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Team shatters records to capture WCAL title

The 2023-2024 season for the boys basketball team was one to behold. They won the West Coast Athletic League championship, set records along the way, and made it to the CCS (Central Coast Selection) open division NorCal finals.

Ultimately, they fell short, losing to Salesian College Prep 49-44 after a hard fought game.

Despite the disheartening loss, the team still had an incredible season full of memories, challenges, and triumph.

Getting straight to business, the team found themselves working hard in June, a full four months before the season started in November.

Head coach Joey Curtin ’01 said, “In the fall we did a lot of conditioning, strength training, open gyms.”

This allowed the team to prepare early and even get games in at events like the Section 7 tournament in Arizona.

Early on in the season, the team struggled with team chemistry and working together.

Saint Mary’s commit and Riordan basketball star Zion Sensley ’24 shared, “Our team chemistry took some time. When we first started up in June our chemistry wasn’t really there.”

He added, “I mean this year was a whole different team from last

year and we had to figure out roles and pieces to the team so once we figured that out and got closer off and on the court it became natural chemistry and that led to a lot of wins.”

And win they did. The team went undefeated in league play in

14 games, crushing the competition to ultimately win the WCAL championship.

They broke the WCAL record of points scored in a season, with 1,013. The previous record was held by Riordan in 1987 with 955 points.

Notably, the team also had seven players who were either committed to Division 1 schools, or had offers to those schools.

After winning the WCAL championship, the boys had to conquer the CCS open division NorCal playoffs.

The team found themselves in a groove, beating the first five opponents that they faced.

“The rivalry games are special, you never know what could happen in those,” Curtin said.

The team fought hard but unfortunately could not scratch out a win against Salesian College Prep at the NorCal CCS open division final.

This team broke records winning the WCAL championship. The Crusader Forum was the place to be for high school sports this basketball season.

The Crusader makes headlines in Kansas City

Over Easter Break, The Crusader staff touched down in Kansas City for the National High School Journalism Convention, where aspiring journalists learn more about journalism while being surrounded by people who are just as passionate about it as they are.

At the convention, The Crusader staff won several awards and earned high rankings in national competitions.

Altogether, The Crusader staff accumulated seven individual awards in the National Student Media Competitions

Angela Jia ’25 received the highest ranking of Superior for Press Law and Ethics, while Sean Reyes ’25 received the ranking of Excellent for Literary Magazine Photography.

Additionally, Honorable Mentions went to Katelyn Leong ’25 for Literary Magazine

Illustration, Daniella Lainez ’26 for Literary Magazine Poetry, Ishaan Gupta ’26 for Current Events, Headlines and Editing, Aiden Pavon ’25 for Sports Writing, and Naomi Lin ’24 for Editorial Writing.

Jia said, “I was elated when I saw my name for the Superior award because it’s been my dream to get first place since last year’s convention.”

She continued, “To have the support of The Crusader and to hear them cheer when my name came up genuinely means so much to me.”

In addition, The Crusader newspaper placed ninth in the nation in the newspaper Best of Show category. Editor-in-Chief, Naomi Lin ’24, was extremely happy with this award.

“It was an immensely gratifying experience because it signified the culmination of all – Ms. Sutton, my own, the editors, and the staff

reporters’ – efforts,” said Lin.

In addition, the team placed third out of more than 20 teams in the quiz bowl for the second year in a row.

The staff took home important lessons and gained valuable experiences that they will carry with them in all of their journalistic endeavors.

Photo by Sara Oletti By Aiden Pavon ’25 The boys Varsity basketball team celebrated winning the WCAL title. Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Several members of The Crusader won awards at the National High School Journalism Convention and the newspaper took home a Best of Show.

Look at the facts: Media literacy continues on downward spiral

Media literacy is the ability to dissect media, to understand its message not within a void, but within the context of its creator and the society for which it was created.

In an age where power is dictated by information, it has become crucial that we develop the skills to challenge the information we are fed through media and art. From politicians to corporations, powerful actors in society seek to manipulate the information that is accessible to the masses in order to take advantage of their power, whether through their vote or dollar.

Aided by sleek book covers and infographics, misinformation is allowed to proliferate wildly throughout society, abetting bad faith actors in covering up the truth. Without a greater emphasis on media literacy, we have traded our ability to confront the uncomfortable truths of life for a glamorous, distorted version of reality, which aligns with our worldview.

In a sense, our lack of media literacy liberates us from the guilt of lacking the power to enact quick yet significant change within the world we live in. If we refuse to dig deeper into the information we are fed, we can enjoy our blissful ignorance, feigning naivety if we are called out for it.

Yet we must continue tearing the bandaid off, to critically examine the information we are given, lest we allow ourselves to become complicit in the actions of those controlling information, to lend our voices and spending power to causes we do not truly identify with.

Likewise, a lack of media literacy strikes at our innermost capabilities to appreciate art. Without the capacity to understand the context and nuances within each piece of art, we are incapable of engaging with perspectives contrary to our own.

It distorts our perception of media and art containing subversive content, condemning it as promoting wickedness without looking further into the

The mission of The Crusader is to inform, educate and entertain the readers—students, teachers, parents, members of the community—about issues that affect the students as well as citizens of San Francisco and the nation. We hope to instill a sense of understanding, responsibility, and curiosity in our readers that results in an eagerness to learn more about their peers and the world around them.

commentary that the piece seeks to convey on our society or the experience of the creator that prompted them to create their work. It shames artists out of creating work that does not fit into the rigid standards of inoffensive taste, lessening our capacity to embrace new ideas and hold effective discourse around our values and beliefs. At best, we misinterpret the artist’s work, and at worst, we march towards the total condemnation of their body of work, the same tyranny that leads to burned books and vandalized art.

Our quickly weakening sense of media literacy, however, is a trend that does not have to persist. Within the home, parents can help their children develop a sense of literacy by encouraging them to ask questions about context, sources, and the creator of the media or art piece.

Schools should also play a role in developing media literacy by introducing their students to a variety of different movements and ideas, and teaching them to

understand their rationale and criticisms, especially within the humanities and social sciences.

Likewise, they can teach students to examine the world through a variety of lenses, including those that are completely contrary to their own identities. We should also encourage those of all identities to create their own art and contribute to the tapestry of humanity’s stories, to allow others a look into their own lives. In this manner, we could teach the next generation to put themselves in the shoes of a creator, to find a deeper interpretation of their work by becoming creators in their own right.

By emphasizing a critical yet open minded approach towards engaging with media and art, we not only gain the fullest use of the media available to us, but teach the next generation to do the same. We regain our power not merely as consumers wielding spending power in the economy or as citizens within our democracy, but as humans in our world with the capacity to enact change.

Polina Kozlenko ’24

Clare Lacey ’24

Nora Lee ’27

Chloe Leotta ’24

Tory Lu ’24

Iva Maldonado ’26

Arman Oropeza Mander ’25

Matteo Matteucci ’24

Zion McGuire ’26

Sara Noguera ’27

Colton Parenti ’25

Ben Parker ’26

Aliyah Pasion ’25

James Peakes ’24

Angelia Richardson ’24

Andres Roca ’25

Savannah Sapalo ’24

Julian Serrano ’24

Brendan Shanahan ’24

Crystal Wei ’26

Bo Wyatt ’24

Natalie Yang ’24


Susan Sutton, MJE

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School
Mission Statement for the Archbishop Riordan High School Newspaper
Letters to the Editor Letters to the editors will be accepted with the same deadlines as ads. These letters may come from students, staff, parents, board members, or other members of the community. The Crusader reserves the right to edit the letter for grammatical and spelling errors, as well as length, but not content unless it includes foul language, plagiarized material, or libelous content. If the claims or assertions are incorrect, The Crusader reserves the right to refuse publication of the letter. 175 Frida Kahlo Way San Francisco, CA 94112 Editor-in-Chief Naomi Lin ’24 Managing Editor Talia Bumanglag ’24 Opinion Editor Sophie Bucker ’24 Campus News Editors Normay Arriola ’24 Mario Perez de Leon ’24 Local & State News Editor Jake Beeman ’24 National & World News Editor Angela Jia ’25 Boys Sports Editor Aiden Pavon ’25 Girls Sports Editor Hoorain Farooq ’25 Reporters and Photographers Isabelle Abad ’26 Alyssa Abaunza ’26 Joshua Aguilar ’24 Julian Amann ’26 Nate Antetomoso ’24 Daniel Barrett ’24 Paolo Caracciolo ’24 Anthony Chan ’24 Xochitl Churchill ’24 Charles Chu ’24 Angelo Coletti ’24 Teri Delaney-Parish ’24 Natalie Dueber ’26 E’moni Ferdinand ’26 Hailey Ferrer ’26 Talisha Flores ’24 Sandra Gamez ’24 Finnbarr Harrington ’24 Addison Hwang ’24 Vincy Huang ’27 Chloe Hui ’25 Saige Rose Key ’24 Exchange Editor Taylor Tran ’25 Sports Features Editor Ishaan Gupta ’26 Arts & Entertainment Editor Katelyn Leong ’25 Environment Editor Caitlin Dowd ’25 Religion Editor Daniella Lainez ’26 Health Editor Sarah Cai ’24 Science Editor Griffin Doeff ’25 Technology Editor Nicolo Ricci ’24 Features Editor Aliana Urdaneta-Rodas ’25 Food Review Editor Julien Untalan ’24 Photo Editors Nick Nye ’25 Sean Reyes ’25 Julia Yamsuan
Copy Editors Rhys Appleby ’24
Chiao ’25 Hazel Nagata-Rampata ’26 Graphic Artists Vee Chen ’25 and Kai Murguz
and Photographers
’25 Reporters

Hairy situation: Students advocate for removal of facial hair rule

Many of Riordan’s male students can relate to the experience of reluctantly shaving every night for school, especially on days when they’ve been informed of an upcoming spot check. According to Riordan, this rule is in place to encourage students to prepare to follow professional standards. However, it is clear that in this day and age professional standards are changing, including those mandating students to shave.

