Page 1

Van Nuys High School JUNE 2, 2017 Volume 102 Issue 5 Don’t have any plans for summer yet? Check out our summer bucket list! 10 things to fill up your vacation PAGE 7

See things from the perspective of our amazing VNHS artists, Gustavo Chavez and Angel Solis PAGE 8

Would you pay for a shoe that retails at $495? Find about the controversy surrounding the ZO2 drop PAGE 16

The Mirror


AT THE FINISH LINE: Commencement 2017

2 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

BRIEFLY SPEAKING UTLA Chair Reelected Without Teacher Vote History Department Chairman Mr. Robert Crosby will serve again as the United Teaches Los Angeles (UTLA) Chapter Chair for Van Nuys High School in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. As the only candidate for the position, no elections were required. UTLA, formed in 1970, is the employees union that represents nonadministrative staff as well as secondary teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District Chapter. UTLA advocates for the protection of basic rights for its members.


—Yerin Oh

VNHS Earns Silver Medal in US News Rankings Van Nuys High School earned a silver medal in the 2017 US News Best High schools ranking report for its performance in the 2016-2017 school year. VNHS was ranked 895th in National Rankings out of 20,487 eligible schools. VNHS ranked #152 in California High Schools, #135 in Magnet High Schools, #3 in Traditional LAUSD schools, and #1 in Traditional Schools in San Fernando Valley. Based on the California High School Exit Exam results, 58% of students who took the test were proficient in Mathematics, while 61% are proficient in English. Van Nuys High School has an 86% graduation rate. Schools that are ranked between 501st place and 2609th place nationally are awarded the Silver Medal. —Mhar Tenorio & Stefanie Tyo

The Mirror Wins First Place in ASPA Contest The Mirror, the student-edited and produced publication of Van Nuys High School, was awarded first place in the 2017 Scholastic Newspaper Awards. Under the guidance of first-year advisor Mr. Ronald Goins, the VNHS Journalism staff have produced four issues as of May 2017 for the 2016-2017 school year. Two issues were submitted in January for judging by the American Scholastic Press Association, an organization that reviews and critiques high school and collegiate publications, including both print and web. The Mirror received 930 out of 1000 possible points in categories ranging from content coverage to editing to creativity. | June 2, 2017

The Board is now dominated by Charter School advocates, who hold a 4-3 majority.



Pro-charter Board Now Controls LAUSD In the most expensive school board race in history, wins by Nick Melvoin and Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez signify changes for LAUSD. By Woo Han The Mirror Staff


n an expensive, pitched battle pitting charter school advocates against traditional school interests, charter supporters scored a stunning victory in the May 16 run-off elections for two positions on the LAUSD School Board. The Board is now dominated by Charter School advocates, who hold a 4-3 majority. Nick Melvoin handily won the District 4 seat, which includes West L.A. and West Hollywood, defeating incumbent Steve Zimmer. Melvoin received 57.4% of the ballots to Zimmer’s 42.6%. The open District 6 runoff was tighter, but again, the charter school-backed candidate prevailed. Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez, with 51.5% of the vote, beat Imelda Padilla, who garnered 48.5% of the total vote. District 6 stretches across the East San Fernando Valley and includes Van Nuys High School. Both sides spent record sums in an effort to win their seats. Charter school interests that include billionaire Eli Broad and former LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy pumped millions of dollars into both races, allowing Melvoin and Fitzpatrick-Gonez to outspend their opponents by a more than

2-1 margin. Pro-charter Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings was especially involved, donating around $5 million to California Schools Assn. Advocates. Zimmer and Padilla were strongly supported by teachers and also backed by UTLA and the California Teachers Association (CTA). Big changes could be coming to LAUSD. The L.A. Times, whose editorial board backed both pro-charter candidates, speculated that the results of this runoff could threaten the position of current Superintendent Michelle King, since “New boards frequently want to pick new leadership because the ultimate job of a board is to select and evaluate the superintendent.” The newly picked charter majority board could make it easier to open more charter schools in L.A. as well as renew the five-year operating agreements for existing charter schools. There is concern from district officials about maintaining more costly programs for students with moderate to severe disabilities or serious behavioral issues. In a statement directed towards UTLA members regarding the election results, the UTLA officers admits defeat but also makes a calls to arms, prompting educa-

Charter vs. Traditional Schools FOUNDATION: Both are forms of public education, but charter schools are governed by private organizations that are legally granted their charters. The schools must operate according to the rules of their charters and if they fail to meet these standards (academic, financially), they can be terminated by the agency that endorsed them. School districts can create and run traditional schools like an independent entity. FUNDING: Charters are publicly funded, but cannot rely on local taxes or municipal bonds the way traditional schools can so they use grants, awards and donations to supplement funding. STANDARDS: The state Board of Education determines the standards and curriculum of traditional schools. Charters are accredited by a private board and decide their own guidelines. Charter schools tend to have different academic standards. ADMISSION AND COST: Both are free and cannot restrict student admission. However, traditional schools are bound to accept students from the community, while charters can be selective, although they use a lottery to choose students. -Amanda Godfrey

tors “to be strike ready by February 2018.” The statement also expressed the friction between UTLA and pro-charter forces and accused billionaires—Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, Richard Riordan, John Arnold of Enron, and others—of buying the seats.

—Theresa Nguyen

Vocal Department Awarded in Competition The Van Nuys Vocal Department competed in the San Francisco National Worldstrides Heritage Competition against groups from nine other states in early April. Van Nuys won Sweepstakes—meaning the total scores combined were higher than any other school in the competition.The Women’s Ensemble came in First Place, receiving Gold, and also won an Outstanding Choir award and the Adjudicator’s Award, which means the judges deemed the Women’s Ensemble their favorite choir, not considering their earned points. The Men’s Ensemble, which only practices one hour per week and was on hiatus the previous year, brought home Silver. Vocal Ensemble came in with a Gold Second Place and the Vannaires came in at Gold Third Place. —Jenisa Chuayjarernsook

Added to the AP Courses List: Capstone Seminar and Research By Amanda Godfrey The Mirror Staff


enowned for its extensive AP (Advanced Placement) program which boasts over 20 AP courses as well as the highest percentage of students taking and passing the AP exams in LAUSD, Van Nuys High School is implementing two more AP classes in the 2017-2018 school year. AP Capstone, the new program developed by College Board, was created to cultivate student skills through independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication through two classes: AP Seminar and AP Research. The first course, AP Seminar, builds a student’s analytical and inquiry skills by strengthening their ability to examine sources and deduce logical arguments, while forming varying perspectives.

In the following course, AP Research, students are to conduct a year-long investigation on a topic of individual interest, documenting it in a portfolio. Students will be able to demonstrate their ability to apply their skills to real-world problems. Upon completion of the program, the student is able to earn the AP Capstone Diploma with a 3 or higher score on both courses as well as four additional AP classes. Those who do not meet the requirements for the additional AP exams will receive a certificate instead. Mr. Christopher May, English Department Chairman, will be teaching the AP Seminar, while Ms. Tracy Kim, currently an AP Biology and Chemistry teacher, will teach the AP Research class. To teach the courses, instructors are required to participate in a week-long training during the summer to tailor their skills. They also must complete online scoring training, plagiarism training and pass the associated certificate assessment to be eligible. “I appreciate how it teaches students to have an open mind and gives them an invaluable experience that’s absolutely imperative for college,” said Principal Ms. Yolanda Gardea. “As long as the students take their time, it should provide them with researching and writing skills for other classes.”

June 2, 2017 |

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 3


The Next Generation of ELA Textbooks THE MIRROR STAFF

By Elissa Choi & Khrista Sayo The Mirror Staff


he worn and torn textbooks that have served Van Nuys English classes for many years are being retired beginning next fall. New textbooks will accompany redesigned English courses that are aligned with updated teaching standards. The school will receive new textbooks for the 2017-2018 school year, replacing the old anthologies, according to Mr. Christopher May, English Department Chairman. Every seven-to-eight years, Common Core standards are updated to reflect the evolving learning environment in U.S. high schools. The English content that will be taught in classrooms will correlate to Common Core state standards, as well as California’s Smarter Balance assessments. The new textbooks are consumable, which means each student will receive his or her own copies to write in and annotate as needed. Texts consist of six individual volumes, so students will be assigned as many as six different books. All LAUSD high schools are adopting new Common Core English textbooks for the new school year. Each were given four choices. Of the four choices, the Van Nuys English faculty voted to adopt Pearson Education’s “myPerspectives” program. The “myPerspectives” curriculum strives to improve the quality of student learning through the use of media-oriented content, the digitalization of textbooks and a student-directed type of instruction to prepare for college and career success. The new “myPerspectives” textbooks include a few big changes that English teachers will have to learn to adapt to. The textbooks do not come with a pacing plan, which allows for teachers to create their own flexible curriculum, and the text is differentiated so that it accommodates students who learn at their own pace. Pearson will provide three core novels for every unit in the textbook. New books include Crime and Punishment, Into the Wild and The Jungle. Each grade level and corresponding unit has its own distinct set of core novels that are linked with the Common Core curriculum. Student-centered instruction promotes a new approach to learning that gives a sense of ownership to the content.


To keep pace with online learning trends, the digital edition of the textbook will be available to all students through any wifi-compatible device. It will also offer interactive features that will benefit both teachers and students. A new accessible-media component incorporates resources such as blogs, film, audio and other multimedia in an effort to build student literacy and confidence. The content actively involves pupils through performancebased assessments that correlate to the speaking and listening activities from the “myPerspectives” texts. Common Core textbooks will provide a foundation of consistent curriculum that pertains to the three levels of English language development as students advance through high school. According to Mr. May, the three levels of English language skills are emerging, bridging, and expanding. The “myPerspectives” textbook is geared towards boosting the literary competence and broadening the literary skills of those who are proficient in English. Each unit is attuned to support whole class learning, small group learning,

“One of the positive aspects of this text is that it will offer students continuity of education as they move from one level to the next.”




and independent learning. “One of the positive aspects of this text is that it will offer students continuity of education as they move from one level to the next,” said Mr. May. The lack of a standardized text allows students to learn material from the same book whether they are in regular or Honors classes, giving enough room for teachers “to tailor the curriculum to the strengths of the students as those strengths and weaknesses make themselves apparent.” The Math Department took a similar approach in 2013, adopting a Common Core-aligned curriculum developed by the College Board. “myPerspectives” utilizes a soft-cover book designed to create an interactive, hands-on learning experience that requires the student to actively use the book. The new textbooks will be distributed in English courses next term. The new curriculum will only affect non-Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which have their own new textbooks. Although the English AP curriculum will stay the same, students will also be receiving newly adopted textbooks specifically designed to better prepare for AP tests. The new books will serve students of Van Nuys High School for the length of LAUSD’s new contract with the publishers—at least seven years.



Van Nuys High’s Retiring Teachers As the school year inevitably draws to an end, retiring faculty members say their goodbyes. This year, four teachers are retiring and one counselor is taking an extended maternity leave and moving out of state. In place of the departing staff, there will be three new teachers joining the faculty in the new school year. Not much is known about the new incoming staff, but Principal Yolanda Gardea hinted that two of the teachers will be in the Math Department while the other will join the Spanish Department. “When determining the roles of incoming teachers, we tend to look at the class size and student needs,” said Ms. Gardea. “If we have too many students in a particular class, we try to hire accordingly.” Compiled by Yerin Oh & Tommy Chan

Sherman Kang

Yuliya Dubova

Deborah Sullivan

Patricia Ochoa

Teaching for 35 years, Mr. Kang began his career by substituting for his first five years. Afterwards, he taught at Le Conte Middle School for about 10 years, and then transferred to San Fernando High School where he taught for another five years. In 2002, Mr. Kang transferred to Van Nuys High School and has worked here for 15 years teaching Geometry, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. “I had a great time. The students made me laugh every day. I always had fun. I had great students to work with.” One thing that satisfies Mr. Kang is seeing how successful his students have become. His former students visit him occasionally and tell him how they’re doing. Most of them are following their path very well, while some are struggling along their journey. After his retirement, Mr. Kang won’t be doing anything for a while. He will either clean up his home or go to Hawaii to visit his mother.

