Page 1



As it becomes more difficult to find foods untouched by technology, we must hand-pick our priorities; is it worth the extra cost to stay organic?


issue 5


NEWS 3&4

ED/OP 5–7

LINK CREW LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE The theme for the conference was leadership, but the delivery was one the middle schoolers would not forget. SEE MORE ON PHOTO ESSAY


EDITORS EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Joyce Tan Kelly Wisneski NEWS Edwin Chikukwa Shay Suban


CASE IN POINT “Borat” is just the reality check America needs.



BROKEN BELLS The musical team of James Mercer and Danger Mouse produced an album worthy to jam out to.

SASSMASTER3000 Does our generation place too much emphasis on the success of our online life? What do selfies really say about us?


CENTER 10&11



MASTERCHEF Free food, NFL Hall-of-Famers and Masterchef are all coming to TOHS next week.

COCA-COLA Coca-Cola’s recent Super Bowl ad stirred controversy on social media sites over their attempt at multiculturalism. Pundits and Joe six packs alike all have opinions on the topic.




THE GMO DEBATE It’s time to take a closer look at the engineering behind our food and how it affects us.


TALENT SHOW Four acts prepare for the talent show with the hopes of winning first and receiving the $250 prize .


TEACHER FEATURE New language teacher Claudia Prada begins another step in her career while continuing her art and production of educational materials.

ED/OP Casey Sigelakis ENTERTAINMENT Sara Wilson CENTER Jessica Ashcraft Kendell Snow FEATURES Ali Koplan Amber Sutherland SPORTS Scott Price Dane Swanson WEBSITE Ethan Lyons Ben Mueller-Leclerc

STAFF ADVERTISING MANAGER Joyce Tan PHOTOGRAPHERS Ethan Lyons Ben Mueller-Leclerc Nikita Sarmiento WRITERS Jonathan Brough Andrew Chau Kalie Clear Joyce Huchin Samantha Kallen Clarissa Kano Brian Lee Allison Medley KD Mireles Jessi Soporito Sierra Waters ADVISER Tasha Beaudoin

The Lancer is the official school publication of Thousand Oaks High School, created and produced by students in Advanced Journalism. The Lancer reserves the right to refuse advertising deemed inappropriate for high school publication.

SPORTS 16–19



RECORD BREAKER Dara Bleiberg has enjoyed a season unlike any other Lancer girls water polo player ever, and get this, she is only a freshman.


THE FUTURE STARS Although they play too early to be watched by most fans, these JV teams have enjoyed great success while preparing for the varsity spotlight.

Guest editorials and “Letters to the Editor” are welcome, but must be signed and are subject to editing for length, libel, obscenity and grammar. The Lancer is a member of the Journalism Education Association (JEA), National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and NSPA AllAmerican Hall of Fame and a Pacemaker winner.


february 13, 2014

Behind the screen

Technology is changing everything, including the way students learn. As online courses become a more popular method of education, one must wonder what the positives and negatives are and, most importantly, what colleges think of them. News Editor


For senior Hannah Solomon, a semester of an online course meant the difference between a high GPA and the chance to be a valedictorian. “I didn’t know about it until the second semester,” Solomon said, “when the vice principal talked to me about [taking an online class] as a way to become valedictorian because my GPA was super close.” Solomon is taking AP Psychology online and as of now, she has no complaints. “It’s very different,” She said, “but it’s nice that I can do it at my own speed.” Solomon also advises those students who are unsure of whether they should take an online course to try them. “I would say go for it,” she said. “I mean if it is one class and you find out you don’t like it, then just don’t do it again.” Unlike Solomon, who has no complaints, senior Jamie Stone, who took Algebra II during the summer in order to make up the class, hated her experience. “I’m more of a one-on-one type person,” Stone said, “so it was really hard to not have someone there explaining it to me.” Stone does not like math but she feels that even if she had taken another subject online, she still would not have liked the process. Yet Stone does agree with Solomon about the speed of an online course, but says that this ended up having more of a negative impact on her. “You can do it at your own pace, but it’s not as slow as you want,” Stone said. “I also tend to put things aside so it ended up taking me a lot longer than it should have.” Stone chose the online approach in order to spend time with her cousin, who was coming over during the summer. Although this did allow her more free time, she feels that students who have an option should not take an online course.



students polled:

Guiding the leaders of the future


have taken an online class


“I would advise someone not to take the class online,” Stone said. “I feel like there are a lot of errors on an online course. The teachers take a while to get back to you, so I would say no.” Here at school, there are certain programs students must take in order for their online courses to count and receive the appropriate credit. Sites such as BYU Independent Study and Cyber High have received approval from the school, but some of the courses offered still face approval issues at higher levels. “The problem is that some online courses do not meet the a-g requirements for college and do not meet the NCAA requirements for athletes,” counselor Robyn Britt said. “In these cases, we might advise against taking an online class.” Even though the school offers many online courses at the College Prep level, colleges do not like them. Britt believes this is due to an online course’s structure. “The disconnect [for colleges] lies in the fact that many online courses are available from home or someplace other than school,” Britt said. “Colleges do not like this fact and do not consider the online classes to be academically stringent. But many of the online courses are very difficult and some are even offered in the Advanced Placement and Honors level.” To those students who are unsure of whether or not they can handle an online courses, Britt gives them a stern warning. “Online classes can be very difficult,” Britt said. “There is less teacher involvement and there is a lot of self-mentoring that needs to occur, so if you are unorganized or have a tendency to procrastinate, this can create issues for you.” A DIFFERENT KIND OF EDUCATION—Sophomore Ali Koplan explores online courses as an alternative to tradition in-class learning.


would prefer to take a course in a classroom setting

News Editor

As the middle schoolers walked into the gym, they were greeted with loud music accompanied with the noise of high school students jumping up and down at the entrance. The middle schoolers had come for a leadership conference and on this 77 degree day, they would get one, the TOHS way. “They were just really pumped to be here and be with the high schoolers,” junior Link Crew Leader Lauren Waldman said. On Monday, Feb. 10, the Link Crew leaders hosted the annual CVUSD Middle School Leadership Conference. The event gathered schools from all over the district, and though it did serve as a way for the school to promote itself to potential freshman, the Link Crew leaders made it clear that this was not the main point. “We were not only promoting our school, but we were also promoting leadership in general,” senior


know another student who has taken an online class




Link Crew leader Colin Akahosi said, “because no matter where you are in the district, you are going to need leadership.” To promote this leadership, the Link Crew leaders put the middle schoolers into different groups where they played games like the human knot and a Celtic version of roshambo. After these games, the groups discussed what each activity taught them. “We did some really goofy things,” junior Link Crew leader Kendrick Dimalanta said, “but they had some really deep meanings to them. Sure we were trying to solve the human knot, but at the same time, we were learning problem solving skills and how to combine ideas to find a solution.” During these reflective discussions, the Link Crew leaders found that they shared common ground with the middle schoolers in their interest for leadership. “[Like the middle schoolers] I got into leadership because I felt that the school could be a lot better,”

took the an online class for college credit


feel that the class succeeded in preparing them for the future

junior Link Crew leader Kenny Alldredge said. “I’m very loud and outgoing and Link Crew was exactly like that—having freshman orientation being loud and crazy I thought I fit in well with this type of group.” The day ended with each group middle school children and their Link Crew leaders coming up with an individual cheer and as the Link Crew leaders began say goodbye and clean up, they received a lot of positive feedback from the middle school children. “I really liked how when we got into the groups we got out of our comfort zone and really got to know each other,” Sequoia eighth grader Andrew Pettingill said. “We got to learn about each other’s schools while also doing team building. It really showed how all the schools can work together.” FOR MORE ON

Leadership Conference




NO SCHOOL Presidents’ Weekend










wednesday MINIMUM DAY




sunday TEDxYOUTH@ CONEJO in the PAC info and tickets at

issue 5

Researchers return to Redwood SIERRA WATERS

Staff Writer

Middle school is a place to which most never want to return. However, science teacher Dr. Nikki Malhotra’s students have decided to go back for the benefit of younger students. Through a program called the TOHS and Redwood Science Fair Alliance, Scientific Research students join with science fair participants at Redwood Middle School to assist and advise them with their projects. “This year, we added a mentoring activity that involves Thousand Oaks students meeting with Redwood students regarding the Ventura County Science Fair,” eighth grade honors science teacher Gini Bartley said. Scientific Research is a class on campus, taught by Malhotra, in which students study the scientific method and then create a project for the science fair. The program’s goal is to get younger students excited about the science fair as well. The program is co-run by Malhotra and Bartley. The students held a meeting first on Jan. 15 at Redwood Middle School, and again more recently on Feb 5. At these meetings, the high school students pair up with the middle school students in order to help them with their projects for the upcoming Ventura County Science Fair, which will take place on March 19. The Lancers help the younger students to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of one another so they can figure out the best possible option. The Lancers allow the Vikings to complete their projects on their own but remain available to give feedback, support and advice—ready to answer any questions the younger students may have. The program was created two years ago. The idea was sparked through colleges such as UCLA, CLU


BRAINSTORM—At a recent meeting at Redwood Middle School, (from left to right) junior Sarah Ayyad and seniors Christy Macleod and Noah Chow help improve a student’s Ventura County Science Fair project. and Moorpark College, whose students also had a science outreach program with Malhotra’s research students for the past three years. Inspired, Malhotra decided to pass the idea along by reaching out to the middle school students. “I decided to pass this outreach effort on to our local middle schools,” Malhotra said, “so that we can share our knowledge and expertise with them.”

