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season of new beginnings flowers bloom along with newfound hope


Inside the Pages

News, p.2

The school population reacts as discussions concerning campus-reopening arise.

Focus, p.6-7

Insomnia, fatigue, exhaustion, and loss of motivation—burnout poses as a greater problem than ever.

Features, p.12

Diagnosed with lymphoma nearly a year ago, junior Danielle Steele describes her journey to recovery.



thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

Students weigh in on the prospect of reopening campus After months of attending online classes, students deliberate over returning to school.


District to reopen in spring 2021 Reopening proposition BY LEANE CHE NEWS EDITOR


ith Los Angeles County nearing the substantial tier, where middle and high schools may reopen, the district is devising reopening plans for this spring. To ensure a safe return, the district implemented new protocols and is seeking community input as it considers its next steps. Because the threshold for elementary schools to open has been met, a parent survey was issued to gather information about reopening concerns, collecting over 12,000 responses. While the preliminary data depicts a preference for online instruction, 31% of the respondents favored in-person instruction. “As we move closer to our schools reopening, one of our priorities is maintaining instructional stability for students,” Superintendent Denise Jaramillo said. “We know there may be some

questions that cannot be answered through a simple survey or email inquiry. We encourage you to join us at one of our Community Conversation sessions, where we can have a two-way dialogue in a small group setting.” Following the lifting of the Stay Home Orders, the district resumed in-person special education assessments and non-instructional drivethrough activities. Some high needs students are allowed on school campuses for specialized in-person services, including occupational therapy and academic instruction. Beginning last Monday, staff members were also eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “[When] we reopen, I am most looking forward to connecting with my students and colleagues,” Career Technical Education teacher Jose Zaragoza said. “Specific things like feeling the energy of the classroom, and even long-distance fist bumps with whomever is walking down the hallways.” Throughout the school year, the district installed

preventative measures such as signage, plexiglass partitions, air filters, and improved ventilation systems. Rooms were reconfigured, and sanitizing supplies have been distributed. New cleaning procedures were adopted as log sheets are being posted in rooms that will be initialled upon completion of sanitizing. “Although there are systems in place designed to keep students and staff as safe as possible, I am still concerned as other schools across the country have reopened only to close again,” junior Lina Tieu said. “Everyone needs to help continue slowing down the infection rate of COVID-19 by diligently following all social distancing guidelines.” While distance learning will remain as the core instructional program until spring break, the district will continue physical preparations to schools and maintain communication with the community. Once the reopening plan is officialized, it will be submitted to the California Department of Education and county for evaluation.


The first day of in-person instruction for high school students is set to be April 12. Students with disadvantages such as language barriers will be prioritized. Students with failing grades are also encouraged to return to campus. After morning distance learning classes, students can return to campus for further instruction. The number of commitments to hybrid learning will determine how often students attend school. Homeroom, rallies, and assemblies will be on Wednesdays. Special education students are permitted to return, but only up to 25% of the school population is allowed per day. Students can be served individually or in cohorts of no more than 16. Teachers can only work with two cohorts at a time. Before more students can engage in on-campus instruction, teachers must be certified and fully vaccinated. Families are to choose a learning option for the remainder of the school year. Details about in-person learning will be provided early next month.

thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021



AP exam updates conflict with unpreparedness

BRIEFS Student Voice Webinar ignites distance learning reassessment BY TIFFANY NGUYGEN

Sixteen students anonymously shared their perspectives on how the pandemic affected them and teachers’ role in their success at the Student Voice Webinar on Feb. 22. Student panelists, nominated by the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports team, agreed that changes should be made to enhance their distance learning experience. “It’s always a powerful opportunity to reflect on what we can do as educators to help,” English teacher Virginia Vasquez said. “I learned that teachers could be doing more to support students academically and emotionally. As a result, instead of starting with the agenda, I start with a fun check-in and music because I know that we are connecting by creating a calming environment for students to feel safe, even if we cannot see each other’s faces.” The next Student Voice Webinar will be in April.

Adventurers’ Guild provides haven for tabletop game enthusiasts BY KEN YU

Formed by a group of friends who share a common interest, the Adventurers’ Guild offers students a place to gather and engage in their tabletop roleplaying game passions through group sessions. The club enables students to build collaboration and critical thinking skills as they traverse puzzles and fictional scenarios. “We act as a gateway for new players to get introduced to ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ as well as a hub of creative roleplay for anyone to freely express themselves with the characters they tailor to their liking,” junior President Ivan Yu said. The club meets every Monday, excluding the first Monday of each month. Game playthroughs, adventures, and meetings will be held over Discord.

Workforce Development Workshop Series cultivates communication skills


AP Environmental Science teacher Jennifer Wright arranges her day’s lesson plans. Since the Environmental Science test content will remain the same as traditional exams, Wright aims to cover as much material as possible.

Students find themselves distressed due to the repercussions of block scheduling. BY KELLY MA NEWS EDITOR


n response to apprehension surrounding the AP exams, the College Board announced revised testing procedures on Feb. 4. Reviewing the updates, students and staff cited the setbacks of distance learning as their main concern. Depending on the subject, students may take the exams at school, in paper format, or at home, in digital format. Colleges will only provide credit for full-length AP exams, so shortened exams, such as the redesigned tests from last spring, will not be administered this year. “I don’t feel prepared at all for AP exams this year,” senior David Nhan said. “Because of all the distractions at home, I’m having trouble paying attention in class and understanding the content I’m learning. If I want to have a chance of doing well on the exams, I’m probably going to have to review almost everything that I have learned this year within the next two or three months.”

