Page 1

VAN NUYS HIGH SCHOOL | VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA | VOLUME 104 | ISSUE 5 | APRIL 2019

The Mirror Quiet vs. Loud, Antisocial vs. Social, Shy vs. Confident, a dissection of introversion vs extroversion. PAGE 6

Vaccines are part and parcel of our FPSs, RPGs and Pokémon. What lives. But for some, that isn’t quite kinds of games do the students of the case. PAGE 11 Van Nuys play? PAGE 14

CURRENT EVENTS 2 REFLECTION 4 COMMENT & OPINION 10 ARTS ETCETERA 12 ATHLETICS 15

CHEATING | RUDENESS | GREED | PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION | DISRESPECT | LITTERING | SEXTING | TRUANCY | RACISM | LUST | LYING | GOSSIPPING | STEALING | NARCISSISM | ENVY | VIOLENCE | PRIDE |CHEATING | RUDENESS | PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION | STEALING | DISRESPECT | LITTERING | SEXTING | TRUANCY | RACISM | LUST | LYING | GOSSIPPING | GREED | STEALING | NARCISSISM | ENVY | VIOLENCE | PRIDE | CHEATING | RUDENESS | PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION | STEALING | DISRESPECT | LITTERING | SEXTING | TRUANCY | RACISM | LUST | LYING | GOSSIPPING | GREED | STEALING | NARCISSISM | ENVY | VIOLENCE | PRIDE | CHEATING | RUDENESS | PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION |

BADBEHAVIOR IMMORAL PRACTICES THAT POISON THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY Over the years, I have listened to friends and fellow classmates express their negative feelings about other students. Sometimes, I disregarded them. Other times, I actually agreed with them. These stories and rumors involving egotism and envy sound horrid, especially when they involve students who are supposedly among the most decent people on campus. But what exactly is egotism? PAGE 8

YOUR GOOD FEELS MAKE US FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE Throughout school, couples furiously slosh their saliva together in the name of romance. It’s disgusting. Many romantic couples—who will not even be together in a few months—find themselves so attached to one another that they cannot go seven hours without a fiery session of affection. This is either because they are so proud to be in a relationship and want everyone to know it, or because of their incurable sexual thirst. Either way, the displays of affection in each stairwell and hallway displays the shallow depth of these relationships. PAGE 8

CHEATING THEIR WAY INTO SCHOOL America prides itself on its claims of a merit-based society where you can start with nothing and work hard and find success through your own devices. Public education is largely designed to level the playing field and give each of us the same fighting chance to get into these elite schools that promise financial security later in life. And yet the recent college admission scandal has left me questioning all of that. PAGE 8

RAP’S BAD RAP: One of America’s most prominent genres unjustified infamy. PAGE 10

BAD BEHAVIOR: NIKULINA TATIANA; SNOOPDOG: BARTOONZ

vnhsmirror.com


[2] Current Events

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

THE MIRROR | MARGARITA HOVSEPYAN

New Administrator Joins Faculty By KIMBERLY PEREZ SOLIS & MHAR TENORIO THE MIRROR STAFF

E NEW FACE: MS. ANABEL BONNEY JOINS STAFF AS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL.

xhibiting her trademark exuberance, Ms. Anabel Bonney has joined the school as the new assistant principal primarily overseeing the Attendance Office. As someone who grew up in Van Nuys and later Reseda, Ms. Bonney

wanted to work in a place where she could give back to the community. “I get to talk to the students and get to know them on a different level. And then there’s the management aspect, the part of it where I learn how to run a school,” she explained. With her new duties, Ms. Bonney is excited and eager to learn. Having the best of both worlds as assistant principal is her favorite part of her new job.

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables By ANI TUTUNJYAN THE MIRROR STAFF

S

enioritis strikes again. The school’s 2019 Senior Class has recently seen a significant drop in attendance. 51 percent of seniors last year were proficient in attendance—present 96 to 99 percent of the school year and had seven or less absences. That percent has now plummeted to 11.3 percent. “I feel like there are different theories that have been put out there,” A-G counselor Ms. Malissa Vanegas said. “One of them I heard is that for a lot of students this year, the senioritis is just really, really bad.” Senior Sofiah Lawal has similar theories. “I think senioritis hit harder this year because after the teacher’s strike, everything became chaotic which allowed seniors to lose interest in school more than usual,” Lawal said. Lawal herself had 10 absences this school year, mainly due to her participation in the spring musical, “Bring It On.” This is a common issue that students face when participating in extracurriculars, such as sports or performing arts events. However, there are students who face actual illnesses. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six to seven million people have been sick with the flu in the 2018 to 2019 season. Senior Board President Jacky Duong does her best to attend school everyday. “I make sure I take preventative measures during school so I don’t fall ill,” Duong

SENIOR CALENDAR

April 15-19 Spring Break

April 8-12 Prom Fashion Show Auditions and Sign Ups

‘‘

said. “It is definitely to attend school on a regular basis beneficial to attend school and that I do worry about. ” everyday because I don’t The A-G counselors and Ms. fall behind on courseSharareh Shamsi are working to It is definitely work. I have more time to improve that percentage. They colbeneficial to consult my teachers and laborated with Mr. Marc Strassner, attend school I’m able to utilize the great Senior Board and ASB, and created a everyday because resources available at the list of all the students who had nine or I don’t fall behind school.” more absences. on coursework. I Another possible theLists were placed all over the walls have more time to ory is that students strive of the main building, art building, engconsult my teachto take more challenging lish and science building for students ers and I’m able classes, specifically AP to find their name and meet with the to utilize the great courses. But due to such A-G counselors or Ms. Shamsi to resources availa high workload, they may able at the school find a solution to these absences. be finding it more difficult The counselors breakdown the —JACKY DUONG to attend school daily. absences and give students opportu24.1 percent of ninth nities to clear them to not miss out on graders, 21.4 percent of senior activities such as prom, grad tenth graders and 19.4 nite and walking at the ceremony. percent of juniors are “We are sharing with them opproficient in attendance. portunities on how they can give “We saw improveback those hours and do things like ment in each grade level, campus beautification, going on eduexcept for the seniors,” cational field trips or participating in A-G counselor Mr. Greg certain activities during lunch time,” Achen said. Ms. Malissa said. Although Mr. ChristoLetters are also being mailed to all pher May has no definite theories as to why seniors with a breakdown of their unexseniors have seen such a drop in attencused, excused and uncleared absences. dance, he is sure that consequences will This gives students the opportunity to arise from the lack of attendance. know where they stand with their absences “It will set into place a mindset that and to be mindful for the next 10 weeks of partial attendance is acceptable at school, school. at university, at work and in family dynam“It’s [meeting with students] definitely ics and other areas of life. I don’t know what providing a good space to have a conversathe source of the decline is; I do know that tion and looking at it on an individual basis the ramifications do not hold well for those and how we can help this specific situation,” individuals who are not disciplined enough Ms. Malissa said.

’’

May 1 Last day to pre-order Yearbook.

May 18 Prom at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles

June 7 Graduation

BRIEFLY

SPEAKING THE HAPPIEST SINGING SHOW ON EARTH The Chamber Singers will perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. on May 3 alongside the Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre and the LA Master Chorale. Choir programs from 50 schools will come together and sing a total of six songs: “Journey Home,” “Fly to Paradise,” “Hallelujah,” “The Word was God,” “Hanacpachap Cussicuinin” and “Sing.” “They’re all very different and unique songs that I don’t think we’d be doing if it weren’t being done by the Disney Hall Program itself,” chamber singer Stefanie Santos said. A separate honor choir made up of four students from each school will include Stefanie Santos, Samantha Rubio, Aram Antonyan and Enrique Berganza. n TRISHA KHAOWNIMON

JSA SPRINGS INTO YEAR’S FINAL CONVENTION The Junior State of America team is getting ready for their annual Spring State Convention on April 13-14 at the LAX Sheraton. In the final convention of the year, 17 students will partake in debates, participate in open discussions and engage in political activism fairs. The political fairs will feature numerous political groups, including the National Rifle Association & Handgun Control Inc., Green and Libertarian parties. The club officers will elect Junior Statesmen for next year’s Cabinet positions. “Everyone is extremely excited and seeing all the underclassmen and our very own Wellington Upstill run for positions like Angeles Region Senator,” Club President Sharmie Azurel said. “It makes me as the Chapter President very proud.” JSA meets every Friday in Room 315 during lunch. Club updates and projects are posted on the club Instagram account, @vnhsjsa. n JESSICA EUSEBIO

COLLECTING AND GIVING MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS The Dream It Be It club is aiming to destigmatize periods and spread menstrual sanitation with a collection drive. They are collecting pads, tampons, panty liners and monetary donations; these items will be sent to the Downtown Women’s Center–an organization aimed to help homeless and formerly homeless women–and the FEM project–a volunteer-led organization that provides women with menstrual supplies. “This can help to end the secrecy and shame around periods, allowing people to know that periods are a normal part of life, and need to be acknowledged.” The drive ends on May 3. Donations can be accepted from non-VNHS students and dropped off in Room 506. n MHAR TENORIO

NEW MEASURE PLACED BY BOARD OF EDUCATION

April 26 Prom Fashion Show

May 30 Grad Night at Universal Studios

May 31 Senior Sunrise and Breakfast

*Prom Tickets: Prices increase starting April 22. Bring student ID to buy tickets from the Student Store. Only cash will be accepted.

