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The matador



Alhambra campus damaged from fire, SG offers aid


The Alhambra High School A-building will be under repair for the rest of the school year. Cones, caution tapes, and fences have been put up in order to prevent students from entering the area. BY LEANE CHE

The school is helping Alhambra High School (AHS) after A-building caught fire on Jan. 2 at approximately 2:30 a.m. The fire started from a space heater that was left on under a desk in the Student Services Office, which led to fire, water, and smoke damage. The A-building will

be under repair for the rest of the year. AHS hosts Saturday School, but due to the fire, it has been relocated to San Gabriel High School’s (SGHS) Multipurpose Room (MPR). In addition, the SGHS College and Career Center is available for the parents while their children are at the MPR. “Saturday School is given to students in

the district by administration for different reasons,” Gateway to Success counselor Denise Fernandez said. “Sometimes the parents and students are split up, so the parents are given a different presentation.” AHS’s English teacher Kevin Tong was one of the teachers directly affected by the fire because his classroom was located

beneath the A-building. Jessica Wilkerson, SGHS English teacher and speech and debate coach, and her speech and debate team will be conducting a fundraiser to assist Tong. “I’ve known [Tong] for about eight years, so he’s a personal friend and a great colleague,” Wilkerson said. “He does so much for the school he coaches at as well as the community. It is just important to give back, and it was actually the students’ idea to create the fundraiser.” District officials found space on the AHS campus to relocate other classrooms and office operations. The A-building contained the Student Services offices, Health Office, Attendance Office, Welcome Center, and four upstairs classrooms. Although AHS’s College and Career Center was not directly affected, its operation and staff were relocated to the library. “It is limiting the students’ resources because in the Career Center, there’s a good lab, presentations, and a classroom,” College Education Technician Monica Marquez said. “If they need our help, we’ll go over there because all the Career Centers [in the district] are supervised by the same administrator.” AUSD Superintendent Denise R. Jaramillo credited district administrators and security for responding to and assessing the damage. Jaramillo also sent a message to the Alhambra Fire Department for its quick and efficient response and district Board Member Wing K. Ho for being on-scene and helping with a variety of post-incident decisions and planning.

SEI Newcomer Academy provides resources for English learners BY TIFFANY NGUYGEN

Spearheaded by English teachers Elizabeth Proud and Robert Huynh, the Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) Newcomer Academy initially stemmed from a similar program created by Mark Keppel High School Mandarin teacher Brendan Brown. The goal is to ensure that SEI students feel accepted and are offered guidance on how to deal with the hardships of moving to a new country. “We decided to collaborate and do something similar at San Gabriel,” Proud said. “The program was already approved at one site [in the district], so we were able to follow their lead.” The SEI Newcomer Academy will occur in 9-week cycles with a structured curriculum several times a year. The root of the program is Huynh and Proud being able to empathize with the SEI students’ difficulties of learning a new language. They hope that more students will join in the future and utilize the resources that the SEI Newcomer Academy provides. “I just imagine being a student and coming to a different country, not knowing anybody and not knowing the campus very well,” Huynh said. “I, personally, would feel lost and would like someone to reach out to me.” The target demographic was students from the SEI ½ course, but all students are welcome to join. With the support of Principal Debbie Stone and Amy Wu, Assistant Principal of Student and Employee Welfare, the program was ready to have its first session on Jan. 13.

Approximately 29 students and 6-8 parents of the SEI newcomers arrived—a turnout that pleasantly surprised Huynh. “Actually, some of the parents said that they wanted to stay, because they felt very welcomed in our first meeting,” Huynh said. “But the focus was not on the parents. In the future, I think that would be an important part as well as to involve the parents.” Specifically, the program will provide newcomers with guidance on where and how to gather information about classes, planning for college, joining clubs, and interacting with others in conversations to ensure their future success, regardless of the language barriers. “ We k n o w w h e n students are more involved in their school, they are more successful, motivated, and ultimately happier,” Proud said. “Whatever the needs are, we are hoping to create an avenue for them to come to us when they need some assistance.” Huynh and Proud have asked math teacher Stanley Li, the KareBear Club adviser, to arrange for student volunteers from the same club to come during the third week. They will help newcomers learn about a club on campus and introduce themselves to a potential friend. “I learn [a lot] of English and I can make more friends,” freshman Qihan Li said. “We often talk with friends and share [what makes us] happy.” Students interested can come to P-106 after school every Monday and Tuesday.

“I, personally, would feel lost and would like someone to reach out to me.”


Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) students listen attentatively as English teacher Robert Huynh lists the places that they can find help around campus on Jan. 21. In the future, they will be provided guidance on extracirriculars, the A-G requirements, and how to interact with others.

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Get Lit provides safe space for students




GFSF hosts video contest, rewards $100 gift card

The ninth annual Get Lit Campus Slam gave students a platform to share emotional experiences and personal thoughts through spoken-word poetry. Twenty-four poets performed both a classic poem and an original response poem at the event on Jan. 16 in the Multi-Purpose Room. The top three poets of the campus slam, in order from first to third, were senior Mehran Alam, junior Ashley Fung, and sophomore Michelle Wu. “Poetry is something I need to do,” Alam said. “It helps me through dark times and offers me ways to speak my voice. Not only has it unlocked my confidence, but it has also given me opportunities to share my story and thoughts with other people.” Alam recited “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, a poem about dealing with racial discrimination. He admired how the classic poem emphasizes “taking a stand and speaking the truth.” “My original poem speaks of the struggles in my life I faced growing up as a Muslim,” Alam said. “I’ve gone through lots of adversity and luckily found ways to speak my truth through poetry and finally making myself more vulnerable through writing.” Get Lit is known for being a space where poets can write about any topic, no matter how deep or sensitive. Sophomore poet Emily Zhang said that she was hesitant about performing her poem in front of others, because of the raw and unfiltered emotion it contained. “My original poem pours [out] my pent up anger about my struggles with weight,” Zhang said. “I connected my two poems through this fueling desire to


Get Focused Stay Focused (GFSF) is hosting a student video contest. Monthly prizes of $50 Amazon gift cards will be awarded between Nov. 15 and March 15. All winners will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. To enter, participants have to follow @getfocusedstayfocused on Facebook and/or @GFSFNonprofit on Twitter, create a video that shows how GFSF has impacted their personal journey, and tag @GFSFNonprofit and/or @ getfocusedstayfocused. For more details, consult the College and Career Center. #GFSFImpact videos will be showcased during the National GFSF Conference in March.

School adds Korean tacos to lunch menu BY IVY HO


Senior Mehran Alam takes first place at the Get Lit Campus Slam. “Poetry is important to me because it gives me such a big opportunity to release years of suffering from discrimination by simply using my voice,” Alam said. be something else and frustration in not feeling comfortable in one’s skin.” Outstanding poets from the campus slam were invited to claim a spot on the slam team, which currently includes senior Mehran Alam, juniors Emily Chen and

Ashely Fung, and sophomore Ashley Macias, with callback decisions and the alternates yet to be announced. The slam team will compete at the Classic Slam on April 23-25 in Downtown Los Angeles against over 50 other schools.

