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HOMECOMING “How can anyone think we’re purposefully trying to do something hurtful?”


COVER UP Is the school dress code an outdated policy that discriminates against females?


FOOTBALL A championship basketball coach has a new challenge: rebuilding the team

O theMIRR R OCTOBER 2019 | Van Nuys High School | Van Nuys, California




Tt might seem like a safe, modern alternative to smoking, but disturbing statistics are emerging. As it grows in popularity, especially with young people, the number of casualities has suddenly exploded. With over 1,000 reports cases of injury and at least 18 deaths, scientists still aren’t sure what the exact cause may be. Amid widespread concern, businesses like Walmart are taking action as the CDC sounds an alarm about using e-cigarettes: don’t do it. But for some, it’s not enough to get them to give up the habit: “Maybe there’s only a small possibility that my lifespan is shrinking by the moment.” PAGE 8


Getting paid to go to college Starting at the age of 18, students in Denmark receive a monthly allowance of about 5,839 Danish krones ($900) for six years.




National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) is a day when people are encouraged to come out, however they identify, and where people come out as allies, in support — a day of celebration for all. MS. FANNY ARANA Gender-Sexuality Alliance Adviser, on the importance of National Coming Out Day


The accouncements improved because its better to show them rather than just say. People can see the annoucements again whenever they want and it is more entertaining as well. ROBERT MOREIRA Student, on the new “Van Nuys Live”w broadcast



11 10-week grades due 14 Personal statement

worshop: Rm. 305 at lunch 16 PSAT administered 17 California Shakeout Earthquake drill; PHBAO Parent Confer- ences: 5-7 p.m. 18 Freshman Fun Day 22 Wolves Talk: Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. 24 Faculty vs. Students Volleyball game 28 Homecoming Court elections 31 Student of the Month luncheon



Postcards from Europe Danish schools vs. American schools by Julia Pfau COURTESY | JULIA PFAU

student, a girl from Mexico, agreed that this was an interesting change.

Area Around School


hen I was deciding where to go abroad, the school systems of Scandinavia always stood out to me. With images of pretty campuses and heavy education funding from the government, it seemed like the right choice. I settled on Denmark. After arriving and beginning school here, I found there to be some drastic differences when compared to school in California.

School Structure An ordinary school day for a student at Van Nuys High School is six consecutive classes lasting 55 minutes each. All classes are part of A-G requirements set by the district. Each school day ends at 2:57 p.m., except for on Tuesdays when we end at 1:57 p.m. In Denmark, the system is similar to college. There is an app where you can check how many classes you have on a certain day, each always 1 hour and 40 minutes long. The school day can end at either, 11:30, 1:40 or 3:30. It rotates and classes are often canceled or moved over, leaving free periods and later start times. Requirements are more or less to get good scores on the exams in your class. Students in Denmark also sometimes take a year in the middle of high school to do independent study and stay in a dorm before returning to complete high school.

School Appearance We commonly associate public schools in Los Angeles with an underwhelming campus and terrible food. Gum is under every table and graffiti is on every bathroom stall. I was surprised to arrive at my Danish school


SCHOOLS ABROAD: A look into the campus of a school in Denmark.

and see brand new tables with no gum underneath. The chairs in every classroom are rolling chairs with cushions on the seats. Unfortunately, there is no free food offered, but for the equivalent of $3, you can get a variety of muffins, pizza, granola bars and salads instead of picking out the good and bad food offered by LAUSD. However, being that it is free at Van Nuys, the accessibility is great for students who can’t afford their own lunch.

Freedom The amount of trust given to students in Denmark was shocking at first. As I got used to it, I became confused with the school system in Los Angeles and how it resembled a prison. There is one entrance/exit and someone stands guard at all hours of the school day. As students, we don’t even have the right to walk out of school. In Denmark, there are multiple exits students can use at anytime to leave or enter school. Students can even leave campus during lunch to get food from a grocery store or café. This could be due to the safety of Denmark. Some areas of Van Nuys can be unsafe at times with shootings happening as close by as the local Jack in the Box. There is a feeling

of trust that comes with being able to leave school throughout the day.

Materials It is very common to have a notebook, binder, and textbooks for most classes in California. In Denmark, almost everything in school is done on the computer. Students may have a small textbook but all written work is done on the computer. Similar to Schoology, Denmark has Lectio which is used for turning in and looking at assignments.

Students After being assigned to a class of 25 to 30 students in Denmark, you stay with them all year. This means that all students in the class are quite close and are one big group of friends. There isn’t much drama or different cliques. At Van Nuys High School, most people have different friends in each class and a group they hang out with at nutrition and lunch. Students are also much more attentive here in Denmark. You can pick out some kids on their phone and some sleeping in class at Van Nuys High School. In Denmark, even people who are normally loud stay silent and pay attention. A fellow exchange

The area surrounding Van Nuys High School can be nice. There’s an array of local eateries that range from mom and pops donut shop to fast-food chains such as McDonald’s. However, there are problems with homelessness and gangs in Van Nuys, which is generally safe in the daytime but at night it can be a little rough. The area surrounding my Danish school is a very small town called Køge with lots of cafétype restaurants and cobblestone streets. It’s a very safe area with kids even walking around at 3 a.m. after parties to get home. Most kids go after school to shop at the stores and grab a coffee at the cafés.

Party & Drug Culture If you are seen smoking or drinking on the campus at Van Nuys High School, you can be arrested, suspended or even expelled. In Denmark, alcohol is not allowed on school grounds but there are many smoking patios. It is considered normal for teenagers to smoke in Denmark. At school parties, most students get drunk. There is not a legal drinking age in Denmark, so anyone is free drink to, but you must be 16 to purchase. Drinking is a large part of teenage life in Denmark, whereas in California, it is more common to do in your twenties. Going to school in Denmark and going to school in California are vastly different. Different aspects of each culture are shocking to the other as they are nearly opposite. Being abroad has helped me to realize that there are ups and downsides to every school system and to every culture. Julia Pfau is spending a year as a foriegn exchange student in Denmark and plans to return to the U.S. in 2020.

Practice SAT to be administered over two days of block schedule

Vocalists to fill the concert hall with the sound of fall music

Another year, another big win for student journalism

Leading by example through new L.E.A.D. preparatory program

The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) will be administered on Oct. 16. A practice regulated by the College Board, the PSAT allows students to prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and determines qualifying National Merit Scholarship winners. The school will be on block schedule for two days. All students are automatically enrolled and receive the test for free. All freshmen, sophomores and juniors who registered to take the test, will report to their designated testing locations for the first block. Students will complete the reading and writing/language section of the test during the first block, and the math section during the second. ROZALYNN CASILLAS

The Vocal Department celebrates fall with their annual concert in the Hubbard Auditorium on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Featuring a plethora of different styles, languages and cultures, the concert will feature a variety of music performed by all choral groups including Mensamble, Vannaires, Chamber Singers and Bella Voche. “The vocal program would love to share all their music with you and we have many concerts coming up” said Vocal Director Ms. Brianne Arrevelo. “This is just the beginning to another great year.” Presale tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults. At the door, prices increase by $2. KASEY KIM

The student-produced and operated newspaper, The Mirror, has been announced as the winner of an award for Best of Show at the 2019 Spring National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) convention in Anaheim, CA. “It was a very exciting time for the staff. The hard work and effort they put in the newspaper paid off,” says Advisor Mr. Ronald Goins. Two issues of the newspaper were entered in the category ‘Newspaper Tabloid 16 or fewer pages’, winning first place. “As far as I know, this is the first time any LAUSD student publication has won this prestigious national recognition. I couldn’t be prouder.” STEPHANIE CACERES

“To be, you must know what you are not” is the motto of the new nonprofit preparatory program L.E.A.D (Learn, Evaluate, Anticipate and Demonstrate), formed by 2009 graduate Tommy Sardarian, which meets at nutrition every Thursday in Room 325. L.E.A.D will teach real life skills and students to lead by example using psychological and philosophical ideals. “My goal is to support students so they can empower themselves to suceed in the work required to achieve their set goals, while having the best time doing so. It’s not just about making Van Nuys the best place, it’s about all of us [the community] rising as a whole,” Sardarian explained. PILAR SIMS



3 OCTOBER 2019

College Apps: ’Tis the season for workshops

Tackling student debt: Dems have a plan for that CREATIVE COMMONS | DONKEYHOTEY




pplying for college can be a daunting process, but College Counselor Ms. Mary Charlton can help. Primarily guiding students through the college application process and applying for financial aid, Ms. Charlton also coordinates the PSAT, SAT and AP tests that are given on campus. “I do almost anything that revolves around college admissions, financial aid for college and also testing for college,” said Ms. Charlton. She works with the school’s outreach programs that are federally subsidized, Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search (ETS), which come to help students with completing the application and making sure students are on track with their A-G requirements. Upward Bound serves students from low-income families and students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. Educational Talent Search (ETS) offers scholarships and financial aid resources. Ms. Charlton is also directing a series of workshops on completing college applications for UC, CSU and private universities. “There will be writing workshops on how to write your personal statement or your Education Opportunity Program (EOP) application,” she said. EOP is a program to assist low-income and first-generation college students. “When Oct. 1 roles around, that’s when FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] opens and then we start having workshops for that too.” Ms. Charlton helps students with the “daunting but actually quite doable” process of applying for financial aid. In addition to financial aid assistance, Ms. Charlton uses Schoology to make sure students are aware of the numerous scholarship opportunities that are available. “I use Schoology a lot. It’s like my right-hand person,” she said. “I put all those notices on Schoology and then there’s also people who drop in and I refer them to different websites where they can look at additional scholarships.” Although Ms. Charlton does not specialize in vocational training, she can also help students who plan on pursuing a career that requires trade technical college. She encourages students to stop by the College Office in Room 305 with any college-related questions. THE MIRROR | PLAPOL “PJ” RATTAPITAK

HELPING HAND Ms. Charlton, College Counselor, organizes workshops.


