on cyberbullying. They try to relate to our struggles by sharing anecdotes from a high school experience so foreign we associate bullying with cheesy 80s movies. This divide between generations causes instances of modern bullying to slip under the radar of teachers and administrators. Still, by sharing our experiences, we can bridge this gap and work together to make Sequoia a safer place for students and staff alike.

How has bullying changed and why isn’t it as obvious?

Though bullying looks different today, it falls under the same general criteria.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define it as “unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners; bullying involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is often repeated.”

While this definition captures the experiences of many, key differences make modern bullying difficult for adults to detect. Youth today favor lowering their voices and acting friendly or sarcastic over making outright cruel comments.

Junior Peyton White shares this belief and adds that the internet contributes to the invisibility of present-day bullying.

“I feel [bullying is less visible] because people are becoming more secretive about it. Like, we’re more sarcastic about it. Plus, most bullying is online now,” White said.

Because teens’ social lives are impacted by social media, so too are cases of bullying. Many note that cyberbullying is rarely classified as such due to a general lack of familiarity with the online language teens use.

“Some adults will think it’s nothing since it’s on social media. Different generations are more old school and won’t understand if something online is cyberbullying,” sophomore Kayla Mai Pinell said.

Victims who are offline or outside their bully’s communities are also unaware or unable to get help. Messages, videos and photos posted on private accounts or sent only to some can go unnoticed by administrators seeking to discipline cyberbullies.

White notes this leads to a wider range of victims left in the dark.

“With cyberbullying, it’s just broader with who’s getting bullied and how they’re being bullied, because some people aren’t online, so they don’t know they’re being bullied,” White said.

Overall, students with more societal power still attack students with less. If in the past this looked like the jocks picking on the nerds, today it looks like students who adhere to social norms or hierarchies targeting students who don’t.

“People that I’m seeing bullied the most are LGBTQ kids, people of color, people whose families are lower income, neurodivergent people or anyone seen as different,” senior Sabrina Solon said.

How are neurodivergent students targeted?

Neurodivergence refers to neurotypes that aren’t “typical.” The types of neurodivergence that I’ve noticed face the most ridicule are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism, as struggling with social interaction can be a symptom. Autistic people especially don’t pick up on social hierarchies or cues, which can lead to their isolation from school communities.

In my classes, I’ve noticed students who exhibit autistic traits being treated like forms of entertainment rather than human beings. Due to social struggles, their behavior is often perceived as unfit for their current environment, which other students seem to find amusing. I’ve noticed neurotypical students will act friendly toward autistic

students while purposefully provoking reactions from them for their friends to laugh at. The student is unaware they’re not in on the joke and that their new “friends” only see them as a spectacle. Teachers either don’t realize this is happening because it seems wholesome or let it happen because “at least the student is being included,” but something needs to be done.

Autistic students or those who can’t recognize social cues are also bullied directly. I’ve noticed after they’re called on in class, their classmates will turn to their friends, roll their eyes or giggle because they find the way the student answered the question “annoying.” People groan after being sat next to neurodivergent kids and have after-class

conversations about how much they dislike them.

“I see people mocking neurodivergent kids, and not necessarily because they’re neurodivergent, but because of the [neurodivergent] traits they have. It’s in the tone of voice they use to imitate the person or standing behind them and making hand gestures that mock their physical appearance,” Solon said.

This behavior continues because of ignorance about neurodivergence. Because neurodivergent students are more susceptible to bullying, students should be educated from a young age about what autism looks like and that it’s not okay to exclude anyone due to differing social abilities.


Is Sequoia doing enough?

Another factor keeping bullying alive is the way schools punish it when incidents are brought to their attention. With the clashing goals of conflict resolution and discipline, Sequoia’s administrators aren’t meeting their student body’s need for bullies to face repercussions.

Pinell explains that when she brought past conflict to the school, the students involved didn’t face the consequences she felt they should’ve.

“I’ve gotten into situations before, and they brought me into a room with rainbows and crystals and told me everything was gonna be okay.They made someone say sorry to me, and I feel like that’s not the way to approach a situation, especially when the person obviously did something wrong. Like, you should be punished,” Pinell said.

Later, when Pinell was cyberbullied, she chose not to report it due to past frustrations with Sequoia’s disciplinary methods.

“I feel like if I were to say something, I’d be called a snitch, and the school would bring me into some meditation room and make them say sorry to me. It makes me feel like I can’t say anything,” Pinell said.

How can students take accountability?

Bullying begins with students’ desire to separate themselves from those outside the peer group they wish to be a part of. Through bullying, students communicate to their friends that they are different from their target and, therefore, worthy of being in their community. For example, if students are insecure about their fashion or their position in a group that dresses similarly to them, they may bully alternative people’s styles. If someone wants their friends to think they’re funny, they may mock neurodivergent people’s tendency to miss jokes. We need to feel secure in our social standings and friendships so we don’t feel the need to protect them by hurting others.

People with lower positions in social hierarchies likely face systemic issues including, racism, homophobia and classism, on top of having a toxic high school experience. Most neurodivergent people will also face ableism for the rest of their lives. Choosing not to be a bully is crucial because it ensures you aren’t taking advantage or contributing to these power dynamics and are positively changing society.

How is students’ choice of dress targeted?

Because students’ outward appearances are the most obvious indicators of their identities, students who dress outside mainstream trends or social norms make up a large demographic of unseen bullying victims. This is the case for students who dress in accordance with subcultures they identify with. These include scene, goth, alternative, emo, grunge, punk and others.

Online or on campus, these students are called names that adults don’t discipline because they may not know they are derogatory.

“People who dress alternatively at school will get called names in the hallways. They’ll get barked at, or they’ll get called emo,” Pinell said.

To a nearby adult, this behavior isn’t perceived as malicious because bullies aren’t insulting directly, so the student likely won’t receive justice.

Adults also don’t pick up on the teasing of students who dress uniquely because it’s incredibly subtle.

White, who describes her sense of style as fancy, vampiric and vintage, has experienced negative comments on her clothes that go unnoticed by adults.

“When I started dressing in my style at school, people were kind of sarcastic and rude about it. [They would say], ‘Oh, I like that shirt’, but sarcastic, or I just get outright rude comments,” White said.

If teens express themselves differently

from what’s expected of people who share their identities, they can also face ridicule.

This is true for Pinell who has gotten negative comments from students at Sequoia due to her personal style not fitting their standards of how LGBTQ students of color should dress.

“I’ve gotten bullied before based on the way I dress. I don’t look very gay, so people [will tell me that I am not gay], or will just call me straight or whitewashed,” Pinell said.

LGBTQ students from another high school also cyberbullied her via Snapchat.

“In a video [of LGBTQ students from another high school], I was told I have a caked face, that I’m ugly, that I should kill myself,” Pinell said.

Sabrina Solon
Peyton White

Bias in ballet

Why is ballet dominated by fair-skinned dancers?

Ballet dancers twirl across the stage, their bodies moving in perfect unison, feet pointed to a beautiful curve. Uniformity is part of what makes ballet so captivating. When one dancer looks different from the rest, the balance of the dance can be thrown off. Looking down at my own legs, my tights are much lighter than my brown skin; I am the dancer that ruins the symmetry.

