Page 1

Vol 57 Issue 4

March 2013

THECENTAURIAN THE Culver City High School

Buzzer beat seals the score Pages 6-7

Warped body image Rolling the film at Sony

Page 8 Page 4

Boy genius

Icharam for Presidential Scholars Award by Cheryl Hoffman a&e editor

Priyanka Desai The Centaurian

EMANCIPATE THE HATE: Releasing balloons in support of bullied victims, students denounce bullying at a lunch time event following a viewing of the film BULLY.

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius is an animated character in a cartoon series on Nickelodeon. Although Neutron is a fictitious creation, CCHS senior, Jaimal Ichharam is as real as can be. In simply receiving a letter from the Department of Education, Ichharam exceeded the achievements of any animated boy genius by being a real boy genius nominated for the Presidential Scholars Award. Ichharam expressed his thoughts in regards to his selection with a trace of bewilderment. “I was really surprised because I wasn’t expecting it,” said Icharam. It is truly astonishing what one may discover by simply opening the mail. “One day I was just opening the mail and found a letter from the Department of Education,” Ichharam said with a slight tone of still disbelief. While most seniors at this time of year are ea-

(See ICHHARAM, p.2)

Gone with dignity Phones on trial Former coach and math teacher Dave Sanchez remains in memory by Samantha Kim

Features editor

Affectionately known as “Coach” by those close to him, Dave Sanchez died on Feb. 20 at home, surrounded by his loved ones, a year and twenty days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was born on November 29, 1953 as David Haruo Sanchez to Ignacio and Yoshimi Sanchez. Growing up an army brat, he moved around a lot to foreign places like Japan, and dreamed of going to UCLA. Eventually he graduated from his dream school

and earned a degree in Math. After a successful career in business he did a complete turn around, leaving the business world to take up teaching and coaching landing him in Culver City High School. Jerry Chabola, a friend and longtime colleague of Sanchez, recalled his first impression of him. “He was motivated and very passionate,” Chabola said. They first met when Sanchez was trying to build up the middle school’s athletic program, and how middle school athletes transferred to high school athletics. After Sanchez transferred

(See SANCHEZ, p.2)

Staff contemplates allowing phone use on campus

by Priyanka Desai staff writer

ASB is working on a proposal that would give students the right to use their cell phones during lunch and nutrition. Currently students cannot use cell phones during school hours. ASB member Nick Guthman approached Principal Dylan Farris with the proposal to request a two-week trial period in which students would be able to prove to administrators that they will only use phones during the allowed times and will turn them off when they get to class. Advantages to students using cell phones would be that new smart phones bring educational

values, like using different applications to study for tests like the SAT. “Cell phones have evolved in such a way that it can enhance the learning environment,” Guthman said. At the end of the meeting, Farris suggested that they conduct a survey of all teachers to see what they think of the policy and based on that, he would come to a conclusion. ASB plans to send the survey out to all teachers this week with the basic question: “What is your opinion on students using cell phones?” Farris’s four main concerns about the use of cellphones are: an increased in theft; students making inappropriate videos of people on campus and posting them on YouTube; the inability of

students to stop using their devices once they have started; and no one engaging with anyone else. He said the student body here is currently “unplugged” allowing them to have more personal interactions with one another. “I do not want a school full of zombies walking around with cell phones,” he said. Farris reiterated that no decision regarding a change to the cell phone policy will be made until after the results of the teacher survey are seen. “The administration is not prepared to make any commitment towards changing the policy; however, we are willing to continue the conversation with the Students’ Rights Committee.”




Safety taken into account School contemplates safety changes by Mujahid Nawaz staff writer

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14, many schools decided it was time to tighten security, and CCHS was no exception. A safety committee was created on Jan.11 by Principal Dylan Farris to address the safety problems that the school faces. One of the problems with school security is there are many unguarded exits in the school. The back gate, in particular, is a problem. This gate is left unlocked during first and second

period so students can park their cars, but it has no surveillance camera or security guard. Safety committee member and teacher Vivian Lezak said, “I had just sat my second period down for a test and I looked out and saw 7 boys leaving through the back gate.” In fact, when asked in a poll conducted by the POLLS Club, only 22% of students said they felt the gates at the entrances and exits were secure. While teachers and staff can identify problems with the school’s security, they must rely on the district to give the money needed to fix them. The changes made since were

Completely Disagree


2% 7%

27% Completely agree


No Opinion


Cheryl Hoffman The Centaurian

gerly awaiting college admission decisions to arrive in the mail, Ichharam is one of the select few, or more specifically, one of the top 20 males in California, to find himself awaiting the decision that will follow his application for the Presidential Scholars Award. The Presidential Scholars Award is an honor that is primarily based on one’s excellent performance on the SAT or ACT test exams. This highly selective award accepts approximately 3,000 students across the country. The top 20 students of each gender are selected from each state. After a student is chosen as a nominee, the student must

spurred by the Sandy Hook shooting, “We used to not be as concerned with safety at CCHS because it’s in a safe neighborhood, but after Sandy Hook which also took place in a nice neighborhood, we had to pay more atten-

beyond what teachers require. He independently perseveres through his academic tasks and he really devotes a lot of himself into what he’s interested in,” Dien said. Ichharam has developed a strong interest in science and mathematics through a program known as NASA INSPIRES, which is an online learning community that creates opportunities for students to pursue internships and potential career paths. He hopes to pursue his interests in science and mathematics as a career after graduating from CCHS this upcoming June. Fellow classmate Emma Kurihara, has known Icharam since attending Culver City Middle School and after growing up with Ichharam, Kurihara is not perplexed by Icharam’s nomination, for his hunger for knowledge has been apparent throughout the years. “I’m not surprised because he is Jaimal,” Kurihara said. The effortless academic performances achieved by Ichharam have been clearly depicted over the course of the four years he has spent within the CCHS classrooms learning all that there is to be learned to the best of his potential.

Winner of Classified Staff Member of the Year Award Staff Writer

After attempts from handfuls of people to get the Principal’s Secretary JoNellia Guinn out of her office, Asst. Principal Lisa Michel grabbed Guinn and pulled her out to the Peace Garden, only to be surprised by a sea of people. Students and faculty applauded and congratulated Guinn for winning Classified Staff Member of the Year. Guinn’s face filled with awe after realization that the award was for her. “I was so stunned, I had no clue,” Guinn said. The annual award is given by the Culver City Education Foundation after a nomination and se-

Adriana Romero The Centaurian

lection process. Special Day Class teacher Christina Velasquez was one of the many staff members who nominated Guinn, believing that her hard working co-worker deserved the award. “She’s always smiling and never complains. She really helps keep this school running smoothly,” Velasquez said. When

tion to security,” said Lezak. Students should also be taking precautions in keeping themselves safe. Security guard John Sargeant said, “Kids have to be more aware of their surroundings and make better decisions on out-

side influences.” An Active Shooter event was going to take place during spring break as training for security guards and faculty, but it has been re-scheduled to July.

SANCHEZ, continued from page 1

Guinn takes the win by Adriana Romero

After asking a number of students whether they felt safe at CCHS, the POLLS Club reported the following results of the survey.


ICHHARAM, continued from page 1 complete an application which consists of six essays that vary in length. In completing this application, the student will be able to continue on to the semi-finals. Semi-finalists will be informed about their application decisions in mid-April. This award not only allows a student to travel to Washington D.C. and have his or her graduation ceremony performed in an honorary presidential manner, but the student is also permitted to choose a teacher to accompany him on the trip. Ichharam has already been admitted to well-known and competitive colleges such as UCLA and USC based on his merit scholarship. Therefore, it is no surprise that Ichharam has been nominated for the Presidential Scholars Award based on his SAT score of 2330, for he not only exceeds in his academic performance, but he also maintains his interests and passions by participating in many extracurricular activities. Icharam is apart of AVPA Film and Music, as well as MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) led by math teacher, Jerod Dien, who describes Ichharam to be a student that will go, “above and

Do you feel your school is a safe place to be?