The Math Department is bidding farewell to another long-term teacher, Ms. Dubova. She teaches the following mathematics classes: Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus and AP Calculus AB. “I do not like the word ‘retirement.’ I think that my life is just at its new phase, its second beginning, when I will be able to do whatever I desire.”. “I have lots of plans for the future: to conduct a healthy lifestyle, to spend more time with my family and friends, travel, create my own health club, write a couple of books and maybe get a few private students.” Ms. Dubova has been teaching for LAUSD since 1998 and started working at Van Nuys in 2001. She recalls her favorite moment in her Van Nuys HS career when she discovered that 96% of her AP Calculus students had passed the exam. “I would like to see students succeed academically and in their future life endeavors.”

“Extra educational teacher” is what Ms. Deborah Sullivan prefers to be called. With all the negative connotations around the word “special,” she believes it had become an inaccurate way to describe something that is not negative at all. A veteran instructor, Ms. Sullivan has been teaching since 1983, providing her with many opportunities to give more to the students and the community. “All my students are wonderful and hard-working. The students here, in particular, are very open and caring to all the staff. I do what I do because I love watching our children on stage, whether it be in the Performing Arts Magnet, the JROTC program, the Crimson Club, or science presentations. In the end, it’s all about letting the students shine.” As her final words to the VNHS community, Ms. Sullivan quotes Dr. Angela Davis, American political and academic activist and author. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

The P.E. fields of Van Nuys High School will no longer feel the presence of Ms. Patricia Ochoa. Teaching since 1978, Mrs. Ochoa has racked up a total of 38 years of teaching experience, with 15 years at Franklin High and 23 years at Van Nuys. “My experiences with the school goes way back. I went to school here as did my parents, my husband, and my two sons. With the amount of time I invested into Van Nuys, I just somehow ended up working here.” Some of Mrs. Ochoa’s most memorable moments involve her family. “Going to watch my sons play in their baseball and football games were the most memorable.” When asked why she was retiring this year in particular, she responds with more love for her family. She is about to become a grandmother and believes that it is time to start spending more time with family. Her last words to the VNHS community are to “carry on and keep Van Nuys at number one.”

Math teacher

Math teacher

Special Education Department Chair

Physical Education teacher

News&Analysis SkillsUSA’s Davis and Dhillon Bring Home the Gold for VNHS SHIMLA RHAMAN | THE MIRROR


By Mhar Tenorio & Stefanie Tyo The Mirror Staff Get all the latest campus news, sports, photos and videos


very morning students hear, “Be restorative, be responsible, and you will be successful.” But how does this correlate to what we value in students and what makes a student stand out among the rest? The purpose of SkillsUSA is similar to what Van Nuys High School wants for its students: individuals motivated to further develop and advance their knowledge and education. SkillsUSA is an organization of “students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.” It was established in 1965 and has since then interested youths across campuses nationwide including Van Nuys High School. Two very important members of Van Nuys’ SkillsUSA are Hunter Davis and Jaspal Dhillon. They are devoted classmates who have brought Van Nuys’ SkillsUSA class to championships and earned medals in their name. Hunter Davis has always had a passion for machining. However, his first opportunity to display his skill in the craft was when he joined the Robotics Club his freshman year. This is where his passion bloomed. From the Robotics club, he was given the opportunity to join SkillsUSA, in which he quickly accepted. Ever since then, he has been a proud member devoting himself to Machining. “It’s more like a family than a club organization. With SkillsUSA we all go out together, do volunteer work and it’s a lot of fun.” Davis stated. While in SkillsUSA, he wrote multiple programs and interned at a manufacturing company called “The Enterprise”. He has won two gold state championships in Precision Machining Technology (PMT) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Technician. “Sadly, the competition cut off there,” Davis continued. He wanted to bring back another gold for the school. Other than earning gold, Davis had a

bigger reason for joining SkillsUSA. “Soon after high school, I plan on starting a rapid prototyping company and bringing developers and workers to new manufacturing companies,” Davis said. Although his goals are big, with his achievements in SkillsUSA and motivation to pursue his passions, he’s aiming for a bright and successful future. Working alongside Davis in SkillsUSA is graduating senior Jaspal Dhillon. His passion for automotive was heightened in his sophomore year at Van Nuys when he joined auto shop. Autoshop eventually led him to discover SkillsUSA. “SkillsUSA was just a program that had just started and as it grew, Agruso (Mr. Joe Agruso) said I should join,” Dhillon stated. “So as a junior I joined solo and then senior year I joined the team and we actually got first. Agruso said I should keep on doing it, so I’ve been here ever since SkillsUSA has started.” As a SkillsUSA team member in his senior year, Dhillon earned gold in Automotive Service Technology and in June, Dhillon is moving onto the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, representing California. “I actually thought I wasn’t going to win,” said Dhillon. “That was my first thought because it was a pretty hard competition. When I got there I was a bit nervous, but I tried to keep my composure and in the end it showed.” In order to prepare for the upcoming nationals, Dhillon has been training Saturdays interning, while he spends the rest of his free time during the week taking community college classes. “I was happy about winning state but going up to nationals is kind of scary because I’m going up against every student from every other state that topped out. I’ll be representing California while 49 other students will be representing each and every one of the other competing states,” said Dhillon. Despite the pressure, Dhillon remains positive and plans to showcase his skill and experience during the competition. Students who are interested in joining SkillsUSA should speak to Mr. Agruso in Room 601.

June 2, 2017 |


By Gina Kim & Chelsea Ma The Mirror Staff


n iPad for every student. This is what LAUSD, under the leadership of controversial Superintendent John Deasy, promised in 2013. It was a bold technological initiative that ended up in shambles. Until Deasy’s announcement, access to technology was limited in many schools. This program was an attempt to enhance each student’s learning experience with a digital curriculum. However, the program was halted due to numerous obstacles—the most damaging being the hasty process of implementing the initiative without any real planning—eventually leading to Deasy’s resignation. Deasy, convinced that technology was the future of education and that low-income students would suffer without iPads, rushed the planning process. It gave the district only a few months before putting out the initiative to bid in 2013. “It was sloppy. It became a hassle,” said Ms. Yolanda Gardea, Van Nuys High School principal. The Distribution of 43,261 iPads loaded with Math and English sample curriculum from Pearson, a British-owned education publishing and assessment service, showed immediate problems in the 47 rollout schools. Teachers were not properly trained to use the curriculum and thus never fully embraced the tablet, according to the Department of Education report. In addition to the lack of training, students were able to bypass security on the tablets and freely browse the internet by simply deleting their profile information. “Yes, there were some problems. There is a higher chance of students cheating on tests because they can use the internet as an additive source during testing,” said Mrs. Priyanka Nirmal, a chemistry teacher at Van Nuys who utilizes iPads in her classroom. “But you have to filter it out, you have to frame your questions so it’s not directly available for students. Initially, more than having 40 iPads working in a room, one or two would kind of get shaky and students may have to retake the test.” With the multitude of problems that oc-

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 5

curred almost daily, the entire iPad project evidently flopped. It ended up becoming more of a problem than a solution. “At this school, there’s only one elevator in one building to move the iPads up and down,” Ms. Gardea recalled. “If you carried them all the way upstairs, by rule, you had to take them down and lock them up in one certain room. They were impractical and poorly thought through.” Faced with these issues, Deasy slowed down the process and, unable to withstand the pressure from the authorities, schools, and media, resigned in October 2014. Although district students continued using the iPads, LAUSD had officially terminated the contract with Apple and halted all activities. After a brief investigation, the Depart-

Chromebooks because students could use them to write papers and because of their cost-friendly price at $200 a laptop in comparison to $768 an iPad. During the recent Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visit, officials recommended each classroom have a set of Chromebooks. However, contradicting WASC’s recommendation, Mrs. Nirmal reports that she experienced more problems with the Chromebooks during the Smarter Balance Assessment. “It may be a coincidence but we had a lot more glitches than iPads. I had the same number of students and we had a lot of problems, especially with the wifi,” stated Mrs. Nirmal. However, following the true intent of Mr. Deasy, there were many cases where iPads proved to be useful in schools. In schools known as one-to-one schools, each student received a tablet to use and were permitted to take them home. “My understanding, from talking to other principals, is that they did some really great things and the teachers got trained, especially in the elementary schools,” Ms. Gardea said. “The students were able to utilize technology as an advantage to their education.” ment of Education concluded that LAUSD Although Van Nuys was not part of the was too “heavily dependent on a single one-to-one schools, Mrs. Nirmal strongly commercial product for providing digital encourages the use of iPads in each learning resources.” classroom and wishes to further enhance Although the district did follow the technology to facilitate teaching. state guidelines in purchasing the iPads, a “I would say that we should get more report released in August 2014 revealed iPads,” said Mrs. Nirmal. that LAUSD had given an unfair advan“There’s a small device I would like to tage to two different companies: Apple and purchase. The device connects iPads to Pearson. the projector like the way I can connect my The reason behind this is unknown, but laptop. That way, students can just put it there is suspicion that Mr. Deasy had stock up and present whatever they worked on in Apple, influencing LAUSD’s decision to to the whole class. It’s less time consuming choose Apple. and it’s something I look forward to.” Looking into the bidding system, the Although Superintendent Deasy had FBI investigated private email exchanges good intentions, his plans lacked credibility between Apple and Pearson before the and preparation. bidding process began. “How it was done, I didn’t agree with. They discovered that Pearson had esSometimes the district rolls out something sentially excluded any possibility of using that they have not thought all the way other technology options by making their through, but it’s hard when it’s so big,” Ms. educational programs in “screen size” Gardea commented. and touch functionality in favor of Apple LAUSD did make a mistake with the products. implementation of iPads, but the future for Aside from cheating the bidding system, technology is bright and there is plenty of LAUSD was faulted for using the less room for improvements. suitable iPads instead of other cheaper and After all, as technology continues to more effective devices . Opponents have improve, it is inevitable for it to integrate proposed the idea of distributing Google’s into the learning process.

“Sometimes the District rolls out something that they have not thought all the way through...”

Whatever happened to “An iPad for every student?” The district has quietly shelved its much-ballyhooed technological push.