Biden plans to help teachers and other educators pay off their student loans by fixing and simplifying the PSLF program.


The plan will cancel student loan debt completely and partially for Americans based on household income.




ith over $1.52 trillion of accumulated student debt in the United States, student loans have become an integral part of the college experience. Not only is debt transforming the lives of students, but also their families. Caitlin Zaloom, an anthropologist and associate professor at New York University, revealed how college tuition has fundamentally changed the experience of being middle class in America in her new book Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost. Zaloom interviewed 160 middleclass families across the country who took out student loans. Although poor students, workingclass students and students of color face more pronounced disadvantages, such as difficulty in navigating financial-aid applications and loan packages, Zaloom focused on middleclass families because of the larger assumption that they are able to afford higher education. All the families that were interviewed make too much to qualify for Pell Grants, which are reserved for households that earn below $50,000, but too little to pay the full cost of a degree at most colleges and universities. They invested and saved, created college funds and were careful to not rack up too much debt. Despite their great efforts, the families still had to take out loans. For many, the burden of student debt raises questions about the purpose of college and its degree system. Congress created the expansion program of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program last year in response to the growing outcry of public servant borrowers including teachers and nurses. Many complained that the requirements for the original program were so fixed and poorly communicated that lawmakers needed to step in. However, documents show, the expan-


The College for All Act will cancel all 45 million borrowers’ student debt. It will eliminate fees and tuition at both four-year and community colleges.


The plan will provide borrowers with $20,000 in loan forgiveness if they are a Pell Grant recipient who start and run a business in a deprived community.

sion program isn’t working either. According to the review conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GOA), the U.S. Department of Education processed roughly 54,000 requests and approved just 661. It spent $27 million of the $700 million Congress set aside for the expansion. Borrowers continue to deal with the confusing and unclear application process with the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF), many of them yet again denied. Since the start of the program in May 2018 as of March 2019, 99% of Public Service Loan Forgiveness requests have been rejected. Some believed that they were working toward loan forgiveness only to realize later that they had been in the wrong repayment plan or held the wrong type of loan. Although Congress’s program specifically aimed to assist public servant loan-borrowers, 2020 presidential candidates plan to tackle the accumulated student debt in the United States. A majority of the 19 Democratic primary candidates have proposed a range of policies to counter the growing cost of attending college in the U.S. The policies include debt forgiveness, free or reduced college tuition and expanded assistant programs. Each of the top 5 polling primary candidates—Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris— according to Real Clear Politics data, have proposed cancelling student debt and making college tuition free for part of the population. The most expansive plan to combat student debt concerns is the College for All Act, proposed by Sanders in June. The bill will cancel all 45 million borrowers’ debt. The plan has no eligibility criteria and would eliminate fees and tuition at both four-year and community colleges. To expand the program to more students, the bill would cap interest


The plan will provide low- and middleincome students free public tuition and cancel debt for those who attended low-quality education programs.

rates on student loans, push more funding toward minority institutions and colleges and expand the Pell Grant. Warren has proposed a similar plan to Sanders, eliminating student loans on a smaller scale. Her plan would completely cancel student loan debt for more than 75% of the nearly 45 million Americans with student loan debt, and would cancel some level of debt for more than 75% of Americans. People making over $250,000 a year would not be eligible for any loan cancellation. Warren would also get rid of tuition and fees for public two- and four-year colleges. Student loans first appeared in the United States in 1944 at the end of World War II to offer financial assistance to veterans of the U.S. armed forces who wanted to attend college following their discharge. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—commonly known as the G.I. Bill—became a landmark in the history of education in the United States. The G.I. Bill, passed by Congress, made college a possibility for the working class, rather than an institution for the children of rich families. More Americans were able to attend college in the sixties, thanks to the National Defense Education Act of 1958, which offered financial assistance to students pursuing studies that could benefit the national interest. The keystone of student loan legislation was the High Education Act of 1965. The legislation expanded access to student loans by providing federal money to banks and private lenders to facilitate student loans with low interest. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was created in 1992 with the revision of the Higher Education Act. FAFSA allowed the Department of Education to methodically analyze each student’s financial need and award financial aid in accordance to that need. This allows students who are most in need of financial aid to have greater access.



Winning while losing in 2020

President Trump could lose the popular vote in 2020 by up to five million votes and still win the election, thanks to the electoral college.





2020 elections:

Rushing to replace vulnerable voting equipment PEXELS | ELEMENT5


Social media is linked to depression. VOTE SECURITY: Officials don’t want a repeat of the 2016 election irregularities in 2020.




ive months before the primary season begins, election officials around the country are rushing to buy new voting equipment. Officials’ main priority is safety, after the Russians tried to hack into U.S. election systems in 2016, according to a report released by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Intelligence officials have warned that similar attacks may occur in the 2020 election. Authorities are trying to improve the security of U.S. voting systems by purchasing more machines that produce paper ballots. These can be used to verify election results in the event of a cyberattack on the electronic systems. The paper ballot machines will cost an estimated $150 million. Social science teacher, Mr. Robert Crosby, believes that the new election equipment will not making voting more effective but rather more assuring. “Voting is still going to be the process of either mailing in ballots or going into voting polls and actually physically voting. However, it will and should give voters assurance and confidence that their vote is counted and counted for the right person,” says Mr. Crosby. He says the controversy of the 2016 election in California was about the influence and spread of false information through social media by outside countries and powers, not the election equipment. “That’s not going to change. What the new equipment will do is allow you to vote and get a paper receipt. [...] that’s the key when it comes to trying to avoid electoral fraud. Also, when your vote is actually counted, you’ll get the paper receipt and if there is a controversy or problem, you can go back and check whether your vote was actually one you voted for.” “Nearly 90 percent of Americans will cast their votes on paper-based systems in 2020, compared to 80 percent in 2016”, said the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan public policy institute at New York University. NOT A STUDY AIDE A phone close by can reduce cognitive performance.

Health: A link is found between use of social media and mental disorders By ROZALYNN CASILLAS



ith the ever-increasing dependency on technology, everyone has a smartphone, so using social media is common. Nearly everyone uses Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and even Facebook to share fascinating images, life experiences, news, gossip and more. For most, social media may not seem harmful, but, according to recent studies, social media causes serious mental health problems. Along with the rising number of users joining these platforms, experts have seen an increase in mental disorders. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded an average of 40,000 Americans dying from suicide per year, a 30% rise over the last 20 years. Social media has also contributed to increased health care expenses. According to the CDC, social mediarelated medical and work-loss expenses cost $44.6 billion in the U.S. in 2017 alone. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) is a long-term study nationally sur-

veying students in grades 8-12 from more than 300 public and private schools relating to symptoms of depression, suicide attempts and suicide rates. MTF’s objective is to determine the frequency of symptoms, and the possible causes behind these trends. In 2017, MTF studied the relation between the adolescents’ mental health and their leisure activities, including social media. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that the symptoms and outcomes of depression and suicide worsened with the increasing popularity of social media. Over a five year period, symptoms of depression increased 35% and suicides and suicide attempts increased 12%. MTF found that these symptoms were most prevalent in teens with the most screen-time. However, social media can be utilized in a healthy manner to connect with people and share experiences. It transcends physical boundaries, giving users the ability to communicate with anyone at any time. According to another study, brief exposure—10-20 minutes—to social media does not negatively impact a user’s body image.

But social media has created a new standard for social norms. Studies have shown that the approval gained from a like on a picture stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, giving a feeling of purpose. Users often compare their appearances and successes with what others have posted online. Such comparisons, whether they are positive or negative, have shown to be a significant risk factor for depression and anxiety. Psychiatric social workers, Deborah Ebrahemi and Nayeli Gonzalez, believe social media can be both positive and negative depending on its use. “On a positive note, it helps people socialize, network and build friendships,” said Ms. Gonzalez. AP Psychology teacher, Mr. Carlos Dominguez, also believes social media can have positive effects. “It does open up opportunities for connections with people you may not otherwise be able to socialize with.” However, he is aware of the negative effects of social media, including isolation and bullying.