To provide students more flexibility during the pandemic, the College Board waived all cancellation fees. Refunds for students who decide not to take the exam will be processed two to three weeks after their request.

“I don’t feel prepared at all for AP exams this year. Because of all the distractions at home, I’m having trouble paying attention in class and understanding the content I’m learning.” David Nhan Senior “Although I plan to take the World History exam, I’m really grateful that the option of cancelling

is risk free,” sophomore Tina Dang said. “My teacher has done a great job teaching the material, but this will be my first AP exam. I wish it was under better circumstances where I could be more prepared.” While considering the lessened instructional time and difficulties of online classes, teachers have also adjusted their lesson plans to account for students’ emotional well-being. AP Environmental Science teacher Jennifer Wright said that she tries to “balance what needs to be covered with supporting students emotionally.” “It’s been a struggle to make sure that I’m giving students work that will allow them to practice key concepts and critical thinking skills while not overwhelming them with too many different assignments,” Wright said. “With only seeing students twice a week instead of five times, this year has been much more difficult. I’ve tried to listen to feedback regarding the amount of work that I assign and pacing.” The AP exams will be administered from early May to mid-June, but specific dates will vary by subject. Students can refer to their teachers for further information.


Workforce Development Workshop Series, a five-week workshop to assist students in building communication skills, will be held every Wednesday from 9:30-10:15 a.m. beginning today. Each week, students will learn different methods to effectively engage with others, including email, phone, and text etiquette. Students who attend all five workshops will receive a Certification of Participation. To register, attendees must complete a Google Form, which closes at noon the day before the workshop. The Zoom link will be sent to students’ district email a day prior to the workshop once registered. To read the full articles, visit www.thematadorsghs.us.

News around the globe BY WALLY LAN

COVID-19 VARIANTS RISE After weeks of decline in cases across the nation and the world, the more contagious COVID-19 variants are beginning to exponentially increase. Scientists are working to learn about their side effects and whether currently authorized vaccines will be effective against them. CHINESE LEGISLATURE SESSION The National People’s Congress is voting on legislation regarding public health, foreign relationships, and climate change. Because industrial and national security prove pivotal to economic growth, more emphasis will be placed toward self-sufficiency in technology than ever before. STRIKES IN MYANMAR Following a series of protests against the military’s seizure of power last month, the police detained hundreds of those involved. In the largest movement since the last military dictatorship, labor unions are now calling for a total strike, where there are thousands defying curfew rules.

4 OPINIONS ’Lean’ing on others


thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

A helping hand in distance learning ILLUSTRATION BY KELLY MA



y mom constantly says that I act as if I’m alone, thinking the entire world is against me.

She’s right. I’ve always hated being vulnerable and was repulsed at the thought of someone knowing how I truly felt. Growing up, I thought this was making myself stronger, but I was really setting myself up for failure. By bottling my emotions, I never learned how to healthily express myself and developed a cynical outlook on life. I escalated the slightest inconveniences, irrationally perceiving even the most innocent remarks as attacks. I've always gone through extraordinary lengths to avoid support. Whenever I couldn’t suppress my tears, I was met with violence and apathy. I wanted to be consoled—to hear that I was a good person, that it wasn’t my fault, that I was appreciated and loved, that everything would be okay, that I made my parents proud—even if they were lies. All I ever wanted was to be a blessing rather than a nuisance to someone. It took my grandfather’s passing last month to realize some saw me as a blessing. I was awoken from my mom coming home, sobbing. I listened to my family’s heart-wrenching cries, not knowing what to do. Suddenly, my brother barged into my room. “Are you awake? Do you know what’s happening?” he furiously asked. “Grandpa just died, and you’re still in bed. GET UP AND COMFORT MAMA YOU F*CKING PIECE OF SH*T! YOU’RE A SH*T DAUGHTER!” I remained unresponsive. He dragged me off my bed, shouting that I would die alone, only with him by my side, because no one else would want to be around me. Surprisingly, my mom scolded my brother and said the words I longed to hear. “You’re too hard on yourself. Everything will be okay. I’m so proud to have you as my daughter. I just want you to be happy. I will always love you no matter what.” She pointed at the family photos on the wall and asked whether I remembered how happy I was. I did remember—how I excitedly leapt into her arms whenever she surprised me at school, how she was the only person at my eighth-grade promotion, how she was always there despite me pushing her away. I remembered that I wasn’t alone. I just had to open up.


Teachers deserve praise for resilience in pandemic


chool closure forced educators to leave their classrooms and recreate learning environments online. Because distance learning introduced many complications that diminished the quality of students’ school experience, students questioned the efforts made by teachers. However, teachers exceptionally adapted to these new circumstances, ensuring that students received sufficient support. One of the most prominent issues with remote learning is the absence of the classroom. Because traditional methods of teaching did not transfer over to distance learning, teachers acclimated themselves and their lesson plans to the online environment. Although there were initially no established class schedules or meeting platforms, teachers eventually devised new methods for how students attend class and submit assignments. Setting a standard for how class should operate is essential, as it offers stability and familiarity with a foreign education

MATADOR BULLRING Students share their opinions on current topics.

