THE PAW PRINT December 2016 Vol. 6 Issue 2
fall rallies pg. 4 zack taylor pg. 8 ultimate frisbee pg. 12 noah schlosser pg. 21
CONTENTS 1 news
6 arts & entertainment
news editors Raylene Factora Erica Gillespie news writers Ryan Factora Jaesung Park features editors Jacqueline Hofmann Min Ju Kang features writers Kulsoom Hasan Angelina Hernandez Hannah Kim Alina Truong Alyssa Truong Sydney Young Siena Zarrell centerspread editors Sarah Castillo Megan Chang opinions editors Samantha Hartung Ga Min Kim opinions writers Zoey Greenwald Skijler Hutson Minjoon Kang column editor Jong Hak Won sports editors Bryce Fenenbock Sarah Ziskind sports writers Harneet Arora Jasleen Arora a&e editors Erica Lee Kiana Quick a&e writers Allison Alben Aerin Choi Grace Foster Christine Joo Audrey Kim Mary Waugh copy editors Mina Jang Andy Song web editor Lauren Lee web editor-in-chief Morgan Smith editor-in-chiefs Jaeun Park Riley Villiers-Furze advisor Mrs. O’Shea
letter from the editors
This edition of the Paw Print was made with love and joy. We’ve created this issue to reflect the diversity of the student body here at West Ranch. Inside the pages are stories about fashion-lovers, frisbee-throwers, bike riders, and so much more. We’ve even gone behind the scenes to find out what happens to our school after graffiti. We love our school and we love you. Have fun reading, Jaeun Park and Riley Villiers-Furze
TURNING OFF THE INTERNET? Story by Jaesung Park
Hacking scenes in movies beyond unrealistic. Let’s face it, hacking into the Pentagon’s encrypted data network takes more than hammering away at the keyboard in five suspensefilled minutes while flashy warning windows pop up. It takes time, planning, and effort to dismantle encoded programs. Instead, hackers use a direct, brute-force approach. Computers may become more advanced as time goes on, but they cannot keep up with the increasing amount of data on this web. Processing data is finite, and takes time. Exploiting this, hackers use Distributed Denialof-Service attacks which overwhelm the computers with so much gibberish data that the computer either shuts down or ceases to function. It’s like the relationship between a sink and a drain. Normally drains are designed to always take out more water than what could go in, but hackers perform the equivalent of adding other sources of water so that the drain cannot are
keep up and it eventually overflows. Devices with factory designated passwords are attacked because they are extremely easy to guess. Examples include “12345” or even “password.” virus-like programs can easily take over and replace the software with one of its own. In essence, it turns into an evil robot that can be commanded to do the bidding of whoever hacked it. This process can reach out very far, sometimes even globally, and it targets and fully takes over these vulnerable minicomputers in every corner of the country. From their first virus, it can reach and take over approximately 380,000 IoTs, creating an instantaneous army. At this point, all the hacker has to do is direct the bots to a website- or a few hundred- to knock them all offline. Coordinated attacks would deny access to television, news, or even websites. In fact, a hospital was shut down because an infamous malware, Mirai Botnet, broke into its system. Its medical records for all patients were
compromised. Anyone who needs urgent attention such as transplants or surgeries were put in serious jeopardy. It didn’t stop there. In April this year, a nuclear power plant experienced an emergency when malware entered its systems. The system was on the verge of a nuclear meltdown, but thankfully its control panel was separated from the Internet. Addresses have been traced to China and Russia. It seems that hackers there have been the core of these attacks. They have even managed to take the entire country of Liberia offline, possibly signaling that maybe the US is next. The scary part is that we do not know what they are after. Social media? Cyberterrorist attacks? Can we even stop a full-scale, national attack? We do not know, but we have to take every measure to stop it, because we are not in the realm of fiction, where a few clicks can stop our Internet from being paralyzed.
Story and Photos by Allison Alben, Jaeun Park, and Christine Joo
The cement sparkles. Not a single blade of grass is out of place. Thanks to the hard-working custodial staff, West Ranch grounds are comparable to Disneyland. Unfortunately, they have lately been busy dealing with graffiti and vandalism. The two are ongoing problems here at West Ranch, shutting down bathrooms, ruining our school’s beautiful grounds, and causing more trouble than it’s worth for everyone involved. “Let’s understand that we always take care of any graffiti or vandalism immediately after we find it, but sometimes it takes a little longer to fix or paint. There’s been cases, not many though, where we had to close some restrooms or classrooms for more than one day. That really makes an impact to our facilities and everybody that uses or visit our beautiful school,” said Humberto Almaraz, one of our custodians.
Walking around campus, students may notice a spritz of spray paint here or there, but our campus staff is pretty good about keeping graffiti under control. Even if they miss a spot, they are ready to dole out the consequences if someone does it. “Each case is investigated, and consequences are determined by the extent of the violation. Consequences may range from monetary restitution for the damage, suspension, discipline transfer or expulsion,” said assistant principal Donna Manfredi.. For vandalism cases out and around Santa Clarita, the vandal may be arrested and face trial. “Typically, if a vandal is arrested, they go to court, and if they’re charged with the vandalism then we seek restitution, which is essentially trying to get money back for the damages,” Justin Cummings, the Graffiti Removal Coordinator for the city of the Santa
Clarita, says that if the vandal is a minor, “then the parents are responsible.” Graffiti and vandalism, though their influence may not seem so large, have a huge impact on our community. Quite recently, on Nov. 19, custodians spent the morning painting over what had been graffitied the night before. Several of the custodians had been there all day. “This is definitely the worst incident I’ve seen since I’ve worked here. It’s sad, because we have such a great school, and teachers and students and somebody has to ruin it for everybody,” says Almaraz. When vandalism occurs out in our community, it costs a lot of money to clean up, most of which will come out of the victim’s own pocket. “It’s very expensive, especially for private property owners and business owners who have to pay for the repairsout of their own pocket,” Cummings said.