All Male breaks four-year competition hiatus at West Covina

The school recently received a new addition to the global food bar lunch menu, which aims to offer students diverse food choices from various cultures. The global food bar serves as an alternative to the cafeteria’s traditional lunch menu. Now, every Wednesday, Korean tacos will be served instead of ramen. However, the rest of the items on the global food bar menu will remain the same. The Nacho Bar will still be every Monday and Thursday whereas the Pho Bar will be every Tuesday and Friday.

BRAVO behavior lessons to begin on Mondays BY TAMMY VUONG


Al l Ma l e c o m p e t e d i n i t s f i r s t competition in four years at West Covina High School on Jan. 11. The team placed fourth overall in the hip-hop category with their winter rally routine. Since Sep. 25 2016, All Male has performed once at West Covina High School. However, the team returned with more members who were unfamiliar with competitions. “I was expecting to just go in with the mindset to try my best and do everything,” senior Levin Chang said. “I can do to make the performance better, but it’s a team effort overall.” Coming onto the stage, All Male performed to an unfamiliar audience, a group of experienced dancers, as opposed to the students that they normally perform in front of during pep rallies. “I felt better and had more energy to give off because the audience was giving off more energy than school rallies,” junior Bryan Bui said. “I feel like the difference between competition and school is that the students at school do not really respect us, and it’s different because at competition, everyone there [is a] dancer.” Senior captain Brian Pham said that the team practiced after school at Almansor Park for eight hours every day. Pham also hoped to familiarize other teams in competition with his team’s name. “I try to make it a fun environment,”

Second period teachers are now encouraged to spend 10 minutes at the beginning of class on Mondays to expand on BRAVO behaviors and expectations implemented by the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team. Through these mini-lessons, students will have a better understanding of how to demonstrate the expected behaviors at school, for example, using appropriate language at all times, to earn BRAVO cards. The PBIS team plans to begin BRAVO Mondays after the Expectations Assembly on Jan. 29.

Class registration order changes, juniors last


All Male poses for its ‘family photo formation’ during its routine at the winter pep rally. They performed the same routine at the West Covina High School competition and placed fourth. Pham said. “If I make practice demanding, it’s not that productive. Instead, we can have some bonding together during our little breaks; that way it is more productive.” After receiving the score and critiques from the judges, the team hopes to improve their formation spacings, facials, and routine. “Overall, it was just motivation to do better next time, having this mindset can get us a better scoring next time,” Pham said. “Our main goal was not to win but instead perform for the audience

and tell a story that people could relate to.” Pham said that the competition made him acknowledge that dancers do not gain the reputation and recognition that athletes get for being a “regular sport” or club. “This experience really [told] me that you really see the different personalities, the hard work, [and the] emotions that people put into their performances and how they portray it on stage,” Pham said. The team’s next competition is this Saturday at Glen A. Wilson High School.


The class registration order for students to meet with their counselors changed for the 2020-21 school year. The new order goes as follows: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th. “We need to properly place students into summer school and classes for next year to ensure they meet both graduation requirements and their college admission goals,” counselor Devin Vergo said. Vergo said that the order in which they see students has no effect on whether or not they get their first choice classes because schedules are organized through PowerSchool, not the counselors.

To read the full articles, visit www.thematadorsghs.us.



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“Pha”n of running



Humor holds students back from maturity Sally Pham Hurdling over obstacles


s a freshman on the school’s track team, I was praised for the speed and agility I executed over the hurdles. I impressed my coaches and teammates with the medals I received from various invitationals. If there was one thing that I was certain of during that time, it was that I would never taste the bitterness of defeat. However, the transition from frosh/ soph to varsity in my sophomore year was much harsher than I anticipated. Not being able to place in meets was devastating for a former self-declared hurdle prodigy. My inflated confidence gradually turned into acceptance— acceptance that no matter how hard I ran, I would never be good enough to compete against actual varsity runners. I came to the realization that, despite my few strengths, my technique was sloppy, and the build of my body was far from expected of a successful hurdler. Even though I worked hard, I was unable to close the gap between my opponents and me. The distance covered by their strides was astronomical compared to mine, and the length of their legs made going over the hurdles seem effortless. The competition that I once anticipated became an overwhelming pressure that I struggled to overcome. By the end of my sophomore year, my losses outweighed my wins, and I ended the season without breaking my personal record. Since then, I have come to accept the fact that unless I resort to surgical procedures or genetic modifications, I will never fit the ideal body type for a hurdler—a strong, muscular body with a high percentage of fast-twitch fibers. My thin, lightly muscled body is not suitable for the explosive speeds necessary to achieve fast times. Regardless, I kept pushing to improve, striving to fine-tune every minuscule movement to the point of perfection, in the hopes of one day regaining the glory I achieved in my freshman year. On the track, I am known for being agile; my ability to hug the curves while sprinting surpasses everyone in my team, ultimately landing me to be my team’s 4x1 relay’s third leg. I suppose that it is because of my small frame and light muscles, the attributes that are supposed to be considered weaknesses, that I can make my body appear lighter and move quicker than my peers whose bodies conform to the ideal runner standard. The confidence I gained from improving my times aided in recognition from my competitors, praise from my coaches, and, most importantly, respect from my teammates. As the track season progressed, I became more aware of what my body was capable of accomplishing. I steadily built up my speed and endurance and before long, I took home the title of Almont League Champion in the 300 meter hurdles, competed in CIF-SS Division 2 prelims, and received the varsity MVP plaque in my junior year.


midst the current world conflicts, teenagers on the Internet use dark comedy to present distressing subject matters in a humorous, but graphic, way. Regardless of the good laughs others get out of the jokes, the consistent use of dark comedy may spiral into bad habits, harmful messages, and negativity. In the age of technology, this consistent use of dark humor has become normal “Internet culture,” meaning teens around the world are learning that cracking inappropriate jokes at the wrong times is acceptable behavior. After relying so heavily on being comical during serious times, teens will have nothing to fall back on when they need to take things seriously in the future. Moreover, if teens continue to receive praise in the form of laughter and retweets, they will slip into the habit of making jokes out of everything. Teens also often exaggerate the satire

of their humor in order to be comical. For instance, with the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general, came many jokes about the start of World War III. Blindly, young adults may believe what is being falsely presented by jokersters on the Internet. Furthermore, others may add their own jokes to the pool based on the false information they learned from misinformed individuals. In turn, the factual content of humor would continue to decline. With the power of technology, a simple joke may eventually evolve into propaganda that spreads around the world. Other types of dark humor may include self-deprecating jokes, in which teens nonchalantly wish to be dead or joke about mental illnesses. Whether they intend to be figurative or not, normalizing this behavior creates an unhealthy atmosphere and may promote fatalistic tendencies among others. In addition, making depressing

humor the norm causes teens to think pessimistically when it comes to hardship; their automatic response to a slight inconvenience is often to crave death, rather than to see the ways to overcome it. Others may argue that humor is healthy by bringing levity to situations, causing people to be less stressed during times of struggle. Although this is true, there is an extent to what is healthy and what is not. Today’s Internet culture is becoming increasingly dark with jokes that are inappropriate rather than lighthearted. In this case, dark humor does more harm than good. In times of distress, the world needs some jokes. To avoid going overboard, teens should enlighten themselves on heavy topics so that they can learn to be cautious about their jokes and consider the potential damage their words may have. This way, less negativity and false information will circulate online.