How well have teachers supported your academic and emotional needs during the pandemic? INTERVIEWS BY KELLY MA PHOTOS COURTESY OF INTERVIEWEES

system. By better coordinating classes, teachers are avoiding the fallout from last year that resulted in a lack of participation and unwillingness to learn. Not only were teachers tasked with revamping their lesson plans and schedules, but they also had to act as sources of emotional support. Throughout the year, teachers have conducted multiple surveys to better understand where students are at mentally and academically. In consideration of those factors, they have alleviated grade concerns by offering students more flexibility with their work. No matter their circumstances, leniency allows students to have the opportunity to continue pursuing an education without the fear of receiving a lowered grade. Admittedly, students are not receiving the same quality education as they would under normal conditions, impacting their academic capabilities in the future. In spite of that, it is essential to keep in mind that teachers should not

Henry Sy, 9 "My teachers have done a great job teaching me the material throughout the year. While distance learning can be a challenge, I really appreciate their efforts to [educate me] without overwhelming me."

solely bear responsibility for providing an education. Students are expected to put in a certain amount of effort into their own studies. Under distance learning, where teachers have less control over what their class is doing, it is paramount that students understand the importance of self-discipline and motivation. When no one is there to supervise students, they must maintain their resolve and perseverance, which proves necessary to success during in-person learning. This holds true especially for students when they enter college or the workforce. Without much time for preparation, teachers dealt with one of the most significant and sudden changes to professions. They have done a remarkable job of fulfilling their duties as educators. The pandemic has weighed down an entire generation of students, and teachers are one of the most influential figures that can affect what students take out of this experience.

Vanessa Gonzales, 10 "My teachers are very supportive and understand the struggles we’re going through. When I was overwhelmed with all the work, I told my teachers, and they gave me some extra time."

Dylan Bustamante, 11

Olivia Chung, 12

"Whenever I needed more time or less assignments, I would ask my teachers, and my wish would be granted. My teachers have done the best they can to support me during distance learning."

"I’ve been fortunate to have teachers that allow me to just talk about my life with them. I have a teacher who is not overdoing it with the assignments, so students aren’t overwhelmed."


thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021



Thorough reopening ensures safe return

Thic’ken’ed memories



hroughout distance learning, the district has constantly looked toward plans for returning to campus. Plans to reopen have been communicated constantly and influenced by input from families. The district has done a thorough job in planning for reopening because it has listened to feedback in addition to keeping the community updated. The district has remained steadfast in communicating with families throughout the entire reopening process, utilizing district wide emails. Direct and regular communication ensures that everyone is caught up with the taken approach on reopening. Staying transparent by keeping everyone updated is of utmost importance because it proves to parents that their child’s return to school will be as safe as possible and the district has its students’ education as a top priority. But the district is not just blindly making decisions without input from families. The district has recently proven that they are open to suggestions from families by sending out a survey, which concluded on March 4, and asked parents about their thoughts on reopening. On top of this, the district even offered families flexibility by allowing them to decide between remaining in distance learning or transitioning back into inperson instruction when the time comes. By including families in the decision-making process, they can be certain that their needs are reflected in the outcome. Ensuring that the community’s inclusion helps all parties negotiate for both a safe and swift return to normalcy. Admittedly, the district has retracted previous plans such as a possible reopening



in January. Although it can be frustrating that there is no determined reopening date, it is hard to have a set date. One of the factors that the district’s reopening decision depends on is the severity of the pandemic in Los Angeles County. Since the number of COVID-19 cases fluctuates daily and is out of the district’s control, they are unable to have full confidence in any date they publicize. In the end, it is much safer to give unfulfilled reopening dates than hastily

admitting students back into classrooms. The district’s method for reopening has been one of careful consideration and refined by families’ feedback. However, it has been discouraging that no set reopening date has been announced. Although the uncertainty of future case numbers has prevented the district from adhering to that date, when a date is released, everyone can rest easy knowing that the decision was made with care.

College, Career Center efficiently advises amid pandemic Through a series of organized efforts, the CCC continues assisting students. KELLY MA NEWS EDITOR


mong the many school groups that were forced to adapt to an online environment, the College and Career Center (CCC) stands out as one of the most welladjusted. The CCC advisers are successful in providing as much assistance to students as they did during a conventional school year. The CCC regularly distributes information that assists students with achieving their high school and future goals. Many opportunities that were once in person are now virtual. By sharing how students can participate in such events, the CCC prevents students from being uninformed. Without their guidance, many students would miss out on opportunities for honing essential career and education skills. The CCC also has the role of notifying students about saving money. By consistently telling students about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, as well as scholarship and internship opportunities, the advisers not only save students up to thousands of dollars, but they also emphasize the importance of taking initiative with their education. Through a variety of platforms, the CCC

counselors are ensuring that they maintain constant communication with students. Those who need more details than provided on the CCC’s Instagram, Remind, Google Classroom, and website can schedule appointments with counselors through Zoom. While ensuring that students are on the right track to success, the counselors also check up on students’ emotional well-being. Due to their continuous efforts to reach out, students who feel overwhelmed are provided the academic and emotional support they need. While the CCC does a thorough job of communicating with students about opportunities, few actually get involved. When event dates and times conflict with students’ schedules, there is a lack of participation, putting into question the effectiveness of the CCC’s efforts. That being said, it is up to students to take advantage of the resources given to them. Dates are often provided beforehand so that students can determine what works for their schedule. Students who are looking for particular events or information can directly contact the advisers for help as well. The purpose of the CCC is to present students with opportunities and information needed to advance in college and the workforce. Even in an unorthodox environment, the advisers have gone above and beyond to complete this task.