It creates frustration in others. The students, teachers, and The community want the school to be in working order. Whether it is on or off-campus, vandalism affects everybody, from property owners and residents to the Plant Manager and custodians to students and teachers. If graffiti or vandalism is on-campus, we have to spend our school’s money replacing light fixtures, wiring, toilet paper holders, and towel dispensers instead of being able to fund our programs and ultimately making our school a better place. “Keep in mind that we (all our staff) are here for the service of our community, and if we often have to repair vandalism or graffiti, that takes us away from doing or helping others. It also indirectly hurts the offender, and their parents are paying for all these,” said Almaraz. “Please consider others before you act, because the next person in need of a clean bathroom might be themselves.”
WILDCATS SAVE THE WORLD IF THERE’S ONE THING WILDCATS ARE GREAT AT, IT’S HELPING THOSE IN NEED IN THE COMMUNITY AND EVEN THE WORLD. VARIOUS CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS CAMPUS-WIDE SUPPORT A MYRIAD OF CAUSES AND WORK TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. WEST RANCH STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN FALL RALLIES TO AID THESE NOTEWORTHY CAUSES. When Wildcats Save the World was the theme for the last fall season rally, it was a no-brainer for students to help out with the charity events. “Our rally commissioners picked the theme with the idea that we wanted to give back to our community. It was a chance to change it up from our normal spirit rallies,” said senior ASB member Liesl Block. “We had the canned food drive that people could donate for a prize incentive for the class that collected the most cans.” Senior volleyball players Katie Jacobs and Rissah Lozano-Avalos enthusiastically started off the rally and handed off the mic to senior Brenda Hernandez, who beautifully belted out the national anthem. Cheers erupted as Mr. Crawford made his way around to all of the classes. The girls’ varsity volleyball team, girls’ varsity golf team, girls’ varsity tennis teams, and boys’ varsity cross country team strolled down the floor as they were recognized for their exceptional accomplishments in league.
Next, cheer put on a dazzling performance, full of energy and enthusiasm, and the dance team electrified the floor with a dynamic routine full of jumps, leaps, and turns. Captains of the fall varsity teams played limbo while blindfolded and laughter and snickers litteredthe gym as ASB members moved the bar away from the helpless students while cheering them on. To finish off the rally, hip hop broke it down with rock-solid choreography.
KEY CLUB FALL RALLY SOUTH
Story by Raylene Factora
Many students in Key Club see it as just another embellishment on their college applications, but if you look below the surface, Key Club is something much bigger than just words on paper. Fall Rally was an event that Pulling up to Magic Mountain, already a huge line of cars and buses awaited to enter the park, and walking in, my jaw dropped at the 9,000 Key Clubbers, from dozens of different divisions who had joined together.
FALL RALLY IS A HUGE KEY CLUB EVENT WHERE KEY CLUBBERS FROM CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, AND HAWAII GET TOGETHER TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE PEDIATRIC TRAUMA PROGRAM, BUT IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. “Fall rally is a huge key club event where key clubbers from California, Nevada, and Hawaii get together to raise money for the Pediatric Trauma Program(PTP) but it’s so much more than that,” said West Ranch senior Sarah Park. “Many new friendships
and memories are formed on this great day and it gives everyone the feeling of key club unity.” At the first rally of the day, students decked out in all the colors of the rainbow shouted out cheers made for their division seamlessly and in perfect unison, complete with hand gestures and dancing. Division lieutenant governors(LTGs) danced and beamed with energy and excitement on the stage, encouraging their division and trying to “sell” their spirit sticks to other divisions in a fun way to raise more money for PTP. “We raise over $180, 000 every year for PTP,” said division 15 LTG Ricardo Ruiz. “Part of the tickets go towards raising money, and so it’s really an amazing event.” Not only is raising money for PTP amazing, but the spirit of Key Clubbers was astounding. Talking to teens from all across the three states, many enthusiastically ranted about Key Club. “Key Club is life. Key Club is my blood and soul. I bleed and breathe keys. It rules my life,” said Key Clubber Sam Corro, who was decked out as a wolf with full face paint. Like Corro, many other Key Clubbers went all out in costume to show their spirit. Narwhals, unicorns, and tigers waltzed around the park, many
yielding spirit sticks, poles they had meticulously crafted themselves with their division symbols on them and again, no shortage of glitter, colors, and twinkling lights. Occasionally, groups would do cheers or have a spirit battle with an opposing division group. But these cheers and battles were always done with smiles and laughter littered throughout. “Fall Rally is a place to go to meet people with the same mindset of service and spirit for the community. It helps to know that there are people all over the country who support and believe in the same values and you,” said West Ranch Key Club president Jean Mok. As the day wore on, the sun setting had no damper on the spirits of Key Clubbers. Enthusiastic members donning lights sparkled along with the lights of the rides, and the echoes of spirit battles and cheers could still be heard ringing out across the park until it closed. Whether it’s giving someone true friends, raising thousands of dollars for good causes, or training the future generation of leaders, one thing’s for sure, Key Club is much more than something to go on college applications-- it’s an organization making the world a better place.
BEHIND THE SCENES:
WEST RANCH THEATER Story and Photos by Skijler Hutson
The cast gathers around a piano at the back of the stage while their musical director, Justin Horwitz, plays a scale. He starts them off with a low baritone sound that the boys easily sing. Then there is a gradual progression to a sharp soprano -- the boys try their best. Once their voices are ready, Justin tells them to all close their eyes. Relax. Leave everything off the stage. Fully become the character. This ritual happens every day in the West Ranch Musical Theater program as they prepare for their first performance of the year, “Into the Woods.” For months they have been on stage practicing every day after school for their debut on Nov. 17. It is a long process that requires hours of preparation. Each actor and actress has their own ways of preparing for the show, but they always start together, as a team. “We always have our little pep talks before, and those are really fun. Just really connecting. We are here all the time, and we are constantly together. We have a good chemistry. It helps put things together,” said junior Macy Holquin. A huge part of the theater is trusting and connecting with each other. The students often provide constructive criticism and collaborate
on scenes. When off the stage, the dynamic moves from a professional relationship to a typical friendship. Like any other club or team at West Ranch, theater is a place where friends are made and relationships are built. “The basics for me is I like to have a fun time with my cast. I like to hang out with them before. We get something to eat and talk about the show. Bring positive energy -- just to make sure everyone is prepared,” said senior Gloria Zavala. “With every show, you need to have that nice close family type energy. If you don’t then you’re not going to get a good performance.” To deliver the best performance possible, the theater department starts with auditions at the beginning of the semester then moves to an intense rehearsal regiment. “It’s just been really time-consuming. We have been working on this for a whole semester. We have been here after school everyday for two months,” said junior Haleigh Diaz. During these rehearsals, friends joke on stage, and actors try to control their laughter while delivering lines. Although this is a serious production, they try to enjoy themselves along the way.
