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Tour of California heads through Sacramento with Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer

See page 10

Rio Americano High School • Sacramento, CA

Volume 48, Issue 10

May 28, 2010

Pro riders and school commuters cycle through

Bike Month


Sophomore John Sockolov and freshman AJ Sanders ride their bike homes from school on the levee in honor of May being bike month. The are pictured here riding down to the bike trail from the levee right behind Rio.

See complete coverage of Bike Month on page 10 and 11

This Issue

Online Read and comment on this issue of The Mirada and additional features at

Girls soccer makes it to San-Joaquin Section Championship

See page 20

Band students travel to New York

See page 2

Art students decorate the campus

See page 12

Rio alumn, Shon McFessel shares a frightening experience and other awesome adventures

See page 6


Page 2 • The Mirada

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dances keep step Exchange students say their last goodbyes with social change Salukes! Au revoir! By SARAH VAIRA Mirada Staff

An evening trademarked by long gowns, lavish hairstyles, and spiffy bow ties, better known as prom, is an event eternally glorified in the typical high school mind. The anticipation and celebration of prom is commonly shared by all students- gay or straight. While it is the established practice for teenage boys and girls to attend the dance together, same sex prom dates are turning the traditional tide. Despite recent controversy over same sex prom dates, Rio Americano High School’s policy regarding gay and lesbian attendance at school dances match the progressive trend. “If someone wants to bring a guest, male or female it doesn’t matter, as long as they fill out the right paper work,” principal Brian Ginter said. “We have a dance and whoever comes, comes.” During his first year as principal Ginter has not noticed any animosity towards gay and lesbian students. Compared to his previous Pennsylvania high school, he considers Rio a very accepting campus of all sexual orientations and cannot see an issue at dances. Student agree with the school’s open minded policy and Ginter’s gay-friendly observation. “If I wanted to bring a guy [to a dance] I would,” junior David Vallejo said, “It’s curious to me what everyone’s reaction would be but I know that nobody would start anything obnoxious.” Despite the campus wide acceptance, gay students are aware but are not threatened by those who are more apprehensive about homosexuality. “I’m sure there are people who would be less comfortable, but I’m sure no one would be outwardly malicious,” junior Sean Shelton said. Rio Americano High School is not the only local establishment to support gay attendance at prom and other dances. Last month, the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center threw their second annual queer prom at the Pagoda building in downtown Sacramento. The event was introduced last year for homosexual teenagers looking for self expression outside of traditional school proms. Freshman Chance Dunbar attended the queer prom and described the dance as a “friendly environment” filled with “a lot of people really enjoying themselves.” The dance was decorated to the “Hollywood Glamor” theme, complete with a red carpet, DJ, and paparazzi photography. “Everyone was smiling and people gave you compliments.” Dunbar said. The communities acceptance of homosexuality and Rio’s support of gay and lesbian students at dances carries over to the average school day. “I feel comfortable in my own skin at school,” Vallejo said. The campus’ tolerant and cordial ambience is noted by students. “Rio is a pretty safe place to be,” Shelton said, “there’s really never been a problem.” As the push for gay and lesbian equality is met by a shove, Rio’s policy and its students propel homosexual progress.

It was a very good and unique experience this year. At the beginning it was really hard because it was really different, but I had a really good family over here, it made it easier to get used to everything. I enjoyed school because you have a lot of sports. I played in the tennis team during the first season and it was really nice. I met so many amazing people this year that I cannot even remember all their names. I love California because I like the sun, I’m going to miss that too. The coolest thing about the exchange year is you can go to so many different places and meet so many different people. I’m excited to come home, but I’m also sad to leave at the same time. The year went so fast. I will never forget this year. It was the best year in all my life.

-Linda Tilkin, 11 Belgium

My time spent here has been a great experience. The United States is so much different than the Normandy Coast of France, but I stayed with a very friendly family, the Cofers, and they helped me feel very comfortable. There are a lot of things I will miss about the United States such as the nice weather and the friends I have made. I’ve had a lot of fun here, especially with my closest US friend, Max Jensen. We will definitely stay in touch. The food in this country is something I will not miss though. Most of the food here is junk food, and I did not like Rio’s cafeteria food at all. Also, the schools here are much more strict than they are in France. In France we have open campuses and there are a lot less rules. But I still had an incredible time with everyone here, and I am very thankful for this adventure.

-Simon Braun, 11 France

Adios! I really had a great time here. I stayed with a great family, the Sheridans. They were really nice and made me feel like part of their family. My favorite part of staying here and going to Rio was meeting new people and new friends. I loved hanging out on the weekends with them, and I hope to keep in touch on Facebook. I also really enjoyed being a part of the Rio soccer team. I’ll never forget how the coach gave us so many funny rules like, “Don’t kick the ball over the fence or you’ll be benched!” While I’m happy to be going home, I’m going to miss everyone here. I’ll miss you guys!

-Guillerme Machado, 11 Brazil

Keep river safety in mind over summer By TATE ROUNTREE Mirada Staff

Ashton, Estates, and Paradise Beach are just a few of the popular local river spots. With summer quickly approaching and the weather warming up, many students are enjoying their free time down at the river. Although the river days may be filled with fun and excitement, there are still many precautions one must take to ensure those fun filled days last. Each year people drown while swimming in the American River. The American River is notorious for deathly currents and under-tows, each ending helpless lives along the river. The first step one must take is to wear a life jacket while swimming in the river. Even if you think you know the water and how it works, that’s not always the case. In 2007 a 19 year-old man drowned while swimming in Discovery Park, the man had made the swim numerous times, but this time he was taken under. Kids ages 13 and under must wear a life jacket while on a boat, or swimming in the water. As many park rangers say, “Kids don’t

float.” And just in case you don’t have a life jacket, many river accesses along the American River offer free life jackets to promote river safety. And remember not everything is as it appears to be. You may think the current is going one way, and that you have it under control but the reality of the river is that it surprises you. Drowning isn’t the only life threatening risk that the American River Parkway offers. This area is prone to rattlesnakes and this is the time of year that baby rattlesnakes are just coming out of their mother. The babies are much more dangerous than the older snakes, because they have no control of the amount of venom they release into their victim. If you want to avoid the snakes, the best way is to stay on the bike trail. But if you do venture off into the unknown, try to avoid the knee-high grass, and pay attention to where you walk. With this knowledge, be ready for the unexpected and stay safe this summer while enjoying your care free days along the American River Parkway.


Many students overlook the dangers of rattlesnakes when hanging out by the river. Above, a rattlesnake sneaks up on one of our photographers. Rattlesnakes are especially dangerous because of their ability to camouflage themselves with the river landscape.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Civitas students mix ‘Pancakes and Politics’ with Mayor Kevin Johnson


Senior John Butterfield presents Mayor Kevin Johnson with a basketball signed by the freshman and sophomore Civitas students and a Civitas t-shirt after the Mayor presented community service awards and spoke on the importance of community service to Sacramento.

Grandma says goodbye: After 19 years of serving

Rio, Pat Starr takes off her gloves and gets out of the kitchen

Page 3 • The Mirada

Welcome to cyberschool: Online classes now available the cost...It’s so muddled. It’s pitting payers against those who aren’t paying which isn’t good.” Once enrolled, the online course gives access to the an online textbook, practice assignments, student forums, and live chat. There is a teacher for the NUVHS courses who is available to help all the students with their studies. The instructor answers questions on the forums or participates in the real time chat. The best part is the course can be done wherever and whenever the students choose. However, you can only take one full online course per year. In other words, 10 credits can be earned by online courses and 10 credits can be earned by summer school per year, but no more. “For some people, online courses are the only way,” Jensen said, “Summer school is very limited, and in some school districts they aren’t even offering it.” To apply for on online course, just fill out the form which can be obtained from the San Juan District Website. It only takes a few minutes, and asks very basic information like name, birth date, phone number and current school. The requirements to apply for an online course include approval from a school administrator. Reasons to take a course must be: for make-up, grade improvement, or an impacted schedule.


Courses are now available at the Virtual High School; simply use the nearest internet access to attend class. You can now enroll in online courses at two different virtual high schools and get credit as if you had taken a full year of class at Rio Americano. Brigham Young University and National University Virtual High School are the two online high schools that have courses already approved for credit within the San Juan school district. Many students have already taken online classes in order to complete the quarter-year health course, but there are several other courses that can be taken online. Not only that, “[SJUSD] is looking to add more,” counselor Heather Jensen said. The math courses include Prealgebra all the way up to Pre-Calculus. There is also English 10 and Economics available. English 12, World History, US History are also offered, but only for one semester credit, and not a full year. The cost for taking online courses ranges from $124 to $375, but there is also a $60 application fee for NUVHS. “These courses are accepted by the UCs, but not all colleges,” Jensen said. “We’re not encouraging students to take them because of

Available classes: Full year:

Half year:

• • • • •

• • • • •

English 10 Pre-Algebra Algebra 1 Geometry Algebra 2

English 4 World History US History Economics Health

For application information: CourseEnrollmentApplication.pdf

See her goodbye letter on page 9


Page 4 • The Mirada

Friday, May 28, 2010

A New York State of Mind

At prestigious Essentially Ellington festival, Jazz band takes a bite out of the Big Apple By ALEX KLEEMANN Mirada Staff