Both schools agree that the program has been successful and would definitely like to continue it in future years. They also believe that the program is rewarding to both groups of students. “TOHS research students become leaders and young scientists,” Malhotra said. “Middle school students look up to high school students and learn the scientific process from them.”

Decathletes embrace growth SHAY SUBAN



HIT THE BOOKS—Studying a review booklet, sophomore Michelle Tafolla (left) reviews with the group as they prepare for the second day of competition.

News Editor

Despite the loss of last year’s graduated seniors, the Academic Decathlon team continues to grow with both its returning and new members, who are already becoming closer. “Aca Deca is a special experience,” sophomore Louis Lee said. “Spending six hours a week with people really brings you together as friends and a team.” Ventura County’s 24th Aca Deca Competition took place on Jan. 11 and Feb. 1 at Pacifica. In the end, Thousand Oaks placed tenth. Westlake won first place in the county and will be advancing to the State Championship. “We just tried our hardest and had fun with it all,” senior Allison Bermann said. “We had a strong team in regards to overall spirit.” This year’s competition was centered around the students’ knowledge of World War I and consisted of a speech, interview, essay, seven multiple choice tests

and the Super Quiz event, the team competition. The team prepared for the competition starting at the beginning of the school year. “Most of the team had very good speeches and interviews,” Lee said. “We all helped each other by specializing in a certain topic and teaching the team.” This year, several new faces filled the space left by last year’s seniors, and they are working to improve their level of competition. “We could have been more prepared for the multiple choice test,” senior Katherine Smith said. “That’s what really got us.” In addition, the team only had six out of nine members for the team event, giving them a disadvantage. Despite these downfalls, the team looks forward to more successful seasons in the future. “I think improvement comes with practice and personal drive to do well,” Bermann said. “As long as the team has the drive to succeed in the future, they will continue to place.”

Individual Awards “A” TEAM Julia McCann Math » Bronze Katherine Smith Speech » Bronze “B” TEAM Louis Lee Math » Silver Music » Silver Elizabeth Martinez Math » Silver

TO welcomes MasterChef

Drumline brings the heat

Showing culture by dance

Shifting the limelight from Los Angeles to Thousand Oaks, Fox Television’s MasterChef, a competitive reality cooking show, is coming to the TOHS stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 26. to film. The episode centers around football, and several NFL superstars will attend the event. “The spectators will be led into the stadium by our T.O. marching band and our cheerleaders,” Dean of Student Activities Danielle Oliveri said. Once the chefs have finished cooking, 300 spectators will have the chance to taste the food and vote for the best chef. Students can attend the event by filling out a release form. Forms, available in activities or on the TOHS website, must be turned in by Feb. 19. —Andrew Chau

Most say that technology destroys the lives of teenagers, but it only encourages success when Drumline performed its show, #Drumline, in its first competition on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Chino Hills. The show’s theme demonstrates the different aspects and uses of technology. They earned second place overall out of 13 groups. This past weekend at Damien, the Drumline earned fourth place overall as well as third place in their block. “We will continue to add more movements to the show,” senior drum captain Parker Trent said. “This competition went very well, and we will be bringing the heat in our upcoming competitions.” —Sierra Waters

In order to raise money for the Ballet Folklorico Club, Spanish teacher Veronica Bass organized the third annual Latin American Talent Show that was held in the PAC on Feb. 7. Each performance originated from a Spanish-speaking country, and were either traditional or modern forms of dancing. “I enjoyed dancing in the show,” junior Britney Herrera said. “I’ve been in it since it was started.” There were guest dancers from different schools but the surprise performer was Bass, who danced the flamenco alongside the seniors. After all acts were over, Bass handed out medals to the seniors as a thanks for being a part of the club. —Joyce Huchin


february 13, 2014

From Russia, with love

This year’s Winter Olympics seems abysmal when compared to past ones. From security, to human rights, to preparedness and even the cleanliness of the drinking water, Sochi is shaping up to be a disaster.



Sochi’s location isn’t optimal for a number of reasons: it’s not a major city, it’s in one of the only temperate places in Russia, it’s near a hotspot for separatist groups and it’s not far away from the location of a terrorist attack that killed 14. In December, a train station in Volgograd, just a stone’s throw away from Sochi was attacked in a suicide bombing. The attack killed 34 people. With such a myriad of different people mixing together for days at a time, its a wonder how Sochi was approved in the first place. It’s also located near Chechnya, which produced Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings. The London Olympics had their own security concerns, but they’re nothing when compared to what Sochi is sitting next to. —Casey Sigelakis

The rings Since July 4, 2007 Russian leaders and the International Olympic Committee have known Sochi would be the location for the 2014 Winter Olympics. So with all that preparation, the opening ceremonies should have gone off without a hitch, right? Nope. Even though the games cost $50 billion—around $25 billion more than they were expected to according to the San Jose Mercury News—there were still problems from the beginning. The Olympic rings, set to spread wide during the opening ceremony, malfunctioned, with one failing to open in sync with the others. Rumors spread on social media that the technician in charge of the Olympic rings was killed. Russia may not be the most free country in the world, but I’m pretty sure the technician is off the hook. —Casey Sigelakis



BATHROOMS—Bobsledder Johnny Quinn got trapped in his bathroom. He had to resort to breaking the door to get out.



Gay rights


Russia has never had a sterling record when it comes to human rights. Completely ignoring Stalin’s purges, pogroms and Communism and stuff like that, Russia is still not topping the board when it comes to being progressive, open-minded and welcoming. In 2013, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s current president, signed a law banning gay propaganda in public places. With the Olympic charter stating that “every individual must have the possibility of practicing sports, without discrimination of any kind” it’s ironic that Sochi was chosen to host the games. The US has done its part to stand up for all athletes at least. With noted gay athletes such as Billie Jean King representing us in the Olympic delegation, at least there’s some measure of tolerance. —Casey Sigelakis

UNCOOL RUNNINGS— The Jamaican bobsled team, after much fundraising, finally arrived in Sochi, only to have their baggage lost, leaving them unable to practice for days.


POISON WATER—In addition to the hotels falling apart, some hotel managers have stated the tap water is to dangerous to use.


issue 5



Transgender blues Should the California transgender ruling be upheld? editorial board

12 00 0 02

yes no abstain

“It’s not too much to ask for us to help them become more comfortable at school.”

People should never have to feel uncomfortable because of how they were born. Unfortunately, that’s how most transgender people feel everyday. There’s nothing wrong with it though. Some people are just born differently than how they feel they should be. It’s not something they can control. Recently, California ruled that transgender students have the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, without fear of repercussion. Critics of the law state that it would open the door for predators and destroy a student’s right to privacy. The thing about these complaints though, is that transgender students don’t want to be noticed when going to the bathroom. They just want to fit in and be more like how they feel they should be. It’s not too much to ask for us to help them become more comfortable at school. Opponents of this law seem to think that if the terms “fetish” and “pedophile” are thrown around, they will become true. It doesn’t work like that though. Trans-

gender people are among the most discriminated against groups in the country. According to, 80 percent of transgender students feel unsafe at school because of how others perceive them. Forty-seven percent have had suicidal thoughts. One in 12 transwomen— people who are male at birth but express themselves as female—will be murdered. These aren’t pretty statistics by any means, but they’re important. The least we could do is attempt to make something as simple as going to the bathroom less hostile. Nobody should have to feel hurt or unwanted because of something they have no control over. Transgender people aren’t even fully accepted in the LGBT community yet. And they’re the “T.” They’re the tomato in the gay BLT. Once any “icky” notions are set aside, it doesn’t seem like such a horrible tradeoff: We allow transgender people to use the bathrooms they identify with and they feel more comfortable at school. It’s almost like it doesn’t affect us at all.

Rascals get litigious over teacher tenure teacher tenure » Tenure, a system started in 1910, was originally put in place in order to combat the problem of teachers being fired for political or social reasons. » Eight states, including California, offer tenure to teachers after only two years. Hawaii and Mississippi offer it after one and Washington D.C. has no set limit. » In 2005, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed the “Put the Kids First Act,” which would extend teacher’s probationary period from two to five years and allow schools to fire teachers after two unsatisfactory grades. It was voted on, but never passed. » On Tuesday, North Carolina got rid of tenure, class size caps and pay increases for Masters degrees.