The L.A. Unified Board of Education voted to place Measure EE on the ballot in a local public school funding election that will take place on June 4. The measure would provide funding to public schools with a 16-cent per square foot school parcel tax for 12 years. It would also reduce class sizes, attract teachers and support instructional programs in Math, Science, English, Arts, Music and Technology. “It’s an idea that people came up with to try to fix our own problems because of the state wide decision that severed the relationship between property taxes and public schools, which kind of cast our education system in this state downhill,” Ms. Maria Phillips said. These benefits would only be established if Measure EE is approved by 66.67 percent of voters. n LUCAS SHIM


Current Events [3]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

Have Doctors Found a Cure for HIV? By MHAR TENORIO THE MIRROR STAFF

O

ne of the deadliest viruses in the world may be facing a new enemy: stem cells. Doctors and scientists have announced that a London patient, whose identity remains anonymous, has been free of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for 18 months without any drugs or medication. HIV is a retrovirus that inserts its genetic material into an infected person’s DNA, allowing the infected DNA to produce the proteins that HIV needs for replication. The virus attacks the immune system, making the person susceptible to diseases and infections like cancer or tuberculosis that the body is too weak to fight off. After being diagnosed with HIV in 2003, the London patient was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma–a type of cancer that attacks the immune system. His doctors advised him to undergo a bone marrow transplant in which his blood cells would be destroyed and replaced with stem cells from a donor. The donor needed a mutation–an altera-

tion in the DNA sequence–in the CCR5 gene, which codes for a receptor on bloodcells where the HIV attaches to in order to infect them. The mutation halts the virus from infecting cells and reproducing further. Over 11 years ago, Timothy Ray Brown, then dubbed the “Berlin patient,” was announced to be HIV- and cancer-free after undergoing a similar process to the one that cured the London patient. A third patient called the “Dusseldorf patient” has reportedly been freed of the virus for three months without antiretroviral treatment. But doctors say it is too early to tell if the patient has been cured. With the potential exception of Brown, these patients are not entirely “cured” of the disease; they are merely “functionally cured” or in long term remission--meaning the virus is in very low quantities that it is undetectable in their bloodstreams. There remains a risk of the virus coming back. Some doctors think that this procedure is not a definite cure for HIV. One of them is Dr. Michael Gottlieb, MD, who first identified AIDS as a disease and who currently works for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) Health Center. “I don’t think this strategy for cure is widely

applicable,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “Both patients required chemotherapy to nearly eradicate their original immune systems. Both patients had cancers justifying the risk, however most patients with HIV don’t have cancer.” It is possible that the stem cell transplant treats the blood cancer with the eradication of the virus as a side effect. The transplant has never been proven to be successful on people with HIV alone. The transplant surgery can be fatal as complications may arise–such as bleeding and infections. If the surgery proves to be successful, the body may reject the foreign cells, leading to death. Brown was almost caught in this situation. After the surgery, he was purposely put in a medically-induced coma after his immune system began attacking his own cells. “Furthermore, stem cell or bone marrow donors who are genetically resistant to HIV are very rare,” said Dr. Gottlieb. Hospital bills for post-operational monitoring also add significantly to the costs of an already expensive treatment. HIV ATTACKS: HIV BUDDING (IN GREEN) FROM A LYMPHOCYTE. THE IMAGE HAS BEEN COLORIZED TO EMPHASIZE IMPORTANT FEATURES.

Nevertheless, these three patients may help HIV/AIDS scientists look for a more definitive and less expensive cure for HIV and may stimulate more interest by researchers into gene therapy and the CCR5 gene. “The cases represent what we call a proof of principle that HIV might be curable,” said Dr. Gottlieb. General research on the virus has increased since it was identified in 1983, advancing tremendously since the early days when being infected was a death sentence. Most patients undergo antiretroviral therapy (ART) by taking multiple drugs to hinder the growth of the virus in an infected person’s bloodstream, lowering the death rates and increased the life expectancies for infected people. However, mutations can arise once again, making the virus resistant to the drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV. Numbers may even be higher than reported since one in seven people with HIV are unaware that they are infected. With so many lives on the line, scientists are continuing their search for a more definite cure that can end the modern day plague.


[4] Reflection

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

COURTESY OF HOLDEN MANDELL

PART TWO OF A TWO PART SERIES

W

ork is a given that awaits everyone after high school. In our previous issue, The Mirror showcased students and their jobs. Here are more students who have taken a plunge into the workforce.

KAELLA CHIN ACTRESS

I work as an actress. I find jobs all over California through online casting sites. I did a commercial for women empowerment which just aired. While I was working as the “goalkeeper” in the commercial, I got to meet Mia Hamm–one of the greatest soccer players of all

Students at Work

time. I will forever remember that moment. Working as an actress lets me express myself, have fun and meet new people. The only downside is missing school.

DANIEL GALANG CHIPOTLE

I work at Chipotle as a lineman-the one who goes down the line and prepares the food orders. There was once this one lady who came in with her two kids. They ordered three quesadillas but wanted rice, sour cream, cheese and medium green salsa inside. My co-workers were disgusted and kept asking if the customer was really ordering that. With the green salsa in the grill, it steamed because it’s liquid and smelled really bad. Basically, I have to handle customers who are very specific

and at times ignorant while keeping up a smile throughout the whole encounter.

JESSICA EUSEBIO CHOWKING I work as a cashier at a Philippine-based fast food restaurant named Chowking. I saw the “Now Hiring” sign and decided to fill out an application since the restaurant is near my house. The most memorable experience while working was when I had to clean up diarrhea in the bathroom. Because I was the youngest employee, cleaning the bathroom was one of my responsibilities. There was poop everywhere, including the sink. I was so disgusted that I wore four layers of gloves. I later found used

COURTESY OF KAELLA CHIN

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: KAELLA CHIN PREPARES FOR A COMMERCIAL SHOOT AS THE “GOALKEEPER.”

CALL & PICK-UP: JESSICA EUSEBIO WORKS AS A CASHIER WHO TAKES ORDERS FOR CHICKEN, NOODLES, STEAM BUNS AND SHAVED ICE.

underwear that was completely covered in poop. The most stressful part of the job is taking a long line of orders while giving people the food they ordered. It’s annoying when customers don’t clean up after themselves and leave a big mess for me to sweep and wipe down. The best part of the job is when the restaurant is quiet and empty and I get paid well for a minimum wage of $13.25.

HOLDEN MANDELL M&M MARKET

I work as a stocker at a grocery and liquor store named M&M Market in Studio City. It’s a very small business with four employees–including myself. I’ve been going there all my life to buy things COURTESY OF JESSICA EUSEBIO

STOCKER: HOLDEN MANDELL STOCKS ITEMS, INCLUDING CABBAGES, AT M&M MARKET.

or run errands for my family, so I got to befriend the workers there. When I decided to look for a job, I asked the cashier to refer me and I ended up getting hired. I remember when a woman, while screaming, threw a bottle of liquor against the store wall in the parking lot and walked into the store crying that her bottle broke. She was probably tripping. It’s stressful when drunk and high customers come in and mess with me. They move things around and usually smell. But the worst part of the job is that 102.7 is always playing and they play the same repetitive songs from awful artists like Ariana Grande. It’s very annoying. I make $12 an hour. n JULIA PFAU COMPILED THESE INTERVIEWS COURTESY OF DANIEL GALANG

THUMBS-UP: DANEIL GALANG POSES BEFORE HE PREPARES TO SCOOP UP INGREDIENTS FOR A CUSTOMER.


Reflection [5]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

THE MIRROR | KAYLA LEE

THE MIRROR | KAYLA LEE

MORE FREEDOM, MORE RESPONSIBILITY: JACKIE NGO SITS ON THE HOOD OF HER 2001 TOYOTA CAMRY. THE MIRROR | KAYLA LEE

PROUD ON THE STREET: CELINE BAUTISTA LOOKS TO THE BACKSEAT IN HER SELF-DESCRIBED “SEVEN SEATER SOCCER MOM VAN.”

Vroom-Vrooming in the Valley

G

etting your driver’s license and seeing your awkward mugshot is one of the greatest moments of a teenager’s life. From driving to school to going to work, students are already “signaling” their way into adulthood. Here are some students who are already making their “right turns” into the student parking lot with their cars:

them myself. Besides having a multitude of cars, I’ve also received a fair share of tickets. I got a parking ticket for parking outside of the student parking lot on a Monday, which was a street cleaning day. I was charged 73 dollars. I also got a speeding ticket at one in the morning for going 128 mph down Vanowen. Whoops.

CELINE BAUTISTA

TRISHA KHAOWNIMON

I got my license in 2017 during the second semester of my sophomore year. During the two years since I’ve had my license, I got my first parking ticket last week (March 11, 2019) in a neighborhood by Melrose. Before I parked my seven seater soccer mom van, I read the five signs that were stacked on top of each other, reassuring myself that I wouldn’t receive a ticket. Sadly, I failed to notice a smaller faded sign on a separate pole that enforced parking during the time that I had parked there, resulting in a ticket after I came back an hour later. I feel like I’m living the stereotypical high school life from having late night drives with the windows down to simple parked-car conversations with my friends. Being able to drive has also allowed me to mature and become more of an adult. Coming from a family where my parents hate taking me places, I love that I’m able to go out on my own and with my friends without having to bother my parents about it.

I got my license in April 2018 and since then, I have been involved in two accidents. One was my fault because I scratched another car while trying to park. The other one was because someone backed into me in a parking lot. I own a 2018 Honda Accord. My life has been easier in ways of transportation. It’s much easier since I don’t have to constantly check for bus times or break my bank account for Uber rides.

JACKIE NGO

I got my license in August 2017 and ever

since I’ve been driving a 2001 Toyota Camry. I haven’t gotten into any accidents ever since I’ve gotten my license but I’ve received a parking ticket. There was also this incident when I was driving home and this girl who looked like she was in middle school threw a fruit at my car. My life has been a lot different since I’ve gotten a car because I’m able to go out a lot more to different places with my friends. With this freedom also comes responsibility since I also have to get groceries for my parents and take my sister wherever she wants to go to.

COLIN CHO

I got my license on Nov. 23, 2017 and I own an Audi A4. I have never gotten a ticket but I have gotten into a small accident on the freeway when it was raining. Someone rearended me but my car had no dents—only small paint chipping. I figured they would pull over so I started to follow them to the side but just as traffic picked back up, he zoomed off speeding away. Driving gave me a lot more

THE MIRROR | KAYLA LEE

NO MORE BUSES: TRISHA KHAOWNIMON SITS ON THE DRIVER’S SEAT IN HER 2018 HONDA ACCORD.

freedom. The freedom to go wherever I want became a huge responsibility of not only taking care of myself but also making sure that I drive safely and reach each destination successfully, especially when driving with others.