THE MATADOR Editors-in-Chief, Print Editor-in-Chief, Digital News Editors Opinions Editors Focus Editors Life and Art Editor Sports Editor Features Editors Copy Editors Business Manager Social Media Managers Photoshop Editors Reporters


Wally Lan Qilin Li Amanda Lerma Leane Che Kelly Ma Andrew Lam Aaron Lu Chelsea Lam Chelsea Nguyen Ken Yu Eric Mai Mytam Le Tiffany Nguygen Justin Fang Lynda Lam Tammy Vuong Lily Cam Tammy Vuong Leane Che Lynda Lam Laura Cai Adwik Chaturvedi Nan Jiang Hanna Jalawan

The Matador is published monthly online and bi-monthly on PDFs by the journalism class of San Gabriel High School. 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 of the entire staff. Submit comments as a letter to the editor, signed (anonymity is guaranteed if requested) to Ms. Jalawan’s email.

he sky is ablaze. It’s running rampant with a palette of vivid colors and, to me, that sight will never leave me. The sea shines and bleeds those same colors. Rippling. Turning. All of the miniscule details were captured on a screen, marked with a faint reflection of my satisfied smile. I always had a persistent habit of taking scenic photos. I loved sights like the scene of narrow boats rowing through the sparsely lit rivers of Wu Zhen during a family trip to China. Despite this habit, I wish I took more photos. Specifically, photos with friends. I felt uncomfortable when taking photos with friends— rather, I was uncomfortable with asking to take photos with them. It was easy to go along when others presented the idea, but during the times no one did, I didn’t take that initial step. Anxiety gripped at me when I entertained the idea, and I was painfully too self-conscious of making any request, afraid of any inexistent backlash that might have occurred from it. The pandemic made the regret worse. Reminiscing became a pastime with the newfound free time, and nostalgia poked at me whenever I thought back to those I had known and drifted away from over the years. Sometimes, my memory of the time spent with them becomes blurry, and I feel afraid that I’ve forgotten. How much have I already forgotten? It was during this time that I came across a few old photos I had taken back in middle school during a field trip. I remember. The sky was ablaze. It was a breathtaking sight to behold that day when I photographed that sunset on my outdated phone. Looking back, it was a pity that I didn’t own any better device for photography. In the background of the picture, there were shadowed silhouettes of my classmates basking in that same sunset. I wasn’t there with them in the picture, laughing alongside them on the salt-soaked sand. That didn’t matter because I was already happy—happy to have been able to engrave a tender scene beside a setting sun. It’s enough for me to treasure the few photos I have without regret.



thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

Asking the student body Students touch on mental burnout. OUT OF 370 RESPONSES

29.2% No

Has distance learning ever caused a mental burnout for you?

70.8% Yes

2.4% Very often 26.5% Never

8.6% Often

When experiencing burnout, how often do you reach out for support? 31.1% Sometimes

31.4% Rarely

stolen motivation

Stemming from the pandemic, many have found themselves struggling to establish the line between a home and work lifestyle. Staff and students alike have lost sleep, had their workload increased, or seen steep declines in their performance. As a result, many are feeling burnt-out, experiencing a mental and physical toll. GRAPHIC BY CHELSEA LAM



thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

Opinion: Education system facilitates academic burnout, mental exhaustion BY TIFFANY NGUYGEN FEATURES EDITOR


tudents are feeling suffocating pressure to excel not only in the classroom, but also in every other aspect of their lives. Everything, from rigorous standardized testing to the normalization of multiplicitous extracurricular activities, reminds students daily of how inadequate they are academically. There is no regard for the most essential aspect of success: a healthy balance. The role of a substantial education has skyrocketed as a measure of one’s value in modern society. The most academically successful students are rewarded, while those who prioritize other paths are reprimanded for not sticking to the status quo. This toxic cycle places an emphasis

Long-term effects of burnout:

on an institutionalized sense of achievement that only pertains to academic skill, discounting progress in other equally significant areas, notably mental health. Many students tend to overlook how much their mental health and happiness

balance between work and life will only lead to disastrous damage of one's overall psyche. This can result in burnout, mental illness, or both. As noted by a Pew Research Center survey of teenagers aged 13 to 17 conducted in the fall of 2018, seven in 10 U.S. teenagers said

that should be valued every day. One can say that academic excellence determines someone’s post-high school reality, such as the college they attend, their career, and their salary. However, possessing everything that the person ever wanted will not be the sole contributor

"However, possessing everything that the person ever wanted will not be the sole contributor to their happiness." Tiffany Nguygen Features Editor matter in favor of dedicating all their time and energy into the responsibility of school. However, students must recognize that, while school is temporary, mental well-being is permanent. Having an unhealthy

that anxiety and depression are major problems among people their age. This was primarily due to the pressure of attaining good grades. That is precisely why focusing on oneself and their mental stability is an activity


is a sleeping disorder where one is unable to sleep. Symptoms include sleepiness during the day, fatigue, grumpiness, and problems with concentration or memory.

to their happiness. Educational success and wealth do not dictate overall happiness. Someone can be extremely well-off in the traditional sense of an extensive education but feel absolutely nothing, while someone who

Fatigue is when one feels

overtired, with low energy and a strong desire to sleep that interferes with normal daily activities. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and slowed reflexes. To read the full articles, visit www.thematadorsghs.us.