6 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror | June 2, 2017


By Chandler Beon & Amanda Godfrey

cut from seven days a week to five, while operating hours were also curtailed. About 28% of library staff members were laid off. After several years of living with the cuts, the Los Angeles community voters passed a law in 2011 known as Measure L, increased funding for public libraries, in an attempt to erase the earlier damage and allow additional books and materials to be purchased. Community librarians have also taken their own initiative to instill an awareness about the value of libraries in youths. Librarians hold “Book Blitzes” on various high school campuses throughout the year that are intended to instruct both students and teachers about services and resources offered by public libraries. A group of librarians from various branches in the Los

The Mirror Staff


t’s no secret that people are using the internet more than they are using books. The accessibility of Google, Bing, and other search engines have made every student’s life much simpler. Rather than spending hours consulting bulky textbooks with tiny print, it has become second nature to search up a topic and gather information in less than a second. And the internet is not just information. Entertainment, whether it be in the form of DVDs, comic books, manga or fiction has also shifted to the internet through streaming websites like Netflix, and e-book providers such as Amazon. With the gradual digitalization of society, this practical platform is rapidly displacing conventional printed ink on paper and challenging the existence of what has traditionally been one of the society’s most important resource centers—libraries. Free for anyone with a library card, community libraries have always been an information and entertainment resource, especially prior to the advent of the internet, while school libraries have offered students an easily accessible way to meet study needs. As the internet has gained importance, students have stopped relying on libraries, becoming almost completely dependent on search engines. As a result, many schools are questioning the usefulness of their libraries and the roles they will play in the future. Michelle King, Superintendent of the Los Angeles

“A little library card goes along way,” said Lesley Alexander, a librarian at the Valley Plaza Branch Library. “Most people don’t really realize how much the library has to offer. We have programs basically every week that can be help for interviewing to resume writing to candy sushi making. It’s a great place for all ages.” Libraries also provide a means for adults hoping to continue their education and earn a high school diploma for free or a career certificate through the Career Online High School. Keeping up with the digital age, the Los Angeles Public Library has expanded online through their website. Not only can people access the online cataloging system to find the book they want, but they can also access information on job openings, financing, healthcare, citizenship applications and more. The website also has a special section designated for students: the LAPL Teen Web. Before spending money on SAT or ACT classes, students can refer to the “Student Smart Schedule” online, which gives information about LAPL’s free practice exams and preparation sessions. Students struggling with homework can also take advantage of the “Homework Resources” page, which includes a list of different websites related to different subjects, as well as “Live Homework Help” for one-to-one assistance from an online tutor. Aside from broadening their website offerings, today’s modern libraries are continually incorporating technology into their services. From availability

Coming Soon:

Library 2.0

Unified School District, noticed this trend and is searching for more effective ways to utilize funding designated for school libraries. King took her search to the Superintendent Advisory Council, a committee made up of select students representing schools throughout the district, proposing that a shift towards computers and printers may be more beneficial to students. Student representatives were sent back to their schools to gauge student opinions. Patricia Huelgas, the VNHS representative on the council, addressed students at an ASB Homeroom Representative meeting about the possibility of replacing part of the VNHS library with a computer lab. Huelgas conducted a survey to see how students felt about changing the library’s function. The survey showed that 65% of the students wanted to keep the library the way it is. “I think it’s going to be too much of a hassle for Ms. King to get rid of libraries completely,” said Huelgas. “It’s possible that she’s going to implement more funds to provide schools with technological based learning such as computers and tablets. I believe that’s what everyone is leaning towards.” However, school libraries are not the only services being threatened with upheaval. Massive budget cuts made in 2009 took a toll on the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system. Service was

Angeles County were invited by VNHS School Librarian, Ms. Suzanne Osman to host a Book Blitz at Van Nuys High School in April. The librarians are campaigning to make a case to students about advantages in using libraries. “We came here to talk about the resources available for students,” said Marissa Thompson, a librarian at L.A.’s North Hollywood branch. “In particular, the volunteering opportunities that we have, all of the different databases and research, and each branch’s individual student zone which is a place for you guys to work on homework or just to get things printed out for free.” In addition to taking advantage of library facilities, teenagers are given the opportunity to be actively involved in changing libraries through the Teen Council. “As young adult librarians, we get to pick what materials we carry at our specific branches for teenagers,” said Thompson. “So our teen councils help us with that. They help to choose what books, music, and other things that we carry at the library so it’s stuff that you guys actually want.” Many people aren’t aware about what resources a simple library card can hold.

of computers to librarian assistance in handling them, both public and school libraries are implementing changes with more emphasis on technology, all the while retaining their traditional resources and services. Thompson believes that school libraries are essential in maintaining access to information. “It’s right here on campus for you guys,” said Thompson. “Not everybody has a car. Not everybody has a computer at home and not everybody has wifi at home. You guys have it here. You should continue to have it here.” “So whether it’s through database or the physical book, to have the information accessible and a school librarian who knows how to search those databases so they can help you guys with it, it’s needed as well,” added Alexander. Even when it might seem like the internet is becoming more prominent than printed books, libraries are still utilizing both resources. Students and adults can have free access by simply taking a step inside their local library and seeing what it has to provide. “The library is yours,” Thompson concludes. “We want to make sure that it’s a place where you feel welcomed and a place where you feel like you are valuable. We also want to make sure it’s a place where you feel like your voice is heard and a place that actively demonstrates it cares for you.”

June 2, 2017 |

Meet the New ASB Officers

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 7


Summer Bucketlist

Allen Zatikian President

I chose the position of president because I feel that I would make a great leader and can confidently lead my peers to great levels of success. In order to achieve this, I had to work very hard in order to show the students that I am the one they want. To demonstrate my qualities and qualifications, I made sure to take initiative and lend a helping hand for any possible ASB event that came up. My plans for next year include making sure that all events take place smoothly and yield the highest possible profits. Ideally, we want to raise more money for ASB than ever. I’m very confident in this goal because I have one of the hardest working treasurers by my side. All in all, I think we have a great team this year and will be very successful.

Madison Dulkanchainun Vice President

I chose this position because I wanted ASB to be more organized and productive. I believe that I am capable of overseeing school events and activities planned by the committees. I have been in ASB for 2 years, and this year, I was the Student Services Commissioner. This experience gave me the knowledge of what needed to be done to create an exciting school year and a spirited student body. My overall plan for next year is to instill more school spirit among the students. This can be achieved by having more events that connect the students together. Another objective is within the ASB class: making sure everyone is cooperating in an organized manner and doing the work that is needed to be done. Hopefully, there will be more communication between the ASB class and the student body.

Lolit Aninias Treasurer

I chose to run for treasurer for another year because I believe that I am more qualified for it, considering my family business background. I believe I won this position primarily because of the endless and unconditional support that my family and friends

consistently gave me. My objectives for the next school year are to provide further support for the school finances by thoroughly planning events in an organized and timely manner and making sure everyone involved receives daily updates on the event’s status. Although this student body is satisfactory, there is always room for improvement, and I believe that the other officers and I can really work together to change the school.

Christine Choi Secretary

I wanted to challenge myself and have the opportunity to take part of a change at this school. I’ve been wanting to contribute to ASB as an officer since last year. However, due to competition, I was not able to get the position. Despite the disappointment, I continued to work hard as the club commissioner this year, and I believe that my drive and my determination will help me become a dedicated secretary. Along with the other officers, I want to work together and coordinate to come up with fun and different activities for the students next year.

1 2

Take a friend camping

While you’re busy watching a Netflix marathon, don’t forget to go outside and smell the roses! Take a friend and/or friends and set up some tents, eat some barbecue and look up at the stars in the middle of nowhere.

Go to the beach and build a bonfire with your friends

Save an entire day for some fun at the beach and see the California sun-kissed skies. When night falls, build a bonfire and whip out some sparklers to spark some great summer memories.


Actually exercise to get that summer body

Admit it. When that time of the year rolls around, we always say we’ll shed our hibernation fat to get that summer body. But then, we end up binge-eating potato chips while watching Netflix. It’s time to say “Not today!” to our cravings and finally show off our new set of summer abs.


8 9

Make a music video

Watch those new summer singles drop and start dancing along. Capture those aesthetic moments for “fun,” definitely not to be extra.

Photoshoot at a park

Feel like your Instagram feed is dead? Grab a couple friends, hit the park, and do a mini photoshoot. You don’t need a profressional camera to take stunning photos. Use the grid function on your phone to properly align your photos to make them as aesthetic as possible.


Get a summer job


If you’re 16 or older, now’s the perfect time to get a summer job. School’s over and you know that unless you’re volunteering, taking summer school or traveling, you’ll have nothing better to do. Why not make some extra cash, build your resume and feel good about yourself?


Think swimming with your friends at night is a bit boring? Spice it up by tossing some glow sticks into the pool. You can also make DIY glow-in-the-dark bubbles too! Remember to pick up the trash and fish out the glow sticks after you’re done.

Run a marathon

Feel the liberation of running 26 miles in that 100-degree California weather (maybe even run for a cause that you want to support). It’ll be a great story to tell later. If you’re new to marathons, maybe start off with a 10k, move on to a triathlon, and then a half marathon till you are finally up to finishing those 26 miles.



Fill a pool with glow sticks and go night swimming

No technology for a day

Feel like you’re glued to Instagram or Netflix? Go technology-free for at least a day, as difficult as it may be. Take some time to enjoy the hot summer sun. Take a hike or do something on this bucket-list to keep yourself busy. Stop living like a millennial menace and be a normal kid.

Make a time capsule with friends

Make a time capsule and bury it somewhere you know you can come back to. Fill it with cherished summer memories, tiny material momentums and all the things you want to change. Come back 5-10 years later and reminisce about your changes. You’ll thank yourself for doing something so thoughtful later.

Organize your room for the new school year

You no longer have an excuse to put off cleaning your room. Any remodeling or DIYs you wanted to do can now be completed! Summer is a time to shed those AP books piling up in the corner (donate them to the VNHS library) and feel revived. Let’s not be crusty, okay?


Start preparing for your classes

Calling all students taking AP classes! Trust us, we know this sounds very depressing, but it’s wise to start previewing your class by purchasing some AP review books. Remember, the early bird gets the worm! —Compiled by Gina Kim and Chelsea Ma

8 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

Features&Profiles | June 2, 2017


“It made me mature and think about what I want to do in the future. It opened up a lot of doors to me.”


Art Substitutes for Therapy ness. At the same time, he is seeking a mentor who By Jenisa Chauyjarernsook could give him hands-on experience. The Mirror Staff One of his dreams is to combine business and art by opening an art-themed coffee shop. He was e fell in love with art in the tenth grade. inspired by a visit to a unique coffee shop fused Gustavo Chavez, currently a senior with an art gallery in Long Beach. He hopes to at Van Nuys High School, didn’t know someday establish his own tattoo studio with a what he wanted to do with his future. friend. Then he discovered drawing. In the future, he wants to help the community by During tough times he would use his passion auctioning his art work and donating the money to as a way to detach himself from the problems that help the homeless and kids with cancer. overwhelmed him. In his free time, Chavez pracDrawing was a friend. It helped him tices new art techniques, then cope with his distressed feelings. gathers with artist friends to Art changed his thinking in bentrade and display artwork. eficial ways. “When I draw, it allows Chavez offers some advice my creativity to flow and focus better to students who are interested in school,” said Chavez. “It made me in pursuing similar goals. “Keep mature and think about what I want to pushing because it can get frusdo in the future. It opened up a lot of trating,” he said. doors to me.” “Create a group who shares His drawing style consists of dark the same passion in art. Some and mysterious features. In order to of my friends do digital imagcreate a stronger message in his art, ing and tattooing. We all help Chavez touches up his work with each other improve. It benefits elaborate calligraphy. a lot because it’s easier to learn His passion for art translates into his [new art styles] instead of tryinterest in tattooing. Currently Chavez ing to learn on your own.” works part-time as a tattoo artist. Chavez also suggests to con“Being surrounded by other artists stantly challenge yourself to helps you out because they can critido better and not stay in your cize you and tell you how to improve,” comfort zone, “I had a huge he said. improvement with getting out He enjoys the benefits that follow of my comfort zone. If you stay his job, such as flexible hours and a comfortable, you won’t proghigh wage—a minimum of $100. He is ress,” said Chavez.“Keep trying determined to save up for college with and the end results will make the money earned. you feel good because you In college, he plans to major in busiworked really hard for it. ”



Student Wins Congressional Art Contest ngel Solis, a senior at VNHS, won first place in the Congressional Art Competition for Congressman Tony Cardena’s district. Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington D.C. The winning works are displayed for ABOVE: INCOMPLETE “THE MAN one year at the U.S. Capitol. FROM ATLAZALPAN,” WHICH WILL BE Solis also has a chance to fly DISPLAYED IN THE CAPITOL; BELOW: to Washington D.C. if he is choMARILYN MONROE sen to represent District 29. “My family are the ones who inspire me,” Solis stated. “The artwork that I do represents my culture and for it to be in the Capitol means a lot to me and my family back in Mexico.” The work that gave Solis the victory is called, “The Man From Atlazalpan,” which represents Mexican culture and who he is as an artist. “The painting is for my dad who passed away in 2014,” stated Solis. “The skeleton is supposed to represent him. The walls in the streets are actually inspired from murals in Mexico in a town called Atlazalpan. The theme for this painting is the Day of the Dead, [a holiday] in which the dead supposedly comes back to life. So the skeleton comes back to life to do what he loves the most which is play a guitar in this case.” In addition, Yesika Guzman, 10th grade, won 2nd place and Janell Segura, 11th, won 5th place respectively. —Woo Han & Ty Willis

“The artwork that I do represents my culture and for it to be in the Capital means a lot to me and my family back in Mexico.”