NEYDIN FOLGAR

I have been driving since May last year and I have never gotten a ticket or accident ever since. I own a 2019 Mercedes GLC 300. With my car, transportation has never been easier. I can get to school on my own and it’s super easy to arrange plans with my friends because I have a method of transportation now.

THE MIRROR | KAYLA LEE

BLACK AND WHITE: NEYDIN FOLGAR (L) AND COLIN CHO (R) POSE BY THEIR CARS, THE 2019 MERCEDES GLC 300 AND AUDI A4.

KYLE UYTIEPO

I used to skate a total of 10.3 miles each day through the Los Angeles smog before getting my license in the first week of summer vacation last year. Currently, I have a 1999 BMW E36 323ic, 2004 BMW E46 325ci, 2009 BMW e92 335i, 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT, 1998 Toyota Corolla CE and a 2004 Toyota Highlander. I get my cars from personal connections and Craigslist. I’m part of a community base that specializes in BMW cars where we buy and sell. I fix cars because I don’t want to spend money when I can fix

BMW TRIPLETS: KYLE UYTIEPO OWNS (L TO R) A 1999 E36, 2009 E92 AND 2004 E46.

COURTESY OF KYLE UYTIEPO


[6] Reflection

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

Dueling Personalities INTROVERT vs. EXTROVERT THE MIRROR | MARGARITA HOVSEPYAN

DOODLING: AVIK SHENOY DRAWS AND COLORS A FACE PORTRAIT OF KRATOS, A CHARACTER FROM THE VIDEO GAME, “GOD OF WAR.”

AVIK SHENOY THE INTROVERT IN HIS OWN WORDS

A

m I an introvert? Well, I wouldn’t say I’m a true introvert, but rather, I lean towards being one. At school, I’m relatively quiet, reserved and I usually keep to myself. I find myself lost in introspection and my imagination and I’m usually glued to my phone. However, I’m not antisocial. In fact, I am completely comfortable socializing with others—I just prefer not to. I’m also a little sensitive. Bad memories stick with me for long periods of times, even just little things like embarrassing myself in front of a teacher or twisting my words during a conversation. I always try and convince myself that I should just let it go, but most of the time to no avail. I’d also say that my confidence really depends on the situation. If I have to assume a leadership role, I try my best to fulfill it. But when I’m around someone that I’m attracted to, I feel as if I have little to no chance since I’m kind of a bad conversationalist, and therefore, a pretty boring person. Despite my image at school, I’m different with my pals. My friends are a mix of extroverts and introverts and I get along well with all of them. When I’m with my friends, I can be loud and energetic— sometimes obnoxiously so. I can actually be quite funny too. In fact, my friends agree that I’m the most comedic out of all of us. Unfortunately, my humor is a side of my personality that I have trouble expressing outside of my group of friends. Socializing with my friends is something that I really enjoy and I take the chance to do so whenever I can. However, my sensitive side is not entirely absent around my friends. Like everyone, we get into fights, and those arguments can have a lasting impact on me. Unfortunately, none of my close friends go to my school and I only see them online or over the weekends when we hang out. That is honestly the number one factor that contributes to my introverted behavior, as I have always struggled to make close friends like the ones I left behind. If there is one thing I’d like to change about myself, it’s my ability to make close relationships at school. This is something that I have always had trouble with, but it’s really due to the fact that I’m

SOCIAL GATHERING: JACKY DUONG HAS A FUN TIME WITH HER FRIENDS (L TO R) SAUL DUARTE, CATHLEEN YAMBAO, CATHY LAM, ELIZABETH LIM AND BRYAN ARREOLA.

a bad conversationalist, and I mostly prefer to keep to myself. What makes me different from others is that I enjoy being alone. I sometimes find introspection more entertaining than talking to others, and this is what I feel makes me different from an extrovert because extrverts love social interaction. My favorite hobby is playing video games. I really enjoy playing multiplayer games with my friends and I’ve had some of my most cherished memories playing with them. I also enjoy playing single player games, and I usually like being a completionist, pushing myself to higher difficulties depending on how much I like the game or not. Another hobby of mine is drawing. I would consider myself to be a good artist, and it’s a skill that I am proficient at. I love drawing doodles in my school notebooks or creating more large-scale works of art. I enjoy drawing people, including superheroes or any other characters from popular media. Art is a way I express myself. I usually depict various characters and other media in my own style, making it my own. One other hobby I have is filmmaking. I like to make videos with my friends over the weekends. We make these live-action short videos that take two to four hours to make. They’re not very good, but I value the experience more than the end result. I express myself through these videos by either showing my creativity through the camera and directorial work or showing my emotions though acting. I also love listening to music. Some of my favorite music to listen to is orchestral music. But sometimes I dabble in other genres such as rock and even heavy metal. I’m not a big fan of pop music, and it usually lands me in awkward conversations since most people seem to love pop music. As for my major and future careers, I wanted for the longest time to become an artist. When I was younger, I went as far as trying to master the human anatomy at age 13. However, after taking AP Studio Art, I realized that professionaltype art is very time consuming and exhausting, and I feel now that it’s better for drawing to be simply a hobby of mine. Therefore, I’m currently majoring in Computer Science, and I hope to work in the video game industry. I figured that since I’m really passionate about game design, why not work in that field? Overall, my personality has evolved heavily over my high school career, and I would say that I’m definitely more comfortable around others more than I have ever been before. I still enjoy independent stimulation. I feel as though others give me the space I need and allow me to engage with them when I’m up for it. This lifestyle has worked well for me, and while I may not be the most fun or entertaining guy to hang out with, I’m proud of who I am—and the way I am is completely in my control.

JACKY DUONG

THE EXTROVERT IN HER OWN WORDS

M

y personality and character began forming in middle school where I was mainly surrounded by my extroverted friends. Since I frequently surrounded myself with these types of people, I became comfortable in being confident myself. Going into high school, I saw myself talking to more people as I joined clubs and became active on campus. I even joined student government, which definitely opened my eyes to helping a large group. And with that responsibility, my outgoing and confident personality came in handy as I constantly had to reach out to people, whether it be students, teachers or administrators. Most mornings consist of greeting people and engaging in conversations during the day. With this trait, I’m able to make new friends along the way. Outside school, I often volunteer at my hospital where I greet nurses, doctors and patients. Some of my hobbies include filming and editing videos, organizing and cleaning my room and making crafts for my friends. My hobbies and volunteer work contribute to my character as I am more social and affable. All in all, I have more of an optimistic and positive view in life. That does not mean I’m never sad or stressed, but I do remind myself that those daily stressors taint my love for life. I often socialize with others to avoid personal emotions. I might feel empty or start overthinking when I’m alone. Talking with others and experiencing new conversations is sort of a mechanism to keep myself distracted and comfortable. Thus, I would want to improve on focusing and reflecting on myself at times. Currently, I have a balanced set of friends who are either introverted or extroverted. But whether they’re introverts or extroverts, my interactions with them has definitely shaped me to become more extroverted. I love the connections and the networks that I create. By far, this has led me to who I am now and who I want to continue to be. As for future plans, I hope to major in Communications or Psychology. I’m not quite settled on a definite career, but I do plan on working and interacting with people.


Reflection [7]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

Meet the Brainiacs of

ACADEC AALIYAH ALBA ALI-KHAN

VINCENT LI

I’m part of the Scholastic Team (Team B). I joined ACADEC because it looks good for college. So far, the only things I’ve experienced are studying and procrastinating. I enjoy free time the most in class and I actually expected a free period where I would do nothing. The most challenging thing about ACADEC is the speech because I hate talking. I try not to go insane and my regret is joining ACADEC.

I’m part of the Scholastic Team (Team B). This year is my last year in high school and I wanted to involve myself in an activity inside school. Most people from my community don’t go to college, let alone graduate high school. I wanted to be part of the academic decathlon team to show people in my community that it’s possible and encourage them to strive for educational success. The most difficult part of ACADEC for me is the optics for the science and my focus is literature and interview. It was difficult for me to balance my other extracurricular activities along with ACADEC. Meeting new people, conversing with my teammates, sharing inside jokes and hearing their stories truly brings a smile to my face. I haven’t known eight teammates. I’ve made eight close friends.

Made up of nine students, the team studies topics varying from economics, math, public speaking and interview. To succeed, the students need to have solid study habits, endurance and commitment. “Anybody can try out for the team,” Advisor Mr. Jonathan Mitchell said. “It’s not just ‘A’ students. We have a range of students, and the program was originally based as a way to get a diverse group for the competition.” The team participated in the state competition from March 21 to 24 in Sacramento against 67 teams taking home several wins. Shreya Nair won a medal in social science, Alex Barak won a medal for interview, Duluni Wijeyewickrema won medals in social science, economics and high score for the team. n INESSA SARGSYAN

EDNA GAMARO

I’m in the Varsity Team. I joined ACADEC because I’ve never been the brightest student, and I wanted to do something that would help me become a better person. I’ve really enjoyed my experience overall and I am happy to be part of ACADEC. What I enjoyed the most is the friendships that I was able to form because of it. The most challenging thing about ACADEC is the packets we are given to study. They are structured poorly, making it very difficult to study the material. Most of my teachers don’t give me a lot of work so going from two hours of homework a day to six hours was a huge adjustment for me.

ROSELA ANTONIO

I’m in varsity, the C team. I joined ACADEC for redemption. ACADEC has been the best decision I’ve made since my grades aren’t doing me any favors. I was able to make closer bonds with people, and I enjoyed competing with other schools. The most challenging thing about ACADEC was finding enough time. There are seven subjects that I have to learn within a span of few months and there’s additional stress of maintaining my school work and job. My real regret about joining ACADEC is not preparing for the interview and speech categories. I was too focused on reading the packets and I completely abandoned these two subjects.