While many were studying for AP tests, the AM jazz band was in more than just a New York state of mind. On May 6th, the band left for New York where they stayed for 6 days participating in one of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals and enjoying the city. The festival, Essentially Ellington, is the brain child of jazz great Wynton Marsalis and is put on every year by Jazz at the Lincoln Center to promote youth involvement in and the preservation of jazz music. "It's the greatest jazz festival in the world," senior Zach Giberson said. The band was ecstatic to be accepted into the festival. It is only Rio's 5th time going to Ellington, having previously gone in 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2007. "It's a tremendous honor and it's our goal every year," band director Josh Murray said. AM was one of 15 bands selected to head to New York for the festival. "The Lincoln Orchestra had someone transcribe the music of Duke Ellington and other composers and sent it to 1500 bands across the nation," senior Scott Buchanan said. "Out of the 96 that sent in recordings, 15 were chosen." It's no surprise AM was chosen, the band is exceptionally good. "This year's group is exceptionally hard working, very passionate about music, and quite talented," Murray said. Of the 15 bands at the festival, judges chose three top bands who got the privilege of playing with Wynton Marsalis on the last night of the festival. Though AM did not place in the top three there were no hard feelings. "While we did not make the top three, we were satisfied with our playing," Giberson said."The bands that did make the top three were phenomenal." Playing at the festival itself was an amazing opportunity. "Playing was the best part because that's what we had been working for the entire year," Giberson said. Though our boys, and girl, did not make the top three, the

Spaghett! named best high school jazz combo band in the nation by downbeat magazine By DANIELLE ARBIOS Mirada Staff




SEAN SHELTON/Guest Photographer

Clockwise above: 1) The entire AM jazz band played their official performance on the stage at the Lincoln Center. 2) The boys play a jam session backed by a looming face of Duke Ellington and a breathtaking view of the city. 3) AM poses in their tuxes in Columbus Square. 4) Juniors Miles Roberto and Victor San Pedro and Senior Zach Darf stare in awe at the fountain outside the Lincoln center while they try to click a pix.

players received a number of individual awards: the entire rhythm section got an honorable mention, senior Aneil Dhillon also received an honorable mention for tenor saxophone, senior Zach Darf got outstanding tenor saxophone, junior guitar player Victor San Pedro was named outstanding soloist (so there all those who criticized his solos during the National Anthem), and Zach Giberson and junior Graham Smith received outstanding alto saxophone. "I was surprised and hon-

ored," Smith said. All were proud to receive an award at this major Jazz festival. "I was excited to be recognized by the jazz greats that were the judges," Darf said. The group also got a chance to play with some of the world's best jazz musicians. "We got to play with several professional musicians in the Lincoln Center Orchestra," Giberson said. "We jammed with some of the best musicians in the world." The bands amazing opportu-

3 nities went far beyond Essentially Ellington. The band attended several jazz shows, saw Saturday Night Live Studio, watched the Broadway play Fela, chilled at Central Park and downed a lot of Mariela's pizza. "I had 20+ slices of pizza," Dhillon said. After a lot of hard work, the band of 17 thoroughly enjoyed their stay in New York. "We put all our hearts into getting to New York, and we left them in New York," junior Miles Roberto said.

Though the name Spaghett! may sound like a shortened version of the word spaghetti, our very own jazz combo band is nothing to compare to pasta. In fact, the group just won best high school jazz combo band in the nation in Downbeat Magazine’s 33rd Student Music Awards. Spagehtt!, consisting of seniors Zach Darf, Zach Giberson and Nathan Swedlow, and juniors David Williams, Victor San Pedro and Jarrett Tracy, have been a combo band since only the beginning of this school year; yet, they became close very quickly. “Playing together gives us a fun way to connect with each other in a musical way,” Swedlow said. “We’re all good friends.” Their connection has definitely paid off. Their award in Downbeat Magazine, which will appear in the June issue (don’t forget to pick up a copy!), was given to them after they sent in three recordings of music they had made including “The Ladder” written by the band’s Giberson, Giberson’s composition of the song “A Call For All Demons” originally by Sun Ra, and “Humble Beginnings” by San Pedro. “After we sent the music in, we just kind of waited for them to announce the results,” Tracy said. “It was an absolutely amazing feeling to win.” In particular, senior Zach Giberson stood out to Downbeat; he received two individual awards: Outstanding Performer in the original song category for his song “The Ladder” and National Winner in the jazz arrangement category for “A Call For All Demons.” “I was really surprised because I had no idea how I would place,” Giberson said. “You don’t know who’s applying. I was very satisfied.” In addition to their Downbeat award, the group has won numerous other awards as well, such first place at the Folsom Jazz Festival, the “Spirit of Charles Mingus” award at the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and fourth place at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey. “In Folsom the band finally started really clicking and making magic happen,” San Pedro said. “In Monterey we didn’t live up to our expectations, but when we got the Downbeat award I was very proud of the group and happy for the recognition.” After such a successful year, all three seniors of Spaghett! are sad to leave their band, but excited to go off to college. The three plan on incorporating music into their studies as well. Swedlow will be attending Oberlin College, Giberson will be attending the Berklee College of Music and Darf will be attending the University of Oregon. The juniors in Spagehtt! plan on continuing with another combo band, including juniors Miles Roberto, Tuan Phan and Graham Smith, that has been together since freshman year. “We had already had a crazy year: going to New York together, winning Folsom, being one of the six combos in the country to be accepted into the Monterey Jazz Festival, and AM jazz band getting into Essentially Ellington,” Tracy said. “This definitely was an awesome way to end the year for our combo.” The band had one final performance and celebration on Tuesday where they served free spaghetti for all.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 5 • The Mirada

School’s out forever

Biology teacher Steve Ruggiero and Mathematics teacher Tom Kossack celebrate their last days of teaching as they prepare to retire By ROHITH SACHDEVA DYLAN CARTER Mirada Staff

With a combined total of 70 years teaching, Stephen Ruggiero and Tom Kossack have some experience under their belts. Both started their teaching careers in the ‘70s with Ruggiero coming to Rio in 1971 and Kossack following 8 years later in 1979. Ruggiero has taught science classes that include Chemistry, Biology, and AP Biology for 39 years. Kossack has taught Algebra I, Algebra II and Statistics for his 31 years here. Kossack is known for his jokes and off beat sense of humor. Ruggiero is known for his hands-on lessons including dissections of fetal pigs. Ruggiero has always been interested in science, he said, in part because of his fourth grade science teacher and field trips to the teacher’s own home to show her students a shrunken head that she owned. Kossack “figured [math] out, and it all added up.” Because of this revelation, he too became a high school teacher.. Before joining the teaching staff, Kossack and Ruggiero both attended Sacramento State with Ruggiero also attending the Santa Clara. They both enjoy interacting with their students, with Kossack noting that its “sort of like baby sitting”. When not teaching, Ruggiero enjoys Bonzai gardening, reading and traveling. With more free time after retiring he hopes to travel with his wife to Ireland as well as building a pizza oven in his backyard. Kossack is looking forward to spending his time tearing it up on the golf course and visiting Italy next spring. Throughout all of his years teaching, Ruggiero remembers one particular moment that he will always cherish forever. “A student of mine wrote a book and acknowledged me in the forward cover” said Ruggiero. “At least I got one person to listen to my lectures.” Kossack, in his first year coaching baseball, recalls his players giving him a gift and remarking that “[Kossack] taught us much more than just baseball.” Instead of memorizing lectures and formulas, Kossack hopes his students apply the skills they have learned and have a greater appreciation for the subject itself, a view with which Ruggiero agrees. Govind Raghavan, a senior in Mr. Ruggiero’s AP Bio class, has nothing but positive feedback for his teacher. “In AP Bio this year, not only was the class entertaining but I learned

Strategic Action Committee lays out plans for next year By ALLI HENDERSON Mirada Staff


2010 JARETT HARTMAN/Mirada Staff

1979 a lot of information we finished the entire textbook,” Raghavan said. “Mr. Ruggiero is hilarious and really knows his biology and I enjoyed being in his class.” Kenny Moulton, a junior who previously had Kossack remembers him as one of his favorite teachers. “He was a great teacher who was able to teach and joke around while keeping the class interested in math,” Moulton said. When asked why they are leaving now, Ruggiero said that “It’s time to move on and pass along the torch.” Kossack, being his usual self, replied sarcastically: “Because I can.”

2010 JARETT HARTMAN/Mirada Staff

ALEX MCFALL/Mirada Staff

One of Mr. Ruggiero’s many hands-on lab projects includes a dissection of a fetal pig. Above, Ruggiero assists senior Alex Reinnoldt with the project

With the newly passed Strategic Plan, big changes are coming. One of the goals is to make the transition to high school easier for the freshmen class. Therefore, a “LinkCrew” will be implemented. Approximately 100 upperclassmen will be chosen as LinkCrew Leaders, who will act as mentors to the freshmen class. “I’m applying to be a LinkLeader because I wish someone older would’ve helped me get through my first year of high school,” junior Danielle Koire said. “I want to get everyone involved in things together at Rio, and I think that upperclassmen helping out freshmen is a good start.” Over summer, these LinkCrew leaders will have two days of training in preparation for the main event, Frosh Orientation. Then, throughout the year, LinkCrew leaders and their 9th grade partners will participate in fun monthly activities. In addition to making the transition to high school easier, the LinkCrew will hopefully result in fewer discipline issues and increased involvement for all students. The creation of a student store is another part of the plan. This student store will be located on campus, and will sell Raider gear to generate more school spirit and pride. Another part of the plan that will effect all students is the new community service requirement. The exact amount of community service required has not been finalized, but it will most likely be 10 hours per year. A weekly community service newsflash and a display case by the library will present various ideas for students looking for community service opportunities. Some students, however, do not like the idea of making community service a requirement. “I think community service is very important for students to partake in,” junior Jacqueline Grossbard said, “but I think by requiring hours it would go against the essence of community service, which is to be selfless and do something with no expectation of something in return.” All of these changes are coming for a reason, to make Rio even better. If all goes according to plan, students will participate in more school related activities and community service, and the number of students who receive passing grades will increase by 10% each year.