Velasquez first started working at the school in 2007, Guinn welcomed her with open arms. “She made me feel so comfortable and it’s something I’ll never forget.” Guinn is one of the first people to get to the school and one of the last to leave. “She is always calm and collected. She helps every teacher and staff member,” Principal Dylan Farris said. Guinn began working at CCHS in 1996 after a friend suggested that working there would allow her to spend time with her kids. “They graduated in 2000, and I’m still here,” Guinn said. She says that what she cherishes about her job are the kids. “I love working with kids; that’s the best part.”

Aaliyah Wilson The Centaurian

LAST COMMENTS: Students line up to give their final regards to Coach Sanchez and his family. over to the high school they became friends, and had been building their friendship for over twenty years. “To me, the title of coach supersedes all titles. That’s why I called him coach. He was the epitome of coaching,” Chabola said. A former athlete of Sanchez’s who had previously ran track under his instruction, Anniya Louis, graduate of 2008, recalled a funny memory of Sanchez. The

“He is a great example of how you die with dignity, and how you deal with adversity.” -Jerry Chabola year Louis went to state for track, she was “fascinated by blueberry pie.” So right before she ran, Sanchez told her, “I’ll get you a blueberry pie at the end.” Sure enough after the race was over, Louis won, they went Marie Callender’s and Sanchez bought her a whole blueberry pie.

Cheryl Sanchez, his wife, said that he was so dedicated to his athletes that wanted to continue to play sports, that he would call colleges trying to solicit them. “We were always getting random pamphlets or something from colleges. When I asked him why, he would say ‘Oh I thought so and so would like it here’ or something.” Kety, his stepdaughter, remembers the Valentine’s Day before he died. She had made him a card with the equation for a heart graph inside it, and an equation with the result: i <3 u on the back. Hoping to make him smile, Coach instead made her show him the work of the two equations, resulting in an hour on YouTube figuring out how to input equations on a graphing calculator, which did in the end result in a smile. Though Sanchez has left, there are many who remember him. Asst. Principal Lisa Michel, a former math department colleague of Sanchez’s said, “The smile he wore and the joy and passion with which he lived every day, with or without cancer, serves as a model for us all.” Chabola said, “He is a great example of how you die with dignity, and how you deal with adversity.”



Students failing Algebra 1 are unable to recover by Stephanie Liem news editor

As students continue to progress in their classes, in development of a greater intellectual and educational range of knowledge, others stumble at a midpoint of their scholarly journey. In attempt of fulfillment and desire to conquer this dire course, a number of students strive to overcome the difficulties of Algebra 1 that has placed an obstacle upon their abstract path of learning.Regardless of the school’s trials to solve this current issue, it has been reported in a recent study that a wide majority of the students struggling with Algebra 1, have yet to meet their solution. Under the study titled “College bound in Middle School and High School”, it was confirmed that many students within the 24 school districts studied had to repeat Algebra 1 either in ninth or tenth grade, but were still struggling even after repeating the course. Blatantly, the study posits the notion that these unsuccessful attempts for advancement call for some type of an improvement of the traditional education system. In 2010, statistics showed that 68% of the freshmen, 87% of the sophomores, and 88% of the juniors have yet to be proficient in their CST scores. Two years later in 2012, it was displayed that the scores had not improved by much, 72% of the freshmen, 84% of the sophomores, and 90% of the juniors were still unable to pass with a proficient or higher on the CSTs.

“These results provide powerful evidence that school systems are struggling to successfully teach, or reteach, mathematics to students who are not already performing well in math by the time they reach middle school,” said Neal Finkelstein, chief of the district study. These students who are already behind, don’t benefit from repeating the course. In fact, it is shown that failure rates for Algebra tend to go up as grade levels increase. After unsuccessful attempts at the course, these students are then tracked by the school and tend to be less successful in passing. Being a participant in the study itself, assistant principal, Rachel Michel is aware of the predicament and is undoubtedly trying to help solve this national problem. In order to progress, CCHS must first alter aspects of their instruction for the benefit of the students. “Quality of instruction is the biggest factor we have control of for student success,” Michel said. Also it is taken to consideration that students failing Algebra 1 the course relates not directly with its level of complexity, but due to their lack of determination. Algebra teacher Joan Yen addressed the matter in two categories. The vast majority of students struggling with algebra are primarily those who do exceptionally well in their other classes, but lack somewhat of a numerical sense. The other category of students, she described as merely needing more discipline in their studies. Michel remarked that these stu-

A winter’s end

Winter Formal cancelled after lack of ticket sales by Krist Fletcher Staff Writer

ASB cancelled the Winter Formal two weeks prior to the event due to an insufficient number of tickets sold. The event had been scheduled for February 23 at the Olympic Collection Center in West LA. According to Budget Secretary Phyllis Heiner, only 13 tickets were sold after an entire month of sales. Despite the lack of participation from students, there were other issues that lead to the cancellation. ASB had quickly planned Winter Formal and under short notice it was difficult to encourage students to attend. Student participation was the main issue ASB could not overcome since ticket sales were nowhere near where they needed to

be. The cancellation could have been prevented if, “[ASB] found a way to increase interest and participation of the students,” said senior Bathool Syed, ASB Commissioner of Activities. Winter Formal is a non-profit event that ASB holds for the student body to enjoy, but because of the low response to this event ASB will be losing about $2,000. Syed believes that the disappointing sales have shown ASB, “to be more realistic, and to focus on other events to fundraise.” The previous Winter Formal was held December 3 , 2011 and that year there was enough hype about the dance that it sold out on tickets. ASB hoped to make Winter Formal an annual tradition, due to the positive response that year, but with the wide gap of sales between then and now has stopped the event from running its second annual year.

dents have already developed a perception of their own failure which prevents them from building any hope to do better. As a school, CCHS is working to improve general placement of classes so these students regain confidence in their abilities. Simply, like all other things, Algebra is merely an obstacle. “Algebra is something so abstract. The moment you notice you’re struggling with it, don’t wait, because it might lead you to immediately give up,” Yen said. After realization that the current system was greatly unsuccessful in providing fundamental math skills needed for college, school districts are now using seventh grade math as an indicator to identify which students are prepared for higher math and which need extra assistance getting there. Because Algebra is held as a base for all other mathematics, it is needed to cummulatively pursue math courses of higher complexity. For the most part, level of rigor in math also essentially determines whether one would succeed in college. To fix the system, schools are improving teacher training systems to include lessons plan that would better assist students in their learning. As school districts strive to help their students overcome this algebraic trouble, they work on improving themselves as a whole by developing the “Common Core Standards” which will surface within the 2014-2015 school year.Gradual algebraic ideas are being introduced in kindergarten in attempt to raise the

Algebra 1 CST scores 2012 100



% Not Meeting the Standard

Is there really no solution?


84% 72%

70 60 50 40 30 20 10

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade Level

Graphic by Jessica Kim

academic level for future generations. In response to the numbers of students hopelessly failing algebra, CCHS has offered an additional Algebra support zero period class. The class is held inside the computer room where these students experience a blended learning model of teacher instruction and online Odyssey lessons. Adviser of the class, Mariah Fontijn, explained that the class was created to assist these students with the fundamental algebraic skills that they need in the future. It’s too soon to tell whether the class will improve test scores but it requires students to put forth more dedication to the subject. After being shown the recent studies, Fontijn said, “It’s true that the studies don’t lie, but we

will not sit back and watch them fall through the cracks.” Students taking the class must receive a C or better and are allowed no more than three tardies. The class is still merely an experiment but it provides students who are far below their required math level with a self-paced intervention. Michel remarked that the course is essential to college and that the logical skills taken in algebra can be applied to studies in college, and also life itself. As the districts aim to create a more effective learning system, Michel remains in high hopes. “Everybody has the ability to be successful in Algebra. It’s just important to intervene at the moment when they begin to lose their confidence.”

