FOURTH BURSTING AT THE SEAMS
LAGUNA BLANCA SCHOOL
4125 PALOMA DRIVE SANTA BARBARA, CA NOVEMBER 2021
04 05 06 08 10
12 13 14 16 18
Letter from the Editors DEI Committee New Science Center Space Tourism Murky Materials
Introducing Ron Cino Tribute to Ace Is the SAT Outdated? New Teachers Peer Support Program
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30 32 34 36 38
Stance of the Staff Global Warning Influx of New Students Social Media & Health Fall Instagrams Inflation Rate
Vaccine Requirement? Is It Critical? College Competition Abortion Rights Why E-Bikes Rule
39 40 42 43 44
45 New Athletic Director 46 Fall Sports Rundown
Comic Cancel Culture á la mode bon appétit Fall Quiz
Front Cover features senior Maura Jaye standing in front of the new lockers. Photo by Frances Carlson
OUR TEAM EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Frances Carlson Madeleine Nicks MANAGING EDITORS Dare Fitzpatrick Hanna Masri WEBSITE EDITOR Owen Noble LEAD ARTIST Claire Tolles NEWS EDITORS Myles Hazen Luca D’Agruma
FEATURE EDITOR Dare Fitzpatrick THEME EDITORS Frances Carlson Madeleine Nicks OPINION EDITOR Hanna Masri LIFESTYLE & SPORTS EDITOR Claire Tolles EDITOR OF FUN Jackson Baltes
MAGAZINE STAFF Jackson Baltes Annika Firlik Ada Green Abby Kim Milla Hirsch Aden Meisel Dionne Peterson Sofia Ramirez Alexandra Siegel Jinling Wang Elli Westmacott FACULTY ADVISER Trish McHale, MJE
Letter from the Editors
e’ve been thinking about this letter for a long time. When we joined the Fourth Estate as freshmen, we knew we had found our place. Our first months on the staff were chaotic, confusing, and joyful. It took a bit to learn how to write a deck, and creating an InDesign page was a struggle. As we published more issues, the things that were difficult to grasp soon became routine, and we adjusted to the wonderful craziness that comes with publishing this magazine. Our first year concluded with the annual JEA/NSPA National Journalism Convention when we joined the yearbook staff and ventured to Anaheim and spent two days with Trish and Mr. Dorfman in endless seminars. We attended a baseball game, conquered Disneyland, and traveled on Amtrak. Then came sophomore year. We moved into section editor positions; Frances on Feature and Madeleine on Opinion. Our responsibilities became more substantial as we learned how to edit articles, manage pages, make stylistic decisions, and change dress codes. Suddenly, we were confined to our homes, and we had to do the impossible and publish the Senior Issue while on zoom… but we were determined to do it. Junior year wasn’t what we expected. While the year started on zoom, we were fortunate enough to be back in person by October, thanks to the hard work of our administration and faculty. Nevertheless, it was an uncertain year without our standard schedule, sports seasons, dances, assemblies, or lunches—but there were lots of APs. And still, the Fourth Estate endured. We revisit that year through the covers: the first one took place underwater at 7 a.m. the day after Halloween. The second one required Gus Sabino ‘21 to eat an entire birthday cake on camera. The third one was decorated only with flowers. For the Senior Issue, we made a group of seniors move a bleacher onto the middle of the field during an elementary school football practice. As we face our senior year, we are preparing for our last year on the Fourth Estate. Our group of new staff members brings unparalleled enthusiasm, an open willingness to learn, and, of course, a bountiful amount of food to the work party. We could not be happier to share the magazine with our exceptional and dependable group of editors (Dare, Hanna, Claire, Luca, and Myles). But most importantly, our beloved Trish who has guided us through these four years with an unwavering belief in our purpose and abilities. Only because of her have we gotten to this point, and we are incredibly grateful. We hope that you enjoy this issue in all its glory.
• 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 first issue of the 2021 school year and the 27th volume of The Fourth Estate magazine. Laguna Blanca School, 4125 Paloma Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93110. Contacts are available at firstname.lastname@example.org, (805) 687-2461 x0317 or www.thefourthestate.net. Laguna Blanca School has an EK-12th student population of approximately 400, 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 on Adobe InDesign CC2020, using Avenir Next and Mencken Std Head font families and printed on glossy paper free for students, and $30 for an annual subscription. The magazine is distributed to all Upper School students and faculty through the school’s advisory program and sent by mail to subscribers, as well as distributed to alums, with 450 copies printed. We are associated with NSPA, CSPA and JEA.
Until next time ... Frances and Madeleine
4 • NEWS thefourthestate.net
DEI Program Year Two
Students now have the chance to create their own initiatives and collaborate with faculty towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. WORDS and ART by LUCA D’AGRUMA
ast year, the Laguna’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program revised the dress code policy, instituted comprehensive sexual assault and harassment prevention education, held social justice lunches, and organized a Pride Celebration in June. Now, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Ursula Chan hopes to further the progress she made. “The Student DEI Committee would be available to meet throughout the year to amplify, discuss, and collaborate on student concerns,” Chan said. The new student committee is a project of the larger DEI committee that aims to include students in the program’s initiatives, in addition to creating their own. “Part of this is about creating community investment within the student body towards DEI, and understanding and supporting the diversity, equity, and inclusion in our school,” Chan said. Across the country, institutions like Laguna are grappling with issues around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Chan says we should show “more obvious culture changes that we believe in as a school, which is supporting every person who is on our campus regardless of their identities.” More initiatives like that, Chan says, in addition to helping faculty learn how to support students, is the key to understanding our “roles as allies.”
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) curated a list of Principles of Good Practice around Equity and Justice, which includes standards such as schools developing “meaningful requirements for cross-cultural competency, training and support for all members of its community, including the board of trustees, parents, students, and all schools personnel,” and deliberate work to ensure that “the board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and student body reflect the diversity that is present in the rapidly changing and increasingly diverse school-age population in our country.” The standards apply across all departments, from admissions to athletics, in order to provide common ground for interaction between independent schools and their constituencies. Laguna’s program is similar in its drive towards including the entire community in its mission. From fostering a welcoming environment to LGBTQ+ students to encouraging civic engagement, Chan is excited for the future. If anyone would like to join the Student DEI Committee, Chan says any student can email her about the committee or any issue they would like to discuss, in addition to meeting during her office hours.
NEWS • 5
A New Start for STEM After months of construction, the Center for Science and Innovation held a grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. WORDS by HANNA MASRI and MADELEINE NICKS PHOTOS by BRAD ELLIOTT
tem is here to stay on campus. This September, Laguna finally unveiled its brand new Center for Science and Innovation, a collection of spaces dedicated to STEM fields, including biology, chemistry, and physics. The core principles of the new center are to revitalize classrooms, transform facilities to be centered around project-based learning, and ensure that curiosity and innovation remain at the heart of the science program. The Nakamura STEM Research and Innovation Lab is among the buildings, and a hub for all things robotics, 3-D printing, VR, and coding. Through thoroughly crafted, detailed interiors, the classrooms use space more efficiently and stylistically than ever before. The Jackson Lab, housing physics, math, and environmental science classes, underwent a similar refurbishment.
Sophomore Andreas McClintock demonstrates a recent robotics project for former Laguna parent Ron Ungerer.
The recently installed landscape of the Center for Science and Innovation
The newly-constructed Gainey Biology and Chemistry Labs, feature interactive spaces where students can immerse themselves in the material. Behind the new biology classroom, an outdoor space was developed to give students a designated area to conduct open-air experiments. “I really love the new science center buildings because they are the perfect modern, clean space to work whether that be on a lab project or just simply writing notes,” senior Catie Fristoe said. “The new spaces make me really excited to come to class and explore.” The ceremony, held on September 27, gathered together members of the Laguna community including alums and parents of alums. Student volunteers led tours around the spaces for visitors, giving a personal perspective on what it’s like to learn in the new parts of campus. “I have three classes [in the labs] and it’s incredible the resources we get… we have all the state-of-the-art machines… it’s incredible the experiments we can do,” senior Ben Rodgers said. During the opening, science instructors Zach Moore, Katie Pointer, Penny Pagles, Clara Svedlund, and John Pagano were stationed in their respective classrooms, giving guests an insight into how teaching has changed in the new rooms and setting up demonstrations.
6 • NEWS thefourthestate.net
Co-Heads of the Board of Trustees, Tom Tolles and Billie Fitzpatrick, address the crowd.
Students gather together and cut the ribbon, unveiling the new science center.
Ed and Sue Birch of The Mosher Foundation, o-chair of Building on Strength Elisabeth Fowler, and EK instructor Mary Surber talk with juniors Katherine Ball and Zea Boyle.
Attendants of the ceremony gather around the Jackson Physics Lab and listen to an address from Co-Heads of the Board of Trustees, Tom Tolles and Billie Fitzpatrick.
Science Department Chair Staci Richard led the event, giving an address and moving through the classrooms along with tour groups. “The Center for Science and Innovation gives our students every possible advantage in preparing them to succeed in tomorrow’s world,” Richard said. Additionally, the former chemistry classroom and lab were converted into a teacher workspace where members of the faculty without a “home” classroom now have offices where students can reach them for office hours or meetings. The room features workspaces for students, including standing desks and a soundproof booth for online meetings. Co-chairs of the “Building on Strength” campaign, Elisabeth Fowler and Josh Connor, led the fundraising the $6.5 million campaign.
Their efforts spanned across several months, with major donors being the Nakamura and Gainey families, the Ann Jackson Family Foundation, The Mosher Foundation, and The Zegar Foundation. Senior George Nicks had the honor of cutting the ribbon while surrounded by a close community of students, teachers, parents, alumni, and donors, all coming together to support the STEM community and the future of Laguna Blanca School. “I’ve been working in Laguna STEM classes since I was in seventh grade and from where we were then soldering in a normal classroom, to now with multiple fully outfitted classrooms for everything under the sun is just game-changing… it changes everything,” George said. “I’m so glad to see that Laguna is finally giving the STEM field the attention and funding it deserves to help students reach their full potential.”
NEWS • 7
Space Tourism Heats Up While many space companies have been butting heads, a new type of space exploration has emerged. The futuristic idea of space tourism is causing companies like Blue Origin, Virgin Galatic, and SpaceX to race to become the leaders in public space transportation.
pace tourism is something that used to be seen as a cool getaway in a science-fiction story rather than reality, but as a new age in science is rising, it is causing many changes in that opinion. Space exploration is now a business as ultra-wealthy billionaires compete to capitalize on the unique opportunity of commercializing space and expanding upon the meaning of “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” SpaceX’s first-ever crewed orbital mission (Inspiration 4) without professional astronauts has paved a new road for the future of private spaceflight. With a successful splash down landing in Florida, Inspiration 4’s first three-day trip around Earth that launched on Sept. 16, caused an increase of interest in space exploration. With that, many new companies and initiatives are hoping to jump on the trend soon. As space tourism starts to develop and opens more doors to more people, it will allow the public to understand the future of space exploration better. Now, with their objectives, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Bran-
WORDS by JINLING WANG ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
son’s Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are advancing in space mechanics and space tourism and moving towards the goal of including space travel into regular commutes, where typical citizens have the opportunity to travel to space as a vacation destination at speeds never seen before. With space tourism, the prospects of traveling to space are becoming more apparent to humanity. We continue to be enthralled by the idea that traveling to space opens a platform of ideas. Space travel shows the capabilities of humankind and how much more of the universe is left undiscovered. As space travel becomes more developed, the cost of going to space will decrease, including ticket prices. With 8,000 currently people holding a reserved ticket aboard the Virgin Galactic flight, Richard Branson had to put a cap limitation. With any new technology or recreational experience, it is always the most expensive when it is first released. Just pondering the possibility of a future with Americans vacationing in space allows people to con-
nect to space, opening a likelihood for us in the foreseeable future. How quickly it develops, however, is anyone’s guess. One ticket from Blue Origin sold for $28 million makes it clear that the average person is more likely to win the lottery before getting chosen by NASA to become an elite astronaut, not to mention the deep pockets needed for this expensive thrill ride for a spot aboard Virgin Galactic’s six-passenger Unity spacecraft, which is currently being sold for around $450,000 a piece. The current prices to access space are astronomical: the only people who could ever afford it at the moment are a small percentage of the ultra-wealthy, making its hefty price tag its primary criticism against investing in space travel. Another complaint is that funds for space tourism could be used to solve issues here on Earth, including climate change. With so many eyes on space travel, many believe that the costs for space tourism are a distraction from more critical societal problems. Besides most of the concerns revolving around funding, another criticism of space tourism is its lasting environmental impact.