ALEX BARAK

I’m part of the Scholastic Team (Team B). I honestly joined just to have Mr. Mitchell in my schedule as a teacher because I’ve heard great things about him. I never expected to actually be competing. My experience has been amazing. I met people that I probably would have never met if I hadn’t joined. My speech is very personal and in many ways, it helped me get over some of my stage fright and cope with some personal issues that I have. It was easily my favorite part of ACADEC. The most challenging part of ACADEC is not getting annoyed and tired of your teammates. We practically spent the whole school year together, and I’m the type of person to get annoyed easily. But I constantly remind myself of how much I really love them and that annoyance is just a phase.

n n n

n

n n

MHAR TENORIO

SHREYA NAIR

I joined through Ms. Hasa’s recommendation and I wanted to try something new. Working with the team and Mr. Mitchell has been really fun. Of the activities, I particularly enjoy the Super Quiz and I like studying the art packet. When I first joined, I didn’t really have any expectations just because I didn’t know much about ACADEC. The most challenging experience I’ve faced is the impromptu speech; it was something I’ve never done before. For regionals, I was one question away from getting a medal in art and literature. Juggling ACADEC with the rest of my academics is challenging at times–but it’s manageable.

I joined ACADEC because I found this year’s topic of the 1960s genuinely interesting. I also knew that a part of ACADEC had to do with public speaking including speeches, interviews and impromptus. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally face –and hopefully overcome–a personal challenge: public speaking. My experience with my team has been equally nerve-wracking yet exciting. The best part of it, and what I enjoyed doing most, was being able to know and work with my amazing teammates. I didn’t know what to expect when I first joined. I don’t have any regrets and I found that every experience, even the negative ones, has been an interesting learning opportunity.

n

n THE MIRROR | SEUNGYOUN KIM

n DULUNI WIJEYEWICKREMA

I joined ACADEC to find a school activity I belonged in. There’s a lot of reading and anxiety that comes with ACADEC. But there’s also moments of pure bliss when I’m laughing at jokes only me and my teammates know. I enjoy events like Super Quiz when we aren’t competing separately. Rather, we are supporting each other as a whole. I didn’t expect to get to know such diverse people. I thought they would have single interests in school, but most of them have strong outside commitments. The most challenging experience I have faced is committing to a single speech topic. I am currently focusing on the social science and science packets with a little dabbling in economics and math. My only regret was not helping the other members with science before the regional competition.

JULIA VELASCO

I’m on the Varsity Team (C team.) I joined ACADEC because I wanted to be part of a team, and I saw it as a great opportunity to meet new people. ACADEC is really fun, but it can be super stressful at times. The most challenging part of ACADEC is maintaining my motivation and continuing to study the same packet day and night. I focus on art, history and literature. I did find it challenging to incorporate ACADEC with the rest of my academics in the beginning, but as time progressed, I became better at managing my time and I’ve found a new way to balance ACADEC and my academics.


[8] Cover Story

BADBEHAVIOR

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

Ego & Envy: Partners in Crime Throughout my four years in high school, I have come to one conclusion: there is a lot of hatred in the air. I’m not exactly talking about students hating their teachers for giving them too much homework or the intense arguments between liberal and conservative students. I’m focusing more on the concept of egotism, which–according to many stories that I’ve heard–is evident almost everywhere. Over the years, I have listened to friends and fellow classmates express their negative feelings about other students. Sometimes, I disregarded them. Other times, I actually agreed with them. These stories and rumors involving egotism and envy sound horrid, especially when they involve students who are supposedly among the most decent people on campus. But what exactly is egotism? Egotism is the practice of constantly thinking or talking about one’s self with others and displaying excessive self-importance. In

Lucas Shim

PHASE OF IMMORALITY

Everybody has different morals. From being egocentric to passionately making out in the hallways, the average teenager is probably clueless about his or her wrongdoings in life. It’s time that they find out what they may be doing right– and wrong.

BRETT LAMB

simpler words, it’s what defines an arrogant person. This concept is heavily integrated in social media, one of the perfect places that gives students the opportunity to present and demonstrate their “perfect” selves. Some indications of egotism–according to many students–are when people constantly post about their parties, internships, college admissions, gym workouts and their love partners. These kinds of posts display their wealth, intelligence, social lives, talents and physical attraction, making up a perfect combination of the ideal self. But they also indicate a sense of self-importance that they want to reveal to the rest of the world. According to Management Psychology, high competence, such as skills and talents, correlates with high arrogance, presenting both “great potential” and “great danger.” If you think about it, why do we post on social media? Why do we want the world to know about us? Besides it being useful for news, networking and memes, the only plausible reason is that we want to make ourselves look good–and that makes us feel happy. We want to avoid the scary thought of being seen as boring and rather aim for perfection at any cost. I mean, who wouldn’t want to look good in front of their 3,996 Instagram followers? But does that mean that being egocentric is justifiable? Well, only to a certain extent. You can post about yourself from time to time. Just don’t shove it in people’s faces and insinuate that you are better than everybody. Deemed as one of the deadly sins in the Bible, “pride” is what conveys these feelings of selfishness and the lack of respect and compassion for other people. It’s what defines a person as only caring about him or herself and being egocentric, which is universally a negative behavior.

But being how people the form of h Now whe Why don’t p Many stu jealous and rumors abou about his or This bring resentful tow People who preciation an Egotism a munity and e that they are envious. This all po which both s But lookin you are egot be integral in and loved co As our ho still on the tip In ten yea the humble No matte ing–and thei


g egocentric is not the only issue; what also matters is react to that pride–and their reaction often comes in hatred–yet another form of immorality. ere does all of this hatred towards egotists come from? people just ignore them? udents who bash on egotists may be considered as envious towards them. They may spread stories and ut the supposedly “egotistical” person who isn’t aware her wrongdoings. gs out another deadly sin: envy–the idea of being wards people because they possess desirable traits. envy are more likely to demonstrate their lack of apnd inflict hatred towards other people. and envy are two immoral practices that poison a comenable people to hate each other. Egotists don’t believe e egotistical, and the envious don’t admit that they are

oints towards different morals and bad behavior in sides think that they are good. ng at this conflict from a positive perspective, whether tistical or jealous, those traits are normal and will always n society. People have always favored high self-esteem ompetition against others. ormones rage and our brain develops, we students are p of the iceberg in regards to our moral perspectives. ars, the egotistical may become the most humble, and may become the most egotistical. er how good students think they are, they are only learnir flaws are what makes them human.

vnhsmirror.com

Please, No Kissing In Public. Stop making out in the hallways. Stop kissing in class. Stop holding hands. Nobody wants to see that. Throughout school, couples furiously slosh their saliva together in the name of romance. It’s disgusting. Many romantic couples—who will not even be together in a few months—find themselves so attached to one another that they cannot go seven hours without a fiery session of affection. This is either because they are so proud to be in a relationship and want everyone to know it, or because of their incurable sexual thirst. Either way, the displays of affection in each stairwell and hallway displays the shallow depth of these relationships. They are public, not private ones. Aside from these relationship displaying shallowness, they lack decency and show little self-respect. It is disgusting to see people making out and groping each other. But these PDA moments are also evident on social media. Many couples are extremely proud of being in a relationship; their snapchat stories and instagram posts all transmit the same message: “Look everybody, I have a girlfriend/boyfriend.” Nobody cares. Just do it in private. Some couples try to hide out by plopping themselves down in front of the bungalows on the south side of campus during lunch and after school. But the slobbering couples fail miserably when a student

Holden Mandell

Celebrity Side Doors & Broken Promises I know you read the headline, and before you ask: Yes, I applied to the schools involved, and I’ve already been accepted by at least one of them. The college admissions cheating scandal has taken over every media outlet, every talk show, every newspaper and every conversation with an adult that I’ve had since it broke on Wednesday, March 13 at 8:30 a.m.ww In case somehow you gave up all electronics and social media and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me paraphrase. A recent FBI investigation named “Operation Varsity Blues” uncovered an alleged cheating ring comprised of a private college admissions counselor, several elite collegiate coaches on the take and wealthy celebrity parents who really wanted their kids in the best college possible. Parents made donations to a fake charity, which bought higher SAT scores or imaginary sports credentials. The schools involved are the real heavy hitters of the college world: Stanford, Wake Forest, Yale, UCLA, Georgetown and the perennially plagued USC. Under the best of circumstances, most of these schools would be a long shot for admission. But in the case where money is seemingly no object, and free enterprise reigns supreme, the two theories intersect, violating federal racketeering laws and common decency. It’s probably most unfortunate that this scandal broke in the midst of college acceptance month, leaving universities scrambling—no doubt double-checking, triple-checking and quadruple-checking that their class of 2023 is not ensnared in the investigation. Since the story first broke, I’ve been through virtually every emotion possible. I’ve been: Angry. While I’ve had to argue to defend the merits of affirmative action on multiple occasions, some people have found a way to create their own “side door.” People begrudge affirmative action for creating special opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, but we’re now hearing about special opportunities for people with money and influence. Kids going to exclusive private schools with their expensive tutors still need a little added insurance that can get them where their parents seem to believe they belong. Hurt. America prides itself on its claims of a merit-based

Zoe Rodriguez

ARMEN HOVSEPYAN

cuts through those empty bungalows, turns the corner and sees passionate kissing and bodies grinding together. Any eye contact results in even more cringing and discomfort. More awkwardness ensues when a teacher opens their door. Do they say something or just step over them? Other make-out hotspots are the second floors of the art and science buildings, the bridge between the main building and the science building and really, any stairwell. Nobody finds it attractive, or cute, or sexy, or romantic. Students and teachers that are trying to eat lunch do not want to see such unappetizing displays of public affection. If I’m describing you and your partner, you are disrespectful and inconsiderate. Please, please, please stop.

society where you can start with nothing and work hard and find success through your own devices. Public education is largely designed to level the playing field and give each of us the same fighting chance to get into these elite schools that promise financial security later in life. Frustrated. Instead of stressing out waiting day by day for college decisions to roll in, I’m barraged by articles and approached by people who want my opinion about the whole situation. And to be completely honest, I don’t have a coherent one. My rehearsed college acceptance update speech is the least important of aspect of my conversation. I’ve worked for 12 years to get to this month and we’re talking about someone who only wanted to go to college to get sponsorships and attend parties. Apathetic. Frankly, there’s nothing I can do. I’m not responsible for the kids who got accepted, I didn’t take a bribe and I didn’t need a special “proctor” to get my SAT score. And now as I write this, I’m pretty much resigned to getting through the next couple weeks and making my decision based on the offers I actually have gotten without the benefit of a 400 point bump on my SATs or a $500,000 donation to the school of my parents choice. I want to get back to worrying about when the financial aid packages will arrive or when the final acceptances will update in the college website portals. But it seems like as the weeks go on, this scandal will prove inescapable. I want to figure out the housing and meal plans and not wonder if my roommate’s parents paid to photoshop them onto the water polo team. I want to go back to when I naively thought that the wealthy only bought their kids’ admission with donations of libraries and departmental expansions. I want to believe that the same education system that served as a basis for major Civil Rights wins is still fighting to level the playing field. But instead I can only attempt to mitigate my caustic comments and hope that this will serve as a catalyst for the creation of a college system that is the equalizer I believe it can be.