“We always have the funnest time on stage; we tend to sing the lyrics of other people -- just mouth them to our friends. That’s really fun,” said sophomore Ella Kriegel. After all this preparation, opening night finally arrives. The cast is nervous as they frantically run around backstage -- putting on makeup, sewing tears in costumes, double checking microphones. Each person has different ways of dealing with the anxiety. “Before shows, I just like to relax and have a chill day. Not a lot of stress -- I don’t want to bring all of that on stage,” said senior Alex Balingit. “For me, I just try to chill myself out. Not give myself a pep talk because that’s lame,” senior Stevie Sanborn laughed. “I just think about all the things that I am comfortable with. Then all the things that I am not comfortable with. I attack those until I am comfortable with them so that everything is equal readiness.” Then the time finally arrives. The cast gathers around backstage in a circle. They sing their scales, stretch their muscles, and review their lines. Everyone knows that they are ready. Not a nerve is shown. They quietly file onto stage, the spotlight falls, and the first lyric is sung.
THE MAN THE MYTH THE LEGEND Story by Erica Lee Photos by Jacqueline Hofmann & Erica Lee
Musically accomplished at 17, Zack Taylor has been pushing the musical boundaries since the beginning of time. At the age of nine, Taylor attempted to play the guitar, but was discouraged when he couldn’t play. Two years later, he tried again and started his successful journey. Seven years later, his portfolio includes, punk and metal bands Silence Again, Constellations, Tequila Sunrise, Phlegathon, Wyrd, and Fall Back. He started collaborating with other musicians his freshman year. His senior friend Kyle, a bassist, asked him to play in his punk band. Together they were known as the “Turn Style.” After that, he played with two bands, whose members were the same age as him, but he mostly worked with adults playing in a black metal band called “Year of No Light.” For a while, Taylor was even involved in four bands, with three or more members, which made balancing school challenging. “I connect extremely well with adults. I actually prefer working with adults over adolescents because they are idiots and stubborn. They make better musicians,” said Taylor. He is currently involved in two solo projects and one active band, a punk band that plays local shows in the Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles. His current band has no name. “Every single album released has no name. So it’s just on Soundcloud. We couldn’t come up with one and we
thought “‘Hey it’s kinda cool.’” Even though Taylor is dedicated to his band, he is more devoted to his solo projects. One is called Constellation, which is lo-fi ambient music, generally classified as music that is recorded with no edits and in one take giving it an extremely poor quality or raw sound. The song is played on acoustic guitar with ambient noises in the background. On his second project, he has made nature ambient and Electronic Dance Music (EDM), which has gotten him a split EP deal with a band in Poland. They plan to release a split EP on Vinyl and CD. His second solo project, “Silence Again,” is on the Depressive Suicidal Black Metal spectrum. He used his personal experience with a previous girlfriend to create his music. “I created that project when I was extremely depressed. There was a period when I was with [my previous girlfriend], believe it or not, very depressed. Just terrible. So I just used that to vent. It’s such a dark genre that I channeled a lot of sadness into the music, but it comes out great. I’m obviously not sad anymore but I still make the music because it’s the genre that I’m into and it’s music I like making.” Taylor’s musical process is built off of emotions, atmosphere, or circumstance, which can be painful since he says he has to force himself to become depressed or sad. But as of now, he doesn’t put himself in a negative mindset. “I loathe being sad. I got to a point where I was contemplating suicide. It was terrible. And I never want to go back to that point gain so I don’t channel those emotions back up to make music.” But nevertheless, Taylor has used his music as an outlet for his emotions, which has helped him in his professional and personal life. Even though music is an integral part of Taylor’s life, he doesn’t see himself in the music industry. “The music industry is corrupt in many ways. The industry is entirely against underground artists and those who even try to break out of the underground scene are going to be crushed by the more successful competition. I absolutely not want to have a career in music. “
“I make art. Seeing my product
coming out of something amazing is truly one of the most incredible experiences.”
SEDONA Story & Photos by Skijler Hutson
Sedona Vivirito walks into her secondperiod Honors English class five minutes late but still fashionable as ever. Today she wears an oversized jacket with a white collar peeking out, a pleated skirt, and a gold chain lying across her chest. Her entrance is followed with an array of compliments, which she greets with her signature hand gesture -- one hand curled to look like half of a heart. Her fans complete the shape with their own hands. Sedona is a fashion icon here at West Ranch. Her individual style comes from how and where she buys her clothes. She is an avid, self-proclaimed thrifter, buying most of her clothes at secondhand thrift stores. “I’ve been thrifting my whole life,” said sophomore Sedona. “It’s really cool to be able to find cool stuff at an affordable price that does tell a backstory and isn’t just like everyone else.” Thrifting has become popular among high school students who don’t have an income to support their inventive styles. Teenage years are some of the most formative years of anyone’s life. It is also a time where parents are relied upon for financial support, giving high-schoolers little money to spend freely. Thrifting has not only become an economical way to shop but also a unique way to express personality. “Thrifting is really awesome for high school students because not a lot of us have jobs; not a lot of us have a lot of money to spend,” said Sedona. “I don’t thrift just because it’s cheaper, but it’s also a really cool part of it. I can get so many different things and keep my style really fresh at a really low price.”