The most common pollution from spacecraft is caused by black carbon from their engines and their rocket fuel. Based on The Guardian, data came back revealing one rocket launch emits up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to their fuel. Activists continuously accuse companies like Virgin Galactic of downplaying and disregarding the environmental risks of space travel. While big companies like Virgin Galactic are promising, they plan to invest in a more environmentally friendly fuel in the future to create promising safe guards.. “Because right now be have many countries in the world who are traveling to space right now, I think that it is a global responsibility on how we determine the safe guards and how we can better protect our planet,” said biology teacher Penny Pagels. Blue Origin engines depend on liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which create water vapor, but people denounce that it takes electricity to produce the fuel. The use of fossil fuels in power plants burns coal, which generates steam to operate turbines that helps produce energy through wind turbines resulting in even more pollution. According to Phys.org, Inspiration4, launched by SpaceX, used an F9 rocket, which amounted to 395 trans-Atlantic flights worth carbon emissions. Since space tourism is such a new concept and used for recreational and scientific purposes, emissions are
still negligible compared to commercial plane flights. Still, activists worry about the effects space travel could have on global warming. “I have a lot of concerns for our planet and I think we should be focusing on the future of Earth, before we continue to spend billions of dollars on space exploration, especially on space tourism,” Pagels said. According to the Wall Street Journal, Virgin Galactic’s aims to launch at least 400 flights a year by the end of the decade. With that many flights being launched, many other doors will open in the next steps of exploration, whether it is discovering valuable minerals to new ways of colonization. The benefits of space exploration, which people are vying towards, make this a more breathtaking experience for the general audience. When you pass the boundary between Earth and space, travelers can catch a rare glimpse, allowing them to transform their views on Earth. With such uncharted territory innovations, and ideas could help
originate new advancements from in-depth space exploration. As space tourism catches flight, already 600 people have confirmed themselves for a Virgin Galactic flight in the future, opening many job opportunities in the burgeoning space travel market. The world focusing on interplanetary travels and plans for colonization gives a good idea that space is explorable by the naked eye. Americans aren’t the only people competing for the groundbreaking discoveries made by space travel; other countries, from China to Russia, are also founding their projects. With the market expanding to be projected at $3 billion, countless investors plan to jump into the new market by the end of 2030. The China Academy of Sciences(CAS) recently mentioned developing rockets for commercial satellite purposes, soon to be tested next year. At the same time, Russia is reportedly filming a movie on the International Space Station this year which launched from Kazakhstan this past month, showcasing the various uses of space travel. Even with so many opinions and speculations regarding space tourism, there is no doubt that it will become a huge step in human history. The thought of vacationing in space with a smoothie in hand and camera around the neck seems so distant at least for a great majority but not for a certain crowd. Yet, as technology drastically continues advancing, billionaires seemingly make this joy ride seem closer in sight with many test launches already taken. With many attempts of opening the cosmos to the huge masses, normalizing space travel is in the foreseeable horizon as tickets start selling at alarming rates as a gradual interest for it’s huge potential in recreational purposes. A lot of criticism and praise hover over this subject, but can the pros outweigh the cons for space tourism?
Murky Materials The reality of the fashion industry is bleak and it’s worse than many thought possible.
t’s no secret that the fashion industry is no stranger to controversies. Household brand names such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 have been accused of designing cheap and trendy clothing intended only to last for one season. The reality of the fashion industry is bleak. According to a article in Entrepreneur Magazine, “practically every stage in the life cycle of clothing has negative implications for our planet.” Many factors contribute to fashions negative effects on the planet. However an important variable which often goes unnoticed is the materials that go into making inexpensive clothes and the plethora of problems created in their production. One such material which is very popular among consumers is cowhide or calfskin leathers. Tanned skins are one of the last materials that one would expect to see on this list. The tanning industry poses threats to both the environment and those that work within it. Manufacturers have managed to find “profit-maximizing” production methods that come at the cost of the environment and freshwater supplies. Leather that is tanned with chromium and/or formaldehyde, which are toxic chemical compounds, account for up to 90% of the leather available on the market today. This is mainly because the chemically-dependent tanning process can be completed in a matter of days, rather than in a matter of months. Historically, leather has been tanned with natural “tannins” which
WORDS by JACKSON BALTES ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
include oak bark, leaves, vegetable extracts, and plant roots. The process, which is known as vegetable tanning or “veg-tan”, takes many months to complete and is both costly and labor-intensive. The finished product is considered to be far better in quality, durability, and overall finish than its chrome-tanned counterparts. Chrome tanning has and will continue to dominate the market due to its cost effective production as it takes only a few days to complete. Gentleman’s Gazette Magazine, pointed out that, “chrome tanning allows you to end up with leathers that are really thin, soft and flexible... chrome leather also typically holds color much better, is more colorfast and you can also have a much larger range of brighter colors.” However, what often goes unnoticed by general consumers is the whole host of destructive effects created in the production of chrome-tanned leather from watershed to workers. Workers in charge of doing the “dirty work” in the tanneries suffer infertility, birth defects, and respiratory problems due to the chromium and/or formaldehyde found in the tanning solutions. This toxic tanning solution has been known to melt and burn the skin off of tannery workers employed in developing countries with little to no safety regulations. The toxic waste ends up in rivers and waterways, along with other waste created by the tanneries. In a PBS NewsHour interview in 2017, Richard Pearhouse of Human Rights Watch said, “Each time I would spend a peri-
od of time in [Bangladesh], I would fall sick to some of the illnesses I was witnessing with some of the people who were living there and working there,” he added, “It’s hard to overstate how polluted [the tanning district] is.” The climax of the matter is that even though chrome-tanned leathers are cheaper, they do not wear or patina well. Due to the finish on the leather, they can end up “cracking” after a few months of use. Another very popular material that causes environmental problems and often goes unnoticed is cotton fabrics.
“Each time I would spend a period of time in [Bangladesh], I would fall sick to some of the illnesses I was witnessing with some of the people who were living there and working there.” - Richard Pearhouse According to Environmental Club leader junior Phoebe Ray, “Cotton makes up about half of all the materials used in textiles, but the way it is grown is environmentally unsustainable.” Throughout the many stages of cotton production and manufacturing, both the health and safety of the environment and workers have been neglected. The harmful effects of cotton production are usually felt before any seed has been planted.
10 • NEWS thefourthestate.net
To fertilize the soil for farming, farmers use chemical fertilizers to increase efficiency. The toxic elements in the fertilizer can find their way into runoff water during storm cycles, and end up in freshwater streams which people in developing countries rely on for their drinking water. When the fertilizer is not being eroded into streams, rivers, and lakes, it seeps into underground freshwater aquifers that supply drinking water.
“Cotton makes up
about half of all the materials used in textiles, but the way it is grown is environmentally unsustainable.” - Phoebe Ray When the cotton seeds are planted, the crops need to be treated with pesticides due to cotton’s naturally delicate and soft state which is normally subject to insects and pests.
These harmful pesticides are known to affect the health of farmworkers and nearby populations, adding to the human cost of production. Once the cotton has matured enough, it can be harvested by machines. The newly harvested cotton is pressed into varying-sized rectangular bales that are usually sold to processing plants. Considering cotton is labeled as a commodity crop, there is no shortage of processing infrastructure dedicated to turning the field crop into materials that can be used in textile production. While the processing plants themselves have changed over the years to improve efficiency, what has not changed in some plants is the chronic lack of safety concerns for the workers. According to a safety investigation by Textile Today, it was concluded that, “Cotton in its whole processing value chain can generate potential health hazards. From harvesting field to ginning mills; spinning, knit-
Do you own any fast fashion?
37.5% No 62.5% Yes
16 Laguna students polled. thefourthestate.net
ting to processing mills cotton micro dust are causing chronic coughs and sometimes even bronchitis to the workers who are severely exposed to them.” When the spinning machines begin to spin the cotton into usable materials, toxic dust and debris fill the air exposing workers to a multitude of respiratory issues. Once the processing has finished, the fabric is treated in vats of industrial bleach before it is dyed into appealing colors. New York-based clothing designer Angel Chang, a sustainable fashion advocate, stated in a 2017 TedX talk, “Some of these [vats of chemicals] contain cancer-causing cadmium, lead, chromium, and mercury.” When the finished material comes out of the processing factories, they find their way into sweatshops and unsafe factories. Scientists and climate researchers agree that there is only one way to tackle the problems that come with fast fashion. According to Kirsi Niinimäki, an associate professor at Finland’s Aalto University, “It is quite critical that we as consumers accept that these cheap garments are not possible if the environmental impacts are really all taken care of... In the future, we should produce less, we buy less and there will be less waste.” NEWS • 11
A Transition in Leadership As we head back to campus, the Laguna Blanca community welcomed the new Head of School Ron Cino.
WORDS by HANNA MASRI PHOTO by BRAD ELLIOTT
s the school year began and students and faculty returned to their routines, we welcomed our new head of school, Ron Cino. Cino, his wife, and their three children, moved to Santa Barbara this summer, taking the reins from Rob Hereford after the Hereford family relocated to New Orleans. Being a Brooklyn native and an East Coaster at heart, Cino attended Poly Prep in New York for eight years then majored in American Studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. He was the Head of School at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts for 10 years adding to his 26 years of experience in education which include everything from working at Trinity’s Office of Admissions, to being the Director of College Counseling at Worcester Academy. At Laguna Blanca, Cino wants to “apply the learning” from school last year towards an “even more robust on-campus experience.” “One of the reasons that I love working in education is that I have the opportunity to learn each day,” Cino said. “The whole year ahead will be filled with listening, learning, and new experiences.” Cino plans to make Laguna a place that will inspire students and teachers. He wants to do this by evolving “learning and teaching at Laguna” by seeing how Laguna, as a community, can use “professional learning” to make our teaching practices even more successful. He also wants to ensure that our “rapidly growing community” understands and appreciates our core values of “scholarship, character, balance, and community” by finding ways to make these values visible in our practices and policies. “He is warm and approachable and makes an effort each day to connect with our students, faculty and staff, as well as the larger Laguna community,” said Assistant to the Head of School Jessica Tyler. “Mr. Cino is a true leader and brings a wealth of experience to Laguna that is already proving to be invaluable and of benefit to all. I look forward to the year ahead to see where his vision carries us.” A new Owl, Cino is already “proud to be part” of Laguna. The caring, welcoming, and warm community has made Cino feel a strong sense of ownership and belonging. He is honored to be apart of our school admiring the amount of people at Laguna who are full with “a deep and abiding commitment to its mission and core values.”