401KCALCULATOR.ORG


[10 ] Comment&Opinion

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

IS

RAPRUINING MUSIC?

Despite rap’s negative rap, the genre brings to light issues that afflict urban society and gives voice to those who otherwise cannot get their message out there.

Tvnhsmirror.com he Mirror EXECUTIVE EDITOR

MARGARITA HOVSEPYAN PRINT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

LUCAS SHIM

The legitimacy of rap as a musical genre has been heavily debated since its emergence in the 1920s. The content—especially the lyrics—are frequently criticized for being explicit or offensive. But critics are overlooking the positive contributions rap has had on music. Since rap really began to gain popularity in the early 90s, it has dominated the charts, having an outsized influence on the music industry as well as its audience. Modern rap was a turning point in music—there had been nothing like it ever before. Despite its sometimes explicit content, it is hard to deny what rap has done for the black and other marginalized communities. Some common misconceptions about the genre are that it promotes violence, drug use and gang affiliation. Some rappers portray themselves as being involved with criminal activity, or as spending outrageous amounts of money on frivolous luxuries or having relationships with multiple women. But that doesn’t mean it is true. Rappers are performers, afterall. Rap doesn’t make listeners violent, either. Study after study shows there is no direct correlation between listening to rap and increased levels of aggression. Though some songs may contain derogatory references, rap is a way to express various realities and aspirations. Rap is a commentary on hot issues like discrimination, poverty and individuality. It chronicles the life struggles in urban America. Listeners identify with what the rapper is speaking about. Their stories create a sense of hope. Rap is filled with improbable rags-to-riches stories. If these musicians were able to overcome these situations the audience may also find themselves in, then there is hope for them. Numerous rap artists use their music as an outlet to raise political and social awareness as they have since the 90s. Rap remains controversial. But it reaches audiences that many thought were unreachable, speaking to them in ways they understand—and at the same time, keeping them entertained.

ONLINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

JACK BECKMAN-SMITH LAYOUT EDITOR

STEFANIE TYO CURRENT EVENTS EDITOR

ZOE RODRIGUEZ

Pilar Sims

REFLECTION EDITOR

GINA KIM

COMMENT & OPINION EDITOR

HOLDEN MANDELL ARTS ETC. EDITOR

JESSICA EUSEBIO ATHLETICS EDITOR

DEVIN TSE

PHOTO EDITOR

KAYLA LEE

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

GINA KIM

ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITORS

IVAN DELGADO SEUNGYOUN KIM PJ RATTAPITAK

STAFF WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS

OLD SCHOOL: SNOOP DOGG HELPED RAP ENTER THE MAINSTREAM. RAP HAS BEEN A CONCURRENT CULTURAL FORCE SINCE THE 90S. WHY DOES IT STILL HOLD SUCH NEGATIVE STIGMA?

JANESSA BISARRA JOSEPH HERNANDEZ KAITLYN JUNG TRISHA KHAOWNIMON KASEY KIM SEUNGYOUN KIM GWENDOLYN LANGI KAYLA LEE KIMBERELY PEREZ JULIA PFAU PJ RATTAPITAK DANIEL REYES ANDRE RODAS INESA SARGSYAN PILAR SIMS MHAR TENORIO CHAU TRAN ANI TUTUNJYAN JOSHUA UPDEGRAPH CHRISTIAN WALSH LAYLA WILLIAMS SPECIAL CONSULTANT

MR. MARIO RODRIGUEZ JOURNALISM ADVISER

MR. RON GOINS

BARTOONZ

OUR TAKE ON... CALIFORNIA REAL ID

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every U.S. resident will need to present a REAL ID compliant license/ID for accessing Federal facilities, boarding commercial aircraft and buying firearms. Your current driver’s license or ID might not be acceptable anymore. The California REAL ID will prove citizenship unlike a regular ID. Visually, a REAL ID will include a golden bear in the top right corner. A regular ID will say “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” in the same spot. Apply for a REAL ID at any DMV.

EASTERN ASIA’S BLACK MARKET 14.2 tons of Pangolin scales and 400 pounds of carved ivory were intercepted last week in Singapore en route to Vietnam. The smuggled scales lied in a container labeled as “frozen beef.” The illegal Pangolin scales, worth about $38.7 million, represents the insatiable demand funding African poachers. The Pangolin is an African anteater-like scaled animal that is critically endangered and nearing extinction due to extreme poaching. Pangolin meat is eaten as a luxury dish in Eastern Asia and its scales are used in witchdoctored medicine.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 20

On April 20, 2016, the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 dollar bill. Three years later, Jackson remains on the bill. What happened? The last time Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, spoke publicly on the $20 bill, he said, “We haven’t made any decisions as to whether we’ll change the bill, or won’t change the bill.” With a strong lack of enthusiasm towards remodeling the $20 bill, the future of Harriet Tubman as the face of the twenty seems unlikely.

CREDITS (L TO R) CALIFORNIA DMV; DAVID BROSSARD; THE NEW ENGLAND MAGAZINE

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 of charge 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 Gina Kim at gkim0039@mymail.lausd.net, 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: Member of National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and Southern California Journalism Educators Association (SCJEA).


Comment&Opinion [11]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

Parents: Vaccinate Your Kids Although American medicine is among the best in the world, the U.S. suffers from a nonsensical coalition of people who fight against modern day medicine—the anti-vaxxers. They reject vaccinations and refuse to give them to their children. What results is the return of previously eradicated diseases that threaten the unvaccinated kids and the rest of the population. Over the past decade, the anti-vaxxers have grown dramatically, and with them, the resurgence of deadly diseases. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of children under two years old

Gwen Langi

without vaccinations quadrupled since 2001. The reason for the lack of vaccinations was parents refusing immunization due to religious or personal beliefs concerning the supposed long-term effects of vaccinations. Many anti vaxxers also claim that autism, ADHD and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are caused by vaccinations. This myth has been debunked multiple times and the original medical paper that claimed MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines cause autism has been retracted. There is no factual evidence supporting the myth of cause and effect. These parents believe that it’s their right to prevent the vaccinations from reaching their children; they fail to recognize the threat they pose to their children and society. There have been many cases resulting from vaccination refusal. A six-year-old Oregon boy with anti-vaxx parents acquired tetanus through a minor injury. His case worsened resulting in the need for emergency air-transportation to a hospital where mechanical ventilation and multiple medications were required. The child was lucky to live after two months of intensive care. However, the fatality rate for cases of untreated tetanus is over 90 percent, which is why vaccinations for tetanus–as well as other diseases–are very crucial. Situations like these can be completely preventable with a small and quick needle injection. Dr. Albert Wu, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, commented on the Oregon incident. “This was entirely preventable—an unnecessary episode of torture

‘‘ ’’

The reason for the lack of vaccinations was parents refusing immunization due to religious or personal beliefs concerning the supposed longterm effects of vaccinations.

FUNNYANGEL

for this poor child. Tetanus is a truly deadly disease, accounting for five percent of neonatal and maternal deaths,” Dr. Wu said. Measles was declared eradicated from the U.S in 2000. But in 2018, 372 individual cases of measles were confirmed, resulting in the second-greatest number of annual cases reported since 2000. Without a doubt, anti-vaxxers were behind this breakout. Measles is also extremely contagious. According to the CDC, 90 percent of Americans infected by measles since the 1990s have not been vaccinated. With the rise of anti-vaxxers, more people are at risk. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines currently prevent two to three million deaths worldwide per year, and more than one and a half million more lives could be saved if anti-vaxxers changed their beliefs. Not only do anti-vaxxers put their children at risk, but they also put society at risk through the erosion of herd immunity, a general immunity to diseases developed over time by a population, usually through decades of vaccination campaigns. Unvaccinated children threaten herd immunity by bringing back the eliminated diseases. Herd immunity is a key factor for maintaining public health. As seen with the worldwide vaccination campaign against smallpox, a deadly disease with over 300 fatalities in the 20th century alone, worldwide herd immunity was developed, leading to the complete eradication of smallpox. Anti-vaxxers set time back centuries to the eras of common deadly diseases. Personal, religious and secular beliefs are of lesser importance than the lives of children and the public. Please vaccinate your kids.

