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5 — Ski COVID Safety 6 — Kamala Harris 7 — Vaccine Debate 8 — Coping with COVID 10 — Learning on Remote

26 — Stance of the Staff 28 — Alkire Interview 30 — New Dress Code 32 — Construction on Campus


FEATURE 12 — College Process in COVID 14 — Young Entrepreneurs 17 — Holiday Traditions 18 — DMV Horror Stories 20 — Teachers and Babies 22 — Winter Instagrams 24 — Salute to Our Safety Guides

34 — Other Side of Fast Fashion 36 — Wage War on COVID 38 — Royals in Montecito 40 — Comparing Pandemics 42 — Education in a Pandemic

LIFESTYLE 44 — Breakfast Club 46 — Sofia Anderson on Skates 47 — Pop Smoke 48 — Club Updates 50 — Adapted Sports

STAFF EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Daisy Finefrock Phoebe Stein

NEWS EDITORS Daisy Finefrock Phoebe Stein

CREATIVE DIRECTORS Frances Carlson Madeleine Nicks

FEATURE EDITORS Frances Carlson Madeleine Nicks

BUSINESS MANAGERS Dare Fitzpatrick Hanna Masri


WEB EDITORS Keenan Surber Nafisah Fathima

COVER: featuring Gus Sabino ‘21 shot on location at Dewey Nicks’ studio by Madeleine Nicks, Frances Carlson, Daisy Finefrock and Phoebe Stein.

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SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Elli Westmacott LIFESTYLE EDITORS Dare Fitzpatrick Hanna Masri

STAFF Alex Bates Carson Bohnet Lyla Bollag Luca D’Agruma Olivia Davenport Myles Hazen Andreas Jackson Abby Kim Nikki Mielcarek Cierra Nervo Patrik Nugent Taylor Smith Cora Vides Andreas Jackson FACULTY ADVISER Trish McHale, MJE

thefourthestate.net NEWS • 3

Letter from the Editors


ear Laguna community, We have never been more excited to say the words: happy new year! The start of a new year often is synonymous with growth, rebirth, and resolutions. This year, we hope that it means a chance to make up for some of the time we lost as a community as the pandemic disrupted our lives time and time again. Laguna’s efforts to open campus for in-person classes is something to be proud of right now, at least that’s what we think. Our school makes connecting possible when isolation is far too common, and as seniors, we couldn’t be more grateful. Two thousand twenty-one marks our last year on campus, our last year as editors-in-chief of this magazine. For this issue, we focus on the chance for the new beginning that comes when January arrives. We have hope for growth, recovery and rebuilding of the community that has been affected by COVID-19. Once again, we have an incredible staff to thank for producing this issue of the magazine. Without such a talented group of artists, writers and designers, we are sure that this issue would not have been possible. It is hard to walk the halls without running into dozens of passionate and talented students. We are privileged to see each other each day, collaborate on projects like this magazine, play sports, discuss world events, argue about world events and all of the other incredible opportunities that come with being together, in person. Who knows what 2021 will bring — if we take anything from 2020, it’s that we should always prepare ourselves for the worst. As a staff, we agreed that instead, we should look at the new year with hope. We highlighted students and teachers who have made our year better. We discussed changes on campus, like the new dress code and the new buildings. We’re taking advantage of this new beginning and seizing every opportunity presented to us. We hope you do too.

Editors-in-Chief Phoebe Stein & Daisy Finefrock

• MISSION STATEMENT The Fourth Estate is an open forum created for and by journalism students of Laguna Blanca Upper School. We hope to use this space to cover events, interviews and topics of interest in greater depth. Our staff seeks to be a platform for creative expression and to report on events and ideas of importance to our readers and to focus on topics of significance and interest to inform and entertain the school community. • LETTERS TO THE EDITORS The Fourth Estate welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and must be no longer than 400 words. Editors reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and/or taste. Anonymous letters will not be published. The Fourth Estate reserves the right to reject advertising. Opinions expressed in this publication reflect the perspectives of the staff whose goal is to inform our readers with reliable information from which to base decisions and opinions. Editorials represent the voice of the staff and are voted on by the entire staff. Columns and commentaries are labeled as such and represent the opinion of the author. The Fourth Estate publishes four issues per year with a senior insert in the last issue. • BYLINE POLICY When two or three people work on a story, all names will be listed. If an editor rewrites a majority of a story, the editor’s name will be listed. • CORRECTION POLICY The staff strives for accuracy. When factual errors occur, mistakes are found or brought to the attention of the staff, corrections will be printed in a corrections box in the next issue. • COLOPHON This is the second issue of the new decade and the 26th volume of The Fourth Estate. Laguna Blanca School, 4125 Paloma Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93110. Contacts are available at tmchale@lagunablanca.org, (805) 687-2461 x0317 or www.thefourthestate.net. Laguna Blanca School is an EK through 12th grade Independent School with a student population of 300, with 100 in the Lower School, 110 in the Middle School and 182 in the Upper School, and a faculty of approximately 60. The Fourth Estate is an 8.5 by 11 general magazine, created on Mac computers using Adobe InDesign CC2020. FreightNeo Pro and Big Caslon font families and printed on glossy paper free for students and $30 for annual subscriptions. The magazine is distributed to all Upper School students through the school’s advisory program and sent by mail to subscribers and advertisers with 300 copies printed per issue. We are associated with NSPA, CSPA and JEA.

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How Ski Resorts Are Coping with COVID-19 WORDS by CARSON BOHNET and ART by TAYLOR SMITH

After months of closures due to COVID-19, the decision to open ski resorts this Winter is a controversial topic for many.


fter months of being closed, ski resorts are re-opening in Europe and in the U.S. which leaves people to ask if it is safe to go skiing this winter due to the ever-climbing corona virus infection numbers. France, Germany and Italy have chosen to close mountain resorts until further notice, however, in Austria and Switzerland, a large number of resorts remain open to visitors. Although people have different opinions on the safety of ski resorts being open, it is up to the individual resorts to take the safety precautions put in place by the mountain resort owners. Countries are considering opening resorts due to the massive debt from closures. For instance, resorts in Austria

would lose $2.4 billion if they remain closed. Financial considerations aside, another purpose of opening resorts is to ensure a sense of normalcy for regular skiers in safely continuing their normal winter activities, and to retain their mental health and well-being to help balance the stress caused by the pandemic. Resorts are advertising safety and requiring face masks and social distancing on and off the mountain. “I was really impressed with the COVID measures and safety regulations enforced by mountain work-

ers while skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho,” said freshman James Couvillion. Resorts that are open for the season must put strict safety guidelines in place. Mammoth Mountain asks guests to wear masks while in lines and while inside all facilities. Resort owners are enforcing rules to limit congregation in common areas, as well as increasing sanitation procedures in common areas. Retail stores at most resorts and at Mammoth will be open at 20% capacity, and guests will be asked to spend limited time in lodges. It is reassuring news for people wary about visiting ski resorts at this time to hear that safety protocols are being upheld at ski mountains. This news can bring optimism for the future for skiers who have chosen not to partake in the sport this season.

thefourthestate.net NEWS • 5

A New Age of Vice Presidents:

The First Woman and Woman of Color is Elected VP

What Kamala Harris being chosen as the first Black female Vice President means for women of color, the future of our country and everyone living in the United States.

“It is certainly a very significant step of her being elected the first Black female vice president. She is a milestone in this country’s history, but just like what she said, she will not be the last one working in office, which is so encouraging in so many ways to so many people out there,” said freshman Lucy Wang. “I can’t wait to see what she and Biden are going to accomplish in their presidency,” Lucy added. Only two other women in U.S. history were on the ballot to become Vice Presidents: Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. Now, a woman of color not only was considered, but was actually elected into office; a feat that was considered unimaginable years ago is now a reality. This moment in history has and will continue to change views on women in power and gender equality. This milestone is a stepping stone in the right direction towards creating an equal system that does not discriminate on race or gender.



ome day in the near future, a chapter in the history books of every student will read as follows: on Jan. 20, 2021, 56-year- old senator Kamala Harris became the first Black female Vice President. This is a monumental moment that most Americans thought would never occur in their lifetime. To some, this accomplishment signifies that anything is possible in the United States of America. In a country so divided, we can only hope that having a diverse ticket in the White House will open minds and move this country forward. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris told the audience in Wilmington, Del. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” Young girls, no matter what race, color or national origin can be inspired by the idea that anything is possible — something Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris have advocated since becoming public figures.

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COVID-19 Vaccine: Who Will Take it ? People around the world are ready for this pandemic to go away — but they are divided whether or not to take a COVID-19 vaccine.


his pandemic has gone on long enough. Students want to return to school, businesses want to reopen and friends want to hang out without fear of contracting COVID-19. All the resources required to lessen the pandemic’s spread are available. Wearing masks and social distancing are examples of temporary resources that help, but the long-term solution is a vaccine. The most popular vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, ​​are being distributed to the public. Vaccines could bring the world out of the darkness. The CDC stated that COVID-19 vaccines would help keep people from getting the virus, help build protection and be an essential tool to help stop the pandemic spread. However, there is a divide in people’s opinions about vaccines. For many, the news of a vaccine is a relief after months of fearing for their lives in quarantine. “I’m excited about the COVID vaccine because this means that people who I love and care about can be safe,” freshman Kendall Keshen said. “My parents, who are healthcare providers, can be safe and don’t have to worry about exposing their patients [to the virus].” Freshman Lucy Wang is ready to have things back to normal. “I am really excited, and I can’t wait to take our masks off and go to restaurants again.” “Americans will likely experience at least one side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors say that’s normal and you should still get vaccinated,” said Health reporter for USA Today Adrianna Rodriguez.“Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine means “your body responded the way it’s supposed to.” On the other hand, some are not exactly sure if they should be giving this vaccine a standing ovation just yet. Although the news is inspiring, some believe that it’s too early to determine if the vaccines work, or if they will have any long-lasting side effects.

Everyone wants this virus controlled, but many believe the vaccines were rushed. Many Americans think it’s likely a vaccine will be used before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood. It is too early to know what the vaccines have in store. Concerns about side effects and uncertainty around a vaccine’s effectiveness are widely cited as reasons by those who would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available today. Pew Research Center states that among the roughly half of Americans who say they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, 76% express concerns about side effects are a major reason they would not get it. “The most commonly reported side effect among vaccine recipients under age 55 was a sore arm,” USA Today reports, “followed by fatigue (60% after the second shot); headache (52% after the second shot); other muscle aches (37%); and chills (35%). About 28% took pain medication after the first shot and 45% after the second shot.” A Pew Research Center poll reports that about half of U.S. adults say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today; nearly half of people say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time. The uncertainty as to whether the vaccines are safe or not has taken a toll on people’s decisions to take them. People who want to take the vaccine, like freshman Grace Trautwin, still have concerns. “I’m worried about potentially negative side effects and I’m worried that the vaccine won’t be distributed fairly to those who need it most. I’m focusing on hope, but I’m a little apprehensive.”