Hazards of casual existential suffering BY WINNEFER WU

Military hogs funding for education BY BRANDON TRAN


ne of the most significant cornerstones of society is education. It is essential for people to be well educated in order to make well-informed decisions and allows societies to develop. However, schools do not always receive the funding they need due to budget cuts. Despite this, the United States (U.S.) spent nearly $1 trillion on the military in 2019 and plans to do so again this year, according to “The Balance.” This is a massive sum of money that should be directed to improve the education system, rather than the military. In 2020, the federal government plans to spend $126 billion on education, a mere fraction of the amount it spends on defense. Without adequate funding, schools are forced to cut costs at the expense of education, leading to lower quality resources and class materials, larger class sizes, and fewer extracurricular opportunities. This can cause students to be less prepared for higher education and their careers. It is essential for schools to receive enough money to provide students with the programs and education necessary to succeed in life and grow into well-adjusted adults.

Meanwhile, there is a large amount of wasteful spending on the military that can be cut. For instance, the Pentagon found that $125 billion, about 23% of the total budget, was spent on unneeded administrative positions in 2016 and attempted to conceal the study to prevent budget cuts. All of this waste alone would nearly be equal to the entire education budget this year. This is just one instance of how the government could

be utilizing money much more efficiently to aid the population rather than in foreign affairs. On the other hand, opponents may argue that the U.S. needs to spend this money on the military in order to defend the country. However, this is not what most of the money is actually being spent on. Instead, much of the funding is funneled towards wars that have little to do with

national security since the country does not pose an active threat to the U.S. and have not been effective at accomplishing any of their goals. While terrorist organizations are still prevalent in those areas, the U.S. is not capable of defeating them and often worsens conditions instead. For instance, the Afghanistan War cost $2 trillion so far and has lasted since 2001. However, documents of interviews from several generals involved in the war released by the Washington Post have labeled it as a failure. This is an extreme waste of resources that can and should be used to improve the lives of citizens. The government should focus on financing education instead. According to the Center for American Progress, a public policy research organization, increased spending on education leads to better outcomes for students, especially for lowincome schools, in regards to graduation rates, higher test scores, and other metrics. Thus, there are proven benefits to increasing funding to schools, so it should be a greater priority. The federal budget should be used for services that would aid people directly, especially towards education, as students today will define the future of the country. ILLUSTRATION BY MELODY ZHANG


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Sticking to resolutions brings satisfaction BY ANDREW LAM


s 2020 kicks off, many people reflect upon 2019 to make their new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, the purpose of these resolutions is defeated because most of the habits will typically be abandoned in a month. New year’s resolutions should be made with an intention to follow through for a rewarding sense of self-improvement. When a resolution is completed, it comes with a feeling of success for sticking with it for the entire year. Conversely, when a resolution is broken, the possibility of feeling disappointment or shame can arise, which may eventually develop into pessimism that one cannot adopt new habits or achieve set goals. In turn, this loss of confidence means that other new year’s resolutions will be harder to stick with. In addition to causing disappointment in oneself, failing to complete new year’s resolutions means abandoning positive

habits. By setting goals to follow in the first place, one acknowledges that there are poor habits that need to be changed. If they

are not changed, one may go back to these bad habits. Some resolutions are made to fix habits that are long-held, meaning that resolving them would foster an even greater feeling of accomplishment.

The real reason why it seems impossible to follow through with a new habit is that the goal was not set wisely in the first place. Goals should be made with the intention of being specific and realistic to have the best chance of accomplishing. For example, setting a resolution for going to the gym is too vague. Rather, the number of times to visit the gym per week should be considered. Specificity allows the goal to feel more manageable. But, it should not feel just manageable but something that can realistically be accomplished. For example, if going to the gym two times a week seems like a slight challenge, then the goal should be lowered to once a week. People are given the opportunity to evaluate their past year and acknowledge any areas of growth. By setting resolutions that are specific and realistic, individuals enter the new year with a greater chance of improvement. ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW LAM

Functioning democracy requires civic engagement BY IVY HO


ivic engagement, defined as cultivating positive change through actions addressing public concern, is essential in maintaining democracy. However, it is often overlooked in schools, which resultantly causes youth to stray from being involved in improving their communities. At a time where citizens are divided over the issues society faces today, youth should be brought into democracy as early as possible, so they can potentially grow up to be agents of positive change in their communities. Young people tend to exclude themselves from participating in the systems that shape their lives, claiming that they lack the ability to create change until they reach adulthood.

When people fail to recognize their potential to hold leaders and institutions accountable for unjust actions, governments will continue to

be unresponsive and disappointing. Enabling youth to remain passive instead of teaching them civic engagement in schools will result in them continuing to be uninvolved as

grown adults. The biggest misconception with civic engagement is that it is merely voting when, in reality, there are many other forms, such as political activism, environmentalism, and community and national service. Although there are fewer opportunities for minors to take part in certain civic engagement activities, young people must realize they can create opportunities for themselves by volunteering, organizing park cleanups, or simply planting trees in their communities. Youth civic engagement activities and programs are important in empowering young people to develop their unique skills and talents as citizens and eventually leads them to become informed and active adults. ILLUSTRATION BY WINNEFER WU

THE MATADOR Editors-in-Chief, Print

Lauren Ballesteros

Editor-in-Chief, Digital

Kimberly Quiocho

Managing Editor News Editors

Opinions Editors Focus Editors Life and Art Editors Sports Editor

Features Editors Copy Editors Photo/Video Editors Graphics Editor

Business Managers Media Managers Reporters


Elsie Wang

The Matador Bullring

Should students use humor in serious situations?

Katie Phan

Wally Lan

Melody Zhang Aaron Lu

Sally Pham

Chelsea Nguyen Zhou Ye Xin

Ivy Ho

Ken Yu

Eric Mai

Andrew Lam Qilin Li

Amanda Lerma Brandon Tran Tanvi Mai

Megan Tieu

Wendy Chau

Tammy Vuong

Mytam Le

Tiffany Nguygen

Lily Cam

Leane Che Irene Yue

Hanna Jalawan

The Matador is published monthly by the journalism class of San Gabriel High School. 1,000 copies per issue are published at CA WEB PRINT Inc. The Matador is a public forum for student expression and highly encourages responses in reaction to issues discussed in the paper. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, not the faculty or administration. Articles without bylines are the opinion

-Quyen Vo, 9th grade

Humor should be used in certain situations because it lightens up the mood. It can help people who are down forget about the severity of the situation.” -David Hernandez, 10th grade

Winnefer Wu

Jokes shouldn’t be made in serious situations because people might not take it as a joke. We all have a different sense of humor.”