Head of School Ron Cino stands in front of the entrance to the Upper School Campus
“I am so excited that Mr. Cino has come to Laguna. I really appreciate his dedication to the student body so far and his work to make our classes valuable, but also engaging and fun. He has really added to the caring, welcoming community at Laguna which I am so grateful for,” senior Catie Fristoe said. “My future colleagues have great ideas about how to best serve our students through teaching, learning, and innovation. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with one another – students, parents, alumni, and the Board – to synthesize these ideas into a cohesive plan for Laguna Blanca’s next chapter,” Cino said.
12 • FEATURE thefourthestate.net
Awe & Amazement: A Tribute to Peter Angeloff As news spread of the passing of our beloved physics teacher Peter “Ace“ Angeloff multiple generations of students, friends, and family came together to share stories and honor his memory. We miss you, Ace.
Peter, in the mountains, but also in the classroom and every day at Laguna reminded us not to forget to be guided and pleasantly surprised by the Awe and Amazement all around us—in nature, in astronomy, in modern physics, in ideas, on night hikes. This might have come in quiet conversation or in his unmistakable giant Ace personality, bellowing our last name or nickname across campus. To my rational, intellectual, Harley riding, nature loving, whole heart caring, blue steak eating, coke drinking, Grateful Dead/opera listening (depending on the day), bolo tie wearing, friend—our self-proclaimed Senior Master—I hope John Muir won’t mind my taking creative liberties…Thank you for what you’ve instilled in each of us—a life full of Awe and Amazement. The mountains are calling and I know we must let must go…All is well. Be at peace. Goodbye my dear friend. We love you. thefourthestate.net
NIC RICHMOND ‘21
Every class with Ace was interesting. One of my favorite physics demos he did involved shooting a blowgun into a cart to demonstrate conservation of momentum. He said the blowgun was also used to shoot spiders off the ceiling.
GEORGE NICKS ‘22
I will never meet another Ace Angeloff. While we will always remember the stories and Ace-isms, the part of him that sticks with me the most is his love for teaching and his love for his students.
An impassioned, witty, soulful, night-walking, refreshingly genuine, and compassionate friend…Ace pulled you into the present moment with every conversation. He loved living. He loved connecting. He had that knowing smile, and he knew a lot, that continues to evoke a smile in me every time I think of it. I can still hear Ace’s voice on campus and I hope I always will.
DAISY FINEFROCK ‘21
Even though he kicked me off his golf team freshman year, he became my ‘lunch confidant’ and favorite teacher who also somehow let me be his TA just because he surprisingly enjoyed my company. I loved the mundane ways we’d spend time together like helping him set up his new AirPods or trying different flavors of eclairs every week. These lunches and random deep talks with Ace made me realize there was much more than that blatantly tough and sarcastic persona. Ace was a genuinely kindhearted, thoughtful, hilarious and intellectual person who led an incredible life with so many stories to share. I’m so grateful to have known him and our friendship meant a lot to me. Rest in peace, Ace.
FEATURE • 13
Is the SAT Outdated? As institutions across the country eliminate standardized testing from their applications, the significance of the SAT is under question WORDS by ADEN MEISEL ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
hat is the point of using the SAT? And why do we students still take it? Until recently, standardized testing, specifically the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), held a significant influence in the college admission process. However, even before the pandemic, experts were beginning to question whether this method of academic evaluation is outdated. The utilization of standardized tests first emerged in the midst of the First World War as a means both for the National Education Association to evaluate U.S. college applicants, and for the military to assess enlisted recruits. By the end of the Second World War, the SAT was commonly used by college admission offices around the country. However, in an era of pandemics, political polarization, and momentous social change, today’s nation drastically contrasts from the United States that existed nearly a century ago. Now, with a far more economically diversified demo-
graphic, many academics argue that standardized testing no longer serves as an equitable basis for comparing college applicants. The pandemic has limited the capacity of testing locations, exacerbated financial inaccessibility of test preparation and tutoring, and created uneven access that students have to schooling in general. According to local Educational Consultant Kim Skinner, “People with a lot of financial resources have access to private tutoring, courses, and test preparation which statistics show have a demonstrative and measurable impact on their scores.” Additionally, there are biases of the SAT that, by today’s standards, can be regarded as irrelevant or unnecessary.
This would include the “many idiosyncrasies of the formal English language in the 20th and 21st centuries,” Skinner said. “Understanding the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ can have a significant impact on your grammar score.” More broadly, it is these specific features of the test that inadvertently disadvantage groups from lower income. “The idiom that is tested is heavily biased towards people that have grown up in households of higher education. It is often difficult to understand especially if English is not your first language.” Ethnicity also has a significant impact on language interpretation as different regions of the world may speak English in slightly differing dialects. For example, New Yorkers say “standing on line,” whereas Californians say “standing in line.” It only takes a slight variation in language interpretation to affect the overall score. Despite these nuances, the College Board has taken steps tow a r d
Do you believe that the SAT/ACT should be completely removed from the college application?
7.7% Other 34.6% Yes 57% No
making the SAT’s material more applicable to the current day. One example is the replacement of the analogy section for a new writing section that examines the test taker’s ability to write rather than their familiarity with specific terms. While the value of standardized testing used for college applications remains a debate, a different assertion is being made that standardized testing does not reflect academic aptitude as much as it does the ability to take the test. In fact, Director of College Counseling Matt Struckmeyer said, “The SAT does not reflect academic skills, nor in a substantive way either.” But then the question remains:
“The SAT does not reflect academic skills, nor in a substantive way either.” - Matt Struckmeyer If an SAT score doesn’t reflect academic performance, then what is its significance? The SAT was designed so that colleges could “gauge applicants’ ability,” Struckmeyer said. Yet on a much deeper level, standardized testing is intended to “provide a more standard comparison to students’ GPAs,” Skinner said, “I thefourthestate.net
How much time do you spend weekly studying for SAT/ACT? imagined that standardized tests have evolved to help establish an alternative baseline to inflated GPAs.” According to Struckmeyer, there exists a major split in American higher education. Some of the highly selective schools seem to be in favor of standardized testing because they believe it helps them distinguish among the abilities of their top applicants. Though with the current state of the pandemic, Struckmeyer adds, the general consensus among American colleges and universities is that they will not be accepting the SAT or ACT for admissions in the near future. “However, my core belief,” said Struckmeyer, “is that the test ought to be something that doing well in school prepares you for. Moreover, I would like to see the test get back to fundamental skills that all kids need to learn anyway.” As for the long-term fate of standardized testing, there is no guarantee; for now, it remains a story that only time will tell.
6+ Hours 2- Hours
Do you think that the SAT/ACT accurately reflect academic aptitude?
53.8% Somewhat 23.1% No 23.1% Yes
FEATURE • 15
New Teachers Arrive Laguna welcomed six new teachers to the Upper School. Check out their hopes, goals, and visions for the upcoming year. WORDS by ADA GREEN PHOTOS by ADA GREEN and MEG FONTAINE
James Savage Introduction to Philosophy “One thing in particular that I would like to accomplish in teaching this class is to show students just how much intrinsic value there is in studying philosophy and that it really does underpin and intertwine with all of the other academic subjects in one way or another. For example, it has been said that philosophy is like the “queen” of the sciences as it has “given birth” to all other scientific disciplines. The world today would surely look much different if we did not ask and try to answer questions. With that being said, philosophy embodies the spirit of inquiry into the unknown and the uncertain, and what I think any philosophy instructor wants most for their students is for them to capture that spirit and let it feed into their own curiosities about the world.”
Zack Lillie-Liberto Conceptual Physics, Honors Physics, Astronomy “The first thing that comes to mind is I want to be successful; my success is measured by my student’s success. I would say that you start with the small stuff. I want to make sure I get my grading done on time. I want to make sure that I communicate well with my students. Bigger than that, I don’t want to go home every night and feel like I haven’t done well. My hope is that every night I can go home feeling good about myself and feeling good about the work I’ve done. My goal would be to pass that along to my students as well. My hope is that they can go home every night feeling confident that they did the best they could do in my class and I was able to help them.”
Lucy Lombardi English 8, English Seminar “My goal is for my Upper School students to really enjoy a good story—I want them to love to read! And so I’ve selected books that are engaging and relatable and that explore new concepts and genres, like our current study of magical realism in Isabel Allende’s “City of the Beasts.” From this study and future ones, I would like my students to be able to understand what makes both a good story and a good storyteller. All this so that they can then tell their own stories—which are so very important to share—in a way so that their audience will be able to hear a clear message. Every student’s voice matters, and being able to communicate their ideas is an important skill to have as they go out and make their own way in this world.”
16 • FEATURE thefourthestate.net
Zachary Wallace Honors Stage Band, Pop & Rock Ensemble, PAF 5 & 6, Music Fundamentals
Penny Pagels 9th Grade Biology, AP Biology, Introduction to Biotechnology, Forensics
Adam Bairzin 6th Grade Science, 9th Grade Biology, Science Research Projects
“My goals are to work with the students on basic music skills, especially in the PAF 5 and PAF 6 classes. I just want to get them accompanied with all the basic rhythm section instruments: bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums. I want them all to get a chance to play all those and get their hands on them and to learn a little bit about music theory... and how all the amplifiers and instruments work.”
“My goals are pretty much the same every year, especially with my first-year science students, so my biology students. My goal is to inspire them to wonder about the world around them. And, hopefully, to instill that wonder in them about figuring things out and discovering their environment.”
“My goals for this year are just sort of figuring out where I fit into a new school. I’m trying to just find a place where I can fit and figure out how my own values align with what the school is doing and the values of the students and adults here on campus so that I can figure out what I want to focus on in future years, what areas I want to grow, and what areas I want to pursue more.”
New faculty from all three divisions gather together in front of Spaulding Auditorium. Back Row: James Salvage, Adam Bairzin, Penny Pagels, Alyssa Baker, Sarah Fishman, Maud Maillard, Matt Steinhaus, Front Row: Zaire Paredes, Bryan Gin, Jannine Tuttle, Lucy Lombardi, Jueun Steinhaus, Krysta Falloon, Michelle Martinez-Mercado, and Jennifer Richards thefourthestate.net
FEATURE • 17
Peer Support Program Launches In hopes of supporting freshmen and connecting all high school grade levels, senior Mike Janey introduces a student-to-student mentorship program.
WORDS and PHOTOS by FRANCES CARLSON
igh school can be an overwhelming concept. Teenagers are asked to keep up with demanding school work, undergo long hours of sports practices and extracurriculars, maybe even hold down a job, and, of course, find time for a balanced social life. In this endeavor, it is sometimes difficult to maintain healthy relationships with parents, teachers, friends, food, sleep, and even yourself. To help combat the extensive challenges that make up one’s high school experience, it is critical to find reliable sources of information and support. Senior Mike Janey recognized this issue and decided to start a club on campus called “Peer Support.” “My objective with peer support is to give freshmen the advice that I wish I had in my first years of high school, but in the context of a peerrun program.”
Senior Mike Janey, founder and leader of Laguna’s new Peer Support program.
“Speaking from personal experience, I am a very anxious person, and I have intense ADHD that wasn’t diagnosed until sophomore year. I feel like all of these things were something that went under the radar, as I was dealing with them on a daily basis. It would have been great to have a peer who was there to help.” Mike got the idea for the program at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. “Well, it started the week of APs, back in May. I was thinking about how if I had known how to navigate through studying for tests, being a good student, and participating in the community, that this would have been a much easier process.” “I started doing work in the spring and made a document with the logistics, the general concept, and the runnings of peer support.” Mike launched the program at the beginning of the new school year, but developed it over the entire summer. “We had weekly Zoom meetings over the summer to keep up to speed with everything.” “One of the first main things that we had to cover was going over the confidentiality rules and guidelines that go with the program. There are some things that [the mentors] are obligated to share with the school regarding mental health issues.” The program consists of six senior mentors who are each assigned one freshmen advisory group. This year’s senior mentors are Amelia Fowler, Maura Jaye, Noah Kamps, Henry Otte, and Jack Shie-
bler. Mentors visit their designated advisory group weekly to talk about all aspects of high-school life. “It’s interesting to see how bringing up a point of concern can spark conversation on matters that need attention and that may have previously been overlooked,” Henry Otte said. “To discover these problems can lead to a better high school experience.”