Ed/Op Editor

Some teachers aren’t good enough. And they’re teaching our kids! Well, not my kids. I don’t have children. But some people do, and their kids deserve as good an education as an underfunded public school can provide. But nine California students from Los Angeles and the Bay Area argue that we’re not getting the teachers we deserve. And it’s all because it’s hard to fire teachers. So these nine intrepid students have taken it upon themselves to sue the state. The students are backed by educational reform groups in California, that hope to lessen how difficult the process of firing a teacher is. “The system is dysfunctional and arbitrary due to these outdated laws that handcuff school administrators,” lead attorney Theodore J. Boutrous said. Tenure was originally intended to protect teachers from being fired for unfair reasons—their political lean, sexual orientation, race or gender—but it has since protected even unfit teachers from getting the axe. Education is said to be the silver bullet for everything, from crime to joblessness. Keeping these sub-par teachers in jobs they’re obviously not fit for is essentially throwing out a kid’s chance to realize their full potential. Tenure should be a milestone and a great achievement in a teacher’s career. It should signify exemplary work and student achievement. In eight states, including California, tenure is handed out after two years according to PBS educational correspondent John Merrow. We’ve all had teachers we don’t feel are up to par. The proof is in the pudding. Now it’s time we be pudding these outdated and destructive lines of thinking to rest. This shouldn’t be grounds to blow everything up and start from scratch. We still need teachers, but it’s irresponsible to say that they can stay forever. There are other options to explore.

H ts and M sses What’s Up and Down with The Lancer

The four day weekend. That means less school H T next week. Which is good. Super Bowl XLVIII. I didn’t know they were M SS allowed to televise a snuff film. The Lego Movie. It’s nice H T that a product placement can get good reviews. Philadelphia M SS McDonald’s workers dealing heroin. Now that’s a happy meal.

15th. AKA H T February discount chocolate day. Flappy Bird creator M SS suicide hoax. The game’s not that frustrating.


february 13, 2014




Very nice, great success


SENDING COKE OVER THE BORDER—Coca-Cola’s recent ploy for multiculturalism and tolerance fell flat for many Twitter users, who took to the site expressing their outrage over the minute-long ad. The irony of not accepting other people’s way of life while simultaneously extolling American values seems to have been lost on social media users.

Coca-Cola controversy ®

During the Super Bowl, Coke ran an ad featuring people from different backgrounds singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages. Normally, this would go over well, but some closeted bigots took to social media to voice their displeasure. CASEY SIGELAKIS

Ed/Op Editor

Super Bowl ads are supposed to bring us together, not tear us apart. They’re supposed to fill us with wonder and make us laugh. They should leave us in awe and make us cry. But really, they’re supposed to ram a product down our throat. Coca-Cola’s minute-long ad titled “It’s beautiful” managed to transcend all that and spark outrage. The commercial—to the tune of $8 million of advertising space—featured people of all different cultural backgrounds (and even some gays) singing “America the Beautiful” in seven different languages. Outrageous! Completely ridiculous! Why don’t these foreigners learn to speak our national language? That’s what freedom is. Forcing others to conform to what the perceived standard of normality is. It’s completely un-American to celebrate cultural diversity and different ways of life. Only, it’s really not. But that didn’t stop morons on Twitter from voicing their irrational and bigoted opinions. “America is a melting pot” is a cliché that’s been endlessly repeated, but it’s not like it’s false. Our whole American identity is predicated on the fact that we celebrate and encourage

our diversity. No one has to fall in line and act like everyone else. We’re all equal here. Peace and love, man. We have a history of accepting refugees, immigrants and displaced persons. We have entire monuments and statues and plaques dedicated to the fact that immigrants founded and helped build this country. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” But only if they’re white, straight, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. No rational person should be angry at Coke’s ad. The only people outraged by this are the people that call the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression. Plenty of conservative pundits, have voiced their opinion that foreigners shouldn’t sing the national anthem in their native tongue. Which is funny, because if they had such a star-spangled heart, they would know that “America the Beautiful” isn’t our national anthem. It was also written by Katharine Lee Bates, noted American and lesbian. The fact that, in 2014, anyone can be angry over cultural differences is astounding. I would hope that these talking heads are only throwing a fit to generate more viewers and ad revenue, but I’m not sure if phony outrage to get more money is any better than real, stupid outrage. It’s wrong to say that people can’t express their love for the country they live in. Nothing is more American than accepting other people’s culture. And apple pie. You’re un-American if you think otherwise.


Trending on Twitter: Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border. #americaisbeautiful @toddstarnes

Hey #coke we speak English in America #AmericaIsBeautiful ... Awful commercial @theAFAUSTshow Hey @CocaCola This is America. English, please. #SB48 @vonzion

I must have watched “Borat” into the double digits by now. Fifteen times. Sixteen. I don’t really know. But other than “Die Hard,” which I watch every Christmas, every time it’s on TV and sometimes just for fun, it’s definitely the movie I watch the most. I couldn’t really give a concrete reason as to why. It’s not the deepest movie, nor is it the most groundbreaking. It excels at making me laugh, but plenty of movies do that. No, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” has such a place in my heart because of how much it makes me think. It doesn’t offer vast insight into the origins of humanity or attempt to answer questions about the human condition. It simply turns us towards a mirror and forces us to look at what’s ugly inside of ourselves, and that’s more important than some pseudo-intellectual crap that a sophomore stoner could think up in his spare time staring at the stars. This isn’t a movie review. I’m about eight years too late for that. But for those of you who are unlucky enough to not have seen it, I’ll give you the rundown. The story follows Borat Sagdiyev, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, a Kazakhstani reporter who travels to America in search of what makes us the greatest country on Earth, though as we find out through his journey, maybe we have a long way to go in order to cement our place in history as the number one country of all time. Borat makes his way from New York to California in search of his one true love, Pamela Anderson. So that’s that. It’s pretty ridiculous, but the story is just the crispy outer layer of what “Borat” is trying to accomplish. Cohen and friends effectively satirize everything wrong with American culture, and often Americans, by immersing themselves in it. By pretending to be ignorant outsiders, they’re at liberty to say and do whatever they want to coax a reaction out of the people they’re interviewing. Whether that’s a wannabe cowboy intent on getting rid of the gays, or a group of frat guys complaining about how women and minorities run the country. “Borat” shines a light on what we don’t want to be seen. Racism, by calling a black politician a “genuine chocolate face;” antisemitism, by changing Spain’s pastime of the running of the bulls to a Kazakhstani one called the running of the Jews. Even some less touched-on subjects such as the out-oftouch rich white people aren’t safe from Cohen and company’s satirical laser. I’ve kind of been rambling, but I have a point. Sometimes, we can be too patriotic. Shocking, but patriotism isn’t just blind love for your country. It’s also the yearning for your country to be better. In the wake of everything tragic and ridiculous, from school shootings to the NSA revelations, we must have some way to shine a light on and criticize ourselves and our policies. And there’s really no better way to do that than through comedy. “Borat” made fun of us. Demolishing entire demographics and humiliating individuals to the point where lawsuits were filed against the filmmaker. That only serves to increase the magnitude of “Borat’s” impact. These aren’t things we want to face as a country. No, of course America doesn’t have racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-semites and xenophobes. We’re the US and A. greatest country in the world. But we do have undesirable traits hiding under the surface. And only Borat Sagdiyev exposes them. —Casey Sigelakis


issue 5


During Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love” at the Jan. 26 ceremony, 34 couples were married on stage. The song was 2013’s anthem for equal love—the array of lovers included both straight and gay couples. Queen Latifah officiated and that’s completely awesome.


The couple has a firm grasp on the reigns of the entire music industry, with her powerhouse vocals and his production empire. Though they are powerful in their own respects, they are so in love and feed off of each other’s success. Case in point: their sultry Grammy performance.


“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1946) BEST. VALENTINE’S. GIFT. EVER. (Get on it, boys.)


Lancers in love: Chas & Genevieve


Junior Genevieve Vacherot and senior Chas Henley have been dating for a year and three months, and were good sports with The Lancer’s inquisition of their love life. The Lancer: What did you do on your first date? Genevieve Vacherot: We went to the movies, but the movie we were going to see wasn’t playing, so we had to see “Fun Size.” It was awful— Chas Henley: It was the worst movie ever. TL: Chas, what do you love most about Genevieve? CH: She’s really selfless. She always puts my, and other people’s, needs above her own. TL: And what do you love most about Chas? CH: Obviously my dashing looks. GV: [laughter] He’s the most caring person I know—we’ll go with that. That’s my favorite thing. TL: What’s the most romantic thing you have ever done together? CH: I cooked her chicken for our six-month. GV: He doesn’t cook, so it was like “ tried.” CH: It was a “I tried but didn’t succeed” kind of thing. GV: I have an obsession with the Eiffel Tower, so for my birthday Chas made a huge wooden Eiffel Tower, put Christmas lights on it, and put it in his yard and set up a thing with macaroons and stuff. TL: What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? CH: It’s a surprise. I can’t expose my secrets.