Phone proximity: ‘Let me just check’ By MHAR TENORIO



o you study with your phone within reach? A 2017 study from the University of Texas says that this can harm your studies. Termed as the “phone proximity effect,” it finds that having a phone within reach reduces cognitive performance. The study sampled 520 undergraduates and randomly assigned them to three treatments: having their phone at their desk, having it in a pocket or a bag, or having it in a separate room. All smartphones were either off or silent to remove the confounding effects of notifications. They were then instructed to take two tests designed to measure their cognitive capacities. The data from both tests indicate that the group who had their phones on their desk performed the worst out of the three treatment groups while the group who stored their phones in the other room performed the best. The data implies that there’s a negative association with cognitive performance and phone proximity; the closer someone’s phone is, the worse they do cognitively. Senior Juliana Molina agrees: “I think having my phone near me harms my studying because I end up picking it up and staying there longer than I should.”




5 OCTOBER 2019

Internet privacy: YouTube admits to collecting personal information from minors without parental consent THE MIRROR | IVAN DELGADO




oogle and its video-sharing service, YouTube, will pay $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York Attorney General that YouTube collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent. The company allegedly collected information of children viewing videos on their website by tracking users of child-directed channels with identifiers, commonly referred to as cookies. They failed to notify parents or receive their consent, violating the COPPA Rule (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) meant to protect children under 13 from getting their information collected by online service providers. According to FTC, YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the information to target advertisements to the children. In the complaint, the FTC and New York Attorney General contended that while YouTube claimed to be a general-audience site, some of YouTube’s individual channels are child-directed and therefore must comply with COPPA but failed to do so. YouTube marketed itself as a top destination for kids in presentations to makers of popular children’s products and brands such as Barbie and Play-Doh. In addition to the $170 million fine, the proposed settlement requires Google and YouTube to “develop, implement and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA.” The company must also notify channel owners that their child-directed content may be subject to COPPA Rule’s obligations, as well as provide annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners. The FTC voted 3-2 to authorize the complaint, the final order in the case. YouTube uploaded a blog post giving an update on data protection on their platform, claiming that they are changing how they treat data in children’s content on the site. In about four months, YouTube stated they will “treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.” Furthermore, they will limit data collection on child-directed videos only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. YouTube will stop serving personalized ads on child content and disable features such as comments and notifications. To identify child-directed content, creators will be required to inform the company when their content falls in this category as well as implement machine learning, a method of data analysis, to identify videos that target young audiences. YouTube is also encouraging parents to use YouTube Kids if they plan to allow kids under 13 to watch independently. The company said the change “will have a significant business impact” on child- and family-content creators, and plan on helping them in the transition by establishing a $100 million fund “disbursed


Everything is moving towards computers. Everyone’s privacy is going to start filtering out at this point. LOUIS AREVALO IT Technical Support Specialist

YES, YOUTUBE IS WATCHING YOU Just like the creepy computer HAL3000 in “2001 A Space Odyssey,” YouTube and other social media platforms have probably been tracking you without proper consent.

over three years, dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children’s content on YouTube and YouTube Kids globally.” In the internet era, consumers are more inclined to giving up fundamental aspects of privacy with little consciousness of their actions. Internet users in the United States have fewer privacy protections than those in other countries. In 2017, Congress voted to allow internet service providers to collect and sell their customers’ browsing data. Most in the 21st century carry a cellphone, shop online, bank online and own social media accounts. Many users have entrusted their privacy with the internet at the advantage of their convenience in electronic use. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2017 found that consumers regularly give up privacy for convenience. Almost all the students in the experiment chose to give up three of their friends’ emails for free pizza. This showed researchers how small incentives such as pizza can have a large effect on decisions about privacy. In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed revelations concerning the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance operation. NSA monitored every American and the people of many allied countries, all with the backing of the U.S. government and large portions of Congress. This made many more people aware of what is happening, but little has changed. NSA’s data collection has stayed stagnant. Many other companies are also monitoring consumers’ internet activities without acknowledgment from the consumers. “Our data is no longer under our control. It’s in servers owned by Google, Facebook, Apple and all the other companies we use. We have no ability to affect their security, and we have no visibility into their security,” says Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert. “Try to keep personal information off as much as possible,” said Mr. Louis Arevalo, one of the school’s IT Technical Support. Specialists. “I know it’s getting harder and harder

nowadays with everything being online. Make sure the sites that you visit are trusted. ” Internet marketing businesses are using cookies to watch where and when consumers visit websites, how long they stay, and what types of transactions consumers

conduct. Consumers are often kept in the dark when their data is collected. “You’d think the government would be pushing the service providers to determine all that, but they’re not,” Arevalo adds. “[...]we need to band together and just call out any company that does that.”

6 Perspective

Aztec origins

The Day of the Dead has its roots in Aztec celebrations over 3,000 years ago that honored the dead.






his year’s Homecoming celebration theme has managed to stir up a huge controversy filled with finger pointing, anger and rampant rumors. Día de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, was chosen partly because the dance falls on the holiday, and partly to draw in as many students as possible to participate. A traditional Mexican holiday celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, Día de los Muertos is when family and friends gather to pray and remember their deceased loved ones by decorating altars with images of the dead and cooking their favorite foods. Many families observe the holiday and picnic in cemeteries. Mexicans do not view it as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration. But some students feel that Día de los Muertos is an inappropriate theme, since the day is considered sacred. They contend that a dance is not the appropriate way to celebrate, and could be considered disrespectful. The controversy has become so heated that two anonymous students started a petition against this year’s Homecoming theme. Their major complaint is that not enough students had a voice in choosing the theme or planning the events. “We don’t get to choose if we want Sadie’s, Winter Formal or senior kickoff,” said one of the students who started the petition. “We didn’t get to choose a theme and we’re just doing the same thing as last year [not being allowed to choose the theme],” one of


members. “Día de los Muertos is so you can remember your relatives and friends who have passed. I understand why they would suggest you to take a picture of them, but what would they [passed family members] think if we were to be dancing in front of their picture?” asked one student. Although Mr. Ferrin has clarified that he has never suggested the photo idea, the rumor has widely circulated amongst students. Because high school dances might sometimes involve inappropriate dancing, the student also expressed concern of students dancing inappropriately on a day that is intended to honor the dead. “If they really wanted to make it a theme then they should have done it on the weekend before Día de Los Muertos, but with more cultural background information, not just a theme that no one knows about,” said one of the unnamed petitioners. Some students, however, have no problems with the theme. Senior student Jason Mercado said, “I personally don’t see the theme as too big of a deal. But the big deal is the fact that nothing has changed when the students who objected this idea, started the petition, and showed the organizers that they were unhappy. If those in charge of Homecoming aren’t willing to hear the majority out, then the majority shouldn’t help them out by suggesting what they think is right.” Every year, the school faces the challenge of trying to get students to attend school dances. Events are planned, however no one buys tickets, resulting in the dances be-

If they really wanted to make it a theme then they should have done it on the weekend before Día de Los Muertos, but with more cultural background information, not just a theme that no one knows about. ANONYMOUS Student who began petition against the theme




the petitioners said. In reality, the theme was suggested by the administration and then agreed upon by ASB (Associated Student Body) students, who are in charge of planning campus events. “I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about what our intentions are for our Homecoming theme. I feel like the biggest problem that most people are having is that they are worried our group is incapable of producing an authentic cultural experience, but I want to let everyone know that we are cooperating with other groups and that people genuinely understand and know Mexican culture, so rest assured,” stated Toby Ryu, an ASB member. About 200 signatures have been collected so far. “It would be different if we danced in honor of [Mexican culture]. For example, dancing with Folklórico in honor of the Hispanic tradition,” said the other petitioner. In the traditional Mexican cultural celebration of Día de los Muertos, dancing is not part of the celebration. Mr. Jacob Ferrin, ASB Adviser and History teacher, said that the dance just happened to fall on that particular calendar day. “The theme was based upon the idea that Homecoming is on Día de los Muertos,” he said. He confirmed that the original intention of adopting the theme was to involve as many students as possible, especially Hispanics, which make up about 63% percent of the school’s population. Some students are also troubled by a false rumor that suggested students to bring images of their dead family

ing cancelled by ASB, such as the winter formal last year. “Last year, the Sadie Hawkins dance had about 100 kids that showed up. But why didn’t the Sadies Hawkins dance work? Because Sadies Hawkins didn’t mean anything to anyone,” Principal Yolanda Gardea explained. Sadies Hawkins is an old tradition where girls get to ask the boys out to the dance. Despite it being a novel idea to this generation, fewer and fewer students are interested in participating. “The Day of the Dead is a serious thing to a point just like a funeral is, but then afterwards you have a celebration. For my family, afterwards we go eat and stuff,” she said. “You’re with your family and then there is a celebration, that’s where the idea came from. That’s why the Banda Night was planned—to get a different variety of kids to come to the events.” Last year, Mr. Ferrin attended a Día de los Muertos celebration in Santa Ana. “Thousands of people were there celebrating and different ofrendas for celebrities and for family members. It’s a huge thing. And there’s dancing and there’s music and there’s food and drinks,” he said. A plan emerged to set up different activities throughout the campus. “I wasn’t too sure about all the details but I imagine showing a movie; probably “Coco,” so that people could take a seat, and different board games would be set up in the middle of the quad,” Mr. Ferrin said. The goal was to use culturally appropriate artifacts in an attempt to avoid cultural appropriation. “I know that people were worried about having a party next to their relatives,” he said. “I