Dressing up is not just a bargaining deal nor a daily necessity for Sedona. Instead it is an art form. “It’s super creative picking out outfits every morning, picking out outfits you think would look good, or sketching out ideas for outfits. It’s a really creative and expressive thing for me.” Also an actress, Sedona uses this creativity to make unique characters in her performances. These characters often transcend the stage into her daily style. The outfit she wore to her Honors English class was inspired by Heather Chandler, played by Kim Walker, in the hit 1988 coming-of-age thriller “Heathers.” She purposefully wants her characters to come across in what she wears. She strives for accuracy. “I love when people will say what I am going for is really cool. Like today I am going for a ‘Heathers’ look, and they say, ‘Wow, I really see what you are going for.’ It really makes my creativity shine through, and I [understand] that other people see what I am going for.” To make these characters come alive Sedona starts at her local thrift stores. There, Sedona and her best friend, Faith, shop to the script of a typical teenage movie. “We usually meet up at my house or down at the thrift shop, and we spend about an hour at least there and just hang out. The thrift store is basically our hangout spot. After we go thrifting, we go to the pizza place and get some water because we are broke teens,” Sedona said giggling. “Sometimes we will sit behind the local laundromat and just hang out or go back to my place and try on all the clothes that we just
bought.” Going thrifting is a fun activity for many teenagers. It sustains a young person’s energy and changing personality. “Everything is so surprising there. Every single time you go, there is new stuff. Obviously there is gonna be that same jacket you have seen 20 weeks in a row that you eventually buy because you feel bad for it, but everything is new and fresh. You can really switch up your style. You can get a lot of inspiration from thrifting.” The appeals of thrifting come from its affordability and individuality. Thrifting allows self-expression that highschoolers can afford. Sedona uses it to build her character and style on and off the stage. Most importantly, it brings her happiness and confidence by constantly letting her creativity shine. “For anyone trying to find their style or who is kinda not sure of where they are going, or is bored with what they look like or how they dress, always change it up! … I would stay creative and have fun with your fashion and style. Do what makes you happy! Do what makes you feel confident!”
“DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. DO WHAT MAKES YOU CONFIDENT.”
Story by Kiana Quick and Erica Gillespie
he air is thick with anticipation. Two teams huddle on opposite ends of the field. Today, the sky is gray, casting a shadow over the anxious players; this could be the biggest game yet. There’s a shout, and the players rapidly disperse across the field. Team Captain Jonah Ziedler storms the field, and as he enters the goal with the frisbee, his team gives a shout of victory. Their opponents, including other Team Captain Max Zamieroski, fall to their knees. It is a beautiful moment for some, and a tragedy for others. Ziedler throws down the frisbee in triumph. Frisbee takes these seniors away from their college applications back to their elementary school days. “This whole thing started when I was at a volleyball tournament and I found a frisbee in a bush,” said Zamieroski. “Jonah and I made a joke about creating a club in yearbook, and when senior year came around, we were like, ‘Do you actually want to do it?’ So this whole thing started as a joke.” However, the joke has evolved into a team of over 40 members with official practices. “I have been playing ultimate for five years. It’s something I love and have always wanted to show my friends, but I never really had the opportunity to do so. Max and I thought starting a club would be a super cool way to play a sport we love with our friends,” said co-captain Ziedler. Ultimate frisbee is a game that everyone can play, and requires few items, making it the perfect match for this group of seniors. Two opposing teams face off to try and get the frisbee into the other’s end zone. The team marks two sides
of a field with cones and start the magic. After teams are picked, the first throw is made. The rules from then on are simple: you can’t walk with the frisbee after catching it, interceptions are allowed, outside of the cones is out of bounds, and you must be willing to sacrifice your body to catch the frisbee. Diving, or, “laying out,” is an essential skill in WR Ult. Those who can dive to catch the frisbee, successfully are considered highly skilled players. The team plans to play other schools in the future. “Our goal is to beat Hart Ultimate Frisbee, started by a kid named Dave Mathews, because they copied us and then said they were better than us,” said Zamieroski. But for now, both the captains and the team members are content with just practicing. “As long as we continue to play and everyone is still happy, I’m not going to be mad,” said Ziedler. On the field, everyone manages to have a fun time joking with teammates, and just playing the game. These seniors run around as if little kids again, with seemingly no cares in the world. As team member Noah Dolgin puts it, each West Ranch Ultimate practices are “filled with hilarious moments that knock your socks off.” “Chase Smith took a frisbee to the face, knocking his glasses off,” McMenamin said. However, fans should not despair. “He’s had a full recovery and will be fully ready for season.” The team practices at any of the parks around Santa Clarita, including Richard Rioux and the Oak Hills park. So far, most of their planning has been last minute. “We don’t have a set schedule, we just decide in the moment and take it from there. It may seem casual but we still practice hard and play hard,” said senior Suren Aghazadian. But in the end, location does not matter. All the team needs in order to play is a frisbee, some cones, and of course, the players. “I didn’t really know some people on the team before. And now I hang out with them on a normal basis. And with my other buddies, we’ve just gotten closer than we were before. Our love for frisbee brought us all together,” said senior Chase “the Sniper” Smith, who gets his nickname
from his impressive ability to huck a frisbee down the field. His father, Coach Smith, couldn’t be prouder of the team. “It is an immense honor for me to coach all these outstanding athletes,” said the coach. “The team was put together to create this sport for years to come in all high schools across SCV and grow it across California. They came to me with this vision and I instantly jumped on board to be the head coach.” The team right now has an average of 10 players a practice, almost entirely senior boys. But Ultimate Frisbee is a socially progressive sport, and the occasional senior girl drops in during practice days. “It’s such a great group of people, and I was interested in the game because it’s so different. It actually has so many of the same concepts as other sports like basketball, soccer, and football. As a senior,
why not?” said senior Maya Evans. Both captains envision a future for West Ranch Ultimate. Ziedler hopes that the team continues on into next year, and would gladly pass the legacy down to anyone committed enough. “I want West Ranch Ultimate to spread it’s wings to all the stellar universities that our players are going to,” said Zamieroski. West Ranch Ultimate Frisbee brings hope for the rest of the 2016-17 school year. It has brought friendships closer together, created entirely new ones, and reminded that in midst of living stressful and crazy lives, there is always time to have fun.