COVID Recovery: How Our Community Is Coping Community members share their COVID-19 challenges and their methods of coping with the pandemic. WORDS and ART by DARE FITZPATRICK

Penelope McKean: ‘24 What has been the most difficult aspect of the COVID pandemic for you and/ or your family? “The most difficult aspect of this pandemic was not being able to see my grandma and friends.”

What’s the most difficult aspect of the COVID pandemic for you? “Not being able to hug people that I want to hug. Missing seeing friends and spending time in close quarters with people. Having instead to have to see everybody online for a long period of time and not knowing when we are going to be over this.” How have you dealt with the changes in your life due to COVID? “I honestly feel very lucky that I live in Santa Barbara right now, and I live downtown, so it’s very easy for me to wander around. So I don’t feel totally isolated. I’m a bit of a homebody sometimes anyway so redecorated my apartment *laughs* I spent a lot of time redecorating my apartment.” Do you think that you are recovering from these difficulties? “I’m hoping for the end. I have these fantasies of not walking around with a mask. Seeing your actual faces. The basic, normal things, like going back to the Bay Area. I’m a little worried right now because the numbers are really out of control in California and I’ve been hearing that we haven’t even seen the worst of it, so that’s frightening. We’ll see what happens with the vaccine. But, I’m really looking forward to the end of it. But at least I redecorated my apartment *laughs*.”

How have you dealt with the changes in your life due to COVID? “Some things that helped me deal with this hard time were staying in contact with friends and loved ones. I would FaceTime and text them a lot and zoomed many of my family members. Because of this, I knew I needed to pick up some more COVID friendly hobbies that I could do in the meantime to take up my time.” Do you think that you are recovering from these difficulties? “Recovering from being in quarantine has been hard, however, I know that I am so fortunate to be going to in person school and that I’m healthy enough to see my family. I know that this isn’t ideal but I know I am very fortunate to have what I have.”

Dena Montague: Social Sciences teacher

Kai Suzuki: ‘22 What has been the most difficult aspect of the COVID pandemic for you and/ or your family? “All the restrictions and precautions. Everything from school to buying snacks at the gas station has been slowed. Now having to constantly be in the mindset of 6ft away and mask on at all times has been a challenge at first, but now it is a routine.” How have you dealt with the changes in your life due to COVID? “ I’ve been given more alone time to do things I’ve to do more of. For example, I could go surf almost every after school, during the zoom period, and play more music. “ Do you think that you’ve recovered/ are recovering from these difficulties? “Yes, I feel like I have adapted to this hard time, by filling it with activities.”

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Erik Faust: Math and Science teacher What has been the most difficult aspect of the COVID pandemic for you and/ or your family? “It hasn’t affected me as an individual, but my wife, who works as a hairstylist, keeps getting put out of work — but there are benefits from the state. Probably the hardest thing is having kids. They have to go to school through Zoom, so when work opened back up for my wife, we had to figure out what to do with our kids. My parents were responsible for watching the kids a couple of days a week so we had to be super cautious.” How have you dealt with the changes due to COVID? “It’s difficult. It causes a lot of stress in the family just in terms of my wife tends to think it’s sort of overblown. She’s more of a social person. I’m a little more cautious — I don’t want to risk getting anybody [especially] my parents getting sick. The way that we’ve tried to adapt is bringing in people to support us, like my family.” Are recovering from these difficulties? “Maybe — I don’t know. I don’t take a lot of time to think about how it’s impacting me and if it’s hard, get used to it. Life’s hard. I mourn how it impacts other people. I felt bad about the kids last year. I missed having graduation with them. I’m eager to provide some sort of compensation for the people that missed out on things that were really essential. [For] those who graduated last year to not have that moment that I promised them, like when I was busting their tail and working their butts off saying “but when we get to graduation, we’re going to have the best day and it’s going to be amazing” and to not be able to offer that and have that, I feel like I’m indebted to them and I owe them that.”

thefourthestate.net NEWS • 9

Behind the Screen

Remote learning became a huge part of students’ lives in mid-March of 2020. With the new year, some students elected to go back to in-person learning, while others weren’t given the option and a few decided to stay online. These students share how they really feel, how their workloads differ, and how their classmates and teachers can help. WORDS and ART by CLAIRE TOLLES

What is your favorite thing about being on zoom? What is your least favorite thing? “My favorite thing about remote learning is probably being able to occasionally do things such as surf or skate if I have a long free period. However staring at a screen for 4 to 5 hours on most days, especially from someone who will always prefer being outside than indoors, is simply incredibly draining. It is hard to concentrate on after-school work when I just spent hours listening to someone lecture over a screen.”

“Due to this tiredness after school, I’ll usually wake up early in the morning, 4 to 5 a.m., to get my work done. The result of this is classwork, for myself at least, becoming much more difficult.”

“In the beginning, I would say school work was definitely easier to get done. I like working at my own pace and having the choice to get a bunch of assignments done, but burnout is super easy to fall into and really hard to get out of. It’s hard to get motivated. It’s also just a lot harder learning on Zoom when everyone else is in-person.””

Do you think you’re getting more or less sleep? Why?

“I think I’m getting more sleep! It’s really nice not having to wake up early and drive to school every day. I could definitely go to bed earlier, though. I think the reason why I feel a lot better is due to this advice: if it’s 2am and you’re still not done, it’s not getting done that night. Go to bed. I promise you’ll get that assignment done a whole lot faster the next morning when you wake up a little earlier.”

Interview with Junior Harrison Jones

Do you think getting schoolwork done is easier or harder than before?

Do you think getting schoolwork done is easier or harder than before? Why?

What is your overall opinion about in-person vs. remote? Please explain.

“I like remote learning although it’s isolating and harder than in-person. The switch to the longer schedule was definitely a difficult transition. It got a lot harder to pay attention and learn. I’m having to teach myself all the material from my classes. I’m constantly watching other teachers’ videos on YouTube they’ve posted of their lessons. So in that regard, I think in-person is much better. In-person, teachers are checking in on you and making sure you’re understanding the material, but doing remote, you’re kind of left to do that yourself. I really appreciate what my teachers have done to help remote students, but I think it would also be really helpful if they could upload their recorded lessons or something so we, not just remote kids, can review the lesson if we need more clarification. Class moves so fast and that would be a huge help.”

Interview with Alumna Emma Raith ‘20 What is your favorite thing about being on zoom? What is your least favorite thing? How can teachers/students help you feel more connected to others?

“This, however, is simply the situation. Every teacher I’ve seen this year has tried incredibly hard to keep myself and everyone else on camera engaged, even if it won’t be to the same level as the people in class.”

Interview with Senior Nafisah Fathima What is your favorite thing about being on zoom? What is your least favorite thing? “My favorite thing about being on Zoom is the fact I can go get a snack from my kitchen during passing periods or during mask breaks. I can do whatever I want because I’m in my house. I can walk down to the beach for my lunch period or during my last period free. I can sleep in so late and I don’t have to wake up early to drive myself to school. My least favorite thing is that overall it’s a lot harder to learn on Zoom.” .”

Do you still feel like you are a part of the class discussion/learning experience? Why or why not?

“I don’t feel like I am. I think that when you’re doing remote learning, there’s a disconnect between you and your class and teacher. It feels like a completely different environment.”

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“My favorite thing is being able to sleep longer, because you don’t need as much time in the morning to get ready or get to class, of course. My least favorite thing is just about everything else. I dislike the feeling of not knowing my classmates or my teachers, especially when that’s the whole point of going to college.”

Do you still feel like you are a part of the class discussion/learning experience? Why or why not?

“In smaller, more discussion-based classes, I still feel apart of the learning experience. However, not nearly to the same degree as I would in person. In larger, lecture classes, it’s difficult to feel anything more than a square on a zoom screen.”

Do you think getting schoolwork done is easier or harder than before? Why? “Not to keep saying this, but my answer depends. It’s easier because teachers tend to be more lenient with online learning. But at the same time, it can be tricky because it’s difficult to get the clarification or help you sometimes need.”

Do you think you’re getting more or less sleep? Why?

“Personally, I’m getting more sleep than I did in high school because of the reduced commute time and, also, because I have less extracurricular obligations as I did senior year. That may change in my later college years, but as of now I have fewer classes, less work, and more sleep hours.”

What is your overall opinion about in-person vs. remote? Please explain.

“I think my opinion on remote learning is the same as most people—it has taught us that we can all adapt quicker than we thought. It has taught us that some areas of the academic and professional sphere can be made more effective with widespread digital video competency. But, it will never come to replace the complexities of in-person learning, inspiring, and interacting that is so central to the human experience—in school and beyond.”

thefourthestate.net NEWS • 11

The College Process during COVID Seniors find ways to shine even through the challenging process of applying to college during a pandemic.



he weight of the world seems to rest on the shoulders of the youth. The all-too-sudden yet the long-anticipated end of high school confronts seniors with many unknowns, including the college process. While the Class of 2021 began to understand a sliver of how things work, a pandemic swept into their lives. In its disruptive nature, the coronavirus altered the college application process and left many seniors confused. Students begin to learn about the college-application process before their senior year. Current juniors are familiar with Matt Struckmeyer, Director of College Counseling, and College Counseling Associate Alexandra Goodman. They provide guidance from getting a head start on the college search to submitting the final applications. Struckmeyer has a bird’s eye view overlooking seniors’ journey, for which the COVID-19 presented problems in multiple ways. “It was difficult, starting with the fact that our major events of the spring were canceled, including the Case Studies event and the corresponding College Fair,” Struckmeyer said.

Each of these events is chosen to benefit students, making it inconvenient to work around social distancing. “Looking on the bright side, I’d say that these changes have forced seniors to be more proactive and responsible since the burden of learning about colleges and reaching out to them has fallen more squarely on their shoulders,” Struckmeyer added. Colleges will not only be considering the usual requirements for students but also their responses to the pandemic. “Laguna’s seniors have also excelled in the classroom, working very hard to master the material despite the constraints of online learning and a truncated schedule,” Struckmeyer said. Three students share their experiences concerning college, the application process, test-taking stress and essay writing challenges, which all seniors share. However, when it comes to passions, each senior must make decisions based on their aspirations in life, preferences, and interests, making the college process unique to each person. Senior Georgia Avery highlighted the positive support she received during her junior year from Laguna’s college counseling department. As the junior class, meeting together and receiving guidance prepared her for what to expect in her future. Similar to many seniors, Georgia chose to apply to her top schools on the earlier side. In her best-case scenario, she will be admitted to Scripps, a women’s college located in Claremont, California. “I feel like your college experience is what you make it, and that I would do fine at a lot of colleges; there isn’t ‘one school’ that is perfect for me.” Because of the virus, seniors were restricted from travel. “It was definitely hard to get a feel for the vibes of schools through just their websites, which only show you the positive attributes of the school.” Georgia approached the situation with a healthy skepticism to evaluate her schools. By prioritizing her happiness and actively looking for opportunities, she looks forward to her future.