Real Democracy: Lowering the Federal Voting Age to 16

T

hroughout United States history, the minimum voting age has varied from 18 to 21 until the 26th Amendment locked the nationwide minimum voting age at 18. It hasn’t changed since then. Maybe it’s time for a 28th constitutional amendment to lower the voting age. But recently, questions have surfaced on whether or not the nationwide voting age should be lowered to 17–or even 16. At the age of 16, in certain states, citizens are eligible to drive, work with few restrictions and pay taxes. But they aren’t permitted to vote. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts (D) supports lowering the voting age, proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow 16- and 17year olds to vote. Her plan lowers the age by two years, although local and state election ages would be determined by each state. Unfortunately, the House of Repre-

ICONFINDER

sentatives recently rejected Pressley’s proposal. Despite the plan failing 305-126, nearly half of all Democrats supported it, putting their faith in young people helping choosing our leaders. The main controversy surrounding a lower voting age is whether or not 16-yearolds are mature enough to be granted such power. While Pressley’s proposal has received

considerable backlash—not a single Republican voted for it—there is a clear benefit to a lower voting age. Studies conducted in Austria by professors Eva Zeglovits and Julian Aichholzer in 2014 at the University of Vienna have shown that 16- and 17-year-olds have the same civic knowledge as 21-year-olds, implying that young people have the intellect to vote. In Austria, Germany, Argentina and Scotland, changing the voting age to 16 has raised voter turnout. Young people are affected by policy in the same way adults are, but have no say in it. Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote will rightfully give them the opportunity to influence government and make politicians more apt to hear their concerns. Even though there has been an increase in youth activism on issues surrounding gun violence and climate change, the inability to vote makes achieving change nearly impossible.

Sofie Whitney, a survivor of the infamous school shooting in Parkland, Florida, said, “If 16-year-old students are old enough to be affected by the laws and realize that there is a problem, then they should have the power to help change it.” Increasing voter turnout by lowering the voting age will strengthen American democracy. Voting is a habitual act, and those who vote in their first eligible election are more likely to continue to vote in the following ones. Data from Austria and Norway shows that 16-year-olds vote at higher rates than 18-25 year-olds and older first-time voters. Furthermore, such a change increases the probability that a person will vote in the next election by 25 percent. Gun violence, climate change and other political issues will continue to affect us in the foreseeable future. We deserve the opportunity to influence the people who we will depend on to find the right solutions. n PILAR SIMS


[12] Arts Etcetera

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

THE MIRROR | IVAN DELGADO

BRING ON THE FINALE: IT’S THE END OF THE SHOW AND THE CAST OF “BRING IT ON” TAKES THEIR CURTAIN CALL.

REVIEW: BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL

A Raucous Rah Rah Rah By CHAU TRAN & KASEY KIM THE MIRROR STAFF

A

s the torch has been passed down to Ms. Mollie Lief, the new drama teacher, we begin to ask the questions: Did the new blood’s first Van Nuys musical continue the long line of success? Or did it fail to bring it on? Actors in Action premiered the “Bring It On” musical on March 21 in the Donna Hubbard Auditorium, showcasing an adaptation of the 2000 comedy film and Broadway musical. The musical followed Campbell, played by Natalie Chavez, an ordinary high schooler who

became cheer captain at Truman High School. However, she was suddenly transferred to Jackson High School. Struggling to find a place to fit in, Campbell experienced an identity crisis and realized that there is no cheer team. But matters became worse when she was betrayed by Eva, a “shy” and “innocent” Truman sophomore portrayed by Linda Melendez. Campbell joins Jackson’s hip-hop dance crew, befriending Danielle, played by Elizabeth Talledo, and other passionate high schoolers as they compete against Eva and Truman High in the National Cheerleading Competition. The story emphasized aspects of a typical high schooler’s life, including the struggle THE MIRROR | IVAN DELGADO

THE MIRROR | IVAN DELGADO

SINGING & GROOVING: DANIELLE, PLAYED BY ELIZABETH TALLEDO, DANCES WITH THE JACKSON DANCE CREW IN “DO YOU OWN THING.”

SOOTHING VOICE: STEVEN, PLAYED BY NICHOLAS BOWLER, SINGS TO CALM DOWN HIS GIRLFRIEND AND NEW CAPTAIN OF THE TRUMAN HIGH BUCCANEERS, CAMPBELL DAVIS, PLAYED BY NATALIE CHAVEZ.

THE MIRROR | PJ RATTAPITAK

DRUMROLL: SKYLAR, PLAYED BY SIENA ASHTON, ANNOUNCES THE SELECTION OF THE NEW CHEER CAPTAIN WHILE THE REST OF THE TRUMAN HIGH CHEER SQUAD ANXIOUSLY AWAITS THE RESULTS.

SPLIT JUMP: BRANDON LARGE PLAYS LA CIENEGA, A TRANSGENDER STUDENT FROM JACKSON HIGH SCHOOL.

in finding cliques, forming friendships and pursuing a passion. Though the musical ended in a cliché and predictable way, it was a break from the reality of high school, making it appealing to the audience. Campbell had conflicts with others and herself, something that the majority of the audience was able to empathize with. Many audiences also laughed and cheered at the musical’s comedic moments. One of the major highlights was Steven and Campbell’s cute and endearing love song, considering how it served as a climactic point that sparked the conflict between Campbell and Eva. Danielle’s two companions, Nautica, played by Gabbie Santos, and La Cienega, played by Brandon Large, established comical chemistry that showcased slapstick comedy. One of the memorable scenes was when La Cienega needed to correct Nautica’s use of a French word, which was a tense moment that was merely followed by a moment of laughter between the two characters. Large portrayed a transgendered student, establishing diversity and representing the LGBTQ community. “It was a challenge for me to be comfortable on stage in front of a theatre-house with potentially closed-minded audience members watching, but that’s precisely why I wanted to do it,” Brandon Large said. “I wanted to change people’s minds and to represent a community that has spent too long out of the sun. I had so much fun!” Aside from the show’s comedy and diverse characters, the musical performances were exhilarating and visually stunning as they blended the lyrics, music and dance choreography. The songs within the performances were catchy and entertaining. However, during certain harmonization parts, the actors and actresses sang slightly off-key with one another, which was noticeable to the audiences. Mr. Robert Eisenhart’s Pit Orchestra performed live music throughout the play, adding on to the whimsical and lively aura of

the musical. From the cymbals to the basses, the instrumental music complemented the actors’ voices during their solo performances. Some sounds were essentially and creatively played for shocking and suspenseful moments. Although the Pit Orchestra enhanced the musical performances, the actors and actresses sometimes struggled to synchronize their vocal parts to the rhythm of the songs. At times, the live music was too loud and buried the lyrics and the actors’ voices, making it difficult to hear the characters’ dialogues. Many cast members performed precise stunts, including cartwheel flips and somersaults, which were choreographed by Ms. Diane Hula and Ms. Reese Partida. The cast members synchronized their impressive dance moves with each other, displaying powerful stage presence. Additionally, the cast members were evenly spaced apart while dancing to the choreography, allowing for each person a chance to shine on stage. One memorable moment in regards to choreography and synchronization was when the cast members bounced basketballs to create a beat during a particular scene. The atmosphere in the auditorium was transformed with the lights and props of the play. Jackson High’s set consisted of lockers sprayed with graffiti, displaying the school’s poor and dirty environment. Creating a playful and cheerful atmosphere, the lights added to the overall mood of each act. However, there were shining lights that glared towards the audience, making it hard for them to see the stage. When comparing the two schools, the hip-hop dance crew from Jackson High wore extravagant and flashy costumes, which reflected the bold persona that they portrayed throughout the musical. On the other hand, the Truman High cheerleaders wore peppy red cheer uniforms, expressing their enthusiasm and charisma. So did “Bring It On” continue the long line of success? Yes, it did. With the critical acclaim of “Bring It On: The Musical,” it’s safe to say that Ms. Lief and the Actors and Action will be able to continue their streak of success in the future years to come. THE MIRROR | PJ RATTAPITAK


Arts Etcetera [13]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

PHOTOS BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Ms. Osman’s Recommended Reading List Here are the school librarian’s suggestions for prank-themed books to check out this month.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Looking for Alaska by John Green

By JESSICA EUSEBIO THE MIRROR STAFF

W The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Driver’s Ed.

by Caroline B. Cooney

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

The Color of Water by James McBride

us

LOOKING IN THE MIRROR: JASON WILSON, THE YOUNGEST OF THE FAMILY, COMES FACE TO FACE WITH HIS DOPPELGÄNGER, PLUTO.

e are our own worst enemies. Following the success of “Get Out,” writer and director Jordan Peele returns with a brand new horror: “Us.” “Us” stars Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide/Red, Winston Duke as Gabe/Abraham, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora/Umbrae, Evan Alex as Jason/Pluto, Elisabeth Moss as Kitty and Tim Heidecker as Josh. The film follows the Wilson family on vacation at their beach house in Santa Cruz. Adelaide, the mother, is haunted by a traumatic experience she had as a child while on vacation with her parents. She becomes paranoid that something bad will happen to her and her family. However, the Wilsons’ happy vacation hours come to an end when they encounter their worst enemies: themselves. A quartet of horrifying doppelgängers, known as the Tethered, shows up on their driveway and wreaks havoc on the Wilsons, wearing matching red jumpsuits and wielding large golden scissors. The Wilsons face against their murderous doppelgängers who think like them. However, the Tethered are different in their disturbing mannerism and movement. Red, Adelaide’s double, speaks with a raspy voice and moves in swift steps. Abraham, Gabe’s double, is strong and howls as a form of communication. Umbrae,

THE EVIL IS

Murder, doppelgängers and symbolism. Another piece of work by mastermind Jordan Peele

Zora’s double, does not speak, but rather creepily smiles and runs very fast. Pluto, Jason’s double, growls and moves in an animalistic fashion. Though the film was quite creepy and suspenseful, “Us” has been overhyped for its horror. The jump scares were mediocre and predictable, and the trailers were scarier than the actual film. However, the Tethered’s body movements and actions were the most chilling aspects. Peele’s use of music enhances the tone of the film. The instrumental version of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” adds a haunting element to the dramatic scenes. Slowing down the song and adding horror undertones turns the upbeat track into a sinister tune. While the film is filled with unsettling scenes, Gabe, the patriarch of the family, keeps the

movie light with comedic moments. He cracks jokes and makes hilarious remarks during times of the family’s distress. However, the film does not provide enough background information about the Tethered and leaves the audience with unanswered questions. It provides minuscule details about their background, their relationship with the main family and their choice of scissors as weapons. But the film is not just about its horror and laughs. Just like how “Get Out” focused on racism in America, “Us” consists of metaphors that revolve around socioeconomics. The doubles symbolize wealth inequality in America. While the Wilsons are an uppermiddle-class family that lives comfortably, the Tethered are less fortunate. Unaware of their privilege, the Wilsons are concerned about trivial issues, including the size of the family boat, whereas their counterparts are hungry and suffering. “We’re in a time where we fear the other, whether it’s the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us and take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near, who voted a different way than us,” Peele said at the post-premiere Q&A at SXSW in Austin, Texas. After the success of “Get Out” and “Us,” Peele does not plan on slipping away from the horrorinducing world anytime soon. The comedy and horror director is returning to write for the revival of “The Twilight Zone,” which will pertain to political and philosophical issues in the world.