Head in the Clouds with
Story and Photos by Sarah Castillo
Planes whoosh and whir as they take off and land above Van Nuys Airport. Amidst the humming activity of the airport, junior Zoë Lief brims with excitement as she enters the building. Unlike the people awaiting their flight, today Zoë is not a passenger. While many teenagers study on the road to finally drive their Toyota Camry, Zoë spends her time up in the air to fly her Cessna 172. She hikes up the airport’s stairwell, where Corsair Aviation, her current flight school, is based. “When she first started flying, it was just something that she did for fun. But then she stopped playing volleyball, and I could tell that flying really made her happier, and helped her have something to fall back on. I think having a piloting license in high school is incredible,” says Bridget Caffrey, one of Zoë’s closest friends. After a week’s worth of intense studying, Zoë drives out to Van Nuys with her father to take her weekly flying lessons. Here, her true passion shines through. “I love it. It’s what I look forward to every day, that I’m going to fly. It’s the best part of my week, and I’ve made friends here.” Footsteps echo through the stairwell as Zoë’s instructor enters the flight school, and soon they head back down to cross the street to Zoë’s plane. She swings the pilot’s door open and digs through scattered documents until she retrieves the small notebook she needs: the preflight checklist. Zoë monitors every gauge’s level as she flicks on switches and presses buttons throughout the entire cockpit. She swiftly checks off the first item and begins to inspect the body of the plane. She slowly paces around the hard shell of the plane, her hands trailing along the plane to ensure every nut and bolt is tightly secured.
As she is about to complete her circle around the plane, she catches a loose screw, and carefully tightens it to her liking. She ends her checklist with a fuel and oil check. As Zoë fills a cup with blue liquid, she whiffs the fuel to ensure it’s sufficient for flying, finally ready to takeoff. Zoë climbs into the pilot’s seat once again, smiling and waving goodbye to her father, and soon the plane is speeding down the runway, out of sight. “The first time I went up, something clicked,” says Zoë. “That feeling when you’re in the air; it’s peaceful, it’s quiet, I’m the only one up there, I’m in control, and no one’s there. You’re so high above everything and you can just look down on everything. I just love it so much.” It’s no coincidence that Zoë is a natural to flying. Her own father is a pilot, inspiring her to follow in his footsteps. “My dad is my inspiration. He is always on my back pushing me to be better, to study more, to keep it up. He is my #1 role model and I look up to him for everything, for flying and everything else,” said Zoë. Although Zoë loves flying, she is still considering other careers than a pilot. However, no matter what she pursues in life, her father is confident she will go far. “She has enthusiasm and motivation. She has goals, she’s not waiting for life to happen. Having that motivation, that enthusiasm, keeps you engaged, keeps you interested, you’ll be less likely to quit or give up on what you want to do for yourself,” says Mr. Lief. And, by the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like Zoë is planning to give up flying anytime soon. “I want to keep flying my friends, my family, myself; I love the feeling and I never want to lose that.”
taylar hollomon Story and Photos by Min Ju Kang
Although making it big in the acting industry is a difficult task, one experienced Wildcat is striving to get herself out there and recognized. Starting at 7 years old, sophomore Taylar Hollomon entered the world of acting. “The first audition I went out for I booked,” said Hollomon. “And I thought, ‘Okay, I want to do this.’” Since then, she has starred in numerous shows that we all know and love. She was casted for the recurring role as Jada, Darryl’s daughter, on an American favorite, “The Office,” while she played young Shirley on another hit comedy show, “Community.” “Sitting on Steve Carell’s lap-- that was pretty exciting,” said Hollomon. “He was Santa Claus.” She also played a sassy and rebellious Myzell on the Disney show, “Girl Meets World.” Other shows she’s appeared on include the Nickelodeon shows, “Wendell and Vinnie” and “Big Time Rush.” “I was just so young so I didn’t really understand how big of a franchise it was,” said Hollomon. “But now it makes me proud of myself.” Her most recent project is the new series called “Baskets” starring Zach Galifianakis. Unlike us who would freak out if we were in close contact with any celebrity, Hollomon is completely herself when around her co-stars. “They’re no different from me so I don’t get nervous,” said Hollomon. “They’ve just got abnormal jobs.” Hollomon’s acting experiences are not only enclosed in television. In 2011, tenyear-old Holloman was casted for her first movie, “Camp,” where she played an insecure camper named Gabrielle who bottled up her emotions because of her unreliable parents. “We didn’t film at a studio,” said Hollomon. “We were actually in the wilderness, and I’m not a nature person, so that was very interesting.”
To prepare for these diverse characters, Hollomon works with her agency, Coast to Coast Talent Group. Filming for a show or movie takes up a lot of time. When Hollomon books a role, she normally has to miss school. In 2015, Hollomon took a short break from acting to make sure she was fully comfortable with the high school life. “I wanted to adapt to that big change, but I’m back in it now,” said Hollomon.”If I’m filming, I’ll take independent studies and just do my work there.” However, being absent physically at West Ranch does not hinder her performance as a student. “Taylar has what it takes to live life to its fullest,” said math teacher, Nicole Kim. “She works hard with a cheerful heart, and she knows how to fix her eyes on brighter and better things in life instead of focusing obstacles and negativity.” Apart from academics, Hollomon is one involved Wildcat. She has been part of the ASB family since her freshman year, and tries her best to be here on campus to help out with rally setups and other ASBrelated activities. “Taylar is one of the sweetest people in ASB,” said junior ASB member, Emily Moss. “She comes in everyday ready to help anyone and she is really fun to work with.” Hollomon aspires to become a famous actress, like her role model Halle Berry, in the future. Although she constantly is reminded by people that the acting industry is “not promising,” Hollomon is determined to reach her dream. “Right now I’m more focused on commercials to get my face out there,” said Hollomon. “So I’m still acting-- I just had an audition last week.” With her motivation and dedication, Hollomon hopes to one day make her mark in Hollywood. “I like entertaining people, and I like making people laugh.”