Brazilian dancer Felipe Domingos at the Finnish National Ballet was removed from a show because his dark skin stood out too much, ruining the uniformity. The American Ballet Theater (ABT) told African American dancer Misty Copeland to lighten her skin with makeup. Ballet’s focus on conformity has excluded dancers of color since its inception in 15th-century Europe. Initially reserved for the enjoyment of nobles, ballet has primarily retained its privileged – and white – demographic.

Dancing at the San Carlos School of Ballet (SCSB) and in Sequoia Advanced Dance, senior Sarah Hansen discusses the economic privilege that many ballet dancers worldwide have.

“Good pointe shoes are expensive, studios are expensive, training is expensive. It all lends itself to appeal to a certain socio-economic group… I really hate ballet as a system and a concept,” Hansen said.

Dancing at the same studio for over a decade, I rarely questioned the lack of racial diversity. The dancers at my studio seemed diverse in other ways– hair color, body type, sexual orientation, and more. Different types of diversity camouflaged racial homogeneity. Similarly, in the 2022 Sequoia Dance show, mainly white and Asian dancers performed the lyrical and ballet numbers despite the diversity of the program as a whole.

“Anywhere you go, you see more white people in ballet and lyrical. People that are Black or Hispanic in Advanced Dance, almost all of them are hip-hop dancers. A few are jazz dancers, but barely any are in lyrical or ballet,” senior Jodie Trundle said.

Trundle is in Sequoia Advanced Dance and danced at the Academy of American Ballet for 11 years.

This phenomenon is not specific to Sequoia dance; in many ballet companies, most dancers are white or light-skinned. Ballerinas are known for pale skin and pink shoes, and matching tights– colors that contrast the shade of my, and many other dancers’, skin. The origins of light pink shoes are understandable, given ballet’s European roots. Today, however, ballet dancers worldwide are left with a lingering expectation of what a ballerina should be. Dancing in front of mirrors for hours only enhances the contrast between my pink tights and brown arms, constantly reminding me of what I am not and can never be.

“It’s really rare to find shoes that are the right skin color for most dancers who aren’t really pale,” Hansen said.

Fortunately, the ballet world is beginning to change, though rather slowly.The brand of pointe shoes I wear, Capezio, is an American company that produces only one pair, Ava, with multiple fabric tones to match darker skin, in addition to the classic “European Pink” or “Petal Pink” satin. Unfortunately, if Ava doesn’t fit your foot well, as is essential for pointe shoes, you are still stuck with pink satin.

Programs like Ballet Fantastique are working to bring ballet to less

privileged communities, introducing ballet to more people of diverse racial and economic backgrounds.The San Pedro Boys and Girls Club gave Misty Copeland her first ballet class.Today, she is the first Black principal dancer at ABT.

As a dancer with relatively dark skin, I keep race-related insecurities to myself to avoid drawing attention to my skin color, leading me to judge myself in those studio mirrors silently. Ballerinas must focus on what they love most– dancing– yet myskin tone is a sizeable chunk of my ballet experience.

Recently, a fair-skinned dancer sprained her ankle and arrived in her school uniform to observe class. After ten minutes, it occurred to me that she was not wearing tights. Her skin color was simply the same shade as that of ballet tights. I wondered what it must be like to match the ballet uniform, to know, implicitly, that you belong.

Inclusion and outreach can start here at Sequoia with changes to invite dancers of all racial backgrounds into the dance program.

“When I started teaching at Sequoia, I changed the audition to include more dances than just ballet/lyrical. By only having ballet technique, we were missing out on those advanced jazz and hiphop dancers, which tend to bring more diversity to a program,” Sequoia dance teacher Taylor White said.

Importantly, dancers of all backgrounds should feel comfortable in their own skin at the studio, onstage, and throughout life.

Freshman Marissa Chuang, who dances in Sequoia Advanced Dance and SCSB, is an Asian American ballet dancer. “Ballet is not something you should be judged on by your skin color,” Chuang said.

My Capezio tights and pointe shoes, only in petal pink. Photo by Christine Chang
I really hate ballet as a system and a concept.
“ 10
Senior Sarah Hansen, in Advanced Dance and SCSB

Walking in the footsteps of Civil Rights leaders

My experience on the history based trip: Sojourn to the Past.

In my mind, the Civil Rights Movement remained in the words in my history books: limited, brief and stale. But once our Sojourn class arrived in Alabama, the words flew off the page and came alive.

Focusing on the Civil Rights Movement, former Capuchino history teacher Jeff Steinberg created the Sojourn Project in 1999 and began taking groups of students in the Bay Area around the South. Throughout the trip, students travel to historical landmarks where Civil Rights history took place to honor those whose lives were taken as they fought for equal rights among races. Sojourners get the opportunity to meet the living family members of deceased Civil Rights leaders who experienced the stories in our textbooks; with this unique connection, students are able to better engage with their country’s history and develop a deeper understanding of the institutionalized racism that is rooted in our world.

Kicking off the trip, as Minnijean Brown Trickey of the Little Rock Nine entered our hotel conference room in Birmingham, a roar of applause from our group of 60 Sojourners echoed throughout the building. Trickey talked about her story as one of the first black students to integrate into an all-white high school, her life afterwards, the activism she continues to pursue and her hopes for the future in the youth of America. Immediately, I was inspired and able to exist in the moment and realize how close her story is to the present; unlike how our school teaches it, Civil Rights history is not in the distant past.

Trickey remained with our group for the duration of the trip, commonly known as the “Grandmother of Sojourn.” Though she is such a significant figure in our country’s history, Trickey was more like a friend or family member

to us students. I recall one night on the trip when I invited Trickey to sit at a table with my group of friends for dinner.The lot of us engaged in an active conversation about who we are, how our stories are similar in some ways and what injustices in our community we want to change. I was able to see these historical figures from my social studies classes as real people and connect with them on a personal level– a once in a lifetime experience that I will never take for granted.

Sojourn, no one cries alone.” Throughout these painful moments, the true message of the trip began to reveal itself.

On D-day, we knew that either we were going to live or we were going to die, and we didn’t care

Growing up I felt that race and ethnicity was a subject that was meant to be untouched; the lack of proper education and exposure I received perpetuated the institutionalized racism in this country, broadening the divide between people. Luckily in recent years I have unlearnt these things and began to actively fight against the prejudice that this country has bred into my mind through leading the Sequoia Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Young Feminists Club (YFC); though like Steinberg, I knew that there was still work in me and in our world to be done.

Though painful, Sojourn helped me grieve and let me open up to others about the struggles that I face. Two weeks before the trip, I lost my uncle whom I was very close to, and during the journey his funeral was held back home. Though far away from my family, I was able to grieve on the day of his ceremony; we visited the grave of Freedom Summer worker, James Chaney, and we met the daughter he never had the chance to meet, Angela Lewis. She told me that I can “take [my] grief and use it to help someone else who needs it.”

The Sojourn Project gave us students an opportunity to dig deeper into the past, but also to dig deep into ourselves. Sojourn held up a mirror to my own soul and confronted me with questions about how I treat people in my life, how I treat myself and what I am going to do about the injustice that I witness back home.

