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Issue 06 Volume 18


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02 news

Dealing with debt Increases in college payments have left many students swimming in student loan debt. Story by Julia Shapero.


igh school seniors all over the nation have finally chosen where they plan to spend their freshman year of college. They can finally breathe a sigh of relief, or so they thought. Before living it up at college, they first have to decide how to pay for college life, complete with tuition expenses, living accommodation expenses, textbook expenses, and much more. Many students choose to pay for college using student loans, a highly popular option that allows students to borrow money for college and then pay it back over time with interest. Student loans are helpful for paying for college; however, when college finishes, many are left swimming in debt. According to a 2013 report from the Institute for College Access and Success, 70 percent of 2012 college seniors graduated with student loan debt, owing about $29,400 on average. In the last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that the total student loan debt was $1.2 trillion, which is greater than the amount owed on credit cards.

SDA seniors react

“Obviously, there is a problem because when you get out [of college] you’re not making money right away… so you have debt,” said senior Jamie Sebastian on the situation. “I want to go into grad school but it’s not ideal because I’m going to take on even more debt.” For those, like Sebastian, who wish to continue on to graduate school, debt can become even more of a problem. According to a review released by the New America Foundation earlier this year, the average graduate student in 2012 who finished school with a master of arts degree graduated with about $59,000 in student loan debt. Other SDA seniors shared similar concerns about student loans. Senior Cassie Chung, who plans to attend the University of Washington Seattle next fall, was a bit frustrated by the situation. “It sucks,” Chung said, “because it gets you through college but then you have to pay it back.” Senior Jill Pickrell, who plans on attending the University of

California Santa Cruz next fall, felt similarly. “If I take out loans and end up in debt, I have to make money and put it toward paying that back, not toward what I want,” said Pickrell. Senior Laura Breidenthal, who plans on taking out a couple student loans next year, had some insight on to how she might avoid the problem. “A lot of kids are left with more debt than they can pay off,” said Breidenthal. “I’m trying to avoid having any debt after college by applying for tons of scholarships and grants and avoiding unsubsidized loans.”

Various types of loans

Unsubsidized loans are one of the four types of student loans. The four types are unsubsidized loans, subsidized loans, PLUS loans, and consolidation loans. Subsidized loans are only available to undergraduate students. The interest on the loans is paid for by the U.S. Department of Education while the student is in school; however, when the student leaves school, they must begin paying the interest on the loans. To qualify for subsidized loans, an undergraduate student must demonstrate financial need. With unsubsidized loans, which are offered to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, interest accumulates while the student is in school. When the student leaves school, the accumulated interest is added to their loans and the student must begin paying the interest on the loans. Students do not need to demonstrate financial need to qualify for unsubsidized loans. PLUS loans help pay for educational expenses not already covered by other financial aid. These are offered to graduate and professional students, as well as parents of dependent undergraduate students. Consolidation loans allow students to combine multiple loans into one loan.

What can be done?

How can high school seniors avoid problems with any of these loans in the future? A recent presentation on student loan debt at a high school journalism convention in San Diego discussed

Dealing with debt in California The map below shows the average amount of money graduates owed in student loan debt at various colleges in California. On average, California college graduates owed $20, 269. Information courtesy of the Institute for College Access and Success.

UC Davis: $19,285 UC Berkeley: $17, 964 Stanford: $18, 833 UC Santa Cruz: $20, 358

UC Santa Barbara: $19,325 UC Los Angeles: $20, 409 UC Irvine: $19, 828 CSU San Marcos: $19, 257 SDSU: $17,600 the issues surrounding student loan debt, as well as ways students could improve their financial situation. “The less [money] you borrow in school, the less [money] you’re going to have to pay back,” said Vonda Garcia, Director of the financial aid and scholarship office at California State University San Marcos. “Apply for scholarships, as often and as many as possible.” Suzanne Goulet, financial aid coordinator for the office of financial aid and scholarships at San Diego State University warned students to be wise about how much debt they incur. Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, author of “adMISSION POSSIBLE: The Dare to Be Yourself Guide for Getting into the Best Colleges for

You,” advised younger students to keep up their grades, to pay attention to where they are going to apply, and to keep one thing in mind. “Colleges want really good students and they’ll pay for them,” said Shaevitz.

College students react

Current college students are in the midst of it all, and, after some experience, have developed varying opinions about student loans. SDA graduate Alex Sweat felt that, while student loans will not affect him, they will affect others and their career decisions. “I am fortunate enough to not have any student loans so far,” said Sweat, “however, I think it’s going to be a huge issue in the future and

UC San Diego: $20,474 I think more people are going to become science related majors so they can earn back their student loans. I am a civil engineering major so I don’t think if I had student loans it would affect my education path.” “I haven’t yet used any loans to pay for college, but now after my second year, I’m all out of money, so it’ll be student loans from here on out,” said SDA graduate Nathan Chong. “I have a rather generous financial aid package, acknowledging that I have a financial need for all but a couple thousand dollars of my expenses each year. I was fortunate enough to have much of my expenses covered by grants. To make up the difference, I was offered a Federal Unsubsidized Direct

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5.09.14 Loan, a Federal Parent PLUS Loan 1, and the biggest by far, a Federal Subsidized Direct Loan. This year I was able to decline these.” Chong, who is an applied math/ computer science major, predicted that the loans won’t affect him much during college, but might affect him after college. “You don’t start paying interest until after you’re out of school, so

for me.” The option of taking time off or moving back in with parents has increasingly become more realistic for many. In 2012, 56 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 were living at home with their parents, according to a Pew Research Center poll. This, however, did not faze Chong. “While many might view this as a drawback from loans, I’d maintain that as loans allowed me to

news 03

New Bleachers at SDA

“A student loan, while life-sucking, still has a much better interest rate than other loans do.” - SDA graduate Nathan Chong I don’t foresee any real problems with loans until I graduate.,” said Chong. “At that point, whether I attend grad school or not, loans will start accumulating interest. “With that in mind, I don’t plan on going to grad school straight from university, even if I get school and living paid for. I’ll need to start working immediately, or move back in with my parents for a couple of years before non-community college grad school is a real option

afford a college education in the first place, I’m glad they’re around in whatever form possible. A student loan, while life-sucking, still has a much better interest rate than other loans do. I guess with those extra couple of gap years, it’s likely that I’ll be able to find a decent job in that time, which may persuade me not to go to grad school at all.” Contributions by Hana Chen and Marin Callaway.

Photo courtesy of Melody Sobhani.

The new stadium bleachers are in the progress of being built. Hopefully they will be done by the end of this school year.


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04 news

New park, new opportunities The Encinitas Community Park, opening this fall, brings much excitement from students at SDA. Story by Kate Sequeira.


fter a decade of controversy and delay the Encinitas Community Park, including the new skate park and ball fields, is nearly complete and is set to open this fall. According to the Encinitas Director of Parks and Recreation Lisa Rudloff the new park brings much excitement. Many are looking forward to the new skate park since there aren’t many in Encinitas, she said. Freshman Colman Foster said that the park should make a difference. “Skating is a big part of this community and a lot of people around here do it a lot.” Many people around Encinitas are excited about the new skate park. A Facebook page titled “The Encinitas Skate Plaza” was created revolving only around the skate park. The page featured updates and pictures of its different elements and progression. Comments on the page exclaimed “wow it’s actually happening I cannot believe it” and “looking tight! Can’t wait to skate it.” SDA skaters think that the park will greatly influence SDA. “I think on hour lunch a lot of kids will probably go down there and skate for a while,” said freshman Turner Drumm. However, instead of having their usual freedom with no protection, skaters will be required to wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads at the city park. Not wearing the proper gear can result in a $400 to $500 fine. Freshman Dylan Kaiser said, “I think that [wearing pads] is good because I just don’t think that the city wants kids splitting their heads open. Once they’re 18 I think they can make that decision for themselves but until then I think they should [wear pads].”

New ball fields

The park also brings along new fields which council member Kristen Gaspar said are desperately needed in Encinitas for sports such as soccer, baseball, and rugby. A permit process or reservation system will be set up for reservations of the field Gaspar and Rudloff said when speaking to the Journalism class. Encinitas Express Vice President

A drawing of the completed skate park. Photo courtesy of City of Encinitas.

of Recreation Scott Platenburg is very excited about the opening of the park. At the moment the different soccer teams practice on the patchwork of parks and school fields throughout Encinitas, but the new fields that will soon be open will provide more space for the estimated 1,500 children that play for Encinitas Express. “It has been a long time coming, but we think the wait will be well worth it as it looks like a beautiful facility. When the park opens there will be several fields in one location that will enhance the community

said, “I think [the park] will [make a difference]. I mean, all of the teams in Encinitas won’t be able to practice there but it does offer more fields to use.” Freshman Vicky van der Wagt said, “The park will definitely help out for different sports because of more options for fields.”

History of controversy

The property was first bought by the city in 1990 but the park was delayed until 2012 because some of the neighbors around it did not like the idea of the noise, light, and traffic that would come along

“It has been a long time coming, but we think the wait will be well worth it as it looks like a beautiful facility.” - Scott Platenburg Encinitas Vice President of Recreation atmosphere that our soccer club promotes,” said Platenburg. As for student views on the new fields, freshman Brittany Serbin

with it. They sued the city but the city eventually prevailed, spending approximately $1 million on the court case alone, said Gaspar.

Gaspar also mentioned that new soil had to be added to the property and that the original soil had to be buried deep into the ground so that the chemicals that it contained from its former greenhouse days would not affect the park. There were two times in the building process where runoffs occurred causing a fine of $400,000 to $500,000, she said. According to Rudloff, the total cost of the project is $36.5 million, but a loan of $8 million was taken out to pay for a fraction of this project and the renovations at Moonlight Beach while the rest was paid in cash.


Some of the people living in the area still do not appreciate the idea of having a public park in their community, according to Gaspar. “Trash, traffic, illegal parking, pretty much any nuisance you can think of for living close to a park was on a complaint list,” she said, “You just can’t have everybody happy.” Certain issues have not been resolved for the time being to make the building of the park less

complicated. There will be no lights in the ball parks because of neighborhood complaints; however, a conduit is still being placed for the electrical wiring that would power lights in the case of future changes. The dog park is located in an area surrounded by houses so a wall was built and buffers of landscape were planted around it to muffle the sounds of the dogs. As for trespassing issues, a gate may be set up in the future to keep people out after the park closes each night. There will also be a park resident who will live at the park and keep an eye on it throughout the day and after closing hours. If people were to be caught trespassing on the premises after closing hours, law enforcement would be called in to remove the trespassers. There would be no fines unless the trespassers were caught doing something illegal. The park has undergone many challenges over the past years, but Rudloff said, “I think this park will benefit this community long past our time.”


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The Pony

06 opinions

One crop top too far A

What I think is so very wrong about the very popular store, Brandy Melville. Opinion by Chloe Walecki. s I enter a Brandy Melville store, I see an array of neutrally colored skirts and cropped blouses. The same daisy print exists on dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, bandeaus, and headbands alike. The Brandy upside down “stay weird.” slogan that comes on various styles of shirts and beanies, leaves me questioning, what is so “weird” about this shirt and even company in the first place? Nothing. In fact, Brandy Melville to me is the most stereotypically normal and boring company the market has to offer. Other than how shallow their clothing is, the company in my opinion also what the company sells has the ability to lower girls self esteem. The girls that buy Brandy clothes are buying acceptance into society’s standards of how a teenage girl should be. When girls walks into a Brandy store they will find signs in bold that say “One size fits most.”