June 2, 2017 |

Comment&Opinion Hau Nguyen: My experi-

ence for first semester was pretty bad because I was really lonely and didn’t know anyone, but now I know a lot of people. Middle school was very carefree but high school is challenging and I like it.

Shalom Djato: Van Nuys Sammy Park : My first year of high school was very interesting because it was my first time taking such a variety of classes. I didn’t really have certain expectations because I didn’t know what to expect. For me, it was more like, “Let's see what happens this year.”

was better than I expected because the people are really nice and cool. I found out about the Robotics program so I joined that as well as the Automotive program, which I really like.

Chloe Vega: I was really glad

that this school was better than I expected because I didn’t feel any pressure and people were very nice. I was really relieved when the teachers here were nice.



Ani Bostadjian: Honestly, high

Summer break—the most anticipated time of the year—is almost here. With AP Exams completed and finals soon to be over, the time to finally kick back and relax is upon us. With the school year coming to an end, some of us will return and continue our high school journey whereas the seniors will begin a new chapter of their life. We asked our peers to evaluate this year and their high school experience. —Compiled by Gina Kim and Shimla Rahman

Daron Excel: Junior year was

difficult but very fun. I found the line between my social and study life. I can enjoy my time with my friends and try to get the best grades possible. For next year, I plan to manage my time better and be more studious.

senior made me feel like I've accomplished something. I’ll obviously miss seeing my friends everyday because we're all going to be pretty far away from each other. As for college, I'm honestly excited about it. I hope that college isn’t as bad as everyone makes it. I actually know a few people at my college so it's kind of reassuring. Despite that, I can't help but to be scared and nervous about it.

Trisha Khaownimon: My sopho-

more year was better than expected. I thought I would have trouble fitting in. I got to meet so many new people through clubs and programs. I can’t believe that it's already been two years at this school. I think I can really improve myself if I adjust what almost everyone struggles with: procrastination and tardiness.

school was better than I expected because the students are more mature. The teachers treat the students like they know what they are doing since they aren’t kids. This year, I learned to manage my Axel Dias: I think that sophomore time better and I’m way year was a good experience. more organized since I was motivated and homework planners are expected myself to do given to us. better than freshman year. I’m pretty excited Julia Melero: This that I’m becoming a school year was junior next year and I better than last year think it’s another step for me. Automoforward in my life. tive made it better since the program is fun. I plan to Samantha Messina: Since improve my attenthis is my first year at Van Nuys, I dance for next year. struggled to fit in, be myself, and focus on school. I plan to focus on my grades more than my social life.

Kenny Lee: In 9th grade,

I thought this year would be more challenging but it wasn’t that bad. I learned how to manage my time and study more efficiently.


Jessica Lim: Being a

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 9

Saul Prado: I am excited to be a senior next year. I also feel that with excitement comes fear — for not knowing where I’m going next. In the end, I hope that my last year here will be really fun and memorable. I learned a lot about what I need to improve on. This year really proved to be difficult and it really challenged me as a student. I hope to better myself for senior year knowing that this is my last chance to get good grades for college applications.

Ashley Asis: I think it's okay for

me to say that junior year was stressful. I could definitely improve my time management skills. I’m kind of scared to become a senior next year because I can no longer look up to upperclassmen. At the same time, I’m excited about becoming a senior because of all the events. Junior year had its bittersweet moments. The thing I’m going to miss most about junior year are my teachers. I’m also going to miss the people I met in those classes, especially the seniors.

Shanika Chowdhury: I didn’t enjoy this school year as much because it was very stressful but it was overall okay. Now that it is almost over, I think I will only remember the good times of this year. I plan to take more APs for something more challenging.

Mariah Dye: Junior year was very stressful because the classes are a lot harder. I learned not to slack off and I plan to improve my study methods for senior year.

Jesse Caceres: High school helped me realize that I have to make sacrifices in order to succeed and that I have to take responsibility for my actions.

Angela Dumasis:

High school helped me figure things out on my own, and AP classes taught me to manage my time.

Jennifer Tapia: High school made

me realize that making mistakes is okay and that they help you grow up. It also taught me not to concern myself with people who don’t like you and make memories with those who do.

Matt Albecz: I accomplished a lot. I came after school almost everyday to practice Automotive which opened a lot of doors for me. High school made me more independent and Mr. Agruso helped me to become a leader and work with a team. I’m excited for my future and I plan to aim high.

10 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror


Ground Zero T T Could Los Angeles end up as a target in the simmering nuclear standoff between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un? BY CHANDLER BEON he United States of America is on the brink of a nuclear war. Considering North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear and missile projects and the growing political rhetoric coming from U.S. politicians, it’s no surprise that a nuclear conflict is a possible outcome of the conflict that has lasted for over six decades. Volatile, unpredictable leaders who are unwilling to yield on both sides of the conflict make a nuclear scenario seem more and more within the realm of possibilities. With his recent tweets against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, President Donald Trump continues to fuel the fire. Criticizing Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship for continuing to fire test missiles and ending with a denouncing “Bad!,” President Trump’s words may as well bring the United States into a war sooner rather than later. What’s concerning isn’t the fact that threats of war are being thrown around, but the fact that North Korea might be able to create an intercontinental ballistic missile which could reach the U.S. mainland

within the next decade, according to military analysts. If they are successful and tensions continue to rise, then there’s a high possibility one of their targets could be a thriving city on the southern coast of California: Los Angeles.

History of the Conflict

he head-clashing started with the Cold War in the 1950s. The Korean War caused a split between South Korea, supported by the United States, and North Korea, aided by the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.). Though it may have seemed like a war between two republics of a country, it was noted as a war for and against Communism. The end of the war was marked by the Korean Armistice Agreement, which set the two adversary’s current borders. The armistice still stands to this day. Even so, the bitterness remains. The United States closely supported South Korea while the U.S.S.R. and China supported North Korea economically and militarily. Increasingly isolated, North Korea turned to China and embarked on a nuclear program in a race to become a serious military power with the late dictator, Kim Jong Il, leading the efforts.

The Pyongyang government tested its first nuclear bomb on October 9, 2006. Still in its early stages, the nuclear development project proved the regime’s resolve to advance their nuclear arsenal despite an attempt at intervention from foreign countries. The death of Kim Jong Il marked the beginning of a new era for the North Korean nuclear and missile development project. His son and successor, Kim Jong Un, took the torch and made massive improvements to the project, pumping in money and resources. Even though he has been dictator for only six years, Kim Jong Un has already tested more than twenty times as many missiles than his father did.

2017 Military Spending $585 billion Nuclear Arsenal 6,800 nuclear warheads 2,800 Retired 4,018 Stockpiled 1,411 Deployed

Military Troops Active Duty: 1.3 million Reserve: 865,000

The Nuclear Race Begins


he holy grail for the North Koreans is developing a missile that could deliver a warhead to North America. As of yet, the North Korean government has still not successfully been able to create an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), let alone one that can reach even halfway across the Pacific Ocean. The furthest they have been able to launch a test rocket so far has been about 400 miles. This sigh of relief is only temporary—most experts say it won’t be long until North Korea has the technology capable to launch a longrange missile. In fact, the North Koreans successfully launched their own satellite into earth orbit early last year, joining space-capable nations like the U.S., Russia, China, India, and Japan. | June 2, 2017

r Story Currently, the U.S. maintains the world’s largest nuclear arsenal by far and is the only nation ever to deploy nuclear weapons—to defeat Japan in World War II. However, as soon as Kim Jong Un gets his hands on a tested and functioning ICBM, the difficulty of the situation increases tenfold. Not only would North Korea pose a greater direct threat to the U.S., but the two countries would be at a nuclear standoff. Such a standoff might make the U.S. more reluctant to send military aid if North Korea were to attack one of their neighboring countries like South Korea or Japan. North Korea will have the capability to back up their threats with action. If the Pyongyang government ever decides to launch an attack on the United States, one of their primary choices would be to launch a nuclear missile to Los Angeles, one of the

cities with the largest Korean population outside of Korea and the second-largest city in the U.S. Its proximity to North Korea and the spread-out population would make it ideal for a preemptive attack. Other West Coast cities, such as San Francisco, Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska may be targeted as well for their large populations and close proximity to North Korea. This scenario could be entirely avoided if the United States takes action before North Korea manages to create the missile.

Potential Conflict Resolutions


he U.S. has tried to convince the Chinese to tighten imports into North Korea with no significant results. Currently, China has the most leverage on the nuclear development program because they supply 85% of all imports to North Korea. Tightening the import flow would limit resources dedicated to building missiles and slow down their development. China is concerned about North Korea constantly testing their missiles in the Korean Peninsula as well and is taking precautions with what they say

and do. Just like South Korea and Japan, the last thing they need is a nuclear missile headed towards their country with less than 45 seconds to respond before impact. President Trump has agreed to work with China as long as they are cooperative with the import restrictions. He recognizes China’s hesitancy, announcing that the United States will take further action on its own—with or without China’s help. Another tactic for the United States would be to partner with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to work to discourage North Korea from testing any more missiles. With the recent election of a new South Korean president, Moon Jae In, the Trump Administration finally has a reliable partner to communicate with in South Korea—along with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—in an effort to bring them into negotiations with Kim Jong Un. If peaceful solutions fail to work, then the next best thing would be to defend against any incoming missiles. The United States has the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, better known as the GMD, deployed across the West Coast, tasked with intercepting and shooting down any missiles coming from over the Pacific Ocean. On the down side, the GMD is only effective against a handful of missiles at one time. If a barrage of missiles were to head towards the United States, there’s no guarantee that all missiles would be intercepted. The reliability of the system is also questionable.

Will It Actually Happen?


espite the flurry of action, the standoff continues. Both countries have their big red button at the ready, and it doesn’t take much to provoke one another to the point where one

2017 Military Spending $3.5 billion Nuclear Arsenal 10 nuclear warheads, 14-18 by 2020 Military Troops Active Duty: 1.2 million Reserve: 7.7 million

side finally decides to press it. Kim Jong Un’s regular missile tests don’t help either. In the case of North Korea developing ICBMs, Kim Jong Un’s willingness to target Los Angeles—regardless of his passion for Hollywood movies and basketball—shows how headstrong he is about aggressively antagonizing and openly threatening the United States, making the problem even worse. Waiting too long to act will inevitably result in more conflicts. North Korea will create an ICBM capable of reaching the mainland, the United States might be reluctant to do anything about it—or, Trump may act rashly and provokingly if cooler heads fail to prevail—and China might not have the same grasp on North Korea as it does right now. Consider North Korea’s recent outburst in a state-media news article condemning China’s as gradually shifting towards allying with the U.S. “You don’t know,” said History Department Chairman Mr. Robert Crosby. “It’s the unpredictable nature of the North Korean regime.” “As long as the Chinese government stays as it is, it will act as a restraining force to North Korea because it sees no upside to war. China will restrain North Korea to the level they want them to be, which won’t be the same that the United States wants. We’ll have to hope that China makes the right decision.” At the end of the day, the fate of the simmering conflict depends on world leaders. Their actions will ultimately affect whether peace will be maintained or whether citizens somewhere will be alerted about a North Korean nuclear missile heading their way. Chandler Beon is a staff writer for The Mirror.