Renovations = relocation Renovations impact sports teams and graduation by Tasfiya Islam Staff Writer

Plans for restoring the sports field will impact Culver sports teams, specifically track, softball, baseball, cross country, and boys and girls lacrosse as well as the 2013 graduation for both the middle school and the high school. These sports and events will have to temporarily change their location during the midst of the renovations which will begin at the end of March. “Athletes will anticipate in relocating during Spring Break,” Athletics Director and PE teacher Tom Salter said. Salter mentioned that the soccer field renovations will be completed this year. Despite the disruptions it will cause, the field renovations are necessary. “I think that the proposed renovations to our athletic

fields are a great idea and well overdue,” boys’ lacrosse coach Casey Chabola said. “These renovations will make our facilities a place that we can be proud to welcome teams from other schools and areas to play.” Chabola believes that the changes made to field will also lead to safer practices and games. “It is unfortunate for the seniors not to get to play all their home games in the stadium, but at this point they will be able to play a few and that is more than we anticipated in the fall,” Chabola said. Boys’ lacrosse will most probably be located to play games on fields nearby. Track will also be impacted. “My colleagues who coach other sports seem to think the renovations will benefit their programs, so I support them,” cross country coach Thomas Fritzius said.

According to Fritzius, there will not be a large impact on the cross country team besides possible limitations of using the track after the completion of the new field. This year’s high school and middle school graduation ceremonies will also have to find a new location. “We’re negotiating with neighboring places,” Assistant Principal Jonathan Chapman said. “There is over a fifty percent chance that we will have to have graduation take place at a different location.” Graduation will still take place on June 21, but the timing of when graduation begins might have to be accommodated depending on the new location as well as an adjustment in location for sports practices during three months of renovations.




AVPA screens at sony

FLUENT IN FILM DP: Director of Photography, who oversees the lighting and camera work, also called the cinematographer Gaffer: sets up the lights Blocking: places where actors stand and move Striking: turning on the lights Tracking shot: shot that follows a specific person or object

by Jessica Kim

Design Editor

On March 21st, AVPA Film will be screening five short films the department has been working on since fall. The screening is free and will be held at Sony Picture Studios. The films premiering are Boba Wars directed by Nathan Jimenez, Cereal Aisle directed by Maddie Hopfield, Un Jour directed by Mimi Erlick, Blackout directed by Bobby Sucher and Fatal Sketches directed by Maddie Silva. A Question and Answer session will be held following the screening where audience members will be able to ask questions and interact with the five directors and producers of the films. “All the sweat and tears go into one fun evening,” senior and AVPA Film member Morgan McGlothan said. “It’s like our prom.” Check for tickets and directions.

Rack focus: shifting the focus of the camera from one object to another Room tone: the “sound” of the room that is recorded when no dialogue is spoken Slate: identifies the scene before a take Boom mic: a long pole with a microphone attached at the end Bounce board: a large white card used to reflect soft light Wrap: when a production is finished shooting

Ghana’s gift of art from CCHS students CCHS art students create portraits of orphans from the Republic of Ghana by Adriana Romero Staff Writer

Srishti Goswamy’s portrait of a Ghana child

Emma Juncosa’s portrait of a Ghana child

Simone Miller’s portrait of a Ghana child

Fifty photographs of orphan children from the Republic of Ghana were sent to CCHS as part of ‘The Memory Project’ where art students made portraits based on the given photograph as a gift for the Ghana orphans. For the second year in a row, AVPA art Director, Kristine Hatanaka, assigned one portrait to each student in one of her AVPA classes. When all the portraits are finished, they will be personally delivered to the children in Ghana by the director of ‘The Memory Project’, Ben Schumaker, as well as other volunteers. Once the orphans receive the portraits, the artists will be able to view the orphans’ reaction upon receiving the portrait via photograph or video. This year’s portraits should be delivered to Ghana this summer. While most schools who participate in this project ask for less than 15 photographs, Hatanaka asked for more because she believes that the project is a way to connect to orphan children in a unique and creative way. “It’s an experience I am grateful to give to my students and grateful to support an organization like, ‘The Memory Project,’” Hatanaka said. Making the portrait for an orphan is an extremely personal experience, and therefore, students who work on the project tend to not only attach themselves to the

Tamalika De’s portrait of a Ghana child

portrait, but to the photographed girl or boy, as well. “[The orphans] don’t really have mirrors or anything in Ghana, so you don’t want to send a badly drawn picture to the makes me feel nice to think I’m making a little girl happy,” freshman and AVPA art student, Natasha Collier said. Participating for the first time in this project, Collier felt a special connection to her photographed child, Joyce, and wanted to make the portrait as good as possible. “She’s the so her picture should be too,” Collier said. Senior Simone Miller and Co-President of AVPA Art is also participating in ‘The Memory Project’ for the first time this year. “It’s a really good opportunity to be able to use my skills to give something to an orphan who doesn’t have’s a really

nice gift to give,” Miller said. Many of the newborns, kids, and teenagers who are sent portraits have no immediate family. Some were even given up by their family because of the lack of financial support they were able to receive. Hatanaka acknowledges that the school could simply offer orphanages money or food, but what makes ‘The Memory Project’ special is the fact that the students are able to come up with a creative gift to give a less fortunate child somewhere around the world.



Old habits die hard Christopher Young’s life as an experienced film composer by Samantha Kim


Leaning against the back of the fold up chair on the Robert Frost stage, Christopher Young, a film composer who has contributed and composed music for various films, smiles at the crowd of AVPA students sitting in front of him. Chris Thomas, AVPA teacher and film composer, had brought Young to speak to CCHS students. Tony Spano, AVPA Music Director and one of the founding faculty of AVPA, introduces Young by telling the crowd of his compositional prowess and experience. Young was in love with music from the very beginning. Growing up, he always had a song stuck in his head. His love of music took the form of percus-

sion instruments as he first performed as a rock and roll drummer. Eventually Young found an interest in jazz drumming. Young pursued his dreams with a passion. Enrolling in Berkelee School of Music, his primary motivation was so he could study with his musical hero, Dave Brubeck, a jazz pianist and composer. This turned out to be a turning point in his musical career, for at the end of the session Brubeck told Young, “ don’t see it.” Which, needless to say, crushed his dreams but led him to move beyond drumming and ultimately into film music. Picking up a record in a store one day triggered Young’s love for film music. The record, “The

Phantom World of Bernard Herman” with compositions from films like “The Day the Earth stood Still” and “Fahrenheit 451” changed him. “It was the missing chord on my creative journey,” Young said, his eyes blazing. From then on Young’s love for film music led him to build up his career, starting with his first student film, The Dorm that Dripped Blood and moving onto some of his more recent films like Sinister in 2012. Other films Young has contributed to include: The Grudge (I and II), Spiderman 3, Ghost Rider, The Rum Diary, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Hurricane. Young says that a film composer’s job is to subtly control the emotions that

RENT Production

by Cheryl Hoffman a&e editor

With a spring in their steps, the AVPA Dance Department has begun rehearsals for their Spring Dance Concert. With rigorous rehearsals on the weekdays of Monday and Wednesday, as well as other technique and dance workshops, every student involved with the performance is working hard to ensure a spectacular show. Senior and AVPA dance student, Maddie Hopfield is excited to perform in the Spring Dance Concert, which will be presented on April 25th-April 28th. “To be honest, the Spring Dance Concert is my favorite part of AVPA dance,” Hopfield said. The theme of the AVPA Spring Dance Concert has been revealed to resonate around the concept that humans are weird. Prior to rehearsals, the AVPA Dance Department