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Senior Taylor Smith felt a bit lost in the college application process. Her college search differed from most students because of her interest in pursuing art as a major in college. And for that reason, she felt inclined to take matters into her own hands to feel adequately supported. “I reached out to outside sources for help.” With these sources, Taylor narrowed down her top schools to her one dream art school, Pratt, in Brooklyn, NY. The Class of 2021 discovered that most colleges would be test-optional for applicants due to the virus. “As someone who doesn’t test well, this was a major advantage to me.” Taylor felt comforted by a less stressful standard for testing. Besides, a typical art school requires multiple areas of supplementary action to apply. “Every school has its own separate application, with a completely different essay prompt. On top of it all, I had to create a portfolio fitting the requirements for each school.” Although she had to put in extra effort, Taylor prioritized following her passion for art.

Senior Lucas Chen emphasized his informative experiences with assembling, refining and strengthening the elements of his applications. He noted that engaging in the meetings with Struckmeyer allowed him to receive critical suggestions. “You have to put in the effort for Struck to know you well,” Lucas said. In the process, the University of Chicago was one of the colleges recommended by Struckmeyer. Lucas quickly realized it was the right choice for him and began his Early Decision application, including an essay that Goodman helped him edit. Concerning the virus’s effects on applying, Lucas questioned the role of standardized testing. “I’m not certain if the optional scores will be a game-changer. Will there be an advantage for students who had the opportunity to submit it?” Lucas recognized that while visiting schools during the pandemic would be challenging, many colleges offered virtual tours and events. Continuing to value personal relationships, Lucas created a website about his love for cooking and sent it to the admissions office of UChicago. “I learned about optional ways to share my passions and experiences.”

thefourthestate.net FEATURE • 13

Young Entrepreneurs

SOPHIA: “Annie and I go thrifting all the time, and we were like, we can actually do this, we can get a shirt for two dollars and sell it for twenty-eight, making a massive profit for CALM. That started to build, and then one day, we got an email from DEPOP saying that we had been meeting the requirements to be in their top seller programs, so that’s when we got our verification on DEPOP. We have a business manager there through DEPOP that we coordinate with.”

When two teens were inspired to use their required community service hours for more than just volunteer work, a business was born.


t has become a trend in the past few months, teens who put their clothes on resale websites such as DEPOP to make some quick money. However, it is much less common for teenagers to succeed in this daunting task and be doing it for entirely selfless reasons. But this is what seniors Sophia Webster and Annie Gabler are doing. They started their business, Communal Closet, in January 2020, and since then, have sold over 300 items of clothing from thrift stores and their closets through the resale app DEPOP. Of course, their success may reflect well on them, but it also is directly benefiting their community. Sophia and Annie decided to partner early on with a local non-profit organization CALM (which supports those who have experienced child abuse), pledging to donate 100% of their proceeds to this important cause. Tell me about the beginning of Communal Closet? ANNIE: “It was called Communal Closet because we were gathering all of these girls and all of our clothes. We had formed a team of girls from every public high school [in Santa Barbara]. It was supposed to be more pop-up shops, we were supposed to go in stores, we were going to have a mother’s day event where we would go into people’s closets and clean them out, but all of that had to switch because of COVID.” How did COVID impact those plans? SOPHIA: “Basically, when we initially met with CALM, we were going to do events where we partnered with local restaurants, for example, Helena bakery and Dune. The CEO of CALM was going to come out and speak; we would have music, it would be more of a community event where people would not just be buying clothes but would also be donating and spreading awareness for the cause.

What was your process of running this business through COVID?

It would also help us spread to new age demographics because [CALM] is not getting a lot of their communications across to high school kids, allowing that to spread more. When COVID hit, all those efforts got shut down.“ ANNIE: “We started listing stuff on DEPOP because we had bags of clothes in my room, and I was just like, ‘dude I need to get rid of some of these and make some money’.” How did your business get its popularity? SOPHIA: “This is probably two months before DEPOP’s big boom, when everyone was on DEPOP, so it allowed us to start to gain a following. There weren’t as many accounts, so when we posted clothes, we were like, ‘Woah, wait, why did we just sell five things in one day?’ and that started to just round-up. That was in March when everyone was at home, there was nothing to do, and everyone was online shopping. We took advantage of [that], and we would just spend days after we got out of school at noon building a website, posting photos, shipping orders. We shipped like fifty packages from the post office the first time, and we show up with these massive bags.” ANNIE: “We had bags of clothes that we initially started with, and when we ran out of those, we decided to get stuff more curated to what people were buying. We got people to donate their clothes, we went out to thrift stores, out to vintage stores, my mom donated a bunch of stuff.”

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ANNIE: “Domestic rates have been spiking during quarantine, and with those rates spiking, the need for support [has been high]. Also, a lot of what they did was implement themselves into schools, but when schools aren’t in session, they can’t be there, they can’t be giving their speeches. So they need more money, but there aren’t many avenues through which to get them.”

Can you tell me more about CALM? ANNIE: “Before Corona, we were able to go to their facilities, see the therapy rooms that the kids go through, the spaces for parents, it’s incredible—it’s for everyone, it’s for the adults and their perspective on it or for the kids who were being abused.” SOPHIA: “Do you know on those TV shows with the rooms that had the glass mirrors? It would be like that, and there would be a playroom, and we would be able to see it all happen, get a sense of what our money would be going toward.” What is your favorite part about Communal Closet? SOPHIA: “It feels direct to our community, but it’s also spreading awareness not just for child abuse victims but also for sustainable clothing, which is a major thing to be talked about in such a time of fast fashion. To recycle clothing, and to do it an affordable price? We try to keep our prices at $30 and below so they are reasonable but still making a big profit for CALM.” WORDS by PHOEBE STEIN ART by ANNIE GABLER and SOPHIA WEBSTER

Meet the Sellers

Sophia Webster, 17, (left) and Annie Gabler, 18, (right) are seniors at Laguna Blanca. They are both fashion enthusiasts and have started Communal Closet as a way to use their passions to better their community. They hope to present CALM with a check with the money they raised soon.

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Celebrating Holidays in Quarantine We asked students and teachers how they celebrated the holidays amidst a pandemic and if they made a New Year’s resolution. WORDS and ART by ABBY KIM

Michelle Finck, Spanish Instructor “I celebrated Christmas at my parent’s house with my brother and sister. We usually go out to a nice dinner and a Christmas Eve midnight church service, but we stayed home this year, ordered takeout, and played board games. We usually invite all of our extended family on Christmas Day but we kept it just to the nuclear family this year. Similarly, my lifelong friend group has a tradition where we all get together on the 23rd at a popular restaurant downtown, people watch and see all the people we went to high school with. This year, we got together over Zoom instead. We had a PowerPoint party and sent each other takeout and drinks using Uber Eats. We all had fun despite the circumstances and talked about how we are participating in history in the making!” “My New Year’s Resolution is to floss more! I did not choose this on account of the pandemic; it is just an important way to avoid cavities!”

Aden Meisel, Sophomore “This year instead of having a traditional holiday gathering for the eight nights of Chanukah, we celebrated with just my family and a few close friends. In terms of logistically celebrating the holiday, many of our traditions remained the same and were not influenced by the pandemic. Even though we could not have grandparents or relatives show, we were still able to celebrate.” “Despite there being a pandemic, my New Year’s resolution is more goal-oriented and has nothing to do with COVID-19. My New Year’s resolution is to earn my diving certificate so that once we are able to travel again, I can dive in the open ocean.”

Jackson Baltes, Freshman “I celebrated my holiday break the same way I would have celebrated it in a normal year. Considering my family usually does not have relatives come for Christmas, the occasion felt rather normal. Although my family and I did not have people over, we took all safety precautions possible when leaving our house, resulting in what I can describe as a “pre-apocalyptic” vibe.” “I made two resolutions for 2021. First to Climb Mt. Aconcagua in the Andes. Second, to eat a healthier and more sustainable diet, both of which were not influenced by the pandemic. However, the pandemic may influence the outcome of these results.”

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DMV Horror Stories Scary stories from students struggling with rigid DMV regulations and requirements. WORDS and ART by CLAIRE TOLLES


very year, a new wave of high school students painstakingly memorizes DMV pamphlets and test books, runs countless practice courses and, finally, waits in line at the Santa Barbara or Goleta DMV to get their driver’s license. The heart-pounding, palm-sweating tale is as familiar as a well-trodden pair of sneakers. While offering the first step into adulthood, this classic rite of passage also comes with the grueling tediousness of dealing with DMV regulations. The wrong papers, an expired ID, a missing signature or a failed test could start the catastrophic dominoes falling, ending the day with the disappointment of scheduling another appointment as soon as possible--five weeks later. Because of this, along with the new wave of teenage drivers, comes the next surge of DMV horror stories.

George Nicks The first time I took my driving test was at the Santa Barbara DMV. I was incredibly nervous and had spent weeks before practicing and knew the entire route. During the test I did fine nothing really went wrong but, when it was over I failed not, because of anything normal, like failing to signal or not stopping completely but, because I didn’t do the traffic check correctly (looking out the window) and missed 16 out of 15 possible errors. In the end it would take 6 months before I could take it again just because I didn’t look out the window enough.

Sofa Anderson

Claire Tolles I took the driving test the day after my 16th birthday. I missed 2 out of 15 points, but ultimately failed when I ran a stop sign two turns from the end (oops). When I took it again-in February--I went to the DMV with my parents and they told us that my appointment was canceled. Apparently, they had called an hour before to say they didn’t have an evaluator to test me, but since it came from an unknown number, I’d ignored it. After a long conversation, the Santa Barbara DMV said I could head up to Goleta and they would call ahead for us. We drove up there, and the woman at the Goleta DMV was extremely displeased with the Santa Barbara DMV for assuming we could get a last-minute appointment. She told me to wait in my car, and maybe she’d send an evaluator out. Thirty minutes later, the same man who failed me the first time administered my driving test. This time, I passed.

Jason Douglas The first time I went to the DMV I did not realize I had to finish an online form. Then the next time I went after completing the form, we waited in line, and when we finally got to the stand it turned out that they no longer gave out the Permit test at 5:00 and it was 5:01. My Sister has an even worse story when she went to the DMV it turned out there was another person in the nation with her name that had a warrant out for her arrest. They had to clear that problem up and she did the test the next day.

The most stressful experience I have had at the DMV was when I took my drivers test. As we were driving to the DMV, on the day before Halloween, I noticed a bunch of kids in costumes walking all over and I started to get even more nervous that they might disrupt my test. Once I was taking the test I didn’t seem to notice any of them but on the way back to the DMV, there was a huge line of cars that were all stopped and honking. Thankfully, they were on the opposite side of the road so it wasn’t an issue but it definitely added some stress to my experience.

Olivia Davenport When I went to take my driving test in July, it turned out the car I was using to take the test had “expired” registration. My parents had dealt with renewing it months before, but apparently the payments were never processed (or something, I’m not sure of the details). So, in other words, I had no car to take my test in. Thankfully, my mom drove over our other car after we waited for hours at the DMV while trying to sort this out, and though I was very grateful that we had another car for me to take my test in, I was even more stressed out because I didn’t have much any experience driving in that particular car. I did pass, though!

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Welcome to the Family


Laguna was supportive and allowed her to continue teaching her classes remotely. COVID-19 not only impacted these teachers’ lives at school, but also changed how they experienced pregnancy

My 3-year-old daughter, Bridget, who had been looking forward to this day for months, couldn’t be with us.