Not everyone likes to dance, so we tried to do something that would encourage those students to come. They can come with their friends, decorate cookies, play board games and other activities we have planned. MS. YOLANDA GARDEA Principal, on encouraging participation in the activities

Perspective 7


know that was the big thing, but honestly that’s what Día de los Muertos is about.” Emphasizing the importance of Hispanic representation, Mr. Ferrin said, “I mean almost anything else you can think of is culturally directed at the white population. This is a theme that is directed at our [the Van Nuys] community.” Los Angeles has a long history of discriminating against Hispanics, according to Mr. Ferrin, like the Zoot Suit Riots in the 1940s where Mexican people were beaten in the streets by white cops or the 1968 student walkouts where Mexican kids were tracked to lower level classes with no say in what classes they want to take, getting classes like auto-shop instead of AP Physics. “This idea is dedicating something for our Hispanic community; this is for our Mexican community to show solidarity,” said Mr. Ferrin. At first, Ms. Gardea, the administration, Mr. Ferrin and ASB were excited to share the proposed theme, considering how it incorporated Hispanic culture. But the heated controversy that ensued caught them off guard. “How can anyone think that we’re purposely trying to do something hurtful to anybody?” asked Ms. Gardea. To generate even more excitement and participation, Art and Spanish classes are making altars for the dance, in addition to altars that are made every year by ESL classes. “It’s really fun to make the altars in my art class because they will be very colorful for Dia de los Muertos,” said ESL student Jasmine Chocoyo. “I would die to go to homecoming and I already told all my friends to go with me.” Some students mistakenly believed that the altars, created to honor family members, would be displayed on the dance stage. But in reality they will be displayed in the lecture hall. Despite the theme, there is no dress code and the music will be a mix of Banda, Spanish, pop, hip-hop and other popular genres. In addition to the altars, the cafeteria will host skull cookie decorating and will serve Champurado, a traditional Mexican hot chocolate drink. “Not everyone likes to dance, so we tried to do something that would encourage students to come,” Ms. Gardea said. “They can come with their friends, decorate cookies, play board games and other activities we have planned.” Ms. Gardea did question why the petitioners want to remain anonymous. She suggests that addressing the issue with the organizers or with her directly would have been a more constructive approach. “If you have enough guts to put out a petition, then have enough guts to talk to the leadership about it,” she said. Although the petition will not change the theme, they are hopeful that students will have a bigger say in planning events like Homecoming. “I hope that in future events the people in charge will make voting polls available for students, who are the people paying and attending these events, so they actually have an input.” But according to Ms. Gardea, she or the school would never do anything to offend anyone on purpose. “All I want is for Van Nuys to be the best school ever and for everyone to have fun here. That’s my goal in life.”

New faces join the faculty The wolfpack welcomes 10 new additions to the staff for the 20192020 school year. THE MIRROR STAFF

Daniel Winchester

Dallas Stotland

Eric Mahoney




FAVORITE MUSIC: I don’t have a favorite genre of music. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My computer. MOST PROUD OF: I’m proud of the progress that my students have made.

FAVORITE MUSIC: My favorite genre of music is 80’s pop and rock. For example billy idol, Duran Duran, Madonna, and etc. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My dog. MOST PROUD OF: I’m proud that I changed to teaching.

FAVORITE MUSIC: Alternative, like Conor Oberst. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Sports. MOST PROUD OF: My family.

Ofelia Antonio

Guadalupe Moreno

Robert Docter




FAVORITE MUSIC: I feel like I have an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy listening to indie, like ‘Mumford and Sons’, and ‘The Lumineers’.

FAVORITE MUSIC: Indie music, punk music. New Empire weekend album. I really like Neal Young, Bob Dylan, Jonie Mitchell and Paul Simon.

FAVORITE MUSIC: Alternative. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: I can’t live without sweets! MOST PROUD OF: To see that we’re a part of these students’ lives and that they come back to this school. And we’re like “Oh my Goodness! We’re doing it!” That’s why I’m in this field.

Samantha Wallace ENGLISH FAVORITE MUSIC: Indie, but more alternative. The 1975 and I obnoxiously like the 5 seconds of summer CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Pizza MOST PROUD OF: I’m the first of my friends to graduate college and find a first full-time job.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My friends. I have a really small circle but they’re always there.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Overpriced artisanal coffee.

MOST PROUD OF: Where I am today. Everytime I start a new step in life, I always feel like i’m not gonna get there, but everytime I accomplish my goals, it’s nice to know i got there. This year my goal is to earn my masters.

Matt Lutz

MOST PROUD OF: I directed a camp for the last three summers for the lower socioeconomic intercity kids of L.A.. and I’ve been able to translate working with youth here to this school

Helisse Labinger

Elzbieta Krzysik






CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Jimbo MOST PROUD OF: Getting my teaching credentials.




The unfortunate reality of vapin



n the past, teenagers that wanted to look cooler and more grown up started smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes have never really gone completely out of fashion, and for many they remained a rite of passage into adulthood. But as the risks of smoking became more and more apparent, a new form of smoking— vaping—began to take its place. Most people thought it was a safer, less toxic alternative to cigarettes. But now it has been exposed as a potential killer. At least 18 people have died in the U.S. this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) due to vaping-related injuries. As of Sept 27, the CDC reported 1,080 cases of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries. Over half are younger than 25. Teenagers 18 or under makeup 16%. Although most victims are young, those who died were all adults. As numbers of injuries related to vaping continue to rise, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued a warning to the general public in early September about the dangers of e-cigarette usage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration followed with a similar warning. Most people suffering from vaping-related illnesses have


been diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome, a disease that is caused by fluid build-up in the lungs, preventing the victim from being able to breathe on their own. Vaping pens, also called ecigarettes, are portable, batterypowered devices that heat a liquid in a cartridge, creating an aerosol vapor which the user inhales. The liquid, flavored to make it more palatable, contains either nicotine or THC, a derivative of marijuana, among other chemicals and lasts for about 200 puffs. Nicotine and THC use increases chances of a heart attack and stroke by raising blood pressure and adrenaline levels. They are, however, also highly addictive substances that make users prone to experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using them. Scientists, however, are still unsure of the complete composition of E-cigarettes, leaving the cause of vaping-related illnesses somewhat of a mystery. All cases, however, have reported to use some kind of e-cigarette. Out of the 578 cases where doctors are unsure about what the victims were smoking, 78% of those vaped THC, while only 17% reported solely using nicotine, according to the CDC. According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, after examining the lungs of 17 patients who’ve fallen sick from vaping, researchers concluded that it may be a result of a mix of “toxic chemical fumes,” not

oils as previously expected. The presence of these chemicals make young users who use e-cigarettes more likely to transfer over to traditional cigarettes later on, according to a RAND Corporation Study. Traditional cigarettes are known to cause health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Smoking is the top cause of preventable death, responsible for over seven million deaths each year. Nevertheless, usage of e-cigarettes is still on the rise since it is marketed as a “healthier” alternative to traditional cigarettes. While traditional cigarettes are known to contain about 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, like carbon monoxide and pesticides, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine found conclusive evidence that switching to e-cigarettes reduce exposure to toxicants and carcinogens. According to Michael Blaha, M.D., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, “there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.” As a result, many e-cigarette users started using vaping as a way to stop smoking cigarettes. Despite being marketed as a smoking cessation device, the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as such. E-cigarettes can still contain as much nicotine as a regular pack of cigarettes. Since

nicotine can be highly addictive, this alternative to traditional smoking is still creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. According to an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC National Youth survey, there has been a 78% increase in vaping among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students since last year. Most of them are not aware they are even using nicotine. A majority of vaping products are targeting the youth by incorporating kid-friendly flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy, appealing in taste and smell for young teenagers. A study by Stanford University on the impact of tobacco product advertising found that Juul Labs, a major retailer of ecigarettes, targeted its advertising toward young people. Some ads even resembled traditional tobacco ads. Juul displayed themes like pleasure and relaxation, socialization and romance, style and identity along with colorful images and very young looking models advertising the product. The company, however, defended that their advertisements and products were targeted towards adults. The CEO of Juul Labs, Kevin Burns stepped down from his position with K.C. Crosthwaite, a senior vice president at Altria, replacing Burns immediately. Altria, the major investor in Juul, is also the maker of Marlboro cigarettes. This rising epidemic led

18 1080 200 78



attributed to vaping


attributed to vaping


per vape cartridge


in high school students who vape from 2017-2018

the Trump Administration to take action to regulate the use of e-cigarettes and consider a potential ban on flavored ecigarettes. Following Trump’s proposal, Juul Labs issued a statement on their website on Sept. 25 stating that they would be discontinuing advertising in The United States. The company also stated they would accept the proposed ban on ecigarettes in the U.S, until these devices are FDA-approved. While the federal government pushes for a ban of e-cigarettes, 12 states have already taken steps towards regulation of these products, raising the age limit on purchasing cigarettes and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. “People are overreacting by banning vapes but rules should be made for fake carts to help make sure that those don’ t reach people,” said by a senior student. Now retailers like Walmart and Sam’s Club have also taken action, vowing to end sales of vaping devices in the U.S. after their current stock is sold out. Other countries are also following suit. More than 20 countries have already regulated, or banned e-cigarettes. Juul Labs Inc.’s products disappeared from Chinese Marketplaces and days later India banned any further production of e-cigarettes. However, resources for vaping will still be plentiful among the youth through black-markets and the many retail stores




in middle school students who vape from 2017-2018

Lawmakers, health officials and business tackle an epidem


ver since flavored vape products first entered the market, lawmakers and public health advocates have been pushing for them to be banned. According to the most recent figures from the CDC, 1,080 cases of lung injury due to vaping have been reported and nine people have died. The number of victims will surely increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no specific


e-cigarette product has been linked to the outbreak. The data shows that the victims used e-cigarette products containing THC or nicotine. As underage vaping continues to increase, the Trump administration is taking measures to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sat down with the Acting Commissioner of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Norman Sharpless,

and the Health and Humans Services Secretary, Alex Azar, to create a new policy that would require flavored e-cigarette companies to take their products off the market. By next May, e-cigarette companies and flavored-product manufacturers will have the opportunity to file for approval by the FDA. Both the President and the First Lady took to Twitter to speak about their concerns of e-cigarette use by young people.