Harper Schoenfeld

Courtesy of Samantha Kim


MERRY PERFORMANCE: March 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16 at 7:00 p.m. March 10 &16 at 1:00 p.m. In the Robert Frost Auditorium. the general audience is feeling at the time in that scene. He warns future film composers to prepare for their music to be torn to shreds by directors, and to have patience when dealing with directors who think they can “speak music.” “They’ve spent a year with their film and they know

Yeah, humans are pretty weird A look behind the curtains of AVPA Dance Department


what emotions they want to convey, they just don’t know how to express it,” Young said. The main idea Young wanted to communicate was, “Stay on course. I beg of you, I beg of you, I beg of you. Be stupid and follow the dream that everyone tells you not to.”

had the opportunity to work with the well-known choreographer, Heidi Duckler. This experience in working with Duckler allowed students to exercise with their ability to choreograph dances. Earlier in the month of February, forsite dances were carried out in four different areas on CCHS campus grounds. A for-site dance is designed in order to encourage dancers to learn how to choreograph accordingly to an atmosphere or setting that they are placed in. A dance was performed in 1st hall, near the cafeteria, outside the gym, and near the ramp outside of the Robert Frost Auditorium. After being a part of AVPA Dance for two years, senior Elana Barach feels as though she has taken a lot away from the experience that dancing has provided her with. “I’ve learned about the importance of dedication and teamwork and that hard work pays off,” Barach said. It can go without saying that AVPA dance is not merely a ho bby for these students, but rather it is a creative outlet to which they can use to express their love for rhythm and music.

Tucker captures the moment

AVPA student, Rachel Tucker, becomes a finalist in the Nikon sponsored photography contest by Carlie Whittaker staff writer

Ever since she was young, junior Rachel Tucker has always been interested in photography. Tucker, an AVPA art student, has been placed as a 2nd round finalist in the 33rd annual college and high school photography contest. She was inclined to enter this contest after AVPA art director, Kristine Hatanaka, advised her to submit her piece. The photo consisted of several crosses that created a religious memorial. “I was walking

with my friends and we were like, ‘what are these crosses?’” said Tucker. Immediately after viewing the commemoration for the soldiers in Iraq, Tucker snapped a picture of it with her Canon camera. “I felt compelled to take it because it was so powerful,” Tucker said. Tucker came across this memorial site on the sandy beaches of the Santa Monica Pier. The contest is sponsored by Nikon Industries and consists of 2 rounds. The two first place winners will receive $2,000 in

cash and a Nikon D7000 camera. The 200 honorable mentions will all have their names placed in the Photographer’s Forum magazine and will receive a certificate. After being informed that she was a finalist in the competition, Tucker was in shock. “It feels really amazing, I didn’t think I would get it and it was like a ‘woah’ type of moment,” Tucker said. She will find out if she is one of the chosen winners in March.

Courtesy of Rachel Tucker

CAPTURED HONOR: Rachel Tucker’s photo depicts a memorial site for the soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Water winners

Making a new record, girls waterpolo advances to CIF

Photo by Lucas Dos Santos

PEP TALK Players gather around coach Dordoni during the game against Pacifica. by Lauren Kelly Reporter On Wednesday, February 20, the girls water polo team wrapped up a recordsetting season at CIF Semifinals. Although they lost to Pacifica with a score of 6-9, they made Culver City High School history by reaching the penultimate round of CIF. The team ended the season with a phenomenal record of 25-2. The starters include Kristina Miranda, Ruth Basurto, Amanda Duval, Olivia Valdez, Samira Viliani, Ifeoma Wadibia, Graciela Galvan, and Briell Huerta. Basurto, Miranda, Duval, and Valdez made First Team All League and Viliani made

Second Team; these are honorary teams created by Ocean League for its best players. Basurto also won Co-MVP for the League, and Duval won honors for her goalie skills. In the Quarterfinals Round four days earlier, Feb 16, the team smashed Poly Pasadena with a score of 12-3. And three days prior, they beat Tustin 10-7 in the First Round of CIF. The week before, on Feb 7, they finished their official season strongly by crushing Beverly Hills with a score of 16-5. On Feb 5, our girls’ water polo team played a close game against Santa Monica High. Crowds of people stuffed the bleachers and lined both sides of the Plunge to watch our Culver girls’ biggest game of the season. Although the

Fight till the finish

The boys basketball team season wrap up by Chloe Green SPORTS EDITOR

The Culver City boys basketball team faced some very tough competitors this season, and ended with a league record of 2

- 8. Coach Adam Eskridge said, “We had a very tough schedule, it didn’t help our win/loss, but it really helped us improve as a team playing top notch.” The boys had some heart-breaking losses, especially to Morningside. Their first match away with the team was 43 - 40, and the meet at home ended 41 - 40. Culver found their most difficulties consistently in the fourth quarter. “I was just happy and blessed I got to play my last high school ball season healthy and with my [brothers] who had such tremendous faith in me,” said First-Team All-League senior Justin (J.R.) Montgomery. Montgomery was a standout player for the basketball team. At the first game with Inglewood, Culver led by 4 at the half, he had 22 points with Junior Wesley Dixon’s 11 points. At the second game against Samo, Montgomery had 25 points,


skies were gray and it was freezing, four water polo boys decked out in their Culver blue, with ‘CCHS’ spelled on their chests in paint to show their support. Many graduates returned to watch, and parents set up a tent with food for afterward. The lively crowd followed the game closely, roaring with each point scored and happily bellowing cheers led by other water polo players. With a difference of one point through most of the game, Samo won in overtime 9-8. The goal by Huerta that threw the game into overtime was made in the last 26 seconds of the game; after trying to shoot the tying point for a few minutes, the team relaxed, waited for the right time, and struck. The crowd was heard for blocks around the Plunge. This game tied Culver and Santa Monica with one loss each—to each other. Therefore, a coin toss decided League Champion, and Culver won the toss.

13 alone in the 3rd quarter. Junior Armani Nichols had 13 points including 6 in the fourth. At the second meet with Inglewood, Montgomery had 14 points in the fourth quarter which included being 100% from the free throw line. Nichols had 22 points in the game against Hawthorne. “I had a lot of interest from a couple small D1s and D2s and a couple offers but I wasn’t interested because they didn’t have the degrees I wanted to pursue,” said Montgomery. There is a lot of po tential for next year’s basketball team with seven returners including Nichols, Dixon, and 2nd-Team All-Leaguer junior Chris Edwards. “I feel that I will be much more of a leader coming into my senior year, I know I will have to do a good amount of scoring but also facilitate for my other teammates,” said Nichols, “if I just score, then we won’t be a success; but overall, I think [next] year we will be better and more competitive in league.”

Sports on Fire

Dribbling all the way to

Girls basketball team travels to CIF championship by Chloe Green SPORTS EDITOR CHAMPIONSHIP: MURRIETA VALLEY

Culver City, who was 4th seed, traveled to the Anaheim Stadium on Friday, March 1 to play in the Division 2A CIF-SS Championship against 2nd seed Murrieta Valley, losing 49-37. Approximately 150 students came on rooter buses to go along with the overwhelming support of other faculty members, friends, and families. “Nobody likes losing but they have no reason to hang their heads. This team accomplished more than anyone expected them to and we are proud of their achievements. They earned the right to be in this position and everyone did their part to get here,” said Assistant Coach Mark Kitabayashi. After the team lost 9 seniors last season, this was a rebuilding year with only one returning starter (senior Taylor Tanita) and one other play who received real playing time (junior Kelsey Ueda). After the first quarter, Culver was down 13 - 5. The half

ended 19 - 15 with us still down, but making up a lot of ground. The third quarter ended 31 - 23, and the game finished with a score of 49 37 for a Culver loss. Tanita had 12 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Ueda had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Senior Shannon Yahn had 8 rebounds and 4 points. The Lady Centaurs were completely in the game until the last minute. A technical was called on Yahn for an intentional foul. Down by 4, the ladies were forced to stop the clock by fouling. Murrieta Valley made 8 free throws to win. “I told them to keep their heads up, and learn from the experience. We live to fight another day,” said head coach Julian Anderson. Our ladies will play against Granada Hills on Wed, March 3/6 at their home at 7:00 PM for their first round of the state tournament. SEMIFINALS: ORANGE LUTHERAN