Four faculty members welcomed new additions to their family during the pandemic.

n times of uncertainty and fear, it is necessary to find joy in family. Four Laguna faculty did just that as they welcomed new additions to their families during the quarantine. Dana Caldwell, Jennifer Pardue and Meghan Roarty all delivered babies, and college counselor Matt Struckmeyer became a first-time dad. Pregnancy and childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic brought heightened challenges. So much was unknown, and the danger of the virus only added to the stress of becoming a parent. Doctor’s appointments were no longer simply a part of being pregnant, in fact, these teachers couldn’t even have family members in the hospital. They couldn’t hold traditional celebrations, and the birth and health of their babies became a crucial concern.

in the hospital. In many states, women weren’t allowed to have their husbands accompany them in the delivery room because of exposure risk. Luckily, this wasn’t the case in Santa Barbara. Although husbands were allowed in the hospital, other family members were not. For Roarty, who was pregnant with her second child, the saddest reality was that “My 3-year-old daughter, Bridget, who had been looking forward to this day for months, couldn’t be with us.” Caldwell approached this situation differently, choosing to have a home birth far away from the hospital and the stress of COVID-19.

Caldwell was directing the play “Anatomy of Gray” when she was nine months pregnant. In the play, an expectant mother sings a lullaby to her child. The drama teacher recounts her baby moving inside her belly when the lullaby was sung. While some will recall cute memories, others might focus on the amusing moments that made pregnancy in a pandemic something to laugh about. A moment that Roarty calls to mind is a moment in which she wanted to play a little prank to brighten her quarantine. Upon running into a neighbor who hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, Roarty was greeted with the common question— are you pregnant? Instead of saying “Yes,” she responded with, “No, I’m not.” After spending a few moments watching his face grow red, she informed him of her ruse. She certainly took to heart the idea of finding moments of joy within these stressful times Because of this virus, these teachers had to compromise certain aspects of pregnancy, sometimes the aspects that they had looked forward to most. However, each of them emerged from 2020 with adorable babies and memories that they will probably never forget.

Jack, Caldwell’s son, pictured in their garden. Roarty, who had her baby in Spring, shared that she only taught in-person while pregnant for a couple weeks when the pandemic first became very real in Santa Barbara. At that time there were even more unknowns, so her doctors advised that no matter The danger of the she not what, go back virus only added to the after Spring break. The AP stress of becoming a Psychology teacher remained parent. at school until the official quarantine began, but found herself thinking, “as a pregnant woman, should I really be here?” Although this was a tough time for pregnant teachers, the school put efforts into making things go smoothly for them. Math teacher Pardue, who discovered that she was pregnant when the virus was at its peak, didn’t feel safe teaching on campus as it would be a risk for her and her baby.

Patrick, Roarty’s son, smiles by the Christmas tree.

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Henry, Struckmeyer’s son, looks up curiously.

Asher, Pardue’s son, smiles softly with eyes closed.


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#winterinstagrams PAGE by ELLI WESTMACOTT

“I was in Lake Tahoe with my family friends, and we all decide to go outside just after it snowed because it was so pretty.” (Paloma Mckean 22’)

“My family and I went to the channel Islands on a sailing boat. This was the view at the second island, my sisters and I enhanced our inner mermaids.” (Bea Lujan 21’)

“This is me pretending like I’m looking at something. It gives me very much fall, very much Nascar driver [vibes].” (Molly Morouse 23’)

“This is on the cliffs of the Douglas Preserve at sunset!” (Ally Jacobs 24’)

“I was pulling into my friend Diego’s house and I noticed the sunset and I was in awe and I wanted a photo with my car.” (Miles Sedlin 22’)

“This photo was taken in the fields of More Mesa with my best friend right before lockdown!” (Mike Janey 22’)

“Me and my dog, Coco, sitting outside on Thanksgiving day.” (Rhys Zemeckis 22’)

“This was taken when I did a last-minute college trip to NYC to visit Parsons and NYU, where I just got in for Fashion Design at Parsons and Fashion Business Communication at NYU!” (Sophia Webster 21’)

“My family and I went to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a week and walked around the walled city. After, we took a boat to Italy.” (Jenna Johnson 23’)

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A Standing Ovation for Our Safety Helpers Being one of the few schools to reopen during COVID-19, our faculty and staff, trained in safety precautions to help students follow the necessary safety procedures. Several new support staff were hired to handle the extra duties involved with the pick-ups, drop-offs, and maintaining social distancing. “When we communicate with each other clearly and respectfully, we end up with better results all around. We all know how lucky we are to be on campus together, and we’re all on the same team in regards to respecting that and doing our part.” Blake Dorfman dents have completed the daily health survey, that you have a normal temperature, and that you wash your hands before stepping onto campus. Another main duty of ours comes in between classes, where we enforce the standard six-foot social distance rule along with looking out for students who are not wearing their masks properly. We continue to enforce these rules when in classrooms throughout the school day. Lunch is essentially the same where we will enforce the six foot rule. However, during lunch we need to be more vigilant as this is the time where students have to remove their masks to eat lunch and so is easily the time of day where any threat of transmission of the virus is most likely. (So if it seems like we are the most annoying at lunch time, that is why.)”

James Savage is one of our new Campus Safety Assistants (CSAs). The CSA’s job is to enforce the COVID-19 regulations. He and his fellow staff are role models on how to act during this pandemic and follow the safety protocols. How do you help out around campus when it comes to the new safety regulations? “Regarding the new COVID-19 precautions, my first duty of a typical day is the morning check-in which involves me, other CSA’s, and also some of your teachers confirming that all stu-

How would you say students are following the safety protocols? Are they following them? “Students, for the most part, are fairly good about following the COVID safety protocols. However, it is very much the case that many students require several reminders throughout the day in order to follow these protocols. (I could certainly do with less sass from students.)” What would you change or add to the safety guidelines? “I would say that the safety protocols are more or less perfect the way they are. I think the way to improve upon them is through cooperation and understanding between all Laguna Blanca students and all Laguna Blanca staff. I think it would be nice to regularly remind everyone of why we all ought to be following these rules in the first place: to prevent the preventable deaths of classmates, staff, loved-ones, and all of our other fellow human beings.”

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Blake Dorfman, Director of Student Life helps enforce the COVID-19 regulations by checking students’ temperatures at drop-off and pick-ups, and supervising the ninth graders at lunchtime to make sure everyone is social distancing. What are the challenges with students during lunch? Are they staying 6 feet apart? “I have been with 9th graders during lunch all year, and they have done an excellent job. It took constant reminding for the first couple of weeks in Ruston, but it’s improved greatly. We also recently moved the freshmen down to the field for lunch, which has provided much more space. We are very, very fortunate to have so much outdoor space available to us on our campus.” What would you change or add to the safety guidelines? “Well, I know the blue arrows on the ground have been tricky to follow. Quite honestly, outside of the most hectic times of the day when students are all moving from place-to-place, they don’t serve much of a purpose. With that said, they are part of our agreement to remain open and we need to respect that.” How would you say students are following the safety protocols? “I’m very proud of how our Upper School community has been following protocols. Human nature leads to inevitable moments where we leave a mask down for a second or sit too close to someone, but everyone has worked together to create an environment where those things are fixed quickly. One reason I think students are doing such a good job following the protocols is because at Laguna we put trust in our students’ character and they respond in kind. When we communicate with each other clearly and respectfully, we end up with better results all around. We all know how lucky we are to be on campus together, and we’re all on the same team in regards to respecting that and doing our part.”

Zaire Paredes-Villegas, ‘17, is one of our new campus assistants. Along with the CSAs and other campus assistants, she assists classes and enforces safety protocols around campus. How do you help out around campus when it comes to the new safety regulations? “My responsibilities as of now have consisted of stepping in where I am needed, which recently has been substituting or assisting in classrooms, specifically for the middle school. I try to enforce the distancing and mask regulations as much as possible, as it’s a tad harder with highly energetic 5th graders.” How would you say students are following the safety protocols? Are they following them? “For the most part, the students are very good about following protocols and just sometimes need a reminder when they are having too much fun.” What would you change or add to the safety guidelines? “My responsibilities as of now have consisted of stepping in where I am needed, which recently has been substituting or assisting in classrooms, specifically for the middle school. I try to enforce the distancing and mask regulations as much as possible, as it’s a tad harder with highly energetic 5th graders.”

“I am grateful for the Laguna Blanca staff for being so helpful, from the first day of school when I didn’t know where to wash my hands, to now, continually helping me as feel comfortable as possible, even with masks on,” said eighth-grader Dionne Peterson WORDS and ART by CIERRA NERVO and NIKKI MIELCAREK

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stance of the staff January is all about new beginnings, but this year, it’s important to evaluate exactly what a new year means. It’s hard not to be tuned in to what’s happening in our country, and we agree that it would not be fair to write a staff editorial without bringing attention to it. A few weeks ago, the plan for the staff editorial was to write about the growth our community has experienced. While that is still something to discuss, we must instead shift our focus to the bigger picture. We are at deadline and do not have adequate time to cover in-depth the impact of the events which took place at the Capitol. However, we plan to in our next issue. As a staff, we decided to take advantage of the “Stance of the Staff” to touch on the events briefly. As journalists, we respect the pillars of journalism: thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency. As a staff which respects these tenets, we must argue that the events that transpired in the first week of January are not something to be ignored. What took place is now being referred to as a domestic terrorist attack, our very democracy has been threatened, and we cannot look past that. Our community has not shied away from discussing these events, and we feel the conversation should be continued. We are privileged to live in Santa Barbara and to attend Laguna Blanca, a place many refer to as a “bubble.” It is time to recognize that we must be more involved in discussions surrounding the state of our country. As smart as Laguna students are, there is a sense of being disconnected, which is not the fault of the school nor the parents. It’s challenging to fully realize the events of the world while living in a picturesque place where violence and oppression feel out of reach. We need to continue to have meaningful discussions, be engaged and be involved. We are an incredible community of smart, capable students; we can not stop learning now.