“While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL!” the President tweeted. “Let’s get counterfeits off the market, and keep young children from Vaping!” he added. “I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death and prevent ecigarettes from becoming an on-ramp

to nicotine a youth,” the F While ma Juul have trie from the inc ing issue, oth they can to a Broadcas and CNN ha tisements fr Walmart is s cigarettes a


ng throughout America. Not fully aware of the fatal effects of vaping, students continue to puff. “I started doing vape when I was 15,” a senior student shares. “The type of vape that I smoke which I can die from is THC, which is basically marijuana.” The dangers do cause her concern. “The controversy that is going around at the moment is that people are actually dying and thinking maybe there is a small possibility that my lifespan is shrinking by the moment.” But she is still deciding on whether or not to give it up. “I haven’t lived a full life yet and I am hoping I can be old one day. So after thinking thoroughly about the situation and the effects of vaping I will maybe, just maybe consider quitting vape.” A sophomore who vapes loves the head rush he gets. “The controversy around vaping is all negative stuff and I don’t recommend vaping. With that being said, if it makes me a hypocrite okay, but it’s my life and it’s my decision to choose to vape or not.” He understands the dangers, and plans on giving it up. “I do plan on stopping because I do want to live a long life and vaping shortens your lifespan.” The legal age to buy a vape pen is 18, but kids nowadays have access through all kinds of connections like black markets, and even friends. As this epidemic continues to grow, raising awareness among teenagers is becoming more and more important.


addiction for a generation of First Lady tweeted. ajor e-cigarette companies like ed to distance themselves creasing scrutiny over the vapher companies are doing what address the problem. st companies like CBS ave stopped taking adverrom e-cigarette makers. stopping the sale of ealtogether. KAYLA LEE

As the number of injuries and deaths related to VAPING continue to rise, the CDC issued a warning to the general public about the dangers of e-cigarette use.





Kayla Lee, Pilar Sims

Riding fatalities have gone up 25 percent in the past eight years, up 10 percent in 2018 alone.


Mhar Tenorio


Cycling in L.A.: A great way to get killed


Ani Tutunjyan


Kaitlyn Jung


Gwen Langi



ycling is a good way to help the environment, but also a good way to get injured or even killed. Riding a bicycle is more environmentally friendly than driving a car. Bikes don’t release toxic fumes into the air, making them a pollution-free mode of transportation. Plus they are a good form of exercise. However, cycling is dangerous. Researchers have found that the percentage of cyclist deaths have been increasing. In the U.S., fatalities have gone up 25 percent in the past eight years, up 10 percent in 2018 alone. In the same time period, all other traffic deaths have decreased. JIMENA MARTINEZ In September 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti teamed up with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and released a Vision Zero plan with the goal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. Currently active in multiple nations, Vision Zero is a road safety project aiming to lower road injuries and fatalities. However, the number of bicycle fatalities have risen. From the time of the project’s initiation to 2016, death counts peaked at 21. The project is continuing to fall short of the set expectations. Cycling has been growing in popularity, so accidents are projected to increase. Every year, hundreds of cyclists are either seriously injured or killed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the major cause of cyclist deaths are motor vehicle

The truth about

crashes. Some blame the driver, others blame the cyclist, but the cities are really to blame. Bike lanes don’t make streets any safer. Vehicles that drive close to cyclists increase how unsafe they feel on the road. Paint is not protection. A white stripe on the road will not make someone who is unsure of their safety more likely to ride a bike on the road. Bike lanes need more than just paint to keep them safe; they need a barrier between cars and cyclists. Cyclists will feel safer if they know they have something separating them from moving vehicles: something that is not paint. Better yet, designate some streets solely for cyclists. The Orange Line, which runs from North Hollywood to Chatsworth is only for buses, so why not do the same for cyclists to decrease the deaths every year? People of all ages ride bicycles, especially students. They should feel safe while they’re on the road. Right now they’re risking death or serious injury. Everyone can help raise awareness about cyclist fatalities, but the best place to start is in schools, which should have educational programs and safety information for all students and adults. Bicycle safety classes in public schools could teach rules of the road, equipment use and safe riding techniques, lessons that would be especially useful on the dangerous streets of Los Angeles. The tragic bike fatalities resulted in an interesting form of artistic expression. “Ghost bikes” are bicycles painted a crisp white and left at sites cyclists were killed. By doing this, the lives of riders are honored while reminding motorists the unfortunate result of reckless and selfish driving.

being a VEGAN


Kasey Kim


Andre Rodas


Ivan Delgado


Aaron Mejia


Plapol “PJ” Rattapitak


Stephanie Caceres Eduardo Camarena Rozalynn Casillas Ruben Cocilion Adriana Contreras Noelle Copeland Arsh Dole Saahil Gaur Dhamara Gomez Xavier Gonzalez Andrea Hernandez Sophia Herrera Oscar Jimenez Estefania Lopez Jimena Martinez Milton Najarro Shanya Neal Caroline Ortiz Maisha Rahman Josselyn Ramos Beverly Regino Sandra Sanchez Pamela Serrano Anahit Sharmatyan Angelica Valenzuela Layla Williams JOURNALISM ADVISER



o lower blood sugar levels, improve kidney functions and lose weight, going vegan seems to be a great solution. Richer in certain nutrients and linked to lower risks of heart disease, vegan diets have also been found to lower the risk of cancer and reduce arthritis pain. But is it really worth to become a vegan. Although there are benefits, many health risks have recently been uncovered. Vegans are more at risk for physical and mental illness despite generally leading healthier lifestyles. Being vegan might help lose weight, but most vegan diets lack nutrients that are essential to adequately nourish your body. Adherents to the diet avoid eating animal flesh and animal by-products. Cutting meat, seafood, dairy and bee products which are important sources of iron, calcium, zinc and other nutrients often leads


to deficiency in important essentials like vitamin B-12. A study conducted over an 18-year period, published in the British Medical Journal discovered that vegans have a 20 percent increased risk of stroke due to low B-12 levels, as this vitamin is only found in animal products. Eating plants alone requires an enor-

mous amount of discipline and knowledge to maintain decent nutrition. Becoming a vegan overnight isn’t easy. A large amount of preparation is required because of the reduced food options. The amount of protein required can easily be underestimated. When a vegan is hungry, they tend to gorge on foods high in carbs, when what they really need is protein. Over-consuming carbohydrates can lead to an increased risk of liver disease, high blood sugar and can potentially lead to other troublesome symptoms. Protein from plant sources are available, but the mistake people tend to make is not choosing the correct sources of protein. Veganism can also be used as a cover for eating disorders like orthorexia, the obsessive pursuit of a healthy diet, scoring significantly higher on a risk scale than people who eat red meat. Being a vegan won’t protect you from health problems. It might reduce the risk, but it does not make an individual immune to sickness. Before deciding to live the vegan lifestyle, carefully consider the risks. Any existing health problems might be made worse. When in doubt, balance is always the best option.

Mr. Ron Goins

ABOUT US The Mirror is the student newspaper of Van Nuys Senior High School in Van Nuys, California, a district of Los Angeles. It is published six times per year. The opinions expressed in bylined commentary articles and columns represent the views of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mirror or the Editorial Board. DISTRIBUTION Copies are free to students, faculty and staff and are available in Room 112, Second Floor, Main Building. READER PARTICIPATION Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board. Letters to the Editor may be delivered to Room 112 or mailed to The Mirror, 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space to conform to The Mirror style and format. ADVERTISING Advertising questions may be directed to Aaron Mejia at, or by telephoning (818) 788-6800. Publication of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of the product or service by the newspaper or the school. MEMBERSHIPS National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and Southern California Journalism Educators Association (SCJEA).