Students often point out that despite the school policy, members of faculty and staff often have visible facial hair. This is a valid argument. If the professionals at our school who are responsible for educating students and providing positive examples for students can have facial hair, students should

also be able to.

Outside of Riordan, it stands true that professional standards have changed and well-groomed facial hair is considered acceptable in many professional settings. In my experience as an engineering intern at a major tech company, many employees including those of high rank come to the office with facial hair. There are some careers in which employees are expected to be clean shaven, such as the military. However, there are often exceptions, such as workers being allowed exemption from shaving due to religion or skin irritation, which are not considered acceptable reasons at Riordan.

One point of emphasis is that in a professional setting, facial hair is well groomed and maintained.

Riordan has a similar policy, where students’ hair must be properly groomed and maintained.

This policy could easily be extended to facial hair. It is clear that Riordan has the goal of educating students and preparing them for the professional world.

However, it is also clear that the professional world around us has changed. Students at Riordan should be permitted to maintain well groomed facial hair if they so choose.

Concealer can’t hide societal problem of children’s makeup obsession

I was 15 when I wore mascara for the first time. I was home alone, and my sister’s crusty Maybelline mascara was staring right at me, tempting me to just try it as I had never worn makeup before.

As I swiped on a couple of layers following a tutorial I had watched in some random YouTube video, there was an instantaneous feeling of beauty that ran through my body.

All the makeup items I had previously known were from my mother’s drawers, or was the pretend makeup from Claire’s that I had as a child. I was confident in my appearance already, and I never really thought I needed makeup at the time.

But this was a small action, which felt like part of me was growing up; I had committed to an act I watched my sisters go through before, and exited the life I had known as a young girl.

Teen girls—at least in my mind— have always been surrounded by the topic of makeup; whether that was being made fun of for not wearing any, criticized for wearing too much, or for the creation of new trends or tips online.

Though women use makeup globally, the teen girl demographic has always been more prevalent, but these numbers are beginning to take a dip as more and more younger girls are buying makeup. Young girls throughout generations have always yearned to grow older, but these desires are now manifesting.

TikTok in particular has started a conversation about this issue, as these girls are not only selling out products that aren’t for them, but have also been described as rude and disrespectful towards


It has become increasingly concerning watching how much these girls will spend on products that are not made for them, and show them off as if the abuse of their skin was something to be proud of.

These young girls have tapped into the “get ready with me” agenda popular among older creators online, where people show themselves getting ready for an event, and promote products they use.

GRWM culture in general can be positive for its promotional aspects and to help people find

better products to use; however, it can also be seen as encouraging the overconsumption of makeup and products.

One product in particular that has been popular amongst the youth is the Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops, a product made to boost skin elasticity and reduce fine lines; neither of which a child at any age needs.

However, their desire to be older and their overconsumption isn’t directly their fault. Every single corner of the internet has an opinion on a certain beauty trend, a new aesthetic, a new style of makeup.

These trends of “latte makeup,” “strawberry girl makeup,” “cleangirl aesthetic” are rapidly cycling through every single day, and even a teenager like myself struggles with keeping up with what looks good and what’s not socially acceptable anymore.

At their age I had no clue what trends there were or what was and wasn’t cool. I had access to stores catered towards preteen girls like Claire’s or Justice, and shows that were for audiences around my age too.

Shows now are either too old for pre-teens, or too young for them, or not entertaining at all. Likewise, stores sell clothes that are trendy, older, and in some cases not appropriate for a 10-year-old to wear. The lack of pre-teen representation today may be perceived as stupid, but it is important nonetheless. They lack a real role model their age that they can look to for guidance, or as a source of how to simply be a child in society.

The amount of kids who have access to the internet and social media is increasing, and now this younger generation is perceiving parts of the internet that aren’t catered towards them.

Constantly picking apart one’s appearance based on other people’s standards is tiring and damaging, but is unfortunately the case for millions of girls around the world.

It’s completely unfair, but a reality we live in nonetheless. It’s not only about what we can change as society that would help these girls live free lives, but about what we can do to help these young girls see that they are enough as themselves.

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 3 Opinion
Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Religious Studies teacher Joshua Keeney displays his well-groomed beard. Art by Helena Kai Murguz ’25 A young girl points longingly at an aisle of makeup, holding a Stanley cup and wearing Lululemon leggings.

Trio of teachers joins staff

In the 2023-2024 school year, Riordan’s faculty expanded when three new teachers joined the school, bringing new perspectives and ideas to the students.

Corie Altaffer is a talented dance teacher. She believes dance gives people insight into their own complexity, physiology, and emotions, and because it helps dancers gain awareness of their bodies.

She promotes an environment where students have the space to explore their bodies and their abilities, find similarities and differences between each other’s unique way of dancing, and learn from each other.

“My students are my greatest

teachers too, so I hope that I can continue to learn from them,” mentioned Altaffer.

Next, Alexei Angelides started teaching math at ARHS midway through the first semester.

Angelides encourages his students to break free from the shackles of being human calculators. “I want to help my students learn to think analytically and problem-solve beyond the classroom,” said Angelides.

Angelides also brought his passion for music to the school. Music is something he has stuck with his whole life.

In his math analysis class, students turned math into music after he realized that GarageBand is able to import sound waves to create songs. The students combined their math skills with their musical taste to create originals.

Angelides believes teaching is his calling and presents the material in ways that help students unleash their creativity. “I love teaching at Riordan, it’s a special and unique place.”

Lastly, Swecha Thulasi is a new chemistry teacher at Riordan.

History inspires her to teach chemistry. “I believe it’s a wonderful subject in terms of how it’s filled with stories from the past.”

Thulasi values community in her classroom, shown by her classes’ labs and experiments.

“Experiments question our understanding, it makes us rethink, and it teaches us how

to think more than it teaches us to just to think,” said Thulasi.

Thulasi inspires her students to take something purposeful and important from the science labs. “They are able to derive information from an experiment and make meaningful conclusions,” Thulasi said.

These new teachers have already made an impact by helping students gain an individual and a communal experience as dancers, express themselves through music and math, and learn to think by doing experiments. Most importantly, they helped students develop skills that can be used beyond Riordan walls.

April 2024 The Crusader
Riordan High School 4 Campus News
Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Experiments are a crucial element in chemistry teacher Swecha Thulasi’s class, as she demonstrates in this photo. Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Dance teacher Corie Altaffer’s class is driven by community. Photo by Aiden Pavon ’25 Math teacher Alexei Angelides proudly presents a pie on Pi Day (3/14/2024).

Faculty remembers Sister Joy

A woman who embodied her name, Sister Joy Giovannoni was a person truly special to the Archbishop Riordan community during her time here as a counselor.

On Jan. 16, Sister Joy died at the age of 84 years old. The impact she had on the faculty and students of Riordan was something special, something pure, something joyful.

From 2001 to 2018, Sister Joy, an avowed religious sister for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, worked as a counselor and teacher for RSP at Archbishop Riordan. In doing so, she spread her faith and love for the community.

Described as being “a rock for many students” by Michael Vezzali-Pascual ’88, Sister Joy’s impact on the students at Riordan was nothing short of exceptional; it was a source of love and joy.

Alex Datoc ’87 recalled how, “for a good portion of her time [here] she worked with students who were struggling and gave those students guidance and resources to succeed.”

Vanessa Vincent, a current counselor, said, “She was a fierce student advocate who provided unconditional love and support for every student she came across.”

English teacher Kim Loder

echoed this comment, saying she remembered Sister Joy being “very patient with the students and [that] she had a very calming effect on them.”

Sister Joy not only provided support for students. She also coordinated the Lancers, helped at liturgies and school events, made sure everyone at school felt welcome, and was a person to confide in.

Sister Joy was an active member of the Riordan community. Datoc remembered, “Every early morning she would make her ‘rounds’ and say, ‘Hello’ to everyone that was around. During Christmas time, she would make Saltine Cracker Toffee for the faculty and staff to enjoy.”

Math teacher Ottilie Valverde reminisced about how Sister Joy “always went to the plays and sometimes I went with her.” Valverde was her friend, along with being a person Valverde could describe as very spiritual. She was a friend, a coworker, a counselor, a light, a joy– a blessing. Loder said Sister Joy taught her to “be a light for others.” Datoc added that she always, “asked for the best of you in what you do and how you conduct yourself.”

Sister Joy Giovannoni was a

woman whose life and kindness will never be forgotten. Her legacy of gentleness and joy will forever

New chapter begins for book club

Over the course of this spring semester, Riordan has introduced its first Book Club in recent history, which aims to cultivate and foster a culture of reading books for pleasure. Club moderator and RSP teacher Jennifer Parker has wanted to start a book club since last year when she began at Riordan.

The opportunity arose when “this year, [club president] Catherine Hansen ’25 approached me about it, which I was really excited about, because like I said, I’ve been hoping to do this for a long time. I feel like every school should have a book club, so when she asked if I’d be interested in facilitating and I said, ‘absolutely.’”

“I wanted to start the book club because I really liked to read, and I never really found myself having time to read because of schoolwork and reading in class, so I stopped reading,” said Hansen. “I think this would be a good way to bring back my passion for reading and it also helps other students who deal with the same things.”

According to English Instructor Mary Dalton, the decline in readership can be also attributed to “the development of technology for entertainment purposes. We also rely on screens to receive information in general quickly, and more so in video format.”

However, amidst these modern distractions that induce a quick yet fleeting dose of dopamine, it is essential to recognize the enduring importance of reading in that “it makes you think; it makes you use your imagination a bit. I think the world we live in now, like ChatGPT and everything, a lot of things take the imagination out of everything,” said fellow English Instructor Richard Sylvester ’01.