Photo by Melody Sobhani

Being a girl that fits into a piece of clothing that “most” fit into is a reassurance that she is in fact average. What confuses me is the contradiction between the company’s requirements for having the ideal body, but then also to “stay weird.” Basically, Brandy Melville wants a girl that is both normal and weird to wear their clothing which is not even possible. Another thing that I see as wrong about the store is a shirt they sell that says, “stressed, depressed, but well dressed.” In my mind, everything about this shirt is wrong. Brandy is a lot of girl’s favorite store, and when they look at the shirt that says this, they’re going to think that they need to have a mental illness in order to be cool. The shirt is teaching young girls to be depressed and stressed, which will leave an innocent mind thinking that they cannot think or

feel for themselves, they must feel what this store is telling them to. The slogan also disrespects people who are clinically depressed. It downgrades the seriousness of mental illnesses and says that people’s mental illnesses don’t matter. But let’s take a moment to think about the girls that cannot fit into the size most of girls should be able to fit into. Teens are already pressured enough to be a certain way in middle school and high school. Being told that a company doesn’t even make clothing that fits you is surely something to ruin someone’s day. It doesn’t cost very much to add a little bit of fabric to fit a person that is bigger. So why doesn’t Brandy make sizes for girls that are bigger? Plus, they would only make even more money by doing this. I really see no point to some of the choices Brandy Melville, as well as girls, make.

Disney Channel’s demise The golden days of Disney Channel are over. Opinion by Hana Chen.


or almost all of us 90s kids, I’m sure Disney Channel was a significant part of our childhoods. I remember back in the simple days, when there was nothing more satisfying than waking up in the late A.M. on weekends, running downstairs, and lying on the couch for hours on end watching a myriad of Disney shows on my not-flat-screen television. (Remember those?) But with the shows Disney is running these days, I feel a genuine concern in my heart for the youngsters of today and the quality of their childhoods. I’ll admit, sometimes I get sucked into watching Disney Channel these days with my younger sister, and my reaction is always, “What the…?” Honestly, please tell me you feel this way too. Corny scripts, mediocre actors, and awful series ideas add up to… me, debating whether I should throw up or cry. For example, on one episode of “Dog with a Blog” (the name is already bad enough), the talking

dog named Stan (really Disney, really?) stops talking (oh no!!). He’s sad and depressed because the children are growing up so quickly, but then everybody learns an important life lesson and all is well. Then the dog goes on to write about it on his blog. (*throws T.V. out the window*) I miss “Lizzie McGuire,” “Kim Possible,” “That’s So Raven,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “Hannah Montana,” “Phil of the Future,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Sonny with a Chance,” and so many other great Disney shows from back in the day. Disney needs to make shows that can stand in the same ranks as these. The old shows taught us important life lessons. Though it may seem extreme, Disney Channel shows defined my childhood and played a part in shaping who I am today. A child learns from all of his/her surroundings. Disney shows inspired me, helped me grow and learn, taught me social cues and how the world works, and even showed me how to resolve even the most

complicated of problems. From so many of the old shows, I learned the consequences of lying, the importance of family and friends, and the rewards of hard work. Today, with trash like “Dog with a Blog” and “Liv and Maddie,” I doubt kids are learning anything, if not the wrong ways to behave and other things that will only set them back in life. For instance, in “Shake it Up”, a show that recently ended, one of the main characters said a line that promoted anorexia and eating disorders. “I could just eat you up,” she said. “Well, if I ate.” This is absolutely awful for kids to hear, especially from characters that they look up to. Eating disorders are a serious matter, and

Art by Chloe Canler

it’s disgusting that Disney Channel would even try to joke about that, especially because eating disorders were the reason Demi Lovato left her show in 2011. It shows how insensitive and corrupted Disney Channel has become. Here’s a metaphor: the old shows were healthy, yummy fruits and vegetables that helped us grow to

be bright young adults. The new shows are cheap stale junk food that will make the young youth of America into fat, useless, jobless people who will still live with their parents at the age of 35 and maybe own a cat or two. Eh, they might even have an eating disorder as well. Maybe I exaggerated a bit, but you get my point.

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5.09.14 THE PONY

News Editors Julia Shapero and Kate Sequeira Feature Editors Daniel Ballard, Sophie Peeler, and Charlotte Fulkerson Opinion Editors Hana Chen, Leigh Houck, and Luke Pakter Arts Editors Chloe Walecki, Reema Moussa, and Julianne Miller Sports Editors Lindsey King and Andrew Naimark Photo Editors Melody Sobhani and Layla Gantus

Advisor Tim Roberts Staff Writers Sunny An, Kate Clark, Natalie Finn, Shea Galaudet The Pony is the beginning journalism newspaper of San Dieguito Academy. Advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper. The Pony is an open forum which welcomes letters. Letters can be submitted to room 98, emailed to or mailed to the below address. San Dieguito Academy / Room 98 / 800 Santa Fe Drive / Encinitas, CA 92024

Cover art by Sophomore Sophia Hurley

opinions 07

You can go your own way How I began to follow my own beliefs, not my parents’. Story by Reema Moussa.


rowing up in a Muslim household, I was always taught typical Abrahamic stories about morals and how to live. I never really asked my parents why I was a Muslim, so I never really got any answers. I always just was, without thinking. I guess the switch flipped when I came to SDA. Something turned on, a light that begged the question: Why? Why do I believe in something I know nothing about? Something I have no proof of, which I’ve never really held much connection to? And I found that I wasn’t a Muslim because I wanted to be one, but because my parents wanted me to be one. And I discovered that when people asked me questions like, “Do you believe in God?” or “Are you a Muslim?” I stopped saying yes. And my answered started to align with, “I believe in something, but hell if I know what that is.” I can’t really say that I was ever truly religious. That whole ‘pray 5 times a day’ thing never really happened for me. It didn’t for my parents, either, which I suppose is

probably a reason why I’ve strayed. The thing is, you say that you’re something, but are you really that something if you never act like it? Just because I said I was a Muslim didn’t mean I was. You can’t be something you don’t believe in. It’s the same with Christianity or Judaism or Zoroastrianism, whatever. You can grow up being convinced that you’re something, which you may or may not be. But how are you supposed to know what you believe in if you don’t enlighten yourself to the possibilities? I found myself researching Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and hell, even Daoism before I decided I was a skeptic. I just found I couldn’t support any of them, and none of them could support me. And I’m not saying I hate religion or any religious communities. More or less I respect religious people, but I just can’t align with religion itself. I say let the people do what they want, and if they want to believe in some higher deity, cool. But I can’t force myself to be a part of a community that I

can’t agree with. And I know I’ll never waste my time somewhere I don’t want to be, doing something I don’t want to do. Now I know this all sounds like typical teen angst rebellion, but the truth is, it has nothing to do with my parents. I believe that well, beliefs, are a personal experience. People can pretend or try to influence others, but nothing’s gonna change my world. And maybe it’s just because I’m too stubborn, but in this regard, I think that’s ok. Some advice: Believe in what you want, because you want to, not because of your parents or friends. Make decisions about this crazy world yourself, and stay individual. See things differently, but remain vigilant. And this is a cliché, (so shoot me) but life is too short to waste time doing things you don’t want to do. I know that I don’t have religion or what happens to us after we die all figured out, but I don’t need to. I’m here now, whether I’m wasting away writing English assignments or jumping off cliffs. And all the rest is a future me problem.

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08 features




Students talk about their typical (or not so typical) days. Edited by Sophie Peeler.


eenagers have hard lives. From project due dates to daily social pressures, the number of problems that teens have to deal with nowadays seems endless. Of course, not all teenagers have to cope with the same obstacles. Based on personality and home environment, every teen has his or her own physical and mental challenges. However, it may be surprising to know how many daily difficulties the majority of high school students share, such as lack of sleep, too much homework, or long hours of extracurricular activities. Adults will say that these problems teenagers have to face are a part of growing up and gaining responsibility, and that they’re simply a part of being a teenager. So, what is the “typical teen”? Is it the student with moderate amounts of homework and sports practice twice a week, or is it the student who faces five hours of homework a night accompanied by extracurricular activities seven days a week? SDA students shared their “typical days,” and how they keep busy from sunrise to sunset.

5:50 a.m.

Forty percent of teenagers attend religious services weekly or more often.

Most students don’t look forward to the ringing of their alarm clock in the morning, dreading the daily 6:30 a.m. wake-up. However, some students are awake even earlier than others, like freshman Annie Pugmire. “Usually, my alarm goes off at 5:50 a.m. and I turn it off and go back to bed for a few minutes until my mom comes and wakes me up,” Pugmire said as she tilted her head back, thinking through her day. After getting ready, she eats a quick breakfast before leaving for a seminary class she attends at her church, a Mormon church in La Costa, each morning. In the classroom-looking room, she and about 25 other freshmen talk about and read the scriptures from the “Book of Mormon” until her carpool arrives at 7:15 a.m. “This morning we talked about a chapter in the Book of Alma and about places to pray,” she said. After a quick car ride, Pugmire arrives at school, where she talks with friends until the bell rings. She then begins her day of classes by heading to her Spanish II class with Bryn Faris. In the small classroom at the Southern end of the school, Pugmire learns about stem-changing verbs in Spanish until another bell sounds at 9:19 a.m. -Julia Shapero

Freshman Julia De La Fuente uses her friend’s phone during homeroom. Photo by Melody Sobhani.

9:19 a.m.

After first period, Freshman Julia De La Fuente heads to her homeroom with English teacher Tim Roberts. “She’s my homeroom monitor; I’d be lost without her,” Roberts said about De La Fuente. In homeroom, she helps her teacher keep track of all the freshmen in the class. . De La Fuente also spreads her weirdness disease to her friends. “She sometimes steals my phone and sits in the corner… alone. She hisses at me if I try to take it back,” Melody Sobhani, one of De La Fuente’s friends in her homeroom said.

Teens spend about 7.5 hours or more on electronics per day.

Freshman Jennifer Kerr gets her homework checkled by Mrs. Lee. Photo by Sophie Peeler.

9:51 a.m.

Freshmman Annie Pugmire spends time with her friends during school. Photo by Layla Gantus.

When the second period bell rings, freshman Jennifer Kerr walks into her Algebra II/Trigonometry class with Gail Lee and quickly sits in her seat, taking out her homework. “Under My Thumb” by The Rolling Stones music plays in the background as Lee walks around to check homework. Kerr turns to her left, her hair whipping the name tag off the desk behind her, to ask her friend about a homework problem: “Sarah, what did you get?” Lee quickly turns around and points her finger at the girls, without saying a word as she wiggles her hips to the beat of the song. They all stop talking. Although she does not necessarily like it, math is Kerr’s favorite class because she has a lot of friends in there, Lee is funny, and she does not get much homework. -Melody Sobhani

Teens spend an average of four hours a week on homework.

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features 09

10:58 a.m.

Senior Sophie Gracey always makes the most of every hour lunch. Photo courtesy of Julie Miller.

At SDA, one of the things students look forward to every week is hour lunch. On Wednesdays, senior Sophie Gracey is bounding for the parking lot. Hour lunch is always the highlight of her day, known as her chance to taste some of the finer fast food joints. “My go-to place? Yeah, that’s without a doubt Subman. Its’ cheap, it’s close, it’s edible, I mean what more could you ask for?” However today, the wind blows Gracey in a new direction. Battling the “walkers”, she jockeys for a parking spot in front of a restaurant titled ‘Mexicatessan’. “The soup here is Jesus.” Gracey brushes off her shorts, sending black dog hair flying in dizzying moats throughout the van. “Sorry.” Somehow, Gracey steals a place in line just shy of the front. “I have a math test after this,” she complains. “That class will be the death of me. I want to go and write music in Seattle, not teach some prepubescents their Pre-Algebra. I’ll do AP English any day, but not math.” Gracey looks forward and flashes a smile at the cashier. Tapping her toes, she rattles off her order. “What would we ever do without Mexican food?” she says with a guilty grin. -Juli Miller

72% of teens spend 1-50 dollars a week on food.

1:32 p.m.

55% of teens enrolled in high school participate in athletics.