I like entertaining people, and I like making people laugh.â€?
Story and Photos by Jaeun Park
Although he is the running back of the football team, a member of ASB, taking two AP classes, and brokehas broken a West Ranch football rushing record, Jake Rice is shy and incredibly easy-going. In contrast to his relaxed aura, the amount of responsibilities Rice has is a little daunting. During the week, heRice has little time to do anything but school and football. “I have school from 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and then I go straight from my second class of the day to film in Varner’s room, then straight from film to weight room, then we have practice at three, and then I go home, shower, eat, and do homework,” Rice said. “It’s a simple life,” He joked. Earlier in the year, during a League game, Rice broke the West Ranch all-time single game rushing record. Rice ran the ball for 289 yards during one game, shattering the previous record. Off the field, he is taking AP Economics and AP Literature, helps out the school through ASB, has a job on the weekends, and maintains a healthy social life. Despite this, he still remains humble and funny, and his mellow nature attracts friends every where he goes. “He’s very funny, and he’s able to get along with groups of people,” said Rice’s AP Literature teacher, Alison Hunsaker. “He’s a good friend, the players seem to like him and trust him,” the
head football coach, Christopher Varner, said. Varner is the new head football coach who started working with Rice in the spring. In AP Literature, he maintains a witty repertoire with the people around him, and with his teacher, all while completing above and beyond the level of work needed for an AP class.
“He’s the only person in class who can give me a comeback where I have to think about before responding,” senior Liesl Bloc said, “And as much as we disagree, it’s always a fun atmosphere around him.” On the field, Rice is able to get serious and get the job done. “He’s an easygoing guy. He’s very mature, for the most part. He has his moments, and he’s just a good teammate. He’ll give his 100 percent,” quarterback Wyatt Eget said. “I think some of his strengths are that he’s a competitor, he possesses leadership qualities, and he’s just a good athlete,” Varner said. For example, during his recordbreaking game, Rice was only focused on one thing: the win.
“During the game, I had no cluehow many yards I had. It really didn’t matter to me during the game, I just wanted to get the win,” Rice said, “In the end, when they told me, it was a surprise to me. It was a great game for me, and I just happened to break a record.” Initially, however, Rice’s performance was less than stellar. “At the beginning of spring when I first started working with him, he couldn’t catch very well and that was annoying, but now he catches quite well,” Varner said, “I don’t take credit for anything. Every kid has potential, and it’s a coach’s job to allow him to facilitate a way for him to fulfill that potential. I didn’t make him fast, I didn’t make him catch. I taught him the best I could in order for him to understand that he’s capable of those things.” Unfortunately, Rice’s football season was cut short when he broke his collarbone during the third quarter of a game against Valencia. “I got tackled awkwardly, and it broke,” Rice said, “I thought it was a stinger, so I went back into the game, and broke it even worse.” During the game, Rice shrugged off the pain for his team. Rice says his coach wanted to pull him from the game earlier, but Rice went back into the game before his coach could convince him otherwise. “I would do anything for this team,” Rice said. “I can go out there and know the guys next to me are doing the same.”
NOAH SCHLOSSER Story by Harneet and Jasleen Arora Photos provided by gs photography
Bikes are a product used worldwide for simple means of transportation to and from school or work, but for West Ranch senior Noah Schlosser, biking is a form of expression. Schlosser redefines the purpose of biking by competitively racing in criteriums, a term used to describe hour and a half races that are usually flat on a 4-7 course, and, furthermore, winning them. Despite the rigor of the courses, Schlosser’s love for the sport has only grown stronger since he was first introduced to it by his father and grandfather, who both participated in bike riding. “I began cycling seriously when I was 13 years old,” said Schlosser. “In 2015, I won two national championships titles at Junior Track National Championships held in Carson, CA. In 2016, I got second at Junior State Criterium Championships in San Diego, CA and then went on to race Junior National Criterium Championships where I placed third in Louisville, Kentucky.” While his love for biking originated in Santa Clarita, his diverse competitions allow him to take his passion for
bicycling to various places around the world. “Cycling allows me to explore things that I’ve never seen before,” said Schlosser. “From cool places in Santa Clarita to getting the opportunity to race at an invitational race in the Bahamas.” As a senior, it is difficult to manage the stress of applying to colleges and the excitement of graduation with his demanding practices. “Luckily, I have a double open, so as soon as I get home from school, I go out and ride for about two to three hours, which is about 30 to 50 miles,” said Schlosser. “Then I get ready to go to work at Performance Cyclery, the local bike shop in town until 7 p.m. Then when I get home, I work on homework and study for tests.” Anyone can use a bike. Cycling, Noah insists, is a multi-faceted sport that is not just for the competitor, but instead for everyone. “What I love most about cycling is that it’s whatever you make it to be. It’s a very versatile sport that anyone can accomodate their own strength or weaknesses to. There’s also so many
different types of riding. For example, you could be the top level professional racer and love riding bikes, or you could just be someone commuting to work and also love riding bikes. It is whatever you make of it.” After competing all throughout high school and displaying his unconditional love for the sport, Noah hopes to improve and gain experience at higher levels. “I will continue cycling in college racing for a Varsity Division I racing team while still getting a proper education because school comes first. Then after college, I will strive to go pro and see where it takes me.” Like any competitive sport, cycling involves an immense amount of dedication and commitment. For Schlosser, biking has allowed him to experience opportunities he never dreamt of, while allowing him to feel the gratitude and satisfaction that comes with success. Schlosser’s talent is truly unique and will help him stand out amongst his peers wherever he ends up.
Photos and Story by Sarah Ziskind
At around 2:50 the boys soccer team gathers on the turf and begins gearing up. Spread across a bench, they each slide up their socks and lace up their cleats as they joke and laugh with one another. They start kicking the ball around. At 3:00 it gets serious. The boys group into a huddle around their coach, but whispers and laughs still float from the huddle. As a captain, Nichols knows this behavior is unacceptable. Standing tall looking down at his teammates he firmly announces, “Hey come on guys,” and all the chatter comes to a silence. Leading a large group of teenage boys is about as hard as it seems. Keeping each player focused and on tasks is a difficult challenge so far for senior Bradley Nichols. Bradley Nichols has been playing soccer since he was eight years old. From that moment on, he has fallen in love with the game each time his feet touch the ball. It is this love that has motivated him to stay committed all the way into his last year of high school.