This is the game that everyone is still talking about, nobody thought that the

Lady Centaurs even ha chance against 1st seed ange Lutheran. “Of cou Tay came through with that clutch shot to win, said Kitabayashi. Mult versions of the video th is posted online has bee viewed hundreds of tim With 14.5 seconds on t clock, Ueda was fouled She made her first free throw, and second after timeout putting the Lad Centaurs ahead at 40 Orange Lutheran made layup on the play, tying the game at 40. With 6 seconds left on regulati Taylor Tanita was sprin ing down the court. Sh made it about 18 feet o dribbling the ball to the right side of the hoop. seemed to almost lose control, but she regaine composure and chucke up a shot, and it went in at the buzzer! The who team ran onto the court fast as they could, and whole city of Culver w ballistic. Culver led at the first 1 9. The half ended 20 - 1

Girls soccer dominates the field


finally beating them in a record-breaking match.

by Mirelle Rangel Asst News Editor

Monica and Beverly Hills, the girls main rivals, had records of 8-2-0 and 7-3-0, respectively, making it a close call for the CCHS On February 6, the CCHS girls varsity soccer victory. team delivered in their final At halftime of the Hawleague game against Bev- thorne game with a score erly Hills, winning with a of 4-0, players took a break total score of 5-2, giving while a celebration of the seniors on the team took them the Ocean League Title. Assistant Coach Jen- place. “It’s hard,” said nifer Kochevar displayed Kochevar, referring to the the final score on her class- graduating seniors, “I’ll room board and beaming miss them.” Kochevar promptly she said, “The girls played called up the proud parents really well together, the passing leading up to the of the seniors, as Coach Mair listed the accomplishgoals was beautiful.” For Kochevar, this win ments of the veteran playsignaled an emotional end ers, noting their value on of the road for her coach- the team. Principal Dylan ing. “This is my last year Farris and Athletic Direccoaching, because I took tor Tom Salter were also on AP US History, but as present as the girls were my last year, I could not acknowledged. Almost immediately, the have asked for anything second half began and the better.” In comparison, Santa game became noticeably


more heated as players from both sides went down. But two more goals were scored, sealing a victory for CCHS. Victories have not always been constant for the girls soccer team. Having lost to the Santa Monica Vikings 3-2 in an away game, the players have come to terms with their weaknesses. “We had a lot of chances [during the game],” said junior and defender Miya Torimaru, “but

we weren’t able to execute or score.” Senior Andrea Morales agreed, adding that they were “taken off guard,” by the Samo game. The perseverance ultimately paid off and the CCHS girls managed to bring the glory home, advancing to the final game against Beverly Hills and

ad a d Orurse, h ,” tiple hat en mes. the d.

r the dy 38. ea g 6 ion, nthe out e She

ed ed n ole t as the went

14 18

Centaurs. The third quarter tied at 32, and the game closed at 42 - 40. Tanita had 16 points and 6 steals, Ueda had 12 points and 9 rebounds, and Yahn added 8 points and 8 steals. “The girls played extremely well against Orange Lutheran. Their team defense was excellent, and they made the key plays throughout the game in order to give themselves a chance at the end to beat a team that was number one seed and an overwhelming favorite to win,” says Kitabayashi. QUARTERFINALS: MOORPARK

Moorpark, who had previously upset a rival of Culver City in fifth seeded West Torrance, came to Culver City on Feb. 23 ready to play. They brought along a crowd that took up half of our gym with all of their basketball teams having Culver a little shaken, trailing 7 - 0 after the first four minutes of play. The quarter ended 13 - 5. In the second,

Freshman Kailey Tooke went coast-to-coast down the sideline, and Taylor scored four points to bring the score at the half to 19 - 14. Our girls outrebounded Moorpark, but struggled with putting the ball back into the hoop. “I knew we couldn’t shoot 12% for the whole game, and I knew that once we saw the ball go through the hoop, it was going to be fine,” said Taylor Tanita. In the third, the game became tied for the first time at 20 points. Then, Culver went on a fantastic 11 - 0 run. Taylor scored a three, a two, and then another three with a three added from sophomore Katie Lin. The third ended with a score of 31 - 23. The game ended 47 - 39 with a win from The City. Tanita had 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals to go along with Ueda’s 9 points and 8 rebounds.

years since girls basketball made it to the championship


games girls soccer won in league

by Carlie Whittaker Staff Writer National football signing day occurred Thursday, February 6 and Culver City High was able to participate for the fourth year in a row with the rest of the country. Quarterback Xan Cuevas committed to Lindenwood University, defensive tackle Deon Young committed to Northern Arizona, and wide receiver Julius Wilson to San Diego State. Supportive friends, families, and staff entered the high school gym promptly at twelve-thirty to witness the three Varsity football starters sign their letters of intent. Cuevas, who signed to Lindenwood University, a division two school in St. Charles, Missouri, was one of their top recruits. “Cuevas is a dual threat quarterback from California that impressed Lindenwood coaches with his ability to take over games,” said Lindenwood Athletics, “he finished his senior season with 2,243 passing yards, 412 rushing yards, and 19 touchdowns. Cuevas was a Second-Team All-Ocean league selection.” Next


years since girls soccer won league

Three varsity football players have signed commitment letters to the colleges of their choice

p, the first time in 23 years

games girls water polo won


Sign on the dotted line finals


Kourtney Brodnax The Centaurian

PLAYERS Deon Young, Julius Wilson and

Xan Cuevas sign letters of intent.

year he will major in business management. On Young’s commitment to Northern Arizona, he said, “It was the best fit for me, I felt very comfortable there.” . Young averaged seven tackles per game and finished the season with 85 tackles and 3 sacks. He was also named Defensive Player of the Year in Ocean league. He plans on majoring in sports medicine Wilson chose the Aztecs, a division one school, because, “I have family there,” said Wilson, “and I clicked with the coaches.” He finished the season with 700 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He will major in communications. Alongside San

Diego State, Wilson received offers from Washington State, Washington and Cal. After the boys signed their contracts and thanked supporters, they received a live congratulatory call from a Culver City High alumnus, and former offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, Derrick Deese, who played from 1992 to 2003. “It’s an exciting day, kind of bittersweet, I hate to see them go,” said head varsity coach Jahmal Wright, “but proud to see them leave with their accomplishments.”


players that will return for boys basketball next year


points Taylor Tanita scored at the buzzer in the semifinals to win


championship CCHS played this year




Staff Editorial

The burden of being the best

The Centaurian Staff Printed by the Gardena Valley News

Editor-in-Chief Maddie Silva News Editor Stephanie Liem Assistant News Editor Mirelle Rangel Features Editor Samantha Kim A&E Editor Cheryl Hoffman Opinions Editor Sarah Dolan Sports Editor Chloe Green Online Editor Kourtney Brodnax Design Editor Jessica Kim Staff Writers Daisy Alvarado, Priyanka Desai, Viviana Duran, Krist Fletcher, Nadia Hamud, Tasfiya Islam, Mujahid Nawaz, Daniel Parra, Adriana Romero, Carlie Whittaker Adviser Penny Schulte Contact us at (310) 842-4200 x6041 Culver City High School 4401 Elenda Street Culver City CA 90230

Check out our website at

The Centaurian newspaper is made possible by donations from the Culver City High School Alumni Association. For more information go to Email:

Take a shot

at writing a letter to the editor

CELEBRATING VICTORY: Winners of various Senior Best categories take a photo for the yearbook on the bleachers to comemorate their win.