Wanda is the nagging woman. Cosmo is the idiot man. But, then again, the fairies have been married for 10,000 years, so it must be working, right? Cosmo and Wanda are a dysfunctional example of love, but their quirky love and mutual adoration for Timmy Turner is endearing.


I have some chicken n_ggets but all I need is u. Will you be mine, or is this delicious pizza too cheesy? Love me—don’t make a misteak. You’re the one pho me. You’re totally pearfect. You’re so gouda looking. The way to the heart is through the stomach, a la culinary quips.

Muslim superhero breaks the status quo The addition of “Ms. Marvel” to Marvel’s lineup diversifies the comic book realm with a female Pakistani protagonist. ALEENA ALI

Issue #1 of Ms. Marvel is nothing short of the fan’s expectations.

Guest Writer

White Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and the well-known Spider-Man are some of the greatest teen superheroes to ever make the Marvel cut. As of late, Marvel decided to step it up and create a superhero who can relate more to their general fan base and even try to pull new


people in. Thus began the character development of Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is a Muslim-American teen living in Jersey City who struggles with finding the even balance between the fun, outraging American teenage lifestyle and her more conservative religion of Islam. Issue #1 of Ms. Marvel was released on Feb. 5 of this year and is nothing short of the fans’ expectations. There is a clear progression of a main story line and an unclouded understanding of her character. The only downside is that those unknowledgeable on the Pakistani culture or the religion of Islam may have a hard time understanding why she wanted to “just smell” the bacon or the strange Arabic prayers her brother reads day in and day out. While the comic has attracted many fans, there’s a

THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO Junot Diaz Awkward “ghetto nerd” Oscar from New Jersey wants to become the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and find love. Not necessarily a “comingof-age story,” Wao captures the human capacity to risk it all for love.


lot of controversy raging on about Ms. Marvel. The biggest arguments have been about the character’s religious devotion. Readers prefer to see extremes with everything in black and white. This comic stands in perfect contrast to this idea, to the dismay of many critics. For instance, Kamala’s choice to not the wear the hijab, the head scarf worn by many Muslims, has upset many Muslim readers. Also, Kamala’s daring attitude to even consider defying her parents is not very common in Pakistani culture, and her willingness to betray her parents’ rules shocked many readers that are familiar with the Pakistani culture. Despite all the controversy, Ms. Marvel seems to be the perfect comic to put Marvel right on that diversity line.

THE 19TH WIFE David Ebershoff The story of a Mormon cult wife accused of murdering her abusive husband is entertwined with Ann Eliza Young’s account of her experience as Brigham Young’s 19th wife. It explores modern polygamy with a historic context.


february 13, 2014



#selfie #nomakeup #no filter #girlie #followforfollow

Broken Bells’ sophomore album, “After the Disco,” is a perfect mixture of groove and soul, proving that the duo really is unbreakable. SARA WILSON

Entertainment Editor

The Broken Bells collaboration is one of contradictions, of uncertainty and of brilliance. On one end of the music spectrum houses James Mercer, The Shins’ indie darling front man with one of the most recognizable voices in the industry and an impeccably kept beard. The other end boasts Danger Mouse (Brian Burton), the hip-hop artist turned super producer behind Gnarls Barkley, The Black Keys and the upcoming U2 album. A sweet alternative crooner and the master of funky beats for Top 40 hits—one would think their efforts in their Broken Bells endeavor would end in disaster, and they’d shamefully slump back to their respective spheres. How they have proved everyone wrong. And while their self-titled first album, released during The Shins’ hiatus, was less than exciting, it showed glimpses of promise. It was a collection of songs unsure of what they wanted to be and what tone they wanted to take on—an ambling journey swerving between the line of ambition and indecisiveness. Sadness would decide to be doubt and morph into a declaration of hope in the next verse. It was their first bumbling infant of an album, yet still an intriguing output from two of my favorite individual artists. Their new release, “After the Disco,” however, is a long-awaited fulfillment of what 2010’s release hinted at. It’s cohesive. It’s strong. It’s trippy with stunning moments of clarity. It falls somewhere between the party phase and the burrito you make of yourself and your comforters; it’s the drive home on an empty 101 freeway with your best friend in the passenger seat, filling the silence with music that’s not only melodious, but an experience in and of itself. It’s full of moments that make you feel and strive for emotional introspection, but in a less scary-sounding way. Mercer and Burton found a niche they could settle into and utilized the stark contrast of their styles to create a completely unique sound. Mercer’s voice against Burton’s funky, percussion-driven melodies is haunting, captivating and demands the listener’s attention. It’s raw and passionate and…groovy. Think the BeeGees going through emotional turmoil and transforming into edgy vocalists, accompanied by awesome choral-like backgrounds.




There is no lowpoint in “After the Disco.” It starts off sleek and captivating, and continues to the end with a weirdly sexy disco vibe. Switching from smartly upbeat tracks to Mercer’s pure acoustics, it always manages to emphasize and evolve its established alliance between geekiness and classic cool. The standout song is the album’s pre-released single, “Holding on for Life,” the most dance-y song on this completely anti-dance party album. Though it’s about a wayward prostitute in “the Latin quarter,” it makes me want to dramatically strut down the hallways and channel my inner Stevie Nicks. Mercer’s falsetto hook is devastating. The album is also filled with underrated gems only discovered with a thorough listen through. “Leave It Alone” displays some of the best holistic musical talent released in a while. It builds and builds and builds into a climax that makes me yearn for the zenith of The Shins’ days. “After the Disco” is an album for dreamers, an album for the adventurous and an album for those searching for music to both comfort and challenge them. It’s totally far out.

“Recently, I’ve been listening to Savant. He creates all sorts of music—electronic, heavy metal, blues, instrumental, etc. I like all the diversity in his work; it’s cool to listen to all these different genres from the same artist. ‘Alchemist’ SEBASTIAN AUSTIN ties in instrumental and junior electronic influences. ”

NEVER LET ME GO Kazuo Ishiguro Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive English boarding school in an imagined dystopian society. Always told they were ‘special,’ they realilze exactly what that implies as they get older.

BROKEN BELLS//2010 Download: “The High Road,” “Citizen,” “The Ghost Inside.”

AFTER THE DISCO//2013 Download: “Holding on for Life,” “Leave It Alone,” “The Changing Lights.” (But actually download it all.)

“I’m nerdy, so I listen to talk radio, like NPR. But music-wise, I’m listening to Lana del Ray’s song off the ‘Maleficent’ soundtrack. It’s from the original Disney movie (Sleeping Beauty), but she sings it—it’s really LAUREN DENCHFIELD cool. I like that she’s doing CLU teacher candidate soundtracks now.”

THE MAZE RUNNER James Dashner The first book in a thrilling series set in a dystopian future: Thomas wakes up with no memory of his previous life in a mysterious place called the Glade, where he must survive. The film adaptation comes out in September.


Switch to frontcam. Hold a few inches above your head. This makes your cheekbones more prominent and your eyes seem bigger and sexier. Smile, smirk, smize (smile with your eyes) and be the goddess you know you are. Click. Click. Click. The selfie is an endeavour high school girls are all too familiar with. Typically a picture taken by someone of themselves and posted to social media, the selfie is a common occurrence on social media and an acceptable practice of self-promotion. The word itself was added to Webster’s Dictionary last year, and a quick search of #selfie on Instagram reveals close to 76 million images. That accounts for over half of the app’s users. While selfies are seemingly fun and harmless to post online, what’s their actual implication? Should #selfiesunday become another boring day of the week? Posting a picture of oneself has basically one motivation: we want to show how hot we are, how clear our skin is and how effortlessly angelic we are. The curves our new Victoria’s Secret bra invents or the other kind of curves our Lululemon’s emphasize. Even a silly selfie posted jokingly on Twitter is a call to attention of how fabulous our sense of humor is. I literally do that all the time. And hey, confidence is not a bad thing. We’re told from Pre-K to love and celebrate ourselves, and social media gives us a platform to do that in a direct way. Beyonce inspires us to strut through life, and who is to deny the Queen? Posting a selfie is a beckoning for peer validation, whether consciously or not. Because honestly, receiving a “GORGE *kissy face emoji*” comment and an above average number of likes feels great; it feels as though you’re actually relevant in this giant rat race. And conversely, the absence of positive feedback about your appearance is devastating in its own way. It’s shameful to admit, but posting one of these pictures is purely a selfish act. But everyone has done it. In this iPhone generation, self-worth has slowly grown a connection with our online presence. More than ever, our perceived “quality” of existence is reflected with the tweets we put out there, the pictures we post and the followers we gain. Our community doesn’t leave once we leave school or a party—it is omnipresent with a simple “swipe to unlock.” And that extends the pressure to constantly put our best face out there, in the best lighting at our best angle. That’s terrifying. While still semi-focused on our tangible accomplishments and real-life character, we fixate on these arbitrary facts and data that won’t matter in 10, or even two, years. When our pride diminishes with the loss of an Insta follower, we need to rediscover that true self-worth stems from satisfaction in real world pursuits. Social media should be a pastime used to enhance relationships with peers and connect to the interesting Vines of Josh Peck, not a deciding factor on how we individually view ourselves. But, I mean, when you’re having a hair day from the gods, post a dang selfie. The world deserves it. —Sara Wilson

HOW I PAID FOR COLLEGE Marc Acito Edward Zinni is the theater nerd you want as a BFF. He wants to go to Julliard. His dad is all like “Ehh, no.” What ensues is exactly as the cover promises: an adventure of sex, theft, friendship and musical theater.