Page 6 • The Mirada


Friday, May 28, 2010

‘Crazy life’ almost leads to Iranian jail Rio alumn Shon Meckfessel was bassist for Cake and wrote a book about the Balkans, but illness By DANIELLE ARBIOS kept him from being arrested with his 3 friends Mirada Staff


U.S., besides finishing college, including hopping t was a normal day. freight trains around the country, which I also Shon Meckfessel, a 37 year old 1991 Rio wrote a zine about,” Meckfessel said. Americano alumnus living in Seattle, In 1999, he returned to backpack in Eastern planned a hike in Kurdish region of Iraq while Europe, particularly in the Balkans area. This is on a 10-day vacation with friends Josh Fattal and where he got ideas to write his book, with a title Shane Bauer, both 27, Sarah Shroud, 31. inspired by the label on an Albanian water bottle, Bauer and Shroud had been working in the “Suffled How It Gush: A North American AnarMiddle East and Meckfessel, himself a seasoned chist in the Balkans.” traveler, and Fattal were visiting them for the The purpose of the book, according to Mecksummer. fessel, was to relay to Americans what was really When he felt sick with a fever, Meckfessel happening in the Balkans during the decided to stay behind and rest in the city Sula1999 NATO bombings. maniyah, while his friends went on hike to a nearby village and beautiful waterfall the locals had told them about. The three friends stayed on the same trail the entire time without any warning of possible danger, because the Kurdish Iraq area is considered very safe for Americans. After talking on cell phones a few times and planning to rejoin the group, Meckfessel got a call from his friends that they had been arrested for crossing into Iran. The international affair began on July 31, 2009. The three Americans remain in Courtesy of Shon Meckfessel an Iranian prison, and Meckfessel continues to advocate for their release. As an international traveler, author of a book on the Balkans, and original bassist for the band Cake, Meckfessel has seen a lot, but the events that began last summer stand out. “I’ve lived a pretty crazy life, but this has got to be the craziest,” Meckfessel said in a telephone interview. Meckfessel, who teaches English as a second language, will be getting his masters from the University of Washington this month and is also working on his PhD in language and rhetoric. “If anybody wants to see the world, the easiest way to get around is teaching ESL,” Meckfessel said. “It’s very easy to get a job teaching ESL.” However, Meckfessel did not obtain his degrees in a normal fashion. While still at Rio and a member of the jazz band, he became the original bassist for Cake, and stayed with the band for about a year and a half, leaving before the breakout 1994 album “Motorcade of Generosity.” “I quit Cake to go traveling, but I’m glad I got out of them when I did,” Meckfessel said. “Cake became the emblematic band for the 90’s ironic distance--not my thing at all.” Besides his jazz band class, he also loved English. “Rio was definitely part of what got me interest in traveling and writing,” Meckfessel said. “I had a great English class with a teacher, Mr. Lawrence. He instilled a passion for literature and new thinking into students.” After leaving Cake, he took a few months off to travel in Europe and Canada. After touring for six months, he came back to the United States and attended St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M. Courtesy of the Tesoro “For most of the ‘90s I traveled around the

“I met a lot of really amazing people and got the strong feeling that most of what people heard and thought about the area was misguided,” said Meckfessel, who went back to this same area 10 times over the next three years. Meckfessel’s desire to relate the real situation in areas of war is also what drove him to go to Iraq and visit his friends who had been staying there a year. They, too, had been “doing amazing writing

“I’ve lived a pretty crazy life, but this has got to be the craziest”

Courtesy of Shon Meckfessel

about the culture and the people in the Middle East and trying to clear up misunderstandings of the U.S.,” he said. Though this hiking incident happened months ago, just last week the mothers of the three detained hikers were allowed to visit their children in prison in Iran. “At the beginning I was kind of optimistic that they would let them out (in connection with the visit), but I’m not sure now,” Meckfessell said. “It’s good that their parents got to see them.” According to an Associated Press article earlier this week, the mothers, now back in the U.S., still have hope for the release of their children. Two of the hikers, Bauer and Shroud, even became engaged to be married during Courtesy of Shon Meckfessel one of their daily exercise periods, illustrating the optimism they have in their situation. “I think Shane and Sarah getting engaged is the sweetest thing ever!,” Meckfessel said. “I got teary-eyed when I read about their rings, which they wove from strings Shane pulled from his prison shirt.” The normal amount of time prisoners are held after such an incident is usually only three to four months. After over nine months now, Meckfessel said he knows that his friends will be released eventually, but couldn’t say Courtesy of when. Meanwhile Meckfessel encourages everyone he knows to look at his friends’ writing, which they were working on during their year long stay in Iraq. He recommends Bauer’s June 22, 2009, cover story in “The Nation,” “Iraq’s New Death Squads,” and Shroud’s blog called “Through Unfettered Eyes: Dispatches From Addis Ababa to Damascus.” “Even if you’re knowledgeable, you might not have all the information you need,” Meckfessel said. “It’s frustrating how their backgrounds and what they do hasn’t gotten out there.” Ironically, Meckefessl said that if he has learned anything from his experience, it’s to encourage people to continue traveling. “If you read our writing, we live our lives to encourage people to go out and see the world and get to understand misunderstood cultures,” Meckfessel said. “I’m probably the last person to say this now, but I wouldn’t want our example to discourage anyone from going and seeing the world.”

Clockwise from the top left: Shon holds a lizard he came across during a hike through the Sahara desert in Tunisia on one of his many crazy adventures. Top right: Shon sips from a tea glass while visitng an Iraqi neighborhood in Dmascus, Syria. Middle right: Shon’s three companions, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, were arrested by Iranian authorities after accidentally crossing the border into Iran while hiking through Iraqi wilderness. The three are shown here hugging their mothers, who got visas to see their children in Iran. Bottom right: In addition to all of his travels, Meckfessel has also written a book. Suffled How it Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans is the a novel about the 1999 NATO bombing in the Balkans. Bottom left: Shown here in his 1991 senior portrait, Shon Meckfessel enjoyed English and band class with Joe Lawrence.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 7 • The Mirada


4540 American River Dr. Sacramento, CA 95864 (916) 971-8921 ext. 80 Editors-in-Chief Sarah Vaira Jessie Shapiro Alex Kleemann News Editors Jessie Shapiro Alex Kleemann Opinion Editors Jessica Obert Danielle Arbios Sports Editors Sarah Vaira Alli Henderson Features Editors Alex Chan Tate Rountree Photo Editor Jarett Hartman Staff Writers Suzanna Akins Riva Ballis Jesse Bartels Dylan Cartier Gina Garibaldi Jarett Hartman Thomas Hemington Dayna Isaacs Eugene Kwon Scott MacDonald Elise Marsh Tandena Nelson Summer ParkerPerry Rohith Sachdeva Rebecca Sanford Andrew Spittler Rachel Tochterman Business Manager Molly Ingram Adviser Michael Mahoney The Mirada is the independent voice of the students and a forum for diverse ideas published by Rio Americano’s newspaper class. The Mirada welcomes story ideas, comics, letters to the editor and opinion pieces. Submit articles and letters to the box in A3 or the main office. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the Mirada editorial board. Opinion articles and letters to the editor are the views of the individual writer and not necessarily the views of the Mirada or Rio Americano High School. We welcome advertising, but reserve the right to refuse any ad.


Community service: selfless, or selfish?


ommunity service is essential to sustain society. Without reaching out and helping others, our communities would fall apart. Community service, for some, is a great way to help others; and for others it is a treacherous deed, which takes more work than it’s worth. However, even kids who are unwilling to do community service often feel like it is a rewarding experience after going out into the community. Activism allows even the most reluctant students to feel good about themselves while helping others as well. Many teenagers don’t find community service interesting or worthwhile, seeing as they have their whole lives to get involved. These kids just need a push in the right direction. What many teens don’t realize is that there is only that one moment, that one chance, to make that one impact. The problem is some students don’t understand how much of an impact it makes to volunteer, and how many people are affected. This misconception is why it’s a great idea for schools to get kids involved and familiar with community service programs. Required service hours teach students to help others so later in life they can

OUR VIEW still help if they choose. Civitas is a great program that encourages students to get involved. Civitas is a political studies academy where students are encouraged to engage themselves in politics and become socially aware. Part of the requirements of the program is to fulfill 100 hours of community service by the end of senior year. By making community service part of a student’s grade, it gives students initiative to start doing community service. Also, many students involved in Civitas find it invigorating and inspirational; it’s their job to find out the many opportunities available for students because those not involved in Civitas are not aware of these events. Requiring service hours leaves kids with no choice but to seek out the otherwise unknown service projects. If there are more events and opportunities, then more people will find something they’re interested in and be more likely to volunteer outside of school. Although it may seem that high school is just a place of learning, not a place of required volunteer-

ing, required community service is becoming a huge movement throughout many high schools. Next year, the school is planning on requiring ten hours of community service from each student; it’s a step in the right direction. Eventually having more than ten hours required would be ideal, as it would cause students to contribute more of their time to help the community. For now, though, just thinking about getting students involved to reach out towards others, will ultimately better the volunterring students and the school’s value. It doesn’t matter how or why the kids are doing community service, or if they are “willing” or excited about it, because either way community service is getting done. If every school requires community service for every student, then the community would have a whole new dimension helping them out. If they are happy to help, good. If not, still good, because they need character building and need to learn how to enjoy helping and giving back to the community. Once they are introduced to community service, who knows? Maybe they’ll love it. It’s like soup, you love it or you don’t. Have a little taste of soup, and go do some community service.

Should community service be a graduation requirement? Alex Engleburt,

9 “No, because you should want to do it on your own, and because it might cut into time you’d spend studying.”

Matt Saria, 10 “Yes, everyone should give back to the community. It’s a character builder! Be Green!!!”

Marc Yee, 11 “What has the community ever done for me?”