Q/A: School counselors discuss burnout, mental health BY WALLY LAN AND KEN YU

has less can feel joy because they dedicated their life to having multiple facets beyond education to draw joy from. The key for students to find balance is to discover what that balance means for them. One should not give up on school, but the amount of time being put into addressing their mental health must be reevaluated. Spending 30 minutes to genuinely enjoy a hobby, such as journaling, cooking, or creating art, could be the first step to integrating mental health into a daily routine. Reaching out to virtual and physical mental health resources is also extremely helpful. The hardest but most crucial step is the individual appreciating themself because life can drastically change for the better with positive encouragement and a simple break.

What is the most common cause of burnout among students? Given that everything is done online, fatigue can be encountered easily. School, homework, and social life can be possible causes of burnout among the student population.

What are the signs of burnout? Some signs of burnout include avoidance, fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety, trouble sleeping, suppressed immune system, and anger. At the end of the day, people experience different things.

How should students deal with burnout? What is the most common piece of advice or treatment you give to students experiencing burnout? Be mindful, get some sleep, exercise, engage in a relaxing activity, and seek support. Turning off all electronics an hour before one sleeps also allows the brain to restart and recover. We also provide a calming room for students and staff. This online platform allows one to help soothe the mind with plenty of resources including tips and music: https://sites.google.com/ausd.us/sghsvirtualcalmingroom/home.

What are the effects of burnout? Students may find it difficult to engage in their classes and/ or complete their assignments. They might also look for ways to escape by indulging in video games, television, chatting with friends, and more.



thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

“Japanese Village Plaza, Little Tokyo” CC/BY 2.0, Prayitno

Visitors stroll through the Little Tokyo district where shops and restaurants Japanengles and Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen reside. Japanese culture has long been embedded into Western culture, including many areas of the San Gabriel Valley, and its presence is only increasing in a digitalized world.

Japanese culture blossoms throughout America In recent times, a greater appreciation for Japanese culture has arisen alongside the amount of opportunities to experience its culture. BY KELLY MA NEWS EDITOR


he bombing of Pearl Harbor marked the U.S.’s entrance into World War II. Four years later, Japan surrendered after losing hundreds of thousands of lives to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite the countries’ history as war enemies, Japanese culture and tradition are now deeply ingrained in American society. Throughout the past few decades, the relevancy of Japanese pop culture in particular has experienced exponential growth in the U.S. through various mediums like social media and entertainment. As a multibillion-dollar industry, anime has made tremendous strides in transnational entertainment. With its target audience ranging

from children to young adults, Generation Z and millennials alike have grown up watching anime such as Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon. Unlike the majority of Western cartoons, anime has more detail in character design, facial expressions, and character development, enabling viewers to better engage with

as their favorite characters, creating vibrant communities within the U.S. held together by widespread interests. Japan is also home to a variety of distinguished video game companies. Headquartered in Kyoto, Nintendo amassed international recognition for producing successful consoles

known for its “Final Fantasy” and “Kingdom Hearts” role-playing video game franchises. The roleplaying genre was innovated by Japan and remains as one of the most popular game types within the American gaming community. For introducing a new world of gaming to the U.S., Japan revolutionized one

“With its target audience ranging from children to young adults, Generation Z and millennials alike have grown up watching anime such as Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon.” Kelly Ma News Editor the characters and story. Due to anime’s success, some American production companies modeled cartoons after the Japanese animation style, with Avatar: The Last Airbender being a prime example. Many fans participate in anime conventions and cosplay

like the Game Boy and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The video game giant also designed numerous video game series including “Super Mario” and “Animal Crossing.” Meanwhile, Square Enix, headquartered in Tokyo, is

of the most popular forms of entertainment. Although not as widespread as trending pop music, Japanese pop music is still internationally loved. The openings and endings of episodes in anime often include J-pop, and interest has

grown with the popularization of TikTok, an international entertainment platform, especially within the U.S. For instance, “Summertime,” a Japanese dance and electronic song, has been used as a sound for over 3.2 million videos. A TikTok featuring the city-pop song “Midnight Door - Stay with Me” has amassed over 16.1 million views. While interest in all language courses excluding English and Korean have declined, enrollments in Japanese language programs proliferated. Japan is best known for its contributions to pop culture but other aspects of its culture should not be overlooked. The cuisine, fashion, and values of Japanese culture also influence everyday life and habits for Americans. Whether through animation collaborations, fashion trends, or technological advancements, Japan will continue to impact American culture over the years that lie ahead.

thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021




The manga adaptation of the original web comic written and illustrated by HERO (Hiroki Adachi) began seralizing in 2012 in the GFantasy magazine in Japan. HERO returned as the writer while Daisuke Hagiwara worked on the artwork for the manga. In the latest issue of GFantasy, it was announced that the manga would finish on March 18.