Reject the social conditioning that you have been exposed to and do the right thing

Never would I have thought that this trip would have affected me in the way that it did. For the students on the trip, we quickly realized that Sojourn is a trip that is based on history, but is truly focused on active change and power in youth, and well as developing the importance of humanity and kindness in our world. Seen through the incredible grace, bravery and

Needless to say, Sojourn is not a trip for the lighthearted. It visits the trauma of others and allows you to connect with the harsh stories being told. In a personal sense, Sojourn was emotionally draining, but in the best way possible. There was support from everyone on the trip, from the students to the speakers themselves, it is often said that “on

To read more about Reena Evers, Gwen Webb and Minnijean Brown Trickey, visit our website at ravenreport.org

incomparable kindness from all the Civil Rights leaders, students, staff and teachers on the trip, I can honestly say that Sojourn is for everyone and it is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

Sojourn’s official logo - Gwen Webb, Children’s March
In this home I experienced love, but I also experienced hate
- Reena Evers, daughter of Medgar Evers
“ “ RAVEN REPORT | APRIL 2023 11
- Minnijean Brown Trickey, Little Rock Nine

To spend or not to spend

Looking through countless websites trying to decide what jeans to buy, I already have a favorite pair and I know I don’t need it, but I want another one. Might as well buy it in a different color.

Product customers today want what they want, when, and how fast they can get it. As the world becomes increasingly more digital, the culture of online shopping with a click of a button has become normalized.

Consumerism is the economic and social system that encourages the purchase of goods and services. It starts to become excessive when we start to buy products that aren’t needed. This creates more pollution and materials, and unnecessary items become normal to have.

“Overconsumption is the harvesting of natural resources or materials in a way that is detrimental to the environment. It is also when individuals or societies are just constantly purchasing new materials, or have a ‘throwaway economy’ instead of reusing and fixing things. It’s just constant purchasing,” human biology and biology teacher Camille Erskine said.

Our growing population and unsustainable consumption of goods like clothes and singleuse products have led to an acceleration in climate change. The mass production of these materials and products in landfills and oceans

will be the self-destruction of our planet while we continue to generate more garbage. As a human population, we are consuming and buying more than enough objects. Packages upon packages pollute ecosystems that we cannot replenish.

Sequoia’s science programs, specifically IB Environmental Systems and Studies (ESS) and biology are incorporating topics like climate change and over consumption in their curriculum. Teaching about consumerism allows for younger generations to learn more about and hopefully change habits relating to pollution.

“At the end of the year, we’re able to weave in together all of the different things we’ve been learning in biology to allow students to work towards solving an issue related to climate change. There are many different issues that come with climate change,” Erskine said. “One of the driving factors is fossil fuel combustion, which is often used in order to create all these products that we are purchasing. So yes, we do talk about consumption as one of the issues and students try to find ways to reduce the need for it.”

Sustainability consists of maintaining or supporting a process continually over time, in this case, for future generations which is helpful both economically and environmentally. Sustainable products also

replenish themselves and cannot be depleted. Changing the status quo around sustainable products can have positive effects, such as advertisements influencing more people to show for reusable or organic products.

Since the media is a driving force in society, with over half of the global population using social platforms, advertising reusable products can play a great role in how people perceive sustainability and their willingness to learn about how they can help our planet. Direct marketing strategies can influence consumers easily, and the advertising itself needs to change in order for there to be a modification in buyer’s mindset.

“We need to crack down on what false information is, how we reach consumers and, what the message is about sustainability to make it clear,” IB Business teacher David Weyant said. “We have to change the mentality of their choices.”

Even so, trusting advertisements has its downsides, especially regarding greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a company tries to market itself as environmentally friendly without actually trying to reduce their environmental impact. It is counterproductive in stopping climate change and over consumerism because none of the policies are actually being changed.

“Greenwashing is especially dangerous

Photos and art by Amara Bakshi

because you can feel morally better and like you’re making a change, when in actuality you are contributing to the same issue. So that really means that all of this responsibility gets put onto the consumer to research,” Erskine said.

As well as advertisements and greenwashing, social media influencers reach the most amount of people through their content. According to the popular buy-andresell online website Shopify, “61 percent of consumers trust influencers, and Generation Z, people between the ages of 16 to 23, is the demographic most likely to respond to influencer marketing efforts.”

“Influencer culture is all about trying to achieve the same thing, and the easiest way to quickly achieve the same thing is to purchase similar materials. It’s a glorification of, ‘you really want to have this bag because it’s in season,’ All of those things are just constantly showing that if you just purchased this one more thing, your life will get that much better. We’re constantly selling the idea that consumption is a way to buy happiness and status,” Erskine said.

Another factor that adds to the over consumption of products and excessive waste are holidays. Holidays like Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July have been commercialized

nonstop, with deals in bulk and the countless options to buy, which causes consumers to impulsively purchase large quantities of materials.

“The [effects of holidays] can be huge. Especially because a lot of times production is quantity over quality. It’s part of the joy of Christmas to get gifts, but it’s also important to think about where you’re buying things. […] For example, wrapping paper is commonly mass produced for single-use,” junior and IB ESS student Josephine Ollmann said.

The existence of days like Black Friday–marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season– bring more opportunities to impulsively spend, and large companies are able to manipulate their audience to purchase more.

One problem that arises when people are trying to buy more sustainably is accessibility. Without people being able to afford the cost

the environment,” Erskine said.

While it is easy to fall victim to American consumerism and the daunting consequences it has, mindful shopping can reduce impulsiveness and overindulging. Overall, suppliers have less pressure on them to make more environmentally sustainable products than buyers do for purchasing them. However, the most important factor in reducing over consumerism is self awareness. Before you go shopping, be conscious of what you’re buying and where it might end up, even though advertisers tell you otherwise.

“Be aware and focus on the reuse portion of reduce, reuse, recycle. Making sure that if you get a plastic takeout container that you just wash and reuse that for other materials, bring them into your teachers who can use them to store things, and really just making sure that you’re not you’re using the least amount of

Retailers like Costco and Target help consumers buy in bulk, which promote buying more excess materials and goods for convenience


In the words of the Rick James: “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”

I didn’t know exactly what to expect as I walked into the theater, but I knew a few certainties. There would be cocaine, there would be a bear, and there would be blood. I was not disappointed.

“Cocaine Bear”, released February 24, and directed by Elizabeth Banks, is the story of a black bear who goes on a cocaine-fueled rampage through a Georgia forest—and it’s a true story. At least, the premise is true. In 1985, drug smuggler Andrew Thornton airdropped dozens of pounds of cocaine in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. A black bear consumed this cocaine but died. “Cocaine Bear” imagines what could’ve happened that day.

“Cocaine Bear” was exactly what it said it would be. There’s a bear, it does cocaine, and it goes on a rampage.

The movie follows a variety of people who all have their reasons for being in the forest that day. The first storyline is that a mother is searching for her daughter who skipped school and went into the forest. The second storyline is that two drug dealers have been sent into the forest to recover the cocaine. Along the way, many other characters find their own way into the woods. A park ranger, a couple hiking, a trio of hooligans, a police officer, and more. The amount of characters adds to the humor of the movie. They all have a chance to get in a few comedic scenes before their demise. More characters means more victims and more blood.The bear’s gory attacks will evoke many laughs, but also squirms and screams at the level of violence and carnage. The situations that characters get themselves into are so absurd that one can’t help but laugh at them.