Dalton added, “It’s a good exercise to not only keep your mind sharp, but also expand your knowledge, and, of course, to entertain.”

By removing the assignment aspect that typically comes with reading books in school, Parker hopes that students will realize that “It’s [the book club] just an

opportunity to hang out with your friends and talk about books that you have decided to read yourself,” said Parker.

Additionally, this club plans to go beyond reading and discussing books.

Hansen said, “I also want to go further and do service inspired by books like volunteering at libraries or doing book drives for

people who are in need or need books.”

In terms of selecting books to read, Parker said, “We will select a genre, and from that genre, we will have everybody give a title. And we will have them share a summary of it and say why they think it would be a good book for everyone to read. And we’ll do it by majority vote.”

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 5 Campus News
Photo provided by Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet Sister Joy made a heartfelt impact on the lives of many people at Riordan. Photo by Naomi Lin ’24 Members of Riordan’s new Book Club met for the first time on March 26. illuminate the lives of the Riordan community, providing comfort in a time where it’s needed.

Students reflect on Close Up experience

This February, dozens of Riordan students attended an annual trip to Washington, D.C.

In the nation’s capital, the students and faculty participated in a week long program known as Close Up.

Close Up is a program where students from all across the country meet each other and extensively collaborate throughout the entire week, while experiencing a city dense with history, political functionality, and invaluable experiences.

“It was a great experience because we get to make new friends from all around the country, and form a family with them,” said Sean Reyes ’25.

“I learned so much about government and collaborating with others,” he added.

With the people that Riordan students met, landmarks such as the various war memorials throughout the beautifully designed grass mall, the intention was to spread the positive, negative, and controversial aspects of American history.

Participants at Close Up also learned how to discuss their different opinions thoroughly, with open minds and proper debate etiquette.

Thomas Slattery ’24, a participant in this year’s Close Up journey, commented, “Although you need to be prepared for walking several miles a day, I would recommend going to DC.”

He continued, “It was quite fun meeting people that you’ll never see for the rest of your life.”

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 6 Campus News
Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Photo by Sean Reyes ’25 Photo by Nick Nye ’25 These bronze statues depict the Great Depression at the FDR Memorial, which opened in 1997. The memorial was created as a tribute the 32nd United States president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected to four terms. Group photo of Riordan students at the Capitol building. Back row from left to right Max Reese ’24, Michelle Chavero ’24, Brianna Carrasquilla ’25, Heather Nguyen ’25, and Katelyn Leong ’25. Front row from left to right, Ashling Greene ’25, Lexie Neil ’25, Elena Paris ’25, and Sean Reyes ’25. This overhead shot of the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool was taken from the top of the Washington Monument. The memorial was built in 1914 by architect Henry Bacon as a tribute to the 16th president of the United States.

New class confirmed for students seeking sacraments

As a Catholic Marianist school, Archbishop Riordan has come a long way since 1949 in terms of its religious diversity.

Recently, Religious Studies Department Chair Danielle Jow and Religious Studies teacher Joshua Keeney created new sacraments class for interested students who want to further and discover more about their faith.

Over the course of time, the class has transformed from a modest gathering of students into a lively and engaging class.

Keeney said, “We want to interest them in developing and maturing in their faith and with the Lord, then diving deep to explain that it’s important for students to learn and understand the sacraments and their significance.”

Over 30 students have enrolled to engage in this class, one of these students being senior Julian Serrano who said, “As someone who doesn’t understand much about the church it really explained how it operates as well as my place in the church.”

He, along with others, are hoping to obtain a transformative educational experience.

“It’s a good way for people in our school to get an opportunity to receive their sacraments and eagerly grow in their faith,” said Zachary Yip ’24.

With a different approach, Jow

and Keeney at the helm are using their experiences along with engaging open discussions, prayer, and thoughtful presentations with deeper thought to adopt a unique approach that blends traditional teaching into real world applications that illuminate the Catholic sacraments’ significance.

“This class is for those seeking a deeper understanding of God,” Keeney said.

Through dynamic discussions and having a welcoming environment without distractions, students in

the class are invited to learn the symbolisms and catechisms behind each sacrament. From being taught about the cleansing through Baptism, to delving into the faith further with confirmation, these teachings are not just confined to textbooks, rather they come from places of deep faith and lived experiences.

The class transcends the boundaries of traditional religious studies. It serves as a journey of spiritual growth. Having both teachers and students invested

in the process fosters a sense of community and a way for students to say “I will strive to live this way,” said Keeney.

The Sacraments Class is becoming more than just an academic pursuit that differs from the core religious studies being taught currently, as the class will come to stand as a testament to the school’s ongoing commitment to spiritual development and inclusivity, offering students the opportunity to explore and embrace their faith.

Crucifix crosses corridor to new courtside home

After years in the stairwell, the iconic crucifix was moved to a new location in the Crusader Forum

The crucifix is undoubtedly one of the most important symbols of the school and Catholicism, as it symbolizes the forgiveness of sins through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

During the week of Sept. 12, 2022, students and teachers noticed that the 100-pound cross mounted on the wall in the center of one of Riordan’s stairwells unexpectedly disappeared. Some speculated that it may have been removed, or possibly even stolen.

The year it went missing, Angelina Ning ’23 stated, “I think it wasn’t stolen but if it was, it should definitely be returned. It is an item many will miss because it is an important symbol of our school.”

In fact, it was only removed in order to complete the campus refurbishing project, and needed to be removed in order to give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Head of Facilities Brandon Ramsey confirmed that the sacred object was temporarily relocated until

they determined a new location for it.

At the beginning of the spring semester, many were happy to see that it was now in the gym near the eastern scoreboard adjacent to the walkway between the home and visitors sections.

Director of Campus Ministry Alex Datoc ’87 affirmed the significance of the crucifix, saying, “I believe the importance of having a crucifix in a Catholic school shows that Jesus died for our sins and that it’s a reminder to the students that they attend the Catholic school.”

English teacher Kevin Estrada ’00, who was accustomed to seeing the cross in the same location since he was a student here, was puzzled as to why the 35-year-old cross had been removed, but happy for its return.

“It is a reminder, at the very least, of the wonderful foundation that Riordan provides our students through a Catholic/Marianist lens,” Estrada said.

He added, “It’s a reminder to have integrity, humility, compassion, and generosity of spirit.”

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 7
Photo by Danielle Jow Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Students in the Sacraments Class are preparing for First Communion and Confirmation in the coming weeks. The 100-pound crucifix that was once in the stairwell near the library was moved to its new location in the gym in January.

FAFSA snafu delays college decisions

On March 22, the US Department of Education announced a FAFSA calculation error impacting hundreds of thousands of financial aid applications.

This is expected to delay students finding out how much money they’re going to receive, and as a result what college they plan to attend.

Jackie Grealish, a college counselor at Riordan, stated, “I’m sure there’s going to be more delays as students try to decide where they’re going to end up, because there’s a serious difference between a school costing $70,000, maybe, or with your financial aid package, it might go down to $20,000.”

The current financial aid process is already three months behind, but this new delay will impact up to 200,000 students.

Colleges typically ask students to make their decision by May 1 on whether they plan to enroll.

However, Melissa Nagar, another college counselor at Riordan, stated “...luckily some [colleges] have extended their deadlines for depositing to allow students to make the right decision…but it just creates more chaos for students trying to decide.” She emphasized, however, that not all colleges are doing so.

This also impacts how timely a student might receive financial aid from their colleges as well–not just FAFSA.

Typically, students wait to receive their financial aid letter from colleges that have accepted them before choosing which one to attend, but most colleges won’t send their award letters until the government sends them the FAFSA information.

Sophia Louie ’24, a student who applied for FAFSA, said, “The delay of FAFSA was a bit annoying since I had already submitted all of my college applications. FAFSA was only one extra thing that I had to do.”

“I’m sure there’s going to be more delays as students try to decide where they’re going to end up, because there’s a serious difference between a school costing $70,000, maybe, or with your financial aid package, it might go down to $20,000.”


The Department of Education said the delay was due to a “vendor issue.”

FAFSA has undergone major changes due to laws passed by Congress in 2019 and 2020, with the new version being much shorter and simpler to apply.

It’s also expected to increase the amount of students eligible

for aid.

Despite this, the class of 2024 has been much slower in submitting their FAFSA applications.

As of March 15, according to the National College Attainment Network, nearly 31 percent fewer seniors had filed compared with the class of 2023 at the same time last year.

Wildfires ravage Lone Star state

On Feb. 26 the largest wildfire in Texas history broke out.

The fire known as the Smokehouse Creek fire has burned about 1.1 million acres, engulfing 90 percent of the land in Roberts County, also reaching parts of Gray, Wheeler, and Carson counties.

In addition to this fire, there were two other smaller yet devastating fires hitting Texas. Another nearby fire is called the Windy Deuce fire, which burned 144,00 acres of land in Moore, Potter and Carson counties; and the smallest out of the three is the GrapeVine Creek Fire, which charred 34,883 acres, burning in Gray county south of Lefors.

As of March 11, 81 percent of the Smokehouse Creek wildfires have been contained, 94 percent of the Windy Deuce fires have been contained, and 100 percent of the GrapeVine Creek fires have been contained.

Nykol Rodrigues ’26 stated, “My aunt is a teacher that lives in Texas and I was worried to

hear about the fires occurring so close to her. My family and I are continuing to keep her in our thoughts and prayers.”

The fires are said to have been caused as a result of climate change and old power lines. Prior to these latest wildfires, Texas had been established to be at higher risk for wildfires usually

occurring more in the summer, as the temperature rises. Wildfires have also been known to be more common in the Panhandle region throughout March and April because of a significant temperature change from the winter with higher temperatures, and strong winds hitting flat terrain with dry grass.

Senior Cameron Gibson ’24 stated, “My uncle lives in Texas and I heard about this tragic catastrophe that has not only burned thousands of cows along with the immense amount of land, but also as a result the Texas cow meat supply is decreasing rapidly.”