“I follow professional soccer very closely,” said Nichols, “It’s just one of my favorite things to do and is a big part of my life.” Spending eight years simply following the coach’s and captain’s orders and executing them out on the field has come to an end. He is no longer just a player; but now a captain. “It has given me a lot of responsibility as a role model and a leader,” said Nichols. “I constantly push myself and the other players so that the team can play its best.” With this new role, Nichols has been given a sense of pride. “My favorite part of being captain is being able to represent West Ranch and the boys’ soccer program,” said Nichols. During drills and conditioning exercises, the coaches watch how the players interact with one another, who works hard, and how they are respected. Then once a player is deemed fit for the role, the coaches ask if they are up to the task. “He’s been here for four years and he
always shows up a lot on the field,” said head Coach Mogrovejo. “Sometimes he’s kind of quiet but I know he is going to be a good captain for the team.” With dedication and faith from coaches Nichols will surely excel as captain. “Well the boys don’t always want to listen to me and sometimes I get tired and am not always at my best,” said Nichols. “But that’s the kind of stuff that will get better with time as the season progresses.” Breaking up chatter and straightening things out may make him seem like a bad guy in the situation but in the end his team knows he is there to help them reach their best. “He is everything a captain should be,” said junior, Connor Yang “He knows his place on the field, he’s kind, responsible, and he’s always trying to help out others.” In the end it isn’t about being in charge it’s about following his passion.“I love the sport and I love the people that I’ve met through it,” said Nichols.
2016: A YEAR IN RECAP Reflecting back on the best and the worst of what has happened this year
Story by Jong Hak Won
Bombings in Brussels. ISIS attacks in Turkey. Brexit. The Zika virus. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. When looking back on this year, one theme emerges among all others for me: fear. From the riots in Baltimore to the flood of refugees coming in from Syria to the surge in far-right nationalist movements in America and Europe, fear has driven many of the significant events of this year. Iâ€™d be remiss without mentioning that the ascent of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land was premised on the exploitation of fear. And he exploited a lot of it. He invoked fear of immigrants, of refugees, of terrorists, of people who were not his base supporters. Much of the vitriol that ended up being hurled during the election process was a product of one side exploiting the fears of their base supporters against the opposition. However, fear is not confined to just one side of the political spectrum. From Trump to Bernie Sanders and all of their supporters, much of American politics was based on invoking fear of the other. Both Sanders and Trump appealed to a general uneasiness that their supporters had for the political establishment as well as the changing economy.
Story by Gamin Kim
The clock is slowly ticking as the year is coming down to an end. Usually at this time of the year, I would feel rather sentimental, but with the terrible events that have been occurring throughout the world, I just wish 2016 to end. From the elections to the UK referendum, the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and the deaths of so many beloved artists and actors, this year has been one so full of violence, hatred, and fear. This year, our country has seen a man whose campaign has focused on a message of racism and misogyny elected to the head of this nation. Europe seems to be fracturing, as Britain voted in a national referendum to leave the European Union, resulting in the plummeting of the pound. The war with terror seems to never end, seen through the bombing in Brussels and the lives lost in cities such as Aleppo. Despite all the terrible that has happened this year, however, I still have hope that the future is still bright. At the COP22 climate change conference, nations globally supported the Paris Accord. As the year comes to an end, I believe we should all embrace 2017 and re ect on how we, as individuals, can bring good as the holiday season comes along.
Story by Zoey Greenwald
The phrase “I want to die” should not, by any means, be #relatable. It’s near impossible to
scroll through Twitter without seeing a photo of a comical pink bendy straw sticking out from a bottle of Clorox or somebody who just failed a test announcing, “LOL I want to die.” Teens have become nearly obsessed with death and suicide. According to the CDC, suicide is the third most common cause of death among those aged 10 to 14 and the second for those aged 15 to 34. The CDC also reports in 2013, 17 percent of high school students admitted to considering suicide, and and eight percent actually attempted it. With so many teens in danger of depression, it’s important that we look out for signs — but when every other Twitter or Tumblr post mentions death, it’s hard to tell what’s a joke and what’s serious. Teens on social media are straddling the line: pushing every day from light to dark to darker. It’s no secret that teens are stressed. We juggle classes, activities, and planning for our future. Teens have every right to have below average mental health, but what’s really interesting here is the social phenomenon. It should not be okay to make jokes about death and suicide or romanticize mental illness, yet teenagers do so among their friends all the time. The phrase “I want to die” should not, by any means, be #relatable. Social media may also play a part in this epidemic. Many subcultures of social
media sites such as Tumblr romanticize mental illness by painting suicide with nobility and eating disorders with beautiful fragility. They take suicidal thoughts and statements that should be worrying, slap them on moody black-and-white pictures, and often times pass them off as art. They take statements condoning anorexia and other eating disorders such as “Food Isn’t That Great,” pair them with workout ideas, and pretend to be health or fitness blogs. Not only is this culture of romanticized mental illness pushing teens to the point of self-diagnosis and self-medication, but (perhaps it is more dangerously) blurring the line between mental illness and just wanting to fit in. Teens will always act differently around their friends than they would with their parents or authority figures, so the fact that a lot of this negativity happens on social media, a primarily parent-free place, is especially concerning. The adults are unaware. Even school psychologist Leana Duzdabanyan said that “it hasn’t been brought to my attention. I haven’t heard about it.” Not only do teens, as a culture, seem to be romanticizing mental illness on social media, but they do so without fear of adults worrying. This mentality reaches far beyond the screen and far beyond the individual. Teens use subject matters surrounding death as a joke and find suicidal behavior to be funny and relatable. We can’t say that “they’re just tweets.” We can’t say “It was just a joke,” because these are things