“My objective with peer support is to give freshmen the advice that I wish I had in my first years of high school but in the context of a peerrun program.” - Mike Janey All mentors went through training over the first weeks of school, including several in-person meetings. “There is still training that will occur throughout the year as different events and issues pop up.” Another goal of the program is to offer opportunities for one-on-one meetings between underclassmen and mentors. If a freshman needs more specific or personalized advice, they can set up a meeting to talk with any mentor in the program. “We also have individual checkins, which are not mandatory but are highly encouraged. This is how we are getting to know them [the
18 • FEATURE thefourthestate.net
freshmen] and figuring out how we can help them individually.” Mike explained that confidentiality is vital in making the program a success. “Part of it is because Laguna is such a small community and word of mouth is a big part of campus life. My main concern was keeping trust with the freshmen and making sure that they know that their private matters will stay confidential,” Mike said. “There is not much of a point in peer support without respecting the privacy of the students.” Beyond the benefits of supporting freshmen, Mike hopes the program will provide school-wide perks in promoting a more connected student body. “I feel like there is a big disconnect between underclassmen and upperclassmen, so one of our main focuses is figuring out how to incorporate freshmen into the high school in a seamless way,” “It has been great to get to know the freshmen better. I’ll see them around campus and they’ll say ‘hi’ and I get excited that the program is really working.” Additionally, Mike hopes to set up the foundation for a long-lasting program. “I have three juniors who have committed to being mentors-in-training and I will need to find three more before the year ends,” “My goal is to get trainees to get a good idea of what the program entails and start bringing them into our advisories or whatever events we do.” “I’ve been working with School Counselor Kim Valentine to start re-structuring the program so it can continue in the future and be more useful. Even though I was hoping for this program to be fully done by the start of the school year, that is unrealistic. This first year is all about trial and error and learning what works and what doesn’t and then figuring out how to make it better next year and for the years to come.” thefourthestate.net
MEET THE MENTORS Q: What is the best advice you would want to give to freshmen?
A: “My advice would be to relax and enjoy making connections with students and teachers and not worry about every grade or assignment. I wish that I had spent less time stressing over schoolwork and spent more time enjoying myself when I was freshman.”
A: “When I was a freshman, I wish someone told me that the social issues I was having at the time were not a big deal, and in time they would work themselves out. There’s no point in worrying because there’s still three more years to get to know everyone.”
A: “Try and get to know everybody. I really like everyone in my grade, and I wish I had worked on getting to know everyone a little quicker and sooner. Take advantage of this time because it will make the next couple of years more enjoyable.”
HENRY OTTE A: “My advice to freshmen is to make as many meaningful connections around the campus as possible. Whether it be different friend groups, teachers, or even parents, the effort you put into making strong connections will benefit you in so many ways in the end.”
A: “My biggest advice would be to participate in the community and get to know as many people as you can. Play as many sports as possible, be in as many clubs as you can handle, and take advantage of all the opportunities you are given.”
FEATURE • 19
20 • THEME thefourthestate.net
Stance of the Staff Editorial
ou can see it everywhere: the drive to school, the classrooms, the AQI on your weather app, the price of your morning coffee. We—our school community and our world—are bursting at the seams. While abundance can be a valuable and positive thing (such as when our school’s admissions is at full capacity), there will always be limitations to the positive effects of growth and change. With overabundance comes growing pains. During COVID-19 we took a step back from our normal existence. Our day-to-day routines slowed down—we transferred from classrooms to computer screens, we said goodbye to sports seasons, and we simplified our school schedule. But, now, we are re-assuming our preCOVID-19 activities and entering a new normal. Our staff shares the sometimes overwhelming burden of adjusting. It feels as if expectations have been heightened. Our lives feel stressful, especially for the senior editors who are in the midst of the college-application process. Thus, this issue’s theme, is about bursting at the seams. It’s clear that almost everyone is caught in a tug-of-war. Yet, we are so grateful that we are able to continue to continue with in-person learning and have our days feel more normal, more united, and more involved, but the toll of commitments, school work, and planning our futures, burden us. It is this convergence of emotions, the happiness and the worry, that has created an intensely unique atmosphere for the school year. As the school community strives to find its footing, we are changing and expanding more than ever. The recent admissions boom indicates the success of our in-person program and gives hope for the future of our school. We’ve had three fall sports teams advance to CIF level, a homecoming football game and dance, and an all-school Jogathon celebration. As the staff enjoys the beginning of a new era for the school, our focus continues to shift to larger issues as expressed as in our articles about inflation, the effects of social media, and the ever-increasing climate crisis. These aren’t just topics of interest, but the subjects we feel are the most deserving of our reader’s attention and examination. We are truly bursting at the seams in every sense of the phrase. Emotionally and intellectually, our staff has never been more inclined to dive deeply and enthusiastically into pressing issues. Our school has undergone a drastic cultural and numerical change, as we all attempt to readjust to our normal lives. But we are forced to ask the question—what is normal in a world that is always evolving? What can we let go of? And what can we hold onto before we burst?
THEME • 21
Global Warning The link between climate change and natural disasters is increasingly apparent; in the coastal community of Santa Barbara, the immediate effects of climate change are even more visible. WORDS by DARE FITZPATRICK ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
limate change is a topic of increasing urgency as concerns grow over the immediate effects of humans’ impact on the environment. The back-to-back natural disasters popping up seemingly all over both the country and the world are the most immediate foreseeable manifestations of climate change. Although there are correlations between an increase in climate change and an increase in natural disasters, some argue that there is not an abundance of concrete evidence in terms of which aspects of climate change lead to which natural disasters. “The link between climate change and natural disasters is a difficult connection to make,” AP Environmental Science teacher Erik Faust said. “Our understanding of climate change is based on modeling using new data gathered from a
variety of sources, like the fossil record, ice core samples, etc. So, we can make assumptions about what will happen when climate change occurs, but our models are incomplete at best.” This lack of consensus in regards to climate change and natural disasters further encourages the doubts some hold against the belief that human-caused global warming exists at all. “That being said, many people have referred to climate change/ global warming under a new phraseology of ‘global weirding’ precisely to describe how fairly predictable weather patterns will continue to act more unpredictable in the future,” Faust said. “What climate scientists generally agree on, though, is the fact that weather tends to be more severe in
certain areas than in the past.” Climate disasters are something familiar to residents of Santa Barbara as just a few years ago the Thomas fires and Montecito mudslides devastated the community. “In Santa Barbara we likely consider three types of natural disasters to be of the biggest concern,” Faust said. “Flooding from storms, wildfires, and earthquakes. So, likely we will continue to suffer from faster moving, more numerous, and more severe wildfires as well as the residual effects from wildfires like those we saw during the Montecito debris flow. Rising sea levels will contribute to a higher likelihood of flooding during storms as well as the continued threat of sea water intrusion into freshwater sources as well as sewerage systems.” Co-Environmental Club leader senior Phoebe Ray said, “As the global temperature rises, as ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes increase and when the overall global temperature increases, that can make places more dry and more prone to fires and especially in California where we are in a drought—it’s just making it worse because we are already in such a dry climate.”
In the American West, climate change is leading to a climate crisis with an increase in the number of wildfires, as well as their size and intensity. An earlier time for snow melting due to a rise in temperature and increased evapotranspiration or warming results in more abundant wet seasons and hotter dry seasons; these extremes do not bode well for the overall health of the environment as they can erode and wipe out species of plants and animals, leaving a lack of biodiversity. There is a new term—“megafires”— to account for the catastrophic intensity of this new wave of fires. Aside from the effects these “natural” disasters cause in human lives, they also hurt wildlife who are driven out of their habitat due to human activities. New data shows that rising temperatures can heighten earthquakes’ impact. This research, “proposed increased drought levels lead to lower tectonic weights and greater isostatic uplift and this could put increased pressure on tectonic plates and trigger significant earthquakes,” Faust said. It looks as if Earth’s climate is bursting at the seams. But what does all of this mean for human life and, specifically, residents of seaside Santa Barbara? While, in part, natural disasters are out of humans’ control, what people can do is attempt to live more sustainably—that is, using finite resources responsibly and opting for the regenerable option in terms of resources. “In California especially, it is important to monitor how much water you are using, especially as a household,” Phoebe said. “The best ways to do this are to reduce the amount of laundry you do and the amount of showers and baths you’re taking, how long you’re taking them for, and especially landscaping—if you’re spending a lot of water on growing grass, you have to think about if that really matters. Not only is it going to increase your wa-
ter bill, but it’s also going to worsen the drought that we’re already in.” The main contributors to global warming are greenhouse gases— especially carbon dioxide. Each person has a carbon footprint that accounts for the carbon emissions one uses in relation to mode of transportation, food consumption, and household services. There are ways that people can reduce their carbon footprint, such as driving electric cars or taking public transportation, reducing or eliminating meat consumption, and limiting use of energy-intensive household services. “The first step people should take to become more aware of their carbon footprint is to look at climate science as a practice without an agenda,” Faust said.
“Information is the only thing that will allow us to understand what our ecological footprint and how untenable our current lifestyles are.” - Erik Faust “Climate scientists do not have a political agenda in carrying out their science, and so when climate scientists speak we should listen.” Environmental and climate scientists simply carry out the research and other work necessary to learn more about our natural world and humans’ impact on it—they aren’t taking a political “side” in pursuing research. “Second, people need to demand a political system that considers the long term costs of ignoring climate change,” Faust said. “The world will be fine whether the climate changes or stays static–many species will die, sure, but that’s happened before and the Earth has ‘survived.’
“However, our modern civilization has only existed for a very brief window of time in a relatively stable climate and so much of what we have built is vulnerable to the changes that climate change will likely bring about.” While the short-term solutions that deteriorate the environment may seem “cost effective,” the longterm figurative cost to our environment and the literal higher cost of repairing extreme damages will be worse. “Third, every person should receive a foundational education in earth science,” Faust said. “Information is the only thing that will allow us to understand what our ecological footprint is and how untenable our current lifestyles are.”
Laguna Admissions “Bursting at the Seams” Our community is undergoing an admissions boom. With the student body, faculty, and campus all expanding, Laguna is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth. WORDS by FRANCES CARLSON and MADELEINE NICKS PHOTOS by BRAD ELLIOTT
aguna Blanca has found itself in a position that it has not been in for decades: admissions are “bursting at the seams.” After enduring two years that were drastically altered by the effects of COVID-19, the community not only emerged stronger—but larger. Classes are full across each school division. This year’s freshman class has 52 students, compared to the 2021 graduating class with 32 students. The seventh grade holds the highest enrollment with 61 students. “Our attrition rate is 8%, so we retained 92% of our students. The National Association of Independent Schools averages 12%,” Director of Admissions Joyce Balak. “By November [or] December, I had a pretty good idea that this was going to be much different. The volume of people inquiring and the number of applications dramatically increased,” Balak said. “This year, already, I know it’s going to be another big one. Applications are three times, maybe four times, larger than previous years.” While many schools, colleges, and businesses across the country were during COVID-19, Balak believes that it was Laguna’s ability to stay in-person that made the largest impact on enrollment. Without the ability to hold in-person events, the admissions department shifted its focus onto virtual events and email communication.
This posed a new convenience for families, which was clearly reflected through high attendance rates. “For our middle-school open house, I think we had around 150 people on Zoom. Typically, when we do them on campus, we have maybe 40 families. The difference was huge,” Balak said.