However, the wide variety of characters meant that there wasn’t much character development. Each character can be basically be described in a sentence: she’s a mother, he’s a cop, he’s a drug dealer, she’s a park ranger. However, because Cocaine Bear isn’t trying to win Best Picture, the lack of character development doesn’t affect one’s


ability to enjoy the movie too much. I’m in the theater to laugh at some jokes and watch a bear do coke, not to analyze every single aspect of the movie.

The film has great CGI. The bear looks realistic, and so does the gore (perhaps too much for some people). Of course, the bear made some movements that a normal bear wouldn’t, but that’s the cost of making a comedic movie centered around an animal.

The camerawork was also good, adding suspense to scenes and creating tension. During chase scenes, the camerawork created a frantic tone without having to use shaky cam, which is something I find to be annoying. Shaky cam makes it hard to understand what’s going on and creates nauseating scenes.

The length of the movie was also good. At just an hour and a half, “Cocaine Bear” doesn’t try to drag itself out. The actors and actresses in the movie provided decent performances. While “Cocaine Bear” is no acting masterclass, it contained solid performances. I thought the child actors did quite well despite their young age.

The movie’s clear weakness is the plot. Blatent plot holes and contrivances riddle the movie. “Cocaine Bear” reinforces the fact that nothing is as powerful as the main character’s plot armor, not even a 500 pound apex predator high on cocaine. Outside of the ‘so the movie can happen moments’, the plot is still rather weak, but it’s good enough.There is a simple, coherent storyline and it works. Again, you’re supposed to focus on the bear and the blood, not the plot.

To watch this movie and enjoy it, you have to be able to laugh at gruesome scenes. One of the advantages of the lack of character development was that the characters death had less value, making it easier to digest their demise. By ensuring that no substantial emotional attachment is created, Banks makes a more lighthearted movie rather than a gut wrenching tragedy. Generally, characters are introduced, get a few funny scenes, maybe drive the plot forward, then they’re killed, simple as that. It isn’t a complex formula, and it created a simple, yet enjoyable, movie.

The bottom line is that “Cocaine Bear” did what it set out to do. It delivered a funny, violent movie about a bear and cocaine. It’s not a deep or serious movie, but it doesn’t try to be. It’s a movie where people cackle in the theaters I enjoyed the movie and had a good time.

“Cocaine Bear” is no cinematic masterpiece, but it gives you what you came for. The trailer is an excellent representation of the movie, if you find the trailer entertaining, the movie will be as well. If you’ll laugh at coke fueled carnage, this movie is for you.


Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

WARNING: Spoilers for “Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”

The latest marvel movie “Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” was an interesting movie that continued the Marvel trend of exploring unknown areas in space and time.

“Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”, released February 17, 2023 is the third movie in the “Ant Man” series.The phase four Marvel Movie, a direct continuation of “Ant Man and The Wasp”, follows Scott Lang, also known as “Ant Man”, his daughter Cassie, and his girlfriend, Hope Van Dyne, who is also known as “The Wasp.” Hope’s parents, Janet and Hank Van Dyne, are the original Ant Man and Wasp but are retired. Thirty years prior, Janet shrunk to subatomic size to disable a nuclear bomb and got stuck in the Quantum realm in order to save the U.S. In the second movie she is rescued. Now, In this movie, the whole family accidentally gets stuck in the Quantum Realm again and have to defeat the character “Kang the Conqueror”, played by Jonathan Majors, to get out.


The plot was neither overly complicated nor simple. There were a few twists, but you could still follow along. Revealing the GPS system for the quantum realm was somewhat confusing as a plotpoint. How did Cassie make it? Why did she make it? These are all questions that are swept under the rug by the

rest of the story. The primary point of intrigue, however, was Janet’s mysterious past in the quantum realm, an aspect of the plot that kept me wanting more. Slowly peeling back the numerous layers to Janet’s backstory helped to scratch that itch for mystery in a cinematic universe so focused on action.


The acting was adequate, but there wasn’t anything special about it. In a scene where Kang talks about his past, Majors does a great job of acting like he is a conqueror, as if he has control and is dominant through his stern, unwavering voice. Another good acting scene is when Scott persuasively negotiates with the locals of the Quantum Realm when he tries to explain to them why he is there.

Right after Scott’s persuasive performance, he demonstrates his hand in humor. When the movie brings back Derek now known as Modak; there are a lot of funny scenes. They take small snipes at each other and Scott makes fun of him being a giant head. He and Scott are good comic duo.

Action scenes

The balance of action with slower-paced, character-driven reflection or comic relief struck a nice balance while watching. While there was enough action to satisfy the part of myself that wished for a cinematic spectacle, the presence of a mostly clear, steadily paced plot line helped to give the action meaning, with both parts working together to create an exciting yet meaningful viewing experience.

Now the rushed parts

Kang’s past is rushed, they don’t explain as much as they should, all we know is that he is a conqueror with powers, but we don’t know where he is from. They also say he was exiled but they never really explain how, which I felt was annoying but I understand why they don’t say by who, because it makes you want to find out and at the end, during the after scene, you kind of know but not fully, they leave you on a cliffhanger.

The part that was the most rushed and that annoyed me the most was when the ants just showed up. Like at the end when they need a big force to help them fight and fix the ship they just show up and they’re giant, not small. All you know is that Hank heard them on his ear piece a few times and that’s it. No idea how they found them, how they hadn’t died and it was just really rushed and under-explained.

The verdict

All in all though, it was an interesting movie with a good and interesting plot with good acting. Compared to the other Marvel movies it follows the standard, if you’ve watched other marvel movies it follows the same trend, like the amount of fighting scenes, comedy in between characters and eventually in the end the good guys winning at the end with a cost. This movie is like your average marvel movie.

The thing that dragged it down was how easy it was for Ant Man and co to win, there wasn’t much of a cost which kind of made it lame, they won super easily.

Story art by Zoraya King
Photo credit: Marvel Studios: Cassie and Scott in the quantum realm for the first time.

Ukraine’s unlikely allies

At the Lysychansk Gymnasium in Luhansk, Ukraine, life continues as normal. Rated one of the best educational institutions in Ukraine, the school has survived multiple world wars, a Russian invasion in 2014, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Much like Sequoia, children study for exams, hang out with their friends, and bike home to school.

Just one month later, this all changed.

Despite the war starting in 2014, February 2022 saw the intensification of hostilities. Across the Ukraine-Russia border, towns, subways, villages, and schools just like Lyschychansk are destroyed, and people with it.

Unlike Lysychansk, Sequoia mainly continues as normal. The only manifestation of the war in Ukraine for most Sequoia students was the newfound display of Ukrainian flags across campus, and Ukrainian flag profile pictures on Instagram.

However, in Ukraine the reality is entirely different. Due to the magnitude of the conflict and its impacts, the importance of charity and service has always been of utmost importance.

The Key Club is a local chapter of the international Kiwanis Key Club organization, that seeks to engage in service projects across the world. In response to the war in Ukraine, there have been many fundraising projects in Key Clubs across the United States.

“At the Sequoia Key Club, we do a lot of service activities to provide opportunities for

our members to help others,” Brian Khov, the president of the Key Club, said.

However, there has been a curious lack of Ukraine charity services by the Key Club.