Cover up!



an I fix your hair?” the photographer asked me as she was already positioning my hair to droop and cover my shoulders completely. I didn’t care that she was touching my hair, but I did care about the reason why. “They’re going to make you retake the photo,” she said. Retake my photo for what? Were my shoulders such a big distraction that their appearance on my school ID would be disgraceful? I knew better than to go against the photographer because I knew she was just doing her job. But my anger and that of many other students have a place to be directed at: the dress code. A female student who prefers to remain unnamed described her experience with the dress code policy. “It was on picture day and I wanted [to] look good for it. I was wearing this pink shirt showing my shoulders and little bit of my chest. Then the lady made me cover up because I was showing “too much.” I feel I was wrongfully dress-coded because I wasn’t showing a lot; just my shoulders.” Safety assemblies were held in early September where students were told about the dress code. But the code seems to hit female students especially hard. Spaghetti straps and midriffs can be distracting in classrooms to male peers and

teachers. This is the message that gets sent to some female students: cover up because the boys in our class and even our male teachers cannot focus on their task at hand if shoulders or skin are on display. The student buzz is too strong to ignore. “The comments at the assembly were absolutely wrong,” said the anonymous student. “Making adult men the reason for our dress code is absolutely disgusting.” “If they get distracted, then maybe we need new teachers. Girls should not be held responsible for the actions of males. They are the ones getting distracted, so the girls are forced to take action? How is that fair?” But male students too have been the victims of what may be an outdated policy. Junior Terrence Lazo also expressed his disagreement with the school policy after being forced to change out of ripped jeans into PE shorts. “It was a waste of time for both sides. I doubt whether the staff even agrees with such a stupid policy,” he said. “When I asked why, they just told me it was the rules, and rules are rules.” Perhaps we need to revisit the ban on ripped jeans and exposed shoulders. A few students say that they are given no explanation other than they are showing “too much” and should consider others when choosing what to wear. But most students probably don’t wake up every day and think about what outfit will draw the most attention to themselves. In fact, most students hardly even wake up with the energy to come to school at all. Some students might feel that the policies end up presenting the idea that their

choices of clothing are being judged based on whether or not they want sexual attention. Most students understand that safety is the first and foremost reason for the policies, but uneven enforcement can send an entirely different message. “I believe the policy exists so that students don’t worry so much about their appearance and more on their academics. It may seem like they’re doing it so that boys won’t look at girls a certain way, which is not a good reasoning for the dress code,” said the anonymous female. “I feel like us girls should be able to feel confident in ourselves and with this dress code; For some girls, they feel singled out and objectified because they’re told their clothing is too provocative and distracting to the boys.” She thinks that the purpose of the dress code—teaching young ladies to dress properly while still expressing themselves—is important, but sometimes the wrong message gets sent. “Shaming girls who are in violation of ridiculous rules targeting their gender will only lead to low self-esteem in girls, especially when the reason for doing so is to tell girls that their bodies are responsible for misbehavior in males.” Lazo also understands the importance of the policy but agrees that the school should approach enforcement differently. “The comments regarding the male students being uncomfortable by ‘revealing clothing’ is sexist,” he said. “It’s unfair to ban something for reasons out of women’s control.” According to Lazo, “Let the students figure it out on [their] own.” Whether or not students show their knees and shoulders should be up to students.

College is squeezing your money out of you, forcing many to carry debt long after



he average high school student is facing a bleak future once they graduate. At a time when they should be celebrating a new chapter in life, many will face a huge knowledge gap that may haunt them for a long time to come. They don’t have the skills to help them make sound decisions about money. When it comes to financial responsibilities, most students are stumbling in the dark. They lack financial literacy, a set of skills needed to make the smartest and most effective decisions regarding money. Ms. Charlton, the school’s college counselor, doesn’t believe that students will be prepared for what awaits many of them. “A lot of students have no clue how to do the most basic things on their own. Some students are very resourceful but most don’t know how to manage their money or do taxes,” she says. For example, students aren’t taught how to budget, take out loans, balance a checkbook, or do taxes. A more specific example of financial ignorance and irresponsibility would be the ever-growing national student debt. Every year students apply to colleges with stellar grades, extracurriculars, and recommendations but don’t qualify for scholarships. As a result, they are forced to pay their own way through tuition fees. The majority of students aren’t able to do so and must turn to financial aid, or worse yet — student loans. A student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books, supplies and living expenses. This means that student loans are the common — and for most, the only option. This leaves students fresh out of high school under predatory student loan targeting. As of June 2018, Forbes reported the total national debt of students in the U.S. had reached $1.52 trillion with 44.2 million people in debt. This includes adults still paying off debts from years after they graduated. The average college student owes $38,390, with two percent of borrowers owing $100,000 or more. That is a lot of debt to carry around. Here at Van Nuys Ms. Charlton is the best person to consult with regarding plans for college. Ms. Charlton believes there’s room for improvement in how our students are informed about their financial future. “I know that we do offer FAFSA workshops here [but financial literacy] could become more of a schoolwide responsibility as opposed to just a college office responsibility,” Ms. Charlton says. But it’s also possible that the lack of students who take the initiative to learn contribute to the rate of financial illiteracy. “It is crucial that high school students are educated about how to use their money wisely . The solution starts in schools.”



Origin of Peter Pan


The beloved character made his debut in a 1902 novel, The Little White Bird by Scottish author J. M. Barrie. SOURCE: BRITANNICA


Meet the cast: Peter and the Starcatcher


he backstory to one of the most-beloved children’s tales of the last century is coming to the Hubbard Auditorium in early November. “Peter and the Starcatcher,” an adven-

Edward Malcolm

Ever since auditioning for the play “Lord of the Flies,” Malcolm fell in love with Ms. Lief’s productions. He also previously performed in “Bring It On.” Playing the role of Fighting Prawn, Malcolm is an Italian King of an island who was abducted by the English as a kid. Malcolm sees himself in his character, saying “My character is a bit of a spastic and I’d call myself a spastic too.”

ture story that explores how Peter Pan became who he is, will be performed by Actors in Action. Once a lost boy, the title character finds his identity and his home, Neverland, overcoming obstacles along the way with two friends, Prentiss and Ted.

Adam Ruckman

Hoping to improve his skills as an actor, Ruckman has been in every show at Van Nuys. “I’ve met many amazing friends along the way, so it also lets me spend more time with people I care about the most.” Mrs. Bumbrake, the nanny of Molly Aster, is played by Ruckman. She wants nothing more but to keep Molly safe. Throughout the story, Bumbrake feels left out and tries to catch up to the action. “Playing the character has been one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as an actor. Not just because it is a female role and not a male one, but because the lines the character has are phenomenal!” said Ruckman.

Premiering on Nov. 7, the show will run through the third week of November. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. “People should expect to laugh, experience moments that are touching and heartfelt, be surprised by how physical

Kevin Alvarez

the production is; overall they should expect to have a great experience,” said the theatre arts teacher, Ms. Mollie Lief. Here are the backstories of the actors who are playing leading roles on the stage. MILTON NAJARRO & KASEY KIM

Dakota Threats

During his freshman year, Alvarez was in the musical “42nd Street” and a small one-act student-directed play. To step past his limits, he auditioned for this play. Alvarez plays the role of Lord Leonard Aster, a dedicated minister to the queen and a devoted father. He is a proper man and never lets anyone get the best of him. He lets other people do his bidding. He rarely lets his guard down and is always sure of what he’s going to do next. “I have yet to find something that brings me to connect with the character. I feel the more I play the character, the more I think I will find something but at the moment, I’m still trying to figure out how I can be Lord Aster,” explains Alvarez.

Also a cast member in last year’s musical, Threats loves the story of Peter Pan. “I really wanted to be a part of telling that story,” she said. Threats plays Prentiss, an orphan along with Peter and Ted, who sees himself as the leader of their group since he’s the oldest. Prentiss is ambitious and very logical but also can be somewhat of a coward at times. Since she is the oldest of her siblings, Threats relates to her character. “It is sometimes hard to seem like the big sister when my siblings act like they know everything already so I do try and prove to myself and others that I have some authority over them, but not in such a bragging way like Prentiss does.”

Anddy Chuta

Previously cast in the musical “Bring It On,” Chuta hopes to relive the fun experience. Playing Black Stache, Chuta is the main villain. He is trying to look for a hero for his villain and he is very childish. “I like to think that I am as funny as him.” “I’d say my biggest challenge is handling the accent that comes with the character and to be honest I haven’t overcome that yet.”



Top row from left: Edward Malcolm, Adam Ruckman, Kevin Alvarez, Dakota Threats; Bottom row from left: Anddy Chuta, Perla Barajas, Dante Damiano, Jude Struble, L. Perez, Zoe Stone.

Perla Barajas

A senior now, Barajas has been in theater since freshman year. She has been involved onstage and backstage with plays including “Elephant Man,” “A Flea in Her Ear,” “42nd Street,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Lord of the Flies.” As Black Stache’s dedicated sidekick, Smee, Barajas cheers him on. “Smee has his ticks that make him a little wacky and I definitely have mine,” she said. “I know on stage it’s going to be a lot of Smee and Perla mixed together.” “I can really put myself in the character’s shoes and think about their actions, objectives and the lines that they say. I question my character which is a good strength.”