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

DUAL PERSONA: ADELAIDE WILSON STRUGGLES TO ESCAPE FROM HER EVIL DOPPELGÄNGER, RED.

by E. Lockhart

THE WILL TO SURVIVE: LUPITA NYONG’O STARS AS ADELAIDE WILSON, WHO MUST DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SURVIVE.


[14 ] Arts Etcetera

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

A Gamer’s [Virtual] Reality

F

rom dealing with grueling AP classes to participating in draining extracurricular activities, many students escape stress through different methods like eating food, watching Netflix, exercising and playing video games. However, there is a stereotype that gamers are antisocial people who are unwilling to explore outside their homes. Though that may be true sometimes, there is more to video games than one can realize. But why do people play video games? Is it to escape reality? Is it for money? Or is it all just for fun? Some hardcore gamers can say that it’s for all of the above. n KAITLYN JUNG

Grant Gagne My favorite video game is “Pokémon Platinum” because it was the first one I ever owned and everything about it captivated me. It’s the reason I still play video games today. I feel happy when I play video games despite everything negative surrounding me. I have no troubles when I’m playing games, and it feels like I’m being liberated from the real world. I spent the most amount of time playing “Pokémon Omega Ruby” with close to 300 hours. I played that game so frequently because I had just been introduced to competitive battling. I spent a lot of time breeding for perfect IV (Individual Values) and EV (Effort Values) training. I am currently playing “Pokémon Conquest,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War.”

DAYS GONE

Daniel Woo

My favorite game is called “The Last Of Us.” It’s a very story-based game and the emotion kind of evokes this feeling of loss. It’s a post-zombie apocalypse, but it has a very interesting spin on the story. There’s a middle-aged guy who lost his daughter, shown in the opening scene, and you form a relationship with another girl as you go through this wasted world

GAMING IN THE HALL: JONATHAN GARCIA (L) AND GRANT GAGNE PLAY THEIR NINTENDO DS VIDEO GAMES.

n Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox

Isaac Song

Cece Ruiz

Diana Chernyak

n Release Date: April 23

together. There are so many things to learn from it because in a world where nothing makes sense and it’s all chaotic, the most beautiful moments come from the relationships with other people. Playing games is a great way for me to relax, have fun and get immersed in another world aside from our own–one where you can do anything the mind wants to do. I was really into “Minecraft” as a kid. That took up two years of my life. Then I spent a lot of time on “Skyrim.” It’s an “Elder Scrolls” game that’s an open world RPG (Role Playing Game). Most gamers know about it and it was unique in a sense, especially since it was set in medieval times with dragons. I’m waiting for “The Last Of Us: Part Two.” Who knows when that’ll happen but we’ll see.

“The Legend of Zelda” is my favorite game because I’ve been playing it since I was young. When I play video games, I feel like I’m in a different world where I can die over and over again until I reach game over. Video games taught me how to be patient and finish games without leaving quests unsolved. I plan to play “Pokémon Sword and Shield,” “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” and “Fire Emblem Three Houses” in the future. My favorite game would have to be “Darkest Dungeon” because it doesn’t babysit you. If you end up with a loss, you just have to deal with it. It taught me about cutting my losses. When I play video games, I feel more relaxed and not as pressured. It gives me a form of solace from the hustle and bustle of my life. I find video games therapeutic where I won’t end up feeling overwhelmed by multiple things, but be able to focus on one task. I spent the most hours on “Minecraft” because of how peaceful it is and how significant a creative outlet it is. I’m really looking forward to the next installment of “Dragon Age” because I find the storyline interesting, and the lore just keeps going deeper and deeper. I’m looking forward to seeing the expansions of the lore.

MORTAL KOMBAT 11 One, PC, Nintendo Switch ound One. Fight! The eleventh installment in the “Mortal Kombat” series will feature a roster of new and returning characters: Raiden, Liu Kang, Baraka and Geras. After Raiden manipulated the timeline in “Mortal Kombat X,” different realities and doppelgängers begin to overlap, causing many characters to battle their old selves. Kronika, the Keeper of Time, serves as the ultimate villain who wants to bring order to the universe after Raiden’s act. “Mortal Kombat 11” will feature custom character variations for players to customize their fighters. The game will consist of a story campaign, multiplayer mode and the new “Towers of Time” mode.

My favorite game at the moment is “Overwatch” due to it being based around team composition. Running away to videogames is something I frequently see myself doing. It’s basically a world inside the real world where I can ignore the stresses of real life. I’ve spent the most hours on “CS:GO” (Counter-Strike Global Offensive) probably because that’s the game I’ve seen the most progress in terms of my skill in. If I see progress in myself, then I might as well continue “investing.” The next game that I will play will probably be “Apex Legends” because it’s hyped.

Jonathan Garcia

GRAB A CONTROLLER Here are the highly anticipated video games soon to be released

A majority of the games I play are FPS (First Person Shooters) and all of them require hand-eye-coordination and fast reflexes, which I’ve been able to tone and be skilled at ever since I started playing games. Strategic gameplay also improved my thinking and how to approach situations in real life from different perspectives and viewpoints. Games aren’t “useless.” I spent most of my hours on “Overwatch,” my first game that I grinded and played competitively. I played constantly and was able to perfect my skills even under bad conditions (bad computer setup=hard to play). I hope to play the game “Anthem” one day because of its lovely graphics and gameplay style. Its genre as well is very interesting.

Michael Phung

My favorite and only game I play is “League of Legends” because it’s the only game that I can run on my Macbook. I feel alive when I play the game since it adds to my life. I feel more comfortable socializing when playing games. I spent around $1000 in video games since I started getting into them at around age five. Since then, I’ve spent an average of one to two hours a day playing “League of Legends.”

R

n Release Date: April 26 n Platform(s): PlayStation 4

T

he post-apocalyptic survival game follows the aftermath of a global pandemic that turned humanity into zombie-like creatures. Players will take on the role as Deacon St. John to complete objectives and survive in the open-world layout.

RAGE 2 n Release Date: May 14 n Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

S

et 30 years after the events of the first installment, “Rage,”

the highly anticipated sequel is an upcoming first person shooter that takes place in a post-apocalyptic open world filled with biomes, jungles and wetlands. Players assume control of Walker, the protagonist who must battle mutant creatures and the Authority, an authoritarian organization that desires for control. The game will feature vehicular combat, allowing players to drive and explore the world.

TEAM SONIC RACING n Release Date: May 27 n Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

P

layers will be able to compete as one of fifteen characters, including Sonic, Knuckles or Tails in the upcoming kart racing game. “Team Sonic Racing” involves cooperative racing in teams of three racers. The game modes include time trials, customized races and a story-based campaign.

FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES n Release Date: July 26 n Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

P

layers will take on the role of a professor, who teaches and chooses which of the three Officer’s Academy houses to educate. Professors must guide the students’ academics and improve their skills in battle, such as mastering magic and wielding various types of weapons. n JESSICA EUSEBIO

THE MIRROR | JESSICA EUSEBIO


Athletics [15 ]

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

ATHLETIC

COURTESY OF RENÉE GARCIA

BRIEFS

MAKING A STRONG SPLASH IN FRIGID WATER The Swim Team is in the midst of their season as they remain undefeated in league play. With a record of 2-0, the team was dominant over the Canoga Park Hunters on March 27th, in which the Boys Team earned a 111-14 victory, while the Girls team swam for a 81-37 victory.“ Whether it is raining, freezing or shining, the team is eager to put in their maximum effort for the remainder of the season,” team member Mawil Hasan said. In preparation for the CIF State Competition, the team members wake up each weekday morning and practice in the frigid waters for about an hour and 30 minutes. n DEVIN TSE

REDEEMING THEIR HOME RUN TO CHAMPIONSHIPS The Varsity Baseball team swung out in the first half of the season, dropping six of the first nine games played. The season’s first game on Feb. 20 ended with the Wolves defeating Northridge Academy 6-4. However, the team lost the next five consecutive games. But the Wolves responded by entering a three-game winning streak as they defeated Reseda (6-3), Rancho Dominguez (6-4) and Eagle Rock (7-1). Despite their struggles, facing tough Division II rivals, such as Arleta, Southeast and Division I powerhouse Kennedy High, has provided the Wolves a chance to compare themselves with the best local teams. “Facing tougher teams made our team respond to the challenges and to force ourselves to improve as a team,” First Basemen Steven Daniels said. As the season enters its second half, the Wolves are currently ranked 15th in the Division II standings. Their next game would be on Friday as they host Locke High School. n JOSEPH HERNANDEZ

SERVING WITH A STRONG PUSH TOWARD PLAYOFFS The Boys Varsity Tennis Team is currently fourth in the league standings as they possess an overall record of 3-3 and league record of 1-2. The team defeated San Fernando (7-0), Monroe (4-3) and Sherman Oaks CES (4-3). Two standout players, Jaehoon Kim and Kyle Uytiepo, are both dominant in their single and doubles matches with their serving, forehand and backhand attacks. The team’s supporting cast consists of John Kistler, Hau Nguyen, Kevin Mo and Joon Choi. With only four games remaining, the Wolves are planning to make a strong push in the playoffs. “Our main goal is playing well and competing at a high level,” Kistler said. “Our success in the future depends on how we practice and play right now.” n KIMBERLY SOLIS & DANIEL REYES

LURKING AROUND FOR A POSTSEASON BERTH The Varsity Softball Team broke into their season with two convincing league wins. In a faceoff against Panorama High School on March 11, the Wolves dominated with a score of 15-5. The beginning of the game was closely contested until the Wolves found an opening in the 4th inning. Their second league game against the Reseda Regents on March.13. ended in similar fashion, with a 12-2 win. The Wolves’ pitching was effective, limiting Reseda to only two runs, giving the Regents a thrashing. “Both offensively and defensively, the team is confident in their abilities. With that said, there’s always room to improve,” second basemen Natalie Munoz said. With a league record of 3-1 and an overall record of 3-3, as they enter the season’s second half, the team is in third place. Their next two games on Wednesday against San Fernando and April, 24th against Sylmar. n DANIEL REYES

DEEP DIVE: RENÉE GARCIA DIVES INTO THE SWIMMING LANE DURING A SWIM MEET.