“In our club, we mostly focus on local issues that concern our local community,” Khov said.

This unique emphasis on specifically local issues differentiates the Sequoia Key Club from other clubs. It is no secret that Sequoia itself has many opportunities for growth and development, and the Key Club wishes to focus its efforts on where they are best seen.

However, there have been other organizations included too. Other, more grassroots organizations, even at Sequoia have done more for Ukraine. Many organizations, like one started by Ella Satterwhite and Sahana Stanger, have unique, more personal connections to the Ukrainian war and community.

“I’m Ukrainian and I just wanted to just do something. You know, I was thinking about, should we do a student walkout? But I didn’t know how effective that would be. So I think I just ended up being like, “I’ll do a bake sale, just a traditional way to raise money.”

Ella Saterwhite, a founder of the Sequoia Ukrainian war charity group, said.

Sequoia Opinions and Reactions

Through donating money to specific charities within the Ukrainian conflict, the group avoided many of the pitfalls that other charities fall to.

“We ended up donating most of the money to the Children’s Fund, and it was a huge success. We even contacted Dunkin

Donuts for our bake sale and they gave us free donuts,” Satterwhite said.

The practicality of the bake sale contributed to its impact, as Satterwhite and classmate Sahana Stanger made almost $500 in donations.

However, even though there has been less done than one would initially expect, the rationale remains sound. Throughout Sequoia, thousands of different communities exist. While many eyes may be focused on Ukraine, especially during the initial invasion last year, there still is a lot to be done, both in our local communities and in Ukraine.

I’m Ukrainian and I just wanted to just do something.
Ella Satterwhite, Ukrainian student

Student impact

“The first week, I was constantly looking at CNN,” Ukrainian freshman Genna Pravdin said. The first week was February 24, 2022. It is now the first anniversary of the RussoUkrainian war, leaving students of Russian and

devastating,” junior Ella Satterwhite, who has family in Ukraine, said.

Ukrainian flags on houses, businesses and cars are seen throughout the peninsula. This open support can weigh heavily on Russian students when the blame for the war is unfairly placed on

“A lot of people tend to blame Russians for the war. A lot of Russians that are living outside of Russia are fully against the war, the ones in Russia, most of them are for it… It’s hard to blame the Russians outside,” Russian junior Nikita Grinkin said.

According to the website which specializes in statistics, as

of Jan 2023, around 75 percent of Russians supported the war.

“My uncle, who lives in Russia, is for [the war]. From what I’ve talked to him about, it’s because of the propaganda there. All they hear is that Russia is correct,” Grinkin said.

having to fight on the frontlines, still having to leave their country and homes,” Satterwhite said.

Learning in class is a good way for students to learn about the war and other current events.

“I think teachers are making a big mistake if it’s not worked into the curriculum[…] especially in history classes,” History teacher Dylan Shelley said.

“The war is not talked about in any of my classes at all when maybe it should be because it is a current event,” Pravdin said.

Students might have questions that

teachers can answer about what is happening and what will happen.

“I think the school should be talking about more of the reasons why this war started in the first place and what can be some of the impacts, so people are more prepared as to what happens after this. A lot of ‘what ifs’ are arousing. ‘What if Russia does invade Ukraine? What do they do after?’ and all of these [other questions], so I think that should be [talked about],” Grinkin said.

Significance of First Anniversary

Many people did not expect the war to last this long when it started. Many thought it would end quickly, but people soon realized that would not happen.

“I thought it’d be over in a few days,” freshman Pravdin said.

Once people realized that the war would not finish as quickly as they had thought, they feared

awareness Awareness and education about the war , even as it approaches its second year is crucial to understanding the propaganda in Russia and the circumstances that people from both countries are in.


“It’s very important that people are aware that this is still an issue because it’s definitely died down, but it’s still as much a problem as it was the first day it happened. There are plenty of people that are still suffering, that are still

1 year reflection

the worst.

“I did not expect the war to be going over a year. Now I’m starting to wonder, ‘what if this is 10 plus years?’… that’s super, super scary,” Junior Satterwhite said.

With the United States sending Ukraine supplies and aid, the war now involves the US and Russia, two of the most significant global powers, on opposite sides of the war.

“Right now, it looks like neither side [Russia or US] wants to back down,” Shelley said.

One of the biggest fears that come with this long-lasting war is the nuclear threat. The US and Russia have enough nuclear weapons to destroy this Earth, and people are scared that the longer this war goes on, the closer we will get to that outcome. According to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russia’s nuclear threats are the most dangerous and lengthy threat against them in decades.

“When these wars go on and on, all it takes is one or two little incidents, and it could get turned into a nuclear war. [...] It’s just a horrible situation. There could be a nuclear war. We’re so close to it.” Shelley said.

The gravity of the first anniversary can be felt throughout Sequoia and the world as people hope for lasting peace in Ukraine.

The war goes back further than ‘Russia invaded Ukraine’. And it’s not just, we’re good they’re bad, but that’s the narrative.
Dylan Shelley, World History teacher
It’s very important that people are aware that this is still an issue because it’s definitely died down, but it’s still as much a problem as it was the first day it happened.
Ella Satterwhite, Ukrainian student

{Programming away the gender gap};

“For being in the Bay Area and being in such a progressive place, it seems kind of silly that at all of Sequoia, out of all of the girls at Sequoia, there’s only four girls taking [Java] programming courses, that’s pretty sad to to think about,” Martha Leveque, Java Programming teacher, said.


Known for housing some of the biggest technology companies in the world, Silicon Valley lies in the very backyard of Sequoia High School. Given this, it may be alarming to find out that for the past several years, Sequoia has only offered two introductorylevel programming courses: Java Programming and Intro to Programming Mobile Applications. As someone who plans on pursuing a degree related to computer science in college, I hadn’t been aware of the programming classes until my sophomore year. The lack of a prevalent ‘tech culture’ (a focus on computer science, especially in the context of future careers) on campus could fuel the assumption that Sequoia doesn’t offer programming


“Programming wasn’t really presented as an option for something that female-identifying people could do…I wasn’t really aware because it was never told that it could be a potential career choice. I knew it was there, but it just felt like it wasn’t meant for somebody like me…who identify or were born as female,” Idania Hernandez, a junior in Programming Mobile Applications, said.

There are biases that exist at the society level where I think in general, girls or women, people identify as female, are less inclined to pursue tech classes.

Even more alarming is the approximately fiveto-one male-tofemale ratio in both of the predominantly white classes, the most skewed gender distributions present in any Sequoia class. While it often goes unnoticed by the teacher and male students because of the minimal effects in a class mostly comprised of individual work time, female students are still aware of the effects.

“It’s definitely intimidating. If you’re in a room [and] you’re the odd one out and you have to ask a question and everyone looks at you… I think it definitely makes it a more intimidating environment…I truly don’t think [the guys notice]. Because I’ve never heard any of them mention it, but I know that the first day when I went into that class, because I was like, ‘Oh my god, another girl.’ I think if you’re the minority, you definitely notice more than if you’re in the majority,” Asha Smith, a senior in Java Programming, said.