very year high school seniors across America are chosen by their classmates as “Most Spirited,” “Class Clown” and perhaps the most infamous one, “Most Likely to Succeed.” Dubbed as senior superlatives or Senior Bests, they are typically conducted by the yearbook staff and winners are featured with a clever picture in the annual yearbook. Following tradition, Culver conducted its poll this year, but many high schools have begun to eliminate the practice due to the perceived burden it places on its winners. According to a recent New York Times article, a survey taken on MemoryLane. com reported that almost one-third of “Most Likely to Succeed” winners have found the victory a curse. Blake Atwood, now 30 years old, winner of “Most Likely

to Succeed” at his high school in Texas claims that the win is like “lugging an albatross to every job interview, new relationship or writing endeavor.” Another winner from Florida claims he feels pressured to live up to the label. High school labels should be a memory in your head, not something that defines you. Tying yourself down to them is not worth your time and therefore the process of nominating and voting should be enjoyed. Senior polls are a fun way celebrate what you like most about your peers. As you nominate and vote, thinking about who to pick for “Most Infectious Laugh” or “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” allows you to reflect on your high school career and think about your favorite char-

acteristics of your classmates. Besides, “Most Likely to Succeed” is meant to be inspirational, an honor. There’s no need to stress out over it like it’s junior year in the middle of May. Some argue that the “Senior Bests” is one big popularity contest. There might be an ounce of truth to that but it’s no more a popularity contest than votes for the prom and homecoming court except that the “Senior Bests” reveal a specific characteristic that the student is liked and remembered for. The permanence of Senior polls that prom and homecoming courts do not have can bother some since the winners are recorded in the annual school yearbook. However, in the age of social media, permanence is at its peak. All of the pictures and video that are constantly uploaded of a single event are the epitome of perpetuity. Yes, prom and homecoming courts are not forever written in a yearbook, but the record is still floating around in hundreds of student’s newsfeeds and timelines. Furthermore, after high school who do you have to prove your “success” to? No one. You can live out your future any way that you choose without worry of defining yourself against someone else’s standards. In perspective, success is defined in so many different ways anyway. How one voter defines success does not at all discount the validity of someone else’s definition of success. Living in a farmhouse with a barn full of horses could be the epitome of success to one person while becoming the owner of a bakery and selling signature creations could be the ideal life for another. In the end, everyone defines success differently and it is pointless to tie yourself down to high school labels after you graduate.

Women in combat: for better or worse? Allowing women to fight on the frontline could bring change By Krist Fletcher Staff Writer


he ban for women serving in a military combat position has been lifted, but the positive and negative effects to this decision are still being debated. Regardless of the moral issues it may raise, I believe that it is the right choice because everyone should be given an equal opportunity to pursue what they wish. The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equally. Even though in 1776,when the Declaration of Independence was passed, it pertained to all white males with property, but centuries have passed and in this generation the word “man” can now be interpreted as all human beings. With the ban lifted, women can now officially take on roles that allow them to serve on the front-line of the battlefield, but realistically, women have already been taking great risks serving in the military. Many have passed away on duty but they are made aware of all the risks that

come with joining the military. Allowing women to fill in a combat position allows them to serve their country in the same way that men do. In addition, a soldier increases in rank through time and by the achievements that person attains, which can potentially change his title from a soldier to Sargeant or General. Now women can take on the higher roles by going through the ranks that all male soldiers have had to do, giving them experience and an opportunity to increase in ranking. Military strength, size, and efficiency can potentially increase as well. Not all women are able to complete the same physical duties as most men but they can provide intellect. Fighting in a war doesn’t necessarily only need brute force, but also brilliant decision making, which women are fully capable of supplying.Also many new volunteers would be glad to take on these roles in the military, which will increase the amount of those working in the military. Of course there are issues many people see with the ban being lifted but there are solutions to the issues. If you are worried

about their physical strength, don’t be. All women have to fulfill a set of prerequisites pertaining to their physical abilities. Some think women should be removed because they may distract the men from being fully focused on duty, but the fair thing to do is remove the men because if they can’t focus due to a female partner, then how is he expected to focus under gun firing? Also people are worried about women being captured as a prisoner of war. I can agree morally this worries me and it pains me to think of a woman to be under any terrible circumstances, but by joining the military women are fully aware of what may potentially happen to them. There used to be a time where women couldn’t perform in theatre, work in factories, or serve as police officers but those days are far gone. It’s about time for this country to accept all genders and sexes and allow them to really be equal to each other. Countries like Israel, Germany, and Canada allow women to serve in combat so I believe America is taking a step forward by allowing this.




Do my insecurities make me look fat? Body image issues are familiar to many but its harmful effects truly resonate with this generation By Mirelle Rangel assistant news editor


ody image: two simple words that make adolescents across the globe roll their eyes in exasperation. It seems like an old topic of conversation, one that the media both loves and hates. But I’m not planning on attacking the media; that’s been done an infinite number of times in an infinite number of ways. I’m searching for comprehension. Nurse practitioner and Health Center staff-member, Kathleen Arena, defined body image as “self- perception based on cultural influences.” In this case, culture refers to our ever-changing environment, including school, home, the mall etc. We are affected by everything and everyone and as hard as we sometimes try, we can’t change that. But we can change the way we are affected. Recently, in the hall, I overheard a girl commenting on a friend’s body. Her exact words were “Yeah, she’d be really pretty if she lost like ten pounds.” The phrase startled me, caught me off guard, and left me completely flabbergasted. The girl in question had obviously thought about her response and seemed un-ashamed of her comment, but I knew it was wrong. As a note of caution: this is not a mani-

festo or an impassioned call to arms, nor am I hoping to inspire an angry mob of students to rally against society. No, I just want to explore why we, as humans, as teenagers, and as boys and girls, judge our bodies (and everyone else’s) so harshly. It seems as if we are in the midst of a “beauty apocalypse,” with friends and families undergoing cosmetic surgery left and right. Everyone seems to want microscopically small waists and large breasts, while men long for Superman’s abs of steel and iron thighs. The frightening part is that this isn’t just a trend or a short-lived phase. “I feel like body image has evolved, it didn’t come out of nowhere,” said junior Kelsi Parsons. We aren’t Barbie and Ken, and for many of us, that’s the hardest concept to grasp. I’m not assuming that everybody feels the same, there are several people who are confident enough to strut around in short-shorts and slinky tank-tops (this also applies to men). But as a woman, I don’t

want to be compared to Kate Upton, nor do I think men like being compared to Ryan Gosling. Things need to change. I no longer want to see girls sigh at their own reflection only to criticize the next person they see. Its as if I’m trapped in that scene from Mean Girls, where the female characters stare at themselves in the mirror and list the things they want to change about their bodies. But it’s not healthy to nitpick every single person’s body, and that includes our own. Arena attributed the negative comments to our overall environment and peer pressure, including the need to please others.“As you move Stefana Glognic away from the parental support system, information (comes) mainly from friends, which have their own convoluted ideas of body image expectations.” With no way to turn, we rely on friends and peers, who are often just as troubled as we are. Even so, PSAs, movie, books, and more

have all tried to turn back and reverse what has been done, but it’s difficult. Girls still suffer through eating disorders, and men still turn to performance enhancing drugs. It’s as if society has fallen down a rabbit hole and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. In an average sized high school, 59% of women and 29% of men try to lose weight at any given time, and the statistics must be even more startling at CCHS, where our student body is notoriously large. Its about time we realized what our generation has become. Society is a greedy creature that never has its fill, and as individuals we strive for the best, the bigger, and the “better”. The problem is, there isn’t a limit, and the supposed body wishlist keeps on going. Magazines continue to include beauty routines to get Angelina Jolie’s lips, Jessica Alba’s arms, and Emma Watson’s skin. While these women are beautiful, I don’t want to be their exact copy- I want to be myself. “You see people and then you want to look like them, but we shouldn’t look at just [physical qualities], we should look inside of them, as people,” senior Jesus Flores Rodriguez said. The point is this: perfection is defined differently by each person, but rather than impose a certain criteria on individuals, we should learn to accept everyone. We should change for the better and not for others.