Jackson Wagner, 12 “Civitas already requires hours, and so do lots of other schools. I wouldn’t like it, but it would make sense.”


Page 8 • The Mirada

Friday, May 28, 2010

Is Arizona’s law the answer to illegal immigration? Yes: The new law is based on federal rules

Jessica Obert


hat is this world coming to when the state works to enforce laws that should be enforced by the federal government? I’m sure a lot of people don’t even know that the law recently passed to fight against illegal immigration are laws already in existence. The law that the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, passed only re-enforces an already existent federal ordinance. Instead of actually reading the law passed, people are taking myths the media has spread as simple fact. But what they are saying is not fact. Recently reported by the WSJ, nearly two-thirds of the American population agrees with Arizona, and 64% favor the law. It is already in federal law that it is illegal for an individual to not register with the government as well as there to be a sanctuary city, a city that protects illegal immigrants, though you are allowed to sue against such legislation. In addition, the law only allows police to arrest illegal aliens upon “reasonable suspicion;” they cannot arrest an individual because of the color of their skin. The rumor promoting racial profiling is a myth; in fact, it reduces the possibility of any such act more than the existing federal law, where section two is amended to say that police authorities “may not consider race, color, or national origin” when determining if one is an illegal immigrant or not. Before, the police officers only had to consider those factors, so this law actually makes an effort to protect the fourth amendment against racial profiling. Misinformation has led to rumors and outcries by the public over a law that only protects an already existent law. Arizona suffers a great deal due to illegal immigration, especially with the drug war spilling over the US border. As quoted by the Arizona State Senator, Johnathon Paton, by the AFP, “The violence in terms of kidnapping, home invasions, and assassinations here has increased. We

see the violence flowing from Mexico into the US and we’re seeing we have to take different steps.” Not to mention, Phoenix is home to the second most kidnappings in the world. Not only that, but due to illegal immigration, the California Census recently reported that it costs CA more than 10.5 billion a year to provide education, medical care and incarceration to illegal immigrants, placing an unfair $1,183 burden on each legal taxpaying citizen a year to cover the cost of illegal immigrants. Can you imagine how much Arizona must be suffering if Californians are having to pay this much? Another myth about the Arizona law is that the law requires one to carry registration that one was not already required to carry. In fact, since the 1940s, it has been a federal crime for an illegal alien to not carry registration documents. Also, since a license is supposed to only be handed to legal citizens, a license is a form of registration for American citizens. So, American citizens do not have to carry their birth certificates with them at all times. Myth number three: reasonable suspicion will lead to police misconduct. In truth, it does not do that as well, as exemplified in the Estrada v. Rhode Island case where a 15 year old was pulled over for a traffic violation and was asked for his license, which he did not have. Later, the boy told the officer that him and the passengers in the back were, in fact, illegal citizens. The law does not encourage law enforcement to pull over anyone they suspect to be illegal, just because; there has to be a legitimate reason. Lastly, myth number four, the law will enforce that police officers randomly pull over and question people. In reality, law enforcement can only question an individual if one is stopped or arrested. Even if one commences questioning ones’ legal status, law enforcement must call ICE to confirm whether a person is legal or not. The law in Arizona has been misconstrued to seem like an unconstitutional, racist law made to give law enforcement power to discriminate against hispanics. However, the state of Arizona, getting no help from the federal government is taking matters into their own hands, reinstating an already existent law, and protecting already legal U.S. citizens.

Sarah Vaira/Mirada Staff

No: The law is racist and unconstitutional

Alex Kleemann


ew Arizona legislation has made it clear that not only do illegal immigrants not have the right to reside in the U.S., but they no longer have rights. The new law, SB 1070, gives the police the right to arbitrarily identify, prosecute, and deport illegal aliens. It states that policemen can detain any “reasonably suspicious” person who is not carrying adequate proof of his/ her legal status. The law is the first to make not carrying identification and proof of legal status a misdemeanor. This new stringent anti-immigration policy has many obvious downfalls and was criticized by Obama himself (the White House rarely comments on state issues). The law not only allows but also promotes racial profiling. Though they recently added a measure to prevent this, by requiring police stop

only those who broke a law, not just people who looked “suspicious” or, in other words, Mexican, the legislation still gives policemen the power to arbitrarily decide who they bring to jail. This legislation opens the door for rampant misuse of police power. Anyone who looks “illegal” (i.e. Hispanic) can be pulled over for simply forgetting to use their blinker and go to jail for forgetting their ID. Anyone who is out of favor with a policeman can be arrested for simple absent-mindedness. One critic likened the treatment of illegal immigrants allowed by this bill to that of free blacks prior to 1863. Not only does this bill pave the way for abuse of police power, but it also provides the possibility of even more strain on our already ineffective justice system. The law creates yet another pointless crime--not carrying your birth certificate if you are Hispanic--to crowd the court system. The justice system is already inefficient and their are a number of laws that simply clog it up. What we need to do now is review and revise already ineffective laws, not add new ones. If one has the

unluckiness of immigrating to the U.S. legally and forgetting to carry their green card to the grocery store down the street where two bored cops are looking for someone to pick up, they should prepare to deal with a bunch of legal nonsense and inconvenience. The bill, meant to prevent illegal immigration, does little to stop people from coming to the United States or even effectively get rid of those who have already come. Illegal immigrants will have little knowledge of this legislation before they come, and the threat of deportation is already present without the law. This merely creates difficulty for those of us who talk with an accent, look a little different, and forget to carry around our birth certificates 24/7. Arizona’s new immigration law opens the door for racial profiling, abuse of police power, and an even less effective justice system. Forget about the people taking $3 for a job that most of us wouldn’t do for a $1 million. Instead, focus more on the murderers, capitalists, and dirty politicians who are really ruining our society.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 9 • The Mirada

Formspring: Another Bully? “A

By ALEX CHAN Mirada Staff

sk me anything.” These three words are the headline for popular question-and-answer site,, the latest social trend to hit the internet. A few months ago, Formspring was unknown. Friends asked each other innocuous questions such as “What’s your favorite color?” or “If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?” But ever since Formspring became the hottest social networking site since Facebook, things have changed. It is no longer the place where friends quiz each other, but now a place where internet bullies have the opportunity to attack their victims. Formspring’s most controversial feature is its ability for users to ask anonymous questions. This allows literally anyone to share their feelings about their peers, whether those feelings are nice or not. People don’t even ask questions on Formspring these days; instead, they use the site as a way to spread nasty remarks. Some of the things I’ve seen on Formspring are sickening. It’s difficult to believe that students can be so cruel to their fellow peers. “You are creepy. Stop trying to hit

Editor’s Inbox: Dear Mirada,

When reading the school newspaper, I always find the articles with statistics on students and their busy school schedules fitting into their daily lives interesting. I think more articles on how school deprives us of sleep and how we never have time to do anything but school work would make the newspaper more interesting. Who knows, maybe the teachers will catch on that they should give out less homework if the keep seeing articles related to those subjects. Thanks for making a great paper and keep up the good work!

-Stephanie Dalton, 11

Jarett Hartman

T Hannah Milstein/Guest Artist

on everyone when no one likes you,” one person wrote. “People tell you you’re attractive on Formspring, but they would never say that to your face,” another said. “Your senior ball dress was so ugly! My grandma dresses better than you,” one more person wrote. Formspring isn’t just limited to the usual cattiness of the female population. Even boys are insulting their friends with elementary school abuse such as “You’re fat” and “You smell bad.” I just don’t understand where people find the energy to say such disgusting things to their classmates.

Dear Mirada,

Today we live in a society where people think it is acceptable to pick on someone based on appearance, the way they move, talk, or are just different from the “norm” of everyone else. People make generalizations based on what they see, and more than 90 percent of the time, they are wrong. What people fail to realize is that the little things they say about people have long-term affects and ruin their high school lives. High school should be a time where people can learn and have fun without having to look behind their backs or change their appearances so people can treat them kindly. What I am trying to say is that, I want to see more articles on the effects people have on others through what they say, include statistics, and show people that they are not doing the right thing.

Everyone is exhausted from two weeks of AP testing in the middle of the month, yet the same people still have energy to get on the computer and concoct snarky comments to publicize on Formspring. The abuse on Formspring has spiraled out of control. There just isn’t any reason to spread animosity and cruelty over the internet. I don’t know about the rest of the Formspring population, but I grew up following the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” I find it even more disheartening when abuse victims constantly

respond to the nasty comments they receive. They write back with vicious snide, “Why don’t you get a life and leave me alone?” People shouldn’t have to deal with so much malice on a daily basis. Rather than spreading hatred, we should be spreading kindness and friendship. Write something nice on a friend’s profile. I know that it brightened my day even to see a comment in my inbox that said, “I loved your prom dress.” Don’t use Formspring as a platform for abuse; use it to be a good Samaritan, to make everyone’s day a little brighter.