12 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror


Here’s the Breakdown of the Trump “TAX REFORM THAT WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”



AX REFORM THAT WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” reads the top of Donald J. Trump’s new tax plan. In an even bolder and bigger text above it is TRUMP, as if we could forget whose plan this is. Trump promised many things during the election—which he is still talking about— and one of his campaign promises was the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act.” This act placed emphasis on the middle class, claiming to grow the economy 4 percent per year and create at least 25 million jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification. It’s a surprise that the Trump Administration was even able to deliver on this promise, considering that his first 100 days, as NBC News puts it, has been “an administration bouncing between shiny objects without a clear focus.” The Donald J. Trump Tax Plan, which was initially a one page bullet point list, has four major goals: tax relief for middle class Americans, simplification of the tax code, growth for the American economy, and no addition to the debt and deficit. Here’s what you need to know about the “tax reform that will make America great again.” In alignment with the goal to simplify the tax code, the number of tax brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3. The current 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent will be changed to just 10 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent. This means that the top income earners will be paying 14.6 percent less in income taxes, even though the document explicitly states that it will “eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers.” It also means that some taxpayers within the current 15 percent range will be paying more in taxes than before because they would now fit into the 20 percent bracket. Trump also fulfills his campaign promise of lowering the corporate tax from 35 percent to 15 percent and includes “flowthrough/pass-through” firms like sole proprietorships, which is an unincorporated business owned and run by one individual with no distinction between the business and the owner, like mom and pop shops or freelancers. The move towards reducing corporate taxes is a smart one as it is important in increasing the international competitiveness of U.S. companies and is less punishing on small businesses. The plan may sound fairly familiar to anyone who remembers the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. In fact, the Trump Tax Plan document directly thanks Ronald Reagan for the “best corporate tax rate in the industrialized world in the 1980s.” The goals of Trump’s tax plan resonate strongly with those of Reagan, and rely on the same ideology of supply-side economics, the basis for “Reaganomics.” Supply-side economics is the theory that says production drives economic growth through the use of tax cuts and deregulation. These cuts would then stimulate the economy enough to offset the reduced federal revenue. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, says that “The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.” TRUMPED UP, TRICKLE DOWN: DISPLAYED IS THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT WHICH CONTAINS DONALD J. TRUMP’S NEW TAX PLAN.

Simply put, however, supply-side economics simply doesn’t work. Trump’s tax cuts may spur economic growth, but whether this growth will pay itself off is entirely another question. “There is not a shred of evidence to support the secretary’s payfor-itself claim,” said Jared Bernstein, a top White House economics adviser. The United States Federal Debt currently stands at an astounding $19.84 trillion, and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the Trump Tax Plan will add $5.5 trillion. That estimate doesn’t even include his call for up to $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending or the $54 billion increase in the military budget. Like Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush before him, Trump has overlooked increasing deficits—quite the shift from mid-election Trump who boldly promised to completely erase the $19.84 trillion debt. Then, on April 24, 2017, Trump said that he didn’t care if the tax plan increased the debt, even though the tax plan document states that “the tax cuts are fully paid for by reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich, introducing a one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10 percent tax rate, ending the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad, and reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests.” There is concern that Trump will begin to cut programs to make up for federal revenue lost by his proposed tax cuts as he has already asked lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade. Trump wants to drastically cut assistance to Americans in the lowest income bracket, seeking to cut $610 billion from Medicaid and over $192 billion from food stamps over the next decade. The final point in the Trump Tax plan is the elimination of the estate tax, which is a tax levied on property transferred from deceased persons to their heirs. Although the estate tax generated $17 billion in 2015, the tax at its core is unwarranted and should undeniably be repealed. The Trump Tax plan is valid in stating that “You earned and saved that money for your family, not the government. You paid taxes on it when you earned it.” While the Trump Tax plan may be extremely costly and some aspects are contradictory, it seems that some good will come out of it. But considering Trump’s track record of consistently being inconsistent, no one can know what changes are to come. As Donald J. Trump puts it best himself in an interview with Fox News, “I want to be unpredictable, because we need unpredictability, and everything is so predictable with our country.” Maybe some things are better left being predictable, Mr. President.

“I want to be

unpredictable, because we need unpredictability, and everything

is so predictable with our country.” | June 2, 2017

The M irror Editors-in-Chief Keshan Huang Jeehyun Kim Shayda Shevidi Layout Editor Elizabeth Ortiz Chief Financial Officer Lauren Yu News Editors Ezra Kim Tyler Jung

Features Editor Amanda Godfrey Opinion Editor Mayra Macias Entertainment Editor Jenisa Chuayjarernsook Sports Editors Brian Clavio Nazaret Jarekian Photo Editor Shimla Rahman Social Media Editors Khrista Sayo and Elissa Choi Copy Editors Woo Han Theresa Nguyen Yerin Oh Magnet Newsletter Editors Esther Choe and Brian Choi Staff Writers/Photographers Jackson Beckman-Smith Chandler Beon Madison Brown Tommy Chan Brian Han Margarita Hovsepyan Antonio Ibarrola Gina Kim Jason Linares Giselle Lopez Chelsea Ma Kevin Mo Eralla Montgomery Christian Naves Jiyeong Park Ariana Rodriguez Lucas Shim Mhar Tenorio Lindsay Tidmasrsh Stefanie Tyo Ty Willis Lauren Woolsey Journalism Advisor Mr. Ron Goins The Mirror is the student newspaper of Van Nuys High School. It is published five times per year. Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the seniors on the Editorial Board. Letters to the editor may be delivered to Room 112 or mailed to 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and to conform to The Mirror style and format. Advertising questions may be directed to Lauren Yu at lyu0006@mymail. Publication of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of the product or service by the newspaper or the school. 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.

June 2, 2017 |


The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 13




nly a couple years ago, prominent However, people shouldn’t be picking and choos- justice and tolerance into this world have taken it upon transgender figures like Kaitlyn ing their gender as they like. themselves to help children transition at early ages. At Jenner would have never gained Certainly, it is their choice to identify however they an age where children can be confused about their feelthe support and praise that they like, but they cannot change biology however they like. ings, some parents feel even the slightest of tomboy-ish do today. It seems modern-day The notion that gender is separate from sex has or girl-ish acts warrant a gender reassignment. culture has developed an immense really only become popular in the late 20th and early These kinds of drastic measures that some parents appetite for the most obscure and underrepresented 21st centuries. What really constitutes gender? The are tempted to take may be endangering and crippeoples with the strangest stories. A trickle of tolerway our brain works? Well, the cells in our brain deter- pling their children. These gender transition treatance has developed into a flash flood, crushing all mine how our brain works and your cells either have ments may not even make trans individuals happier. those questioning of certain narratives The suicide rate, according to the AmerDALLAS NEWS and truths the mainstream has formed. ican Foundation for Suicide Prevention, One of those surfacing narratives is remains the same even for individuals the one surrounding gender. that have transitioned. In their lifetime, In the past you’d have been given 41% of trans individuals will attempt strange looks for questioning the suicide. It is hard to understand fully gender binary. In the future, you’ll be how trans-individual’s brains work, and ridiculed and attacked for questioning it’s especially hard since the Williams the seemingly infinite gender specInstitute, a UCLA sexual-orientation trum. and identity law research group, reports In a world where people berate that only 0.3% of U.S. citizens identify medical professionals for assigning as transgender. sexes to children at birth, we give those We do not know for certain whether same children hormonal treatment to the surgeries and transitions help. make them more like the other gender. So should Beggs have competed in Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old from his birth sex’s bracket? If not, why? BeTrinity High School in Texas, recently cause he identifies as a man? Well that won gold in his 110-pound weight raises the question, what about people class in the Texas state finals. The only who identify as neither? Or people who thing is Beggs was competing in the identify as a gender different from man girl’s division. or woman? Do we make brackets for Beggs was born a female, but has them or abolish the sex-based leagues? begun transitioning to become a male. If gender is determined by preference To help him transition, he’s been taking and not biology, then what of other things testosterone. However, he must still like age and race? Can I drink because I compete in his assigned sex’s league am a 21-year-old man in a 16-year-old’s If is determined by preference and not biology, according to state law. body? Can I get an African American then what of other things like age and race? Can I drink because Scholarship to a university if I identify Beggs and many others would like I am a 21-year-old man in a 16-year-old’s body? him to compete in the male division. as African American even though I am But who’s right in this case? The mostly white? When do we throw out state? Or Beggs? a set of XX (female-determining) or XY (male-deterbiology for the sake of someone’s feelings? Do doctors Well, neither of them are really right. Beggs was mining) chromosomes. Chemical imbalances such as tell their patients that they’re A-OK just to make them born a woman, yes. But he has taken testosterone to excess testosterone or estrogen may sway you to act feel better? Can I identify as a healthy person and thus put him at levels 15 times greater than in an average and appear more like the opposite gender but that is be considered one? man. Testosterone is known as the natural male sex a medical disorder. You aren’t all of a sudden the opThe answer to all these questions is “no.” We must hormone, and it greatly increases muscle growth and posite gender because you’re chemically imbalanced. consider biological fact, especially when discussing strength. Anabolic steroids mimic testosterone in its As many kids grow older, they may become public policy. As for transgender individuals, more structure and properties. chemically imbalanced during their sexual maturainsight and research into their minds is necessary to So just as steroid abusers are considered invalid tion. This is normal, and these imbalances go away know what will help them the most. competitors, those taking hormone therapy should once they reach adulthood. also be considered invalid competitors. But many parents and activists looking to bring Jack Beckman-Smith is an Opinion Writer for The Mirror


What is Female Genital Mutilation and Why Is It on the Rise? BY MARGARITA HOVSEPYAN


n Detroit, Michigan, a young girl, about seven years old, is told that she is going on a special girl’s trip to help with her stomachache. After lying face-up on an examination table, she starts to feel an excruciating pain that is supposedly “getting the germs out.” Unknowingly, she is a participant in an ancient and deeply oppressive procedure meant to sustain a woman’s purity: female genital mutilation. A harmful, traditional practice, female genital mutilation aims to harm a part or all of the female genitalia. It’s performed to ensure that the female’s sexuality is controlled and she remains a virgin until marriage. Altering the female genitals in such a way is also supposedly meant to represent femininity and beauty. It is also a factor in making a girl more accepted in communities where the procedure is prevalent. This is the reason why it’s more common in collectivist, traditional cultures mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Ironically, even though it’s meant to

cleanse a female’s body, it’s more likely for it to harm her by possibly causing chronic infection, hemorrhage, psychological trauma, complications during childbirth and severe pain during sexual intercourse. Over 200 million girls have received the procedure worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In Somalia, up to 98% of the female population between 15 and 49 years of age has been exposed to the horrors of female genital mutilation. African nations are the primary offenders, but there are also been reports of the gruesome ritual being practiced in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, as well as among small ethnic groups in South America. In immigrant communities in the U.S., the problem is growing, even though the practice is illegal. According to the Washington Free Beacon, rates have tripled since 1990. That accounts for up to 513,000 women going through the procedure, though the numbers may be even greater. In the United States alone there has been a huge increase in the number of female

genital mutilations because of the recent influx of immigrants from regions where the practice is predominant. “Immigration to the U.S. from African and Middle Eastern countries—where the practice is a deeply entrenched cultural tradition—is the sole factor for the rise in

Altering the female genitals in such a way is also supposedly meant to represent femininity and beauty. STOCK IMAGE

numbers,” says Mark Mather, a demographics expert who has compiled relevant data. The fact that female genital mutilation is illegal in the United States hasn’t stopped some families from putting their daughters through the gruesome procedure. Some families send their daughters abroad to the homeland where a relative or a local elder does the procedure. The process is called “vacation cutting.” In the U.S. and other Western societies, we like to believe that our female population is highly respected and honored. Knowing that such an oppressive and ancient procedure is still in existence is horrifying to most of us. Even though we cannot stop the practice from taking place in other parts of the world, we can curtail the practice in immigrant communities in the U.S. through greater dialogue and education. Margarita Hovsepyan is an Opinion Writer for The Mirror