As lunch comes to an end, students scurry off to their next class. By fourth period, everyone is anticipating the final bell to go home, including freshman Hope Hajek. As Hajek walks into drama, the teacher, Stephanie Siers, greets the class. The one hour, 29 minute class passes quickly. The last bell of the day rings, but Hajek knows her day is not over yet. She spots her mom’s white Mazda5 and hops in. Her little fifth grade brother, Max, is in the car as well, and greets her unenthusiastically like the “cool kid” he is. In 10 minutes, they arrive back at their home, where Hajek rushes in and gets started in her homework that has accumulated over the day. “I usually do homework for about three hours each day, but it can vary,” she said. When homework is done, Hajek gets into her practice shirt and shorts, slides on her shin guards and socks, puts her hair up into a ponytail, grabs her cleats and water bottle, and heads to soccer practice. “My priorities are school, soccer, and then everything else,” she says. For the next one and a half hours, Hajek and her team work on perfecting their soccer skills. -Hana Chen

Freshman Hope Hajkek exits her fourth period class after a long day. Photo by Melody Sobhani.

Between school and theatre, junior Samantha Steingberg has to balance a busy schedule. Photo by Elise Gout.

3:10 p.m.

Not all students participate in sports after school. In fact, after a long day at school, junior Samantha Steinberg retires to the theater. Backstage at rehearsal for SDA’s Theatre for A Cause production, “Steel Magnolias,” an ecstatic junior proudly held her phone out for her friend to see. “I got a part!” Displayed upon the screen was the final cast list for North Coast Repertory Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables” in concert. Written underneath the character Madame Thénardier was the name Samantha Steinberg. Her friend’s eyes widened in shock before he suddenly broke into a fit of laughter. “What? How? You guys are like literally opposites!” “I just hope the guy that that plays Thénardier isn’t really old!” she said with a grin. However, “Les Miserables” was by far the least of her worries at the moment. People hurriedly scurried around the cramped dressing room as technical directors muttered into headsets and actors ran lines. It was tech week for “Steel Magnolias”, or “Hell Week” as many actors call it due to the stress and long hours. At the same time that this had been going on, Steinberg had been busy auditioning for the spring musical, “Honk!” She had to juggle all this, not to mention her voice lessons, physical therapy, SAT prep, family time, and tap classes. While a few of these things may not really be necessary, Steinberg is passionate about the performing arts and her extracurricular activities are very important to her. To her, the long hours spent in the theatre are worth every minute. -Katie Clark

82.7% of adolescents aged 12-17 participate in extracurricular activities.


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10 features



Here’s a highlight on a couple of amazing clubs you might not even have known existed. Story by Charlotte Fulkerson. Acappella Club

Meeting Time/Place: Tuesdays at lunch in band room. President: Sophomore Kylah Clay Teacher: Jeremy Wuertz Purpose: “I just want to wow them.”- sophomore Rebcca Lim.


rom hard practice to brilliant performances, the A cappella Club is “a place where you can sing without being judged,” said the club’s president, sophomore Kylah Clay. “We’ve preformed at a few different events. There was the homecoming ceremony and one at the Surfing Madonna Marathon,” Clay said. The A cappella Club is one of the more relaxed clubs on campus. “We’re not one of those clubs that’s going to hunt you down and be like ‘where were you last Tuesday? You weren’t at the meeting, we marked you absent,’” sophomore Rebcca Lim said. Practice still is practice so every Tuesday they get down to business. “When practicing we start with some warm ups and then just dive into it,” said Clay. “Some of the most fun songs we’ve done were “Royals”,” Clay said. “And we did “Bad Romance” a lot,” Emma Chang, sophomore, added. You also don’t have to be the next American Idol to join the club. “We appreciate singing skills but there’s a huge difference between actually singing, like belting out notes, and A cappella. You might be really good at doing things like the bu-da-buda’s and things like that,” Clay said. “Really just having a good ear for music,” said Lim. Chang summed up the spirit of the club the best: “We love everyone and we love singing.”

From left to right: Sophomores Bianca Stone, Kylia Thurman, Lindsey Stidham, senior Samantha Hodges, and sophomores Kylah Clay, Keyera Johnson, Rebecca Lim, M’ei Ling Mirow. Photo courtesy of Kylah Clay.



For this year’s Pony insert, the staff of The Mustang wanted to take a moment to look back before moving forward....


n the 78 years of San Dieguito, and its 18 years as the Academy, our school has undergone countless changes. From a dusty field and a collection of tents to an architectural masterpiece and now a $449 million bond initiative, our school has been through a lot. But San Dieguito is so much more than a collection of buildings, a dirt track, a football team, a booming surf culture, or a bell tower. San Dieguito is the community of staff, students, and alumni that are committed to their school and to each other. It’s an idea not of what a school could or should be, but the idea that a school is what you make it. In light of the upcoming construction, we hope to provide a sense of how our school has changed over time, from 1936 to 2014. At the same time, we invite you to pick out the common threads, to recognize yourselves in the stories of others, and to discover for yourselves what hasn’t changed. We would like to dedicate this insert to the students and staff of San Dieguito, past, present, and future – that they might treasure their collective memory of the school as it was, love it as it is, and look forward to seeing what it will become.

A Collaboration By: Linden Amundsen Marin Callaway Gabby Catalano Roya Chagnon Caroline Daniel Elise Echeverria

Kira Elliott Elise Gout Dylan Hendrickson Chelsea Kanzler Madeleine Karydes Taylor Knudson

Sarah Kochanek Lily LeaVesseur Tacy Manis Katie McPherson Olivia Mock Katrina Olsen

Sara Portnoy Ivan Ramales Annie Smith Nicole Smith Joseph Swit Elizabeth Tarangelo

Kirsten Walz Sam Winter Manon Wogahn Sierra Zounes


Clayton E. Ligget Life, 1930-1995 Teacher, 1966-1985 Most Likely to be Found: In the Roundabout Theater, a small, centrally staged theater where Liggett spent countless hours founding SDA’s current Thespian Club and producing shows with the students.

Though he was strict and had high expectations of students, Liggett was universally esteemed. Eddie Vedder, SDA alumni and lead singer of the band Pearl Jam, was particularly close with Liggett during his high school career. In a letter he wrote to the school board concerning the name of the new theater, Vedder said, “What I learned from Clayton gave me the ability, focus, discipline and determination to accomplish whatever goals I had set for myself. Not a day goes by without thinking of him or presenting myself in a manner that he instilled.” In fact, Vedder was so inspired by his former mentor that he wrote the song “Long Road” in Liggett’s memory when Vedder learned of Liggett’s passing in 1995, and donated the proceeds from a benefit concert to fund the construction of the new theater. -Madeleine Karydes

Moonlight Beach in 1934. Photo courtesy of SDHM.

The “Encinitas Ranch Hands”, a local country band , posing in front of an Olivenhain barn, circa 1930. Photo courtesy of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

The Timeline

To keep things in context, the stories within this insert have been arranged in chronological order from the founding of the school in 1936 to the present day. Follow the timeline along the bottom of this section for stories and events that took place concurrent with our featured content.


The population of Encinitas was only 22 people.

Encinitas, circa 1937 Alexander Lux and John Teten planting lima beans by the intersection of Manchester Ave. and El Camino Real, taken in 1945. Photo courtesy of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum (SDHM).

Horses once raced on the same beaches bored tanners now relax on during listless August days. El Camino Real was just a single-lane dirt road running in the middle of valley farms alongside random shacks, homely stands, and modest creeks. There may have even been some oaks on that crest. Highway 101 was the hub, lined with numerous shops, drug stores, hotels, and strange curios typical of a small town. Eucalyptus trees and cypresses covered the road and sidewalks with a calm shade. Even during the Great Depression, a closeknit community would gather to watch free musical performances and socialize at dance events. If lucky, one could spot a famous celebrity or two walking down First Street or at a hotel down in Cardiff, either visiting Del Mar or stopping on the way to drinking-friendly Mexico. The Encinitas at the beginning of San Dieguito High School was far from what anyone would call urban. The 1930 population of Encinitas was under 1,000 and the surrounding townships were even smaller in size. The families of the 19th and early 20th


The La Paloma Theatre, built by Aubrey Earnest Austin, opened its doors to the public on Feb. 11.

century settlers such as the Wiegands in Olivenhain, the Cozens and Luxs in New Encinitas, and the Hammonds of Leucadia owned hundreds of acres of farmland and open space in the interior. Bean growing was the lifeblood of Encinitas, though avocados occasionally made an attempt. The arrival of poinsettias in the 1920s with Paul Ecke introduced yet another agricultural boon as the empty brush sprung forth colorful rows of orange and pink and yellow. At this time, Encinitas was growing ever larger and a substantial amount of students were forced to take buses and trains to Oceanside to attend high school. In response to the expanding, but still miniscule, population, the school district was created in 1936 and set to work constructing San Dieguito High School the following year. At that point in time, development barely reached the railroad tracks. What was to become SDHS was an empty, slightly sloped field with a single paved road along the south side. But for the high school, with its focus on agriculture and farming education, the location was perfect. -Dylan Hendrickson


San Dieguito opened its tent fIaps to the first group of students on Sept 14. Students moved into the newly built campus later that school year.


Lilian Rice: Building for Success Many a passerby, whether it be someone biking down Santa Fe, an LCC student here for an SAT, or judgmental 8th grade parents at Making The Choice Night, see SDA’s campus as run-down, outdated, or mismatched. Something about the grassphalt, awkward slopes, and varied architectural styles just doesn’t do it for them. However, those who call San Dieguito home know these buildings boast a rich history and reflect our school’s evolving culture. The original buildings at San Dieguito (the offices, 70s, 40s, 50s, and 10s) were designed by local architect Lilian Rice, one of the first female architecture graduates from UC Berkeley. Known for designing the original community of Rancho Santa Fe, Rice had designed the home of Herschell Larrick Sr, who was at the front of the effort to create the new school district. His satisfaction with Rice’s work led the school board to choose her to lead the WPA-funded construction of San Dieguito’s campus in 1936. Rice’s designs were considered state-of-the-art at the time of construction. The Rancho Santa Fe News called San Dieguito “one of the most modern and progressive plans of any rural district in America.” According to Rice’s biographer, Diane Welch, San Dieguito was “likened to a modern college campus due to its single-story structure and clean

Entrance to San Dieguito Union High School, 1937/38. Photo courtesy of SDHM.

unadorned mass.” According to a 1937 Los Angeles Times article forwarded by Welch, “An outstanding feature of the construction is that all classrooms have a south exposure. This is intended to improve lighting and heating conditions.” This element of design was way ahead of its time and is still used today in order to make buildings more environmentally friendly. The Rancho Santa Fe News reported that “Miss Lilian Rice used her former experience as a teacher to incorporate into her designs all that makes up present day educational standards.” Rice intended San Dieguito’s university-like courtyards and detached buildings to give the school a more laid back atmosphere. “In my mind, I believe that Lilian was

striving to create a more relaxed, less formal facility for students. Up until this time many schools were several stories high and quite austere in appearance,” according to Welch. Rice always aimed to bring the local landscape into her designs, and San Dieguito was no exception: “For SDUHS the classrooms follow the natural grade of the slope on the site and several of them have views of the ocean; this was not by accident,” said Welch. As times changed, so did the appearance of the campus. Initially, half of the original 40 acres of the campus were devoted to agriculture, including animal pens and a vegetable garden. As Welch stated, “The school had an emphasis on agriculture, horticulture, mechanics, woodcraft, art, home

economics and commercial business.” As Encinitas moved away from its farming culture, so did San Dieguito— and campus agriculture facilities became a thing of the past. The buildings in Senior Court, which will be torn down at the end of this year, will be remembered for their large rooms with disproportionately small windows and weird ceiling lights. However, as social science teacher Oly Norris stated, these buildings were constructed with the Cold War in mind, as evidenced by metal and concrete walls and minimal use of windows. At a time when Americans lived in fear of a nuclear attack, protection was made a priority in architecture. Years later, a need for new theater facilities led to a new addition on campus. John Sergio Fisher won a competition to design SDA’s new Performing Arts Center in 2005. According to the Union Tribune, Fisher attempted to incorporate Lilian Rice’s style in his design by implementing covered walkways, open space, and simple lines. The PAC is only the most recent in a long line of changes to San Dieguito’s historic campus, which will continue to evolve for generations to come. While the past generation’s San Dieguito may look a lot different from future generations’ San Dieguito, it’s the sum of these changes that tells the story of our school. -Roya Chagnon

Photo courtesy of Tim Roberts.