Dear Mirada,

I really enjoy getting the Mirada each month. It’s fun and unique to read. My favorite part is reading the bachelor and bachelorette of the issue. I can tell you guys put a lot of hard work into it, and it pays off! Keep up the work and I can’t wait to read the next issue! -Macey Peterson, 10

Dear friends,

The 30 years with the District (Encina, Garfield, and the past 19 years here at Rio) have been the best! But now I have ended this chapter. I have enjoyed this campus, staff, and especially you students. So...I’ll say ‘Goodbye’ to all of you, I wish you well, and will wonder ‘what’s up?’! Best Wishes,

-Pat Starr

(aka Grandma)

-Michael Johnson, 9

Have an opinion? Submit your letters and/or articles with your name and grade L I A M online at



Sleep wear, the new school wear

o be completely honest, I love my pajamas. I love my pajamas so much that I even dare to wear them to school. I say “dare” because technically, according to San Juan Unified School District’s “Rules for Suspension and Expulsion,” pajamas fall under the category of “prohibited clothing.” However, labeling simple pajama pants as “prohibited” seems just a little unreasonable. According to San Juan’s list of the so-called forbidden clothing, pajamas fall under the exact same category as clothing that “promotes or symbolizes the use of drugs, alcoholic beverages, or tobacco,” as well as “clothing or accessories considered to denote gang lifestyle or affiliation, cult affiliation, satanic reference, profanity, or contempt for any race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.” It might just be me, but simple pajamas certainly do not belong anywhere on that list. And for pajamas to warrant suspension or even expulsion, that’s just insane. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why San Juan shouldn’t lift the “restriction” on pajamas. Cracking down on pajama-wearers isn’t and shouldn’t be too high of a priority on the administrators’ lists. Besides the fact that pajamas have absolutely nothing to do with Satan, cults, gangs, or illegal substances, pajamas aren’t at all a possible threat to “a positive, psychologically safe, and appropriate learning environment,” unlike the other items on the list. I mean, if anything, they would add a little variety to our school’s extremely boring pair-of-jeans-and-uggs-mold. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more colors other the dull blues and grays that seem to dominate the student body’s wardrobe. And on top of that, they’re comfortable. Fashion and a little flare, what could be better than that? Now, please understand when I say that we should be allowed to wear pajamas to school, I’m not advocating that everybody should come to school barely dressed or in revealing lingerie. But as students who spend close to seven hours everyday at school, a place that many consider a second home, we should be granted the right to be comfortable and to express our individuality. So why can’t SJUSD make this a winwin situation for both the students and the administration? By officially lifting the rule, maybe Rio would start looking a little livelier and brighter, and students could have a lot more fun with a wider array of possible clothing choices. As for me, I know I’ll keep wearing my pajamas to school. Will you?

Bike Month

May offers chain of events for cyclists B ANDREW SPITTLER Mirada Staff The bike: a wonderful, simple invention. No motor to repair, no oil to refill, and most of all no exhaust to damage the environment. A vehicle powered entirely on the pure adrenaline and agility of a living being. Of all modes of transportation deserving its own month, the bike is it. May is bike month. Bicyclists around the country are saddling their customized Specialized road bikes or dusting off their old Schwinns, and hitting the bike trail. We Sacramentans are surrounded by wonderful trails, scenery and weather for biking. Bike month advocates encourage people to take advantage of it. May also brought the Tour of California to Sacramento. Some of the best cyclists from around the world rode from Grass Valley to the Capitol, including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and and the tour champion, Michael Rogers. In another race, teachers and a student from Rio won their division at the 24 Hours of Cool. Chemistry teacher Phil Montbriand, math teacher William “George” Dunkum III, senior Nick Jimenez and Dunkum’s wife Asa were first in co-ed relay. But you don’t have to be a racer to participate Bike Month. For the past few months this reporter has started going out on weekend mornings and following the river trail for miles. It is a truly amazing experience: sun, rain, wind, hail, everyday holds a different beast to tackle. The American River bike path stretches from Folsom Dam westward to downtown Sacramento, a 64 mile round trip that rises 450 feet in elevation.

There are a dozen access points along the path that can lead you to main roads, so you can ride as long or short as you’d like. Perhaps one of my favorite qualities the bike path possesses is that it’s immediate surroundings hold a natural abundance of wildlife and vegetation, while modern civilization is only, at the most, half a mile away. At this time of year I would recommend starting your ride on a weekend morning. This way it wont be unbearably hot and you can acclimate to the trail as comfortably as possible. “Relaxing, beautiful, and voluptuous” is how senior Kevin Bush describes the American River bike path. “I don’t bike ride very often, but I’m planning on going a lot over summer. I can’t wait to ride everywhere on my bike. It’s going to be the best day ever,” said senior Alan Eyster. Though the trail can be a fun-loving, relaxing point of interest, there is plenty of danger and risk of disaster. The trail embodies a false sense of security if you do not give it’s surroundings the proper attention and respect they deserve. Economics and Psychology teacher, Kurt Cassaza, an avid bicyclist, has experienced his fair share of mishaps, though non have proved to be too serious. He rides the trail three to five days a week, and has racked up quite a number of total hours dodging miscellaneous wildlife along the way. “Unfortunately, I’ve hit two squirrels and a rabbit already. You have to watch out because they come out of nowhere,” said Cassaza. Cassaza also pointed out that it is very important to wear a helmet. Many bikers in the area have been caught by misfortune, such as being hit by cars or getting caught off guard by wildlife, and not wearing a helmet can be the difference between a quick recovery, or being in a wheelchair the rest of your life. Cassaza also organized 15 teachers to participate in a bike month challenge. Teachers set a goal of riding 3,100 miles during May. has set a goal of 1 million miles. As of last Friday the teachers had logged 2,200 miles Bike Month organizers strongly urge everyone to go out this summer and start some kind of new physical activity. It does not necessarily need to involve bike riding if that is not your type of thing, but I highly recommend it. If you are looking for a new healthy experience, grab that old bike from the attic, pump up those tires, and hit the pavement.




1. Dylan Cartier rides his bike along the levee after school. 2. Tour de France winner Lance Armstong bikes trhough Sacramento in the race. 3. Mark Cavendish and Michael Rodgers race through Nevada city. 4. Armstong looks on as he bikes. 5. A BMC Team rider pedals through the starting line at the 2010 tour of California.



Page 12 • The Mirada


Friday, May 28, 2010

Where art thou wall mural? Art students join together to paint a wall mural to reflect the start of the upcoming school year By JESSICA OBERT Mirada Staff

Attention: The wall mural by the art rooms is missing. But have no fear, it is still in the process of receving a new coat of paint. In art teacher Leslie Cusick’s room, students gather every day to work on the latest mural, which combines different ideas and styles to create a lasting piece of Rio history. “It is a tradition that the mural is taken down and changed every couple of years,” junior Hannah Milstein said. Each time art students remove the mural in order to repaint it, they switch which side they paint on. Later, they save the opposite side for another painting to appear in the following years. According to Milstein, with many diverse and distinctive student artists at Rio, various styles of paintings characterize each mural and make it di-

verse in its own way. “Since there are so many different people with different painting styles working on the mural, the painting is especially unique,” Milstein said Students are starting with a different basis and theme than usual. This time around, they are drawing art within the boundaries of a television screen. “The mural starts at the same base of TVs,” Milstein said. “We paint different types of televisions and paint scenes within the existing screen.” The finish date is not yet definite, but Cusick estimated that it will be complete either at the end of this year, or the beginning of next. “If we run into problems, we’ll have some students finish it up at the beginning of the year,” Cusick said. So don’t forget to keep a look out for the mounting of the new wall mural. The decorative artwork will signify a new year and times to come at Rio, displaying a piece of lasting student art.



4 Clockwise from top: 1) A sketch of the wall mural next to English teacher Matthew Valencich’s room. The mural will depict a scene from William Shakespeare’s classic play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 2) Junior Barbara Kalustian paints the background of the Midsummer Night’s Dream mural. 3) Seniors Katie Cannon, Sheila Emami, and Julia Schaber outline their TV mural during art class. Art teacher Leslie Cusick said she hoped the mural would be finished by the end of the school year. 4) Cannon adds finishing touches to her TV. The final mural will display scenes inside the TV. Photos by Jens Driller.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 14 • The Mirada

Action scenes can’t save disappointing Ironman 2 By JESSE BARTELS Mirada Staff

Two’s are a very important number when it comes to superhero movies. Two’s are where a series can move ahead and prove themselves or get buried and forgotten. In the past we’ve had some amazing two’s and some horrible two’s. Then there are the two’s that are somewhat in the middle, that aren’t better than the first film, but aren’t terrible. “Iron Man 2” falls into this distinction. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is back, and is living it up as Iron Man, having brought about a long period of peace. However, he is under pressure from the government to sell the Iron Man technology so that they can weaponize it. Meanwhile, he is also under pressure to run Stark Industries while trying to find a replacement for his artificial heart, without which his blood will become toxic and kill him. Then, a new villain comes in from Russia: Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), whose father, Anton, helped Tony’s father, Howard, develop the original Iron Man technology. With his father’s plans, Vanko builds a suit for himself with two electrically charged whips and attempts to kill Stark, but is not successful, and is arrested. However, he is picked up by Justin Hammer

(Sam Rockwell), who is the CEO of Hammer Industries, a competitor to Stark Industries. He hires Vanko to design new suits for him, but Vanko has plans of his own. The film also features other Marvel characters such as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Sam Jackson), and Lt. Rhodes (Don Cheadle) as War Machine. Seeing all of these Marvel characters that I know and love up on the screen was an extremely fun experience, and for the most part the movie tries to stay pulpy and fun. In this era of dark, serious superhero films like “The Dark Knight”, it’s nice to take a breather and see something that’s just pure entertainment. I don’ t have to analyze the film, I just have to sit back and watch Iron Man beat up thugs, and it’s fun. Unfortunately, the film is not as good as the first one because the screenplay by Justin Theroux is extremely unbalanced. A good superhero film has to have an equal amount of exposition and character development as well as an equal amount of exciting action scenes, but Theroux’s screenplay seems to rest entirely on the character of Stark himself, with very little of the actual Iron Man suit. I understand what Theroux was

MOVIE REVIEW trying to do; he was trying to focus more on Tony Stark, to bring out his inner psychological problems after the stakes have been raised with a new villain. Unfortunately, Tony Stark just isn’t complex or interesting enough as a character to do this. He’s a billionaire playboy, he’s got a huge ego, he’s a huge narcissistic jerk. It’s almost impossible to really care about him because he’s not likable, and his past isn’t very interesting or sad, really.