The real purpose of the CAHSEE

It’s their body

Do we truly need another standardized test?

Unsolicited health advice is not as well-intentioned as it seems

By Sara Murphy Contributor


very year, hundreds of tenth graders gather together in classrooms all over the state to take the California High School Exit Exam, more commonly known as the CAHSEE. This standardized test, which contains multiple choice English and Math sections in addition to a timed essay, is required for graduation from high school in the state of California. It is also, unfortunately, the bane of many a high school student’s existence. Students complain constantly about taking the test, both because of the length and because they see it as “pointless.” While this may sound like the stereotypical, unfounded, complaints of many high school students, they (or shall I say we) may actually have a fair point. The CAHSEE was put in place with good intentions; it was created to “help ensure that students graduate from high school with grade level skills in reading, writing, and math” (as stated by the CAHSEE website). This is indeed a valid concern, and there should be minimum standards in place to graduate from high school; graduation should not be something handed to students on a silver platter, and the CAHSEE is intended to ensure that all of those who walk away with a high school diploma have the skills necessary to take whatever the next step in their

life may be. However, the CAHSEE may not be the best way in which to do this. High school students today are constantly bombarded with standardized tests, whether they be those distributed by the state in the spring or tests like the SAT and the AP tests. When it comes down to it, the CAHSEE is simply yet another standardized test, one that puts more stress on the students that must take it. Not only that, but teachers feel pressure to prepare for the test in class, taking away from in-depth instruction time in order to teach students the skills to pass the CAHSEE. With weeks of testing that students already undergo every spring, it seems that that should be enough redundant standardized testing for a lifetime. Why can’t these tests be used to determine graduation eligibility, instead of piling another test on students? Our educational culture has become so dependent on standardized testing to determine whether or not students are “succeeding” that it is no wonder that students groan at the thought of the CAHSEE; to them, it is just another test they must sit through, and it is difficult for them to see the good intention behind it. There should be minimum requirements to graduate from high school, and the basic math and English tested by the CAHSEE should be some of them. However, we already have grades and state tests that could be used to determine preparedness for graduation. We do not need another test that could potentially divert students’ attention away from education and funnel it towards test taking skills.

By Sarah Dolan Opinions Editor


ust a few weeks ago, The Daily Beast published an article listing readers’ dieting tips for New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Anyone who is familiar with Christie is probably also familiar with his most defining characteristic: his weight. When someone mentions his name, people don’t usually think of his cuts to the New Jersey state budget or the fact that he vetoed a bill for same-sex marriage; they think of the fat guy. Although I don’t particularly agree with many of his policies, I do feel that he, like anyone else, is entitled to his privacy, and his health falls into that category. Public figure or not, unsolicited health advice is invasive and rude. It is wrong to assume things about a person’s lifestyle simply because of their looks. Someone may be overweight but that does not mean that they sit on the couch all day eating sweets and processed foods; conversely, not all thin people starve themselves and exercise constantly. A few people may fall into those stereotypes, however, most don’t and continuing to rely on tired cliches is only going to exacerbate this issue. While the Daily Beast article was probably well-intentioned, it was uncalled for. But it also is representative of the culture of weight loss that now seems to permeate almost every aspect of life. The second Christie announced his plan to lose weight, there was an explosion of articles and blog posts all over the internet. You can’t watch a TV show without seeing an infomercial about some new weight-loss contraption. No magazine is complete without a few pages on getting your “best body ever.” And it’s not just the media that promotes this, it’s the people. People often dole out health advice and dieting tips to anyone they feel needs it, operating under the guise that they’re worried about others’ health. But they’re not worried about their health; they’re worried about their fat. Though many won’t acknowledge it, weight has no inherent moral value. The amount of fat on one’s body does not automatically determine their willpower, the state of their health, or how lazy they are. The only way to find that out is through getting to know somebody. And whether or not you find someone pleasing to look at, their body and what they do with it is none of your business. Commenting negatively on a stranger’s health or appearance is just plain rude, no matter your intention.

10 Alum Reporters Return



Former student journalists revisit 54 years later


by Mirelle Rangel Asst.News Editor Picture this: The year is 1959 and the place is CCHS. The halls are heavy with the average hustle and bustle of high school life, but in a nearby classroom there sit a handful of eager young journalists, curious and hungry for enlightenment. Among the students sit Les Goldberg and Bob Tarlau who are unaware of the impact that a seemingly simple journalism class would have on their lives. Now, almost 54 years later, Goldberg and Tarlau sit in Room 41, attempting to shed some light on a new generation of journalists at CCHS.

A LOOK BACK: Tarlau and Goldberg flip through their old newspaper with current editor in chief Maddie Silva. Goldberg and Tarlau have revolutionized journalism with noteworthy careers in print and broadcasting. Their careers had humble beginnings, both enrolling in a journalism class

at CCHS. The class was then taught by May Carpenter, a deeply influential instructor, “I had an inspiring teacher,” said Tarlau, “Infusing me with enthusiasm for print.” As a sophomore,

Goldberg accepted Carpenter’s offer to become a reporter for the CCHS newspaper. Two years later, Goldberg graduated, becoming a student and staff writer at Santa Monica College,

Family Business

and later becoming Assistant News Editor at Valley College. “It was eye-opening to be... a reporter, we found stories on our own.” And then goldberg was drafted. He eventually won the US army commendation medal in 1967 for escorting President Lyndon B. Johnson to a hurricane-hit area. Goldberg was afterwards hired by the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, working as a general assignments reporter and covering the Academy Awards every year. But it was the 1974 Academy Awards that he coins as the most memorable, when host David Niven was interrupted live and onstage by a streaker. In 1985, Goldberg established his very own public rela-

tions agency, Les Goldberg Public Relations, a bold career path that certainly paid off. He also introduced the first Toshiba laptop to America and now writes for several different publications. His friend and former classmate, Bob Tarlau began at CCHS as well, graduating in ‘61, and beginning a prominent career in broadcasting. “Journalism has been a wonderful career, been in it for 46 years,” said Tarlau. Tarlau cites two long years spent in green uniforms and swamps, having also been drafted into the army. But he returned to the US with enthusiasm for his new career. He focused largely on broadcast, spearheading his craft with KTLA

Channel Five in 1965. “I loved the technology of it.” He then moved onto higher level professions, winning an Emmy for his outstanding work as a Special Projects Producer at Fox 11 News. For Tarlau, broadcasting has been a rewarding experience, “It was the people I met. Whether it was the President, a woman who worked as a prostitute, or a man lying in a gutter on Skid Row, they all had stories.” Both Tarlau and Goldberg have had eminent careers, quenching their natural curiosity with significant contributions to journalism.“It’s an exciting career,” Tarlau said. “I’ve been on top of mountains and at the bottom of oceans.”

Scoring Jobs

Ian LeCheminant talks about Valerie Harada follows father’s footsteps achieving high school dream

Students Then, Teachers Now Darrin Dennis Jennifer Kochevar Curt Mortenson Steve Pollman Kelly Tarvyd Carlos Valverde Jahmal Wright

Kourtney Brodnax/The Centaurian

SAY AHH: Dr. Valerie Harada does routine check. by Kourtney Brodnax Online Editor She’s all about Crest smiles and comfort, strong gums and sealants. Her passion for dentistry is like no other. The dreaded feeling of cold metal pressing on your teeth doesn’t apply to those who are under Dr. Valerie Harada’s care because her bubbly and outgoing personality is truly inviting. As her tools for success were set up by her grandfather in 1959 and sharpened by her father in 1976, Valerie was able to grasp the first most important examination instrument handed to her- an education at Culver

City High. “I’ve always wanted to be a dentist,” said Valerie, a 2002 graduate.“I used to pull my baby teeth, look at them and inspect them,” she said as she gestures with her hands the motions she did as a kid. Her most influential teachers were Curt Mortenson, John Bakunin (before the beard), Nancy Goldberg and Judith Sanderson. She especially enjoyed the team teaching in which Mortenson and Goldberg participated in also claiming that AP Physics was her most challenging course. “I did pretty much everything.