14 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror | June 2, 2017


Summer Blockbuster Movies

Wonder Woman

Release Date: June 2, 2017 Fantasy/Science fiction

Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Release Date: May 26, 2017 Fantasy/Action

Spider-Man: Homecoming Release Date: July 7, 2017 Fantasy/Science fiction

The Mummy

Release Date: June 9, 2017 Fantasy/Action

War of the Planet of the Apes Release Date: July 14, 2017 Science fiction/Drama

Transformers: The Last Knight Release Date: June 21, 2017 Fantasy/Science fiction

Despicable Me 3

Release Date: June 30, 2017 Science fiction/Action

Spin-Spin-Spin-Spin-Spinning Away the Stress (and Time) By Ty Willis The Mirror Staff


idget spinners—the latest trend— seem to be everywhere, taking over homes, classrooms, and offices. The simple gadget has become very popular, especially in classrooms. A fidget spinner has two or three paddle-shaped blades attached to a central core. Squeeze the core, give the blades a flick and they smoothly spin. Priced between $5 and $8, many students carry a pocketful. They are available in all sorts of color schemes. The original purpose of the device is to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), anxiety or autism enhance their concentration and to calm them when they are stressed or nervous. But some people are using fidget

spinners for the sole purpose of having something fun to do. Many adults are clueless about the devices, making them them even more appealing to young people. They can be easily found near the cash register at local gas stations or 7-Eleven. The trend reached a critical mass as users started posting videos of themselves executing tricks such as balancing the spinners on their heads, noses, and elbows, helping raise their popularity. Some scientists don’t believe that this gadget is actually doing what it was made for. Instead, they argue that it has become more of a distraction. “Using a spinner-like gadget is more likely to serve as a distraction than a benefit for individuals with ADHD,” said Mark Rapport, a clinical psychologist at the University of Central Florida, who has studied the benefits of movement on attention in

people with ADHD. Many schools take the same view, banning fidget spinners from being used or even brought on campus. According to Spinner List, which is one of the largest fidget spinner databases and makers on the market, fidget spinners have been banned from 32% of the top 200 largest high schools in the United States. Of these, 27 schools are private schools and 36 of them are public. Some schools are considering banning fidget spinners after news reports revealed kids getting injured by them.

One of these injuries happened to Kelly Rose Joniec’s 10 year old daughter, Britton, when she saw her choking on one of the bearings that fell off of her fidget spinner while she was cleaning it. Surgery was needed after it lodged in her esophagus. Looking past the safety issues, some teachers have decided that fidget spinners are beneficial in the classroom. “I do believe that it actually helps some students that have ADD or ADHD,” said Ms. Lydia Sadighi, a math teacher at Van Nuys High School. Fidget spinners are gaining attention today, but like all fads, their novelty will inevitably fade. They’ll soon be stuffed in the corners of dresser drawers, waiting to provide little jolts of nostalgia when they are rediscovered a few years down the road. Until then, keep on spinning.

June 2, 2017 |


The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 15

A Bird’s Eye View







16 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror | June 2, 2017



“Big Baller’s loose! If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!”

The New ZO2 Drops By Nazaret Jarekian & Brian Clavio The Mirror Staff


alifornia’s own Ball brother trio, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball have taken over the high school basketball world leading Chino Hills High to 30-3 record and 10-0 league season. LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball have lead Chino Hills to fourth ranked team in the entire nation. Eldest Brother, Lonzo Ball, lead UCLA to a 31-5 record, ranking 9th in the entire NCAA. Their father, Lavar Ball, created BBB ZO2 an independent brand, to repreSizes 8-13.5 sent all three of his sons called the “Big Baller Brand” or “BBB.” On May 4th, BBB released the ZO2, the first official shoes dropped by the brand, priced at $495 for shoe sizes between 8-13.5 (male) and $695 for sizes 14 and BBB ZO2 15. Sizes 14-15 That’s just the price of the base model of the shoe, if you want the ZO2: Wet - ‘The Autograph’ then the price goes even higher, $995 for sizes 8-13.5 and $1195 for sizes 14 and 15. BBB also released the ZO2: The Signature Slides which are being sold $220 available in all sizes. Those prices are completely outrageous for the first shoes ever dropped by any brand. Nike is the biggest sport brand in the World, and the most expensive shoe on their website are $95 cheaper than the base model of the ZO2s. Nike was ranked the number one sports brand by Forbes Fab 40 and sponsors notable athletes such as soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo, ballers Lebron James and Kevin Durant, and many many others. The highest-priced shoe on their website,, is the Air Jordan 5s Retro Premium for $400. The Big Baller Brand represents the three Ball brothers—basically two high school students and one collegiate athlete who is entering the NBA as one of the highest rated prospects.



None of these kids have done anything at a professional level. They are not the household names that Lebron James or Kevin Durant are, and the Big Baller Brand isn’t the brand that Nike is, so what makes Lavar Ball think he can overcharge consumers for his shoe? Lavar Ball went on Twitter to respond to the criticism of the pricing of his shoe. He states “Big Baller’s loose! If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!” Athletes, such as former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, have gone out of their way to complain about Lavar Ball’s shoes and his tweet addressing the criticism. Shaq went on Twitter to state “...real big baller brands don’t overcharge kids for shoes.” Antagonizing people who can’t afford an overpriced pair of shoes isn’t really best way of convincing consumers to buy your product, especially when your target audience is kids who can’t afford $500 shoes. Fox Sports reporter, Kristine Leahy criticized Lavar on Fox radio show, The Herd, for not marketing BBB to women. Lavar responded by stating “Uh, yeah, if you have a women’s company. But we talking about Big Baller Brand.” Lavar Ball and his antics are going to ruin the BBB brand. His mentality that everything he does is right and that his son’s accomplishment on a high school and collegiate level can warrant the type of brand awareness that accomplished professionals could ultimately lead to the downfall of his brand. Not marketing to women and disrespecting reporters has done nothing but hurt his brand and his sons. BIG BALLER BRANDS

Why is this shoe so expensive?


eople are wondering why these shoes are priced so highly while other basketball shoes like LeBron James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion, has sneakers currently retailing for $175. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry’s shoes sell in stores for $99.99, and James Harden’s adidas shoes come in at $140. Even Kevin Durant’s KD9s retail between $120-150 depending on the colorway, and Paul George’s inaugural PG1 sneaker debuted at $109.99. Visually the Z02’s are very similar to the Nike Kobe 11 that are only $160. Both sport a sleek, black body while the ZO2 have yellow accents and the BBB emblem. The material specification for the ZO2 Prime is listed as micro fiber with Python emboss. They both have a textile lining while the ZO2s have a yellow slightly puffier foam at the heel compared to the black ones of the Kobe 11. The rubber outsoles are designs mimicking the Adidas boost foam. A possible reason for the inflation of the price could be the manufacturing of only a small quantity of shoes. The materials could also be a factor in the price. The ZO2s are embedded with an Ortholite insole, a full bed of shock-absorbent material, microfiber python texture, and a Delorean finish. BBB could be aiming towards a very specific market niche. They want their brand to be above the athletic performance kicks from the likes of Nike, Jordan, Adidas and Under Armour, but below the high-end designer shoes of Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton. —Chelsea Ma

June 2, 2017 |



Brian Clavio By Brian Choi & Brian Han The Mirror Staff


any have mocked golf for “not being a sport,” but Van Nuys High School’s Golf Star and Captain Brian Clavio shows otherwise. Drive after drive, putt after putt, golfers put in numerous hours practicing and perfecting their three-second swing. What seems like something extremely simple takes years to just make it “decent.” Clavio has put in his fair share of hours into his threesecond swing. Inspired to reach the top like his role model and number one golfer Jason Day, Clavio trains and perfects his craft to one day surpass him. Starting at the young age of 8, Clavio has shown a natural affinity for golf as he was told repeatedly by his first golf coach, Coach Rafe, as well as by his father, motivating Clavio to strive to be the best golfer he can be. As Clavio continued to play, golf presented a unique challenge and joy. Through intense practice, he was able to see his hard work pay off throughout the years. His skill set, stamina, and strength increased exponentially with each additional hour spent on the Hansen Dam Golf Range. At the age of 13, Clavio first started playing the illustrious 18 holes. The 18-hole course is often seen as a rite of passage for golfers, but to Clavio it offered another fresh and adverse challenge. Initially, playing the 18 holes was mentally and physically excruciating due to its challenging length and varying conditions; however, as Clavio pushed onward, the challenges presented disappeared. “I struggled to complete my first 18-hole game, but now I worry more about the score because it is no longer a challenge finishing the course,” noted Clavio. “It was motivating to see my progress throughout the years.” By the time Clavio began attending Van Nuys, he qualified to play for the Varsity Golf team despite only being a freshman. The Van Nuys Varsity Golf team’s stellar performance that year placed them in Division I. The Wolves competed against powerhouse high school teams like Granada Hills, Palisades, El Camino and Taft. “Despite many losses in Division I, I made a brother-

hood by bonding with my team,” said Clavio. He believes that bonding and team chemistry are a lot more important than just winning. His second year in the team was similar in that players’ records stayed consistent, but their path to the wins became more difficult. The ace of the team, Jisup Hwang, left at the end of the year, but his departure only allowed Clavio to shine and prove to be the best player on the team. During his junior year, the team went on an unfortunate hiatus because not enough players were recruited. Rather than seeing this as a dead end, Clavio took it as an opportunity to extend himself by trying out in other tournaments. He shined in the L.A. City Sum-

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 17


mer Tournament, winning first place as he outplayed 10 other golfers. Presented with a similar challenge as in his junior year, Captain Clavio was able to recruit just enough players to field a viable team. But, due to the single season hiatus, the Wolves were busted down to Division II, which pitted them against lower-division schools such as Reseda, Chatsworth, Sylmar and Kennedy. This season, he led the team to a league win. As Clavio’s high school career draws to an end, he still plans to pursue golf in college and hopes to one day match the achievements of his role model Jason Day.


A Green Golf Team Shines on the Green By Brian Clavio & Antonio Ibarrola The Mirror Staff


fter a year long hiatus due to a player shortage, Van Nuys Boy’s Golf Team Captain Brian Clavio scrambled, searching for new players in hopes of fielding a school golf team his senior year. Just when things seemed grim, three juniors and a sophomore came to the rescue and answered his prayers—he finally had a team. Coach Nancy Poll knew that this season would be a new challenge for her, since she never had a team comprised of so many beginners. The Wolves began the season with four inexperienced players: Kyle

Conechado, John Manzanilla, Victor Muzhuthettu and Alex Walters. They played under Clavio, who has almost nine years of experience under his belt. The most notable win was their last game of the season against Sylmar High. In this match, Van Nuys was able to steal the win by a margin of one stroke, tallying up a final score of 281282. The Varsity boys showed their dominance especially in their game against Kennedy where they had a complete stomp, notching a commanding 66-stroke lead, 241-307. Although having these wins were extremely beneficial for the team’s confidence, their first few losses gave them a wake up call. The first match of the year, which was against Reseda, marked the first time the four new players played in competition. Despite their lack of experience, the Wolves lost by only 7 strokes, 317-324. For team play, this

is considered a minute difference. Coach Poll was optimistic for what the future held for the inexperienced young team. As for Clavio, facing off against Chatsworth’s ace golfer in the last game of the season showed him how much he needed to improve to be on par with competitors in the City Finals. The team’s final match, the Valley Mission League Finals, showcased the team’s improvement. The Wolves placed second as a team. Two individual players received medals for placing in the top 15. Clavio placed first out of 40 players in the league with a season best game of 39 strokes. Conechado placed 11th by a cardoff—a tie-breaker without having to play any holes—scoring 51 strokes. The team finished in second place in the League Finals as well as ranked 2nd in the league season.