1937 San Dieguito Union High School graduation ceremony was held in the La Paloma Theatre.


The first faculty of SDUHS. Courtesy of San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

The United States began its involvement in WWII after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.


The San Diego County Public Library system first opened a branch in Encinitas, which was located on E Street.


San Dieguito High School under construction in 1937. Photo courtesy of

Aerial photo of San Dieguito High School from 1938, viewed from the

the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

southwest. Photo courtesy of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

San Dieguito High School class of 1950. Photo courtesy of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

Photo courtesy of Tim Roberts.

The main entry way of San Dieguito Union High School, 1940. Photo courtesy of Diane Y. Welch.

1945 Ida Lou Coley graduated from SDA. She later advocated for the Encinitas sign above D Street to stay green and white, rather than be painted red and blue.


Two boys sit in a donkey cart. Courtesy of San Dieguito Heritage Museum.

NATO was formed and China fell to Communist forces.


Two scoops of ice cream cost 10 cents.


Oak Crest Middle School surrounded by open fields. Courtesy of San Dieguito Heritage Museum.


Academy of Tradition SDA has been considered by students and teachers as a school of acceptance: where the weird is normal, and the normal is just as encouraged. As the student body grows and the culture morphs to accommodate it, little events that began as “one-time only” activities became more frequent, while others slowly faded into memory. Many tranditions are known and accepted by students on a daily basis, such as hour lunch and homeroom, the latter of which led to Homeroom Olympics in 2012. However, not all traditions have survived the past few years. According to screen printing teacher Caroline Ceseña, “We used to have a Mustang Relay from Friday to Saturday and the other local schools would come for a track meet. There would be a lot of people there and it would be a really big event.” Free Speech Day was another event that is no longer hosted at SDA. Created back when The Academy was first established, this would be a day during Homecoming week where students were given the chance to speak their minds about matters that are important to them, whether it be professing their love for another, or taking part in a big political statement. According to social science teacher Oly Norris, the tradition ended back in ’09 or ’10, when a group of students made hurtful flyers about a staff member at the school. “It’s an unfortunate example of how the concept of freedom of speech can be hard to understand; it doesn’t mean that you can say anything without consequence” said Norris. While this event was disbanded for Homecoming week, the next year, some students organized a more regulated version of this day, where students had an open mike during a lunch in front of the gym. Along with Freedom of Speech day came the Soap Box, an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Created by art

teacher Jeremy Wright, this box began as a shelving unit in the sculpture classroom. The words “Soap box” came from the 19th century, where wooden crates were used as raised platforms for announcements and impromptu speeches. Several years ago, when Freedom of Speech day still existed, Wright took some shoe polish and wrote the words “Soap Box” on it, and placed it in Senior Court for students to stand on and proclaim their views and opinions on anything and everything. Wright mentioned that teenagers are full of opinions, so “the Soap Box challenges students to gather their thoughts.” Back in the days when tobacco had more of a hold on American society, SDA students and staff had their own cigarette-related traditions. “If you smoked you got suspended,” said SDA art teacher Neal Glasgow. “The smokers used to go to the church over there; it was tradition.” Other traditions have been lost over the years, usually because, like those revolving around tobacco, the culture and society we live in changes over time. “A lot of people don’t know that we had a 4Hh here and FAA. We would keep horses and cattle up by what are now the 30’s buildings. We were more agriculture and horticulture based before the switch,” said Ceseña. As SDA has aged, traditions have been created and lost, but many beloved traditions remain and continue to be created. CommUnity Day, which made its comeback this year, will continue next year, and Homeroom Olympics, Exhibition Day, and other annual events don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Our traditions help make SDA the interesting, creative, and unique place it is. - Linden Amundsen and Sierra Zounes

1962 Don Hansen moved to Cardiff and opened Hansen’s Surfboards and Surf Shop.

A student stands on the Soap Box to speak his mind on Freedom of Speech Day. Photo courtesy of The Mustang.



Drum major Curtis Ingram at a marching band festival. Courtesy of the Hoofprint.

The Beach Boys’ song “Surfin’ USA,” which was inspired by Encinitas and Swami’s, was released.

Students in Mrs. French’s Shorthand I class. Courtesy of the Hoofprint.

On Dec. 13, 1967, San Diego saw a rare glimpse of snowfall.


Myths and Legends

Student, 1975-1979 Teacher, 1987-Present Favorite Spot on Campus: “The lawn in front of the library, what we used to call center court.

Legend has it that under the “time capsule” diamonds next to the Principal’s office, buried along with trinkets and memories, are the ashes of former graduates who eternally will be with San Dieguito.


When Caroline Ceseña received her diploma from the then San Dieguito High School in 1979 she never would have expected to teach at all, let alone for 27 years at her Alma Mater. Little could she have also guessed that she would be a part of a major educational transition that would change the face of her old high school. “I had no idea I wanted to be a teacher,” Ceseña recalled. “I went to Palomar to study graphics communications and I never even thought about getting a [teaching] credential.” After two years she transferred to Cal Poly, “Once a Mustang, always a Mustang,” she said. While working in marketing and advertising, Ceseña chanced upon an opportunity that was too good to pass up. “An alumni friend called about a graphics position opening at San Dieguito and I wanted to give back to the community,” said Ceseña. Once back at San Dieguito, Ceseña witnessed the drastic transition to the Academy in 1996 and recalls a stark change in atmosphere. “I would say the biggest difference is diversity,” she said. “We are so accepting now, less judgmental and more open to new ideas. I think the lack of a football team has a lot to do with it,” said Ceseña. Although she embraces the more accepting environment, Ceseña admits she is nostalgic about some of San Dieguito’s culture that was lost in the transition to the Academy. “I wish we had more school spirit like people going to robotics and volleyball games and getting really involved,” said Ceseña. “We became more academic and less about spirit. We used to have a Mustang Relay from Friday to Saturday and the other local schools would come for a track meet, there would be a lot of people there and it would be a really big event.” It’s not just an atmosphere change that Ceseña has seen but a practical and environmental one as well. “A lot of people don’t know that we had a 4H here and FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]. We would keep horses and cattle up by what are now the 30s buildings. We were more agriculture and horticulture based before the switch.” She may miss the enthusiastic school spirit of the sports culture but as a visual arts teacher Ceseña loves the opportunities the Academy brings to students to show their creativity. “My favorite tradition would be exhibition day and how the kids flourish with it,” said Ceseña. “I love seeing all the business planning and teamwork that goes into it.” While the changes have been radical during her tenure at San Dieguito, Ceseña seems comfortable with what the school has become after her nearly 30 years as an educator. According to Ceseña, “This Academy format... really allows kids to thrive.” -Joseph Swit

1969 The United States became the first country to put men on the moon when Neil Armstrong walked out of Apollo 11 on July 20.


San Diego Padres made their Major League debut.

The first official San Diego Comic Con, originally called the Golden State Comic Book Convention, was held as a 3 day event in August.

Student, 1965-1968 Teacher, 1999 - Present Favorite Spot on Campus: Mustang Center because it had “little old ladies that made some wonderful meals.” 1968

Neal Glasgow was a student at San Dieguito High School during the escalation of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans were drafted including San Dieguito students. According to Glasgow, a teacher at the school posted the number of American soldiers killed in Vietnam on his car every week. “Teachers were much more political and involved,” said Glasgow. The deadliest week of the war for the USA was during the Tet Offensive in February 1968, Glasgow’s senior year. Although students could not be taken out of school, registering for the draft upon their eighteenth birthday caused a lot of stress for male students at SDHS. The best day of the week for eligible young men was Sunday because the mail delivering draft notices did not come, said Glasgow. “You had to grow up really fast,” he said. There was a big divide between those who were drafted and those who were not. “It split us up…We didn’t talk to each other for a long time because they went and I didn’t,” said Glasgow. -Marin Callaway

Myths and Legends Rumor has it that back in the 1970s, someone poured a huge can of maple syrup into one of the buildings on campus. They were supposedly never able to get it out. What a sticky situation!

“The 70s were a special time. Encinitas was a quiet beach town - not prestigious at all. We didn’t have the traffic we have today; we rode our bikes everywhere. We hung out with lots of crowds whether it was in “Center Court,” out in the front of the school (smoking), or wherever. Good times!” - former student Lori Wolf

1972 Movie tickets at the La Paloma sold for $2.00.

Mayor Pete Wilson declared San Diego “America’s Finest City.”


the mustang


th e m u s tan g .San Dieguito Academy

Cover art by 2004 Period 4 Painting Class

The Mustang: A History

twelve/sixteen/zero five five.volume ten.issue three

The Mustang

San Dieguito Academy

June 11, 2007 • Volume XI • Issue VI1

[the mustang]



Cover art by Tommy Divita

Cover art by Nigel Grey

Cover art by Alex Velasco

Everyone’s favorite school paper has had many shapes and sizes throughout the years. In 1996, San Dieguito High School became San Dieguito High School Academy and the paper became The Mustang we all know and love. From “X-Files” fan fiction to outstanding student artwork, The Mustang has continued to be an outlet for teenagers to express themselves. Here are some of our favorite covers from the past 18 years.

The Mustang the





The Mustang


issue two volume xii

Cover art by Lyn-z Mizock


issue three volume xii

Cover art by Elinor Breidenthal

02.26.10 issue four volume fourteen

Cover art by Emily Chaves

issue 1, volume 15

the Mustang

Oct. 1, 2010

Cover art by Erin Nogle

Issue 7, Volume 16

June 11, 2012

Cover art by Maddie Thunder


issue 1 volume 17

Cover art by Sydney Busic


The Story Behind the Spot Student, 1968-1971 Teacher, 1985-2013 Most Likely to be Found: Room 12


There was once a telephone in the inset near the front of SDA. Photo courtesy of Tim Roberts.

Over the years, San Deiguito has accumulated a number of rumored, questioned, and history soaked places with rarely told stories behind them. The remnants of old landmarks at SDA are still noticeable today. Between the principal’s office and 40s building, there is a tiled divot in the wall (looking somewhat like a shower) that once held a telephone. At one point, San Dieguito had lockers. There is an inset in a wall along the 20s buildings that is now is covered in paintings. That inset once held a row of lockers. “We were all issued lockers that were just about big enough to put books in and nothing else. But, if you came to the school a day or two before the first day, you could claim one of the long lockers in the building where ceramics and drafting were. They were big enough to put your skateboard in,” said 1980 graduate Ross Ingles. According to art teacher and San Dieguito High School alumni Neal Glasgow, back when he was a student, “We had a senior lawn by the 10s building…if underclassmen came on there, they’d get pulled down and beat...”