10 10


The apple falls too far from the tree As the debate over the consumption and labeling of genetically modified food heats up, we must question how GMOs directly affect us and whether they are worth the hype or the price.

The ins and outs of genetically modified food “I’m perfectly fine with my regular strawberries; I don’t need ones the size of a house.”






* out of 100 students polled

consider GMOs to be unsafe


—junior Olivia Weltsch

BY THE NUMBERS: are familiar with the term “GMO”

The perks of going organic


Enriched flour, vitamin B2, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, soybean and palm oil, sugar, sodium stearoyl, lactylate, citric acid, milled corn, gelatin, and the nutrition list on the Pop-Tarts® box continues extensively, full of genetically modified ingredients. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), have their DNA altered by genetic engineers for various reasons. As of late, the term is most commonly used to refer to genetically modified food, often designed to be resistant to pesticides and viruses. These foods include cash crops like corn, soy and other produce, as well as livestock injected with growth hormones. Modifications allow crops and future products to be sold at a much cheaper price in higher quantities. Today, 88 percent of corn grown in the US are variants of GMO strains and some anti-GMO advocates claim that up to 70 percent of processed foods are modified. However, a storm of controversy surrounds GMOs. Critics claim they cause adverse health effects in humans and damage the environment, whereas GMO proponents argue this is not the truth and rather than harm, they increase the crop yield. The amount of modified food has increased significantly over the years, making it almost impossible to find genuinely organic and GMOfree products. The Conejo Valley Unified School District, however, strives to keep the campus healthy, choosing to buy from local farms that do not use pesticides and engineered seeds.

“It’s hard to tell from general purchasing unless it is labeled,” Child Nutrition Director Sandy Curwood said. “We don’t use GMOs to the extent that we can, but the lack of labeling makes it difficult.” In the lab, even more conflict surrounds the issue. Scientists continue to conduct research, proving GMOs are unharmful to health. Advocacy groups claim, however, that studies are biased in favor of GMOs, due to payoffs from big corporations who sell the engineered seeds. In a prominent 2012 study investigating GMOs, researchers discovered large tumors grew on rats fed with herbicide resistant potatoes. Although the evidence seemed to prove the harmful effects of engineered foods, the study was recently retracted due to inconclusive results. With the multitude of negative views surrounding GMOs, students on campus have taken a mostly pessimistic view toward such foods. “I just think that fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be as processed as they are,” junior Olivia Weltsch said. “I’m perfectly fine with my regular strawberries; I don’t need ones the size of a house.” Although much of the focus is on modified produce, some feel that the biggest problem actually involves livestock and dairy products. “I’m a huge animal lover, so I think in general it’s unfortunate that animals are given growth hormones,” sophomore Kasie Hanke said. “It’s unfair to the animals and unhealthy to eat.” While there are those who rally for the end of modified foods, some students do not find big enough faults with foods engineered in labs. “I usually eat at home,” senior Rebecca Mundwiller said. “I eat a lot of packaged food, so I don’t really pay attention to what goes into it.”


Staff Writer



would buy organic foods if sold at school

Org ani


modified or organic


Center Editor

My GMO-free journey started like most renowned adventures do—at the local grocery store. I traversed through the sea of soccer moms comparing cereals while yelling at their children and finally made it to the produce. I quickly located the organic section, embellished with plenty of tacky signage, basketed fruits and veggies and some hefty prices. As part of an experiment to see how different life would be without GMOs, I ate only organic foods for two days. The main issue with eating only organically, in not only produce but all grocery items, is the large price difference. Often times most of the food I purchased cost more and contained less, which doubled the price it normally would have been. Luckily, the area we live in is already filled with many specialty stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. I was even able to find organic pop tarts, much to the joy of my taste buds. I also learned that it is extremely difficult to dine on an organic diet because the majority of restaurants do not specify the origin of their ingredients and whether or not they are genetically modified. This leaves us with dramatically more expensive, small-scale restaurants that cater specifically to organic and locally-sourced food. Don’t get me wrong, I support these restaurants completely and if the FDA does ban GMOs they will come out on top. However, these establishments are generally harder to find and are most definitely more expensive. As far as taste and appeal, organic foods and their counterparts held few noticeable differences. When I compared two apples, one organic and one not, I found that both tasted just as apple-y and the organic apple still had plenty of appeal despite its lack of artificial shine. Although purchasing organic food is more expensive, I was able to justify the higher prices. It is important to know exactly what is fueling your body and how and why the food is modified as well as the effect it will have on you.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Organic Mac and Cheese

99¢—14.5 OZ

$1.49—6 OZ

vs. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

Organic Corn Flakes

$2.00—12 OZ

Fritos Corn Chips

75¢—9.25 OZ

$2.49—12 OZ


Organic Corn Chips

$1.99—9.75 OZ



issue 5



“I wanted something new and different to try.” —senior

Emma Nilsson


22 Prizes: 1st: $250 2nd: $150 3rd: $100 Prices: SAC Card: $10 Regular: $12 At the door: $15

Reaching new heights Emma Nilsson



Sharing its roots with gymnastics and circus performances, aerial artistry is a style of modern dance that requires strength, flexibility and poise. It captivates those who take up the unique art or have the opportunity to watch it, as it did for senior Emma Nilsson. For over five years, Nilsson has been training in the aerial arts. “I became interested in aerial because I wanted something new and different to try,” she said. “I was a competitive cheerleader and a gymnast when I was younger, but I was bored with it.” Despite having years of experience, this is her first year auditioning for the talent show. “I’ve never really done a performance in school, only outside of school, so I’m excited,” Nilsson said. Nilsson attends a dance studio called Talent Lab in Westlake that offers an aerial program. “You get to do many interesting things and there’s always something new to learn,” she said. “By no means is it easy, but the work is so worth it.” In this type of dance, various hanging apparatuses are used, such as hoops, trapezes, silks and hammocks. Nilsson’s performance involves a hammock. For her audition, she presented video clips of her class work and was able to collaborate with them to decide the details of her act. “Since I’m doing a solo, I can choreograph the routine how I want it,” Nilsson said. “I [asked the directors] what they wanted to see because I wanted to know if they would prefer a slow or upbeat song, and they asked if I could use an upbeat song.” Now, Nilsson can’t imagine not practicing aerial. “I found aerial kind of by chance,” she said. “But it became something I’m truly passionate about and I put my all into.”

Wake up, school, violin, sleep, repeat. Sophomore Cassiel McEvoy practices on her violin for two to five hours every day. The talent show candidate placed third last year, but is returning to the stage with Wieniawski’s composition, “Scherzo Tarantella”. “This piece is really fast and challenging,” McEvoy said. “In the end, I feel really accomplished.” McEvoy has been playing for the last 12 years, but not without her doubts. Like many other young prodigies, McEvoy wanted to quit playing because of all the practice she would devote. “I realized how much I loved performing and how fun the instrument really is,” McEvoy said. “It changes how you feel about everything.” Most musicians would understand— learning how to play an instrument is not a skill that can be perfected overnight. “Once you get past the boring repetitive stuff, it changes how you feel about everything,” McEvoy said. Back in New Jersey where McEvoy grew up, she participated in her school’s competitive orchestra. “There I realized I had to step it up and work harder.” McEvoy said. Even when McEvoy isn’t practicing, her violin experience stays with her. Whether in school or at home, her music travels with her. “I understand so much more about music now.” McEvoy said. “Even just hearing songs on the radio, I understand all of the levels, and I like that.”

—Clarissa Kano

—Jessi Soporito

Return to the stage Cassiel McEvoy

The Mormon Muppets: They call themselves the Mormon Muppets. All attending the same church, the members of the octet are seniors Jocelyn Garcia, Lukas Richmond and Alyson Whitworth; sophomores Tommy Cooley, Abby Paris and Kara Whitworth and freshmen Anna Fauver and Camryn Garcia. “We are all excited because we have done this before, but only in a church setting, so it’s cool to show this to school people,” Kara said. Their act is a comedy show that incorporates music and dancing. To perform, one person is the head and operates the legs with their arms, while a second person sticks their arms through the back of the shirt. The result is very small, comical “muppets.”