“Our attrition rate is 8%, so we retained 92% of our students. The National Association of Independent Schools averages 12%.” - Joyce Balak “Last year, we had very few in person opportunities. I think our prospective families and applicant families relished the fact that we stepped forward and did so many virtual events,” Balak said. “Without exception, they said that we knocked it out of the park in terms of staying in close communication. Lessons learned, this is not going to go away.” This increase has rippled out to affect campus life and can be seen in larger sports teams, attendance at dances, and fuller student clubs.
The student body increased along with faculty, staff, and administration. Laguna welcomed Ron Cino, as the new Head of School and welcomed 16 new faculty members across all three divisions. In September, we officially unveiled the new Center for Science and Innovation. The $6.5 million project allowed for not only improvements to previous spaces but also the building of two additional classrooms, all of which play a vital role in supporting the increasingly popular STEM programs, which range from chemistry to robotics. And yet, as Laguna continues to evolve and enlarge, an emphasis remains on maintaining the culture of the school. “I think the biggest question and concern for me was impacting the culture of the school,” Balak said. “I wouldn’t want to change the dynamics of who we are. I think that Laguna offers such a rich program— what you experience from the faculty is just amazing—it is the reason why we have such great outcomes.” “And, it isn’t about the outcome of this kid going to this college, but instead the character of who you are,” Balak said. “I’m really proud of all of our students. The best thing about Laguna are the students, and that comes from the fabulous teachers.”
24 • THEME thefourthestate.net
Students celebrate the return of sports, in-person events, and outdoor gatherings, as they welcome new students.
THEME • 25
Yin and Yang of Instagram Instagram became a life line to small business during the pandemic but acted to degrade teen’s mental health. WORDS by DIONNE PETERSON and SOFIA RAMIREZ ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
nstagram, the app that has more than 1 billion downloads each month, 908 million users, 26% of the world using it, and 71% of the monthly active users on the app are under the age of 35. With an appealing feed personalized for you, it's almost like a sweet tooth: you constantly want more. Instagram has its advantages and disadvantages but has taken it to the extreme when it comes to teen girls who try to fit into the 'perfect Instagram image.' Some wonder if it is better to delete the app altogether. Instagram and parent company Facebook are facing condemnation on Capitol Hill and are being scrutinized by parents, the majority of whom have believed for some time that Instagram is a toxic platform.
More worry began to spread as Facebook announced their new platform for a younger demographic: Instagram Kids. The production of the app halted as news broke about Facebook making a revelation about Instagram's effect on teenagers. Photoshopped images featuring unrealistic standards can leave teens wanting to fit an intangible mold that the app shares with them, so it is no surprise that the app is under fire for negatively affecting teenagers' mental health. Wanting to get to the bottom of this contentious topic, the Guardian conducted a survey to see what affect the social media app had on teenage girls. The survey involved more than 22,000 users across the countries of the United States, Japan, Bra-
zil, Indonesia, Turkey, and India. Fewer than 150 girls responded to the body image question on the survey. Reaching out to admit how the social media app affects their view of themselves and their lives is something that many teens might find awkward. Although the popular app undoubtedly has its downsides, it also has benefits, especially for struggling businesses. During the thick of the pandemic, State Street looked barren and desolate, looking like a Western film with tumbleweeds gently rolling around in the wind. Small businesses were forced to close their doors due to COVID-19 restrictions while still paying high rents. The businesses that stayed open struggled
to remain financially afloat and started to use Instagram to reach customers. People began finding businesses with strategies like hashtags, reels, and visually pleasing posts. Many small businesses were able to survive due to using Instagram for advertising. Like most apps, it has its disadvantages and drawbacks. In Chinese culture, there's a symbol called Yin and Yang, which symbolizes that nothing is fully good or bad. Instagram is a platform where users can connect with people, advertise and grow businesses. On the darker side, users can be negatively affected while trying to fit into unattainable standards. So, how will YOU use Instagram today?
26 • THEME thefourthestate.net
#fallinstagrams PAGE by HANNA MASRI
Junior Jacqueline Richardson enjoys the view at Butterfly Beach.
Seniors Amelia Fowler and Mike Janey pose before Homecoming.
Freshmen Caroline Kenny and Siena Wyatt smile pre-Homecoming.
Sophomores Regina Lujan and Natalie Bianchi before a dance.
Junior Kent Dunn and other football players run to the field pregame.
Senior Julianna Seymour smiles as she poses for a night time picture downtown.
Junior Franky Barron at his birthday celebration.
Girls tennis players color coordinating before practice.
Junior Molly Morouse poses in her Halloween costume.
THEME • 27
The pandemic rocked the world economy, and governments have pumped trillions of dollars into markets, affecting prices and currency for years to come. WORDS by JINLING WANG and SOFIA RAMIREZ ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
nflation will trap you one way or another, no matter where you are or how the market advances. Inflation occurs when the money supply expands too quickly, which leads to too many dollars in the system. That then finally leads to a decrease in a dollar’s value. With the gradual yearly increase of inflation in the United States, reported by Forbes Magazine, prices have risen by 4% in the past 12 months. The pandemic affected more families than anyone would have ever thought. Since inflation rates rose significantly due to the pandemic, families that had not felt affected by this previously were suddenly were hit by the burdens of inflation.
The increase of prices in America creates a ripple effect that touches everyone, especially during these perilous times. Ever since COVID-19 hit America by storm, many states have faced an overall shortage of goods due to the severe shipping delays.
According to the University of Rochester, consumer demand is outpacing the number of available goods and services due to the nearing end of the pandemic. Hence, the overall repercussions of unemployment, car prices, and everyday commodities will increase significantly. Gas prices have risen 2.8% from July, and the cost of food rose by 0.4%, causing beef to increase by 1.7%. The Federal Reserve, whose primary focus is keeping prices constant, foresee prices continuing to rise in the near future as the economy adjusts back to normal. The Federal Reserve flooded the economy with money to avoid a more consequential recession,
therefore, the market has fluctuated. From January 2020, the measure of the money supply was near $15.41 trillion, while in April, just 16 months later, the supply increased to $20 trillion. While temporarily keeping the economy afloat from a more dangerous recession, The Federal Reserve also supplied more significant inflation. When the money supply expands too quickly, there are way too many dollars in the network, which leads to a decrease in a dollar’s value. Ever since the pandemic, companies have tried to maintain their production levels. However, because an increasing number of employees had to call in sick with COVID-19, it has become harder and harder to generate typical quantities. Once U.S. production started to slow, the federal government stopped most production, which led to a temporary shutdown of the economy. After that shift, many employees were driven to unemployment, causing distress for the manufacturers.
Year to year inches don’t change, and an inch is an inch every year, but the dollar shrinks a little every year,” said AP Econ instructor Paul Chiment. During the pandemic, many families struggled with the effects of unemployment caused by inflation. From housing prices to market values, inflation will increase people’s cost of living over time.
“Year to year inches don’t change, and an inch is an inch every year, but the dollar shrinks a little every year.” - Paul Chiment As the world slowly makes its way out of the pandemic, the inflation rate is not decreasing. Chiment suspects that we have been pent up for over a year, and people feel the need to buy goods
that have not been able to for the duration of the pandemic. “You are seeing a lot of people wanting goods and services, which jacks up prices,” Chiment said. “At the same time you’re seeing suppliers have supply chain issues.” “They are having a hard time getting the materials they need to make the goods, and there’s a lot of people wanting things with few people producing them causes inflation.” Due to inflation playing a critical factor in prices, many are choosing to start thinking about this to understand how it affects them. Inflation finds a way to touch every corner of the economy. Whether you are affected by it directly or feel as though it has never touched you, it is important to have an understanding of what causes it and how you can protect yourself. Daisy Altamirano, a local seventh grade teacher said, “It would be very beneficial to them [her students] to learn about the world around them. One of my big goals as a teacher is to give my students real applications.”
The Pandemic’s Influence on US Inflation
THEME • 29
Why Is It Important for Students to Get Vaccinated? The delta variant is spreading around the world. The United States has reached 700,000 deaths. When will the unvaccinated get the shot? WORDS by LUCA D’AGRUMA and MYLES HAZEN ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
n Santa Barbara County, only 63% of 12-17-year-olds have been at least partially vaccinated, and no children under 12 have had the opportunity to get vaccinated yet. The numbers are leagues away from the high vaccination rates of 80-90% needed to achieve herd immunity. Experts are worried about variants and vaccine hesitancy reducing the potency of vaccines and allowing more dangerous forms of the virus to spread and mutate. They understand there’s only one way out of the pandemic: with vaccination. “Currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only 0.00005% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized, and the unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 upon infection. These basic facts have long been known. Now is the time to take conclusive action. We all need to do our part and get vaccinated for the good of ourselves, our family, friends, and communities. Luckily, in the coming months it will be required in every private and public school across our state, as California recently announced they were adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the regular vaccination schedule.
But even before the mandate comes into effect, it’s essential to get vaccinated. Dozens of young children across the country who cannot be vaccinated yet are being patched to ventilators in hospital ICUs, fighting for their lives. According to the CDC, hundreds of others have been incapacitated by MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). This mysterious COVID-19 syndrome affects the heart and other vital organs, leaving children with severe and long-term organ damage. Evidence that children may experience similar adult-like long COVID-19 symptoms that can be “debilitating and [can] lead to long school absences” was found when a study examined children who experienced 6-8 months of symptoms reminiscent of adult long-haul COVID-19. COVID-19 doesn’t just affect the elderly or the immunocompromised, and everyone in our community must be vaccinated so that they are safe. Polling by the firm Ipsos has showed that parents of 5-11 yearold kids are hesitant about the vaccines, with only 2/3 planning to get their child vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for that age group. Kaiser Family Foundation polls have shown that up to 20% of U.S. parents of 12-17 year-olds will ‘definitely not’ get their kid vaccinated,
with even 9% of vaccinated parents firmly opposed the shot. Vaccine and COVID misinformation has been incredibly potent in its virility on social media, allow-
ing for fake facts and fears to be amplified, even as the virus becomes more deadly for the unvaccinated. The delta variant is more than two times more contagious than all
30 • OPINION thefourthestate.net
previous variants and has been the dominant strain since June. Delta is more effective at evading immune responses from both unvaccinated and vaccinated, causing tens of thousands of more deaths and more breakthrough infections. Without reaching herd immunity, more mutations will occur as the virus spreads unchecked among the unvaccinated population, causing more deaths, economic ruin, and the possibility of a vaccine-resistant variant. Head of School Ron Cino said that Laguna Blanca “strongly recommends that students and employees get the vaccine because we think it contributes to overall health individually and for the community.”
Cino said Laguna decided they “weren’t going to mandate the vaccines until they were mandated by the state” due to eligibility complications but expects a state mandate in the future. thefourthestate.net
Cino also said a “majority of eligible students” were vaccinated, and the numbers were “reasonably good and reflective in many ways to our area.” However, there was still “a substantial number of people who haven’t received the vaccine, even if they’re eligible.” While the pandemic is not yet over, Cino said, “We’re fortunate to live in an era where people can develop safe vaccines for something as significant as COVID-19 so quickly.” Although he wasn’t at Laguna last year, he’s glad the situation has improved from “The way we all felt as educators and families [which] was so much more vulnerable a year ago.” Cino said due to vaccination and better health practices, Laguna has been able to become “much more relaxed now.” Cino said Laguna would continue to follow health guidelines and keep our masks on indoors and when we’re in dense circumstances for the foreseeable future. Laguna’s guiding principle so far, according to Cino, has been to follow the experts. “Whatever is being recommended, we’re recommending, whatever is being mandated, we’re mandating,” he said. On the culture around the pandemic, specifically about the weariness and mental health challenges people have experienced, Cino said that the recent professional development day focused on mental health. He understands that “People are tired, people are exhausted, everyone’s ready to be done. We still need to take COVID-19 seriously. We can’t let our guard down,” “We need to name the fact that mental health is a real concern.” During the pandemic, mental health across the board has suffered, with youth disproportionately seeing increases in mental illness. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll, over 25% of Californian adults reported anxiety
“People are tired, people are exhausted, everyone’s ready to be done. We still need to take COVID-19 seriously, we can’t let our guard down.”