AP Chemistry, European History, Biology and Physics,” said Valerie, “and now when I write I’m more conscious of ‘be’ verbs.” Outside of class, Valerie dedicated her free time to the girls’ basketball team where she played JV her freshman year and varsity for the remaining three. “I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings and having to practice in the cold gym where I could see my breath. Then I realized I was with my friends and it was worth it.” Fortunately, her strenuous schedule paid off as she was accepted into her number one school, UCLA, for

undergraduate studies. The transition from Culver to UCLA was fairly challenging because of the big lecture halls and larger campus. However, “It was great going to a big school,” Harada said. After UCLA, Harada attended the University of the Pacific for graduate school. Luckily for her, the University of the Pacific offered a three year program which allowed Harada to finish her studies early. “Dental school is really hard. Before you start you have to know what you want to do.” “I really enjoyed going to Culver. They offer a lot of classes if you want to challenge yourself,” Harada said. “It was nice going to a smaller school where you know everybody. Sometimes I wish I could go back.” The dentistry office on Washington Blvd. has been family operated since 1959. Harada plans on one day taking over the family business.

by Sam Page Reporter Film scoring is the art of writing music to accompany a film. This music is ever-present, from The Hunger Games to Titanic, it is an unchanging precedent to allow all sorts of instruments to support a film, setting the mood, influencing felings, and furthering the emotional impact of key scenes. And CCHS alumni Ian LeCheminant has made a career out of this delicate practice. He graciously agreed to a phone interview, where he discussed his profession, and the influence Culver City High’s had on his life. After graduating Culver High, LeCh-

eminant studied music at Cal State Northridge.He now works scoring short films, indie films, and anything inbetween. He expresses his own music tastes by writing and playing his own music. He says it was definitely his goal in high school to work in the music industry in some way preferably writing music as he does now. He remembers how he “fell in love with it”, and was ready to dive in despite the difficulties of the industry. LeCheminant started playing guitar when he was eleven and was inspired by the guitarist of Avenged Sevenfold, a favorite band of his, who

wrote more traditional music outside of the band. When a freshman Ian came to CCHS, he enrolled in the AVPA music department, learning theory and other basics of the trade from mentor Chris Thomas. Over the course of sophomore, junior, and finally senior year, LeCheminant practiced composing, applied it to film, and scored his first movies. He gives a large amount of credit to Dr. Spano for opening workshops during his junior year which focused on music using computer programs. LeCheminant, describes it as invaluable. “Without Spano, I would not have had any gearing at all.”

ON THE JOB: Ian LeCheminant working on a film score at home.



Culture Shock

New students share their thoughts about change

by Stephanie Liem News Editor One step forward and another step back. The opportunity for a fresh start in a new country, this experience carries along with it an unfamiliar environment full of different customs and people. Despite the struggle, the various foreign students enrolled into the campus have adapted to Centaur ways quite swiftly. Currently enrolled in English Language Development (ELD) classes taught by Laurie Gatz, these students learn about various aspects of the English language, ranging from sentence structure to pronunciation and grammar. Most of the students remarked that the most difficult part about coming to America is learning the language. With the assistance of Gatz, the students are able to develop their English skills and gradually master the language. Adjusting to a completely a new atmo-

sphere takes effort, especially in a school full of different rules and regulations. When asked what they had found alarming about CCHS in comparison to their former school, the Thai students of the ELD class mentioned how in their homeland, female students were required to follow strict dress policies in which dyed hair, painted nails, and piercings were prohibited. Short hair and a plain uniform are the norm for female students. Despite the strict regulations, Jakitha Chanthisa and her sister Munchusa Chanthisa who moved from Thailand nine months ago, came to appreciate some of the rules they had previously abided by after realization that uniforms had actually made dressing for school more simple. Many remarked that the classes here were significantly easier than those in their home country. Sopho-

Jackitha Chanthisa Sophmore

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand more Akari Htet from Myanmar said, “The education is easy here. You don’t have the memorize the textbook for tests.” Instead of having to rely on pure memorization skills, the tests here are regarded as more simple. “In Egypt, there’s more work and the tests are a lot harder. There’s too much on the board to study,” said freshman, Leonardo Salama. Additionally, these students also had more class periods within a school day, numbers ranging from seven to nine. The classes in China and Thailand had also required the teachers to transition between classes for the different subjects they taught instead, leaving the students to stay within their one

How long in U.S: 9 months America’s Pros: The weather CCHS Pros: Her friends, teachers, and classes--in particular ELD class What she misses about her country: Family and friends

homeroom throughout the day. Disregarding the many differences, one thing to their liking about the American school system was the prohibition of teachers from abusing their students as punishment. Many feared their teachers, Huang even regarded his teacher as being some-

Kelin Huang Senior

Hometown: Wenzhou, China

Coming Soon! La Crescenta Summer 2013

what of a “master”. Strict rules dominated their school hallways, but in all retrospect Chanthisa and also Thai student, Kulthida Butpetch, agreed upon the notion that these regulations had provided them with a good sense of discipline that they needed. In a land full of brighter opportunities, the students wish to accomplish similar dreams to every other American teenager, to aspire into a prestigious college and get a well paying job. The Chanthisa sisters hope to spend a couple years studying in Santa Monica College, then transfer-

How long in US: two years America’s Pros: “It’s very clean and at night it’s very quiet, not like China.” CCHS Pros: The easiness of classes What he misses about his country: His sister and middle school teacher

Leonardo Salama Sophmore Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt ring themselves into UCLA. On a more spontaneous note, another student, Salama envisions himself being a soccer player in the future. Other students mutually plan for college while others wish to return home after years of high school. Despite the various nationalities and countries, the students can all come to a unanimous agreement. There is no place like home. Although the city lights and tall skyscrapers attract the eyes of many, America is lacking a sense of home to these students as they remark that they miss their families, friends,


How long in the US: 8 months America’s Pros: The friendliness of people here CCHS Pros: The easiness of classes What he misses about his country: Family and friends

and teachers. One student in particular mentioned missing the proximity of restaurants in China in comparison to America. Huang said, “In China, places to eat are minutes away. Here, you have to drive an hour or so.” Interestingly, another mentioned missing the department stores. “I miss going after school with my friends to the department store,” said Jackitha Chanthisa. Regardless of the language difficulties and cultural differences, these students are getting comfortable with the American ways, yet still carrying on aspects of their own unique cultures.

How well do YOU know your teachers?

Name ______________________

Directions: See how many teachers you can identify from these childhood photos!

Period ______

Date _______________

Once styling a mohawk, this teacher attended Mills College and has a Masters in Directing.

This teacher played as a pitcher for her Granada Hills High School softball team, later winning a scholarship for pitching at Ball State University.

Answer: ___________________________

Answer: _________________________ This teacher was an outgoing and babbling baby who still has a flare for talking in the classroom.

This preschooler resembles his Halloween costume from three years ago, Russell from Up. Answer: ____________________

This teacher played football for the Castle High Scool Knights as a linebacker in Kaneche, Hawaii.

Answer: _________________________

Answer: __________________

Two and half years old in this picture, this teacher is also a graduate of Culver High.

This teacher attended high school in Illinois and college in Arizona before finally moving here to Los Angeles. Answer: ________________

This curious kid loved animals and learning, especially science! Answer: ___________________________

Answer: ___________________________

Check our website,, for the answers!

March 2013 Edition  
March 2013 Edition  

CCHS Centaurian