“I couldn’t have asked for a finer team of young men. I am so proud to have worked with one returning member and a team of beginners who accomplished a second place finish in league standings. They were so hard working and such a pleasure to be around,” stated Coach Nancy Poll. YERIN OH | THE MIRROR


18 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror | June 2, 2017

Graduation 2017

TOP 10 SENIORS OF 2017 The top ranked students of the class based on their weighted GPA, give their final remarks and advice on academic success before they depart.

Keshan Huang College: Columbia University. Major: Political Science & Economics, or Astrophysics Reason for major: There is no greater joy than finding your own way to serve others in society, whether that be in public service or in scientific endeavors. Highlights: I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be on two conference calls with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, respectively, to discuss and advocate issues concerning youth in politics. I’ve enjoyed being an integral part in the growth of our school’s first ever Science Olympiad team, which I founded in my freshman year. Advice: Live a good life. Meet people and listen to their stories. Don’t limit yourself. Treasure the little moments. But more importantly, live your life.

Jay Garg College: UC Berkeley Major: Undecided Reason for College: Good school and explore where I want to on campus, I also got into a program to study in UC Berkeley during summer and study abroad in London for the rest. Advice: Prepare for your future, but make sure you’re still having fun in the present time.

Joya Monishi College: UC Irvine Major: Computer science Reason for major: I chose this major because our society is becoming increasingly technological, and learning about all of these important advancements will be very helpful in the future. I’ve taken courses in computer science and found enjoyment in applying my knowledge and accomplishing different tasks. I think college will be pretty rigorous; I won’t have to deal with courses I’m not interested in of course, instead dedicating myself to my main study, but I’m overall excited knowing that UCI will definitely give me a stable foundation and many opportunities in compsci. Advice: For advice, just don’t slack off in classes you don’t enjoy, power through it! And study with smart friends, I did that.

Lauren Yu College: UCLA. Major: Pre-International Development Studies Reason: At the end of sophomore year, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I was introduced to the Project Cookstoves club at school and through this I had the opportunity to experience helping impoverished citizens in Guatemala. I realized I had a passion for serving the people in third-world countries, which led me to my major choice. Highlights: I would definitely say that the resources here helped me a lot since I communicated often with the College office. Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) was also really important. I began from freshman year and it encouraged me to become more motivated. Journalism is where I learned how to talk to school administrators and how the complicated financial system works in this school. Advice: You’re probably not going to have fun and you’re probably going to procrastinate. However, use your resources. Talk to the college offices and teachers around this school. Ms. Charlton, the college counselor, definitely knows what students are going through and she can recommend certain steps and books to prepare you for your future. It’s definitely more beneficial than what the colleges have on their websites.

Angela Park College: United States Coast Guard Academy Major: Biology and Environmental Sciences Reason: They didnt have any medical majors, so I chose the closest topic related to the major, which is biology. Highlights: JROTC is number one on my list. It’s like a second family in high school. Through this program, I was able to get handful of friends that I can call and depend on through tough situations. I was always scared of high school since I thought it was going to be like in High School Musical. However reflecting back, I honestly can say this has been the best experience of my life so far. Advice: Don’t take APs if you’re not going to get an A. Our school’s honors and AP program are completely different. It’s better to get an A in honors than a B in AP. You don’t have to have school spirit in anything, but make sure to participate in school programs because it gives the chance of meeting new people and experiencing new things. Staying up all night to study has no effect. Just sleep.

Tanya Wastarastaporn College: Stanford University. Major: Psychology Reason for major: Because of my own life experiences, it would be interesting to find out more about myself. Advice: Don’t be afraid and apply for that program or college, you’ll never know. It’s perfectly okay to get rejected. Think about the little moments of your life and find a way to phrase it to make it seem interesting and important no matter what it is. Also, academic competition in our grade was a big inspiration and a motivation to do well in high school.

Michael Chang College: UC Berkeley Major: Biology Reason for major: Biology has endless possibilities and countless ways to implement it to the world whether it’s microscopic or global. Highlights: I loved playing basketball every lunch mainly because I’m not one to just study all day. I want to lead an active lifestyle. For the past two years, I’ve lead my club HEROES in volunteer activities. I worked hard to get to where I am today. Many people will discourage you in life just because you want to take that extra step forward, but don’t listen to them. I did what is best for me and my future, not considering if it satisfied what everyone else was doing. Advice: Be yourself. Focus on what you need to do first before things you want to do. Subjects regarding relationships, drugs, and alcohol will only lead to temporary happiness especially in high school. Your future is much too precious to sacrifice for a high school relationship or partying all night. Focus on your studying and deserve your fun when you earned it; it’ll becomes a truly special moment.

Lucy White College: UC Berkeley Major: Political Science (Maybe) Reason for major: I decided on Berkeley because of its history of political activism and because it’s a very highly rated school in the subjects I’m interested in. I intend on majoring in political science because I became very invested in the 2016 presidential election through volunteering and through Mr. Crosby’s AP Government class. I realized I loved politics and want to learn so much more. Advice: Do what you love in high school and commit to it, because even if it isn’t academic, colleges will be impressed by your dedication and you’ll also have a ton of fun pursuing your passion. I’ve done theater and choir from freshman year, I’ve had an amazing time, and because of those electives and extracurriculars, my applications looked really well rounded.

Jeehyun Kim College: UC Berkeley. Major: Applied Mathematics Reason: A lot of people think that this particular major is just math but, the major itself has three different types of major: applied, pure, and teaching. Applied mathematics is learning to apply math into reality. Alongside economics, I want to continue using math in the real world. Highlights: I made a simple decision to take on a lot for senior year. It was really painful and busy but at the same time I felt like I had a purpose. I used to go to high school just for the purpose of going, but once I took on positions like Senior Board Secretary and Journalism Editor-in-Chief, Advice: I thought that I was going to go to a Community College. However, everything worked out for me in the end. No matter where you get accepted, everything will end up working out eventually and I wish I had known this sooner.

Joanna Pham College: UCLA. Major: Human Biology and Society Reason for Major: I took honors physiology during my 11th grade year and I found out I really enjoyed learning about the human body. This class in UCLA combines this science and applications to human society. Advice: Even if you are a freshman start saving up for senior year. College and senior year is very expensive. Also, try out for anything you want. You never really know where you’re going to get into, and it really depends on that interview and essay. Have fun in high school, don’t stress out too much about your grade. Ranking and GPA isn’t as important as your application essays.

—Compiled by Amanda Godfrey, Tyler Jung, and Chandler Beon

June 2, 2017 |

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 19

Graduation 2017

Parting Words from The Mirror Senior Staff Keshan Huang

Jeehyun Kim



reeted by smiles and hugs, I stepped into the journalism family as the only freshman, both overwhelmed and overjoyed. I’ve had the opportunity to write front-page cover stories and I’ve learned to dance to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.” From investigating the fallen tree in the quad to transitioning to a new Journalism advisor to interviewing The Big Bang Theory’s producer Chuck Lorre, Journalism has been nothing short of an incredible story. It has been a true joy watching everyone grow through the years and the paper improve with every ounce of our effort. I used to witness students fold our newspapers into paper airplanes, but now I just look up because for us, the sky’s the limit. Through it all, I have made lasting memories and cherished friendships with the best journalism family anyone could ever ask for.

ournalism in one word: rewarding. The moment I stepped into the room, I knew that we would be able to accomplish unbelievable things. From staying in school until 9:00 pm to finish our paper to hanging out with members at a cafe to discuss future plans, these were moments that I cherish among my four years in Van Nuys. The chemistry that exists between our journalists and friends is one that is irreplaceable and unforgettable. With their help, we were able to set a sturdy foundation with support and love for the many years to come. As the graduating Class of 2017, I’d like to thank journalism and Mr. Goins and my peers for gifting me amazing memories and experiences. In the end, everything was all worth it.



Shayda Shevidi



ittersweet. That’s the only way I can begin to describe how I feel about bidding goodbye to The Mirror. I’ve spent countless hours in the classroom, during and after school, contributing to this paper. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty exhausting. But every single moment was worth it. I’ve never learned so much so quickly. On top of all the personal growth I’ve had, I’ve met some wonderful people and had the opportunity to make some friendships I hope to carry on with me for the rest of my life. Keyboards full of pizza grease, piles of papers with endless red marks, and oreo milkshakes spilled on the floor — I’m going to miss it all. No matter where life takes us, I’ll always be the Journalism Mom.

Lauren Yu


Layout Editor

hen I first joined journalism as a sophomore, it served as an outlet for me to express my opinions. As a junior, I was able to venture into new realms of journalism, specifically the financial department. I realized that I definitely enjoyed both writing articles and calling advertisers. However, I won’t lie; it became really difficult mentally when positions came into play. I felt that receiving a position was life-or-death, and this feeling had definitely been exacerbated by the thought of college. I felt disconnected from friends and treated them as by competition. In the end, I realized that these “competitors” were in fact the very people who would encourage me to the end. In my final year of high school, working with my fellow staff has been one of the most humbling and challenging experiences I’ve ever received in high school.

At the Finish Line: Class of 2017 Commencement


eing a part of The Mirror has been a big blessing. I’ve had countless memories in the journalism classroom; from dabbing along to every song possible, laughing my butt off due to the editors’ cheesy jokes, and late night boba runs. These are memories I will keep dear to my heart. I’ve made lifelong friends in this class and have been able to discover passions and things about myself that I didn’t know before. Now we are each going our own way and I’m incredibly proud of each one of us. I love you guys and will miss y’all so much! And to the future senior staff good luck because even when it feels like it’s an overwhelming amount of work, it’ll all be worth it.


Kittridge Street


Entrance for Pink ticketholders Gate to restroom

Kester Avenue

he Supremes, the class of Principal Yolanda 2017, will walk the final Gardea will then give the Commencement Ceremony stretch of their high school principal’s address and for the Class of 2017 years on June 9 on the Van begin the presentation of Date: June 9, 2017 Nuys High School football field. diplomas. Seniors will be Time: 7 p.m. Location: Football Field Senior Advisor Ms. Jann Carr walking across Stage 1 Speakers: Senior Class Advisor Jann and Senior Class President Harshita to receive their diplomas Carr, Senior Class President Harshita Kumar will give the welcoming adfrom Ms. Gardea. Kumar, Assistant Principal Gary dresses to begin the commencement. There will be only two Kaloostian, Magnet Salutatorian Tanya Wastarastaporn, Residential SalutaThey will be followed by Assistant accessible entrances into torian Marisol Alexandra Diaz, Magnet Principal Gary Kaloostian. the football field: one Valedictorian Keshan Huang, Residential There will be a total of four eastside from Kittridge Valedictorian Carlos Pena, and Principal speeches, given by the Salutatorians Street and one westside Yolanda Gardea. and Valedictorians from both the from Kester Avenue. No residential and magnet programs. For other gate will be open the Class of 2017, Tanya Wastarastaporn and Marisol for the duration of the event. Alexandra Diaz will give the salutatorian addresses The tickets have been color coded and assigned to for the Magnet and Residential programs respectively. each gate, pink for the east side gates and black for the The Residential Valedictorian address will be given by west side gates. Carlos Pena and the Magnet by Keshan Huang. The Parking will not be provided and the neither the speeches will be given on Stage 2. student nor teacher parking lot will be available.