- Ron Cino or depressive disorder symptoms. A CDC poll found 25.5% of 18-24-year-olds had seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days, underscoring the dire risk the pandemic poses. Understanding that “We’re not alone, and we still need to keep looking out for each other is really important,” Cino said. According to every public health expert and regulatory agency, vaccines are the safest, easiest, and most effective way we can get out of a pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccines have demonstrated to be over 90% effective, according to the CDC. Safety wise, the vaccines have been field-tested and have shown to have few side effects while adverse reactions remain extremely rare. The pandemic has been a world-altering experience, shattering countless lives, plunging our economy into disaster, and killing over 700,000 people in our country alone. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet over. If we want to get back to normal and finally end this pandemic, everyone must be vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are available at multitudes of locations, from your primary care physician to pharmacies. Use vaccines.gov to find a location near you. OPINION • 31
Is It Critical?
Critical race theory is one of the largest debates in the academic world—is it threatening the future of education? WORDS and ART by ALEXANDRA SIEGEL
nly half of Laguna Blanca students can provide a definition of what critical race theory is. Nationwide, the discussion continues whether critical race theory should be taught in schools, due to the polarizing views it provokes. To understand the reason for this contentious debate, it is important to understand what critical race theory is and the people behind the movement. Critical race theory is an intellectual movement and concept that believes race is a social construct and that racism is immersed in legal systems and policies, not just individual prejudices and discrimination. It critically examines the U.S. government and its pattern of racebased discrimination through police activity, incarceration rates, and the judicial system. It was founded in the mid70’s when several American legal scholars and philosophers realized that the developments of the civil rights movement halted and in some cases were being overturned. Derrick Bell, Alan Freeman, Richard Delgado, and Kimberlee Crenshaw are some of the architects of the theory and their work is used in legal research, ethnic studies, and education. Across the nation, there is a widespread debate on whether critical race theory should be integrated into education as it often exposes inconvenient truths and biases. Many factors play a role in this debate; public vs private education, political climate, and the belief systems that parents, teachers, and students have.
In our community, tremendous strides are being made to educate students and parents about racial inequality and the importance of embracing culture, identity, and ethnicity. But what has Laguna Blanca done to teach the principles of critical race theory? “Laguna continually aims to deliver the most comprehensive, inclusive, and dynamic curriculum possible for our students. Hand-inhand with this goal, our community strives to take ongoing, actionable steps regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging,” said Director of Curriculum Anna Alldredge. While Laguna Blanca doesn’t offer a course labeled ‘Critical Race
the curriculum and diversify lesson plans. DEI coordinator Ursula Chan said, “Our teachers are getting more training on the importance of culturally responsive teaching, institutional, systemic, and structural racism with an emphasis on how it has and does show up in education, and we are
Theory,’ serious efforts have been made by faculty and students to create a dialogue that will allow everyone to develop their own thoughts and opinions. For example, on-campus groups such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and the Asian Student Union provide informational resources for students to engage and participate in. Not only are there channels for students to immerse themselves in diverse learning, but also ways teachers are being included in specific training to advance
actively searching for ways to improve our curriculum.” With a focus on preparing students as best possible for life after graduation, it is important to understand that the world is not only diverse but full of c o m plexity and varied opinions.
32 • OPINION thefourthestate.net
“We’re not trying to change what you think about. We’re just asking, let’s talk, let’s dialogue. Let’s think together critically,” said Head of Upper School Melissa Alkire. Eight states in the United States have passed legislation to ban discussions and training about conscious and unconscious bias, privilege, discrimination, and oppression, as well as the idea that the United States is inherently racist. One reason for the push to ban critical race studies from schools is that in some regions, parents are
nervous about their children learning things that they do not have the capacity to address. “We often don’t give ourselves that permission to be a learner, whatever the identity is, whether we’re talking about gender, orientation, religion or politics, we get so worried that our capacity isn’t there,” Alkire said. Whether a school offers “Critical Race Theory” classes or not, a common fear students and parents alike have is their lack of knowledge and inexperience studying the policies the theory preaches. For white children, critical race theory may seem especially targeted due to the nature of how the media speaks on it. Universally, the academic understanding of critical race theory contradicts the founders first theories on the issue, and gets negatively depicted in the media. It is shown in the media as a way to guilt-trip white people, divide racial groups, and “brainwash the younger generation.” Therefore, there is a lot of confusion about what CRT means and what its purpose is, infiltrating the opinions of media consumers. With the frequent publicity of CRT and the “negative light” it shines on white people in America, it would seem hard for there not to be discussions at every school about it. Another important piece of the debate is the public vs private school aspect. “Organizationally, public schools are beholden to certain guidelines mandated at the state and national levels. This structure can lead to some curricular requirements and restrictions,” Alldredge said. Public and private schools
have the resources to engage in conversation about CRT, but Alkire points out a defining characteristic public schools have. “What is beautiful about public schools is you can get a lot of people talking right away about something… and they can push the needle on conversations in a variety of ways because it becomes so public.” There is beauty in the freedom of private schools, too. “Private schools have the opportunity to model future best practices regarding curriculum and experience because of… different expectations and parameters,” Chan said. Laguna Blanca strives to inform students and faculty about society’s pressing issues, and, “with private schools there is this beauty... which is that we don’t have to have a class about critical race theory in order for students to be engaging in those conversations,” Alkire said. “Diversity and inclusion are valued as strengths within our Laguna community, aligning with our school values and ensuring the best possible educational experience for all of our students,” Alldredge adds. While critics might call critical race theory in education hateful, divisive, and a way to ‘teach white kids to feel bad about themselves,’ it is a principal step schools can take to educate children on society. It does not have to be a specific class, but for schools to take small actions to work towards a more inclusive future will make a difference in the young generation in schools today. Being able to identify acts of racism, discrimination, and implicit bias will help shape the future of American policies and ways of life. Education is the most powerful tool a young child can use, so it matters what they learn and how they will apply it out in the world. OPINION • 33
To Tell or Not to Tell
College competition is an inevitable part of many upperclassman’s lives. Preparing for college is a taxing process, and having the additional layer of competition among peers and friends can be stressful. WORDS by HANNA MASRI and DARE FITZPATRICK ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
very senior has experienced it: the looming pressure from parents, teachers, counselors, and peers about their college admissions process. It feels like the most important decision of a senior’s life, and as if one misstep could compromise all their hopes and dreams. Aside from the emotional strain of putting one’s heart on one’s
sleeve for college admissions officers, students are battling whether they should share their college list. The question is, should seniors share where they are applying, especially at a small school like us where it may turn into a competition? It’s hard to get into college. With the increasing competitiveness of college admissions across the country, the standard of a “good student” is ever-increasing. How are seniors supposed to keep up? It seems that to get accepted, students need to cure COVID-19 or win the Nobel Prize.
Having good grades and being a good person isn’t enough to cut it anymore. With this increasing standard comes increased pressure to oneup a peer. Little things that could get you in the door, such as glowing teacher recommen-
dations and school awards, are what could set you apart from your peers—but every student is striving for these titles too, causing riffs and rivalries among classmates and even friends. When students apply to the same colleges, competition and comparisons are inevitable; in a school of our size, there are bound to be overlaps in the schools that students are applying to.
“It is intimidating applying to some of the same schools my friends are applying to because you never know—it’s competition among one another,” senior Paloma McKean said. But the question remains: does keeping your list a secret benefit you? Director of College Counseling Matt Struckmeyer said, “Keeping confidential where one is
applying is generally preferable, but sometimes it’s impossible to achieve. If one is the only applicant from a given high school, one can’t be compared to others from the same school, implicitly or otherwise.” “All that can really be said is if one were the only Laguna senior in a given pool, in a given year, that has some desirable characteristics to it.” The choice to tell people where you may be applying is a personal decision. There is a common misconception that there can be no more than one applicant from a given high school admitted to a selective college—this is not necessarily true. As Struckmeyer said, “It is possible
“This is not persuading anyone to not apply to your dream school, it’s just to keep in mind that you’re probably going to shine brightest without those side-byside comparisons.” - Matt Struckmeyer for more than one Laguna student to get into the same school.” “Admissions officers almost always start the process with finding reasons to admit students, and it’s only when it gets to committee, when they’ve already made a broadbased appraisal of who is realistic,” Struckmeyer said. “They call it shaping down the class—that’s when it’s no longer in the hands of the admissions officer who is excited, it’s more in the hands of the committee who is then instituting tough, institutional priorities.” This is where racial and geographical “quotas” come into play. Schools want representation from all people across the 50 states, so they have a specific limit on the number of California students they can admit—and it doesn’t help that California is the most populous state. The committee goes through the stack of students with potential, and start ticking boxes for specific demographics. “Typically if there are two or three profiles that are very distinct from each other, they are not going to be held up side-by-side; there are going to be different letters of rec, there are going to be different awards, they’re going to have different kinds of achievements,” Struckmeyer said. “It’s just when, necessarily, they get shoved closer together, it’s all but inevitable.” thefourthestate.net
Though it is easy to fall into the self-doubt spiral, questioning the distinctiveness of your application, especially among peers who inevitably will be taking the same classes and engaging in similar activities, it is important to remember that each student has defining characteristics. “Everyone has different things that set them apart from each other so I try to just focus on myself and what I’m doing and I try not to think about others,” senior Julianna Seymour said. “I know I have my ‘things’ that set me apart and someone else might have something that’s more focused towards what they want to learn and study.” When comparing oneself self to others, it’s essential to keep this in mind. “I don’t go out advertising [the schools I want to attend], but if someone asks, I will tell them,” senior Evan Davis said. “So, I’m pretty relaxed on that. I don’t really see a reason not to; I’m not trying to play strategically or stop anyone from applying to any colleges which I’m applying to.” Although, when there are similar profiles of students, there will be quite a few parallels in their applications.
Are seniors revealing their college lists?
For example, if you had two equally qualified STEM students, their courses, awards, test scores, and teacher recommendations are going to be somewhat similar. In these cases, admissions officers often pick apart things as small as the wording in teacher recommendations to make the decision. If Laguna students applying to the same school have similar interests, they’re more likely to be directly compared to each other. Are there any benefits of telling your peers where you are applying? Telling peers where one is applying can be a relief. It can be a weight off students’ shoulders, allowing them to go through the grueling process of college admissions with their friends who are in the same boat. Not only is the college application process complicated, but it’s also long. Many students begin brainstorming essays in the spring of their junior year and often don’t finish applying to schools until January of their senior year. The almost year-long process is spent next to friends at school. Sharing application decisions helps students find institutions they are interested in; individual research is a given, but word-of-mouth is often the best way to scope the “type of school” a college is. A great way to get this wordof-mouth information is talking to friends who are in the same process. This isn’t the only benefit of sharing your list. By sharing where one is applying, peers can be open and honest going through the admissions process, rather than pitting against each other. “And so, this is not persuading anyone to not apply to your dream school, it’s just to keep in mind that you’re probably going to shine brightest without those side-by-side comparisons,” Struckmeyer said.
21 seniors were polled. OPINION • 35
Whose Body Matters More?