Twelve students are perfecting their acts hoping to impress the judges in the upcoming talent show


Preparing for perfection:

The Yo-Yo Experience Sean Moran and Bennett McKay

It’s possibly the best show on earth, it’s The Yo-Yo Experience. Junior Sean Moran has returned to the talent show yet again for another try. Moran’s partner in the act, junior Bennett McKay, has been working with his yo-yo for about one year while Moran has about two and a half years of experience. “He saw me doing it and he thought it was really cool and he asked if I could teach him,” Moran said. The two have been collaborating together for a year but didn’t place in last year’s talent show. However, winning isn’t the major priority between the two. “I’m just there to have fun,” Moran said. Even after practicing more than an hour a night, Moran knows he needs more. He taught himself more advanced techniques from the Internet, and shows them off to his friends. “I work at a camp in San Diego and I’ll show [some tricks] off to the kids now and then,” Moran said. While not as prepared for the auditions as they had hoped, Moran and McKay have more in store for the actual performance. —Jessi Soporito

Tommy Cooley, Anna Fauver, Camryn Garcia, Jocelyn Garcia, Abby Paris, Lukas Richmond, Alyson Whitworth, Kara Whitworth

“There was a variety show at my church a year ago, and the director asked me to come up with ideas for entertainment,” Kara said. “So I was thinking, ‘What’s funny?’ I looked on You Tube and found this. It was hilarious, so we’ve done it a couple times now.” If the Mormon Muppets make it into the talent show, the combination of songs, dance movements and animated facial expressions are bound to have the audience in stitches. “I think that since we are different and it’s funny, we’ll get in,” Kara said. “Mr. [David] Sheridan was laughing really hard during the audition, so I think that we have a good chance.” —Clarissa Kano



february 13, 2014

Peach speaks for the teens of Y&G Senior Kenzy Peach was recently elected California YMCA Youth & Government’s Speaker of the Assembly on Jan. 20. She plans to bring passion to her position as master of the house. What is Youth & Government? A state-wide program run through the YMCA, Y&G gives 3,200 students a chance to experience a government position. The students involved meet three times a year in California’s State Capitol; their next meeting is the 66th Model Legislature and Court Conference in February.

TL: What or who got you interested in joining? KP: The program was recommended to me by a friend [who] thought it would be good for me because I’m super outspoken and I’m really passionate. I just started last year and then I decided that I wanted to run for Speaker of the Assembly and I won. TL: Why did you decide to run for that position? KP: Last year I was an assembly member and liked legislating in the California assembly chambers. It was an awesome experience. I thought “What more can I do for the program?” I watched our Speaker of the Assembly last year and she was really inspiring; I saw what she was doing and I wanted to be a bigger part of this

program. I wanted to get as much as I possibly could out of it. TL: What’s your role as Speaker? KP: The Speaker of the Assembly does basically what Speaker of the House would do on a national level of government. They’re running debates, putting bills on the docket and they’re the masters of the House. TL: When is the big conference? KP: This year the 66th Model Legislature & Court Conference is from Feb. 13–17 in the State Capitol building. Our youth governor sits in Jerry Brown’s office as he does his job. We carry out the exact tasks of the legislature and have committees and different roles. It’s a week in February where teenagers take over the California state government. TL: What is something impressive or unique the group has done? KP: One time we actually had a bill passed into legislation. It was about bicycle helmets; a student wrote the bill and brought it to the floor of the Senate. It got through the Senate, came to the assembly and was passed. Then it was put on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown and he approved it. It’s now part of California law.

Kenzy peach » With permission

Speaking out—Senior Kenzy Peach addresses Youth & Government members telling them about her campaign, politics and platform before being elected.

TL: Are you interested in having a real government job? KP: Yes, I want to major in musical theater and political science in college. Before this program I would never have thought being a politician as something I would want to do, but now that I’ve been in it and gone through the process of running for a position, I’m passionate about politics and government. I would love to be anything from a Senator to the first female president.

TL: What do you love most about the program? KP: Honestly, the people. It’s inspiring to see teenagers from a generation that people criticize as being apathetic come together, try to enact change, stand up for what they believe in and be outspoken and passionate. It destroys that stereotype of apathy in teenagers. There is no other opportunity to meet as many intelligent, caring, passionate, hilarious teenagers than in that program. I love everyone who I’ve met and it gives me hope in our generations to come. TL: What have you gained from the experience? KP: It’s made me more willing to stand up for what I believe in and has opened my eyes to this whole side of myself that I never really knew existed. I’m interested in activism and politics. I really care about what’s going on in our government and about what’s going on in our society. It’s made me more confident and more passionate—more everything that I would hope to be. TL: What do you hope to take away this year from the program? KP: I hope that I can keep with me the things that I currently feel for the program. I’m inspired to speak. I really have that passion and drive to go get things done and make a difference within the program. I really hope to take that sense of passion for every single thing that I do and I hope to keep with me the motivation to make a difference wherever I am. Screech for Peach—Senior Kenzy Peach handed out numerous campaign buttons to Youth & Government participants. The buttons played on her last name, using lines such as “can’t can this peach.”

Dancing through life Sam Kallen

Staff Writer

For sophomore Taylor Thomas, dancing has always been something she loved, whether it was alone in her room or on a stage, and last weekend, she finally got the chance to show her skills. On Feb. 8, at Westlake High School, Thomas competed in the Large Hip-Hop category at the West Coast Elite dance competition. “It was my first time competing,” Thomas said, “so it’s very exciting.” Though Thomas had enjoyed dancing for a long time, she only considered joining a group when she was in the sixth grade. “I always loved dancing in my room,” Thomas said. “I thought I should go to a studio, so I did and I started dancing there.” Thomas has been dancing on a team since then and is now on the JV hip-hop team. She joined the TOHS dance program in her freshman year, which helped her

skill level improve. “The T.O. program has made me stronger,” Thomas said. “It helped with my technique, and made me more confident in my dancing.” Currently, she wishes to progress further in the program, but is restricted by her current involvement with ASB. In the end, the competition was a huge success for both Thomas and TOHS—her team won sixth place out of many other varsity teams, and TOHS was the first place Grand Champion. “It feels really great to be a part of such an amazing and hard-working program,” Thomas said. Her team has one more competition before it begins to work on the spring concert piece. Though she does not intend to pursue a career in dance, Thomas has always had a passion for the art and loves everything that comes with it. “Dancing is just one of my hobbies,” she said. “It is a great way to meet new friends.”

gia krietzberg » With permission

Center Stage—Sophomore Taylor Thomas poses as others explode away. As a dancer, she must show exaggerated facial expressions to relay her emotions.


issue 5

Claudia Prada

Publishing the future The newest teacher on campus brings art and technology to make her classes interactive and interesting to the students enrolled. AMBER SUTHERLAND


PASSION FOR PAINTING—(Above) Prada is at Casa Rosada in Argentina, a government building that’s equivalent to the White House. (Right) In addition to teaching, Prada also produces many paintings. Her oil canvas, “El beso,” which means “the kiss” in Spanish, is one of Prada’s works from 2004.

Features Editor

After locking her new classroom, J5, French and Spanish teacher Claudia Prada rushes to El Camino College where she teaches a Spanish 1 class. When she’s not teaching, she’s producing and selling her own artwork, publishing children’s books and textbooks and creating video games in multiple languages. “I like the flexibility of teaching and knowing that I am making a difference in the students’ lives by helping them achieve fluency,” Prada said. A high school foreign language teacher, however, was not what she originally had planned to have as a career. When she was a high school student, Prada had aspired to become an artist, despite her father’s disapproval. “Once I was in college, I realized most of the jobs were for designers, which I was very upset about,” she said. Instead of going into design, Prada decided to get her Masters in Fine Arts and Film Animation, along with her undergraduate degree in political science and television. Regardless of this “setback,” Prada began selling her oil paintings. Her art has been displayed in several exhibits and she has even sold multiple pieces.


“Since my dad didn’t let me study art, I decided to study political science,” she said. “I wanted to be like a diplomat and I thought French was the main language of diplomacy.” Despite Prada learning French, she did not become a diplomat. Her father’s job as a foreign ambassador hindered her early education because of the different languages at each new school she attended. Prada attended 14 elementary schools and repeated second grade three times in three different countries. “It was hard, which is why I decided not to be a diplomat because they move every two years,” she said. “I didn’t want to reproduce my childhood.” Living in multiple countries enabled Prada to learn various languages and discover a love for traveling and different cultures. In order to appeal to her younger language learners, Prada created video games and other online interactive games in a multitude of languages. “I love languages and producing my own products,” she said. As a result of her love for educational material, Prada decided to become a teacher. For the past 12 years she has taught at colleges and for the past six years, at high schools as well. “The difference between teaching college and high school is that the students are more committed in college because they know what they want to do with their own future,” she said. “Here, most students are still figuring out what they want to do.” Through hands-on activities and technology that require the student’s participation, Prada hopes to gain the interest of her students and keep it throughout the class period. “Learning a foreign language is especially important,” she said, “because it will benefit many students in their future professions.” “Teacher Feature” is a recurring feature.