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A NEW FACE ON CAMPUS New year, new campus and a new administrator. Ms. Alkire, the head of upper school, came in a time of transition and uncertainty. She has risen to the job and is frequently seen walking on campus chatting with students. WORDS by PHOEBE STEIN and DAISY FINEFROCK ART by HANNA MASRI

Q. How has it been coming to a new school when the first couple of months were online? Were you able to connect with students? A: “So the day I accepted my job at Laguna was the day that Massachusetts completely shut down, and I accepted the job at 8 o’clock East Coast time; everything was shut down at 10 a.m. And I thought to myself, what a bad omen. This is not going to go well, and I shouldn’t move my family in a pandemic. So I was really scared, to be honest, to come here. To start in a new place where I wouldn’t be able to meet my colleagues, where a lot of people would be coming to me with questions, and I would have no way of knowing what a normal beginning at Laguna looks like. And to be honest, I even think next year is going to be really scary — I don’t know what a normal day of school looks like. You were all remote, we had a 30-minute community meeting, and then you disappeared into your zoom rooms. And that was how school was for the first month and a half — it was really sad, and it was incredibly lonely. I was afraid no one would come to school on Oct. 19. I thought there was no way that these kids, after starting remote, would be able to make that shift. But the second you all started to show up, and we started scanning iPads and taking temperature checks, I just knew

this was a very special place because you all came. People stopped into my office to introduce themselves, and students were really willing to chat. I recognized that I needed to do more to be visible too. Every week I have to go out of my way with different strategies to let people see me and get to know me because I’m asking you to come here every day.” Q. So what has been your favorite moment so far this year? A: “Can I give you my favorite student moment and my favorite teaching moment? OK. One of my favorite [student moments is when] I was allowed to support-teach the APUSH classes with Ms. Montague. I enjoyed that week so much because it allowed me to see students in an academic setting. It was really nice to see them where they are curious. I was able to do that with Ms. Yoshimora, in art history, and that was fun. It’s mostly seniors, who are the coolest people on the campus — [they] have such great questions and ideas, and [they] push back. My favorite teacher moments? A lot of your teachers stay here really late, and whenever I’m alone in the office, and I think I’m by myself, those teachers will come surprise me and just have these office chats, these beautiful conversations.

And they’re just so loving of all of you, and they have been so warm and welcoming to me.” Q. What do you think Laguna offers its students? A: “Elisabeth Fowler and I had a meeting when I first got here, and she said something so beautiful that I think about almost every day. She said, ‘Every Laguna student has a front-row seat.” And I think about that in their relationships to their teachers they do, in their classrooms they do, in their opportunities. You haven’t had a chance to address Laguna students — this can be that moment (no pressure!)” Q. Do you have anything you want to say? A: “What I want to say to everyone is how proud I am of this student body. I’m coming from a very big school, and I know their stories right now during COVID. Their stories are complicated, and they are having a really hard time coming to school and staying involved and finding friendship. And I know that’s true for you [all] as well. I know it’s true in your private lives, and publicly here, those struggles can be the same. I am just so amazed by the noise that I hear on campus, which is overall joyful and connected.”

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As the in-person school year started, students and administrators worked to reenvision the student dress code to be more agreeable, inclusive and equitable.



ith the first day of in-person learning, students came to school not only having to traverse around many new COVID-19 procedures, but they also had to get dressed for school that morning like they hadn’t for months. The sweatsuit went back on the shelf and was replaced with backpacks and masks. Conflicts surrounding the dress code became increasingly prevalent throughout the 2019-2020 school year, resulting in a clear need for action. The need became less urgent as the school shifted to online learning and summer started. However, at the beginning of this year, a process was put in place with hopes of fostering discussions among students and administrators, which would ultimately lead to a new student-approved dress code. New Head of Upper School, Mrs. Alkire, and new DEI Coordinator, Ms. Chan, reached out to the entire student body encouraging all high school students to participate in the community-wide discussions. “We are new administrators at this school, and we really want to come in and set the tone for what we value; community involvement, student involvement and student participation in policy is important for us, especially around the issue of dress code,” Chan said. “It’s really important that everyone who is impacted by the decision and policy has a seat at the table and whose voices are heard.” Students were invited to attend two open-forum Zoom meetings to initiate discussions about reforming the dress code. The first meeting’s purpose was to dissect what goes into creating inclusive, fair and gender-neutral dress code

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policies. The second was to establish and carry out a collaborative solution. Junior Molly Newell, eager to attend these meetings, said, “I’ve been waiting for this dress code to change ever since I came to Laguna in eighth grade and got dress-coded because I was wearing a cropped shirt.” Rules such as zero-tolerance for profane language and hate messages remained consistent, while other policies, such as wearing crop tops and shoulder straps, required more deliberation. The new dress code specifies a shirt with “opaque material from one armpit to the other” and a “bottom which includes: pants, jeans, shorts, leggings, skirts and sweatpants that cover the buttocks.” Alkire said, “There is just more room for student expression.”

“It’s really important that everyone who is impacted by the decision and policy has a seat at the table and whose voices are heard.” Another change was the removal of gendered language that targeted female-specific clothing items, as well as any pronoun usage, was eliminated. While making the dress code gender-neutral was a top priority, it was treated and regarded as purely a necessity. Chan said it was the “easiest thing, with most impact.” Alkire agreed, saying, “I think once you make a policy gender-neutral, it inevitably becomes covering just certain parts of the body in a dress code. And that is a radical change, but also not really.” The majority of students met the

dress code changes with open arms. So much so that, since the new code was put in place, not a single student has been dress-coded. “I feel so much freer to express myself through fashion without worrying about my bra straps offending someone. I no longer have to spend an extra 20 minutes trying to find a top that won’t lead people to believe they have a right to comment on my body or how much of it is revealed,” junior Phoebe Ray said. Similarly, Molly felt that this freedom opened up the opportunity to wear new clothes to school. “I’ve finally been able to wear my whole wardrobe instead of a quarter of it. I used to search the internet looking for clothes that I liked and fit the dress code. Now I can buy clothes that I enjoy and that I don’t just have to wear on the weekend.” In addition to the changes to the handbook’s language, the process of being dress-coded has also changed. If a student breaks protocol, a teacher or administrator will notify Alkire, Chan, and Mr. Dorfman, Director of Student Life. Once this happens, the student receives an email stating the violation. In the case of clothes with messages of hate or violence, the student is instructed to change immediately and, if needed, further steps will be taken. The implementation of this new system has changed the environment. “I would feel the need to quickly hide from any teacher if my belly button was showing or try to pull down my shirt to avoid the humiliation of having attention drawn to my body and being slutshamed in front of my peers. School feels so much safer and inclusive now that the new dress code has been put in place,” said Phoebe.

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THE THE NEW NEW LAGUNA LAGUNA The new Center for Science and Innovation will offer 5,500 square feet of modern, dedicated space engineered to empower students to innovate and experiment in their area of passion.


ith the addition of new science classrooms and lab space comes many hours of construction. The new facilities on campus will be exciting for both teachers and students, after the lengthy construction process ends. The Center for Science and Innovation will be an excellent environment for teacher collaboration and is expected to be finished sometime in early 2021. The new state-of-the-art equipment will allow students to learn cutting-edge biotechnology and chemistry. Upper school chemistry teacher, Katie Pointer is hopeful about the completion of the new buildings and the latest technology that will be available to students. “Both spaces contain additional technology that will allow students to perform a broader scope of research safely.” The new STEM Research and Innovation Lab will create opportunities for hands-on design through 3D printing, power tools, and circuit design, as well as the digital creation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D CAD content.

“Both spaces contain additional technology that will allow students to perform a broader scope of research safely.” With the new space and tools, students will be able to delve deeper into experiments and develop a greater

analysis of their projects. A unique feature that Pointer is particularly looking forward to is the addition of fume hoods, which work by removing dust, gases and fumes out of the lab exhaust system as air flows into the hood. She is also looking forward to “the outdoor classroom space that I will utilize for Marine Science experiments.” One downside of the construction process is the noise during school. Although this is inevitable, it can be a distraction and affect students’ learning, especially on the west side of the school’s campus. “I have public speaking in the library, and the noise can often interrupt people’s speeches and can make it harder to hear the teacher,” sophomore Michael Wang said. Having a class near the construction site can be a challenge, but it will be worth waiting once the finished construction is done. “In our STEM class, the sounds of hammers can get distracting and make it harder to concentrate on our work,” sophomore Thomas Couvillion said.

The construction project is the most recent addition to the upper school campus in the last 10 years. “The Center for Science and Innovation gives our students every possible advantage in preparing them to succeed in tomorrow’s world,” said Staci Richard, Science Department Chair. Richard hopes the new facilities will allow her students to better collaborate with UCSB and expand research opportunities.

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The Ethics Behind Popular Fast Fashion Outlets Fast fashion has grown significantly due to the growth of online shopping, but most don’t know the damages this industry is causing to the environment.


s a society, we have evolved into an exceedingly materialistic culture, especially when it comes to fashion. Clothing is a way for people, notably the younger generation, to express themselves and their passions. Today, apparel is an element of our generation’s identity. How one presents oneself, and the clothing one chooses is a means to reflect one’s taste. This concept of using clothing as a form of expression is called “the social skin.” The use of clothing to express oneself may be a part of our generation’s creativity, but there are downsides. Social media has an immense influence on the younger generation. The development of apps like Instagram and Facebook can lead to unhealthy habits, including society’s problematic obsession with appearance. Social media influencers are paid to wear the latest styles, leading to new fashion trends that businesses happily exploit. The issue is people want to imitate the trends and buy lots of clothes at the lowest price. Many people following the booming trends simply succumb to the allure of these low prices, but they don’t know the facts behind the industry. Many of the most popular clothing brands experienced scandals.

The prominent brands Zara and H&M—which share a parent company—are two examples. Both companies’ policies disregard environmental damage and employee satisfaction. According to an article by Clean Clothes Campaign (a union dedicated to reducing harsh labor conditions), the company that sold Zara a large portion of their products enforced “slave-like” conditions on their employees. The scandal surfaced in 2011, yet Zara has not addressed it. H&M, a famous Swedish fast-fashion business, is known to use factories that do not pay their employees a living

Nike’s factories’ poor working conditions in Indonesia. An uprising of unions and media networks aggressively attacked Nike’s image, forcing the business to change. Since then, Nike abolished its ties to sweatshops. Shein, a rapidly-growing online fast-fashion retailer, has had its fair share of wrongdoings. This company is rumored to be involved with unethical means of clothing production such as the use of sweatshops and child labor, though these claims are as yet unproven. Another Shein scandal that took place seven months ago involved displaying a necklace with a detailed image of a Swastika on its website. The company apologized for this incident but did not indicate why they released the product in the first place. The company also produced a decorative rug that displayed a sacred Islamic symbol, which is offensive to the Islamic culture. Shein responded with a half-hearted public apology on this item as well. Urban Outfitters, a brand with locations worldwide, including Santa Barbara, is less problematic regarding environmental impacts and working conditions. It provides its workers with a living wage and put in place a Community Cares initiative, which ensures that the brand uses Eco-friendly materials and gives back to the communities

Many of the most popular clothing brands experienced scandals. The prominent brands Zara and H&M— which share a parent company—are two examples. wage, according to a study by Global Labor Justice (GLJ). After investigating H&M’s factory supplies, GLJ reportedly witnessed the mistreatment of female employees. H&M promised to change their production techniques and environmental activities but has not yet complied. Another renowned brand with an infamous link to unethical practices is Nike, which was accused of using sweatshops throughout the 1970s in an article by Jeff Ballinger, who discovered

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in which they are established. Another popular brand with a location in Santa Barbara is Brandy Melville. This clothing business grew in popularity in the past few years with young shoppers, but it is dealing with allegations from their employees of body-shaming in part because it offers only one size for a majority of their clothes, specifically for small and medium sizes. This disregard for the diversity of body types, especially during a time where the idea of body positivity is rising, is insensitive. Thousands of employees spoke out over social media about their personal experiences while working or applying to work at

Forever 21’s secrecy raises questions about how responsible the company is behind locked doors. The use of sweatshops and corrupt industrial practices is a huge issue, and if more people noticed, they could change many workers’ lives. Buyers have the opportunity to reward the companies that have earned our respect. Environmentally conscious stores like Tentree, Pact, Threads 4 Thoughts, Alternative Apparel, and more deserve our support. The minute we cut off the businesses employing sweatshops is the minute our style and trends take on a whole new personality level.