Since Stark doesn’t have a tragic past like Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker, his motivation seems a little shaky. We aren’t really led to understand why Stark feels the need to save everyone, and so the film tends to drag. However, those moments where Stark puts on the Iron Man suit are absolutely incredible. The action scenes in the film are very-well choreographed and use very little of the annoying “Shaky-Cam” effect that’s plagued so many action films these days. There’s also a great fight scene between Iron Man and War Machine, and the final fight between Vanko, Iron Man, and War Machine is excellent. But still, overall the film feels hollow. The action scenes are incredibly short, and I was extremely disappointed to find so many characters underused. Mickey Rourke is entertaining as hell playing Ivan Vanko, but he only has two big action scenes, both of which are ended quickly, and we don’t learn a whole lot about him. Instead of the cool villain with the electric whips, the film seems far more interested in Justin Hammer, the nebbish CEO of Hammer Industries. Sam Rockwell is fine in the role, but frankly, the character of Hammer is boring, annoying, and should have been killed off. Instead, he steals almost every sin-

gle scene in the film. Yes, he’s important to the plot because he hires Vanko and gives him money to develop his technology further, but that’s all he should have been, just a guy to push the plot. I don’t care about Hammer at all, I don’t want to see him and Tony Stark fighting over ownership of the Iron Man technology, I want to see Iron Man and Ivan Vanko going at it! That’s the whole problem with the film; it focuses way too much on character rather than entertainment. I mean, come on! This film isn’t the next Batman or Spider-Man; I don’t pick up an Iron Man comic to hear about his crippling depression and alcoholism, I pick one up to see a rich guy with an awesome suit fight people! The film isn’t horrible; it’s just not blowing anyone away. Rather than being bigger and better than the first movie, the sequel feels more like it’s trying to bridge the gap between the first and third films, which Jon Favreau reportedly has big plans for. If you’re a huge comic book geek like me you’ll probably have a good time just being strung along by all of the entertaining characters that make an appearance, but if you don’t even have the slightest interest in Iron Man, give it a miss and wait for the Captain America movie.

Page 13 • The Mirada


Friday, May 28, 2010

Recent Records

Symphonic synths signify sound ‘Returnal’ Senseless screams aren’t your ‘Best Friend’

Oneohtrix Point Never “Returnal” I’ve been a fan of Oneohtrix Point Never for a while. Daniel Lopatin’s newest album, “Returnal,” is by far his most progressive album to date, moving from pure synthesizer arpeggiators into a weird amalgamated genre that dabbles in IDM, drone, and older, more classical electronic music. “Returnal,” which is a combination of the words “eternal” and “return,” seems to have not only a cyclical theme, but also seems to go to two contradicting places at the same time: a primordial landscape and the deep future. The first track, which is an epic 15 minutes, is a synth opera of sorts. “Nil Admirari” rips apart all preconceieved notions of what Oneohtrix Point Never is and what music is made under the name. This track is loud, abrasive, and extremely

fast-paced. The song slowly morphs into “Describing Bodies,” which is more along the lines of what Oneohtrix Point Never has done before, good synth loops and a calming feel. “Stress Waves” is the next motion in the synth opera that is even softer than the previous movement; warm synth tones and pads looping to create an otherworldly ocean. The title track of the album is also another first for Oneohtrix Point Never, reason being: lyrics. Oddly rhythmic synth is the only backing in this song making it sparse and lonely. The voice also gives a strange alien feel, almost Davis Bowie-esq yet pitch shifted and metallic feeling. “Where Does Time Go” is the most regressive of all of the tracks, sounding similar to Lopatin’s first limited cassette release “Betrayed in the Octagon.” The last song on the album “PreyouandI” again deals with the inevitable return, taking similar sounds from “Nil Admirari” and slowing down and reusing stripped down lyrics from the title track. Overall the album is a complete killer, definitely the most futuristic and far out release under the Oneohtrix Point Never name and definitely the most crystal clear in its approach and sound. The cyclical nature of the whole album and it’s relationship towards time also makes it more and more interesting. A highly recommended album and for sure something I will constantly revisit. -Christian Oldham

Kate Nash “My Best Friend is You” Pop darling Kate Nash has often been compared to fellow British singer Lily Allen. It’s easy to see how critics have commonly grouped their music together, especially when both women sugarcoat their malicious lyrics with sweet, piano-filled melodies to fill their listeners’ ears. On her latest release, “My Best Friend is You,” Nash breaks away from her stereotype as a Lily Allen knockoff by incorporating more guitars and spoken word, as compared to Allen’s signature synthesizers. “My Best Friend is You” drastically differs from Nash’s first release, “Made of Bricks,” which juxtaposed dark lyrics with upbeat music. In tracks such as “Kiss the Grrrl” and “I

Just Love You More,” Nash takes advantage of rumbling electric guitars that make for a perfect soundtrack for summer days at the beach. The screeching guitars don’t seem to go well with her tiny, angelic voice but nevertheless emphasize her versatility as an artist. Nash goes for utter nonsense in “Take Me to a Higher Plane,” where she spends most of the chorus chanting “Wah ah ah ah” repeatedly. Then, in “Mansion Song,” she noticeably switches genres, going from pop to spoken word. The first half of the song features Nash literally screaming about sex in the 21st century, her voice echoing off the walls as though she’s speaking straight from a “Twilight Zone” episode. While the middle few tracks of the album showcase a different, more edgy side of Nash, her last few songs truly epitomize who she is as an arist—a truly unique singer with a knack for piano ballads and whimsical lyrics. “Early Christmas Present” and “Pickpocket” are two tracks that are reminiscent of Nash’s first album and will surely satisfy devout fans. However, other parts of the albums simply don’t live up to her potential. The firecracker Brit is much more impressive playing the piano and signing about broken relationships than babbling sheer absurdity. Although “My Best Friend is You” has its musical moments, it lacks tracks that made “Made of Bricks” so memorable. -Alex Chan

Yearbooks are still on sale! It’s not too late to buy one!

$75 Buy online at

The Mustard Seed Spin benefits the Mustard Seed School for homeless children. It’s an awesome organized bike ride along the river for kids of all ages. Do something good for yourself and somebody else! Bring some friends and make a day of it... Register on our website to ride on Sunday, September 26: See you there! number: 7574


Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet Rides

Page 14 • The Mirada 1. Summer is almost here, what new hobbies are you considering? a. Aging, collecting dust, wrinkling, you know. b. Traveling across Europe where US currency is GOLD. c. I’m going to lasso enough sharks to drag me through the very first ever circumnavigation of the globe by shark. Someone call

Guinness. d. Longboard + baseball bat = zombie drive-bys.

2. L’été est pres, quelles nouveaux choses feras-tu? a. Je compte gagner Mo’ Dollaz. b. I don’t speak that thar frenchy lang-gidge. This is ‘MURICUH. c. J’écouterai “Rad Bromance” par Señor Gaga tous les temps. d. Je vais écrire quelque fiction de Raider Quiz.

ALEX MCFALL/Mirada Staff

Ted Burchett, 12 2005 Honda Civic How did you get your car? I got my car from my mama and papa. I needed a car to get to school, and this was the one. It’s been serving me well ever since. What’s your favorite thing about your car? My favorite thing about my

, 10 d n a


er Tyl

ad Bro

car is the wide variety of music in it. My favorite artists to listen to are the Benny’s, Jack Johnson, and Biggie Smalls. Why do you like your car? I like my car because it fits my personality: plain and simple. What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had with your car? One time when I was driving to a Rio tennis match, I was so

tired that I fell asleep at a red light. About five cars honked at me and woke me up.

3. Greece’s economy is collapsing, how would you fix it? a. They’re obviously very “greece-y”, so I’d sell all that “greece” as a valuable export. It’s the same thing as soil. b. Ahd give ‘dem all mah cashez n’ benjaminz. ‘Dem benjaminz iz chump change! c. I would find some technological development that Greece could specialize in the production of, and subsequently export. Or just throw money at them, that seems to help. d. NPR says I must send money to Greece. All hail NPR. Morning Edition forever.

What are you going to do with your car while you’re in college? I’m going to leave my car at home while I’m at college. I’ve got a bike and longboard that I need to get reacquainted with. -Jarett Hartman

Bachelor and Bachelorette What do you look for in a girl? Any features identical to Loveleen Brar.

What’s your best feature? I got myself some smooth moves.

What is your perfect date? Chuck E. Cheese’s with Loveleen.

What’s your best pickup line? Girl, do you have a license? ’Cause you’re driving me crazy.



What do you look for in a guy? Trust, respect, relaxed, and open to new things.

Casual or more formal dates? Casual, like out to a River Cats game or to the park.

What’s your best feature? I’m really laid back.