“I like the flexibility of teaching and knowing that I am making a difference in the students’ lives by helping them achieve fluency.” —language teacher Claudia Prada

To see more of Prada’s work:

Education publications

Art publications

Priya Allen

Finding peace in India ALI KOPLAN

Features Editor

At the age of six, junior Priya Allen began the first grade like any other student, except there was a 7,000 mile distance between her and her parents. She began her education at Dharamshala School, located in the Himalaya Mountains. “It’s a really good school,” Allen said. “My brother went for there for six years and he really loved it.” Children from all over the world attend the school where Allen shared a dorm with 11 other girls from South America, France, Switzerland and other European countries. Allen is still in touch with the friends she made while attending Dharamshala. “I have an option of getting in contact with them and having a place to stay when I travel,” Allen said. Once she completed first grade Allen returned home to America and began the second grade at Conejo Elementary School. “I really wanted to go back to Dharamshala School,

but it was really expensive,” Allen said. In addition to academics, the school places an emphasis on the arts and students were encouraged to practice meditation, which is currently practiced regularly by Allen and her family. “Meditation is a relaxing way to not get caught up in the materialistic ideals we have in society today,” Allen said. Allen received the opportunity to share her method of relaxation as she toured across America with friends to give free meditation lessons during the summers of 2011 and 2012. On the tour Allen visited many states, countless schools and Boys & Girls Clubs. “It was a blissful experience,” Allen said. “I was able to be with people who were genuine and practiced meditation. We all had been to [Dharamshala] at some point and were bonded by our familiar experiences.” PRIYA ALLEN » WITH PERMISSION

“Every Lancer Has a Story” is a recurring feature on a randomly selected student.

BLISSFUL PEACE—(Center) Junior Priya Allen smiles with friends in an Indian village near Dharamshala School where Allen attended first grade.

february 13, 2014


The after prom party is a follow-up event to the junior and senior prom. Starting at midnight, the party will be held in a movie theater and include current movies, unlimited popcorn and soft drinks, fortune teller, hypnotist show, DJ, casino tables with dealers, catered food and candy buffet, games, prizes, raffles, photo booth, temporary tattoos/body art, and more.

1ST ANNUAL TOHS COMMUNITY PARKING LOT SALE TOHS will be hosting its first ever Rose Bowl Style Parking Lot Sale

Saturday, February 22, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to earn some money?

You are invited to reserve a space for $25. Hold your own garage sale! Clean out your closet! Clean out your parents’ closets! Clean out the garage! Old sports equipment, toys, DVDs, books, handcrafted items. Sell it all! Make money! Share a space with a friend!







-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Name ______________________________________________________ Email ___________________________________________________ Phone number _____________________________ Number of spaces ___________________________________________________

Types of items being sold ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Submit information and payment of $25 per space (cash or check to TOHS PTSA, memo: APP) Deliver to the TOHS Activities Office by Wednesday, February 19th. For details or email THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, HOWEVER YOU CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE!


issue 5

Treading through fresh water SCOTT PRICE

Sports Editor

She may not be the tallest player on the team, and she may not have the most goals, but freshman attacker Dara Bleiberg has assisted in propelling the varsity girls water polo from a 2–10 record to a Marmonte League contender and a CIF playoff-bound team. Having only played one season in Lancer green, Bleiberg has already broken the program’s single season assist record with 85 assists, in contrast to the former record of 50 set by Stevie Blanchard in 2004 during her senior season. Blanchard, Newbury Park’s JV coach, was Bleiberg’s first water polo coach five years ago. “I think it’s pretty cool, but if it weren’t for my teammates finishing off [them], it wouldn’t have happened,” Bleiberg said. Although Bleiberg does have a very talented array of teammates to assist to, the 5-foot-3-inch attacker’s style resembles a point guard in the way that she makes plays happen. “Dara’s biggest strength in the pool is her sight of the game. She sees plays one step ahead and acts fast,” varsity assistant coach Dejan Novakovic said. “[It’s] a big reason to why she has already broken the career assists record.” Despite being new to the school and team, Bleiberg credits the more experienced players for welcoming her and the other freshmen in with open arms. “During the

summer we all got to know each other,” she said. With her freshman season in league competition coming to a close today at Westlake, Bleiberg and her team, consisting of nine returners, are looking to the CIF playoffs and their future seasons and fill with incredible plays and moments. “Next season we’ll come back with the same goals to go to CIF and we want to beat Agoura and Royal,” Bleiberg said. “And we just want to keep growing as a team.” Although Bleiberg’s success has reached monumental heights this season, she still feels that she can improve her game in the offseason. “I’m going to work on my shooting and being more crafty [with the ball] when I play,” Bleiberg said. As Bleiberg matures, the Lancers hope for her to become a goal-scorer. “[I want] to get her more involved in attacking openings. Although her assist numbers are great, I’d like to see her shooting the ball and creating openings for herself more often,” Novakovic said. “However, I do love athletes who are giving with the ball.” An intelligent player in the pool, Bleiberg is also carrying a 4.0 GPA coming out of her first semester. Bleiberg would like to compete at the collegiate level for either Princeton or Harvard. With the skill that Bleiberg has displayed in her freshman season, she has excited coaches and teammates alike. “Dara has a ton of potential. Her everyday hard work and dedication to the team and the sport is going to take her a long way,” Novakovic said. “[I think she is] definitely a collegiate athlete, and will help any team she’s on as soon as she gets in the water with them.” With three years left for Bleiberg to stand out, expect to see the creation of a new record book and a sensational athlete.


RISE AND FIRE—(Above) Freshman attacker Dara Bleiberg throws a pass in a recent game against Newbury Park. (Left) Bleiberg broke the TOHS single season assist record held by current Newbury Park coach [left] Stevie Blanchard.


Striving for future success It was not the season that varsity girls basketball planned on having, but now the team can look forward to the seasons to come. DANE SWANSON

Sports Editor

Sometimes sports aren’t about who can jump the highest or who can run the fastest. Sometimes sports are about the factors not on the stats sheet. And this year’s girls basketball team had issues with this early in the season. “We really struggled transitioning from defense to offense and setting up our offense once we got down the court,” senior guard Audrey Stueckle said.


One reason for the team’s issues was their lack of a true point guard and instead relying on natural shooting guards. This is in part due to the fact that only three players returned from last year’s senior-heavy squad. “There was a steep learning curve with this year’s team,” Stueckle said. “I think that really affected us in a big way early in the season.” This year’s team is a very young squad that includes three freshman and two sophomores on varsity. Also, out of the juniors on varsity, only two of them have


previous varsity experience. Overall, the team has shown that it has the talent to succeed with players such as powerful junior center Alexa Coubal, who is averaging close to a double-double with 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. In addition, freshman guard Jenny Kent has stepped up for the Lancers this season, especially in the last six games, filling in for injured starting shooting guard Coral Suarez who went down in late December with a torn ACL that ended her season. “We knew there were going to be big shoes to fill from last year’s team,” Kent said, “but we accepted the challenge and worked hard to contribute to the team the best we could.” The team’s future does look bright as they return nine players from this year’s varsity team. They will also add players from junior varsity, which is a league championship contender. The team will wrap up its season today at first place Newbury Park at 6 p.m.




“There was a steep learning curve with this year’s team. I think that really affected us early in the season.” —senior guard Audrey Stueckle


B Basketball





4th place

G Basketball





5th place

B Soccer





7th place

G Soccer





5th place

G Water Polo





4th place






2nd place


february 13, 2014

Photos » Ben Mueller Leclerc » THE LANCER

Girls soccer enjoys breakout season ALLISON MEDLEY

Staff Writer

After a promising start to the season, girls soccer has continued with its success and is now finishing fifth in league. The team’s season started out with a remarkable comeback from last year’s results of 3–13–1. So far, varsity’s league record stands at 5–6–2, adding to the overall record of 8–6–3, and putting the team in the top five in the League, with one game left to go. “This season, we came out and surprised everyone, including ourselves,” senior defender Laura Arjon said. “I am proud of my team and glad to end my last season on a great note.” The program’s new head coach Mike Braico brought plenty of new strategies and ideas that the players used

throughout the entire season. With this, varsity worked on several defensive and offensive structures and formations, which gave the team many victories and a new perspective on the game. Throughout league, the team has learned to take its mistakes and losses and treat them as opportunities to learn from. In varsity’s first game against Westlake at the beginning of league, the team was intimidated by the challenging opponent, which resulted with a loss of 0–2. After reviewing the previous game and working on past mistakes throughout the following weeks, varsity was able to make a comeback against Westlake, with a 0–0 tie, at home. “We have all become closer and have changed our

attitudes in a more positive way,” junior midfielder Alex Vonarb said. “We went from accepting losing, to hating it.” The team also became very close to one another throughout the season. “It really made a difference being close on and off the field,” Vonarb said. Varsity’s close relationship has made an impact on everyone by motivating the players not to play individually, but as a team. “Overall I could not be happier with my team fighting so hard,” Arjon said. “I am glad our 13 seniors are leaving the team in a spot that we worked so hard to achieve [over our four years here].” Their final league game is today at Newbury Park.