“The big football rival was Torrey Pines. When the two played on the field it was a big turn out. We hosted a band tournament where marching bands performed their half time show... it was a prestigious and well known event in Southern California.” - former student Dale Kohler

Among the more famous mystery spots on campus is the illusive “underground tunnel.” “There is a creepy spot underneath the 70s that connected underground. There’s just dirt under there with a three-foot high crawl space,” said Assistant Principal Jeanne Jones. According to social science teacher Oly Norris, who teaches in room 72, “... it was more to be able to get under and service maybe electrical outlets. That’s back in the day when teachers would have overhead projectors on a cart… Now [the tunnel] is just like a lair for skunks and rats. It’s pretty gross.” There have been rumors of a bomb shelter located somewhere on campus, but no such bomb shelter exists. The rumor may have evolved long ago. According to Glasgow, “Everybody thought there was [a bomb shelter] underneath the bell tower.” “There was a rumor that there was a bomb shelter, and when we dug up for the PAC, they found a big cement room, but I think it housed pipes, so it wasn’t a bomb shelter,” said Jones. - Nicole Smith and Taylor Knudson

Before returning to teach, retired Spanish teacher Suzanne McCluskey was a student and head cheerleader at SDA in the 1960s. “It was very positive.” she said of her time as a student at San Dieguito. “Everything was centered around the school because there was nothing but flower fields around us...there was just nothing to do but the beach and school...nobody really went home.” McCluskey experienced many historical events at the high school, but most memorable was being a student during the Vietnam War. “We had students who were drafted, because they turned eighteen and got their draft card numbers. It was horrible.” Many students were opposed to the war, “We protested a lot. We were very vocal and very active against the Vietnam War. We had police on campus a couple of times because we were so enthusiastic in our activism.” When asked about how SDA has changed from then to now, she laughed and said that it was funny that students could smoke on campus then, and that seniors would throw freshmen into the trash cans on “Senior Lawn” which today is the grass area in front of the 10s. She also said that security was tight on campus and it was “uncomfortable to go to school there,” and that in order to leave you had to wait for security to go around the corner and hop over the fence as fast as you could. Although it’s rare for a student to come back to the school to become a teacher, McCluskey was also there to see San Dieguito High School turn into what we know today as San Dieguito Academy. The school was originally slated to be torn down and turned into administration buildings for the district, but McCluskey and a group of teachers got together to protest their beloved school being torn down, and proposed a whole renovation to the way the school functioned. McCluskey graduated for a second time from SDA last year with the class of 2013, and received a standing ovation and a certificate from the school. She is still active in helping with Community Day preparations, and continues to live in Encinitas with her husband and new puppy. - Caroline Daniel

In the 60s, lockers lined the twentys build-

Students sit on school lockers. Pho-

ings. Photo courtesey of The Hoofprint.

to courtesey of The Hoofprint.



VGs expanded to become VG Donuts and Bakery. Lou’s Records was founded.

The Padres won their first National League Pennant, and the first World Series game was played in San Diego.

“One of my favorite classes, one that taught me things l could actually use, was was, basically, about discovering who we ARE.” – former student Dan Farley



Surf Culture

Student, 1992-1995 Teacher, 2005-Present Most Likely to be Found: West side of the locker rooms overlooking the tennis courts.

A surfer and skater, Norris went to San Dieguito before it transitioned to the Academy. In the mid ‘90s, Blink 182 performed at the school, though at the time they were just Blink. Norris remembers “kids throwing oranges and booing” because the band was from Carlsbad whose high school, Carlsbad High, was an archrival of San Dieguito. “The joke is on all of the San Dieguito students,” Norris said as Blink 182 rose to fame. “But there were some really cool bands that came out of this school at that time,” Norris said. Bands like Boilermaker, which influenced John and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot and whose singer then joined Pinback came out of San Dieguito. According to Norris, Blink 182 conflicted with San Dieguito’s “little clique of musicians.” Added Norris, “It’s just one of those things I look back on and laugh.” -Katie McPherson

Student, 1988-1991 Teacher, 2003-Present Most Likely to be Found: Sitting on the old sculpture that overlooked the gym.


You’ve heard her name. Maybe you’ve even seen her around campus - a woman who refuses to be recorded. Her name is Kerry Koda: former San Dieguito High School student and current Social Studies teacher extraordinaire. A graduate of class of ’91, Koda describes her former peers fondly: “There were kids on campus – football players – with Vanilla Ice haircuts. I remember kids wearing M.C. Hammer pants, boys trying to be rappers. It was remnants of 1980s culture.” Although the Academy still has its fair share of its own questionable fashion choices, the community itself is quite different from that of San Dieguito High School. “The staff makes a conscious effort to be student centered,” she said. “When I went to school it was much more traditional.” As a student, Koda and her group of friends were the first to try to get murals put up around campus, but were unsuccessful because the district put so many roadblocks in the way. Nowadays, students need only get approval from an art teacher and the school administration. “There was a much bigger disconnect between students and the establishment. [Now] it feels like students know they can change things at school,” she said. During her senior year, Koda took many classes at UCSD and spent less time at SDA. “If high school had been more of a community, I might have wanted more to be a part of it.” -Lily LeaVesseur

1986 The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after its launch from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Citizens of Leucadia, Olivenhain, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Old Encinitas, and New Encinitas voted to incorporate the communities together into what is now the City of Encinitas.

Erik Johnson, 1995. Courtesy of Hoofprint.

Surfing at SDA has been a popular Encinitas lifestyle for decades, and it takes the place of the traditional high school sport, football. Students for years have frequented, and still frequent, Moonlight Beach, Cardiff, Swami’s, and other San Diego beach spots to catch waves, chill with friends, and compete in surf competitions. The surf team has been a part of San Dieguito for over 30 years, and although it doesn’t consistently grow each year, it’s a strong and supportive group of competitors, said senior and surfer Samantha Lamirand. Lamirand has been a member of the team since her freshman year and she “helps guide the team to overall victory,” said senior and team captain Sarah Schwab. “Surfing is an important part of SDA because it is in our history,” said Schwab. “SDA was one of the first schools to institute Surf P.E. 30 year ago.” “It [surfing] is a big part of SDA’s culture because it is in Encinitas. The school is supportive of the surf team and it’s close to the beach, which makes it unique,” Lamirand said. The surf culture nowadays tends to be associated with a neck tan line, bleach blonde hair, cuffed pants, and a laid back attitude, said Lamirand. The surf team acts like a supportive family and “gets pumped up before a competition,” she added.


San Diego hosted its first Superbowl between the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos, in which the Redskins won 42 - 10.

The girls on the team also go camping at Trestles before the Trestles competition, which is a good bonding experience, said Schwab. There is a question, though, on what surfing was like at San Dieguito decades ago, before the school became the Academy. “It was scary to paddle out as a youngster. There was a lot of hazing of the younger kids and just downright bullying,” said history and business teacher Oly Norris. “Rob Machado, Christian Glasgow, and others were really nice role models, and they would stick up for [the younger students] and that was cool,” Norris added. Although surfing has always been a close part of San Dieguito and Encinitas, athletics was far more emphasized, said art teacher Neal Glasgow. Before the transition to the Academy, “the dominant culture here would’ve been the sports guys… and the cheerleaders,” he said. Glasgow also added that people had a “home beach” and were identified by where they surfed. “Whatever beach you went to, those were the people that you hung out with,” he said. Surfing is a tradition at SDA and it is passed on through generations of people. “It’s up to us as the next generation of surfers to keep this tradition alive,” said Schwab. -Gabby Catalano


Teacher Kerry Koda’s friends created an underground magazine in response to the controlled school newspaper. Students read the magazine and then passed it on.


Evolution of SDA

An early Exhibition Day at SDA. Photo courtesy of The Hoofprint.

Back when La Costa Canyon High School was still only an idea, San Dieguito High School was just another regular high school with a football team and kids who stayed almost exclusively to their cliques. It wasn’t until San Dieguito High School became San Dieguito Academy that it really began to distinguish itself from the other local high schools and become the diverse school that is today. What marked San Dieguito High’s baby steps into becoming an Academy began in 1995, after students and teachers wanted to rebrand themselves after saving the school from being demolished. “I remember my senior year in ‘95 there was already discussion about building LCC and doing something with this school and I remember us having prompts in my senior English class about what traditions and what parts of San Dieguito would you like to see changed and which one you would like to see remain,” said social science teacher Oly Norris about the students’ involvement in shaping SDA’s culture.

According to English teacher Blaze Newman, after the English classes of the SDUHSD had written about what they wanted in a high school, parent volunteers read the 6,000 responses and reported common responses to a planning committee. Common responses included more opportunity for electives, a greater personal connection and sense of belongingness to the school. From there, the planning committee researched ways that they could meet the students’ requests, starting with the four-by-four schedule to allow students to take more electives. “[Having more room for electives] meant that the grades [9-12] were much more evenly mixed together,” said Newman. “Everyone was really flexible and willing to try something new,” she said. “That first year of changing over to SDA, of all my years at SDA, was more magical than the old San Dieguito...It was a moving, positive experience,” said former SDA student and teacher Susan McCluskey about the grade integration and general new culture of SDA. New changes continued to be made in order to satisfy the students’ requests. “We even experimented with a homeroom setting with our English classes and we would do these really cool things in a small little group, just like we have homeroom today, and we would have a kind of cool show and tell stuff,” said Norris about the origins of homeroom. What began as a show and tell in the English classes of San Dieguito High School would later become homeroom, a unique San Dieguito experience which has changed over the years with its students. “[Homeroom] was really neat, so I’m happy to see that that’s here and we’re still working on improving it;

Dr. Jeanne Jones specifically remembers the process SDA went through to become the academy it is today. When La Costa Canyon was built, the school board wanted to turn San Dieguito into a technical school, so a panel of educators was assembled to investigate how to make that happen. Jones recalled how physics teacher George Stimson and English teacher Blaze Newman came up with the idea of building the school around what the students wanted. “And they went and made a presentation to the school board shortly before that panel of educators were to present their yearlong findings of making it a technical school. And they presented their idea, and the board took it and threw away the panel’s idea,” said Jones. In the end, students wanted three things: academic rigor and challenge, student connection, and more choice. With that, more AP classes were included into the system, homeroom was created, and the four-by-four scheduling was imposed. -Sierra Zounes the Homeroom Olympics idea is so cool I feel like homeroom has evolved so much. We’ve been experimenting with so many different formulas of it, and with the Homeroom Olympics committee and everyone involved is just doing such a great job with it,” said Norris. “[Homeroom] is just this feeling on campus that you know you’re surrounded by a staff, you know not just the teachers, but an entire staff of people who genuinely really care about the students and that’s something that is really neat,” said Norris. Along with adding a special kind of homeroom, the Academy’s new student culture was established by placing less of an emphasis on sports, and more focus on student relationships. “Back then this school revolved purely around sports. Friday night lights was what it was all about. The football team ran the school,” said physics teacher George Stimson on San Dieguito’s sports culture before the Academy.

But homeroom and sports weren’t the only changes made before San Dieguito officially became the Academy in 1996. A lot of the change came from the students themselves, Newman said about the student population’s new level of acceptance. According to Newman, whether it was students attending classes with “black tears down their faces,” or “one student who wore black, fishnet pantyhose on his head,” or a male student with chest hair wearing dresses to classes, both the students and staff of the Academy were accepting of each other. From there, San Dieguito Academy continued to evolve with its students, offering an experience unique compared to other high schools. “As you all graduate and meet dorm room roommates or friends at college and you tell them about your high school experience it’s very likely that you will be hearing stories from your future friends that aren’t the same,” said Norris. - Ivan Ramales



Rob Machado, pro surfer and winner of many surfing competitions, such as Hawaii’s Pipeline Masters and the U.S. Open of Surfing, graduated from San Dieguito High School.

Jeanne Jones Counselor, 1997-2000 Assistant Principal, 2000-2003, 2004-Present Most Likely to be Found: at the bottom of the 60s by the painting of the beautiful wave.

Pipes Cafe, a beachstyle restaurant open for breakfast and lunch that is a favorite of many locals, opened.

Jon Foreman, lead singer of the band of Switchfoot, graduated (his brother Tim, bassist of the band, graduated in 1997). They have hosted a Switchfoot Bro-am concert and surf contest at Moonlight Beach since 2004.