Elizabeth Ortiz

Chief Finacial Officer


Stage 2 Stage 1



Entrance for Black ticketholders

20 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror | June 2, 2017

Graduation 2017


Class of 2017


Abundiz, Briana Adame, Alex Agas, Amber Aguilera, Angel Akopian, Azatoui Alagan, Shailesh Alarcon, Samantha Alaverdyan, Steffany Alaverdyan, Tiffany Albanes, Ever Alcala, Daniela Alcaraz, Alejandro Alegria, Diego Alejandre, Jose Alvarenga, Carlos Alvarez, Ashley Alviar, Kate

Castro, Bryan Castro, Erik Cedeno-Hawkins, Azhein Ceja, Lizette Chang, Michael Chavez, Daniel Chavez, Gustavo Chavez, Hazel Choe, Esther Choi, Brian Chowdhury, Tashmiah Cisneros, Alejandro Clavio, Brian Colato, Karina


Fahim, Tahmin Fairooz, Madiha Fakir, Akib Fermin, Cristian Ferrer, Paloma Flores, Pedro Flores, Briana Flores, Eli Flores, Eric Flores, Genesis Flores, Marco

Hernandez, Elizabeth Hernandez, Fatima Hernandez, Giovanni Hernandez, John Hernandez, Jorge Hernandez, Josselin Hernandez, Miguel Hernandez, Obed Herrera, Andrew Albert Herrera, Kaxandra Irma Herrera, Valentina Hipolito, Michael Hong, Michele

Lee, Jamie Lee, Reagan Lim, Ellen Lim, Jessica Lima, Juan Linares, Chris Linares, Jason

--Merrit, Vanessa Miron, Andres Molina, Jensell Molinari, Guido Monishi, Joya Montano, Jahaira Montejo, Kerwin Montgomery, Eralla Montoya, Katherine Morales, Israel Morales, Jose Moreno, Jorge

Perez, Guadalupe Perez, Rosana Petrosyan, Suren Pham, Joanna Pineda, Pablo Plowden, Sarah Poyaoan, Jonash Prado, Yalaisa Premkumar, Augustine Puga, Mauricio Quezada, Jacquelin Quezada, Randy Quintanilla, Edwin

Santos, Hilda Sarkisyan, Aida Scott, Makhia Serdenia, Jenessa Serrano, Christopher Serrano, Enrique Serrano, Kimberly Serrano, Michael Serrano, Natalia Sharafyan, Rafi Shevidi, Shayda Sierra, Natalie Silva, Marilyn Silva, Alice Simon, Myleen Singh, Kamaldeep Solis, Angel Solis, Ariel Soriano, Alberto Soriano, Omar

Starks, Shaianne Suarez, Christian Suttmoeller, Joseph


Anaya, Daniela Antonio, Joseph Aquino, Kateleen Aquino, Kelsey Araujo, Fernando Arellano, Alonso Arellano, Dalia Arevalo, Anderson Arp, Darryl Arroyo, Jonathon Arrozal, Princess Arzola, Samuel Ascencio, Kevin Asuncion, Jerold Avalos, Michelle Avila, Jesse Ayala, Sarai Ayon, Teresa


Badillo, Lor Bains, Harpreet Bana, Ethan Barajas, Briseida Barrera, Karen Barrios, Linda Barrios, Julioes Barrios, Adolfo Barron, Lisa Bartel, Alfred Baterdene, Amarkhuu Becerra, Blanca Benitez, Marin Benitez, Alexia Berlin, Charlene Beveridge, Kristen Blanco, Adriana Brown, Eshe Brown, Kayla Bryan, Elida Bshara, Mark Buendia, Daniela Bugagon, Jazzyle Buted, Justin


Cabanos, Jessica Cabera, Vasquez Cabrera, Hazel Caceres, Jesse Caceres, Katerin Caldera, Vanesa Caldera, Angel Calderon, Jennifer Calderon, Claudia Calderon, Juan Calderon, Krisna Calles, Ariel Callos, Kathlyne Camarena, Alfonso Capilla, Arturo Cardenas, Andrea Cardenas, Sirjan Cardona, Ramirez Carrasco, Guadalupe Carter, Kendra Castanon, Eduardo Castillo, Kevin Castillo, Zulma

Quintero, Jose Quintero, Lillie


Coleman, Nayah Colina, Cesar Cordoba, Jennifer Correa, Mauricio Cortez, Karla Cortez, Martha Coyoy, Daisy Crenshaw, Erin Cronque, Cynthia Cruz, Giselle Cruz, Angel Cruz, Nestor Cuevas, Daniel


Daaboul, Ahmad Dail, Gavin Dail, Siraj Danielian, Arthur Daniels, Anthony Daniels, Michael Dantic, Aldwin David, Christian Davis, Anthony Dayao, Lorraine De La Cruz, Gabriela De La Cueva, Gema De Leon, Jonathan Del Cid Salazar, Kevin Delgado, Eva Delgado, Melvin Dhillon, Jaspal Diaz, Marisol Diaz, Monica Do, Leyna Duenas, David Dumasis, Angela


Eastman, Noah Eisenbaum, David Erazo, Bryan Escalante, Tomas Escobar, Jocelyn Estrada, Brittany Estrada, Henry Estrada, Tania Evardome, Francis

Mota, Moises Muniz, Luz

Flores, Megan Fortaleza, Justin


Gabriel, Ashley Galang, Gabriell Galdamez, Roger Gallegos, Cristian Galvan, Jennifer Galvan, John Galvez, Jose Gandara, Geovonne Gant, Jade Garcia, Alondra Garcia, Christopher Garcia, David Garcia, Esmeralda Garcia, Jorge Garcia, Kenny Garcia, Natalie Garcia, Stephanie Garg, Jay Gebert, Jason Geronilla, Joshua Ghazaryan, Robert Go, Tamarah Gomez, Omar Gomez, Gabriela Gomez, Maria Inez Gonsalez, Uriel Gonzalez, Alexis Gonzalez, Cristian Gonzalez, Diana Gonzalez, Erik Gonzalez, Heber Gonzalez, Omar Grakova, Nadiya Gray, Jeremiah Guerrero, Joaquin Guerrero, Valery Guillen, Juan Gustavo Gutierrez, Rafael Guzman, Paula


Han, Juyun Hernandez, Caroline Hernandez, Daniel Hernandez, Derek

N Hossain, Shazia Hou, Eunice Huang, Keshan Huelgas, Patricia Hurlic, Kevin Hurtado, Alejandro


Iraheta, Antonio Islam, Tamjid Israel, Troy Jackson, Isaiah Jacobo, Adrian Jarekian, Nazaret Javier, Krystal Jimenez, David Joshi, Ashley Juarez, Brenda


Kardan, Justin Kaur, Harmanpreet Kaur, Kiran Kaur, Simranjit Keating, Xana Kelley, Kristian Bernard Kern, Cameron Khan, Wahid Kim, Dae Kim, Ezra Kim, Jeehyun Kim, Sung Klijian, Isaac Ko, Daniel Ko, Eun Koren, Panayiotis Koshkaryan, Harutyun Kuklin, Jayna Kumar, Harshita Kupalyan, Elizabeth


Lara, Alejandro Lara, Anthony Lazcano, Jorge

Llamas, Ricardo Lmout, Youhong Lopez, Brianna Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, Juan Lopez, Katherine Lopez, Nelson Losoya, Vianney Loy, Vanessa Lujan, Horacio Luna, Ovidio Steven Ly, Lien


Machado, Jason Macias, Mayra Madlangsakay, Erica Madrid, Christian Magana, Marissa Magundayao, Arl Manansala, Nicole Manarang, Matthew Manavalan, Marilyn Manlutac, Antonio Manosalvas, Freddy Maravilla, Jonathan Mariano, Joshua Mariano, Luke Markaryan, Karapet Marquez, Alexandra Martinez, Armando Martinez, David Martinez, Daylin Martinez, John Martinez, Joseph Martinez, Lisbet Martirosyan, Gaggik Mayorga, Angelica Melgar, Zoila Mendez, Nathan Mendoza, Miguel Mendoza, Nevy Merced, Ivan

Najera, Alondra Nario, Nel Narvaez, Michael Navarrete, Fernando Navarrete, Jessica Navarrete, Natalie Navarrette, Joanna Navarro, Jennifer Ng-Keys, Jua Nguyen, John Nguyen, Randy Nguyen, Willis Nicolas, Joel Nolasco, Jesus Nolte, Madalyne Nooristani, Alan Nunez, Azul Nunez, Brian Nwobi, Julia


Ocampo, Alvin Ocampo, Kiara Ochoa, Ashley Oh, Sae Heung Olvera, Alexander Ontiveros, Gabriela Orobiyi, Esther Orozco, Diana Ortega, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Ortiz, Jocelyne Oseguera, Norma


Pacheco, Dulse Paez, Symon Pagtalunan, Anmari Palomera, Cassandra Panizo, Arnaldo Park, Angela Park, Ji Yeong Park, Jun Partida, Ruben Patel, Shivani Pena, Carlos Pena, Modesto

Raheeman, Zareena Ramirez, Daysy Ramirez, Ivan Angel Ramirez, Joanna Ramirez, Marvin Ramirez, Marvyn Ramos Orellana, Wilber Ramos, Daniela Ramos, Irvin Ramos, Jocelyn Razura, Alejandra Recinos, Eliezer Rendon, Ibeth Renteria, Itzayana Reville, Siobhan Reyes, Daniel Reyes, Fernando Reyes, Ivan Reynaga, Julian Rico, Melissa Rios, Diana Rios, Citlali Rios, Pedro Rivas, Nelly Rivera Velis, Maria Rivera, Cynthia Rivera, Joana Robin, Keanau Rodriguez, Adikavi Rodriguez, Alexandra Rodriguez, Alexis Rodriguez, Citlally Rodriguez, Daniel Rodriguez, David Rodriguez, Miguel Rodriguez, Nolan Rodriguez, Olivia Rodriguez, Samantha Rohm, Kimberley Rojas, Oscar Romero, Alexis Roncagliolo, Nicole Rosas, Juan Ruiz, Christian Ruiz, Kelly


Sagor, Moha Salazar, Alejandra Saldana, Raul Saldivar, Mario Saldivar, Matthew Sanchez, Debora Sanchez, Jessica Sanchez, Nicholas Sanchez, Samantha Sandoval, Aaron Sandoval, Adonias Sandoval, Eduardo Santiago, Abraham Santos, Jonathan

Tanzil, Jennifer Tapia, Jennifer Tatlonghari, Alyzsa Taylor, Alexandra Taylor, Jalon Tecun, Iran Tejeda, Bradleigh Tenas, Yoni Terry, Robert Thiong’o, Ian Tinkjian, Zepour Toledo, Jose Torrence, Destiny Torres, Jose Torres, Jesus Torres, Javier Torres, Louis Toruno, Gerardo Tostado, John Trujillo, April Trujillo, Maria


Ubaldo, Anselmo Ulloa, Nicholas Valle, Viviana Vasquez-Medina, Angelica Vasquez, Carlos Vasquez, Enrique Vasquez, Gerardo Vasquez, Moises Velasco, Khristiana Veliz, Alejandra Venegas, Matthew Vengoechea, Elijah Ventura, Amparo Verganza, Samantha Villatoro, Clemencia Villatoro, Jason Villaverde Colin, Chris Vo, Cindy Vo, Nguyen Vongtongdee, Pete


Walker, Da-Mohntae Watarastaporn, Tanya Westfall, Kaela White, Lucy Willis, Tiffany Xiloj, George Yaggahahewage, Piumi Yang, Royce Yap, Justine Yates, Reign Yoon, Dillan Yoon, Joseph Yousefzadeh, Arya Yu, Lauren Zafra, Rudy Zaldana, Jeansy Zamora, Cynthia Zelonky, Jacob Zuniga, Brian

The Mirror: Van Nuys High School 060217  

Target Loaded: Kim Jong Un sets his sights on the U.S. The student-produced newspaper for Van Nuys High School, Van Nuys, California

The Mirror: Van Nuys High School 060217  

Target Loaded: Kim Jong Un sets his sights on the U.S. The student-produced newspaper for Van Nuys High School, Van Nuys, California