Boys soccer struggles and looks ahead to next season Andrew Chau

Ben Mueller Leclerc » THE LANCER

Gearing up—Senior Griffen Lee dribbles away from a Simi Valley defender in a recent game. The Lancers drew a tie giving them a league record of 2–10–1.

Staff Writer

After several years of success, boys varsity soccer has lost its edge. The team is currently eighth place in league, with two wins, ten losses and one tie. “It’s been a tough season,” senior outside midfielder Connor Bell said. “But we have been working hard each and every game that we have played.” They have spent hours practicing and improving, strengthening weak points of the team and further developing strong ones. Despite all their hard work, however, it was not enough to bring them to the Marmonte League title this year. “We could have played better quality-wise,” senior center midfielder Noah Chow said, “but we tried and gave our best effort.” Just because the team has not done very well in league doesn’t mean that it has been for nothing. To many of the players, the joy in playing comes not nec-

Flying to the Finish line—(Left) Sophomore Ana Cordoba slides as she tries to regain possession of the ball. (Right) Sophomore Lily Courts tries to take the ball from her Calabasas opponent. The Lancers prevailed over the Coyotes with a 3–1 victory.

essarily from winning, but also from the close relationships that they have made throughout season. “It’s frustrating that we haven’t gotten the results that we wanted,” Bell said. “But in the end, it’s all about being together as a team and enjoying playing with one another.” Throughout the season, the team members have become very close to one other. They are all friends, and spend time with one other outside of practice. “Our chemistry within the team has grown, on and off the field,” Bell said. “They’re a great group of guys that are always fun to be with.” Despite this, the season has still been somewhat of a disappointment to the team. It has had few victories, and only one tie this league. “We have had a tough season this year, and it has been better in previous years,” Bell said. Although the team will be losing seniors next year, it is still confident that new players will join to create a successful team. “I wish them the best and hope they can do great things next season,” Bell said. The team is expecting to have a more successful season than this one. It views the young team optimistically, and instead of focusing on the inevitable inexperience of the team, it looks at the idea of a new team that will be able to grow and develop for several years to come. Currently, however, before it can look to the its promising future ahead of it, the team is preparing to play against Newbury Park in its final league game at home tonight.


issue 5

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february 13, 2014

JV TEAMS DEVELOP FUTURE STARS Although often overlooked, junior varsity teams play a key role in preparing underclassmen athletes for the spotlight and pressure that comes with playing at the next level and beyond.

Boys go for two SCOTT PRICE

Sports Editor

They may not be on the court during the game and scoring all the points, but good teams are synonymous with good coaches. This is the case for the JV boys basketball team, which has clinched their second consecutive league championship, under Coach Kyle Kegley. “He is a very good coach,” junior shooting guard Ali Abdallat said, “He is very hard on us, but it has been worth it in the end.” Kegley, a member of the TOHS class of 2001, is the current record holder for all time career points and is second for the single season three point record, only to junior Matt Hauser. Although he is no longer playing on the court, Kegley has continued to make an impact on the sport. “If he weren’t [our] coach we would be nowhere near where we are now,” sophomore forward Amman Asfaw said. “I feel like he is coaching below the level his talent warrants.” In only his third year as the JV coach at TOHS, Kegley has won a league championship and has coached many players that have went on to excel at the varsity level, including sophomore Josh Hauser and Division 1 basketball player Kyle Frakes, who is receiving quality playing time at CSU East Bay. On top of all the Lancers’ success, they have greatly improved from their 5–9 league season. The Lancers will end their season tonight at home versus Newbury Park.






10–3 12–1 POINT FOR







Girls make it eight DANE SWANSON

Sports Editor

Sometimes a whole season, and a whole legacy, comes down to one game. That will be the case for the JV girls basketball team when they take on Newbury Park today for a league crown. “We have been working toward this game for a while,” junior forward Leah Schillo said. It has been another solid year for this JV team despite a change in coaching. Former coach Steve Devolites took over the varsity team and brought in new coach Bob Deemer. “A lot of us had already played for him at Redwood, so it wasn’t an overly difficult transition,” freshman guard Kelli White said. As if the coaching change weren’t enough cause for concern, this year’s starting lineup boasts three freshmen and two sophomores. There is a legacy created by past JV teams for this year’s squad: the Lancer teams have won the past eight league championships at the JV level with each team seemingly dominating in its own unique style of play. This year’s team has prided itself on its ability to play as one unit. “We play really well together,” Schillo said of her teammates. “I think it has helped that the team hasn’t changed since the summer.” It is rare for a season to come down to one game, but that is exactly what this season has come down to. One game for the championship. Played tonight at Newbury Park at 7:30.

JV wrestling dominates to win league title Although terms like dominant and unstoppable are thrown around too often, there is no other way of describing JV wrestling’s season. DANE SWANSON

MAX GILLIAM sophomore

Football —After leading his freshmen and JV teams to consecutive league championship games, the 6-foot1-inch quarterback will compete to be the starting quarterback on the varsity team next fall.

EMILY MELLOR sophomore

Soccer—In her second year on the JV team, the 2013 team MVP is now assisting with the rebuilding of girls soccer. This season, Mellor was voted team captain. She also competes at the club level for Conejo Valley United and for the TOHS Track team.

Sports Editor

To be a dynasty, a program needs to have consistent success over a number of years. No team has epitomized the term “dynasty” quite like the JV wrestling team. Even though it has to deal with the lack of a freshman team and a no-cut policy, it still—year in and year out—dominates Marmonte League competition on the mat. The team has won league for each of the past five seasons and has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down. It is incomprehensible how this team rolls through its competition. Over this league season the team conceded just 42 points over the seven-match season. Also, the squad’s total margin of victory was 375 points. Its closest match was a 17 point victory over Westlake. Its greatest victory was an 84–0 shutout, which they achieved twice this season. “Everyone works as a team,” junior Preston Block said. “They [the coaches] all work us to the best of our abilities.” One way that the team has perfected its craft both in the weight room and on the mat is by practicing with tenacity and efficiency, a formula that tends to lead to great improvement throughout the season.

AMMAN ASFAW sophomore


PLAYING THE ADVANTAGE—Freshman Simon Olivas fights to pin his teammate sophomore Thomas Handlesman in a recent practice, the team dominated the Marmonte league finishing the season 7–0. “We practiced hard with a lot of heart and effort,” Block said. Overall, like any junior varsity team, the main goal is to prepare the athletes to perform well on the varsity stage in the coming years. However, in wrestling, it is slightly different because a wrestler may spend up to three years on the JV team waiting for an opportunity to contribute with the varsity team in a match. There is also the matter of weight classes. On any

given match night, a wrestler may be asked to compete either up or down a weight class which can be a challenge especially when wrestling up a class and being outweighed by as much as 40 pounds. “The players who come back help out the freshmen players by teaching them the ropes,” Block said. All in all, the program’s success is evident by its depth and no program has a more successful lower level than Lancer wrestling.

Basketball— Along with leading the JV team to a League championship, the 6-foot-3 inch forward is averaging over eight points, three assists, and five rebounds a game. At the Valencia tournament, Asfaw brought home AllTournament honors and a championship.


issue 5

Leading pack THE

It wasn’t about promoting the high school, or about service hours. When middle schoolers from ASB programs around the district visited on Monday, Link Crew leaders sought to spark leadership creativity —and they succeeded.


UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL—(Above) Junior Link Crew Leader Katie Coulter helps a middle school participant pop a balloon between their bodies in the gym on Monday, Feb. 10. “It was a fun, competitive way of getting their energy up,” senior Kaitlin Hung said. “And they definitely needed it the rest of the day.” (Below) Middle schoolers participate in a game of Human Knot, in which they try to untangle themselves as a single unit on the tennis courts.


LEADERSHIP IN ACTION—(Above) Redwood Middle School ASB student Olivia Birg represents her school in a solo to Idina Menzel‘s “Let It Go” in the gym on Monday, Feb. 10. (Below) Senior Link Crew Leader Kaitlin Hung speaks to her group of middle schoolers on the tennis courts, facilitating a discussion on how to improve the leadership programs at their own middle schools.


“I went last year, but it was a completely different experience because I was surrounded by different people.” —Andrew Pettingill, 8th grader at Sequoia Middle School NIKITA SARMIENTO » THE LANCER

Issue 5 2014