Brandy Melville. These rumors were addressed by and none are confirmed as truthful. Forever 21 is another well-known fast-fashion business with a suspicious past. This apparel company offers low prices and has been accused of using sweatshops in Los Angeles. Not only has Forever 21 disregarded, many of their employees’ needs, but they have also refused to announce any plans to make their products, or their production means more environmentally friendly.


thefourthestate.net OPINION • 35

Waging War on COVID-19 The U.S. government failed in its duty to protect its citizens, instead, they allowed hundreds of thousands to die, millions to lose their jobs and put the interests of corporations and the ultra-wealthy ahead of the general public.


he COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented death, trauma and damage to our country. When the government instituted the first lockdown in March, no onecould have anticipated the drastic change to our lives. For six months, our lives have been on pause while the world is turned upside down. As the virus spreads rapidly throughout the population, our country is falling into an economic crisis that is costing millions to lose their jobs, homes and savings. Cases of mental illness have skyrocketed as the world stresses over the safety of everyday activities and chores. Frighteningly, tens of millions of unemployed workers are being thrown off their company healthcare plans, leaving them stranded without insurance in the middle of a deadly pandemic. The death toll is staggering. Deaths from COVID-19 eclipsed combat deaths from World War II, killing over 350,000 Americans. Our elected officials have failed to provide a strategy that effectively curbs the spread of COVID-19. According to COVID Exit Strategy (CES) an organization of public health experts, every single state is in “uncontrolled spread,” the worst of the CES designations. In Santa Barbara, hundreds of new cases are reported with every update, relegating our city into the worst tier and placing restrictions on actives and businesses. While governors cannot control the lack of national leadership, they must be held accountable for their failure to create hard-hitting action that actively curbs cases. Because of this failure of our elected officials, we are now

COMMENTARY experiencing a massive surge in cases. According to the CDC director, COVID will cause more deaths per day than we had in 9/11 for months straight. Our government must do better a better job in stopping COVID, but it also has to recognize their policies have to help more than hurt. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the absence of clear leadership has doomed our country. The first wave did not end with the lockdown; instead, it ebbed and flowed depending on the policy at the time. Instead of firmly crushing the virus, which countries like Australia, Vietnam and New Zealand have successfully done, the virus continues killing Americans and crippling our economy. Somehow as a country, we have collectively accepted our situation and learned to live with it. In reality, learning to live with COVID is the worst policy we could have ever chosen. Our government has a obligation to protect its citizens, but they have forgotten that. Instead, they chose to protect the stock market and the profits of multinational corporations, refusing even to attempt to address COVID. It is hard to describe just how abhorrent it is that our nation has allowed so many people to die needlessly. If we only had a week longer of lockdown, what might have happened? Two weeks? How many people would still be alive? We are digging deeper and deeper into the ground with our COVID policies. Every day we wait to attempt to get out is making our situation worse. Until we have full vaccine deployment, our country has a moral crisis in its hands. Our government has at least partially

caused an recession through its failed COVID-19 suppression policies. Yet are acting as though the economic crisis and the pandemic aren’t linked, when in fact the economic wellbeing of Americans directly impacts their ability to live safe lives. Far beyond the minimum of providing for the unemployed, the homeless and the uninsured, our government must invest into protecting every American’s life, by instituting recurring direct payments to working families so that they

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can keep themselves, small businesses and our society healthy. Fortunately, multiple vaccines are ready for deployment. Millions of the people who are most at risk will now be immunized, a massive win for public health. Unfortunately, it will take months to immunize enough people to make a dent in the population. It may be possible to spread the virus even while vaccinated, though unlikely (clinical trials don’t reveal this). While the vaccine will save thousands of lives, it can’t work on its own. Several vaccines in development require weeks to create antibodies and depend upon receiving a second dose to keep longterm immunity. From the public health standpoint, life will be able to go back to normal in the

Fall of 2021, when enough people will have been vaccinated for herd immunity to make enough of a difference. For now, we need a plan to crush COVID and to stop ignoring the problem that at the rate we are going, tens of thousands will die before they have a chance to receive a vaccine. President-elect Biden must examine these problems and create a plan for a national COVID response. The essential idea he and his team must understand is that, in reality, every action he takes holds thousands of lives in the balance. Biden’s national coronavirus response must be hard-hitting and overwhelming.

He must eliminate activities that cause the most community spread while providing economic support to those who need it— however he can. After vaccines are widely available, it will be shameful to look back and find ways to save more lives. We must take every possible action to prevent death and suffering now, or we will severely regret it. WORDS by LUCA D’AGRUMA ART by CLAIRE TOLLES

thefourthestate.net OPINION • 37

Royalty in Montecito The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from a life of royalty, finding solace in a small nook on the West Coast.



ontecito is known for many things, but English Royalty isn’t what first comes to mind. When Duke Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle announced their departure from the royal family in early 2020, the U.K. people were shocked, saddened and some relieved for the young family. Bringing along their newborn son, Archie, the two moved to Los Angeles to start their new life as financially independent public figures. Born and raised in LA, Meghan is a self-described California girl with a career as an actress in Hollywood and a passion for feminism and social rights issues. Her stark differences from the royal family were made clear when the headlines in UK media negatively depicted her lifestyle from her African American heritage to previous marriage. Unfair comparisons were made to sister-in-law Duchess Kate about their different parenting styles, which cast a bad light on the new mother, Meghan. Meghan represents a new light in the monarchy and a change in traditional lifestyles. But there’s one thing that the royalty isn’t used to and it’s indifference to their monarchy which was seen in the late Princess Diana’s outspoken discomfort in the UK media, royal rules and spotlight. Prince Harry made his feelings about his wife’s treatment clear, saying, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.” Stepping back from their royal position seemed to be a mutual decision in the interest of their family’s future in a more normal setting. Though, normal isn’t how one would describe their move to Beverly Hills. While settling in, drones swarmed over the couple’s house, trying to catch glimpses of Harry and Meghan in the backyard of their private estate, according to the LA Police Department. The couple knew they had to move somewhere they could raise a family without the distraction and discomfort of the media. The couple’s spokesperson said, “They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community [Montecito] since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their

neighbors, as well as them for a family.” Their neighbors seemed to have settled extremely well given the circumstances. The first couple of weeks after the Duke and Duchess’ address was leaked, paparazzi and curious fans slowly drove by the quaint neighborhood and took photos by their gate and hedges, which caused the couple to reportedly keep to themselves and not venture out into the town too often. According to close sources, due to the media’s relentless spotlight on them, Meghan and Harry decided to keep their circles close and live a subdued lifestyle, in contrast to the life they were living prior to moving to Montecito. Out of respect for the couple, all details on their daily sightings and whereabouts will be kept confidential. A person who lives in Montecito said, “Yes, I’ve seen Meghan around Montecito a couple of times. I would never even think of going up to her and asking for a photo.” This seems to be an unspoken agreement among the residents of Montecito as Meghan and Harry have been seen in very limited photos and have gotten little to no social media attention. “They moved here for privacy. The least we can do is treat them like any other family who moved into town.” Montecito is the residence of choice for security-minded stars who can live incognito and enjoy privacy, eating at local restaurants and walking the beaches with no one bombarding them for photos and autographs. That’s precisely why Montecito is known as a safe haven for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres who tired of the attention cities such as LA and New York bring. It has been speculated that local celebrities welcomed the royals into Santa Barbara with a small gathering. Winfrey went on to mention on Instagram that her “neighbor,” the Duchess, kindly gave her a Christmas gift basket present. It appears that the couple is settling in well with their transition into a small, beach-town life. The future remains unclear of how long their residence will last, or where the young Archie will attend preschool. What this town does know is they are glad that royalty has made its way here.

“They moved here for privacy. The least we can do is treat them like any other family who moved into town.”

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thefourthestate.net OPINION • 39

Repeating Mistakes of 1918 Flu with COVID-19? A look at the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and the 1918 Flu Pandemic. How do these comparison hold up?


hen COVID-19 was first spreading, many news outlets compared it to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, nicknamed the “Spanish flu” that would eventually kill an estimated 20 million worldwide, including more than 600,000 in the United States. In mid January there were a reported 90,657,292 cases Covid-19 worldwide with 383,226 deaths. Many mistakes were made by leaders during both pandemics? First, some similarities: during both the 1918 Flu Pandemic and COVID-19, lockdowns were ordered only in specific places. Cities such as New York and St. Louis experienced a lower death rate than cities that didn’t implement safety measures. Philadelphia and New Orleans, with more relaxed safety measures, were not as fortunate, nor were San Francisco and Oklahoma. During these pandemics, the presidents in office, Woodrow Wilson and Donald Trump, both contracted their respective viruses and survived. However, Wilson suffered greatly and experienced the effects throughout his life. After he contracted the 1918 Flu, Wilson started having strokes, which eventually lead to his death. A comprehensive study of the 1918 Flu Pandemic noted that neurological side effects included psychosis, which was usually temporary. From numerous sources, it appears that Wilson suffered similar side effects at the Paris Peace Conference. Wilson thought French spies surrounded him. He was also bizarrely obsessed with his furniture and his automobiles. One historically important thing that came out of this change in character was his stance on Germany’s peace deal at the end of WW I. Wilson contracted the disease while in Paris for peace talks. As the peace deal at Versailles set the stage for German Nationalism and WW II, if Wilson hadn’t contacted the 1918 Flu, the world may have been a completely different place. While we still can’t say for certain if Trump is affected similarly, it appears

that he benefited from modern medicine and likely won’t suffer permanent effects or to the same extent. Recently, COVID-19 has mutated to be more transmissible. Similarly, the 1918 Flu mutated between subsequent waves of infection. The first wave wasn’t nearly as deadly as the second and third. The mutations radically shifted the severity of the 1918 Flu Pandemic. What will happen with COVID-19’s mutation remains to be seen. Propaganda and fake news characterized both pandemics. During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, propaganda was much worse due to the suppression of information that could reduce morale or be dangerous for the military. Consider another name for the 1918 Flu Pandemic: the Spanish Flu. It was named such because Spain was one of