Humor is acceptable in certain circumstances because some people don’t know how to cope with serious situations so they use humor to express [how] they feel.” -April Sotelo, 11th grade

Students should use humor in serious situations because it will make them feel better. Humor can make a serious situation more light-hearted.” -Phu Troung, 12th grade

of the staff. Submit comments as a letter to the editor, signed (anonymity is guaranteed if requested), to H-2, or Ms. Jalawan’s mailbox.




“Melod”ramatic fall

Melody Zhang A joint effort


he first time my kneecap dislocated was when I was playing soccer in seventh grade. The grass wasn’t particularly wet, there were no small dips in the ground, but the person I was about to run into triggered the brakes on my feet. The uneven distribution of weight on my right knee and sudden pain, accompanied by the cracking sound of the cartilage and tendons slipping out of place, and the sudden loss of sensation below my knee as I fell down, would be something I could never forget. Recovering didn’t seem difficult, and in a few months’ time, I thought I could walk without crutches and run just fine again. Almost. It was hard to ignore how my kneecap would wobble and threaten to pop out of place, how I would easily lose my balance and stumble. It was worrisome, but I decided not to get it checked because I thought it would get better with enough time. Troubling my parents any further was the last thing I wanted to do, and my pride refused to admit that anything was wrong, which cost me. When it dislocated the second, third, and fourth time, I grew more afraid of doing anything that could cause it again. Running, swimming, even going up the stairs seemed to pose a risk to the weakened ligaments that held one singular joint in my body. New pairs of crutches joined the first. Physical education seemed to be a death trap, and the knee brace acted as my sole guarantee of safety. Often, I would be reminded of the injury when dull pain pulsed throughout my knee. The feelings of guilt and embarrassment reared its head whenever I had to be wheeled into a hospital, acutely aware of how I was making my parents and friends worry. It was easy to act as if I was already back to normal and make jokes in poor taste, but I often privately worried about my knee. Even though physicians and doctors advised me, I did a disservice to myself by not partaking in more physical therapy and exercises on my own time, which could have easily prevented the dislocation from happening so frequently. It sounds silly, irresponsible even, but grades and extracurricular held priority over my own health. The threat of early-onset arthritis is real now, and surgery was recommended to me. But I want to think positively. My dream is to be able to work in other countries while travelling extensively, but it will be difficult to do things I’ve taken for granted, such as walking for several hours, with a busted, weak knee. My repeated injuries have forced me to come to the reality that I’ll only ever have one body. Something like my goals will always change, but they’ll always be there for me to pursue anytime. Until then, I need to learn to stand on my own two feet again.




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SIGNIFICANCE OF SUCCESSFUL SLUMBER Sleep is a growing field of study and as researchers uncover more mysteries about the purpose and usefulness of sleep, a connection between adequate sleep and success grows clear. A healthy adult needs around seven hours of sleep, while a teenager needs eight hours of sleep. People who are generally thought to be successful have sleep habits that reflect this ideal range. For example, Bill Gates said he used to lack adequate sleep but now realizes that, “I wasn’t as sharp when I was operating mostly on caffeine and adrenaline.” A sufficient amount of sleep can help keep the immune system running normally. During sleep, special proteins are released that can help fend off an infection, but sleep deprivation causes a decrease in the production of these proteins. In addition to becoming more


truggling to process information, junior Nathan On once again found himself studying instead of sleeping at 2 a.m. He found it difficult to focus as his mind slipped in and out of consciousness, while his eyes strained to read the textbook in front of him. It was late, but he was determined to overcome the mountain of history notes before calling it a night. After taking a sip of carbonated water to jolt his body awake, On picked up his pen to jot down more facts about colonial America. Unlike freshman and sophomore year, On went into junior year tackling several Advanced Placement classes. The sharp increase in schoolwork alongside his busy personal life and procrastination forced him to sacrifice sleep time. As a result, On developed a sleep schedule he described as “all over the place.” “Before I went to high school, I was sleeping a lot,” On said. “I did not have many responsibilities. I was able to sleep every day at a good time—8 or 9. But then, I went into high school freshman year—classes got harder and I had to start sleeping less. It was really hard for me to cope with this new idea of sleeping later because in all of my classes, homework, [and tests were] piling up.” Although On does not regularly pull allnighters, he still lacks a sufficient amount of

sleep each night. He struggles to recuperate from the impact and relies on weekends to recover his sleep debt. “I already don’t get enough sleep as is,” On said. “Pulling all-nighters adds salt to the wound. Usually, I procrastinate which leads to me sleeping less. I wish I could maybe contribute a portion of every day to study for my classes, so I don’t have to cram it all in one day.” Prior to his junior year, On was regularly involved in sports such as volleyball and worked out consistently, which improved his quality of sleep and energy during the day. However, as his schedule became more rigorous, his quality of sleep worsened. To stay afloat—and awake—he was forced to sacrifice his extracurriculars. “I would be tired throughout the day, especially during sixth period,” On said. “I was dead tired. I felt like the less I slept, the more I got worse as the years went on. Sometimes, I miss the minor details in class which lead me to not understanding class material such as formulas.” On plans to implement sports into his life again during his senior year. He hopes that he will be able to mend his sleep schedule in order to find the time to continue playing volleyball on the school team.

prone to infections, people who are not sleeping enough can also increase the amount of time needed to recover from being sick. In turn, this means more time away from working and being productive. Sleep deprivation can also affect a person’s ability to learn and recall previously learned information. The reason being that neurons are not given enough time to rest and therefore do not fire optimally. Additionally, a lack of sleep can also negatively change one’s mood, which can also affect learning and remembering. While some people may wear their lack of sleep like a badge proving success and productivity, this is hardly the case. In fact, these people just have the illusion of success because they are typically unable to properly assess the work they are doing. This eventually becomes an issue of valuing quantity over quality. Yes, by sleeping less one may be able to put in more work hours, but cumulative sleep deprivation causes them to be oblivious to all the mistakes they are making. The connection between sleep and success, although still being researched, is obviously present. So, if people can sleep an hour earlier they should take that opportunity; it might just make them more successful.

“If I am able to fix my sleep schedule and feel less sleep-deprived, I’ll have the time and energy to get back into sports which will allow me to create a better routine than I had before,” On said. Recognizing the importance of sleep and its impact o n h i s daily life, On realizes that his current sleep schedule should not be permanent. He plans to follow a more consistent sleep schedule. “In the second semester, with everything coming in, I have an ideal schedule for everything,” On said. “I want to get home at 4-ish and start my homework. I’ll then take a break to eat and finish my homework afterwards. Then, I’ll get to bed by 10:30 p.m. and get up at 6 a.m. The problem right now is I get easily distracted. I plan on listening to more music because then I’m able to focus on one task and not get distracted.” Having implemented these changes into his daily schedule, On is feeling optimistic in reaching his new goals.