What makes you different from other girls at Rio? I have fun doing anything! -Dylan Cartier



, 10

4. How can I keep the Raider Quiz flame alive? a. Petition your congressman, then stay tuned for further Raider Quiz updates. b. Just stay classy, respect your elders/teachers, and never forget that chivalry is still alive. c. Wear gender-appropriate clothes. Sorry, the administration told us to write that. d. Get “Raider Quiz #1” tattooed on your forehead. Or get it shaved into the side of your head Kanye Weststyle. We’re not picky. 5. As its writers are graduating this year, what will you miss most about the Raider Quiz? a. The secret directives from Elvis. To crack the code, just read every other word. Keep giving us money in love your beautiful hearts. b. Hands down, best part of The Mirada. c. Somehow it keeps me informed on current events. d. Its cancer-fighting enzymes. -Alex McFall & Scott McDonald


Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 17 • The Mirada

Girls face tough competition in section championship By DAYNA ISSACS Mirada Staff

It seems like Benicia and Rio are good at taking turns when it comes to girls sectional soccer titles. Unfortunately for the Raiders it was Benicia's turn this year, as the Panthers won 1-0 in the Sac-Joaquin section championship game at Folsom High on Saturday. Rio, who has played in the championship game for four years in row, beat Benicia last year and lost to them in 2008. This year, Benicia junior Emily Smith scored on Rio only 3 minutes into the game. This quick goal was part of Benicia head coach Josh Bradley's strategy. A tough first half became even more difficult for the Raiders when an injury befell junior Candace Edwards, a key player. "I was dribbling, and a defender came up behind me," Edwards said. "I landed on my leg wrong. It bent the wrong way, and I heard a pop." Losing a starting player to a knee injury in the championship game was a discouraging blow for Rio, but the team continued to fight for the section title. Determined to score, Rio became more aggressive in the second half of the game. Two Rio players received yellow cards, but the game remained 0-1 for 78 minutes. Benicia matched Rio's intensity. Three Panther players had shots on goal, though they were unable to put one past Rio sophomore goalie Michaela Milesi. In the last few minutes of the game, Rio quickly took a penalty kick, shooting before most of the opposing players could set up their defense. Nonetheless, Benicia goalie Tori Klug still made the save. The referee blew the ending whistle, and the score remained 0-1 for Benecia. Despite losing this last game, the girls had a very successful season. The team was undefeated going into the championship game, and finished the year 10-1-5. It was an impressive season for a team who had obstacles from the start. The team was very young having only five seniors, all of whom were defense players. These seniors include Sherene Thompson, Haley Val, Meg Lewis, Alexis Mendoza, Ashley Taylor. Thompson and Val were on varsity all four years. The team knew they had huge cleats to fill for the season. Last year, Rio won sectionals with an undefeated season. Head coach Jennifer Smiley also coached last season, and her expectations remained just as high for this season: winning sectionals. Smiley and assistant coach Bill Taylor pushed for the team's success from the start. Each year, girls join from different soccer teams and clubs,

1. Photos courtesy of Heather Peterson

1: Sophomore Alexa Heinzer shoots against Benicia’s goalie during the section final game on May 22. 2: Junior Lauren Kohastu dribbles past a Benicia defender in the midfield. 3: Junior Candace Edwards is carried off the field after falling and injuring her knee at the end of the first half of the section finals game. Edwards did not return to play the rest of the game. 4: Senior Sheren Thompson steals the ball and accelerates past the defender.

2. and the coaches strive to make the girls come together as a united team. At the beginning of the season, the girls were not very close as a team, and the coaches could see this in the games. Taylor describes them as a "hardworking, intelligent group of girls; no one was on academic probation." He believes their motivation and effort from school also show on the field, and the first challenge was to put forth these skills as a team. However, after the first few games and hardworking practices, the girls quickly overcame this obstacle,


and began to "play as a team and win as a team," Smiley said. Last year's group of girls relied more on individual talent, whereas this year, the players became a true team. "There is no 'I' in team, and there are definitely no 'I's here," Smiley said. "Coming together as a team keeps us winning." The seniors also contributed to the team's success, and their legacy will help the team for next season. The coaches expect seniors to be lead-

4. ers, and they expect juniors to learn how to lead the team from the seniors. This helps build the team for the upcoming year. The coaches additionally want the junior varsity girls to learn from the upperclassmen. "We have a program at Rio. The JV team practices with varsity in order to build the skills they'll need for the varsity level," Taylor said. Overall, the girls truly grew to-

gether as a team, improving phenomenally from the start. Milesi is proud of how far her team has come. "We have been a really strong team, and even though we lost, I'm happy that Jen was able to help us come this far to championships for the second year in a row. We're going to come back next year even more prepared to win!"


Page 18 • The Mirada

Friday, May 28, 2010

Smith gives survival techniques in outdoor education

Boys varsity baseball wins league for first time in ten years and goes to playoffs


1. SARAH VAIRA/Mirada staff

1: Freshman Guillermo Salazar throws out his bat for a bunt during an early inning of the play off game vs. Rodriquez High School. 2: (From left to right) Freshman Alec Kazanjian, sophomore Sutter McLoughlin, junior Kenny Moulton, and junior Kenny Tripp stand in the infield during a stoppage of play due to poor sportsmanship from a Del Campo player. Despite the ejection of the opposing athlete, Del Campo won the conference game 7-0. 3: Senior captain Andy Bissell sticks his mitt out to catch a pitch from senior pitcher Thomas Hemington during the playoff game against Rodriguez. 4: Hemington throws one of his trademark fastballs also during the game against Rodriguez. Thanks to his consistency on the mound, Rio defeated Rodriguez 7-0.




BATS: Safety decision left to experts From BATS page 20

But with a powerful hitter, a pitcher throwing gas, and if the ball hits the sweet spot it will jump off the bat at a very high velocity. Wooden bat or metal. I leave the safety decision to the experts. I'm just a pitcher. But there is another reason to consider banning aluminum bats. Metal bats are a way for weaker hit-

ters to get by at the high school level by sticking out their backside and getting a lucky base hit or a ground ball with eyes. Trust me, I've given up my fair share of "hits" that with a wood bat would never have made it out of the infield. Especially when I'm pitching, and a hitter the size of a 12 year old squeaks out a base hit with that metal bat of his. I have played in tournaments in Arizona and Georgia against talented

high school players. In these tournaments every batter has to swing a wooden bat, and they still hit bombs and seeds all over the yard. If a high school player can knock one out of the park with a wooden bat, imagine what could be done with metal. Risk and injuries are part of sport. The experts will decide if aluminum bats are too risky. One of the hardest things to do in sports is hitting a baseball. That challenge is part of what makes the game

great. Using an aluminum bat makes hitting easier and so diminishes the game--if only in a minor way. While the experts look at risk and injury, they should consider the quality of the game, too. But the game will go on no matter what they decide. When it comes time to step up to the plate it's too late to worry about what type of bat you are using, you just have to play the game.

In the 21st Century, girls strive to get into S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math)--and into Coach Smith's K.R.A.C. class: kayaking, rock climbing, archery, and compass navigation. No previous experience is required and for 17 weeks students have the opportunity to engage in unique outdoor recreation. Coach believes in equal opportunity for girls. He has adapted the Chinese proverb about the man and the fish: If you "give a girl a fish you feed her for a day. But if you teach her how to fly fish, she can feed herself for a lifetime." In Outdoor Adventures, girls, (and boys), learn to become experts at tying flies and casting lines. And they learn backpacking survival skills, too, such as how to build a fire with a flint and how to clean game. Like the futuristic author Ray Bradbury, whom he admires, Coach disdains a dependence on technology. So he has chosen a curriculum that spans the centuries: from archery to rock climbing. He cautions against relying exclusively on a G.P.S. system, which may not always be avaliable or safe. He wisely believes that students should understand the digital technology (small 'd') and learn to let their fingers do the navigating--with a real compass. But this exciting class is not just about surviving in the outside world. Coach realizes that it is also good to unwind at the end of a long school week and take a look at your surroundings. Making excellent use of Rio’s riparian locale, he allows an occasional “Constitutional” along the river bank. Students bring snacks and their favorite book for a relaxing hour. The fact that Rio is not on a delta directly going to the ocean, does not deter Coach Smith from wanting students to kayak--even if it is in the swimming pool! But even compassionate Coach Smith doesn’t demand too much of the kids--being tipped over in your kayak so you can struggle to the surface is extra credit. This is a once in a high-school lifetime opportunity to meet challenges and test your fortitude.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Page 19 • The Mirada

Vibram Five Finger shoes pave the way for barefoot running By EUGENE KWON Mirada Staff

As I slipped my toes into their individual compartments, I could feel the comfort and freedom of the shoes begin to take effect. Instantly I felt a wave of primal instincts begin to take over as I arose and began to walk "barefoot" in my new Vibram Five Fingers. Just a few weeks ago I purchased the Vibram Five Fingers KSO to satisfy my craving curiosity with this bizarre-looking shoe I had seen on the internet. Before that, I had only once seen the Vibram Five Fingers in action on the feet of a friend's friend. Now, as a three week user of these shoes I deem them "pure awesomeness." The concept: Barefoot running. For thousands of years "man" has relied on his two bare feet as his only means of transportation. Ranging from the geographic movement of nomadic civilizations or the primal hunting of wild animals, I am fairly sure that they were not wearing Reeboks or Nikes when performing these tasks. Just as civilizations evolve everyday, the commercial usage of foot-

ALEX MCFALL/Mirada Staff

Mirada staff writer Eugene Kwon models his new Vibram Five Fingers KSO shoes. The individual toe compartments and rubber sole engineered to fit the contours of the foot take on new barefoot running technology.

wear has grown as well. What once were bare feet are now covered and laced with an assortment of padding and materials which may be stylish

yet sacrificing optimum health with use. Because of this crossover from bare feet to modern shoes, running efficiency, muscle development, coor-

Date Apr. 19 Apr. 21 Apr. 26 Apr. 28 May 3 May 5 May 13 May 18 May 22

Opponent @ Mira Loma vs. Bella Vista vs. El Camino @ Casa Roble @ Del Campo vs. Mira Loma vs. Vanden @ Rodriguez vs. Benicia

Time W 3-0 T 2-2 W 2-1 T 0-0 W 3-1 W 7-1 W 5-0 W 1-0 L 0-1

Varsity Girls Softball

Date Apr. 10 Apr. 10 Apr. 13 Apr. 15 Apr. 22 Apr. 26 Apr. 27 Apr. 29 May 4 May 6 May 13

Opponent vs. Placer vs. Capital Christian @ Bella Vista @ El Camino vs. Del Campo vs. Casa Roble @ Mira Loma vs. Bella Vista vs. El Camino @ Casa Roble vs. Mira Loma