Dante Damiano

An interest in the plot of the play attracted Damiano to audition for the play. In middle school, Damiano performed in “Elf the Musical,” “Aladdin,” “West Side Story,” and “Secret Garden.” Hawking Clam, played by Damiano, is the father of Fighting Prawn. “I am similar to my character because he is Italian-oriented and my bloodline is 50% Italian,” says Damiano. “People should watch this play because it is a really interesting play and there are a lot of cool props. There’s a lot of movement and it’s funny.” Damiano’s weakness is dancing because he has never taken dance lessons. He also says that his strength is singing because he has been singing all of his life.

Jude Struble

Struble has loved theater and the story of Peter Pan ever since he was a little kid. Theater is an escape from his problems and it is a good way to make friends. “The theater is just something where you can kind of build a relationship with all of your cast members and I really wanted to be a part of that.” As the food-obsessed Ted, Struble will play one of the orphans along with Peter and Prentiss. The character, who is fun and witty, loves food so much he’s always talking about it, dreaming about it and fighting over it.

L. Perez

Enjoying the usual—singing, dancing and acting—Perez was in Theatre 2 last year and in the cast of the hit “Bring It On.” As an actor, their strength is that they can project their voices. “A lot of people are surprised when they hear me be so loud.” Perez will act in the title role as Boy/Peter. Peter Pan has no home and is an orphan. He has never had any friends and was very lonely. Throughout the story, Peter grows and develops two friends and actually has a crush on a girl. Almost everyone can relate to Peter, suggests Perez. “A lot of people can feel lonely and they can feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to.”

Zoe Stone

Even though she is a junior, this is Stone’s first year here. Coming from Cleveland High, which had no drama program, she applied to the Performing Arts Magnet. “Theatre is an inclusive community and I wanted to be a part of it while having fun,” she said. Stone plays the role of Molly Aster, a 13 year old girl. “She’s like another Hermione Granger. Molly is a know-it-all who will not stop at anything to finish her mission. At one point, she acts like a spoiled child, the next a mother and then someone who takes care of the people she loves.” Molly is a character that Stone can relate to because they have something in common. “I believe that Molly and I both care about the people we love and those we don’t. No matter what, we’re both determined to accomplish anything we put our minds to.”



13 OCTOBER 2019





Aspiring artists Cultivating a passion to create By ANAHIT SHARMATYAN







hen all school seems to stress these days is academics, there are still many students who find time to pursue visual arts. For many, art is a creative way to communicate their emotions and ideas, as well as escape the stresses of everyday life. These four aspiring geniuses continue to cultivate their passion to create. Their projects range from film to drawing to anime. Salvador Xavier Gomez, a junior, has been doodling ever since he could hold a pencil. However, he didn’t consider art as a profession until about 4 years ago. Not doing any huge projects currently, he focuses on creating a portfolio of work to show schools. “I try to convey the emotions and ideas that I have, as well as what I find interesting, and try to portray it in my art style,” he explains. “I usually just like drawing anything that looks cool to me or any statements or thoughts that I have.” Though he isn’t influenced by anyone, in particular, he takes some inspiration from Tyler, SALVADOR GOMEZ the Creator, and the manga artist, Hirohiko Araki. Eccentric drawing styles, and the way one portrays certain emotions catch his eye. Gomez isn’t interested in following the trends of other artists either. “I never really thought I should either because I want all my work to feel like my own: genuine to myself if anything.” Instagram: @jibibibibibibibi Arman Badikyan, a junior, spends his time creating films, and drawing. Though his interest in film developed during his freshman year, Arman began drawing at the young age of 10. His films are showcased on his social media, school and various film festivals. “I want my work to convey a cinARMAN BADIKYAN ematic twist on typical

content,” he said. Intrigued by shows and films, such as “Breaking Bad,” “Shot Caller,” and “Shawshank Redemption,” he is influenced by their ability to profoundly control the audience’s emotions. Currently, he is not focusing on any significant drawing projects but is filming promotional videos for an independent businessman. Badikyan doesn’t follow any art trends, but focuses on improving with each project he does. Instagram: @arman_armoff. Andrew Vega, a junior, became interested in art through assignments at school. Such as art projects that included drawing animals. He does his work in an anime style using Prismacolor colored pencils and Arteza brush pens. “I draw on paper with colored pencils and markers, and I started drawing when I was around 7 years old,” he shared. Taking delight in ANDREW VEGA drawing for others, he accepts requests from people and draws what is most popular for his audience. “Making others happy and getting new art materials influences me and hypes me up,” Vega said. Instagram: @andrew._.vegan7. Linda Melendez, a junior, enjoys experimenting with different styles of drawing. In the past, she worked mainly on cartooning but recently she has been more focused on realistic art. “I want to convey that imagination is neverending; you can use it to bend reality and express yourself freely without rules,” Linda said. LINDA MELENDEZ She began drawing in elementary school and has taken art classes at Canoga Park Art Center. Two summers ago, she painted a mural at her old elementary school, Cantara Elementary. Currently, she is working on drawings for her AP Studio Art class but makes time to draw in her sketchbook for herself.




Handheld craze


Nintendo’s first handheld gaming console, The Game Boy, hit the market in 1989. SOURCE: BBC


PLAYLIST Music recommendations by AARON MEJIA & ANDRE RODAS

Love Again Daniel Caesar and Brandy Genre: R&B/Soul In late June, singer Daniel Caesar surprised everyone with his new album “CASE STUDY 01” which included a collaboration with artist Brandy. With the vibes of 90’s R&B, “Love Again” kindles a desire for love.

NOSTALGIC EXPERIENCE Long time fans enjoy a classic experience on Mario Kart Tour.

Mario Kart: Off to a good start By KASEY KIM & XAVIER GONZALEZ


SUGAR Brockhampton Genre: Pop In the summer of 2019, Brockhampton released its 6th studio album, “GINGER.” The sleeper hit “SUGAR” expresses the emotional emptiness of young relationships. With intense vulnerability, the lyrics break the emotional barrier in the group’s previous songs.


he recently launched mobile version of Mario Kart by Nintendo brought a classic and beloved game right into the palm of users, and fans have been going wild. Over 10.1 million people worldwide downloaded the long-anticipated game on its first day. Released on Sept. 25, the new game has since swept up many students, who can be seen digitally racing in the hallways during nutrition and lunch. The nostalgic game brings back memories to many people who have played Mario Kart on the Wii. Even Nintendo’s biggest critics had high hopes for the release. With a 4.8 rating in the Apple app store, Mario Kart Tour is ranked as number one in the action category. But a high rating does not necessarily indicate that all fans are satisfied. Players have praised Nintendo for

its superb high quality graphics, which draw players into the game, and the smoothness of the movements. Nonetheless, the game has its flaws and aspects of it have turned fans off. The mobile game requires a gold pass — which is $4.99 a month — to race at faster speeds and get more rewards, restricting players who have not bought the pass or players who can not afford it. While the game itself is free, playing it requires money to get an unlimited experience. To collect a large number of rubies and coins which allow players to buy new characters, carts and gliders means opening up your wallet. The controls of the game have also upset many nostalgic fans who expected high-quality controls similar to those on the Wii. App Store reviewers claim that the steering is hard to control and lacking in general. Mario Kart Tour does not allow for friends to connect or compete with each other. Players are competing with other random players which is

limiting. Nintendo should tweak the game to make it a competitive racing match for friends and families to enjoy together. “The mobile version of Mario Kart is such an amazing and addicting game to play. I love how it brings back childhood memories,” said Erick Mateos. “It’s really competitive with friends to try to rank a higher score than one another from racing with other players around the world.” But Mateos is disappointed that a multiplayer mode isn’t available, adding that was the only reason some people even downloaded the game, but still gives it a 10 out of 10 rating. “The drift controls are also a little complicated and it’s hard to move to the direction you want when it’s activated but the regular controls are fine,” he said. Overall, Mario Kart Tour is off to a good start as it launches as a mobile game. Although it has its flaws, Mario Kart Tour is a highly addictive, entertaining game that is fun and nostalgic.

About A Girl Nirvana Genre: Alternative Rock Released in Nirvana’s debut studio album, “Bleach,” “About a Girl” is a well-received song and is considered as a classic by many Nirvana fans. Cobain’s rough and catchy vocals are what makes it so endearing. The song peaked at #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on Dec. 10, 1994.

COMING SOON TO THEATERS (L to R) Aaron Paul in “El Camino,” Angelina Jolie in the “Malificent” sequel, characters from the animated “Addams Family” and Will Smith in “Gemini Man.”

OCTOBERMOVIES Love My Way The Psychedelic Furs Genre: Alternative/New Wave The Psychedelic Furs, a new wave band from England, has released a string of records throughout the ’80s. From their second album, “All Of This And Nothing,” the group released the song “Love My Way.” The eeriness of Richard Butler’s voice and the groovy synths bring together a message for individualism.

Capsule reviews by KASEY KIM & MAISHA RAHMAN

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

The Addams Family

Gemini Man

An upcoming continuation of the Netflix series “Breaking Bad.” The series is the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a science teacher who cooks Methamphetamine with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), to provide for his family after learning of his terminal lung cancer. The film picks up the storyline from where the TV show ends, tying together loose ends, reconnecting with Pinkman’s story.

Angelina Jollie stars as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora. Conflict arises after Prince Phillip, played by Sam Riley, unexpectedly proposes to Princess Aurora. With Philip’s mother, a neighboring queen determined to create a rift between humans and fairies, Princess Aurora and Maleficent find themselves questioning whether or not their relationship can persist as Maleficent fights to protect her forest.