Texas recently put in place the most restrictive ban on abortion that our country has ever seen. The dispute is ongoing and controversial between those who are pro-choice and pro-life. WORDS by ELLI WESTMACOTT ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
y body, m y choice; this slogan is recognizable from billboards to cardboard cutouts. The battle over abortion
rights is a controversial topic that is erupting across our country. From political debates to family discussions, the questioning of the morality of abortion is being disputed. Texas’ recent restrictions on abortions and the legal disputes within the Supreme Court have opened up the discussion across America about the ethics and morality of abortions. At the heart of these conversations are two conflicting groups: pro-choice and pro-life. These two perspectives differ drastically. The pro-life stance typically revolves around the child’s wellbeing and rights as a human being. At the same time, the prochoice ideology focuses on women’s rights over making their own choices about their bodies. On September 1, Texas’s Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Heartbeat Act, which restricts abortions after a pregnancy has lasted more than six weeks. The reason for the restrictions being this limiting is because around the six-week mark is when a doctor can first notice a heartbeat within the fetus. Most women can only tell that they’re pregnant around four weeks into their pregnancy, at the earliest, so this law leaves little to no time for women to have an abortion.
If someone is reportedly attempting to terminate a pregnancy or even aiding a woman searching for an abortion, that person will be charged with a $10,000 fine. This ban is one of the strictest laws our country has ever faced and the most dire assault on womens’ bodies our country has ever seen. Following the federal protests of Texas’s abortion ban, Jessica Glenza of The Guardian highlights the emotional state of shock of protesters. “A state may not ban abortions at six weeks. Texas knew this, but it wanted a six-week ban anyway, so the state resorted to an unprecedented scheme of vigilante justice that was designed to scare abortion providers and others who might help women exercise their constitutional rights.” Not only is the period of time in which a woman can get an abortion slim, but there are also no exceptions when it comes to cases of rape or incest. Only a woman who would be at risk of serious and permanent bodily harm or death during the birthing process is permitted to receive an abortion. One prominent organization protesting Texas’s immobilizing ban is Planned Parenthood, a global organization that supplies sexual health care and information, including abortion procedures. The organization announced,
36 • OPINION thefourthestate.net
“This is the loudest alarm yet that abortion rights are in grave danger, in Texas and nationwide. We will continue to fight this in the courts and we are taking to the streets.” Planned Parenthood is the innovator of hundreds of protests across the country dedicated to battling the recent abortion restrictions, expanding from Alaska to Florida, including locally in Santa Barbara County. Junior Claire Kellett shared her view on the new restrictions on abortion in Texas and spoke about her experience at a locally-organized Planned Parenthood protest against the expanding restrictions of abortion. “Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) was amazing. She focused on how the restrictions on abortion aren’t going to stop abortions, they are just going to stop safe abortions.” The topic of abortion is intensely complicated, for it’s the battle between whose life and body are more significant: the mother or the unborn child? The pro-life point of view backs the idea that a growing fetus should have the same rights a human being. Still, by taking away a woman’s right to make decisions for her own body, one is disregarding a woman’s right to choose. Another factor of the abortion discussion is the argument over distinguishing when exactly a fetus passes as operative or becomes self-aware. Some say life begins at conception, while others say abortion should be banned after an embryo transitions into a fetus. As with all controversial topics, there are hundreds of different opinions on this matter, and this constant political tug-of-war between pro-life and pro-choice demonstrates just how divided our country truly is. What many don’t understand is that the ban severely affects the women of Texas and potentially women in other states, because, althefourthestate.net
though abortion is legal in all of the 50 United States, the passing of the Texas law has opened the door for other states to start putting their restrictions in place. This debilitating law is providing a blueprint for states, like Alabama, Mississippi, and others, who have protested the freedom of abortion in the past. Claire, born in Montana, shared the fear she holds for people in her hometown who may be deeply affected by this ban. “My friends in Montana, I’m really nervous for because they have a very right-wing government and it was already difficult to go to Planned Parenthood because of the pro-life protests.” “A few years ago, a Planned Parenthood in my hometown was set on fire by pro-lifers, which is so ironic because how are you gonna be pro-life and then set a building on fire!” It is a constitutional right to be able to choose. The matter of whether or not a woman should have the power to choose is being politically debated. Not only has this concern become political, but it also is being fought by the people who can’t possibly speak on behalf of the women of America: the majority, men. Those who are making the decisions for women in America have to be willing to listen to the women in America. Women haven’t faced such restricting and life-altering OPINION • 37
laws since the early 1900s, and the challenges to women’s rights are still unfolding with every voice that rings out and with every protest that takes place. This law is a step backward for feminism and women’s rights in our country. When asked about how she believed this ban would affect her, Claire said, “It affects me in the way that—those other people can’t stick up for themselves. We are so privileged to still have that leeway for healthcare and abortion, we should stand up for them and help those in need.” As high school students grow up in a world where discrimination based on sex is becoming normalized, we need to recognize the progressing issues and use our voices to retaliate.
Why E-Bikes Rule E-bikes have experienced a surge in popularity; should we consider using them over conventional modes of transportation? WORDS By ADEN MEISEL and MYLES HAZEN PHOTO by ADEN MEISEL
ntroducing one of the world’s newest transportation trends: e-bikes. According to the World Economic Forum, e-bike sales have surged by an astonishing 145% since 2020. Any avid cyclist would agree that both speed and leisure don’t come naturally when biking even in the best of conditions. Better yet, e-bikes provide this without contributing to the rising levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. Because of their seemingly endless list of benefits, e-bikes have established a presence from the bustling streets of New York City all the way to the parking lot of Laguna Blanca, as some students now rely on e-bikes to get them to and from school. In terms of addressing the typical morning rush on the streets, e-bikes hold a massive advantage. Freshman Sam Narva says that “Though the traffic has definitely gotten worse, the great thing about having an electric bike is being able to avoid [traffic] by passing everyone.” Since e-bikes take up less space than cars, e-bikes tend to reduce traffic. Better yet, e-bikes can pass right through traffic at high speeds without having to slow down. Additionally, e-bikes have a far more convenient charging process. “Unlike cars having to get gas constantly, with an e-bike you just plug it in at night,” sophomore Andreas McClintock said. Factors like these make the e-bike a convenient and easy-to-use product. Still, one of the deeper reasons why the e-bike has surged in popularity is because it releases zero emissions into the atmosphere.
Sophomores Andreas McClintock and Noah Delhi ride on an E-bike in the school parking lot. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 29% of all United States CO2 emissions come from cars. Because cars are far heavier than bikes and require much more energy to move, they combust billions of gallons of gasoline annually which contributes to our current climate crisis. “E-bikes are very similar to electric cars,” Andreas said. “Except they use a lot less power because they are lighter. So not only do electric bikes have the same environmental benefits, but they’re cheaper as well.” In fact, even electric cars are worse for the environment than e-bikes as the electricity grid isn’t always green. For example, according to the Santa Barbara Independent, in 2019 58% of Santa Barbara’s power came from finite sources such as the burn-
ing of fossil fuels. Though much progress is being made in this area, electric cars still aren’t the climate solution they are being marketed as. Luckily, e-bikes serve as a completely valid replacement. With their recent boom, e-bikes are set to change the way people commute in the near future. “I know in other countries like the Netherlands, bikes are already very popular,” Andreas said. “With the number of people who own e-bikes within the U.S. right now, having an impact on the rest of the world is more than likely.” However, many people believe that riding with an electric motor is ‘lazy.’ “I think that those who are not willing to spend money on an electric bike are the lazy ones. There are simply too many great advantages to refuse,” said Sam.
38 • OPINION thefourthestate.net
Head Could you be cancelled for getting Chick-fil-A? Everything seems to be cancelled nowadays… What does that mean?
hen opening Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tik Tok, or almost any type of communicative app, the word or hashtag of cancelled is virtually bound to pop up. An un-ecological brand is cancelled, a new company is problematic, newly uncovered evidence shows a popular comedian doing something insensitive. Cancel culture is a social construct that occurs online, in politics and in real life. A group or individual is deemed problematic by an audience, and the viewers collectively boycott the brand and content as a form of protest. “When someone in the public eye makes a mistake and people take on a mob mentality to ‘cancel them’ or attempt to end their career,” said junior Molly Morouse. On May 5, 2020, in New York City, N.Y., a white woman named Amy Cooper became “Central Park Karen after a disturbing incident.” People nearby filmed as Cooper called the police and threatened an innocent Black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog. “I’m gonna tell them an African-American man is threatening my life,” Cooper said during the event. The footage quickly circled social media, and reposts were everywhere.
WORDS by MILLA HIRSCH ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
Cooper ended up losing her job after being cancelled. The media, and those in her personal life, held Cooper accountable for her rude actions.
“When someone in the public eye makes a mistake and people take on a mob mentality to ‘cancel them’ or attempt to end their career,” - Molly Morouse The cancel-culture movement formed to pursue justice, though not all cancel-culture events end in virtuous outcomes. If someone is cancelled but learns their lesson, should their career or life be diminished? The label of cancel culture has been around since 2016. Even though the term has only been common recently, cancel culture has always existed, though it has taken many different forms throughout society. Any action of cancelling a person in power due to collective disagreement is considered cancelling in pursuit of justice.
Many view cancel culture as an opportunity to hold people accountable for their actions, especially with prominent personalities who have the resources to defend themselves but are deemed unworthy to control their public platform. Frequently, when the media cancels a protected profile, all it does is lead to more views and an influx of publicity to the figure. Cancelling someone does not always mean they will learn their lesson and be more careful on social media; some stars thrive on having a problematic label. “I think I’ve noticed that no one is ever fully cancelled. It seems like everyone just bounces back and eventually have the following that they had before,” Molly said. Most of the time, cancel culture is ineffective in the long term. Kevin Hart was cancelled in December, 2018 when offensive tweets resurfaced the internet. He was cancelled shortly after and stepped down from a hosting job at the 2019 Oscars. After issuing public apologies, his career was unpaused, and his status and paycheck resumed. Anyone on the internet can point their finger at something, and users behind the screen will gang up against it. Innocent people are cancelled, and liable people get away
40 • OPINION thefourthestate.net
with their actions because of social status. Disorientation is caused as viewers can’t tell if a headline is accurate or a false accusation. This confusion happens all over social media and is often based on fake news or faulty evidence. Modern cancel culture is fickle, sometimes creating valuable changes and other times igniting five-minute trends that target people. “I think that if I was canceled online I would be incredibly scared because there is no way to control how the people online feel about you… I think that the experience would be incredibly uncomfortable and intense and I hope I never have to go through it,” freshman Olivia de Ponce said. The fear of being cancelled hits almost all social media users. If one makes a mistake or misspeaks in their youth, there is always a chance it can come back and bite them later on. Political correctness is constantly advancing. There is a lot of peer pressure, especially for young social media users, to be morally sound in cancel culture movements. Deciding whether or not to unfollow a celebrity when the internet goes on a rampage can be tough to navigate. Using the term cancelled does not always concern a pressing issue. “Recently, I’ve been using the term cancelled with my friends,” said Molly “For example, if one of my friends goes to Starbucks and doesn’t get me something, I’ll say they’re cancelled, but it’s never in a serious way.” Whether the original intent of cancel culture was to make sure that rich and powerful face repercussions for their actions, spread gossip, or increase publicity, the only thing to do is choose whether or not to participate.