1996 La Costa Canyon High School opened its doors in south Carlsbad.

San Dieguito High School became San Dieguito High School Academy, now known affectionately as SDA.


Fran Fenical Teacher, 1978-1986, 2002-2005 Principal, 1995-2002 Most Likely to be Found: “The round amphitheater between the gym and the student services building.”

According to Fenical: “During [the Academy’s] first year, 1996-97, one of the P.E. teachers taught swing dancing to her classes. At the end of the quarter, we had an assembly to watch the students dance. I watched as a cross-section of our students—representing all grade levels and all social and ethnic groups—danced in front of the whole school. I was a little nervous because I remembered so well the assemblies at old SDHS, when students often laughed at and made fun of people different from themselves. When I watched SDA students applaud and appreciate the dancers, and watched the dancers trust that they could perform in front of the whole student body, I knew we had created a very special school. Honestly, I saw tears in the eyes of more than one teacher!” - Madeleine Karydes

Teacher, 1996-Present Most Likely to be Found: in room 37

Darlene Blanchard, math teacher, started at the Academy during its first year. “The first year was the most amazing year. We had a ton of Goth kids who would wear really weird stuff. There was a kid who would wear a net over his head, every day.” Blanchard admits it was a bit of a trial run and no one really knew what to expect. Blanchard observes that while the population at SDA now is nothing like the original one, the tradition of letting people be themselves lives on. “We are so lucky here. You get these amazing artistic people here, and they aren’t stifled, they are allowed to grow creatively.” - Olivia Mock Blaze Newman shows off her hat collection. Photo courtesy of Blaze Newman.

Teacher, 1995-Present Most Likely to be Found: the big lawn in front of room 50 under big, beautiful trees

When applying to work at the Academy in ‘95, prospective teachers were given 20 minutes at the end of the job interview “for whatever.” Blaze’s response? “The Many Hats of Newman,” a portfolio of Blaze wearing all the different “hats” (jobs) she was willing to take on to be hired for the Academy. Her hats, representing the job by its style or origin, included English, social studies, art, home economics, AVID, academic coach, literature magazine adviser, journalism adviser, speech coach, and drama adviser. “I was basically willing to stab anybody in the back to get hired,” Blaze said. - Katrina Olsen


The San Elijo branch of Mira Costa College welcomed its first class.


Legoland California in Carlsbad became the third Legoland park to open on March 20.

Orville Karge Life, 1919-1990 Teacher, 1963-Early 80’s

The asteroid (4822)Karge, discovered in 1986, was named in honor of San Dieguito physics teacher, Orville Karge. The beloved teacher was known for encouraging students to enter in science fairs and make homemade rockets. “He had two real absolute loves in life. One of them was rocketry,” said physics teacher George Stimson. A veteran of the Korean War, Karge “did everything self-paced, because that’s how the military had done it,” said Stimson. “If students didn’t finish, they could take the class into July.” The asteroid, discovered by Edward L.G. Bowel in 1986, was named per request of Karge’s students in 1991, a year after his death. - Katie McPherson


The Twin Towers fell in NYC during the terrorist attack on Sep. 11, killing nearly 3000 people.


Cottonwood Creek opened in Encinitas and dedicated the Veteran’s Memorial Wall with a 21gun salute ceremony.


A History of Pranks Student Perspective In addition to Pikachu costumes, hour lunches, and its abundance of fun electives, San Dieguito Academy is known for its annual tradition of senior pranks. A longstanding ritual, senior pranks symbolize one last hoorah for the graduating class – a way for them to go out with a bang. Contacted via Facebook, former San Dieguito Academy students reminisced about their senior pranks. “High school is such a short time that you remember forever. It’s one of the small little things you get to take with you,” 2007 graduate William Buescher said about senior pranks. “My year we made a village in senior court with empty boxes.” John Wilson, a 2012 graduate, remembers the difficulties of planning a senior prank. “We had a ‘Seniors 2012’ [Facebook] page on private, so if admin saw anything it didn’t look bad. I tried to get a bunch of people to switch schedules,” said Wilson, “Only about 10 people ended up doing it.” Apparently there are plenty of difficulties in coordinating senior pranks that aren’t always considered. Charline Watanabe, class of 2009, remembered her class’ senior prank, saying, “I think people brought their dogs to school. I didn’t have a dog so I couldn’t participate.” Watanabe’s fellow 2009 classmate Chloe Deis-Groff added, “As seniors, you’ve been a part of the system and followed the rules, hopefully, for four years. Pranks are your one moment to shake things up and know that you can get away with it because you’ve earned it.” While pranksters enjoy the fun of senior pranks, they also recognize the need to balance fun with safety so as to avoid negative repercussions. In 2011, at yearbook distribution,

seniors dropped bags filled with rats, mice and crickets amongst the crowd. Most recently a prank caused problems for San Dieguito Academy because of its destructive nature: “There was the infamous glue-every-keyholeon-campus prank,” said 2013 graduate Taylor Sills. “Some guy went around campus and put some kind of super glue in a bunch of the keyholes on classroom doorknobs. It was so stupid, everyone was mad about it. They had to melt the glue out with blowtorches and then replace them, which cost like $12,000 or something like that.” Sills didn’t seem to care for the prank, adding, “I think senior pranks are great as long as they are done in good taste. Pranks that are blatantly disrespectful to faculty or students or those that cause property damage just make the senior class look bad.” Wilson also recognized the importance of balancing fun and respect when executing a senior prank, stating, “It was hard because we had to think of something funny that wouldn’t be destructive. That’s the hardest part about coming up with senior pranks.” Finnegan Isbell, a 2010 alum, seemed to agree. Isbell said some guys built a wall with cinder blocks and cement overnight in the hall next to the library, but the cement didn’t dry in time, so it was taken down the next morning before anyone could see it. Isbell best summed up the student perspective on senior pranks, saying, “I think senior pranks are great so long as they are not harmful to anyone. It’s not always easy to draw the line between a harmless prank and one that has gone too far. Perhaps the most important thing is that everyone should be laughing together rather than at someone.”

2007 The Cardiff Kook, created by Matthew Antichevich and officially named “The Magic Carpet Ride,” was erected on Coast Highway to the chagrin of many local surfers.

The Mustang Surf Team won the Red Bull High Schol Cup, as well as the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Championships.

- Annie Smith


Teacher Perspective

Art by Manon Wogahn.

Pranks at SDA have been tradition for years and years, before the academy was even established. Neal Glasgow, a longtime member of the SDA family, cited a prank decades ago where a fellow student brought a washed up shark from the beach to the courtyard near the 10s. At SDA, we go big or we go home. Even the teachers play the game; this year history teacher Kerry Koda and science teacher Mike Santos battled it out in a pranking war of big proportions. Then for an entire day, Koda played Harry Potter related pranks on English teacher Kerri Leonard to draw yet another teacher into the game. From surprise food bearing between homerooms to senior pranks, just about every base has been covered over the years. It makes it hard to be original. Psychology teacher James Hrzina provided input on how the staff at the school feel about these rituals that have become such a part of the school today, though, input that provides insight on how these intended laughs might really be affecting others. When asked what he believes motivates students to year after year perform outrageous pranks, despite the many consequences and failures of the past, Hrzina said, “It’s a ritual to come up with a senior prank, but it’s hard

Emily Ratajkowski, model and performer in the controversial music video for Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines,” graduated from SDA.


Mark Patterson and Robert Nichols installed the Surfing Madonna on the wall of the train bridge on Encinitas Boulevard.

to be original. Often times, pranks are destructive and I don’t think that they should be condoned.” Hrzina went on to discuss the prank that received press coverage in 2007. The senior prank that year was definitely impactful: a group of seniors sent home letters to parents on school letterhead claiming that condoms would be distributed at that year’s senior prom. “That was funny and original, but it caused defamation of name and character. It would have, could have, caused harm to others. Initially I thought it was funny, but the reality of if my name was attached to that and I had to deal with phone calls hit hard,” said Hrzina. Hrzina said that he himself has never been a prankster, because he “can’t think of anything that would not cause harm to others” as far as pranks go. He went on to compare pranking to hazing. Another hazard of pranks is often that individuals may not understand how other people receive it. By their nature, pranks are meant to be in some way harmful, according to Hrzina. “We need to do a better job of foreseeing the harm rather than the humor,” said Hrzina. - Chelsea Kanzler


The first phase of Prop AA (the track and turf field) was completed at SDA.



ith all the new and oncoming construction on campus, there is no doubt that San Dieguito Academy is changing. However, looking back on its history, one thing is certain: our campus, culture, and student body are always changing. In 1997, the first full year of the Academy, the front cover of the yearbook featured this quote: “It is our new beginning. Although we are on the same grounds and in the same buildings, we are evolving what is in them. Some people just think about change. Some people resist it. Some people welcome and embrace it. Some people get lost in it.

We have come to realize that nothing stays the same, and we as individuals have to adjust to the change that is advancing and creating the future of our new High School Academy.” -Taryn Floodman, Editor of the Hoofprint, 1997 Nearly two decades ago, Mustangs saw their school undergo a complete transformation to the academy. Now, as our generation faces new developments, it’s our obligation to look back on San Dieguito’s history, to remember who we were and how far we’ve come, to cherish that which connects us to our past and embrace that which makes us different. Most importantly, we must understand that our school’s uniqueness stems from our ability to accept change and to flourish throughout it. That’s what we’ve always done. And that’s what we’ll always do.


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Artist for a Cause

Meeting Time/Place: Thursday at lunch in Room 61 President: Senior Chelsea Kanzler Teacher: Neal Glasgow Purpose: “We help raise money for SDA arts programs and other causes.”senior Jeffrey Phan. rtists for a Cause is exactly what it says. “We work with the Encinitas Art Festival and also plan out actives with the school and community,” said Bella Colletta, sophomore. While fundraising is a major goal of the club, “this year we focused more on community events rather than fundraising,” Kajsa Medak, a club advisor and art teacher, said. “Art Fest is the main one,” Medak said. This took place in the Mosaic and adjacent art gallery and drew in over 200 people on its first night last January. “We’re working on Exhibition Day now,” Medak said. “In the meetings we discuss upcoming events like planning for Art Fest and the Encinitas Art Festival,” she said. “We [also] have themed potlucks every Thursday,” Medak said. Their meetings are relaxed and fun, while also being organized and productive. To be in this club you don’t have to be an artist, just a person willing to donate their time for the sake of the art community. Colletta said, “I was interested in helping arts in the community.”


The Artist for a Cause club runs a booth at the Encinitas Art Festival. From left to right: Seniors Sean Hyslop, Natara Bjaranson, Carmen Lugo, Sarah Dale, and junior Sydney Busic. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Kanzler.

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The New Utopias

The recent demand for the dystopian novels draws into question the reason behind their popularity. Story by Natalie Finn and Leigh Houck


he movie “Divergent” netted an astounding $56 million opening weekend alone, and plans for the next installment in the Hunger Games series, “Mockingjay: Part 1,” are on for November 2014. Interest in the dystopian genre has been at an all-time high, especially amongst students at San Dieguito Academy. The best seller’s shelf of Young Adult fiction-once filled with species of fantastical creatures from wizards on broomsticks to sparkling vampires- has welcomed dystopian novels. This new genre, pioneered by the likes of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” and Veronica Roth’s “Divergent,” has sprung into the hearts of millions of teenagers around the world. The spike in interest has drawn into question the reason behind the genre’s popularity. Traditionally, a dystopian novel takes place in “a futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect a society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control,” according to the North Seattle Community College.