Propaganda and fake news characterized both pandemics. the only countries reporting cases. This suppression of news led to a situation where response to the pandemic was lacking, causing the pandemic to spread uncontrollably. When Wilson and Prime Minister Lloyd George contracted the virus, newspapers reported that they had gotten a chill in the rain. Similarly, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted COVID-19, media at first, downplayed his symptoms. Increased spread during WW I was due in part to trenches densely packed with soldiers, which allowed the virus to easily spread and led to a second wave of the Flu when infected soldiers returned home from the war. While it’s hard to say what people in 1918 believed, the major problem back then was the lack of knowledge of science and the ability to find something to stop the virus from spreading. Although mask wearing was a part of both pandemics, scientific developments have improved since the 1918Flu. One crucial part of COVID-19 has

been the denial of science. Many people continue to refuse to wear a mask because think do not think they work while others believe that the government should not mandate that they wear masks, which comes from an attitude of mistrust of experts and science. This comes from a seemingly more recent idea of mistrusting experts and even scientific consensus. Modern medicine is playing a large role in COVID-19. From the start of the pandemic, scientists focused on finding potential cures or a vaccine. Because of collaboration, scientists were able to create vaccines in record time. In 1918, on the other hand, scientists didn’t understand viruses very well, and there wasn’t much hope for a cure or treatment. As such, the people who got medical care often weren’t able to get treated properly. When they were treated, they were often over-medicated, leading to even more death. The 1918 Flu Pandemic wasn’t ended by a vaccine but by enough people getting the virus that herd immunity stopped it from spreading. Social distancing and lockdowns also played a part. One of the main similarities between the two pandemics centers around the lack of organization and distribution of information. While both pandemics were different and needed different approaches, mistakes from the 1918 Flu were repeated in 2020. In both cases, leaders downplayed the pandemic to keep their countries running as normally as possible, which resulted in massive consequences. The world not learning from its previous mistakes cost it many lives. If we had looked back in history to the 1918 Flu, and learned from our mistakes, we might have been able to lessen the number of lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.


thefourthestate.net OPINION • 41

Learning in a Pandemic: How School Has Changed Due to COVID-19


The year 2020 brought changes to people’s lives, including the radical adaptations to the education system.

ver the past year, many aspects of our lives changed. Whether it’s going to the grocery store or traveling, 2020 has not been what we were expecting and school is no exception. Although Laguna Blanca is fortunate to be back in-person, the way teachers teach and students learn is different from a pre-pandemic world. School and academics have taken a turn for the worse during the pandemic. In a survey of 21 students, 90.5% stated that they preferred school before the pandemic.

Although students cited the COVID restrictions, including masks, social distancing or losing learning time as the reasons for their preferences, a major change that students faced this year has been a lack of the community aspect at school. “[School] was more carefree before the pandemic. I didn’t have to worry about keeping my distance or sanitizing my hands so often. I miss hugging my friends and seeing people’s smiles,” freshman Grace Trautwein said. Beginning in April 2020, students began remote learning.

Many students disliked the experience not only because of the prolonged screen time or cabin fever but also because the social aspect of school wasn’t there. Students don’t just go to school to learn, we go to school to get to know people, to make connections and to spend time with our friends or teachers. When the pandemic hit, and we began going to school online, this aspect of our lives was taken from us. Students could no longer eat lunch with their friends or chat with their teachers during passing periods.

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We could not spend time connecting to our sports coaches or even new classmates. The way we communicated with each other and got to know one another was completely flipped. During online school, we would hop on Zoom for four hours, eat lunch and then work on homework until it dinner. Gone were the after school sports practices or the hours spent together. While learning remotely, students spent four hours learning online, had detached conversations during classes; then spent rest of the day with our families in the solace of our homes. Because the stay at home orders were so strict when the pandemic hit, many of us didn’t see our friends outside of school either. School is the place where students get their social fix, now being at school led to loneliness and isolation for many. This loneliness contributed to other issues that students associate with learning online. Loneliness can result from prolonged screen time. Because students couldn’t go to school or communicate in person with their friends, many spent more time on social media or binging Netflix’s latest release to fill this void. Last year, we were fortunate to have gotten to know our peers and teachers before we moved online. It allowed us to establish a connection with each other that we were able to preserve when we transitioned to learning remotely. But, at the beginning of this school year, we were not as lucky. The first few weeks of the school year were spent learning remotely, leading to a more distant student-teacher relationship and student-student relationship. This problem was somewhat remedied when we came back in person. “In-person is far more effective and provides the sociable experience that Laguna Blanca considers a core value,” sophomore Aden Meisel said. But, even though we are fortunate enough to come back in-person things still aren’t the same.

We may be able to eat lunch with our friends again, but we have to do it six feet apart. Because of all the necessary safety precautions,we are unable to connect with each other as we have done in years past. Long gone are school dances and student council events. “[I] obviously [preferred school] before [the pandemic] because we could do things without safety restrictions. I really liked being able to eat lunch with my friends in other grades and was looking forward to being able to eat lunch off-campus as a senior,” Georgia Avery said. With shorter lunches and fear of infecting each other, the possibility to form connections with our peers is hindered. Now, we often have to worry “about catching an illness or risking giving other people an illness just [from]being

have cut down the curriculum, there is sometimes a feeling of rushing through the lessons to cover enough material,” Sophomore Katherine Ball said. Learning in the pandemic “means more [learning] has to take place outside of the classroom,” said History Department Chair Kevin Shertzer. The circumstances this year also led to Shertzer “eliminat[ing] a whole unit” to compensate for the lack of time both online and with the new in-person schedule. “There’s something to seeing [students] more often… it’s hard when you see a class twice in a week,” Shertzer explained. Another drawback of learning this year comes with the different “modal[ities]” of learning. “[For] a lot of my teaching I like to put visuals up… so there [may be] a link to pictures or there [may be] a map… and those are a really important aspect of linking memory… it’s not as powerful to just hear someone speaking,” Shertzer added. Teaching his history classes outside this year, Shertzer has had to resort to having students look up images or maps rather than project them which doesn’t have the same effect. “The stuff I bring in outside that I think is really important for comprehension is harder to bring [to the students] that I think best does it. It’s hard but not impossible.” Although learning and school aren’t the same as it was, students are still grateful to be back in-person. “Still, I’m really grateful that we are able to be on campus and see each other in person,” Trautwein said. “[A] ll things considered, I am very grateful that we are back in person,” Davenport said. Although the situation is not ideal, in a time when every other aspect of our lives have completely changed, some normalcy from being at school in-person is a comforting prospect for many.

...in a time when every other aspect of our lives have completely changed, some normalcy from being at school in-person is a comforting prospect for many. around each other,” junior Olivia Davenport said. Or a new “germophobic paranoia” that looms over us as sophomore Zola Peltz calls it. “[W]e [Also] had a longer lunch [before the pandemic], which is really something we need especially with the 70-minute-long-classes compared to the 30[ish]-minute-long lunch,” Zola said. Not to mention that now, because of online learning at the beginning of the year and the new schedule, many teachers have had to cut down on material due to the reduction of class time. “The periods were an optimal length and the rotating schedule worked well. Classes had adequate time to prepare for AP tests and finish the curriculum. Now, even though a lot of classes


thefourthestate.net OPINION • 43

The ‘80s classic “The Breakfast Club,” which many have come to love over the years, is a representation of teens’ identities from all generations. The movie displays the struggles and problems that highlight the teenage experience.


he beloved coming of age movie, “The Breakfast Club,” portrays five teens of varied personalities and backgrounds. In the movie, the five teens are stuck in weekly Saturday detentions and end up bonding

and becoming friends. The film portrays the development of the teenage characters and the real-life situations and experiences that they go through in their personal lives: abuse, neglect, drugs and troubled family life. The characters, “The Nerd,” “The Princess,” “The Jock,” “The Criminal” and “The Basket Case” are given stereotypical nick names to be categorized by their supposed social groups. Specifically, the teens deal with their parents not caring about them, academic pressure leading to suicidal thoughts, not being able to think for themselves and always doing what others tell them to do and compulsive lying. During their time in detention, their hidden traumas are revealed and the group grows closer and learns to accept and appreciate each other’s differences and discover that they are all each of the stereotypes that they have given to each other. They are much more alike than they thought. Since the year of its release, “The Breakfast Club” has grown a cult-like following and has become the blueprint for coming of age films.

With such a varied and wide-reaching group of fans, teenagers today can relate to the struggles and traumas faced by the characters in the film. Themes surrounding the teenage experience are relevant throughout the movie and relatable to fans’ real lives even more than 36 years later. “[The movie shows] different social groups coming together, uniting and becoming friends,” junior Julianna Semour said. While the film mainly focuses on teenage experiences and problems, adults can learn valuable lessons from it too. One of the main themes in the film deals with the insecurity that comes with wanting to belong to a clique and whether or not one makes “the cut” to fit in. “The key message about teens is that we tend to label ourselves and others and categorize what people we can be friends with and what people we can’t be friends with, all based on personality and social status. But sometimes, when we’re forced to bond with people outside of our comfort zone, it can end up just fine,” said Olivia Davenport. All of the characters became friends

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once detention was over, though they wanted nothing to do with one another before. Despite the labels and groups that they fit into, they were able to find similarities in each other including the problems they were facing. They were able to bond through their similar and shared hardships. Even though we may be living in a different century, the experiences, feelings and problems that teens go through are relatively similar. Problems the characters face in the film are problems that teens face today. “Well, I don’t think there’s much dif-

ference in teenagers back then and teenagers now in terms of mannerisms. “The only real difference is the lifestyle as we live in a world revolving around technology now,” said Olivia. Keeping that in mind, these teens from the ‘80s could still relate to the social constructs within schools.” The movie captured the teenage experience and will likely continue to do so for future generations. WORDS and ART by LYLA BOLLAG


Sofia Anderson on the Ice: An Inside Look

n a sports world dominated by football, basketball and soccer one can often overlook less widely-covered sports. In Santa Barbara, where the annual average low is 59°F, ice sports are some of the most to go unnoticed. This isn’t the case for junior Sofia Anderson who has been ice skating for five years. Recently, Sofia shared her experience and insights about the sport, what has changed because of COVID-19 and what ice skating means to her. Why did you start ice skating and what drew you to the sport initially? “I was invited to an event shortly after Ice in Paradise opened and I thought it was fun so I started taking lessons.