OPINION • 41
á la mode - in fashion
Step into Prep
Kicking off the school year with some scholastic, yet trendy, clothes. WORDS by MILLA HIRSCH PHOTOS by FRANCES CARLSON and MILLA HIRSCH
round campus, a revived style appears to be popular again—the preppy look. Not preppy as in study-prep for the SAT or ACT, but preppy, academia-inspired fashion. Beginning in the 1900s, private school fashion has grown with the rise of uniforms, and students have adapted parts of the classic look to fit their modern closet. Seen on Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media apps, collars peeking out of crewnecks is a reborn trend ignited by the influence of the popular schoolgirl look. The preppy style is a classic look that is not likely to go out of fashion any time soon. First showing signs of wealth in the early 1900s, men who could afford to be styled in scholarly ways wore loafers and sweaters. Then, during the ’50s, preppy clothes became a common trend, including athletic shirts and sneakers. In the ’80s, people swooned over “The Official Preppy Handbook,”
even though it was released as a form of mockery. In the ’90s, television and catalogs highlighted classy-influenced clothing.
With a twist as seen on models, actors, and influencers; country club chic is now spotted in the school community. Even though the preppy style is trendy, students can make their outfits unique. “I like when I see different and authentic outfits around school,” Emma said. Preppy style can be implemented into any social setting, recurrently consisting of pleated skirts, polo dresses, headbands, chino pants, crewneck sweatshirts, tights, and knitwear especially. Details like plaid accents, argyle designs, button-downs, and Ralph Lauren chic are staples of prep. Freshman Clara Larraín Cosmelli said that if she had to wear one outfit to school every day, “a black skirt—kind of a tennis skirt,” would be a part of her uniform. Next time you tie a sweater around your shoulders or waist, you can consider the outfit “preppy.”
Polaroids of preppy-styled students, senior Mike Janey above and freshmen Serena De Ponce and Siena Wyatt
In 2021, the preppy look made a more inclusive and contemporary comeback. For junior Emma Schubert, a preppy outfit is “a fun skirt and a top added with a sweater vest and some colorful shoes.” The effortlessly chic sweater vest, worn in fun colors and patterns by all genders and ages, can be thrown on anytime, except maybe in hot weather. The style blew up in late 2019 when Harry Styles was seen wearing a lively sweater vest and collar.
42 • FEATURE thefourthestate.net
Fall Food Trends Pumpkin spice and everything nice WORDS and ART by ABBY KIM
Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts The popular fall menus are back! Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks have released their fall menu with new drinks and food items. Dunkin Donuts released their new Apple Crisp Donut with their fall menu in mid-August. Starbucks released a new item, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, with their fall menu later on in August. Freshman Carson Stewart prefers Starbucks over Dunkin. “My go-to order at Starbucks is a cake pop and a black iced tea.”
Do you prefer Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? Trader Joe’s
Crushcakes & Cafe Crushcakes & Cafe, a local, family-owned cafe, reintroduced their popular fall items. Their “Seasonal Specials,” include Pumpkin Spice Cupcake and Cake, Carrot Crush Cake, Lemon Berry Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, and more. “I really enjoy going to Crushcakes and getting their Cookies n Cream cupcakes. While I have not tried their new fall items, I am excited to try them since they always have delicious food,” sophomore Keira Hay said.
Have you been to Crushcakes & Cafe? If so, what is your favorite item?
Have you tried any of the new Trader Joe’s items?
Trader Joe’s brought back their fall foods and introduced a bigger selection than ever. Trader Joe’s brought back customer favorites such as Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark, Pumpkin Spice Waffles, and they introduced new items including Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Bites, Maple & Sea Salt Kettle Corn.
What Season Are You? WORDS by ANNIKA FIRLIK ART by CLAIRE TOLLES
After you take the quiz, count the number of A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s, and see what season you are? 1. Would you rather spend the day? a. at the beach and swimming b. cozy inside watching a movie/reading c. skiing, snowboarding, etc d. going for a walk in the park 2. What is your favorite holiday? a. Fourth of July b. Thanksgiving or Halloween c. Christmas or Valentine’s Day d. Easter or Mother’s Day 3. What would you rather wear? a. a floral dress or bathing suit b. a beige jacket and brown pants c. a fuzzy sweater or puffer jacket d. rain boots and a light colored sweater 4. What is your favorite color a. blue or yellow b. brown or orange or red c. white or light blue d. green or pink 5. What is your favorite food out of these options? a. watermelon or lemonade b. apples or pumpkin pie c. hot chocolate d. strawberries
DOWN: 1. A main dish at Thanksgiving 2. Halloween month 3. Keeps birds away from fields 5. A crisp red fruit 9. Another word for Fall
If you are mainly A’s, you are SUMMER If you are mainly B’s you are FALL If you are mainly C’s, you are WINTER
ACROSS 4. What kids trick or treat for 6. A drink made from apples 7. One of the colors leaves turn in fall 8. What you do to a pumpkin
44 • FEATURE thefourthestate.net
New Athletic Director Matt Steinhaus, the newly appointed athletic director, enhances the athletic program and adjusts to COVID-19 protocols WORDS by ABBY KIM and ALEXANDRA SIEGEL PHOTO by ALEXANDRA SIEGEL
Athletic Director Matt Steinhaus by the tennis courts.
ports are an important way for students and staff to connect with others. While COVID-19 limited the standard capacity for sports seasons during the 20202021 year, they are now back and in full swing with the addition of new programs. This year we welcomed a girls golf team, a coed sailing team, and the new Athletic Director Matt Steinhaus. Steinhaus said that the transition has “...generally been smooth because truthfully there’s a lot of really good people in place that have helped me make it seamless.” Previous Athletic Director Jason Donnelly guided Steinhaus through the transition. thefourthestate.net
Donnelly transitioned to the role of PE instructor and volleyball coach. He coaches girls and boys indoor volleyball and runs the new PE program for the middle school. Despite being new to Laguna Blanca, Steinhaus is not new to the position of AD. Although he transferred during COVID-19 and is still “...learning the Laguna landscape,” Steinhaus said that his previous experience as an AD made the transition smoother. Similar to his work before, Steinhaus is working with faculty on mask rules. “The protocol in the county became very easy because they mandated everything indoors. And it’s unenforceable outdoors.”
In addition to adjusting new COVID-19 protocols, Steinhaus worked to bring new fall and winter sports to campus. With the influx of new students, the athletic program seized the opportunity to expand. “Girls basketball is returning this winter. The numbers are good and a lot of it has been made easier because of enrollment,” Steinhaus said. Alongside girls basketball, Laguna will be fielding a boys basketball team, a boys soccer team, and a girls soccer team. Fall sports wrapped up their seasons recently, giving students the opportunity to join one of the upcoming teams. New sports teams come with challenges. Particularly, Steinhaus spoke about the struggle to find qualified coaches to manage each team. “There’s a lot of challenges with bringing in good coaches,” Steinhaus said. “The expectations are different [for each sport], but some sports you get really lucky and you meet the coaches right away that… [some] are the right fit and others aren’t.” Being able to find coaches, players, and matches to field a team is a hard task, then add the COVID-19 challenges and it is another level of difficult. Most of Laguna’s sports teams’ games and matches were cancelled last year, so scheduling added another layer of difficulty to teams this season. Despite the challenges Steinhaus faces, he takes a positive outlook on the program and its future developments. LIFESTYLE • 45
Sports are back in-person and in full swing this fall. WORDS by CLAIRE TOLLES PHOTOS by BRAD ELLIOT
GIRLS TENNIS Senior Captain Ava Rice Q: What was your team’s highlight of the fall season? A: The win against Thatcher was really big. We’ve played Thatcher almost every year since my freshman year and have gotten absolutely destroyed by them, so, to have that victory was really great. Q: What was your personal highlight? A: Jinling Wang has a incredible serve, and she’s my doubles partner. Playing with her and watching other teams get destroyed by her serve is really fun. But for me, I think getting my volleys in and angled properly has been the highlight.
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL Jason Donnelly Coach Q: What was your favorite part of the fall season? A: My favorite part of this season was seeing the girls improve so much on a daily basis. They dealt with a lot of adversity this season, but never wavered from getting better. They were working just as hard at our last practice of the year as the first. Q: Talk about team dynamics? A: These girls really pulled for each other and stuck together as a group all season long. It was special to see. Our two senior captains, France Carlson and Amelia
46 • LIFESTYLE
Fowler, set the tone early on about how this season was going to go. Effort and character are two staples that they live by and the rest of the group followed along. I called them the Excellent Eight. Small in numbers but high in character. Q: What was the team’s best moment? A: Beating St. Bonaventure in 4 to win our first Tri-Valley League match. Q: Does the team have any rivals? A: We were in the upper league this year based on our results from 2019, pre-COVID. A lot had changed since then, so I wouldn’t say we had any true rivals this year. Q: How long have you coached this sport? A: I have been coaching volleyball for 25 years. Q: Do you think the team achieved their full potential this season? A: We reached our potential and then went a step further. The focus is never on wins and losses but more about
the everyday process. These girls showed up every day in hopes of improving and it showed with our teams’ success, both on and off the court. thefourthestate.net
BOYS FOOTBALL Senior Captain Jack Shiebler Q: Season Highlights? A: Of course, winning our first game was big as in the history our Laguna team hasn’t performed great. So, turning that around, especially with such a young group, was really exciting. To see the development of some of our players who had never played football before was really nice to see. Q: What is your favorite part about being team captain? A: I’ve always liked being team captain. I like managing a team and I think it’s exciting to have such a young group and know that I’m going to see these players grow once I leave Laguna. So, leaving my mark is all I can ask for—aside from winning CIF.
Freshman Sam Narva Q: Talk about Team Dynamics? A: Our team is working better together because we’re getting to know each other, and seeing our strengths and weaknesses. I think towards play-offs, our team will be really connected. I think we’re sill in the process of that. Q: What was your personal best moment of the season? A: The first game we had. It was my first football game ever. I didn’t
really know what was going to happen; I wasn’t really expecting anything. I think it was a kickoff return, it was third quarter, I think it was a 90-yard run, and I was really happy about it.
CROSS COUNTRY Senior Captain George Nicks Q: What was the highlight of your season? A: Highlight was probably our team beach day. Beach days are always the highlight of the season. Q: What was your least favorite part of the season? A: The DP meet was probably the worst race I’ve had, but so far the season’s been pretty good. Q: Talk about team dynamics? A: The team has always worked well together and I think it’s only improved over the season. Q: What was the team’s best moment? A: The team’s best moment is kind of hard to pin down because everyone does different each day and at each race, but I felt like we all did okay during the Cate meet. Q: What challenges has your team faced? A: So far team injuries have been our biggest challenge and asthma, half our team has it, and the smoke really made ti difficult. Q: Did the team reach it full potential? A: Yes, I do think the team achieved their full potential. thefourthestate.net
BOYS SAND VOLLEYBALL Sophomore Drew Levinson Q: What was the highlight of your season? A: Everything. Actually everything. It was kind of a messed-up season. Anthony Medell was going to coach, but then he messed up his Achilles. So we had a new coach James Kiffie. This was my first time playing beach volleyball. I just thought it was really fun. We made something out of nothing basically. Junior Carson Bohnet Q: What was the highlight of your season? A: A favorite part would definitely be just getting better over all. This is my first season playing volleyball, and I just liked learning how to play. I played tennis before. Junior Captain Thomas Couvillion Q: Talk about team dynamic? A: I think we do work well together. There’s a really big age gap. We have 15 freshmen or something crazy. So there’s a little bit of chaos. But, everyone’s been really focused, and it’s been a really fun team dynamic.
GOLF Sophomore Jayla Provance Q: What was your team’s highlight? A: Our team’s highlight was that we won every match! Q: What was your personal highlight? A: My personal highlight was playing really well and shooting 3 under par multiple times. It’s cool that this is the 1st year Laguna Blanca has a girls golf team. Seniors Pictured: Volleyball captain Frances Carlson and wide receiver and free safety senior Rhys Zemeckis. LIFESTYLE • 47
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” -Andy Warhol