The Underlying Themes of the Dystopian Genre

The reason behind the success of the dystopian genre may stem from situations presented in the novels that teenagers can relate to. For example, one of the main components of any dystopian novel is an overbearing government or other oppressive authority. Perhaps then, this entity calls to teen minds the powerful, even stifling, figures in their own lives: parents. Moira Young, from The Observer, affirms that many teenagers feel powerless under the supervision of the adult population, whether it is teachers, parents, or adults in general, and reading about someone in a similar predicament is comforting. “I think teens can always identify with being in a confusing dark world, where there’s a lot of forces in opposition to what they want and I think this blends perfectly with the dystopian environment,” said Darian Williams, teen services librarian at Carlsbad County Dove Library. Some students said that the characters and the relationships with their peers is the most relatable aspect in these novels. “…They can relate more to the characters. For example, what they’re doing and what they feel through these situations, because that is a main thing. All teenagers have challenges; they find love, and all these other things,” said freshman Savannah Kasey.

Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) undergoes the rigorous initiation of the Dauntless faction. Photo courtesy of Divergent Facebook

Controversial Content

These novels have also sparked debate about some about some of the gruesome content it contains. For example, Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” describes an annual game that entails teenagers of different districts facing off in a battle to the death. “Uglies,” by Scott Westerfeld, describes a society in which teenagers must undergo extensive surgery to become one of the “Pretties.” Many students have said that the horrific content exhibited in these novels are just extreme representations of bad things that happen in a typical teenager’s life or, alternatively, are simply for entertainment purposes. “Not only does it lead them to imagine what it would be like in that situation, but what they would actually do if they were put there, and how they would handle it,” said freshman Chloe Canler.

Teen Romance

Another possible draw to this genre is l’amour: all of the top selling dystopian novels contain major threads of teen romance. Some teenagers found the relationships depicted in these novels to be new and refreshing, while others are tired of the common theme. “Since there is the whole fandom thing, I hate what happens to the relationships and how they switch, but yeah I think [teen romance] is good, it adds good elements to the story,” said freshman Blake Stoner-Osborne. “In The Hunger Games I felt like the writer got caught up in the fandom, and who Katniss should end up with, and it wasn’t necessary, because she is a teenager,” said senior Allison Thompson. Teenagers are drawn to dystopian novels because they are inspired by the stories of Katniss Everdeen, Beatrice Prior, and Tally Youngblood, who against all odds are able to find love, and liberate themselves from the oppression of the reigning class. Students live vicariously through these heroes and navigate the fictional dystopia to find their utopia.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) aims her bow and arrow directly into the face of the Capitol. Photo courtesy of Hunger Games Facebook


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Procrastination Students feign illness/prior engaments to avoid tests. Story by Daniel Ballard.

Day Before Test

During Test

What’s missing from this picture? Photos by Layla Gantus


xaminations are the cornerstone of the education system, serving as the final proof of a student’s merit and accumulated learning, and much like death and taxes, they are unavoidable. However, some students still find ways to prolong the inevitable, the most common method being to feign a prior engagement or illness to miss a day or two in order to gather their bearings and scrounge up a bit of extra time to prpare or relax before an exam. This “technique” is nothing new. Procrastination has been practiced by nearly the entire student body, in one way or another, so why does it matter? Does the extra 24 hours even make a distinguishable difference in performance? One student (who wished to remain anonymous) personally felt that the extra time helps, saying that on the rare occasion when he is absent on test days, it is because he has missed much class time due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, and therefore needed the extra time to at least be adequately prepared. When questioned about what his parents thought of this, he said, “They question whether or not I make up the test, but that’s it.” Yet, despite his beliefs, the student also added that such a practice should not be common place. “It depends on the circumstances,” he said, adding that students should not miss a test simply out of convenience, but rather out of necessity. Another student, senior Wendy Disch, shared this sentiment, feeling that the additional preparation time not only allows for valuable study time, but also “takes a lot of stress away…” However, not all students shared this opinion. Junior Eric Hsieh stated he himself has never found any need to miss school to avoid a test, adding “If you don’t understand the material, it’s your own fault. So if you fail the test, you either made small mistakes or you didn’t study enough.” Meanwhile, this behavior does not go unnoticed and is not without consequence.

Michael Santos, biology teacher, said that while he did not support this behavior, he understands that students have the right to prioritize. But to ensure that no one receives an unfair advantage, Santos does change test versions for those who are absent for the original date. On the other hand, Russ Davidson, chemistry teacher, feels more adamant that such behavior is not acceptable. Davidson did sympathize with students, saying, “I understand that some kids need the extra time. There’s so much anxiety with everyday performance, appearing favorable to colleges, and pressure from parents.” Still, Davidson said that when a student purposefully misses class to procrastinate on a test, it makes it far more difficult for him and the rest of the class. He must create a different version of the test (much like Santos), hold off the grading of the rest of the class, thus putting more work on him and delaying the rest of the class from receiving their exam results. “You’re basically saying ‘my time is more valuable than yours,’” Davidson said. Math teacher Darlene Blanchard said she felt the entire practice was unfair and disruptive. “It’s very frustrating, but as long as their parents excuse them there is nothing we can do,” she said. Blanchard added that the majority of the students that put off exams by calling in absence preformed noticeably worse than students who arrived the original day of the test. “It’s usually the same people every time, the people who are not doing as well as you might think,” Blanchard said. “We notice when they’re doing this. On a normal day, one or two people might be gone; then all of a sudden a test shows up and seven people are gone.” “They’re only hurting themselves,” Blanchard said. She reasoned that if a student is having problems and/or is feeling unprepared, the most effective course of action would be to talk with your teacher and address the issues one has in the class rather than prolonging one’s own failure.

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You don’t know Jack


Jack Van Cleaf discusses his stands on music and writing. Story by Reema Moussa.

Northern Lights

I just want More than anything to be your everything And for you to be mine And I just want More than anything To feel your body breathe Along my side I just want To hug you from behind Press my chest against your spine And intertwine like grape vines

Photo courtesy of Jack Ramsey.


f you didn’t attend the try-outs for Battle of the Bands, the Talent Show, or any of the multiple days during which Jack VanCleaf, junior, has performed at school, you’re missing out. For everyone else who has, it’s clear that this guy’s got talent. Between his covers of well-known folk songs and originally written melodies, his playing inspires crowds from SDA and beyond. In an interview, Jack discussed his views on music and writing. How did you get into playing guitar in the first place? “My mom told me in the fourth grade that I had to pick an instrument, and I was really bummed out and I didn’t want to do it, so I chose guitar because I wanted to be cooler than the guys from the Naked Brothers Band. It took a really long time, since at first I never really practiced after my lessons. But then I switched to acoustic guitar and I got really into it and practiced every day, and it became my favorite thing. And then I started singing while I played and I developed the ability to do them at the same time. Then I started writing, and it’s all been up from there.” Who have been your biggest musical influences? “Simon and Garfunkel, M. Ward, Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons, and the Lumineers are all from that folk-rock scene that I love to play.” How important do you think it is to see people play live? “Oh yeah, that’s huge. Seeing people live helps make you a better artist for sure. It can really change your outlook on what you want to play and what kind of genre you want to fit in. And seeing someone play helps you pick up on new techniques that’ll help you out in the long run.” What have been some of your favorite concerts? “I went to Lollapalooza and saw Ben Howard, the Lumineers, and Local Natives, and they were all amazing live, so those have to be my top three, but it’s really cool to see local bands at small cafes around town too. I started out playing at a bunch of local places, like E-street café, so it’s really cool to see bands starting from the same roots as you.” And what have been some of your favorite gigs that you’ve played at? “I play here at school a lot, and that’s always fun. I played at Café Ipe with Soda Pants

“I was coming home from an Ed Sheeran concert, and during the concert there were a lot of lights flashing around. And when I was driving home one of my friends was lying on my shoulder and I was thinking about how I wanted that with the girl I was into…And I got home at three a.m. and just wrote for an hour. Then for the next four days I was just editing it and then it became ‘Northern Lights.’”

and that was one of the best experiences I’ve had. But I played at a really fancy venue in Hollywood with red curtains and all, which was definitely really cool. That was an experience that made me feel like I could really go somewhere with my music.” When writing your own music, how much is based on stories and personal experiences, or metaphors and themes? “It’s a lot of all of the above. I love writing about things that are really deep and personal to my own life, and I also like the thematic and metaphorical aspects of music, and exploring emotions and that sort of thing. Talking about personal experiences and feelings is really important when you’re trying to write music. But it’s also fun to mess around with random stories sometimes. One of my favorite songs I’ve written was about a guy in the mafia, which is really fun and interesting.” That being said, do you think music relies more on the musical composition or the writing process? “I’d say it’s normally 50/50, but there are some exceptions. Bob Dylan’s music was hugely successful even though most of his songs are composed of really basic chords, because his lyrics were so good. And Jimi Hendrix had really basic lyrics, but super intricate tabs and chord arrangements. Bob Dylan’s talents lay with his writing, and Jimi Hendrix’s talents were music composition and playing the guitar. So if you have a great talent with one or the other, you should play more to that, but you definitely need a balance at some point.” Which direction do you see yourself going? Do you think you’ll join a band, stay solo, etc…? “I know I’d like to stay solo for now, but I love collaborating with other artists, so who knows.” Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years? “I hope I’ll have just put out an album, maybe start touring, and having an EP on the way. I’m glad that I found something that I know I’d be happy with doing for my career and for a good part of my life. “


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Lost in the crowd Where you stand can make or break your concert experience. Story by Julianne Miller. “Mosh pit cause I’m a bad***”Junior Natalie Cox

“In the way back because I love it when it’s hard to hear the music, the people are blocking my view, and children are crying and making my experience better you know. Also you can sit”- Senior Michael Schulte

“The very front so I can feel the bass through my body and can get as close to the band as possible”Freshman Firas Moussa “I would stand as close to the front and central because I could really easily see the band and it’s also where most of the action takes place”- Sophomore Harrison Pearson

“I would stand in the back near the bar because drunk people always want to dance and I don’t like getting to places early”Sophomore Delaney Ryan

“Front because I like to see the stuff I’m at”- Sophomore Collin Stewart “On the stage, self-explanatory”Junior Alia Newman-Boulle “Don’t stand in the front unless you are willing to die for the band because your passion is so strong that you’re willing to be squashed”- Junior Jasmine Nava

“I’m a middle-of-the-back person because there’s room to move and I can always meet interesting people”- Senior Sophie Gracey

Art by Chloe Walecki

“Dead left hand side and fourth row because the first row is too close, second row is too close, and the third row is too cliché. And left side so I’m on their right hand side. Not really sure why though on that last part, maybe because if they are righties and if they see me the experience will mean more and they will remember me better”Junior Terry Fonte

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The new girl in town


Michelle Trester is stepping into her sister’s shoes as she takes over the drama department. By Katie Clark.


urprise!” Drama teacher Stephanie Siers smiled as students and parents shocked her with a surprise baby shower for the soon-to-be-parents of Scarlet Siers. A three foot card signed by many of her drama students was presented to her to thank her for all her hard work because she would soon be going on maternity leave in late March. She had spent a few weeks interviewing possible substitutes, as it was important to find one that was capable of taking on the momentous task of directing the spring musical, “Honk!” After interviewing all the possible candidates, she finally settled on one to take over for her, her sister Michelle Trester. Trester earned her graduate degree at The New School for Drama in New York in 2012 and has since been working as a professional actress in New York City and and teaching acting camps and workshops for kids of all ages. She also has a one woman show called “To Do,” which she has been asked

to perform while she is here in San Diego. “Both Mrs. Siers and I always performed as kids. Mrs. Siers used to direct us as children in the neighborhood. I think it was just something I was drawn to,” Trester said. Trester flew in from New York on April 18. She was scheduled to officially take over on the 21, but began working the day after her arrival because the baby came early. She has taken over all of Siers’s classes, including Musical Theatre Production, Acting 1, and Intro to Tech for the rest of the school year. “I’m really excited. There’s a lot of talent at SDA. With the musical, it’s up to me as far as rehearsing and what I want to see. “Acting 1, [Siers] had things etched into the lesson plan, but there’s a lot of flexibility within that class since we are only putting on our One Act Festival. “After the festival, we have a lot of flexibility in that class time, so I’m definitely going to utilize the skills that I know and the things I

know the students are interested in,” she said. “We are going to do an acting on camera unit because I have experience with that. I will be able to switch things up a bit so that they can utilize the knowledge that I have.” Although this is Trester’s first time working with these SDA students, she said that the transition from Stephanie Siers (who is on maternity leave) to herself as director was relatively smooth. “I feel like they’ve been very open to establishing a quicker relationship with having me as a guest director,” said Trester. Since she has a large New York background, she makes each rehearsal an opportunity for the students to learn about how the real theatre business works. Andrew Kenney, sophomore, and said, “There is not that big of difference, because both teachers are very experienced and know how to run a class. They are both awesome; they are both fun.” Contribution by Shea FairbanksGalaudet and Natalie Finn.