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WAYS TO IMPROVE SLEEP Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in quality of life. However, many people suffer from sleep problems, unaware of methods that could improve their sleep. Instead of taking medications, undergoing a lifestyle change may do the trick. Getting in sync with the body’s sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important strategies for improving sleep. Keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule will help regulate the body’s internal clock and optimize quality of sleep. Thus, it is best to avoid sleeping in— even on weekends. The more varied a sleep schedule is, the higher chance the sleeper will experience jet lag-like symptoms. In addition, naps exceeding half an hour could lead to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. However, taking brief naps can reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and improve mood and cognitive performance. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. During the day, maximize exposure to sunlight, and, at night, avoid bright screens, which inhibit melatonin production. If screen use is inevitable, consider turning the brightness down or using light-altering software such as f.lux. People who exercise regularly sleep better at night

and feel less lethargic during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea, and it increases the amount of time that one spends in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. However, it can take several months before an individual can experience the full sleep-promoting effects. Lastly, the environment can be a major factor in quality of sleep. A bedroom should be designed to be comfortable and free from any noise and light. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, earplugs, white noise machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices to provide or enhance comfort. In addition, most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65°F) with adequate ventilation. If sleep issues continue, consult a physician. Recording patterns in a sleep diary prior to the appointment may also help in determining a diagnosis or solution. Consult a doctor if the continuation of sleep problems arises. Recording sleep in a sleep diary may help better evaluate common patterns or issues one may see with sleep or sleeping habits.



SLEEP DEPRIVATION, ASSOCIATION WITH MENTAL HEALTH Studies have shown that sleep deprivation, which is when one does not get the required amount of sleep, is both a cause and symptom of depression and anxiety. Out of 322 students surveyed on campus, 25.23% sleep less than five hours on school days, and 60.75% sleep 5-7 hours, leaving 14.02% of students sleeping more than seven hours on school days. Of the 319 students surveyed, 30.10% of them pull at least one all-nighter each month, and 18.50% of them pull more than three. Ac c o r d in g to th e Na tio n a l Sl e ep Foundation (NSF), teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep every night in order to function their best. The NSF also released a poll which stated that only 20% of adolescents get nine hours of sleep on school nights and that sleep quantity declines as one gets older. Researchers say that constantly waking up throughout the night alters one’s brain activity and neurochemicals, affecting their mood and thinking. Because sleep is a restorative state, inadequate sleep time causes them to feel agitated, paranoid, and

tense. Eventually, those who experience poor sleep are in a cycle of sleep deprivation and inactivity that alters their mood. These emotional changes, often linked with clinical depression and anxiety, are also causes of sleep disruption as sleep deprivation is a common symptom for many illnesses. Clinical depression is a mental health disorder in which one constantly experiences a depressed mood and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed. People with insomnia are 10 times more likely to experience clinical depression and 17 times more likely to experience clinical anxiety. Those who experience obstructive sleep apnea and wake up frequently throughout the night are five times more likely to experience clinical depression. With these correlations, it can be seen that sleep plays an important role in one’s mental and physical being. If people believe that they are sleeping too much or little, it is best to discuss their physical and mental health with their doctor and decide if treatment is necessary.

On average, how much sleep do you get on school days? Less than five hours Five to seven hours More than seven

25.23% 60.75% 14.02%


How many all-nighters do you pull a month? None At least one More than three

51.40% 30.10% 18.50%


How long does it take for you to sleep at night? Around 10 minutes Around 30 minutes An hour or more

49.38% 32.19% 18.43%


What is the main cause of your lack of sleep? Extracurriculars School Other N/A

6.74% 60.70% 26.69% 5.87%







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Golden Globes ceremony launches new decade BY ERIC MAI

The Golden Globes awards, hosted by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on Jan. 5, kicked off the decade with multiple historic moments. At the start of the show, a polarizing speech from the show came from host, Ricky Gervais. Having previously hosted the awards ceremony, Gervais’ unfiltered speech included playful banter towards other actors and a suggestion to keep discussion of politics out of t h e a w a r d s s h o w. I r o n i c a l l y , t h e first award of the night was given to Russel Crowe, who urged for action against Australia’s wildfires. The ceremony proceeded with several triumphs for Asian Americans i n H o l l y w o o d . N o r a Lu m , b e t t e r known by her stage name Awkwafina, accepted the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for her performance in The Farewell .


Director Bong Joon-ho and actress Awkwafina accept their awards with beaming smiles, and make their marks as Asian icons in the film industry. While other Asian Americans have been nominated for this award in the past, Awkwafina is the first to receive this recognition. Bong Joon-ho, a Korean director who directed the South Korean f i l m Pa r a s i t e , r e c e i v e d t h e a w a r d for best foreign language film. As the first Korean to ever accept this award, Bong inspired other filmmakers and received praise for his a b i l i t i e s a s a d i r e c t o r. A l t h o u g h Korean film culture is decades old, Bong’s distinction was momentous, in addition to his milestones in both

Disney Plus worth the bucks BY KIMBERLY QUIOCHO

Disney has been a part of many adolescent lives growing up and is a basis for an abundance of pop-culture phenomenons, whether it be Disney princesses or the High School Musical trilogy. Many with access to television and movie theaters have watched at least one Disney film or TV show. The streaming service industry has been a largely untapped market for one of the biggest titans in the entertainment industry, but Disney succeeded in their most recent venture to a new form of media. Disney Plus launched on Nov. 12 and is a potential competitor for big-name streaming services like Netflix. However, it is lacking when it comes to variety and originality, so Disney Plus relies heavily on the nostalgia of many viewers who grew up watching Disney originals. The streaming service is a relatively affordable investment at $7 a month, but arguably the most attractive feature is the exclusive access to Pixar and Marvel movies as well as The Simpsons. Disney’s large stakes and ownership in other companies make for great added content to Disney Plus, a service that desperately needs more than just animated movies and quirky teen shows to really take off. Disney Plus sustains my attention because

of the addition of blockbuster movies like the Avengers and Avatar, going beyond the usual shows and movies that are recommended. What Disney Plus lacks the most, though, is that the streaming service is censored and targeted for children. Nothing on Disney Plus can have a rating higher than PG-13 and anything more mature will go straight to Hulu, another streaming service owned by Disney that one would have to pay extra for. Disney Plus is not a great standalone streaming service because it is pretty bare in variety and originality, but it would be great to have in addition to other streaming services. Disney Plus is a worthy investment because it is affordable and does its job in bringing back old childhood hits. If this streaming service cost more, my opinion would change because there is simply not enough content or variety that would make it worth it. Disney Plus can only do so much to satisfy younger audiences before they start to neglect older viewers who might want to watch something more mature than an animated film or superhero movie. The price is bound to go up as time passes, but for now, viewers should enjoy all of the content bestowed upon them at such a low price.