I personally became keenly aware of the uneven gender distribution in programming when I sat for my AP Computer Science A exam last spring following an individual online AP course. Because of the asynchronous nature of the class and the limited interactions I had with the other students, up until that point, I had not noticed that the class was overwhelmingly male. Walking into the testing room, I was able to count more than 20 males, and including me, just four female high school students. In that moment, I felt like I did not belong and also became concretely aware of

Graphics and photos edited by Allison Wang

the pervasiveness of the gender imbalance in tech.

The male-dominated classes are reflective of a larger issue in the technology industry: the absence of females in the job sector. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), women only made up 26% of total employment in computing occupations in 2021. Compared to 1990 when the total percentage of women employed was 37%, the percentage of women employed has decreased by 11%. Even though the number of women in technology positions has slightly increased over the past few years, tech industries and computer science graduates are still maledominated.

In the context of Sequoia’s programming classes, there are many factors that could influence gender distribution, such as implicit biases that many hold regarding females in tech. Growing up, I was fortunate to have both of my parents working in technology-related industries. In particular, seeing my mom and the various connections she had with other women in tech is a leading factor towards why I feel empowered to pursue tech in my own future. However, for many others who did not grow up in that same environment, programming is far too often seen as too challenging or unfit for girls and women to learn.

“There are biases that exist at the societal level where I think in general, girls or women, people identify as female, are less inclined to pursue tech classes, which I’m not happy about…When you look at, on a societal level, I think the tech industry skews overwhelmingly

and we need to find a way to improve it,” said Gregory Stein, the Programming Mobile Apps teacher.

An additional explanation for the gender distribution may stem from as far back as middle or elementary school experiences with computer programming and the ideas of who is seen as a programmer.

“When I look at my classroom and it’s mostly freshman boys, that’s the majority, very few sophomores, juniors and seniors are in the class in general. It feels like that’s a lot of outside forces, be that in their middle school, they got interested in it and things were targeted towards boys there, or just in general when you think about who codes, we think of Steve Jobs, we think of Mark Zuckerberg and they’re all men,” Leveque said.

Though both programming classes don’t require any prerequisite experience, the four students interviewed for this article that were enrolled in the classes all cited that they had prior programming experience. Particularly, two of the women had been a part of girlsonly coding programs or initiatives, a growing national movement to attempt to balance the gender distribution in tech.

“I went to the Girls Middle School…in Palo Alto…one class that we had to take sixth to eighth grade was computer science. And in sixth grade, we learned programming like Scratch Jr., and then also programming websites. And then we started doing more Python and going more into HTML and CSS… So that was a really good introduction to the computer science world for me,” Sophia Webb, a sophomore in the Java Programming class, said.

The early experiences with programming reveals how a lack of access as early as elementary school can

unfairly put an aspiring student who didn’t have those courses at a huge disadvantage for high school and even college.

“We live in Silicon Valley, but I feel like in our specific community here in Redwood City, it’s not talked about in our middle schools, I went to Clifford and Orion Elementary School… and it just was not talked about, there’s little access to it,” Smith said.

Given that communities of color are less likely to have access to those resources and prior education, it leads to an underrepresentation of people of color that are introduced to tech in the first place. If the lack of opportunity is extended to only a few offerings of computer science in high school, that inequality persists.

“Especially since our school is 55% Latino, I feel like it’s a disservice to the community not to [offer higher level courses], it’s just so important, we need more diversity in the computer science field. And there’s obviously problems when we just have one or two racial groups, you’re missing perspectives. And I think it would bring a lot of value to have more Latino people in the computer science field,” Smith said.

Achieving gender and racial equity in STEM and technology isn’t an overnight fix; rather, it will take dozens of years to achieve and a collective societal effort to dismantle the biases far too many hold about women pursuing tech. Nevertheless, we all must keep in mind the fundamental goals and the numerous benefits to society equity holds.

“I think the push is really important because we know that STEM fields pay more and so if we think about women having opportunities in these interesting things, it’s really important that societal push happens just for the sake of equality, especially pay, and I think that Sequoia needs to embrace more of that,” Leveque said.


The effect of legalization on teen cannabis use

Oregon Health & Science University, teen use of cannabis has been going up every year, with a 225% increase in 20 years.

The risks of underage use are taught during the first semester of freshman year through the Life Skills course that is required to all students. To further reduce use at Sequoia, the Teen Resource Center supports students struggling with their mental health and use cannabis to self-medicate.

Has the proximity of Embarc and legalization increased student usage?

Sequoia seems to have a different experience. According to Vice Principal Sophia Oliver, students have actually been using cannabis at school less in the past years.

“The AVP office has not seen an increase in drug use in the past 5 years. From 2017-18, to 2018-19, to 2019-20 there was a decrease in drug use,” Oliver said.

dollars in tax revenue. Advocates in Redwood City argued that the positive effects that legalization has had on the economy as well as the medicinal possibilities of

The COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to track drug use off campus but it is common knowledge that many Sequoia students use cannabis in social settings in the same way many teenagers drink alcohol.

The students interviewed and whose names were changed never purchased their weed at a dispensary. Legal or not, students have been using weed recreationally and for alleviating stress.

“I personally find it hella fun to smoke weed with my homies at home or at parties and chill you know,” senior Mary Jane* said.

However, others use cannabis as a way to self medicate issues such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.

“I use marijuana because I have anxiety and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes just because I’m so riled up and anxious and it really calms the nerves and reminds me that everything’s gonna be alright,” senior John Smith said.

While these issues fall under the scope of issues cannabis is prescribed for, the use of cannabis before the brain is fully developed might instead make these issues worse in the long term.

Focus: how students cope with ADHD

“[Medication] helps keep my mind with a direction. Without the medication, I will have so many millions of thoughts that are [...] coursing through my head. And it’s very difficult to focus on what’s being said in class or what I’m trying to write on my computer,”

Liam Russel, a senior with ADHD, said.

ADHD, the production of the medication is restricted because of the fear that people will become addicted to it.

“Between 2006 and 2018, there was a 250% increase in adults in America who are taking prescriptions for ADHD,” Cheyette said.

“[I get] more work done once my medication takes effect, than when I’m not on my medication,”

“[Medication] helps keep my mind with a direction. Without the medication, I will have so many millions of thoughts that are [...] coursing through my head. It’s very difficult to focus on what’s being said in class or what I’m trying to write on my computer,” Russel said.

when they haven’t taken their medication. One student shared his specific method.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a chronic condition typically referred to as ADHD. It is most commonly diagnosed before the age of twelve, and is treatable but not curable. The most frequently prescribed medications are Adderall and Ritalin, though there are many other options.

There has been a shortage of medication for ADHD in the United States since October of last year. “Nobody really knows [why]. At the beginning it was felt to be a supply chain problem,” Sarah Cheyette, a pediatric neurologist with 25 years of experience, said.

Cheyette’s current theory is that while each year there are more and more people who want medication for

Gael Morales, a freshman with ADHD, said. It can be difficult for high school students to remember to take their medication in the morning, which leads to difficulties later on

“I’m going to have to imagine a mental rubber band on my wrist or I’m going to keep [saying] ‘come on Liam, and focus, focus, focus’, and I can kind of get through the day. But by the end of the day, I’ll be exhausted,” Russel said.

While it is possible to focus without medication, it often requires more effort.