Returning once again through animation is this perennial horror/comedy favorite. The bizarre family’s life takes a turn after they move to New Jersey. Making arrangements for their even creepier family members to stay at their eerie hilltop mansion for a celebration, they encounter the sly, greedy TV personality Margaux Needler, voiced by Allison Janney, who wants to sell every house in the neighborhood.

This action, drama, thriller and sci-fi film follows Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a hitman seeking to retire from his unorthodox career. Targeted by a clone of his younger self who seems to be able to predict his every move, he also has to go against the corrupt agency he once worked for. Henry searches for the truth behind the clone’s creation while trying to steer him away from the same dark path he went down.








Loss after loss for varsity football. What’s going on?


The season is a process, we’re all learning new stuff. For many of us, this is the first time we have ever really played football. HARMAN GAKHAL Varsity Defensive End




The Wolves scored a touchdown against the Kennedy Cougars in the opening play of the Sept. 27 home game, boosting team spirits, but ended up being overpowered 42-12 in what was their second highest scoring game of the season.



t’s been a hard year for the football team as the losses keep on piling up. All eyes have been on them and their unimpressive record. Only the players themselves really knows what’s going on behind the scene. Linemen Joel Zafra and Harman Gakhal are getting used to the repeated criticism they have heard this season. “People can say whatever they want. You guys may believe we are lazy athletes and to that I say, come join the team. Don’t just talk down on us when you haven’t even put on the pads and the helmet,” Zafra stated. “Come to practice, there can never be enough players on the field helping out, everyone can have a helping role. There are still pads left in the fieldhouse, don’t be afraid to join.” Gakhal added. Admitting that there are commitment issues with some players, Zafra says that he hasn’t always been a good role model. “I think we’re losing because some of our members don’t show up to practice. I’m not saying it’s their fault, it’s just the commitment and passion doesn’t always seem to be there, he said. “I am at fault for that as well because there have been times I have missed practice.” “Things weren’t clicking at first, we have realized we still have a lot to learn.” was Gakhal’s response. The season definitely hasn’t gone the way they had hoped it would. The team is currently 0-6, but Gakhal believes every- OCTOBER 2019

DIFFERING VIEWS Varsity players Harman Gakhal (L) and Joel Zafra (R) are getting used to the criticism, but have different theories about the cause.

thing will work out soon. “The season is a process, we’re all learning new stuff,” he said. “For many of us, this is the first time we have ever really played football. This is a completely new system which I believe will work. Patience is key.” he explained enthusiastically. “We’ve been putting in the work necessary and our coach and staff have been giving it their all for us. It doesn’t matter who we’re going up against because we will remain as a team.” When it comes to issues on the field, Zafra and Gakhal have differing opinions. “I think the problem is that the team isn’t bonding well with one another, ” said Zafra. “During games, we lose our cool and

spirit and that affects us in a big way. At times we worry about what others think so it does affect our emotions on the field.” On the other hand, Gakhal believes that there are no issues on the field. “It just takes time for some things,” he explained. “Our season started late compared to other schools and we didn’t even have a coach when school began. It’s a miracle that we even have a football program this year.” Then there’s the issue of the losing streak. Gakhal has a realistic outlook. “You win some, you lose some. You can’t just dwell on the loss, you have to focus on the next game. Don’t dwell upon the past.” The team is looking to do something different. The serious players know that

they have to take it to the next level if they want to win any of the season’s remaining matchups. Despite their positive outlook, their next match is against perennial league powerhouse, San Fernando High School. “We’re getting there, one step at a time. Everything worthwhile takes time,” Zafra said. Gakhal is always looking forward and always finds something to be positive about, no matter what the outcome might be. “We have to work harder and smarter. We’re just trying to have more of an identity. I am thankful for the staff believing in us. We want to win just as much as everyone else.”




NEW TACTICS New football coach, Evan Porter, plans to bring the football team to victory.

New man in CHARGE

n Championship basketball coach tackles football By ANDRE RODAS



t’s been a busy year for Coach Evan Porter. On top of being the man in charge of the Division One basketball program, he has also taken charge of the Wolves’ football team. The reason for this is because he wants to see the team succeed. Porter has been a winning coach for the basketball program which is why expectations are so high for the football team this year. In the 2016-17 season, the Wolves basketball team won the Division III city championship in one of Porter’s most important games of his coaching career. However Porter has not been alone. With the help of coach Kenneth Osorio, coach Steveland Handy, and coach Ramone Tovar it has made the process a lot easier for him. “I decided to coach the football team because they needed a boost and I wanted to do my part to improve school spirit,” he explained. He makes it very clear that there has been tremendous effort put into improving the team, not just by the athletes, but by other adults on campus as well. Football is on his mind throughout the whole entire day so that when it is officially time to practice he’s all set. Team effort has been questioned by the students on campus because of their lack of success, but Porter assures that it is always there.“ The biggest part of team practices is having structure and creating a routine and a system. Most of the effort comes from the kids. As a head football coach your job is to create the system, the program, the concept, and basically delegate to your coordinators and trust them to teach the things that we have to do that week,” Porter said. Junior Mynor Henandez had this to say about being under the coaching of Porter; “I feel blessed to be able to get the opportunity of getting coached by a person like Porter. He speaks the truth and helps you grow as a person. I’m glad to be apart of the beginning of the process for our football team.” He believes that the team relationship is great. “I think that I’ve created a culture in


My main focus has been improving the confidence and mindset of the team. Building character, positive thinkers, and supportive members of the Van Nuys community. HEAD FOOTBALL COACH EVAN PORTER

one sport which would be basketball and that can easily transition into football. The kids are all learning what it takes to become football players and love the sport.” “My main focus has been improving the confidence and mindset of the team by building character, positive thinkers and supportive members of the Van Nuys community.” Porter has also made sure to gain the player’s trust. “I’ve just been open and transparent with them. I’ve given them everything they need thus far for practices and games,and given them the effort that they deserve.” The Wolves are currently 0-6 and have gotten blown out in each game of the season so far. One of the main reasons for this is because the football team did not have any off-season conditioning. In the most important and crucial months, March, April and May, the offseason conditioning was non existent. “I was not hired as the coach yet. In fact we weren’t even supposed to have a football team this year.” One of the main reasons Porter decided to coach was because of how important he believes the impact of football is on a school campus. “I think it’s really big. Football, track and cross country are the three biggest sport participant groups we have. When you have so many kids participating in one event, I think it has a huge impact on the school spirit.” Friday night lights is important to the kids on campus and is something porter takes great pride in. “It’s very important for the kids, it’s like


the hangout. I think the impact is very big on the campus whether we’re winning or losing. Seeing it struggle, I wanted to make it a positive and fun experience.” It hasn’t been a great season for the Wolves football team and the players have constantly been reminded of that. Criticism is something that is not new to the team, but Porter has made sure it will not affect them on the field. “My big thing is this; no one is ever gonna know the work you put in your specific field unless they’re there.” So Porter invites all the campus critics to join the effort to make the team better. “There’s a lot of athletes on our campus who aren’t participating because we’re losing. I can understand that. The structure that this team needed before this was not there, so I can’t blame you, but it’s here now.” Unless students make a commitment,

SCHEDULE&RESULTS Aug. 29 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1

Polytechnic 42-14 L Manual Arts 72-0 L Valley Christian 49-6 L Sylmar 42-0 L Kennedy 42-12 L Panorama San Fernando Reseda Canoga Park

the losing streak will continue. “I can guarantee results if people participate,” he said. “I can guarantee that people are gonna get better. Spending time in our program will not only make you a better athlete but also a better student. So for those people criticizing, come join us. Let’s have positive energy instead of negative energy.”

Swim: Looking to replicate last season’s championship

T CHAMPIONS: Swim team captain, Mawill Hassan, in action.


he swim team had an impressive season last year, with a practice time that began at 6 AM at Panorama High School and with the help of their coach, Genesis Reynoso. They blew away everyone’s expectations as the best performing athletics team at the school. They were not only undefeated, but everyone on the team qualified for CIF (The California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section) which is the governing body for high school athletics in Southern California. The captain of the swim team, Mawill Hassan, talked about their impressive season and his hopes for the future. “We were undefeated for the entire swim season. We won League Championships,” Hassan explained.

“This is the first time in school history that our swim team was undefeated.” According to Hassan they “became league champions and most importantly, everyone on the team qualified for CIF,” which is an amazing accomplishment. “Although we did not win CIF last year, this experience has been motivation for all of us to come back this year, win CIF and qualify for state.” Also as a member of the water polo team, he hopes that they will be able to achieve excellence after last year’s somewhat rocky season. “The expectations are still the same: become undefeated, win league, win CIF and qualify for state.” ANDRE RODAS

Profile for The Mirror Van Nuys High School

Oct. 2019--The Mirror, Van Nuys High School  

The student-operated newspaper at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California (Los Angeles). October 2019 print edition.

Oct. 2019--The Mirror, Van Nuys High School  

The student-operated newspaper at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California (Los Angeles). October 2019 print edition.