The Disney Plus logo is easily identifiable as it uses the same classic Disney font.

the Golden Globes and Oscars. He centered his speech around the idea that foreign films are more accessible than what people normally think. In his acceptance speech, he said, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” The Golden Globes had many speeches that essentially served as political statements. Politics have, in recent times, become a largely controversial topic in awards ceremonies. Despite Gervais opening

the event with an anti-politics sentiment, acceptance speeches were brimming with comments on national and international debates, such as the Australian fires and voting. As a result, news outlets and online viewers voiced their criticism of the ceremony, saying that the attendees should have heeded the host’s advice. Despite controversial topics and statements, the Golden Globes still stand as one of the highest-level c e l e b r a t i o n s o f f i l m c u l t u r e, a n d effectively set the stage for other ceremonies such as the Oscars.


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Life and art


Yu openly embraces self in cosplay


Cats is a catastrophe


From bright pink wigs to false eyelashes, sophomore Ivan Yu became interested in cosplaying when he noticed that his favorite anime characters were gender-fluid. His interest grew when he began watching Twitch streamer BlondieRox, who does pranks on facecam website Omegle. BlondieRox surprised Yu with his highpitched voice. “When I watched his stream, I was like, ‘That’s a guy?’” Yu said. “The fact that he sounded like a female piqued my interest in cross-dressing.” As a freshman, Yu joined the Anime Anonymous Club and participated in the annual Maid Cafe. “I never really cross-dressed until I became a freshman,” Yu said. “I wasn’t too interested in dressing up before, and I never really got the opportunity to do so until high school.” He was originally going to participate as a butler, but out of curiosity he opted to become a maid. “By the time the Maid Cafe rolled around,” Yu said, “I decided that I was never going to get this chance again, so I might as well be a maid.” Yu finds comfort in cross-dressing and cosplaying to escape from reality, which to him, is stressful because of schoolwork. He enjoys cosplaying as various characters from the Love Live! School Idol series, such as Nico Yazawa. “When I cross-dress, I feel like a completely different version of myself,” Yu said. “I have a small self-esteem issue in reality. Cross-dressing allows me to feel differently.” In order to create his costumes, Yu mainly




In preparation for the Maid Cafe, Yu dressed up as Kotori Minami from Love Live! School Idol. purchases or looks for clothing items to piece together, but occasionally he creates his own accessories or trim his wigs, which can take one to two hours. He uses the money he has saved up from his parents. “I like getting my wigs from Amazon for 15 to 25 dollars,” Yu said. “Black is my favorite color for wigs since it’s my natural hair color and I don’t have to do much.” Yu has a go-to makeup and skin routine that he follows whenever he cosplays. “I generally start off with toner,” Yu said “Then I put on foundation and start doing my eyeliner. I like to pop on a lip color occasionally.” Yu finds that the responses from his friends and classmates are rather mixed, but are either supportive or neutral for the most part. His occasional bad encounters do not faze his love of cross-dressing. “My friends will say and look like they’re disgusted but I know they’re just joking around,”

Yu said. “Most strangers say I have nice legs, but I also get a lot of weird looks which makes me feel self-conscious at times.” His parents have been disapproving of his cosplaying, pushing Yu to hide his costumes from them and speak quietly whenever they are around. “The first and only time I brought it up with my parents, they freaked out and yelled at me because they are conservative and homophobic,” Yu said. “It scared me.” Despite all the obstacles, his growing confidence and passion pushes him to continue cosplaying, and he hopes to give that same strength to others who are considering cosplaying as well. “My advice to those who are interested in cross-dressing is that, everyone has a different body type,” Yu said. “Don’t worry because you’ll look fine as long as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself.”

Songs of the Decade 2010





Tik Tok

Rolling in the Deep

Somebody That I Used To Know

Thrift Shop


by Ke$ha

by Adele

by Gotye (ft. Kimbra)

by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Wanz)

by Pharrell Williams






Uptown Funk

Love Yourself

Shape of You

God’s Plan

Old Town Road

by Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars)

by Justin Bieber

by Ed Sheeran

by Drake

by Lil Nas X (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus) GRAPHIC BY KEN YU

Taking place on the streets of London, Cats follows the story of Victoria the White Cat (Francesca Hayward), who is abandoned by her owners in the middle of the night. The alley cats, the Jellicles, approach Victoria and show her the world of the Jellicles as they promote the Jellicle Ball, an annual ceremony where cats compete to go to the Heaviside Layer and be reincarnated. At the Jellicle Ball, the cats’ leader, Old Deuteronomy, chooses the winner. The competitors express their contributions through a musical number: the pampered Jennyanydots, the Lothario Rum Tum Tugger, garbage can connoisseur Bustopher Jones, cat burglars Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Gus the Theater Cat, the railway cat Skimbleshanks, and the magical Mr. Mistoffelees. However, Macavity, the villainous stray, wants to win through cheating with his hype-cat, Bombalurina. Although the movie’s visuals were unsettling, some scenes were ironically captivating and humorous. For instance, Jennyanydots summoned and chowed on an army of bipedal dancing CGI’d human-faced cockroaches. In addition, Jennyany dots rips off her fur, revealing a jazz outfit with fur underneath. Despite its farce-like qualities, the movie does have some sentimental value. Grizabella, a former member of the tribe who was banished, infuses her solos with mountains of raw emotion that CGI cannot diminish. Grizabella is left alone to contemplate her memories of the time when she was apart of the Jellicles and sings “Memory” while desperately wanting to be accepted. However, there were a lot of inconsistencies in the CGI. The actors’ faces did not always follow the body of their cat, often leaving their face floating. In addition, there was an abundance of uncomfortable sexual tension, so Cats should not be rated PG. O v e r a l l , To m H o o p e r ’ s f i l m adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats and the poems from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot was hard to take in. Despite the dull plot, music, and disturbing CGI’d anthropomorphic cats, my eyes were glued to the screen. Cats defied all principles of coherent storytelling and felt like a fever dream. Because of this strange enchantment, Cats is a film I recommend experiencing.





2019-20 Winter Sports Scoreboard BASKETBALL


Matador Basketball dunks on Moors BY CHELSEA NGUYEN


(L) 54 - 56


(L) 26 - 42


(L) 36 -47


(L)37- 71


(L) 40 - 64


(W)50 - 34


(W) 63 - 44


(L) 23 - 43



(L) 2 - 3


(L) 1 - 2


(L) 1 - 3


(L) 1 - 2


(L) 0 - 1


(T) 1 - 1


(L) 0 - 4


(L) 0 - 6



The crowd erupted into roars as the SG varsity girls basketball team gathered to discuss the techniques to use against their long-term rivals, the Alhambra High School Moors. Players headed out onto the court in the Matador Arena on Jan. 14, resulting in a 63-44 win for SG. Winning the tip-off, SG took the opportunity to shoot a three-pointer within the first minute. As the score rose to 16-7, cocaptain senior Leah Tan assists her teammates in making points and blocking the Moors. “I knew my role.” Tan said. “I knew what I had to do in order to succeed and work together to get the win.” The game continued and became filled with incomplete passes and missed shots. As the whistle blew, the Matadors called for a time-out to relieve nervous tension and cooperation issues. At 29-13, the second quarter concluded with the Matadors in the lead. After halftime, SG fought against the Moors, not letting them get hold of the ball too easily. The sidelines burst into cheers as small forward senior Kiran Chan gains two points with a backwards layup. “I stayed in front of the girl and I tossed it backwards,” Chan said. “I had no intention [to score] whatsoever.” The Matadors consistently made baskets


Heavily guarded by the Moors, co-captain senior Leah Tan (3) attempts to score to further the Matadors’ lead. and brought the score to 40-20. While the Moors increased the pressure, cocaptain senior Denise Jimenez “caught on fire” and continuously blocked shots. “I tried to concentrate on the game,” Jimenez said. “We were doing so well in the moment that I [wanted to] keep going.” Entering the fourth quarter 48-24, the

Matadors pushed through the remaining minutes with point guard junior Kelly Phan performing a lay-up and shooting a two-pointer afterward. As points piled in and the buzzer sounded, the game concluded in a triumphant win for the Matadors. The Matadors upcoming home game is against Bell Gardens on Friday.