“I imagined it almost like driving when there’s a ton of traffic, but there’s no stoplights or stop signs, and it’s pretty much impossible

A record breaking season

A recap of the girls 22-23 soccer season

The Sequoia girls soccer team came into the season after qualifying for Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs in the 2021/22 season. The team was focused and ready to achieve going into preseason play.

“For the preseason we just wanted to see how each other played and make sure we gel and have chemistry going into the season,” senior midfielder and forward Addison Hawes said.

The message of improving was echoed by other teammates too.

“We went into [the preseason] just wanting to get better,” sophomore forward Teagan Tokheim said.

The preseason concluded with Sequoia carrying four wins, two ties, and no losses.This was highlighted by close wins such as a 2-1 victory over Menlo School, and a 2-1 victory away at Terra Nova. The preseason success served as an indicator of things to come.

“The team was very satisfied with the preseason,” junior center back Aminah Evans said, “However I think we came into the season a little too comfortable because of how well we did in the preseason.”

Sequoia went into the league in the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) bay division which is the top and most competitive division in the PAL, meaning that they would be playing against tougher teams than in the preseason.

“We felt pretty strong going into the (league) season,” Hawes said.

However, in their first game, Sequoia lost Sequoia won with a score of 2-1 at home to Hillsdale highschool.

“Right after the game the other captain Aminah Evans and I had a big talk [with the team],” Hawes said. “We went over that there are good teams in our league and that we are going to have to play together and play as one in order to get good results against these teams.”

The team rallied after these talks to beat rivals Carlmont and Woodside later in the season, a 2-1 victory away at Carlmont stood out as a key point in the season.

“We kept our energy throughout the entire game and we didn’t let them take over,” Hawes said.

Another key victory was a 2-1 home win against a Woodside team who went on to finish third in the Bay division.

At the end of the league season, Sequoia finished with four wins, three losses, and three draws in the league and finished second overall behind Menlo-Atherton.

After a successful league campaign Sequoia was seeded second overall in CCS division one. This eight team single elimination bracket would be decided over the next three games. Going into the playoffs, expectations were high.

“The goal was definitely to win CCS,” Evans said, “We did not come in too confident, we worked hard every day and treated every game like it was the hardest we were going to play.”

In the first round, Sequoia was matched up against seventh seeded Westmont, however Sequoia would be without captain Addison Hawes for this matchup. Even without the senior captain Sequoia still managed a 2-1 victory to send them to the semi-finals.

“We were a little worried,” Evans said, “Everyone worked as hard as they could and we made it work without one of our top goal scorers.”

After this matchup the team still had work to do to achieve their goals.

“After the first game we found a new confidence,” Tokheim said, “We started to think. Oh, we can really win this thing.” The semi-final matchup was another home game against Los Gatos which ended with no goals in a 0-0 tie.

“I think we should have been up more,” Tohkeim said, “All season making shots had been a struggle for us.”

Overtime would be contested with two 15 minute periods, if the game was still tied after that then it would go to penalty shots, the team wanted to leave nothing up to chance and risk losing the penalty shootout in a game they wanted to win.

“[The message was] ok guys we

Photo by David Raymond Photo by David Raymond
[This season] gives us hope for years to come and makes us want to do even better. Because we know that we can do even better.
Teagn Tohkeim, sophomore

have to do this, we go into PKs (penalty kicks) and we can’t have it all be up in the air,” Tokheim said.

This request was granted in the second period of overtime with a goal from Addison Hawes.

“We put in the effort and we really cared, and I think that really showed when we had to go into overtime and not let up.”

Sequoia held strong for the rest of overtime and finished out the game in a 1-0 victory sending them to the final.

Up until this point no Sequoia girls team had ever made it to a CCS division one championship game, let alone win one.

“Everyone was stoked and grateful about how far we were able to go and everyone was excited to be in that position,” Hawes said.

The laid back yet focused message ran through the entire team.

“(Head coach Melissa) Schmidt had a conversation with us saying, ‘This is the fun stuff,’” Tokheim said.

The final was set to be played against Aragon, a familiar opponent for the Ravens.

“We scrimaged against them the week before and we beat them 4-1,” Tokheim said.

In the end Sequoia knocked off Aragon in a 1-0 win with a first half goal to become the first CCS Division one champions in Sequoia history.

After their CCS championship the Ravens moved on to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Regional playoffs. This time they were seeded first overall in an eight team bracket similar to CCS.In the first round Sequoia beat Piedmont in another overtime victory with a final score of 2-1.

This game sent them to the semi-finals where they would face off against Cardinal Newmann. The Ravens ultimately lost this game 2-1 putting an end to a record breaking season.

“As bad as the loss did sting, I’m still proud of the team,” Hawes said.

Sequoia soccer rewrote the record books in the 2022-23 season and left a legacy for the teams to follow.

Everyone is getting better and better and it’s really exciting,” Tokheim said.

The future is bright for Sequoia girls soccer and they have cemented their place in school history.

“It feels awesome, Sequoia girls soccer is finally being recognized and it’s awesome,” Evans said.

How Sequoia manages injuries

With cross country comes shin splints, with lacrosse comes sprained ankles. No matter the season, Sequoia’s trainer is expected to assist injured athletes and get them back in action.

Sequoia’s athletic trainer, Francisco Gallardo-Ramirez provides a resource that helps students, whether it be with minor injuries or in between doctor’s visits. This resource though is not advertised much by Sequoia and, being that the office is located in a small space in gym two, it is not frequently visited by students and many may overlook this resource entirely.

“I’m a senior, so I’ve learned how to find [the resources I need] and who to talk to, but I think that a fair amount of students don’t realize that we have a trainer which… it’s a really helpful resource,” senior soccer player Evelyn Harrington said.

When resources like this are properly utilized by students it can be major for their recovery from injuries and can provide an accessible resource for students to help limit unnecessary doctor’s visits. One track athlete and freshman, Oona Martin found this to be a helpful resource when she found out her foot was fractured due to repeated impacts, she visited the trainer before her first doctor’s visit.

“[My coach] helped me and he referred me to the athletic trainer, who also helped me a lot... I feel like I got immediate help,” Martin said.

The trainer can assist with many kinds of injuries whether they occurred just moments before and need immediate assistance or even once injuries have already been healing for a while. Evelyn was injured during a soccer game and left with a boot for weeks after the injury.

“Now that I have a boot, the boot throws my hips out of alignment because I’m walking unevenly, so about once a week, I’ll go [to the trainer’s office] and he’ll help realign my hips so that they don’t hurt,” Harrington said.

Athletic trainers are responsible for

helping students manage a range of injuries and inconveniences. Students may come to visit the trainer during sports games, practices, or even just after school. A large role of the trainer is to be at school and ready to be of assistance no matter what is to be expected on any given day.

“I’ll get either returning students with chronic injuries or I’ll get new students with acute injuries…I try to make myself as available as I can be to [students], within my limits and I try to provide them with the best care I can,” athletic trainer Francisco Gallardo-Ramirez said.

Though of course effort is made by the trainer to be there for students Sequoia is greatly responsible for assuring that the trainer has everything necessary for the job.

“Everything’s within its limits [for example,] I don’t have an ice machine in here, but there’s one in gym one so it’s just easy to walk over there for me. I haven’t had anything where I’ve felt like I needed something urgently and haven’t been provided with it,” GallardoRamirez said.