According to the New York Times Xcel Energy, a utility company claimed that its power equipment appeared to have caused the fire.

Following this statement, a lawsuit claimed that one of Xcel Energy utility poles, near Stinnett, Texas, was blown down from strong winds and triggered the blaze.

These rapid spreading fires have left the center of Texas’s cattle country in pieces.

What spread so quickly left tons of devastating damage, burning 2,000 square miles of grasslands that were utilized to feed and raise thousands of cattle.

According to NBC, more than 7,000 cows have died and many more will be euthanized, which is expected to rise.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 8 National & World News
Photo by Joint Base San Antonio Texas’ wildfires are among the largest in U.S. history, causing widespread destruction in their paths that have devastated the Lone Star state.
Grealish, college counselor Graphic by Angela Jia ’25 A FAFSA calculation error is likely to delay the college decisions of up to 200,000 students, causing confusion and anxiety among current seniors.

Mountain View Oracle sues over censorship

On Feb. 22, student journalists of The Oracle and their adviser sued Mountain View High School’s principal and its school district due to allegations of censorship and intimidation over an investigative piece about student-on-student sexual harassment.

It was filed by the mother of Hanna Olson ’25, Hayes Duenow ’23, and their former adviser Carla Gomez. In their case, they alleged Principal Dr. Kip Glazer pressured The Oracle to significantly “water down” information about the sexual harassment–such as student anecdotes–and “unlawfully retaliated” against its publication by removing Gomez as adviser and the Introduction to Journalism course, in order “to protect [Glazer’s] own reputation and shield the school’s harassers.”

They hope the lawsuit will compel the school district to allow the students the ability to publish an uncensored version of the article, reinstate Gomez as adviser and restart the canceled journalism course.

Naomi Lin ’24, Editor in Chief of The Crusader, believes that “The lawsuit is justified….By censoring students for covering

this topic, the school officials are not only preventing awareness from being raised but suggesting their own disregard for addressing instances of sexual harassment.”

Before publication, according to the lawsuit, Glazer came to the journalism class and told student reporters they ought to portray the school in a “positive light” and that the paper should be “uplifting” to the school.

She also allegedly told the story’s reporters there would be

“catastrophic consequences” from publishing the article and demanded to read the story before it was published. This practice, called prior review, is condemned by most journalism education groups in the country.

Myesha Phukan, writer and co-editor of the article, said, “The premise of the case is to get justice for what we went through last year and the censorship that was imposed...we’re not asking for money, we’re asking for the

reestablishment of our program as it is and bringing it back up to its original strength.”

Phukan is not a plaintiff in the case.

The defendents did not respond to a request for comment from The Crusader as of press time.

The suit alleges that Glazer violated California’s Education Code 48907, which protects student journalists from administrative censorship and their advisers from retaliation upon standing up for the student’s First Amendment rights.

However, those laws only protect public schools. According to Jeff Isola, an AP US Government and Politics teacher at Riordan, “Private schools have much more autonomy in terms of what they choose to enforce, especially when it comes to the doctrine of the Catholic Church…public schools have a greater burden of proof.”

Paul Kandell, a board member for the Journalism Education Association of Northern California and a Mountain View resident who’s gone to the school board about the situation, said, “If the result goes the students way, I think this will be a landmark case that lots of people pay attention to in the same way we know of landmark stories.”

Union Square Macy’s to close next year

On Feb. 27, Macy’s announced that it will be closing 150 of its unproductive stores nationwide over the span of the next three years, including its flagship store in San Francisco’s Union Square as part of its business strategy to upgrade its remaining 350 stores.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the department store opened due to a chance encounter between Macy’s executive Wheelock H. Bingham, and O’Connor, Moffatt & Co. executive, Joseph V. Costello, in Central Park, where they struck up a potential business deal.

The deal proved successful when O’Connor, Moffatt & Co. was sold to Macy’s in 1947, rendering it the largest department store west of Chicago, with the store spanning 400,000 square feet.

English Instructor and fourthgeneration San Franciscan, Michael Vezzali-Pascual ’88, fondly reminisced, “For as long as I can remember, I have been going downtown to Union Square at Christmas time to see the Macy’s Christmas tree lighting, and see the window displays of the SPCA puppies and kittens up for adoption.”

For many, the department store, in its simple existence, has left a deep mark of nostalgia, even if shopping there wasn’t their priority.

Diane Lai ’24 said, “Even though it’s not like I shopped there every

day, it holds a lot of random but special memories. I think with its closure, it will bring some sort of darkness to Union Square.”

“The store, being so huge, brings so much life and light to the Square, whether that be with its giant Christmas wreaths or the comfort of the store,” she added.

Unfortunately, the store’s closing can be attributed to the rise of online shopping.

Math Instructor Mary Ann Datoc said, “People are shopping online and it’s being delivered on your doorstep ever since the pandemic. It is convenient for everyone.”

She also speculated that, “from a subjective perspective, the closure of Macy’s in Union Square will affect the economy in the beginning, especially the old owners who do not use the internet to advertise their business.”

Vezzali added, “Many auxiliary and small businesses depend on Macy’s for their business that we might not even know or think of. For example, there was a guy who was in one of the buildings around Union Square to whom I would take new clothes to be altered, like pants that needed hemming.”

However, amidst such seemingly bleak developments, there may lie a silver lining.

Vezzali added, “I hope that this space and other vacant retail spaces can be used to preserve a way for people to interact, and we are going to have to reimagine these places once again.”

“I would hope that this space and other vacant retail spaces like Westfield Mall can all be used to preserve some way for people to interact, and we are going to have to reimagine these places once again... Whatever it is, I hope it is designed to draw people together, as in Union Square.”

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 9 Local & State News
A student reads the article which is the subject of a press freedom lawsuit. Photo by Angela Jia ’25 Photo by Nick Nye ’25 Customers file through the grand front entrance of Macy’s Union Square location, which is slated to be closed in 2025, after 78 years of operation.

Medieval disease resurfaces in Oregon

Coming out of a global pandemic, the last thing that the world wants to hear is that one of the biggest, and most dangerous pandemics in human history could be back.

This new old pandemic is the plague, which was a global pandemic in the mid-1300s, where it killed roughly 30 to 50 percent of the European population at the time.

The plague isn’t back in full effect, however, but a case has been reported in rural Oregon and has frightened many people who remember hearing about the “Black Death” that killed so many.

Many thought the plague was eradicated, and that the disease was no longer possible to catch.

Julia Stricker-Balistreri, Science Department Chair at Riordan, said, “I didn’t know the plague was still around… I thought it was gone.”

The plague spreads through animals, the most common being rats, mice, and fleas. However, the man who caught the plague in Oregon allegedly contracted the plague from his cat.

While some are frightened by the recent appearance of the plague, many say that they are prepared for a pandemic if it were ever to happen again.

Nico Navarro ’24 said, “It is a little scary that it is back… however, I feel like we’re more

equipped for a disease like this.” Some also believe that COVID-19 and the pandemic in 2020 have prepared the world if a pandemic ever came to flourish again.

Cory Nelson, a history teacher, said, “Covid allowed us to prepare for something like this, and with the state of science and health

we have the stuff to help and heal someone with the disease.”

Luckily, however, the world most likely will never see the plague break out like it did all those years ago. Only around 700 people get the plague each year and most of those cases come from the island of Madagascar.

If anyone knows someone who is exhibiting signs of the plague, which include “fever, chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, shock, and possibly bleeding into the skin and other organs,” they should see a doctor because the medieval disease is still around today.

Norovirus cases creep up as outbreak persists

In 2024, norovirus, commonly known as the stomach virus, reached the United States again and remained a highly contagious illness.

In January 2024, three confirmed cases on a cruise ship sickened hundreds of other passengers.

Currently, this virus is the leading cause of inflammation of the stomach and intestines. The symptoms begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and can last one to three days.

The virus is known for causing intense symptoms of nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and stomach cramps. These symptoms

could occur at the same time. During this time, those with the virus become dehydrated due to losing fluids through throwing up and going to the bathroom.

Kyle Huang ’24 said, “I felt sick with stomach aches. I kept throwing up, and I couldn’t seem to keep anything down. My stomach hurts a lot, like sharp

cramps, and I have been running to the bathroom with diarrhea. I felt weak and tired and didn’t even have the energy to eat. It was just really uncomfortable and miserable.”

Norovirus is easily spread through contaminated food, water, and surfaces. This virus can be spread year-round, but the most common outbreaks occur in winter because it is colder and people gather together. It occurs most often in closed and crowded environments.

Psychology teacher Jackie Grealish stated, “Norovirus came through SI when I was a senior, and it was like the zombie apocalypse. Everyone else was puking in the halls and trying not to breathe in the smell of people’s puke and also trying not to inhale the virus.”

Twenty million cases in the United States each year cause vomiting and diarrhea; 465,000 individuals visited the emergency room, 109,000 were hospitalized, and 900 died. There is no specific treatment, and the individuals who had this virus recovered at home.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 10 Health
Art by Vee Chen ’25 Oregon health officials confirmed a case of bubonic plague on Feb. 7, but are not ready to sound the alarms. Image by A microscopic view of the norovirus, which causes symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

‘Dune: Part 2’ worms its way to top

The highly anticipated sequel to Dune: Part 1, directed by Denis Villanueve, Dune: Part 2 was released on March 1 in the United States theaters.

Picking up from Dune, the film further explores the aftermath of House Atreides’ massacre at the hands of House Harkonnen, tracing the survival journey of its two remaining members: main protagonist Paul Atreides, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, and his mother Lady Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson.

In an attempt to seek refuge from their murderous adversaries and the harsh desert in which they are stranded, Paul and Lady Jessica find themselves in a reluctant alliance with the Indigenous population of the planet of Arrakis, known as the Fremen.