Gonzalez boxes through life, beating stress, making friends BY TANVI MAI


Junior Gabriel Gonzalez has boxed since he was eight years old because he “wanted to gain confidence and to stand up” for himself.

As the blaring lights shine against his rubber boxing gloves, junior Gabriel Gonzalez prepares to challenge even the toughest of his opponents. Coming into the arena, the crowd cheers him on as he swings his fist for the first punch. Gonzalez has always been a familyorientated person, never wanting to disappoint and always wanting to make them proud. He was never the one with a gifted talent, nor was he the outgoing one compared to his cousins. This lead him to try out boxing, something that no one else in his family would have done. “I wanted to at least do something, I’ve always felt like I haven’t been doing anything with myself,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to be good at something, I wanted to have

something unique and different about me.” Gonzalez started boxing at eight years old, originally leaving the sport when high school began but quickly returning to it last year. “It is very fun boxing, especially when you spar against someone else,” Gonzalez said. “It can help you release anger, and helps clear your mind.” Not only does it help Gonzalez clear his mind, but the sport is an opportunity to connect with the boxing community. In a group, he gets to make brand new connections outside of school. “You can meet a lot of people and you make new friends,” Gonzalez said. “ I always found it funny how you can beat someone up and still be friends, there’s no bad blood, it’s just to help each other grow and improve as you spar and train with others.” Gonzalez seeks improvement,

hoping to not just gain a fighting style, but also in a deeper sense. Using his three most important values of determination, family, and hard work, he strives to make the most out of boxing. “I wanted to gain confidence and to stand up for myself so that I can feel good and ready in the future,” Gonzalez said. “With boxing, I am able to use it to protect my family.” Remaining hopeful for the future, Gonzalez wants to partake in his own professional career and encourage the younger generation to not only be well educated in the field of boxing but also to do it as a hobby. “I hope that more people join, it’s a good sport, I feel like not a lot of people are aware of boxing,” Gonzalez said. “I wish to start an amateur career and go to a few tournaments and hopefully win some trophies.”

Four types of physical activity Bicycle riding, speed walking, dancing, hiking, rollerblading, skateboarding


Martial arts, running, sports

Push-ups, sit-ups, swinging on playground equipment, resistance exercises

Hopscotch, skipping, jumping rope, sports


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Avila battles illness with aid of angels BY LILY CAM

One step onto campus and junior Angelisa Avila was already overwhelmed— it was her first day back to school in four months. She was pulled out of school this past October due to her worsening stomach condition, Ulcerative colitis. She was born with this genetic condition, which prohibits her from eating certain foods and causes her to have intense stomach pains and bleed whenever she eats. Avila did not expect her condition to flare up because while it runs in the family, it usually does not worsen until age 60. “My treatment was working for a while and [around] October it got really bad,” Avila said. “My medicine stopped working out of nowhere.” She tried numerous other pills her doctor prescribed, including antibiotics, steroids, and anti-immunals, which all failed. “It got to the point where I was taking 30 pills a day, and that’s not including [the] vitamins and other medication I have to take,” Avila said. “The [doctors] would [increase] the dose, and it would work for a little bit [before] it stopped.” As a result of her body’s resistance to the medication, Avila suffered internal bleeding. She grew extremely anemic, and eventually, she could no longer walk because the pain she felt from the lack of blood was unbearable. “I was losing probably a bucket of blood every day,” Avila said. “It got to the point where

[my doctor] said, ‘You might not make it past December.’ So, I had to get taken out of school because my condition gets worse with stress.” Avila was being constantly stressed out by her family issues, particularly involving her mother. “My mom and I have never had a good connection I don’t know why,” Avila said. “She drinks a lot. So sometimes she’ll do things and

grades from her first semester classes were marked as incomplete, so she is receiving all her credits from the Acellus courses. “It’s not easy [catching up on work], but I know I can do it,” Avila said. Avila cites God as her motivator through all her struggles. “I cope with [my condition] through my religion,” Avila said. “God means everything

“I’m usually very outgoing but [during those months] I was just mentally drained,” Avila said. “I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I felt different. I wasn’t myself.” Avila returned after winter break and is looking forward to continue her studies at school. However, she still has to have Intravenous therapy, or IV infusions every other week to a few weeks. Her condition has

“ I was losing probably a bucket of blood every day. It got to the point where [my doctor] said, ‘ You might not make it past December .’” not remember the next morning, which made me mad, but I have to accept it now because she’s an adult.” However, Avila was motivated to continue schooling even while she was sick, working things out with school administration and enrolling in online Acellus courses for the first semester, which she continues taking now. Her

to me; I’m so grateful for everything that He’s put in my life. I believe everything happens for a reason and I think He gave me this condition so I could learn from it and become stronger.” Her disease affected her physically and mentally. Avila was constantly hospitalized and home-ridden, which meant she was always alone.

improved, enabling her to live more normally again. “The power of belief is stronger than people know,” Avila said. “If you tell yourself, ‘I can do it,’ then you’ll work for it and [then] do it, but if you just go in with a negative mindset, you’re not going to achieve whatever you’re trying to do.”

Thi navigates medical T a b a l a n c e s world through internship two worlds of


Senior Michelle Thi wears her intern attire for the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center on Halloween. Starting her internship in June, Thi realized that she is “suitable for the medical field because [she] really does like helping people.” BY IRENE YUE

Putting on a medical uniform, senior Michelle Thi seeks to help others by working at the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center where she shadows the work of a doctor and nurse. Predisposed at a young age to help others, Thi first gained her passion for nursing through helping her family.

“My family only has one grandma left and she’s getting old,” Thi said, “She gets tired often so she tells me to massage her and help her. This experience [led] to my passion for nursing and helping others.” Thi first began the internship in June, hoping to sharpen her experience in the medical field. She was excited to work in the medical environment and take on the challenge of a new adventure. “When I first joined the internship, I was hoping to gain more exposure into the medical field and being in a hospital setting,” Thi said. “One memorable experience I’ve had through this internship is being able to showcase how much work I put into helping nurses and patients and knowing patients [personally].” Her daily responsibilities on the surgical floor include reassuring patients, assisting in department assignments, and taking and logging the vital signs of a patient. One of the more rewarding aspects of her job is handling patients with pre-operational anxiety. “I feel great that I made an impact in someone else’s life [by] helping them feel better,” Thi said. “In addition, patients would tell me all about their stories and I would listen to them and give them advice when they would want to hear it.”


