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Adviser Christine Livermont Editors-in-Chief Iman Baber Brooke Johnston Design Editors-in-Chief Timothy Kang Katie Luo Technology and Media Manager Emily Chang Lead Copy Editor Jessica Son Copy Editor Reya Mehta Social Media Editor Mia Ouyang Arts and Entertainment Editors Gaby Lesmana Emily Yoon Arts and Entertainment Emily Chang Minjun Kim Vanessa McLaughlin Anika Sachdeva Isabella Truong Features Editors Ashley Park Jasmine Wongphatarakul

Features Kimberly Ayson Gillian Bui Sabrina Ho Brooke Johnston Katie Luo Alice Xie News Editors Alyssa Chang Lauren Guss News Noor Baber Haley Choe Andrew Kang Timothy Kang Brandon Kim Justin Litvak Jessica Son Sports Editors Noah Neri Zach Singer Sports Colin Park Op-Eds Editors Jaeeun Park Ricky Rojas Op-Eds Iman Baber Reya Mehta Mia Ouyang

: how you can make positive change for your community

Story by Haley Choe and Andrew Kang Graphics by Timothy Kang In its current state, the world needs drastic social reform and improvements if we want to maintain and provide equal opportunities to those living on Earth. However, creating long-lasting, meaningful change requires participation from all of society. An ideal way we can all be part of this social transformation is through civic engagement. In the book Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, published by Onyx Press, the editor Thomas Ehrlich says civic engagement “means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.” As more and more young Americans are being educated on the many social issues that take place in the world, they are simultaneously growing more active in driving movements and communicating with policy-makers, while also empowering other citizens within their communities to participate in the change. “Protesting and expressing our opinions is a huge part of our freedom as young Americans,” West Ranch junior Nicole Guteriz states. “Brave people have given their lives for our freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Because of this, it is really important to take advantage of what has been given to us and use it to the best of our abilities.” “I am civilly active because I believe that everyone should be treated equally” Guteriz said. “Change for the better of everyone is good, and with a little more acceptance and love, the world can become a better place.” Raushni Chowdhury, junior at West Ranch, explains, “It is really important to be civilly active during this time because we need to give back to our communities… [we need to] stand for others and give to those who are in need. We are all human beings and are on a single planet. [We were meant] to help and be there for one another.” Where COVID-19 has removed the option for young people to take to the streets to voice their concerns about these surfacing inequalities, staying at home has not translated to staying silent. Freshman Esi Otoo believes that “now more than ever, everybody is aware of how flawed our world is. We are young, but it is still important to make change. Everything will affect you, if not now, it will later.” Currently, Otoo and many other youth activists are using social media and other digital platforms to drive civic engagement around issues such as climate change, racial injustice and inequality in voting accessibility. There are many ways students can become involved and grow as an activist, all while in quarantine. 1. Get Inspired A large part of being civilly active is going out and protesting. Because COVID-19 has paralyzed our country and continues to claim the lives of thousands, it is easy to feel powerless and disheartened. While our lives and activism work have been put on pause, the issues we are

addressing—from climate change to racial injustice— continue to rage on. To remain inspired and committed to activism work, young advocates can turn to sources such as Ted Talks, books about or written by influential activists while also having conversations with various groups of people with multiple views on an issue. 2. Research The saying “knowledge is power” is a phrase young activists can take to heart. Being passionate and knowing more about an issue allows one to be better positioned to create change. Now is a prime time to educate ourselves about the various issues affecting our communities and our world. From watching a documentary about climate change to reading news articles about local politics and policies, there are countless ways to better inform ourselves about the most pressing issues of our day. 3. Sign an online petition Due to social distancing measures, there’s not much inperson activism work that can be done right now. Besides holding fundraisers and taking the time to educate peers, young people nationwide have turned to online petitions to make their voices heard, relying on sites like change.org to demand action. Making a goal to sign five petitions a day can seem like a small act; however, this is a simple yet effective way to stand up for what one believes in. 4. Connect with other activists on social media As a youth activist, the greatest change is usually made when collaborating and supporting others. Fortunately, connecting with other activists has never been easier. Social media makes it possible for us to find and partner with activists in our communities and even with people on the other side of the country. While reaching out and following national-level activists and figures is important in becoming educated on various topics, make sure to also follow local, grassroots-level activists and students who are fighting for change in your community. Right now, some students are using the resources they have to advocate for what they believe in. During quarantine, West Ranch Junior Raushni Chowdhury has “safely and peacefully protested several different causes” locally with friends and “helped host a community drive for the local food bank.” Chowdhury explains the heart behind her activism: “I am passionate about civil rights for all people and taking care of those that are less fortunate than us. I look for every volunteering opportunity that I can get a hold of because it not only keeps me grounded but also is really important for the wellbeing of our community.” There are plenty of flaws and issues present in every sphere of life begging for change and improvements. It is our responsibility as a community to fix them. With the help of social media, peaceful protests and communication, we can do our best to make the world a better place.