Photo by Caroline Sieling
There’s a lot for me to keep track of and deal with by myself because... [I’m] the only one that can do my job.
Francisco GallardoRamirez, athletic trainer

Taylor Swift

(Sequoia’s version)

With over 80.3 million listeners per month on Spotify and 12 Grammys, Taylor Swift is one of the most successful artists of recent times.

“Even if you’re not a fan of pop music, there is definitely a Taylor Swift song for everyone,” senior Jessica Wagner said.

Over the course of her music career, each of Swift’s new albums correlated to a different “era” with different styles of music and personalities. From her early country music to the edgy, bold vibes of “Reputation”, to the upbeat pop of “Lover”, to the poetic lyrics of “Folklore”, she covers a wide variety of genres.

Despite writing all of her own music over the past 17 years, Swift’s first six albums were owned by “Big Machine Records”. She tried to buy them but never gained ownership of the master recordings of her albums because of record executive Scooter Braun. This led to many feuds between Swift and Braun and finally in reaction, Swift decided to re-record all of her past albums, renaming them “Taylor’s Version”.

“They chose to undermine her so her reaction was totally valid,” senior Eva Smith said.

In April 2021, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, the rerecording of her 2008 album “Fearless” was released, and “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, the rerecording of her 2012 album “Red” was released in November 2021. Even though it was not new music, “Taylor’s Version” (TV) became extremely popular and broke streaming records and charts.

“Her community grew at the time when she released [her albums] folklore and evermore, and so her fans were spreading the message about “Taylor’s Version” and people realized how important it was,” Wagner said.

“Red (TV)” became the most streamed album from a female artist in one day with 90.8 million streams on its release date. She became the single most-streamed female artist in a day on Spotify. After four days, “Red (TV)” surpassed the original in streams and social media attention.

“People should support her and her music

and not the people who just want money from it,” Wagner said. It is easy for small, independent artists to be taken advantage of by large record companies who solely want profits.

Taylor Swift is a role model for many of these artists and shows them that they should be able to take ownership of their work and passion.

“I think that it sets a really cool precedent specifically for newer, more independent artists to recognize the value that their music has,” Megan Chatham, English II ICAP and English IV teacher said. “And hopefully by her recording her own versions and by owning her masters, that sets a precedent for newer artists to do the same thing to not end up in situations where they signed contracts that might potentially leave them without any ownership of their music.”

Many people argue that Taylor Swift is extremely wealthy and successful, so the version of her songs that you listen to doesn’t matter because she will be gaining money regardless. However,

gaining ownership of her work is less of a financial issue and more of a choice to come back from being taken advantage of.

So I think whether or not she owned her versions of the songs or not, like financially isn’t that big of a deal, but on a more personal level,” Chatham said. “I think she promotes the importance that when you create art, it should belong to you and it shouldn’t be other people deciding how that art gets produced, and who reaps the benefits of that art.”

With the upcoming “Eras” tour, more people are listening to and streaming Taylor Swift than ever. In addition to preparing for the highly anticipated tour covering all of her previous eras, she is also actively releasing new music and rerecordings. The night before her opening in Glendale, Arizona, also known as “Swift City”, she released three new recordings as well as a brand new single, “All the Girls You Loved Before”.

who listentoTaylor’

“Releasing new music the night before her big tour is a big moment especially because people are excited that she might be performing it,” Wagner said.

The overwhelming excitement and support for Swift’s new music during her tours further reinforces “Taylor’s Version” and her cause.

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Photo by Lucia Kitching

2023 Spring Staff Picks

Surely you’ve come across one of your teachers in the hallway or in class, maybe it was Mr West in the physics classroom jamming out to Queen, and wondered what teachers actually listen to. Is it rap? Country? Kpop? Dubstep? Who knows, they could end up listening to the same thing as you.

“I would say right now at this moment, my two favorite songs are ‘Running on Empty’ by Jackson Browne and a song called ‘Brandy’ by the Looking Glass,” Corey Uhalde, leader of Associated Student Body (ASB), says.

“Running on Empty” is a one of Jackson Browne’s most treasured country rock songs, part of the “Running on Empty” album released in 1977. The lyrical features in the song definitely gives off a bittersweet tone and really makes you feel sentimental about life, as if you are on the highway going back to the times when you thought life was endless.

“Brandy” is another one of his favorite songs released in 1972 by the classic rock band Looking Glass. You’ll notice a combination of jazz instruments and the classic rock lyrics in the song, making it perfect for feeling energetic.

“I like songs that make you feel like you’re in a good mood like that. You can drive down the highway to roll the windows down in the sunshine. It just feels right to be listening to those,” Uhalde says.

Kathleen Banister also enjoys country

songs, but not the kind from the 70s and 80s.

“I listen to all kinds of music. I really like hip hop, rap, country and a lot of pop. I really like Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ album [and] “Halo” is my favorite Beyonce song,” Banister says.

“Lemonade” is a studio album released in 2016, featuring hip hop, soul and pop songs such as “Don’t hurt yourself” and “Pray you’ll catch me”. However she also mentioned that she was a huge fan of Taylor swift.

“For Taylor Swift there’s so many that I can’t say which one was really my favorite, [but I] definitely like ‘Blank Space’. On her newest album, ‘Bejeweled’ is another good one. ‘Midnight Rain’. Love that as well,” Banister says.

Taylor Swift’s newest album,“Midnight”, contains a variety of pop and electronica songs that could be the right match for you if that’s the genre of music that interests you. Banister also states that she enjoys the representation of women and breaking stereotypes some of Swift’s songs offer, as well as being inspired by Taylor Swift and her continuous success.

“I feel like I really not only like the sound and the beat and all of that part, the music part, but I really like the lyrics and I think the lyrics speak to me and can reflect parts of my life as well,” Banister says.

On the other hand, Nicole Vaughan prefers rock, rap and hip hop music.

“My favorite hip hop artist is Kendrick Lamar and [my] favorite rock artist would be Tool. I really liked the album ‘Lateralus’ by Tool” Vaughan says.

The rock band Tool began in 1990, creating some of the biggest rock hits of the 90s including “Sober” and “Third Eye”. However their single most popular song “Schism” is also from the ‘Lateralus’ album Vaughan has mentioned about.

“I love Kendrick Lamar because I like the storytelling elements and I feel like my interest in music comes from studying piano,” Vaughan says.

When she learned piano in the past, it really allowed her to appreciate all the different parts of a composition. This is really where music became a huge part of her life, understanding the different components to her favorite genre of music.

“People don’t give it a lot of credit, but there’s so much layer and nuance to know when to slow things down or when to speed things up. So it just became something interesting to think about and study and then there’s just like an appreciation that comes from it too,” Vaughan says.

I think the lyrics speak to me and can reflect parts of my life as well Ktahleen Banister, Digital Arts Academy teacher
Photos by Jim Young, Jason Koerner and Jamie McCarthy, collage by Ethan Butt

Raven Riddles

Find words that satisfy the clues. The words will go both vertically and horizontally from the corresponding number.

1. To chill out

2. Foe

3. Allowed by law

4. To astonish

5. Capillaries in plants

1. Makes bread rise

2. Earnestly excited

3. A cactus that makes nectar

4. Cube root of 343

5. Fad on social media


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