Review: Horimiya sweeps winter season BY KEN YU LIFE AND ART EDITOR


tarting off as a web comic before being adapted into an equally-beloved manga, Horimiya has come a long way with its recent anime adaptation. Bursting with romance and comedy, Horimiya is a sweet treat that tides over the winter blues and tells a story between two polar opposites: Izumi Miyamura and Kyouko Hori. Izumi is perceived as an ordinary, gloomy nerd, while Kyouko is a popular, extraordinary

student. Contrary to their appearances, Izumi is a gentle boy sporting nine piercings and a few body tattoos that he desperately— and comically—hides. Kyouko, on the other hand, sheds her bright appearance once at home, dressing simpler and juggling housework while caring for her younger brother. Horimiya focuses on their blossoming friendship, turned relationship, as they learn about the sides of themselves that they hide at school while finding acceptance in each other and their friends. The cast of characters that make up Horimiya is wide. Although Izumi and Kyouko

are the main focus of the story, the side characters have their own stories that are explored. Characters like Tooru Ishikawa and Yuki Yoshikawa shine through dedicated episodes and small meaningful actions. All of these interactions created a lighthearted dynamic between the cast, tinged with their own romantic pursuits between one another that I enjoyed immensely. The visuals of Horimiya, as well as its liberal use of chibi drawings to accentuate the comedy, is stunning with its faithfulness to the manga’s artwork. Although the anime adaptation cuts content from the manga itself, the majority

of the manga consists of sweet sliceof-life stories with the occasional plot progression sprinkled in. As someone who has read the manga, it was still a rewarding experience to see specific chapters brought to life on screen. Rarely did I ever find myself disliking any of the episodes, save for the occasional secondhand embarrassment I felt for the characters. The dialogue at times can feel oddly stiff during scenes where the characters are engaging in idle chatter opposed to scenes where verbal exchanges are driven by the situation. One thing that I loved most about the dialogue, however, was how much

personality and wit the exchanges contained. Voice actors like the famed Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Izumi) and Haruka Tomatsu (Kyouko) skillfully depicted their characters, capturing how their characteristics and traits would display themselves in their voices. Horimiya has been a classic romantic comedy series even before it was adapted to the screen. Although the web comic has long ended, the manga and the anime adaptations themselves are drawing to a close in midMarch, bringing another end to a wholesome story of acceptance and growth between characters on the steps to adulthood.

Japanese cuisine inspired by Western dishes During the Meiji restoration in the mid 1800s, Japan opened its doors to foreign powers. Foreign traders brought not only wealth to Japan, but also shared their different cuisines with the Japanese. Naporitan Pasta

Although noodles are common everywhere, they are only served with ketchup in Japan. This dish’s inception came from U.S. Military rations, which sometimes featured pasta with ketchup, a cheap alternative to the traditional tomato sauce. The Japanese embraced the pasta and added their own quirky toppings, including sausage and different vegetables. The dish can be found everywhere in Japan now, even in the form of instant Naporitan Pasta.

Japanese Curry

Curry was originally an Indian spice. The British, India’s colonial masters, brought curry to Japan. The spice was an instant hit with the Japanese and was available for purchase in Japanese restaurants in the 1860s. However, the popularity of curry took off when the Imperial Japanese Navy adopted it to its menu, where it still remains. Today, curry is much more commonly consumed than tempura or even sushi. The Japanese make their curry in a gravy-like sauce that is served over rice and a variety of vegetables and meat. It is much more subtle in flavor than Indian curry, but has much more umami.

Hamburg Steak

During the Meiji Era, the first port to open up to foreigners was Yokohama in Kanto. Hamburg Steak, from the German city Hamburg, first appeared in the city of Yokohama. It became popular in Japan in the 1960s after magazines extensively promoted the dish as an easy way to serve lower-quality beef, consisting of just a hamburger patty. The Japanese usually serve their hamburg steak with rice, gravy, and other sides. The Hamburg Steak today is a staple meat in Japanese lunch boxes (bēnto). PHOTOS COURTESY OF DEVOUR ASIA (top), “Hamburg steak” CC/BY 2.0, OiMax (left), SERIOUS EATS (right)




thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021


At the Board of Education meeting, the district presented upcoming planned sports dates for spring. Before competing, all athletes must meet several requirements, such as conditioning while meeting safety protocols.

Lower cases allow resumption of outdoor sports Spring sports return to the court with several new safety procedures and practice schedules. BY LAURA CAI REPORTER


ue to the gradual decline of COVID-19 cases, the California Department of Public Health announced the return of outdoor sports in Southern California on Feb. 19. Counties whose cases are within the required adjusted rate of 14 cases or lower per 100,000 people have been authorized to begin outdoor sports. Los

Angeles, Orange, and San Luis Obispo Counties barely managed to meet the adjusted case rate. Outdoor sports were set to return on Feb. 26 for applicable counties, enabling sports further away from the widespread, or purple, tier to resume. Some of these sports include cross country, track and field, and tennis. High physical contact sports, like football and soccer, can resume as long as their county has met the adjusted case rate goal and follow COVID-19 safety

guidelines. With the return of sports, there have been several modifications in order to procure definite safety. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) generated protocols that each sport must adhere to, which include wearing masks, social distancing when possible, and regular, or weekly, testing of athletes and coaches. Testing tools will be provided by the state to all schools at no charge. There are other guidelines that sports teams must partake in

Spring Fitness’s benefit on students ADWIK CHATURVEDI REPORTER


(Top) Two weights and a jump rope are laid onto a wooden table. (Bottom) A set of training equipment is depicted. Using equipmet is a common way to amp up any workout, both indoors and outdoors.