The crux of this film revolves around evolving Paul’s character into a religious savior and military leader in the full-scale attack against the Harkonnen, demonstrating his dual roles as the Fremen’s messiah and its leader while delving into the split beliefs of the Fremen community and Paul’s own internal conflicts.

Luke Van Dyke ’25 said, “It [Dune] was able to execute on everything that part 1 set up and while it may be recency bias I think I even prefer Dune Part 2. I thought the film’s pace was handled even better than the first with the nearly three

Image by Warner Bros.

With the release of Dune: Part 2 on March 1, fans are raving over the film’s success,

hour run time going by extremely quickly.”

Along with the complex plot and intricate worldbuilding, Dune: Part 2 also excellently executes the production elements, incorporating gripping visuals crafted by Greig Fraser and an immersive soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, both of whom have worked with Villanueve on

Dune: Part 1.

“I saw it in IMAX 2D and throughout the entire film I felt like my ears and eyes were being assaulted by the overwhelmingly powerful sights and sounds. In particular, the depiction of the Harkanon homeworld was an excellent contest to Arakis and a true visual feast,” said Dean of Academics Christopher Fern.

He added, “When many movies rely solely on great art and sound direction to get by with a basic story, this film shies away from a more traditional Hollywood narrative to make a far more compelling and thought provoking film.”

The film also expands its cast, adding prominent stars like Austin Butler as FeydRautha Harkonnen, Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV, Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, and Javier Bardem as Stilgar, while giving Zendaya’s character, Chani, a much more prominent role.

“I thought all of the casting fit extremely well for their portrayals and the whole cast did great really bringing to life these characters they were playing with a real stand out being Timothee Chalamet as Paul especially in the later half of the movie,” said Van Dyke.

Dune: Part 2 ends on a cliffhanger, with Paul launching a holy war across the universe, seamlessly setting the stage for the final part of Denis Villanueve’s dream of creating a Dune trilogy.

Fern concluded, “The narrative of the first film is a roller coaster downward of the fall of a great House, and the second film is the roller coaster steadily rising back up to its zenith, preparing for a possible final thrill of a third film.”

Mi©key Mouse sails into public domain

Mickey Mouse, arguably the most iconic character not only for Disney, but the whole world, is now in the public domain as 2024 marked the 96th year since the character’s creation and the end of its copyright protection.

Copyright protections allowed Disney to strike down any use of Mickey. It gave Disney the sole right to print, publish, perform, film, or record the Mouse unless they gave permission.

Disney has tried long and hard to protect Mickey Mouse from public domain. The most notable attempt was the accordingly titled, “Mickey Mouse Protection Act of 1988.” Here, they were able to extend the copyright protections from 70 years, to 95 years after its publication.

Despite Disney’s efforts, it all ended in vain as Mickey Mouse entered the public domain in 2024, when the 95 year copyright protection ended.

Aeden Jacob Perez ’24 said, “This is big, not just for Disney, but the world.”

One important detail to note is that not all of Mickey Mouse is in the public domain. Mickey Mouse has multiple versions created such as Fantasmic or Mickey Mouse Club. The ones

available for public exploitation include Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy Mickey since they were released in 1928.

Disney fanatic Maureen Vera Cruz stated, “I just hope that people respect Mickey.”

Exploit these Mickeys the public domain did, and some with a lack of respect. They used the versions of Mickey in horror films, shooter games, and even made him use profanity.

Not all of the spins of public domain Mickey are negative. One notable use of Steamboat Mickey is by the famous company MSCHF. They knew of the copyright expiration and had pre-orders set in 2021 for a Mickey Mouse collectible token called MSCHF x Famous Mouse. They released the product right when the copyright expired. The token had words saying “Do not peel until 2024,” which shows their knowledge of the expiration.

Vera Cruz remarked, “That’s the fun part of being able to use Mickey. You can be very creative with things like that. But hopefully they don’t go overboard.”

With the interesting creations

Art by Chloe Hui ’25

With classic Disney character Mickey Mouse now in the public domain, The Crusader even took a spin with Mickey, making Steamboat Willie the mascot.

of Steamboat Mickey, it leaves in question what the future holds for the iconic mouse.

Vera Cruz expressed her negative concerns on the matter, “[Younger generations] are gonna see these different versions that don’t portray Mickey the way he actually is…You have to be hopeful that they don’t fall into that belief

and they know the true meaning behind what he represents.”

Anton Carranceja ’24 expressed a more positive outlook: “This is great news for content creators because they can appreciate and honor Mickey and have fun making cool things with him without worrying about copyright infringement.”

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 11 Arts & Entertainment
attributing it to its detailed plot, impressive technology, and star cast.

Artemis to send first woman, person of color to Moon

NASA is planning to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon with the Artemis mission.

This is complemented by the hope to establish a long-term presence on the Moon to further their ultimate goal: sending humans to Mars.

There will be three different rockets involved in this project, with Artemis I having been the first.

This initial voyage to the Moon is meant to inspire the younger generation to explore space and to revitalize the need to discover.

There seems to be at least cautious optimism among students for future investment in lunar travel and exploration.

Jack Synder ’26 stated lunar exploration could be beneficial “as we run out of space down here.”

Jaden Li ’25 believed it could provide advancements in “investigating the moon’s structure” and better “uncovering its geography.”

In addition, this mission will attempt to plant the seeds of a lunar economy which could further new industries and create job opportunities for especially skilled individuals.

The initial stage of the Artemis mission is to test the vessels that will be used on their first trip to the moon, the SLS and Orion.

They have tested the SLS’s

launching capabilities and Orion’s safety measures for the Artemis crew of four.

The SLS first test launch happened on Nov. 16, 2022. To test its limits, NASA launched the rocket 280,000 miles from Earth before having it return. After this first test flight,

NASA plans to create another rocket, Artemis II, to take its crew on a ten-day flight, first orbiting the Earth before changing its trajectory to the Moon.

Then, the rocket will orbit the Moon once before returning to the Earth.

This second mission will help collect data and grant the crew members vital experience handling spacecraft.

These two prior missions are

intended to gather information to prepare for the final expedition of the Artemis mission – Artemis III.

Artemis III will be the first rocket in 50 years since the Apollo mission to travel to the Moon and land humans.

Of note is that NASA intends

“With the level of technology that has advanced in the time since, we likely will learn a lot more about the formation of the moon, the Earth, and the solar system in general.”
-Colleen O’Rourke, science teacher

to send both the first woman and first person of color to the moon with this mission, Christina Koch and Victor J. Glover.

This stage of the mission will utilize three new pieces of equipment: Gateway – the Human Landing System – and the Artemis Base camp.

The Gateway will be used to transfer astronauts from Orion to their moon lander, while the Artemis Base camp will be a place for astronauts to live on the Moon.

The Human Landing System will also transport astronauts to and back from the Moon.

With this final mission, NASA will be able to use the information gathered to further their research in the hope of eventually being able to send the first humans to Mars.

These missions are intended to inspire a new generation to voyage into deep space and learn about the unknown.

As stated by Colleen O’Rourke, a science teacher at Riordan, “When humans last landed on the moon, we hadn’t even invented calculators yet. With the level of technology that has advanced in the time since, we likely will learn a lot more about the formation of the moon, the Earth, and the solar system in general.”

The Artemis missions will lead the way in the pursued interest in space exploration and hopefully pave the way for new discoveries to be made about the universe.

NASA launches satellite to study climate, oceans

On Feb. 8, a NASA mission called PACE launched from the Space Launch Center 40 at Cape Canaveral Station in Florida.

PACE stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud Ocean, and Ecosystem.

It is a satellite that will allow scientists to better understand how carbon dioxide reacts with the oceans and atmosphere.

NASA stated how the satellite will help the planet, citing that “Novel uses of PACE data will benefit our economy and society.”

For example, it will help identify the extent and duration of harmful algal blooms.

According to science teacher Jack Reardon, algal blooms can “consume oxygen needed by other organisms to live” and “block sunlight,” and so being able to effectively track and record these blooms is of vital importance.

PACE will extend and expand NASA’s long-term observations of our living planet. By doing so, it will take Earth’s pulse in new ways for decades to come.

Over 40 percent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of an ocean coastline, and there are three million jobs in the US that relate to the ocean economy.

PACE will provide a better understanding of the ocean and

help both ocean-based economies and the people who live in the ocean’s vicinity.

Science teacher Colleen O’Rourke explained, “The PACE project allows us to understand how a lot of the ecosystems of our planet are interconnected in ways we have had trouble seeing before.”

For example, previous similar missions have shown us that dust blowing off the Sahara desert in Africa is transported across the Atlantic Ocean to provide vital nutrients for coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea.

She continued, saying, “These missions also allow us to see how many of these interconnected systems are being affected by climate change, and hopefully allow us to develop strategies to minimize the damage of such drastic changes.”

The two main tools being used for PACE are OCI (Ocean Color Instrument) and Multi-angle Polarimeters.

OCI is a spectrometer used to measure the intensity of light over portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It will provide detailed information about our oceans.

Multi-angle Polarimeters are radiometers that are used to measure how the polarization of sunlight is changed through passing through clouds, aerosols

and the ocean.

Hazel Nagata Rampata ’26, president of the Environment Club, said, “NASA’s PACE mission will help the environment by allowing researchers to hopefully allow scientists to see what the climate and atmosphere of Earth reacts to Earth’s fast changing climates.”

She added, “ I hope that with this research, researchers will be able to understand what changes are occurring in our environment, and what we can do in order to positively change

these trends.”

The mission is projected at $805 million.

O’Rourke talked about the significance of the launch of PACE, saying, “The PACE mission uses new instrumentation and technologies to give us brand new, high resolution data on the will hopefully let us make better, more informed decisions on where and how to work on mitigating human effects on the oceans.”