Trester instructs students during class in SDA’s Clinton E. Ligett theatre. Photo courtesy of Layla Gantus.

Who let the ducks out? The SDA Theatre Department joins the singing bird craze; Ugly the Duckling makes his musical debut. By Shea Fairbanks-Galaudet.


Musical Theatre students rehearse for the spring musical: “Honk!” Photo courtesy of Layla Gantus.

fter the featherly fantastic entrance of “Rio 2,” here at SDA we just couldn’t get our minds out of the glorious world of singing birds. What could possibly make “Harry Potter” better? Singing hippogriffs? Whatever in the world could make “Forest Gump” a more beautiful, tear-wrenching movie? Singing doves? Luckily, SDA’s theatre department is fast to pick up the hint; “HONK!: The Musical” will be showing the last weekend in May and first weekend in June, featuring your favorite SDA actors. “HONK!: The Musical” retells the story of The Ugly Duckling in a musical fashion, highlighting messages of acceptance and inner beauty. Michelle Trester, the musical’s director, Stephanie Sier’s substitute

and sister, revealed her excitement about directing the play and working with such a talented cast. Since spring break has just finished, she said, things have really taken off. “I feel like the talent, both on the acting side and the technical side, are excellent,” said Trester, “so we have a lot to work with.” However, no production comes without obstacles and challenges. “I guess the hardest part now, for the actors, is just working on the animal aspect,” Trester said. “Since they are playing animals, but we’re not going full-fledged animals. They’re partly animal, and partly human, just figuring out that balance has been a challenge.” They are mostly representing the animals, instead of making the whole show about animals. The actors have been doing this by incorporating specific animalistic

movements into their performances and using some animal sounds. “Mostly the whole animal thing makes it really hard, considering we are all humans, and we can only do so much to be animals,” said sophomore, Andrew Kenney. Because the animal aspect hasn’t been in many of the recent SDA shows, Trester thinks this will interest other students into attending. This show really highlights the cast’s ensemble, says Trester, but it’s too early to give any specifics of which number will be the most exciting for audience members. As Kenney puts it, the show is sure to be “EGG-cellent.” Remember to come see “HONK!” May 29-31 and June 5-7at the Clayton E. Liggett Theatre. Contribution by Natalie Finn.

The Pony



ath seems to be ruling the top charts of the App Store with the rise of the number game “2048”. A game involving matching and addition has become the recent obsession leaving your algebra teacher with nothing to complain about. The game is played on a grid by pairing two of the same number tile next to each other, however with every swipe made, not only does the entire board move, but a new number- either 2 or 4- appears in a random square. The game is “won”, more or less, by reaching the 2048 tile, yet the numbers don’t stop there. New high scores grazing 5 digits are taking root as players battle one another for the prize. But don’t let the board fill up or your chances of winning are over. Crazily addictive, the app grabs your focus from you as it beckons for another try. Quickly, one try turns into hours of nonstop play, wins and losses pushing the leaderboards. This app will leave you begging for more, posing as an unbeatable challenge. And when youve raged quit and deleted game, the fun doesn’t end there! 2048- Doge Version is an entirely new take on the original number game holding the exact same rules only with “Doge” the dog tiles.

App reviews Students review popular App Store games. Stories by Julianne Miller and Sunny Ann.

arts 33


een verdicts on today’s apps are as straight forward as black and white, so it’s no wonder that Japanese developers behind the gray scale app “Don’t Step the White Tile” have recently found themselves at the top of the charts. However, the sudden success of the game comes as no big surprise. Many people have compared “Don’t Step the White Tile” to the earlier popular app “Flappy Bird,” and it’s not hard to see why. The game features similar simple graphics and controls. It’s a cinch to start playing, but extremely difficult to play well. In “Don’t Step the White Tile”, you are a pair of shoes, and throughout three different levels of gameplay, the main objective is just as the title suggests: guide your shoes along the black squares as quickly as possible while avoiding the white tiles at all costs. Step on a white tile and it’s game over; making you the victim of a shark-on-shoe attack.Frustratingly addictive, “Don’t Step the White Tile is a challenging yet fun way to improve your reflexes while providing hours of entertainment.


The Pony

34 sports

Oops, you choked... again

Former St. Louis Rams Kicker, Josh Brown, sets up for a field goal against the San Fransisco 49ers. Photo courtesy of © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia

USD sports psychologist Nadav Goldschmied discusses results from his sports research. Story by Andrew Naimark.


SD psychologist Nadav Goldshmied is well known for his research on various sports topics such as the mindset of a player after air balling a free throw or how effective “icing” the kicker is in the NFL. He has published in The New York Times and in many academic journals and talked recently about his work with the Mustang. Some of his well-known studies: -Icing the Kicker: Found that in the National Football League, when a team calls a timeout right before a kicker is about to attempt a potential game winning field goal, within the last couple minutes of the game, it does increase the chances of the field goal kicker “choking.” -Milestone Stage Fright: Found that Major League Baseball players on the “eve” of breaking a homerun milestone experience stage fright. -The Underdog Effect: Found that support for the underdog (in

sports, business, and politics) tends to be more extreme than rooting against the top-dog. -Fighting in Hockey: Found that fighting in the NHL (hockey) is calculated (more likely to occur in less important stages of the game such as preseason or early in the game) rather than impulsive behavior. Fighting could be reduced if stricter penalties were enforced, he found. Goldschmied’s research ideas sometimes just occur to him from simple observations while watching a game, hearing things on the radio, or come to him randomly because of his previous coaching and playing experiences in basketball. For example, his idea for his paper on MLB players’ “stage fright” before a homerun milestone came from the radio. He had heard sports analysts discussing this on the radio and he began to think that it was worthwhile to look into.

Although the only sport that he has seriously played is basketball, Goldschmied said that he also had mutual interest in almost every sport because they each provide a new set of data, possible issues to research, and a unique structure. For example, baseball games are broken into segments whereas soccer games are played straight through with only halftime as a break. His interest in all types of sports is what has fueled his large variety of topics he researches. Because he is from Israel some American sports, such as football, are newer to him. As a result, for some studies he has done, such as his article on “icing” the kicker, he had to educate himself on the game so he could have a detailed understanding of the specific area of research. “If you are going to do a study, you have to know more than the basic level of your topic,” he said. For his research, Goldschmied

talks to athletes, finds data and stats from past related studies, and attends games. However, he said he mostly relies on data and stats. One example where he actually talked to players was when he conducted his study on a person’s mindset after air balling a free throw. He talked to many D-1 college basketball players from USD and SDSU. He added that these conversations could not be used as very credible sources because there was tendency for the players to say it did not affect them. This brought up the question if they were really telling the truth or they were just trying to make themselves seem mentally stronger and portray themselves more favorably, he said. It can take one to five years to research and publish a study, he said. He has to: find an idea, do research, collect data, write a manuscript, send it to journal, have it peer edited, make changes, then

an editor decides whether it can be published or not. Most of the time you have to send it to many editors and make many revisions before it is published, he added. For example, his study on air balls was very hard to collect data on because there were very few past statistics on it. On the other hand, his study on icing the kicker was much easier to collect data because major sports broadcasters like ESPN already had a wide range of data on the subject. Still, his article on icing the kicker took him five years to get published because it was rejected by many journals at first. He said, that a big part of research is “having tough skin” and being able to accept rejection. He followed up by saying that even though it can be very frustrating at times, he gets through it because the ultimate goal is to publish the study. His icing the kicker story was covered by The New York Times.

The Pony


sports 35

Practice your passion

Everyone has a passion for something, it just happens to be that these three SDA students have a passion for a sport a little more unique than the average teen. Story by Lindsey King. Dancing

At three years of age, Camryn Eakes first stepped onto the dance floor. She was following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. Now a senior, Eakes spends 20 hours a week training in contemporary dance with teachers and at classes in Los Angeles. She works hard to accomplish her goals for example, recently she was accepted into the SoulEscape, a dance company, apprenticeship program that will take place this summer. Although she has gone through some setbacks such as a back injuries and pain in her heel, Eakes has continued to dance and will continue to next year at either Cal Arts or Chapman University.


“One time I head-butted this guy, it was really funny, “said Nate Neumann, sophomore, when talking about his most memorable moment while fencing. The summer between seventh and eighth grade, the sport of fencing caught Neumann’s interest. A friend introduced him to the sport and it sounded very interesting to him, unlike other sports. So, he tried it out. Since then, he has continued to bout, fight. He especially enjoys when he gets to bout against other people. He likes how every bout is different every time he fences. He feels this allows him to constantly achieve the goals he sets for himself.


She was at a big regional competition in eighth grade when freshman Katie Wimsatt looked up to see that she dropped 30 seconds on her mile time. Dropping 30 seconds is a big improvement, it could easily be the difference between first and last place. In third grade, Whimsatt started swimming and when asked about why she said, “I just don’t like running.” She spends seven hours a week in the pool practicing but it hasn’t always been easy. At the end of eighth grade, she strained her rotator cuff and this year she messed up her knee; however, she continues to dedicate herself and keep training through the pain.


The Pony

36 features



Over this spring break, four SDA students expierenced new countries and cultures. Story by Melody Sobhani and Layla Gantus.

SCOTLAND&ENGLAND Over spring break freshman Giuliana Carder had the opportunity to visit St. Andrews, Scotland, Liverpool and London. She went with her father and grandfather because they wanted to play on the old golf fields in Scotland. In Liverpool, Carder visited The Cavern Club which is the first gig the Beatles ever played. Even though she couldn’t go inside, she spent an hour in the Beatles Store on the same street. She also visited ruins of castles and said, “The tourists in London outnumbered the locals ten to one.” She was extremely excited to be there and to visit all the historical landmarks.


Freshman Brittany Serbin always dreamed of traveling to Greece. Serbin was so excited to make the nine day trip over spring break. She was looking forward to learning about both the historical and cultural aspects of Greece. Her family visited Athens, Delphi, and Santorini. “It was really neat when we were just walking around Athens, and when we turned the corner, temple ruins would just randomly be placed in the middle of the street,” she said.


Junior Josh Parisi went to Amsterdam over spring break, just for fun. During his five day visit Parisi saw more bicycles than he has his entire life. “It was interesting seeing hundreds of thousands of bikes,” said Parisi. He said his trip was interesting and “eye-opening.” Amsterdam was not the “norm” and different from America. In the Netherlands the serving sizes were significantly smaller. That may be why the only fat people were the American tourists. Even though he has never been there before, he was quick to add that he would definitely go back again, maybe when he is older.


On a two-week trip, freshman Nate Wesley went to a place most of us probably haven’t heard of, Liberia. The small country is located in West Africa. Wesley visited his aunts, uncles, and six cousins. While in Liberia he took a two-hour drive to the middle of the jungle where saw his family’s 1000 acres of land. He also visited the beaches and his uncle’s farm. This was his first time visiting and he said, “It was cool.”

The Pony May 2014  
The Pony May 2014