Spring is a revitalizing time with various traditions being celebrated on its behalf. One of which is Spring Fitness, a physical fitness tradition that motivates students to form and maintain healthy habits. As a growing tradition, students can partake in Spring Fitness to be healthier and learn about the importance of exercise. As the days get longer and warmer, many may feel increasingly motivated to exercise outside, which is why Spring Fitness was created. Even though the origins are unknown, people participate

based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Federation of State High School Associations, and past occurrences in high schools that held competitions. Students are expected to start outdoor practices by the second week of March. But before beginning practices, to be eligible to condition, students must have physical clearance, proof of insurance, and sign a COVID-19 waiver. Outdoor sports currently take priority on the

resumption process because the transmission rates are lower than indoor sports. However, CIF, CDC, and the governor’s office have been discussing a plan for indoor sports to resume as well. But if one’s county meets the caserate margin, indoor sports can be played outdoors. The status of sports resuming may change at any time depending on COVID-19 transmission rates, and school districts have the final call of finalizing the authorization of whether or not sports teams can play.

in the challenge to strengthen themselves with the option of adding their own twist to it. Being easily customizable to tailor one’s needs, the practice expands to a larger audience as rising numbers of people are accepting the Spring Fitness challenge to improve their health. Students are able to join the Spring Fitness tradition by challenging themselves for a month or longer through strict exercise plans. The variety of workouts include exercises extending from cardio to upper-body and lower-body training. This consists of jumping jacks, lifting weights, and performing crunches, all of which help improve cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and strength. When performing exercises with weights, make sure to start off with light weights before moving to heavier ones. This will aid the body in improving over time. These benefits are

able to set the fundamentals of future fitness habits based on current repetition and the establishment of routine. As obesity is still a serious problem in the world, exercise is becoming increasingly popular. In addition, greater emphasis is being made on staying physically active. Thus, it has gained popularity, making it one of the necessities in healthy living. The Spring Fitness challenge contributes to this, helping others understand that exercise plays an important role all year round. The confining nature of the pandemic restricts many students to their homes. It is harder to maintain the same level of physical activity, and Spring Fitness serves as the perfect opportunity and encouragement for some to pick up on staying active again. Adding needed benefits, Spring Fitness encourages participants to create and maintain profiting habits.

thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021



Sisters’ faith fosters ministry for homeless BY MYTAM LE FEATURES EDITOR


very day, approximately 66,433 homeless people sleep on the Los Angeles (LA) streets, a 12.7% increase from 2019. Last July, freshman Joyce Sycip and junior Johanna Sycip decided to establish Affirmed by Grace, a ministry striving to support the homeless. Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many to lose their homes and decreased the amount of resources available to the homeless, the two decided to intertwine their family and religious values in making a difference in others’ lives. “My mom has always had a compassionate, tender, generous, and loving heart towards the poor,” Johanna said. “She would tell me of her life in the Philippines and how poverty and homelessness were prominent. I was always taught to lend a hand to anyone in need. I think what really pushed this ministry to start was just the passion in my parents’ hearts, motivating us to help.” Growing up with a strong Christian background, the Sycip sisters recognized the privileges that God had provided them and that it was only right to spread kindness. They have also turned to their

faith for providence whenever their ministry endured financial hardships. “My faith has given me a happy attitude towards things that going to serve others doesn’t feel like a chore,” Joyce said. “Although there were times we didn’t have enough money in our ministry bank account, and worried about it, we got together and prayed that there would be water by the next time we went to LA. Then, the next day someone called us, offering water bottles.” Affirmed by Grace has raised over $800, despite only being founded seven months ago, and are hoping to raise $5,000 on their GoFundMe page to provide funding for the supplies used in their “blessing bags.” The bags contain snacks, socks, shirts, water, underwear, hand wipes, and other basic necessities. Other supplies that they offer include utensils, food containers, and food for the meals that the ministry makes. “The message we want to give to others is that there are endless ways to help, big or small,” Johanna said. “A word of encouragement, sharing our posts on social media, or asking your friends or family makes a difference. Like the Bible verse, 1 Peter 4:10 says, ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms.’”


(Middle) Johanna Sycip (center) and Joyce Sycip (right), receive donations, like tents, from their dentist and other supporters. They also create their “blessing bags” filled with clothes, toiletries, and food to give out to the homeless population in downtown L.A. as well as setting up the tents for some.

Perez prepares for career in counseling students Allison Perez, career and counseling intern, guides students in their career aspirations and goals. TIFFANY NGUYGEN FEATURES EDITOR


Allison Perez, career and college counseling intern, reads “Aladdin” to her preschool students. She uses what she learns as a preschool teacher to be an effective and versatile intern for high school students.

As a college student, Allison Perez, career and college counseling intern, mindlessly registers for the “Child Development 10” class to get her general education course over with. Almost a decade later, she spends her days enthusiastically working with preschool children. From their fiery temper tantrums to their infectious senses of curiosity, Perez never guessed that one college class would alter her perspective forever. Since mid-January, Perez has been interning at the school under Career Technical Education Adviser Paulina Serrano, while working as a preschool teacher. She weaves her work experiences into her career advising.