A long line of customers begins to snake around the store—thirsty boba tea lovers ready to have their order taken. With only one other employee working alongside her, senior Lily Ta rushes to make drinks under the watchful eyes of the customers who grow impatient. Working every other day after school, Ta is familiar with this situation as an employee of Sharetea, a chain of boba tea shops across the United States and Canada. Before she earned a spot as an “expert” employee, Ta was required to pass two tests—a timed test where a classic milk tea had to be prepared for under one minute and 30 seconds and a longer test where she had to prepare the store for its opening at 11 a.m. “Training was super stressful for me and I thought of quitting multiple times,” Ta said. “But my coworkers helped me through it.” Simultaneously, Ta balances the feat of work with the demands of her academic life and extracurricular activities, which include the Speech and Debate team and her role as ASB President. Due to her busy schedule, Ta has to sacrifice some aspects of her life to ensure her success at work and school. “The biggest struggle is getting enough sleep,” Ta said. “I learned to plan my days ahead well and try to do my homework during lunch or free time [I have] in school.” Although it is overwhelming at times, Ta sees her part-time job as a beneficial opportunity to be more self-sufficient and prepare for her future. “I wanted to start earning money for myself because I felt bad asking my parents [for money], especially with all the college application payments piling up,” Ta said. “I also wanted to build up my work experience.” Ta occasionally takes days off when


Senior Lily Ta enjoys making the Hawaii Fruit Tea with Aiyu Jelly the most when she works at Sharetea because “there’s a lot of things that go into it, such as pineapple, orange, and grapefruit.” necessary to commit more time to her other extracurricular activities. However, working is an essential part of her weekly routine. “I [have] learned to advance my communication skills along with multitasking,” Ta said. “I usually end up saving it up for college and using some for gas.” Furthermore, Ta’s boss and managers are “understanding and flexible” when it comes to her school schedule—something that posed an issue to her parents when first discussing her idea to work. “My dad wanted me to stay home and focus on school work,” Ta said. “My mom didn’t like me staying out late.” With a year of experience under her belt, Ta’s family no longer has a strong opposition to her part-time job and support her decision to work. The young ‘bobarista’ hopes to continue and excel at her job well through her senior year.



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Bouldering brings best buddies closer BY TIFFANY NGUYGEN


towering boulder looms over the group of climbers as they prepare to mount it. One by one, they execute the path with the palpable fear of falling growing in their gut. They have no safety harnesses or ropes at their disposal—just their bare hands. It all started when senior Jason Kwok saw his middle school history teacher, Chuck Diep, bouldering. Inspired, Kwok introduced the idea of bouldering to his close friends, seniors Andrew Lam and Guang Lin, and junior Kenny Chen. Since mid-November, the friend group has gone bouldering several times at L.A. Boulders. “We were total amateurs the first time and, aside from some knowledge we got from watching Youtube videos, we didn’t know very much,” Lam said. “We just bought day passes to L.A. Boulders and spent the entire day climbing and teaching ourselves.” Although falling and getting hurt are inevitable for any new climber, having close friends

nearby made the experience more comforting. “We get to mess around but also help each other on the paths that are a little more challenging—either by telling them what moves to do or demonstrating our own way of taking on that path,” Lin said. All four climbers have progressed, but the group notes that Chen has a very “unique way of climbing” that can often result in minor injuries. “Kenny gets hurt the most,” Lin said. “He’ll swing and bang his knee or something with the way that he climbs.” Unfortunately, bouldering can be expensive for the four climbers. Each time they go together, they must pay $24 for individual day passes and rental shoes. Over time, the price adds up. “I’d say it’s worth it,” Lam said. “We try to stay as long as we can to get the most out of it.” They may be new at it, but that does not deter them from continuing to pursue a sport that they thoroughly enjoy. Different limitations, such as their mode of transportation and age gap, do throw a wrench into their future plans. “In the future, I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it together as much, because Kenny is a year younger than the rest of us,” Kwok said. “We might be separated, but we will try to go whenever we can.”

LI V E LY L E I S URE Kelly and Ronnie Du TKTK

(From left to right) Seniors Andrew Lam, Jason Kwok, Guang Lin, and junior Kenny Chen stand on the foam mat of the L.A. Boulders gym during a past weekend outing.

Hsieh dives into role of lifeguard BY SALLY PHAM

After a long day of school, senior Tim Hsieh takes advantage of his ER4 before heading out at 4 p.m. to begin his part-time job— lifeguarding. “I became a lifeguard because I was a former swimmer in the school’s swim team,” Hsieh said. “Although I am no longer on the team, I wanted to pursue a job that’s relevant to swimming so that I can utilize the skills I gained from my two years on the team.” As a lifeguard at the Rosemead public pool, Hsieh is responsible for testing the pool’s chemical components to ensure that the pH and chlorine levels are leveled. “It is important to maintain proper pH and chlorine Senior Tim Hsieh reenacts levels because it his response when he encounters ensures safety for someone drowning in the pool. The the swimmers and procedure requires him to blow his whistle kills pathogens in to notify other lifeguards that someone is the water,” Hsieh drowning, then he has to point to the person said. “If the chemical while holding a rescue tube before diving into levels are too high, the pool to save them. PHOTOS COURTESY OF TIM HSIEH, JASON KWOK GRAPHICS BY WINNEFER WU

the pool’s walls and floors [and human skin] get burned from the chlorine.” Before becoming a lifeguard, Hsieh attended extensive training courses where he learned how to perform CPR and participated in mock exams where he had to save his co-worker from drowning. Through these trials, he learned how to make appropriate calls in stressful situations. “I learned how to handle every possible pool-related situation such as when someone has a broken spine, gets gashed, has a bloody nose, or is unable to breathe,” Hsieh said. “When the situation is severe, I fish them out [of the water] and call emergency service.” One instance where Hsieh had to utilize the knowledge he gained from training was when he encountered a girl drowning during his shift. “When I noticed that a girl was drowning, I immediately used my horn to signal to the other lifeguards that I was going to save her,” Hsieh said. “I jumped into the pool and placed a rescue tube under her arms so that she could stay afloat.” During his time as a lifeguard, Hsieh has refined his social skills from the daily interactions he has with his co-workers and other swimmers in the pool. “Being around others at the pool has made me more sociable because it forces me into situations where I have to respond, whether it’s to answer a question about the pool or to engage in a conversation with my boss and co-workers,” Hsieh said. As a lifeguard, Hsieh has expanded his knowledge of the pool as well as developed irreplaceable bonds with his co-workers. “This job allows me to share my knowledge and teach other people how to swim as well as gives me the opportunity to act as a hero,” Hsieh said.

Profile for The Matador

The Matador: Issue 5 - January 22, 2020  

The Matador: Issue 5 - January 22, 2020