NASA hopes that PACE will prove to be a technology that will help change the planet and its environment for the better.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 12 Science
Photos by Astronauts Christina Koch and Victor J. Glover are set to be the first woman and person of color to step foot on the Moon with NASA’s Artemis program. Image by Above is an image of an artist’s recreation of the PACE satellite orbiting Earth.

2023 scorches books as hottest year on record

Summers seem longer, winters are much more manageable. Each year, scientists record new high temperatures in the true San Francisco summer of October, and witness a truer stereotypical summer June-August. While some may enjoy these warmer days, these temperatures mean bad news for the Earth.

2023 was the hottest year on record. Unprecedented warm temperatures from the months June through December worldwide lead 2023 to greatly surpass 2016 as the hottest year in history.

The heat is a product of a mix of elements all having to do with climate change. Growing industrialization, machinery, and human waste have led to a warming Earth.

The heat has detrimental effects on both land and sea. Sea waters rose and icebergs especially in the Atlantic that are home to thousands of wildlife animals, most already endangered, melted significantly meaning these animals’ homes were destroyed.

In Joshua Tree National Park in California, where two desert ecosystems – the Mojave and the Colorado – meet to create this unique area, plants and animals not only live, but thrive in temperatures as high as 118 degrees for the area. According to, “The year 2023 was the warmest year since global records began in 1850.”

The arctic animal population vastly declined. On land, the rate and magnitude of damage that hurricanes and wildfires increased tremendously. Places never seeing these types of weather patterns before who were therefore not prepared were hit hard. In California alone, Northern California was hit catastrophically by wildfires in the last few years and thousands of families’ homes were destroyed.

Caroline O’Connell ’25, a student in the Biomedical Program, spoke about the issue of how her family friends had to evacuate their home in Northern California once a year for the last few years due to fires saying that “their lives became temporarily

destroyed, having to completely relocate annually to flee the fires.” O’Connell’s friends are not alone. Over 25 percent of residents in California live in high-risk wildfire areas.

In 2023, the world was the closest ever to the 1.5 Celsius limit. This is a limit set in the Paris agreement of 2015 as a threshold of the Earth’s temperature. If temperatures were to hit that limit, all climate change is deemed irreversible.

Many are working to reverse the climate change humans have created, but Earth’s inhabitants have not worked hard enough.

Julian Johnson ’25, an engineering student, said he has been thinking about climate change and what he is doing to combat it, saying, “I take shorter showers and make sure to not leave the lights on when I am out. I hope my small steps make a difference for the generations to come.”

If people make these seemingly small changes, big changes will come. Scientists warn that everyone must do their part to reverse climate change so the generations to come can enjoy all the breathtaking things on Earth everyone is now experiencing.

Consumption of microplastics creates major concerns

In recent years, the phenomenon of microplastics has begun to take effect as a result of pollution and the overall mismanagement of plastic.

The extent to which microplastics are present in the environment and the effects they have on humans are actively being researched; however, there is already significant research on the issue.

It has been found that microplastics have entered humans’ bodies through multiple pathways including consuming seafood, inhalation, plastic containers, and many other foods and drinks.

There are records of microplastics being found deep inside the lungs of surgical patients, as well as in the blood of anonymous donors. There have even been reports of microplastics being found in unborn babies.

This is a major cause for concern, as research suggests microplastics have infiltrated society to an unknown extent, and they do not yet fully understand the consequences this may have. From the research that has been done, it has been revealed that not only are the particles widespread, they have potentially harmful effects on humans. Plastics

are composed of many various chemicals, a significant portion of which are likely to be harmful to humans. It is known that many plastics contain BPA chemicals, which disrupt human hormones including testosterone levels in men.

There has been a recent phenomena of environmental estrogen being highly prevalent and inducing earlier puberty in girls and later puberty in boys, along with overall lower testosterone levels in men. Based

on the known research, one can speculate that microplastics may be a contributing factor to this issue.

Plastics also are also known to contain carcinogens, or chemicals that cause cancer. One common carcinogen found in plastics is diethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP. DEHP has been found in many various products, which could result in presence within microplastics. Testing the effects microplastics have on humans is a difficult task, as many testing

methods would be considered unethical. Despite this challenge in testing research, there have been some successful studies. Microplastics can cause damage to human cells, along with endocrine disruption and other negative effects.

Overall, it is clear that microplastics are an issue worthy of concern.

As research continues researchers will find out the extent to which they are impacting the environment.

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 13 Environment
Infographic by Charles Chu ’24 This graphic shows how everyday goods that are comprised of dangerous microplastics negatively affect humans. Photo by Nick Nye ’25

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Counselors guide students with personal empowerment

The definition of a “counselor” is someone who gives guidance or advice on personal, social, or psychological problems. They listen and provide help for people’s problems.

Riordan has one counselor for each grade: Vannesa Vincent for the freshmen, David Canales for the sophomores, Vanessa Martinez for the juniors, and Melanie Aguas for the seniors.

In addition, Riordan has two wellness counselors, three college counselors, and a frosh wellness

instructor: Pia Crosby and Melissa Hansell, wellness counselors and David Lin, Melissa Nagar, and Jackie Grealish are the college counselors, as well as Jeri Kenny, the frosh wellness instructor.

Counselors are a big part of someone’s life when it comes to having someone to lean on or ask for support.

Nagar said, “The biggest part of counseling is to be able to establish rapport with your students so that you can help not only guide, but advise so your students feel comfortable enough to open up to

you and come to you to get help when they need it.”

The counselors for each grade level generally help when it comes to navigating issues with academics, athletics, social dilemmas, mental health, and the college application process. Furthermore, they help with scheduling classes.

Tyrone Jones III ’27 talked about how having a counselor has helped him, saying, “Ms. Vincent has helped me with setting up my classes for next year and checking up on me.”

“Students know themselves the best and often have the best ideas related to things they’re going through, so I ask a lot of questions to try to help students figure out what might be helpful for them.”

College counselors are a crucial part of the college application process, as they help with researching colleges, navigating the college application process, and helping prepare for tests such as the SAT and ACT.

Grealish said, “A lot of it has to do with helping kids organize deadlines. College applications have a lot of moving pieces: essays, short answers, self reported grades, scholarships, FAFSA, and more.”

She continued, “The College Counseling team at Riordan has a lot of helpful tools like SCOIR to keep students, families, and counselors on the same page.”

The wellness counselors help students with navigating their overall wellbeing. They provide students with the tools necessary to help them improve their overall state mentally and physically.

Hansell said, “First I try to do a lot of listening to make sure I understand the student and their concerns. Every student is different and every situation is different.”

She added, “Students know themselves the best and often have the best ideas related to things they’re going through, so I ask a lot of questions to try to help students figure out what might be helpful for them.”

San Francisco Zoo zeros in on 95 years

The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is a staple of the Bay, with nearly a million people visiting it a year, and is home to over 2,000 animals.

Celebrating its 95th anniversary, the city looks back at its rich history and its mission to not only have a caring environment for its animals and plants, but also connect people to wildlife that they haven’t gotten before.

The history of the zoo started in 1866 when Robert B. Woodward opened Woodward’s Gardens and though it was closed three decades later in 1890, it reopened in the Sunset in 1929, and was given the official name The San Francisco Zoological Gardens.

Ever since then, the Zoo has been rewarding people with lovely memories.

Jordan Davis ’04, a RSP Instructor, said, “I have fond memories of visiting the zoo on school trips and with my family, especially when my children were babies.”

The zoo has also not only helped animals live a safer life, it has also helped nature in a way that only the SF Zoo can.

“The zoo touches people in so many ways, leaving ‘paw prints’ on their hearts.”

Mary Ryan, the longest serving employee of the zoo, commented, “The zoo helps to educate the public in many ways and we have conservation programs here.”

In addition, Ryan said they worked on “restoring frogs to their natural habitat, and did you know that until recently we had greatly helped increase the Bald Eagle population?”

The animals themselves at the zoo have also touched many different people.

Zeke Pfeffer ’24, said,“When I look into the enclosure, I see one of the gorillas already looking at me. It’s surprising that this animal, for its size and strength, is one of the most peaceful animals I can think of.”

Ryan said, “I recall when Penny (one of our Elephants) died, it was traumatic for some of us here who felt bonded in some way to her. I recall a little girl a few days later wanted to know where Penny’s grave was so she could put flowers on it.”

Ryan concluded, “The zoo touches people in so many ways, leaving ‘paw prints’ on their hearts.”

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 15
Photo by Nick Nye ’25 The San Francisco Zoo on Sloat Boulevard is celebrating its 95th anniversary. All of the Riordan academic, college, and wellness counselors paused for a photo after a meeting in the Russi Room. Photo by Ryan Mates ’25

Crusaders continue athletic careers in college

The world of college sports is a place many high school athletes strive for. There are about 363 Division 1 schools, 313 Division 2 schools, and 442 Division 3 schools.

However, only about 7 percent end up playing a varsity sport in college and less than 2 percent play in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division 1 Level. Recently, a number of Riordan athletes have signed with colleges on the Division 1, 2, and 3 levels.

Achieving the feat of signing with college for sports, especially on the D1 level, is extremely difficult and requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft.

Three athletes on the Boys Varsity basketball team signed with colleges on the D1 level: Zion Sensley ’24, Jordan McKenzie ’24, and Kaia Berridge ’24.

They announced their decision on Nov. 8, 2023 where Sensley signed with Saint Mary’s College of California, McKenzie with Eastern Washington University, and Berridge with the University of Evansville.

Sensley described his journey on going D1 saying, “It’s a long process just from freshman year all the way to end of junior year even senior year you know.”

He continued, “Colleges

reaching out, calling my mom, calling me. You know it’s a long process, a lot of talks with my family. I came up with my decision a little after my junior summer.”

McKenzie expressed how he felt going D1 saying, “It’s a real feeling, it’s really a blessing you know being part of the one percent of people going to college basketball.”