“I love learning how to be a counselor and seeing a different side of counseling other than the typical socio-emotional part of it,” Perez said. “This one’s more academic and career-

“I’ve learned a lot from child development, especially that every little victory is a great victory.” Allison Perez College counseling intern based. It’s an area that I’d like to learn more about, especially since having a great community college counselor in high school is essential.” Although Perez enjoyed working with younger students, this new career venture is a “breath of fresh air” that will round out her skills in child development. Despite the age difference in the

groups of students she works with, Perez acknowledges that there is handful of similarities, and her experience has ensured her a relatively smooth transition. “I work with four to five year olds, and a lot of what I do is working on how they feel and express themselves,” Perez said. “I feel like teenagers also are going through the same changes. They don’t always understand their feelings. The difference is that you have to come at them from a different angle.” Perez will be hosting a Zoom workshop to discuss the nuances of child development with students tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. She aspires to share her insight, experiences, and enthusiasm with students who might fall in love with the study of child development like she did. “I’ve learned a lot from child development, especially that every little victory is a great victory,” Perez said. “I hope that people will see that pursuing the field of child development is not just sitting on a rug and playing with toys with kids. You can do so much more with it and make such a big difference.”



thematadorsghs.us WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021

Strong as ‘steele’ after cancer Since her diagnosis last year, junior Danielle Steele recounts her journey with the debilitating lymphoma and the aftermath of treatment. BY AMANDA LERMA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DIGITAL


he sickly chemical scent of the hospital stirred her stomach in nausea. Her doctor’s voice rang out over the phone put on speaker. It echoed in the silent room, all ears focused on the spoken words. She took a minute to exhale before shaking her head in relief. The most recent test results came back negative. There were no more signs of cancer. Battling lymphoma since this time last year, junior Danielle Steele received positron emission tomography, or PET scan, results declaring her negative for cancer on March 3. Her original progression to radiotherapy left her hopeful. It was an easier treatment, despite the burnt neck and sore throat. However, the news of reaching the first stage of recovery triumphed over the hardships. “We didn’t really know for sure if I was okay or if the treatment worked,” Steele said. “But it did work. We just have to wait for my other doctor to say the same. I think everything is fine. We were really happy about everything because it was really hard to get here.” Weeklong preparations and recuperations from chemotherapy sessions were demanding on her body, threatening her resolve to endure the treatment. Chemotherapy was an excruciating, but necessary, obstacle for healing. Even after the resolution of radiotherapy and movement into recovery, her chemotherapy experience continues to haunt Steele. “Chemo was very traumatizing,” Steele said. “Every time I go to a hospital, I start getting nauseous. Even for blood tests, I get really sick in my stomach because it’s hard.

Upon receiving concerns about a lump on her neck, Steele was directed to a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.

She underwent a bone marrow surgery following the diagnosis.

I’m traumatized by the hospital, the people that work there, and the needles.” While hospitals are a remembrance of pain, the salon offers an unclear line of health and sickness. Her losing her hair meant that the treatment was going as planned, yet Steele struggled to cope when it began. “I thought I didn’t lose any hair but I actually did,” Steele said. “When I dyed my hair again, the girl that did my hair was like, ‘Oh, your hair fell out a little bit.’ I asked her to take a picture of it and show me. My hair fell out a lot in the back but it’s growing back now. I thought it was going to grow really slowly, but it’s a lot of new baby hairs.” Steele has been focused on strengthening her health following treatment. No longer limited by exhaustion, she is rebuilding her physical strength after chemotherapy weakened her. Concentrated on establishing a healthy lifestyle, Steele is taking initiative to improve her physical and mental health. “I feel way better,” Steele said. “I wake up every day earlier than I did before and started working out. I have a lot more energy. I started eating way better than I did before, and I always make homemade things. I used to journal a lot, and I have a gratitude notebook. I write in it every day, and that helped me a lot.” Optimistic on no recurrence of the lymphoma, testing will ensure the positivity of her health, and if facing any recurrences with cancer, treatment will be minor. Although currently stuck in Costa Rica due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Steele is excited to return to the U.S., as she can enjoy a sense of normalcy again. “I can start my life like normal again,” Steele said. “I want to get past this, see my big sister, and go to the beach so badly. I’m going to get through it and be happy. I have turned my life around, and I’m starting to look at things more positively.”

Her radiotherapy treatment started, specifically targeting the lymphoma cells and leaving faded black dots on her neck.


(Right) An IV is injected into junior Danielle Steele’s arm. In the midst of her fight with cancer, she has gained support from her friends and family. “A lot of my friends started donating their hair, and my aunt did the same,” Steele said. “My dad also sends me a bunch of articles about people with cancer and how they dealt with it.”


June 2020

July 2020

Sept. 2020

She began her Steele’s biopsy chemotherapy tested positive treatment and received an infusion for cancer, of cancer-killing drugs and she was throughout her body. diagnosed with stage two lymphoma.

Nov. 2020

Excruciating chemotherapy ended and marked the next step into treatment.

March 2021

Steele is moving forward into recovery following her most recent PET scan coming up negative for cancer.

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The Matador: Issue 7 - March 10, 2021  

The Matador: Issue 7 - March 10, 2021