Time L 1-5 L 0-7 L 0-9 L 2-8 L 0-10 L 0-18 W 21-3 L 0-14 L 3-4 L 0-15 W 7-16

Varsity Boys Volleyball

Date Apr. 6 Apr. 8 Apr. 10 Apr. 13 Apr. 15 Apr. 17 Apr. 20 Apr. 22 Apr. 27 Apr. 29 May 4 May 6

Opponent vs. Union Mine @ El Dorado @Grant vs. Oak Ridge vs. Ponderosa @ Nevada Union vs. Vista del Lago @ El Camino @ Christian Brothers @ Union Mine vs. El Dorado @ Oak Ridge

Time L 0-3 L 0-3 W 2-0 L 0-3 L 1-3 L 0-2 L 2-3 W 3-1 W 3-0 L 0-3 W 3-1 L 0-3

Varsity Boys Baseball

Date Apr. 30 May 5 May 5 May 7 May 10 May 11 May 12 May 20

Opponent vs. Mira Loma @ Mira Loma vs. Del Campo @ Del Campo vs Casa Roble @ Casa Roble @ Casa Roble Rodriguez

Time W 11-0 W 14-0 L 7-10 W 7-1 W 5-4 W 5-4 L 3-4 W 7-0

Varsity Boys Tennis

Date Apr. 6 Apr. 8 Apr. 13 Apr. 15 Apr. 20 Apr. 22 Apr. 27 May 11 May 12 May 13 May 14

Opponent Time vs. El Camino 3:30 vs. Casa Roble 3:30 @ Arden Hills RC vs. Mira Loma 3:30 @Arden Hills RC vs. Bella Vista 3:30 @Rollingwood RC vs. Del Campo 3:30 vs. El Camino 3:30 @ Arden Hills RC vs. Casa Roble 3:30 vs. Team Sectionals TBA vs. Team Sectionals TBA vs. Individual Sectionals TBA @Johnson Ranch vs. Individual Sectionals TBA @Johnson Ranch

Date Apr. 10 Apr. 16 Apr. 16 Apr. 21 Apr. 23 Apr. 30 May 1 May 7 May 13 May 19/21 May 27/28 June 4/5

Opponent Time Bronco Invit. @ B.V. 9:00 am *#Woody Wilson @ UC Davis Del Oro Invite 1:00 Center Meet 3 @ B.V. 3:30 Distance Carnival 5:30 Twilight Meet @ El Dorado HS *Meet of Champions 11:00 @ Hughes Stadium #Nevada Union Invite CAL Finals @ B.V. 3:30 *#SJS Div. 2 Trials 3:30/4 *#SJS Masters Meet 3:00 @ Hughes Stadium *#C.I.F. State Meet 2:00 @ Buchanan HS

Ashley Taylor 12 Varsity Soccer

Varsity Track

Varsity Swimming Date Apr. 27 Apr. 28 Apr. 30 May 1 May 6 May 7 May 8 May 13 May 14 May 15

Opponent Time vs. Jesuit/St. Franci @ Rio vs. CAL Diving Champs vs. CAL Swim Champs vs. CAL Swim Champs vs. Diving Sec. Girls vs. Diving Sec. Boys vs. Diving Finals- G&B vs. Swim Sec. Girls vs. Swim Sec. Boys vs. Swim Sec. Finals

stone, as well as the spiky little brown balls that fall from trees. The rubber bottom is much harder than a usual rubber and is also an engineered shape to help support the specific contours of my feet. Last but certainly not least, the shoe has has individual compartments for all ten toes. The sizing may be different for everyone but most likely works out to fit all the toes. In addition a strap which wraps around my ankle provides a range of comfort from tight running to loose walking. This strap as well helps "keep stuff out." All in all the shoe costs $85.00 MSRP; however may be inflated at private stores because of such high demand. This price is quite reasonable in comparison to the $110 Shape Ups and similar $85 Nike Free. Sold out almost everywhere, the Vibram Five Finger KSO's are a difficult shoe to find and when found are hard to come by again. Of all the shoes that I've worn, mostly PUMA, I have never had a shoe so comfortable and versatile as the Vibram FF KSO's. I give it two thumbs and two big toes up!

Preps of the issue

Scores and Results Varsity Girls Soccer

dination/balance, as well as other key components of natural running have been lost among the general population. Because of this, many companies have began to focus a specific line of shoes to function for better health. A few examples would include the Sketchers "Shape Ups" as well as the Nike "Free." Both of these shoes were designed for better physical health, however cannot even be classified within the same category or competition as the Vibram Five Finger KSO. Specifically, the Vibram Five Finger KSO is the rising favorite among the line of Vibram shoes. The versatility of the shoe is amazing and cannot be beat. There is literally nothing that cannot be done with these shoes. Sprint, run, jump, climb, or fly... well maybe not fly, but you get the point. Breaking down specs of the shoe, the millimeter thick cloth/mesh on top is extremely breathable allowing a small amount of perspiration yet protection from debris. Within the Vibram Five Finger line, the KSO stands for (Keep Stuff Out), which they do quite well. Next the thick hard rubber bottom protects my feet from sticks,

How long have you been playing soccer? Since I was six...something like that. How was winning the section title last year? Pretty sweet. How was the season? We won league for the third time in a row. What’s the best moment you’ve had this year? I got two hat tricks...oh wait, that was Candace.

Micah Mador 12 Varsity Volleyball How long have you been playing volleyball? 4 years, the best 4 years of my life. What’s your best experience? Bwong, and when I spiked the ball in this guy’s face. What’s your pre-game ritual? Go to the river, chew some sun flower seeds, bump to some tunes, and drive a car full of kids to all of our games.

What’s your pre-game ritual? Hydrate and we show up.

Are you planning on playing next year? I’m playing club volleyball next year at Boulder. They have a league where they travel around the state and play other schools.

How is the team chemistry? I love my team.

How was the season? This was the best year we’ve had, we had a winning percentage of over 500.

-Thomas Hemington

-Thomas Hemington

Friday, May 28, 2010


Aluminum bat use provokes debate It's baseball. It's hardball. If you're scared of a line drive, go home. The past four years of pitching and playing the field in high school has taught me something about the risks that come with the game I love. I have spent countless hours playing, watching, and learning the ways of baseball. There's been many weekends when I have driven to Davis or Chico to spend an entire day out on the mound covered by the sweltering sun. And I've seen my share of line drives. I've gotten lucky by throwing up my glove at the last second to fend off a heat-seeking bullet on a mistake pitch I left too high in the zone. Last week, I had to hit the deck in a playoff game to dodge a line drive off the clean-up hitter from Rodriquez. Not everyone has been so lucky. Earlier this season, Gunnar Sandberg, a pitcher for Marin Catholic High School, suffered a severe concussion when he was hit in the head with a ball hit from an aluminum bat. In response, a California legislative committee has advanced a bill that would place a two-year ban on the use of metal bats in high school baseball. The bill makes sense because it will buy athletic leagues time to review the risks of aluminum bats. It's true that the ball comes off an aluminum bat faster than wooden. But the difference isn't that much. One study clocks the difference at 88 mph and 92 mph for wooden and metal bats. As much as it seems it's not, baseball is a contact sport, but the use of metal bats might be too high of a risk to take with athletes at the high school level. Especially for pitchers because they are so close to the batter and their pitching motion gives them less time to prepare. See BATS: page 18


Girls soccer playoff run: see page 17

Varsity tennis wins section title


For the first time in eight years, Rio Americano’s men’s tennis team has finally reclaimed their title of Section Champions. Senior Ted Burchett, who has played for Rio Tennis since his freshman year, says that reclaiming Rio‘s title was “a great team effort.” “I really loved winning sectionals because it was the work of the entire team, not an individual effort. It was great to win it as a team, and it was about time that Rio won it again.” For four years, Burchett and his teammates eagerly awaited the opportunity to give Rio back it’s title. After winning his match by nearly sweeping both sets of six games, Burchett, panting from nearly 45 minutes of intense play, said “What a great way to end a season.” Spectator and tennis supporter senior Ben Egan noted that all of the matches’ were energized and the players were full of passion for the game. “They fought and sweat, and it was some great tennis to watch,” Egan said. “I’ve never seen back-and-forth look so interesting. The rallies really drew me in. Those matches were nuts.” But getting to the championship wasn’t in any ways easy. Many hours of rigorous, but vital practices were needed in order to prepare for the lineup of challenging schools that

2. Photos by SARAH VAIRA/Mirada Staff

3. stood between the team and their title. “For the tournament players on our team, our tennis coach let us play sets against each other and do our own thing to prepare,” Burchett said. “But what our coach really stressed was our Doubles teams. He really wanted to build stronger Doubles teams because he knew that that‘s what it would come down to.” As far as a practice schedule, the players barely even got a break from the game, Burchett said. “During the regular season, we practiced Monday through Thursday,”

1: Senior Ted Burchett returns a serve with his backhand at the section championship match against Granite Bay. 2: Junior Wyatt Brown moves into position in anticipation of his opponents hit. 3: Junior Alex Yankeaur high-fives fellow teammate and doubles partner Junior Ashk Nazeri after winning a point. After winning sections, the team competed in the first round of states.

Burchett said. “But once we got into sectionals, we practiced everyday that we didn’t have a match in order to prepare for our net matches.” However, in the end, it was all worth the effort. Rio became Section Champions after winning the championship rounds 6-3 against competing school, Granite Bay High School. Even before becoming section champions though, Rio had to fight hard to become Division Champions, which they have been for eleven of the past twelve years years. Even though the team lost in the

tournament between all of the teams who won Sectionals in all of Northern California, Burchett said that the year was “extremely successful.” “I think we started off the year with two major goals: the first goal was to do our best in Fresno and our second goal was to win Sectionals, which was our major goal for this year,” Burchett said. “We weren’t really together as a team at first, but when it was time to step it up, we all came together. A lot of people really stepped up, and that really brought the team up.”