“Aside from the fact that I just really enjoyed it, ice skating was just a pretty unusual sport to do in California so it was just cool to try something new.” What is your favorite thing to do in ice skating? “My favorite part of skating is to compete. I really

enjoy the entire process from picking music, collaborating with my coaches, learning the choreography, finding a dress and the actual competition itself is a really rewarding experience.” What are some lessons that you have learned from ice skating? “I learned a lot from my coaches about technique, posture and even fitness so there are a lot of skills that apply off the ice. When I have participated in the Christmas shows, we usually do group numbers that require hours of rehearsal, and working in a group like that has taught me patience, teamwork and communication skills. In addition, competing has really helped me to control my nerves because I tend to get anxious before I compete, but I have learned how to calm my nervousness.” What do you find the most interesting about ice skating? “There are a lot of different elements that go into skating [and] it is really interesting to have a wide range of skills to learn. For example, in a typical program, you are required to have

a certain amount of jumps, combo-jumps, spins, combo-spins and a footwork sequence. So skating really comes with a lot of variety. In addition, there are lots of different types of skating like singles, pairs and ice dance just to name a few. I focus on singles but I also spend a lot of time working on ice dance.” What is your practice schedule like now and before COVID-19? “Before COVID, I was skating about four to five times a week with usually two to three private lessons a week. With COVID, the rink has not been open very consistently with the state and county restrictions [but] when it is open, I try to skate about two days a week. During the pandemic, my main two coaches moved out of state so I have been transitioning to a new coach while also revive all of the skills that I lost when the pandemic [first] hit. “ How do you practice? “I usually skate on freestyle sessions which are ice times that are mainly for adequately experienced skaters and they usually last hour. When I practice without a lesson, I spend 10-15 minutes warming up and physically getting warm because it is pretty cold until you get your body moving. Then I practice my jumps, spins, program, ice dances and some extra elements if I have time. Private lessons are usually 30 minutes, so I just work one on one with my coach and I am given many corrections that I apply when I practice on my own. Before the pandemic, I would try to do off-ice workouts once or twice a week but ever since the rink closed I have been trying to exercise as much as possible to stay in shape.” WORDS and ART by HANNA MASRI ART by SOFIA ANDERSON

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Life after Death: The Posthumous Ascent of a Rap Newcomer Rising rapper Pop Smoke passed away this past February. Since his death, his music has become more popular than ever and has left many fans grateful, but also wondering what his future could have held. WORDS by ALEX BATES


p-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke was killed in a home invasion this past February. He may not be as well known as hip-hop giants like Drake or Kanye West, but his music’s popularity among young people rivals more famous artists. Every song on his posthumous album, “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at the number one spot on the charts. Pop Smoke was at the forefront of the New York drill scene, a genre of hip-hop exported from the U.K. and centered around raw and gritty vocals. His deep voice and rough vocals made him stand out compared to many rappers who rely on autotune. His popularity was the driving force behind this sound entering the mainstream where it remains even after his untimely death. Senior Devin Hernandez said, “His melodic flow and lyrics over drill beats are what make him so unique.” His posthumous rise in popularity can partly be attributed to the popular video-sharing app TikTok. Many of his songs such as “Mood Swings” were part of viral trends and have over 100 million views. His catchy melodies and flows combined with the silly dances of users helped to spread his music to new audiences who may not have heard of him before. “I really only started to listen to him after he died,” senior Max Grotstein said.


His legacy is one of a certified hit-maker, yet we are left wondering at how great he truly could have been. On his posthumous album, he unveiled singing talents that no one knew he had. “It’s a shame that we lost him at such a young age, as we will never truly understand the potential he had,” junior Freddie Russell said. Even though we lost Pop Smoke, his impact remains. Every Wednesday, his fans use Instagram and Twitter to share their favorite clips of him, in a celebration titled “Woo Wednesday” after his signature “woo” ad-lib. During the George Floyd protests this past summer, his song “Dior” became the unofficial theme as a mark of resistance. Although he is gone, his music will continue to be enjoyed by many and hopefully, more of his unreleased music will see the light of day.

thefourthestate.net LIFESTYLE • 47

Club Update: An Inside Look at This Year’s Clubs From the Sock Club renewing their weekly meal-sharing programs to the Environment Club participating in multiple beach cleanups, students are in full swing doing service around Santa Barbara.

count on our Warm Things Drive to bring in lots of clothes, blankets and sleeping bags.” How are you planning things this year with the pandemic? “We are trying our best to keep events like the Warm Things Drive in place even with COVID, but we are taking extra precautions and writing out really detailed plans for when we go to the park and when we collect clothes to make sure that everything is very safe.” THE RUNNING FOR CHARITY CLUB



What are you planning for this year? Because this is a new club, we’re still working out how we want [to run it]. As of right now, our main focus is to try and inform students about environmental issues, and make small, but meaningful changes to campus [as well as] to try and make it more eco-friendly. For example, we have had beach clean-ups on Fridays, and we made posters to hang up around campus to spread awareness. Why did you form this club? “I think that part of the reason we wanted to start this club [is] because [being aware of the environment] is such a prevalent issue right now and [we] felt like [it was] something missing [at school]. Environment Club leader, Noah Kamps

The SOCK Club, led by faculty advisor Ashley Tidey and co-presidents Phoebe Stein and Catie Fristoe, is a Laguna institution focused on giving back to the homeless community of Santa Barbara. Catie sat down to describe the club’s plans for the year.

THE ARTS CLUB In their debut year, the Arts Club, formed and led by junior Claire Tolles, connects artists across the school. Claire got a chance to talk about the club, what she and the club have done and the club’s plans for the year. What are you planning for this year? We’ve started our first annual animation project, a group “mega” project by the name of “COLLABS.” This year it’s an animated movie. We’re also working with music instructor Rob Moreno to put some creative portraits in the music room to inspire his students. And, we’re planning to create our own digital-website version of the school’s Portfolio Literary Arts Magazine to showcase student talent and advertise the club for commission. “


The Environmental Club, new to campus this year is led by juniors Molly Newell, Phoebe Ray and Noah Kamps and advised by science teacher Katherine Pointer. The club’s mission is to bring awareness to ways we can help the protect the environment. Noah shares the group’s plans for their debut year.

What are some ways you are raising money or goods? “We have had a holiday bake sale, inspired by the Arts Club, where club members baked goods, and I packaged them in holiday-themed packaging. Along with this, we are contacting possible sponsors who could help in funding the race or donate prizes.”

Running for Charity Club founder and president, Hanna Masri

SOCK Club co-president, Phoebe Stein

What are you planning for this year? “We started off the year with a remote bake sale to raise money because we were not able to go to Alameda Park to hand out clothes and have meaningful conversations with those experiencing homelessness because of COVID-19. We also recently organized our annual Warm Things Drive which is always one of our best projects over the course of the year!” Why did you want to be in this club? “I started out as a member of this club during my freshman year, and really loved the connections that I was able to make with members of my community who I had never met before. I love hearing park visitor’s stories and brainstorming new ways to help and get students involved in our projects.” What are some ways you are raising money and goods? “We always have lots of bake sales to raise money and

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In its second year, the Running for Charity club is on a mission to connect the community through running. Led and founded by junior Hanna Masri, with the support of health and physical education teacher Andra Wilson as faculty advisor, here are some of the club’s plans for the year. What are you planning for this year? “This year, because we have more members than last year and have gained traction as a group, we are planning to have a virtual race in the spring to raise money for charitable causes around Santa Barbara. A virtual race is where the group who has created the race sends out ‘favors,’ things like a running bib or a T-shirt, that the runners can wear or use on their run. They log their run and then send it to us. We then take all of the results, organize them, mail out medals, trophies, and prizes to the winners. We donate all the proceeds from the entry fees to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.” Why did you form this club? “I wanted to find a way to do something I love— running while connecting the community and helping those in need. In starting the club, I hoped to bring together a group of people who could find a way to enjoy running as I have.”

Why did you form this club? “I formed this club because I felt sort of isolated as an artist, even though I knew lots of other kids who liked different mediums of art. I decided that if I got all those students together, their collective ingenuity and passion could be harnessed into creating something awesome.” What are some ways you are raising money or goods? “We haven’t done very much fundraising, aside from our remote bake sale in October. Several [club members] — including me — baked treats which I then packaged and helped deliver to different parents, students, and teacher’s houses. The money we raised for that will eventually go toward the music room project.” Arts Club founder and president, Claire Tolles

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Adapting Upper School Sports Amidst Covid-19 Along with all of the safety restrictions and precautions taken to protect the community during in-person learning, accommodating to the CDC’s COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations for sports adds extra challenges.


dapting is the word that comes up in all aspects of life that have had to change because of COVID-19. Schools, restaurants, shops and so many other parts of life are subject to unprecedented and unimaginable changes due to the pandemic. However, unlike most schools in the country, Laguna is navigating through the pandemic and providing students with resources and opportunities thought to be impossible under the circumstances of the corona virus. Although we are fortunate to attend school in person during the pandemic, our after school sports programs are being conducted much differently than they were pre-COVID. Restrictions are putting high-school sports on an indefinite hold, but student-athletes at Laguna can still play the sports they love due to our athletic department’s adaptations to COVID-restrictions. The first trimester of sports traditionally includes girls volleyball, girls tennis and co-ed cross country, the adapted sports’ schedule moves boys volleyball to the first season and girls tennis to the second season.

Boys volleyball players practice their serves on Laguna’s sand-volleyball courts.

Varsity girls volleyball players Frances Carlson, Amelia Fowler, Maura Jaye and Lily Connor warming up for practice on the sand courts.

Due to the local rising case numbers of COVID-19, we are unsure of what will end up happening. As for the first season, players from both boys and girls volleyball teams are training together, meaning partially co-ed practices. “We practice co-ed one day a week, and we practice with the younger team another day of the week, which is fun to get to play against the girls and to intermingle teams,” junior Jack Shiebler said. Another change involves a change in practice schedules. Volleyball practices only three days a week, and cross country practices twice a week, while in previous years, upper school sports practices have always been held five times a week after school. To adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding airflow and circulation,

volleyball practice is no longer held inside the gym. “Because we can’t go in [the] gym, we have to practice for indoor volleyball on the beach, which obviously is a different environment,” Jack said. This change in location is true for the girls volleyball team as well. There is a uncertainty factor in all aspects of sports right now, leaving many student-athletes unsettled about the future of their chosen sports. “We don’t know [if we will have any games/tournaments], but our season was just moved back to March, so we will most likely still be playing games, but it looks like the girls’ season will get canceled, which is unfortunate,” Jack added. While volleyball players are excited to be able to play, they miss the social aspects, which are one of the benefits of high school sports.

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Since large gatherings are strictly prohibited during COVID times, audiences for any potential games will not be apart of this volleyball season. “This year we’re not going to be able to have fans, which is obviously a big part of high-school sports, and it’s going to be something that’s going to be sad to miss out on, but I think it will still be a really fun season,” Jack said. Similarly, for cross country, there are many changes in place, including several added precautions to respect social distancing guidelines and make practices the most comfortable for the student-athletes. “We do stretches in the boxes [on the fields] socially distanced, far apart, and that’s when we take our masks off—when we get to the boxes in our two cohorts. And then we go to the middle of the field, and we do drills,” said cross country co-captain, junior Hanna Masri. Since the cross country team is usually able to take their practices off campus and enjoy exploring the trails of Hope Ranch, it came as a shock when team members found out they were no longer able to engage in this activity. The team is currently not able to run off-campus due to Hope Ranch’s

safety restrictions regarding COVID-19. Runners’ disappointment is overshadowed by the hope that things will soon change for the better. “Being in nature after a stressful day of school was so nice, and running around the trees and trails and seeing

the horses was the best part [of the sport]. “But, we’re working on getting to run off campus,” cross country co-captain senior Daisy Finefrock said Regardless of COVID and the changes that have to be made, student athletes are enjoying their practices and are staying positive in this difficult time. “[W]e’re still all together as a team, so [COVID] doesn’t affect anything that much,” Daisy said. While there are challenges and difficulties that come with practicing a sport while dealing with the necessary safety precautions, our student athletes are grateful for the opportunity to play the sports they love when most others across the country cannot. The sportsmanship and flexibility of our athletes are helping them keep a positive mindset regardless of the mental strain COVID-19 places on our community and communities like ours across the country and around the world.


The cross country team warms up for practice by doing socially-distanced stretches.

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Profile for The Fourth Estate

January Issue 2020  

January Issue 2020