we should not be joking about. I say this not for fear of being inappropriate or too violent or too scary but for fear of permeating a negative behavior. It’s okay to be sad sometimes — of course it is. But when our jokes constantly concern death, suicide, and mental illness, it does something to our character. According to our school psychologist, “Teens should be careful about the statements that they make, because whatever teens say can impact each other and other students.” Negativity does not disappear, and by spreading it, we are only making each other feel worse. When we clog each other with this negativity, it simply does no good. It’s astonishing how we were able to get to a point where someone can say “I want to die” in a room full of teens, and not one so much as bats an eye. Because these jokes are now normalized, nobody can know what’s “just a joke.” And we, as teens, never say anything anyway. Duzdabanyan says that “if anybody hears about a post or other students having a difficult time or even expressing thoughts of issues related to sadness, they should come forward and speak to an adult (a teacher, a counselor, or their parents) so that the adults can get them help, or other students can be advocates for each other.” Have you been an advocate for anyone? And no, liking that tweet does not count.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Michael Brown, an 18 year-old African-American, was murdered by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri the summer of 2014. Tensions ran high in America for the next several months until later that fall, when the grand jury decided to leave Wilson a free man. The decision gave way to public outcry and, unfortunately, violence in the Ferguson community. The rioting revealed a history of tension as a result of the city administration’s poor relationship with and mistreatment of its African American citizens. I, too, was outraged, but with the deep-seated anger and disappointment came the bitter, biting taste of helplessness. What could I do? I was only 15 and not much could be done from 1,800 miles away. I heard the frustrated cry of others stuck in a similar situation: a rock and a hard place. But along with the loss of young life, property, and faith in the judicial system—in hindsight a system that was never designed to protect African Americans in the first place— came a rebirth of the civil rights movement: Black Lives Matter. The new movement was started by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse
Cullors after wannabe cop George Zimmerman was acquitted for killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, but it began to garner national attention in the wake of events in Ferguson. Since then, the grass roots movement spread across the country and has organized numerous events and protests because of similar tragedies. They’ve sparked well-needed discussion and continue to bring awareness and an end to the systematic disenfranchisement and persecution of black people in America. Black Lives Matter is an expression that I am proud to say and display in my Twitter bio. As an African American, it is refreshing and uplifting to take part in what I could only describe as the Second Civil Rights Movement. But as noble a cause as the organization is, it—like any polarizing movement—has its good, bad, and ugly. Granted, the movement does need a more unified front and more polished approach toward its aims (just having a URL doesn’t necessarily make you official), but it’s off to a pretty good start. As per usual, ignorant or indifferent people accuse the movement of promoting a divisive agenda. But surprisingly,another demographic has critique for Black Lives Matter: the civil rights
activists of the 1960s. They, having marched with the restraint and discipline of figures like Martin Luther King, disagree not with the cause, but its approach. Sure, the movement gets a little ugly (not to justify violence of any kind), but what kind of protest is convenient? Moreover, race relations in America aren’t exactly picture perfect, and have never been. Slavery ended “so long ago,” so I should be over it right? But what about the 100 years of black codes and Jim Crow that followed? What kind of progress is going from slavery and lynching to mass incarceration and police brutality? It has been barely 50 years after our predecessors took water hoses, attack dogs, and beating. The plantation has become the prison and the noose has become the standard issue Glock 9 millimeter. Black Lives Matter is a triage of sorts: it is trying to address the fact that since the conception of this country, black lives haven’t been included in “we the people” or “all men created equal.” Let me state explicitly that it does not serve to elevate one racial group above another. If it helps, consider there to be a silent “Too” on the end. Cause my life matters too.
WHY MY LIFE MATTERS from both sides of the story
By Morgan Smith
I know one thing; it does “ But not take me being black to
Often, as a white male, I can feel out of place when talking about issues of race — maybe I haven’t suffered enough or survived enough adversity? It feels like it is not my place to say something even if it is in favor of the accused. I want to show support but not overstep my boundaries. But I know one thing; I do not need to be black to know when there is injustice. I do not need to be black to be angry for the deaths of others. To give the term Blacks Lives Matter credibility, you have to accept one fact about our society: black lives often do not matter. It is a fact that black people are marginalized in our judicial, educational, and civil structures starting from the Brown vs Board case to the murder of Trayvon Martin. According to Mapping Police Violence a black person is three times more likely to be killed by a police officer while only one in three of those victims are armed. Ninety-seven percent of these cases never involve a police officer being charged. The NAACP provides that African-Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Even worse, black people make up 12 percent of drug users in the general
know when there is injustice. It doesn’t take me being black to be angry for the deaths of others; nor should it for you.
population, but 59 percent of those are in state prisons for drug offences. The evidence seems irrefutable and convincing -- yet there is still a lack of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. This opposition stems from white people being threatened by the word “black”. There is an undoubtedly negative connotation with the word. Most white people would like to believe that we have moved past racism, segregation, and discrimination. We have not. The word “black” brings back what we would like to leave in the past-- division, segregation, and hate. Still, racism exists today. We would prefer to believe that we do not see color and therefore have no recollection of racial divide. “African-American” is in our comfort zone; we have erased any memory of discrimination on skin color and have made the centuries-old problem digestible. Black is a scary concept for white people because it is so broad and encompassing. It represents so many intangible struggles and strengths. It creates a quite literal divide: white vs. black. This divide makes it even more difficult for a white person to enter in
By Skijler Hutson support. It feels like I am crossing an age-old divide, and I feel out of place. But being uncomfortable is a small inconvenience compared to years of discrimination suffered by African Americans. I cannot be afraid to show my support because I think that it is not my place. My place is exactly where I stand now on the side of the oppressed. This is bigger than myself. This is bigger than any backlash I might receive. I am placed in group that is disgusted by the deaths of others and repulsed by such institutionalized racism. A group that is discontent with the state of race relations in America. This group transcends and includes all races, sexualities, genders, and political opinions. This is not just a fight for black people. This is a fight for everyone. This is a stand to show we expect more from ourselves and each other. This group stands with the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
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