Splish Sploosh: The Scholastic Swimmer By INESA SARGSYAN THE MIRROR STAFF

F

or Renée Garcia, her asthma attacks are just an obstacle that won’t stop her from achieving her dreams. Amid her senior year, the star swimmer strives to reach the City Finals and qualify for the U.S. National Junior Team. This is her in her own words. How long have you been swimming? I have been swimming for as long as I can remember. I took lessons at YMCA when I was four years old and moved on to take lessons at the LA Valley College pool during the majority of my middle school years. It wasn’t until I was 13 years old when I tried out to become a club member with USA Swimming. I joined at a very late age for a club swimmer. Normally, club athletes are involved in sports at a young age. Why did you join? Initially, I swam recreationally from ages 4 to 12 because my pediatrician recommended swimming as a way to help with my asthma. Swimming requires proper breath control and it is a low impact sport which was perfect for my condition. What inspired you to be a swimmer? Michael Phelps! No, just kidding. Many swimmers have joined the sport because of their role models and that is totally a valid reason to join club. As for me, I chose to become a competitive swimmer because I decided that I was ready to face more exciting challenges. I didn’t want to be limited to just swimming recreationally. SWIM RUSH: THE SENIOR GASPS FOR BREATH AS SHE PERFORMS A FRONT CRAWL STROKE.

What club do you swim for? I swim for Los Angeles Swim Club Racers. LASC competes in the Southern California Swimming region. I also swim for our high school as varsity. It’s a privilege to be able to swim for these two teams.

Strengths and weaknesses? Strengths? I can eat three servings of pasta after an intense workout and I can hold my breath for one minute and eight seconds. Weakness? I feel weak when my crush shares a lane with me during practice (shhhh!)

What is your training regimen? I swim six days a week for two hours during the school year. Wednesdays and Fridays are dryland workout for the first 30 minutes of practice and swimming sets for the remainder of practice. Over summer, winter, Thanksgiving and spring break, I have a two hour morning practice from 5:30-7:30 AM and an afternoon practice from 4-6 PM. On top of my club practices, I also have a responsibility to show up to at least three high school practices which are from 6-7 AM. Van Nuys doesn’t have a pool yet (it would be nice to have one) so our team practices at Panorama High School and gets on a school bus at 7:15 AM to arrive to school.

Favorite event and why? My favorite event is the 50-yard freestyle because I’m a sprint and mid-distance swimmer. The rush of adrenaline and the speed I feel during sprint events is exhilarating.

What are your future aspirations? I’m excited to be swimming for my high school team once again and I am hoping I can take this passion all the way to college. I missed out on my chance to compete at city finals (CIF) last year because I had several asthma attacks during the months leading up to my training which weakened my immune system. I took some time off from club and high school swimming for almost four months. Those were the worst times of my high school swimming career. I loathed every minute I was away from the pool and I struggled to get back into shape physically and mentally when I resumed my training.

Which needs improvement? Time management! Managing time is very challenging for every student athlete. Athletes should be able to perform as best as they can during practice and that requires a good night’s rest. You can’t have a good night’s rest if you cram and procrastinate. Will you pursue swimming at the collegiate level? I’m planning on pursuing swimming at the collegiate level. I’ll be attending a school that competes at Division III for swimming. I haven’t qualified for Speedo Junior Nationals Championship or the US National Junior Team that competes worldwide and that’s okay. I’m still so thankful to have been able to contribute to this sport and it’s such a privilege to have been able to join the club. My family could barely afford it, but they cared about my passion for swimming and how much I wanted to continue in this sport I love. I’m satisfied and fulfilled with the fact that I know I’ve tried my best and put in the hard work without holding back.

UPSIDE DOWN: RENÉE GARCIA SWIMS A BACKWARDS FRONT CRAWL STROKE.


[16 ] Athletics

vnhsmirror.com

THE MIRROR | APRIL 2019

CHEER SQUAD: (FIRST ROW FROM L) ASHLEY AVILA, SKYLA ATKINSON, JOHANA ALVARADO, NATALIE POTEMPO, NATALIE ESQUIVEL, LESLIE SORIA, (SECOND ROW FROM L) COACH MARIA REYNARD, ERIC MARTINEZ, ANNA PFAU, ARTUR MELKONYAN, DULCE RODRIGUEZ, SEAN AYALA, COACH DULCE RENDON.

COURTESY OF ANNA PFAU

PROVIDED BY CHEER TEAM

Cheering Their Way Up The Pyramid By JOSEPH HERNANDEZ THE MIRROR STAFF

T

heir time for cheering at games is over. Now, the Cheer team prepares for their biggest event of the season. The Junior Varsity, All-Girls quad and Co-Ed squad performed their choreography and gymnastics in several competitions and brought home multiple top place finishes. The first competition of the cheer season took place downtown at the L.A. Convention Center on Feb. 2. The AllGirls team earned first place while the JV and the Co-Ed squads finished second.

‘‘ ’’

Following the team’s performance at the convention center, the Co-Ed squad advanced to a CIF competition, which determined the A team’s division placement and ranking. Van Nuys had the second highest finish overall in Division One. However, one of the key members of the stunts previously left the cheer team, making the routines more difficult. Losing one member ultimately affected the team’s pyramid and elite formations. Their season came to an end as the team competed at Anaheim for the USA Nationals in February. Although they did not place first in the competition they were given zero deductions on their performance. The team’s routine consisted of stunts that were

deemed illegal for the competition. The Van Nuys cheer team has been experiencing a successful season from multiple top place finishes in local competitions and a trip to USA nationals. “After showing ourselves that we could do it and working hard and multiple routines, we know what we have to do to execute,” Captain Natalie Potempo said . “It shows our hard work was the result of us getting zero deductions, but at the same time, we also proved to ourselves that we are capable of achieving something we thought to be impossible.” As they cheer their way to the top, the Lady Wolves prepare for the CIFLACS Cheer Finals at Legacy High School on April 27.

CHEER SPIRIT: THE BASE CHEERLEADERS HOLDING TWO FLYERS IN THE AIR.

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS: THE NCAA CHAMPION AFTER THE MADNESS

A

lthough different, this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has definitely brought the madness. For the first time in what seems to be quite a long time, the Final Four did not consist of a powerhouse school such as Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky or Gonzaga. The teams in this year’s Final Four were all teams that would be classified as “Underdogs” at the start of the tournament with the exception of the only One-Seed, Virginia. Texas Tech, Auburn, Michigan State and Virginia have shown the capability of taking home the college throne as they have beaten respectable opponents and have overcome some form of adversity in their own right. The 2019 tournament began with the immense hype of Duke and its freshman stars Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones. The college basketball world was definitely expecting the Coach K. led team to sweep through the first three rounds, but that was definitely not the case. The team was tested in two narrow victories over lower seeded Virginia Tech and UCF with big man sensation Tacko Fall. The team would eventually get eliminated by Michigan State in the Elite 8 Round. Duke wasn’t the only favorite eliminated prior to the final. The North

CBS SPORTS

Along with the excitement of competing for a national championship, the NCAA Tournament is the chance for NBA prospects to shine on the biggest stage of collegiate sports.

Carolina Tar Heels and the Kentucky Wildcats would both get eliminated by Auburn, whose program made the Final Four for the first time in school history. Although not as dramatic as a cinderella run, the tournament this year saw some upsets that made the tournament feel somewhat fresh. Along with the excitement of competing for a national championship, the NCAA Tournament is the chance for NBA prospects to shine on the biggest stage of collegiate sports. This years tourney has had no shortage of stars. The two most notable stars of the

VICTORIOUS: THE VIRGINIA CAVALIERS CELEBRATE THEIR VICTORY AGAINST THE TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS.

tournament would be Ja Morant of Murray State and Zion Williamson of Duke. Murray State, the little school with a giant star, only made it to round 32, but that was enough for the potential top 5 NBA draft pick to put the world on notice. Morant would finish with a triple double of 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists in Murray state’s only win over Marquette. Zion similarly would have an amazing tournament posting 100 points in the 4 games he played. Under the radar stars that made a case for the NBA draft were players such as Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Michigan

State’s Cassius Winston and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. All have shown the ability to carry their team through a tournament game with incredible play on the big stage. Carsen Edwards would drop 44 of the teams 75 points in Purdue’s Elite Eight matchup against Virginia , giving the fans a Stephen Curry esque performance to remember. Players such as Winston and Culver carried their team in more of a blue collar style by conducting their teams play in a pro-level manner. The Final Four consisted the matchups of Virginia versus Auburn and Texas Tech versus Michigan State. After much

controversy due to a missed double dribble call and late foul in the Virginia game, it marked a showdown between the Virginia Cavaliers and Texas Tech Red Raiders for the national crown. The title match began with a low scoring affair, as both teams were bothered by stingy defense throughout the first half. However the defensive mindset did not last in the second half. For Virginia they were led by De’Andre Hunter (27 points) and Kyle Guy (24 points) whose scoring ultimately lifted the Cavaliers to their first ever national title. n JOSEPH HERNANDEZ

Profile for The Mirror Van Nuys High School

The Mirror-Van Nuys High School  

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

The Mirror-Van Nuys High School  

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

Advertisement