Three female athletes signed with colleges: Ashanti Dias ’24, Ja’leigh Lang ’24, and Analee Ronas ’24.

They became the first female athletes in Riordan’s history to

accomplish this feat.

Dias signed for basketball at California State University, Los Angeles, Lang signed for gymnastics at the University of Arkansas at the D1 level, and Ronas signed for volleyball with Lasell University.

Dias said, “It feels great. I definitely hope I’m influencing the young girls to keep going and push through.”

She continued, “Even if they’re struggling just keep pushing through it to get better and definitely make it. You just gotta believe in yourself.”

Additionally, three athletes on the Boys Varsity football team signed with colleges: Tyrone Jackson ’24, Kalolo Taga ’24, and Tobey Weydmuller.

Jackson signed with Boise State University, Taga signed with the University of Southern California, and Weydmuller signed with the University of California, Berkeley.

Riordan Athletic Director Bob Greene said, “When athletes who played in our programs are able to reach the Division I level athletically and continue their education and a great university, it reflects well on our school and athletic programs and is something that everyone in our community should be proud of.”

Lastly, Nico Berdichevsky ’24 signed for lacrosse at Concordia University.

Berdichevsky described his journey, saying, “It’s just putting in all the work. Practicing a lot, sticking with it, avoiding stuff that can get you injured, and making sure that you keep work and fun simultaneously.”

He added, “If you make it all work it’s not going to be fun, you’re going to lose your motivation.

All of these athletes have accomplished a feat that seems impossible to most. They show their underclassmen that they too can play their sport on the collegiate level.

Olympic Gold Medalist calls attention to health care crisis

In October of 2023, Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Mary Lou Retton was hospitalized after contracting a rare life-threatening form of pneumonia. She became known as “America’s Sweetheart” after winning five medals, including being the first American woman to win an Olympic individual all-around gold in the 1984 Summer games in Los Angeles. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Mary Ann Datoc, math teacher, said, “She was an excellent gymnast when I was a little girl.”

She continued, “She impressed all the girls my age to never give up on our dreams to be successful.”

Despite finishing her gymnastics career in 1986, Retton stays active in her community as a sports commentator, an in-demand spokesperson, motivational speaker, and Dancing with the Stars participant.

Chloe Leotta ’24 said, “I think it’s inspirational and shows how much true passion she has for the sport she loves.”

She continued, “As an athlete myself, I think it encourages other females to continue their own passions especially in the maledominated realm of sports.”

Retton’s life was filled with success, being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year, becoming the first female athlete depicted on a Wheaties box, and having breakfast with president Ronald Regan.

Datoc added, “She inspired all the next generation of girls to believe in themselves and never give up.”

After Retton’s daughter, Kelley Retton, posted on social media of her crucial state, fans found out Retton was in the hospital relying on medicine and being sent to the ICU for over a week unable to breathe on her own and ultimately “fighting for her life,” unable to pay her medical bills.

Lillian Mendiola ’24 said, “Despite the adversity she faced, I think it’s great she stayed in the athletic work space because now she’s inspiring new athletes with her love for sports.”

“ She was an excellent gymnast when I was a little girl. She impressed all the girls my age to never give up on our dreams to be successful.”

According to NBC News, Retton stated, “Usually my interviews are, ‘Oh, yes — it felt great to win the Olympics,’ you know? This is different. This is serious and this is life and I am so grateful to be here.”

She added, “I am blessed to be here because there is a time when they were about to put me on life support.”

Kelley reached out to fans, setting up a crowdfunding page revealing the rough financial

shape Retton was in after her 2018 divorce and Covid-19 pandemic.

They were able to raise a total of $459,000 and responded, saying, “We are overwhelmed with the love and support from everyone. Grateful doesn’t scrape the surface of the posture of our hearts.”

Mary Lou Retton’s impact is something that will resonate throughout many generations for all young female athletes, from her days in the Olympics to now.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 16
Sports Features
Photo by Sean Reyes ’25 Photo by U.S. Health and Human Services Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton recently experienced a health crisis. Jordan McKenzie ’24, Ja’leigh Lang ’24, Zion Sensley ’24, Ashanti Dias ’24, Nico Berdichevsky ’24 and Kaia Berridge ’24 committed to NCAA schools.

Governor sacks bill to ban tackle football for children

Recently, the buzz around kids playing tackle football has been at an all time high. California State Assembly Member and Democrat Kevin McCarty proposed a bill to ban tackle football for youth up until age 12, with the idea being that kids will still be able to obtain two to three years of tackle football experience before they start high school.

However, Governor Gavin Newsom objected. He believes that regulating youth tackle football to keep kids safe is important, but that “an outright ban is not the answer” according to news sources.

Football player Ezekiel Pfeffer ’24 said, “I wholeheartedly believe that football, especially youth football, is one of the most important sports that one could

participate in. Not only is football a great sport to stay in shape and meet new people, but it’s an amazing medium to make long lasting connections between people, and it is also a great way for people, especially children, to learn hard work and discipline.

Prior to this proposed bill, Newsom and the California legislature had already addressed the issue of youth participation in tackle football. Newsom signed a bill in 2021 to limit youth teams to just two full-contact practices per week of no more than 30 minutes each during the regular season.

The bill also required coaches to educate players and parents about head injuries and concussions that could ensue from playing.

Still, a nationwide shift away from youth tackle football is

growing. The concerns of permanent brain damage caused from the rough nature of the game have aided in causing the number of teenagers in California playing tackle football to drop by 18 percent from 2015 to 2022, with only a tiny increase in 2023.

Additionally, flag football has been on the rise. The sport is endorsed by the NFL and set to be an official Olympic event in the 2028 Los Angeles games.

Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski said to FOX Business’ Liz Claman, “What I would propose and what I think should be marketed out there more is flag football. These kids should be playing flag football.”

He added, “You can still garner the attention of the game of football. You can still also learn the game of football. You can also develop your skills of the game of football through flag football.”

Critics of the bill believe it restricts the freedom of children to participate in tackle football, and infringes on the parents’ right to allow their children to play the game.

According to the article “California Gov. rejects Proposed Ban on Youth Tackle Football,” football coaches, children and Republican lawmakers gathered at the state Capitol to celebrate the bill’s demise, with one child holding a sign declaring, “Let us play.”

Riordan Head Football Coach Adhir Ravipati also disagrees

“I will not support a ban on youth tackle football as it is a safe space for many kids across the country to avoid issues at home and in their communities, as well as gives them positive team experiences with potentially strong role models in their life.”

with the bill.

“I believe there is a safety conversation to be had about youth in general, obviously with football organization and structure but other head impact sports such as soccer, lacrosse, of practices games, and organizations.”

He added, “That being said, I will not support a ban on youth tackle football as it is a safe space for many kids across the country to avoid issues at home and in their communities, as well as gives them positive team experiences with potentially strong role models in their life.”

Whether this bill will be revisited, the nationwide debate of letting American youth play tackle football is an undeniably important topic. No matter how policies affect the sport, it will be interesting to see what direction youth football will take in the future.

Sports Illustrated may illustrate no more

With the possibility of Sports Illustrated’s demise, the larger sports journalism community is worried.

Financial challenges and the admitted use of artificial intelligence have cast a shadow over the magazine’s future, showing impact on sports culture and journalism.

The potential closure of Sports Illustrated would be an important loss for sports fans, recognizing the magazine’s long lasting influence on sports media.

Founded in 1954, Sports Illustrated has played a huge role in shaping the way sports stories are told, serving as a platform for articles and photography that capture the specific moments of athletic competition.

Tyrone Jones III ’27 said, “It has been a good way to talk about different athletes and events that are happening within the sports world.”

However, people are concerned about the impact of digital media on traditional print, which raises questions about the support of sports magazines in the digital age.

Reflecting on the magazine’s history, it provides context for understanding its current challenges facing traditional media in the digital era.

Spanish and history teacher Edgar Beteta ’85 said, “They show high school kids from around the country who are excelling on the athletic field and in the classroom.”

Different perspectives are seen, though its cultural significance would leave it in the sports media landscape.

Colton Parenti ’25 said, “Sports Illustrated has been a source of inspiration for many young athletes, myself included.”

Observations give signs into the magazine’s cultural significance on readers’ lives and aspirations. Parenti added, “I think my perspective on other sports has given me a better understanding of what happens since I play baseball.”

Looking ahead, people in the sports journalism community must find their way through the evolving media landscape and explore new areas for delivering

Sports Illustrated lost credibility with readers and their journalism peers when it was revealed that not only did they use artificial intelligence to write stories, but also to create a profile for a reporter who does not exist.

“They show high school kids from around the country who are excelling on the athletic field and in the classroom.”

interesting sports content to audiences worldwide.

Whether Sports Illustrated continues to face an indefinite future, its legacy as a sports magazine still has force in sports journalism, reminding readers of the power of storytelling and sports in everyone’s lives.

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 17 Sports Features
Photo by Jamie Williams via Flickr Image created by Arman Mander ’25 using Adobe Firefly Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected a bill to ban tackle football for players under 12.

Girls basketball finishes third in first WCAL season

This year Riordan’s girls basketball team faced their first WCAL season.

Being one of the most competitive leagues in the state of California, this came with some challenges. Through these challenges, the team ultimately prevailed, making the CCS playoffs.

The Crusaders finished the season with an overall record of 17-11 and a league record of 7-5, including a 60-59 win over city rivals St. Ignatius.

This was a substantial improvement over their past season’s record of 12-10 (with a less competitive schedule).

Led by Ashanti Dias ’24, who is headed to Cal State LA to continue following her passion in basketball, the first WCAL season ultimately exceeded expectations.

Dias said, “The season went really well just like expected.It was our first year in WCAL and we proved ourselves and why we weren’t meant to be in it to begin with.”

Despite facing tough competition such as Archbishop Mitty, who were considered the best team in the nation, Riordan ended the

season at 3rd place in the WCAL standings.

In addition to the team’s success, some of the players found individual dreams realized.

Seniors Nadia Brown and Ashanti Dias were granted the opportunity to continue their.

basketball careers in college.

“From starting at Riordan as a freshman and seeing the growth with the girls program now, man it’s really a blessing and I see so many bright things happening with the girls program,” shared Dias.

Overall, this season was a success for Riordan’s girls basketball program, and laid the foundation for years to come.

Coach Will stated, “Growth comes from experience and maturity, and they will only get better!”

Track and Field off to running start

As the track and field season commences, they hope to see a resurgence of last year’s successful season.

The track events at vary, including both short and longdistance events, hurdling, relays, shot put, and the long jump.

Riordan’s shot put team has been putting in a lot of work throughout the season. Assistant coach Scott Chiesa works under head shot put coach Edgar Flores, who has been coaching at Riordan for 24 years.

Although Chiesa’s coaching career at Riordan is only in its second season, he is not a newcomer to the sport, as he’s going on his 12th year of coaching.

The future of the shot put season seems promising, with a remarkable athlete preparing for another season.

“We do have a shot-putter coming back, her name is KJ. (Kona Jane Dacascos ’25) Last year as a sophomore, she got 3rd in the WCAL and we’re expecting her to do that and better this season,” remarked Chiesa.

Art Higgins, a former headcoach who has coached on and off since the 1990s, works and trains mainly the specialized event, hurdling.

Coach Higgins emphasizes the importance of duality in track and field.

He said, “My goal for the season is to see the kids have fun, but continue to be serious about their craft and what they’re doing.”

Track and field hurdler, Gianna Ramsey ’25, is striving to push herself for a great season, and as a team, hoping to make it to both

the WCAL and CCS finals. However, challenges of being a track and field athlete are prominent.

“The hardest part about track is being able to overcome the mental challenges that come with races not going as expected, or trying a new event,” said Ramsey. Nevertheless, the track and field team remains optimistic for

a successful season, even hoping to bring some athletes to the CIF state championships later this year, in May.

Track and field athletes will continue their hard work and training, while fans anticipate their athletic performance this upcoming season, alongside the coaches who continue to demonstrate great.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 18 Sports
Photo by Ben Parker ’26 Wesley Winn ’27 takes a turn leading the field of runners at a track and field meet at Archbishop Mitty last month. Photo by Ryan Garcia Members of the girls Varsity basketball team pose for photo after CCS win against Saint Francis High School.

Play ball! Baseball team prepares for season

As spring begins to roll around, and the sun starts to come out, that can only mean one thing: it’s baseball season.

The Riordan baseball team got started with WCAL (West Coast Athletic League) play on March 12, with their first game against Valley Christian.

This year, the team has seen improvement in chemistry.

Second baseman, Javier Kinney ’25 said, “I think a big difference to this season compared to the last season, is our team chemistry is like no other. Everyone on the team has known each other for a long time and played with each other before high school or since freshman year.”

He continued, “We all know each other very well and know what we need to work together.”

In conjunction with strong team chemistry, the team also plans to play to their morale high, even in tough situations.

“One thing we can work on as a team is to constantly be energized on and off the field. Doesn’t matter if we’re up by a lot or down by a lot, we all should still be motivating each other and stay locked in till the games over,” Kinney said.

While players look towards their own personal goals, they also look towards the goals of the team, which include being an

encouraging teammate, and holding their own through the WCAL.

Outfielder Gregory Gonzales ’25 shared, “My goals are to be a supportive teammate [...].” He continued, “The team’s goals are

to be competitive in league games and be contenders this year.”

The team also finds themselves with a newfound hunger for winning and competition. “We are better prepared than we were last year and we’re more hungry to

win and compete,” said Gonzales.

As the season progresses, Riordan baseball looks forward to facing WCAL competition by taking advantage of unbreakable team chemistry, positive morale, and playing to be better teammates.

Lacrosse sticks with winning mentality

This spring season, the Riordan lacrosse team has seen a great deal of success. The team is led by a star studded roster of experienced senior players.

Through the team’s elusive playing style and steady defense, the team hopes to continue a strong record that reflects their hard work.

The team started off strong early in the season going 3-0, putting forward impressive numbers with the paramount so far being a 17 to 0 victory over Hillsdale High.

Their most hard fought victory however, was against well known city school, Urban High School. The team outscored Urban 7 points to 5.

Head coach Brooks Thoroughgood said the team works best when they work closer together, rather than independently. He also has a fun incentive for the players if they perform well.

Thoroughgood said, “Players have been working as a team rather than individually. The years we’ve had our most success are when we’re playing lacrosse as a team sport rather than an individual sport. Plus the incentive of their coach getting a buzz cut if they have a winning

season doesn’t hurt.”

The team is collectively led by its seniors, many who play for club teams around the Bay Area during the summer months. This contributes to them becoming better players come the CIF spring season. Some have committed to play NCAA, NAIA, and MCLA lacrosse.

Of those select few on Riordan’s active roster, is point leader and starting midfielder, Nico Berdichevsky ’24.

Berdichevsky plays for team NorCal Lacrosse in the summer months and is a senior leader on the team. He believes that this Riordan team is lively and vibrant.

“Everyone has had a lot more energy going into games and playing as a team,” he said.

Nico’s brother, John Paul Berdichevsky ’25 shared the team’s goals for the season. “We hope to have a positive record and build ourselves up as a team.”

The team plans to continue their success and achieve a winning season to send off their seniors on a good note. The team’s final game will be their senior day on April 24 against Harbor High School.

The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School April 2024 19 Sports
Photo by Clare Lacey ’24 Will Lacey ’24 shoots the ball from midfield vs Latino College Preparatory Academy at a game last month. The team has had a strong start this season. Photo by Savannah Sapalo ’24 Pitcher Mason Cohn ’26 warms up his off-speed pitch to catcher Luciano Dorsch ’26 in between innings.

Açaí bowls amaze appetites

Açaí R is a local build-your-own açaí bowl store within the heart of Ocean Avenue.

As an avid açaí eater, I was tempted to go with my go-to order, however, I decided to add a couple more toppings in the hopes of heightening my experience.

The bowl itself was genuinely beautiful; the entire dish looked picture-perfect. The first bite hit me with a wave of refreshment and delight.

The layer of vanilla granola was stale, but along with the chunkier crunchy pieces added a great variety of textures to the bowl, and was exactly what the bowl needed.

Next, the cacao almond butter really stood out within this jampacked bowl. It wasn’t overly

Açaí R

sweet like other chocolate adjacent drizzles, nor was it too bitter like real cacao, it was perfectly in the middle and added a stellar flavor to the bowl.

While the bananas were the perfect texture—none too mushy nor too hard—the pineapple was tougher and less sweet. The strawberries were delectable with immense sweetness.

The ultimate star of the show was the smooth, light, and refreshing açaí base. The sweetness and lightness of the base allowed the other toppings to shine, whilst still having its own distinct taste as well.

Overall, Açaí R was a hit, perfect for any occasion, and a great healthy alternative to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Walking along Ocean Avenue, I was suddenly and inexplicably struck with an unreasonable urge to purchase and voraciously consume an açaí bowl.

Experiencing symptoms of such “açaí craze” exposure, I began to see visions.

At first, I saw a swirling mound of vivid violet açaí purée, the fresh foundation upon which my taste buds would swim in fruity flavor.

Then, I witnessed slices of fruit and bits of granola rain down from the heavens above in a mesmerizing routine of culinary choreography, rivaling the perfection of synchronized swimmers.

Staring into this imaginary bowl, a beautiful platter of the vibrant and technicolor bounty of nature, as one would gaze at the Mona Lisa for hours, it

Whole Foods Market

called out to me, beckoning for its scrumptious consumption.

Following the directions of my revelation, I darted into the nearest Whole Foods Market and bought an açaí bowl, violently ripping off its lid in uncontainable excitement.

I found nothing but a dull, freezerburnt red paste complemented with a vile, pale cup of soggy granola chunks.

In the three spoonfuls I convinced myself to take, my mouth was assaulted by a taste and texture best described as slurping down a water-diluted berry Go-Gurt sprinkled with miniature packaging peanuts.

Falling to my knees outside the Whole Foods Market in despair, my eyes made contact with Acai R, located right next door.

Just go there instead, and do not let my pain go in vain.

I visited Palmetto Superfoods on a frigid winter’s afternoon seeking to bolster my immune system against the imminent cold season with an açai bowl.

Upon entering the shop, I faced a menu detailing an endless list of custom options with flamboyant names like JapanCali Matchacado and Passionate mango.

Although there are also precustomized bowls on the menu, I created my own combination, ordering their house peanut butter, granola, mango, goji berries, mulberries, coconut flakes, and bee pollen as toppings.

The vibrant blue spirulina evoked warm Caribbean waters despite the deluge outside, allowing me to

Palmetto Superfoods

blissfully forget that I would have to brave it on my way out the door.

My chosen açaí base had pomegranate and raspberry notes, complemented by a subtle tartness. Matcha-cado was ultimately my favorite base, with the smooth texture of the avocado perfectly complementing the rich flavor of matcha.

The toppings were perfectly paired with the bases—the smoothness of the peanut butter and the crunchiness of the granola with the silkiness of the bases made for a delightful contrast. While it was a bit pricey, running me $14 for a medium-sized bowl, I would still wholeheartedly recommend Palmetto Superfoods. Thus, I give this a 9/10.

April 2024 The Crusader Archbishop Riordan High School 20 Food Reviews
A frozen açaí bowl sitting atop a ledge outside of a Whole Foods Market. A colorful pair of açaí bowls highlighting Palmetto Superfoods’ diverse menu. A fresh açaí bowl resting on a marble counter, laden with an array of fruit.

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