election 2020 Story and Graphics by Noor Baber

joe biden

kamala harris

The general election in the United States was held on Nov. 3, 2020. Voters cast their ballots for either Democratic nominee Joe Biden or incumbent President Donald Trump. Nearly four days after the election, on the morning of Nov. 7, major news networks called the election for Joe Biden, as the former Vice President had won the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the election. In addition, more Americans had voted for Biden than any other presidential candidate in history—more than 79 million, according to data from the Associated Press. As of Nov. 23, according to ABC News, Joe Biden had won 306 electoral votes, flipping the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona. Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, held an event on Nov. 7 in Wilmington, Delaware, to celebrate their win. In his victory speech, president-elect Biden pledged “to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.” Biden also emphasized the importance of rebuilding “the soul of America,” and promised to heal a deeply divided nation. An important part of Joe Biden’s speech was the coronavirus, a major issue that the president-elect will have to solve when he takes office in January. Biden also paid tribute to the now more than 266,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus. So far, Biden’s win has yet to be certified, as the electoral college is officially meeting on Dec. 14 to verify the results of the election.

Vice President elect Kamala Harris’s win is quite historic, breaking many figurative glass ceilings. According to NPR, Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Harris is the first woman to be elected to the second highest position in America. She is the first person of Asian descent and African descent to be elected Vice President. In her victory speech, Harris was wearing a white suit, paying tribute to the suffrage movement of the 1900s. She thanked those who had worked to involve more Americans in voting and the democratic process. Harris remembered her mother, who came to America from India at a young age, as well as all of the women who worked to gain equal rights. She noted her historic win, proudly saying, “But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” Harris also stated that she and president-elect Biden would work to solve the crises which plague America today: ending the coronavirus pandemic, rebuilding the economy, solving systemic racism and combating climate change.

CA Props 2020 During the 2020 election, there were twelve propositions on California’s ballot. The Paw Print has compiled a list of the propositions, what they are, and whether or not they passed.

Proposition 14 approves $5.5 billion in state bonds for stem cell research and for construction of research facilities. This proposition was approved.

Proposition 15 alters taxes based on market value of a business, and uses the tax to fund schools. This proposition was rejected. Proposition 16 repeals a provision that prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, origin, or gender, in education, government employment, and contracting. This proposition was rejected. Proposition 17 restores the voting rights of felons when a prison term is completed. This proposition was approved.

Proposition 18 allows 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the next election to vote. This proposition was rejected.

Proposition 19 allows seniors, disabled homeowners, or victims of natural disasters to transfer their property tax to a replacement residence. This proposition was approved.

Proposition 20 allows certain crimes to be charged as felonies, and expands DNA collection for certain misdemeanors. This proposition was rejected. Proposition 21 allows governments to control rent on properties that are 15 years or older. This proposition was rejected. Proposition 22 classifies app-based drivers as independent contractors, not employees. This proposition was approved. Proposition 23 requires dialysis clinics to have a licensed physician on site, and the clinics must inform the state regarding their infection data. This proposition was rejected. Proposition 24 allows customers to stop businesses from obtaining or using private information, and allows customers to correct any personal information which may be wrong. This proposition was approved. Proposition 25 erases the bail system, replacing it with a computer algorithm to determine a risk assessment for suspects. This proposition was rejected.


ASB ACTIVITIES Winter 2020 Story by Alyssa Chang and Lauren Guss Graphics by Timothy Kang, Andrew Kang and Noor Baber

Quarantine has not been easy, especially for many on-campus organizations. ASB has had to quickly adapt to these new regulations to continue projects and events they have planned. One twist to these activities is the new location: Zoom, the video conference platform West Ranch uses to partake in online learning. Some of these online events include inviting the West Ranch dance team and cheer team to perform (socially distanced) during an online rally, organizing spirit days during online classes and on social media, setting up scavenger hunts around Santa Clarita, and most recently, creating a wishing well for students to have their wishes granted. These gifts will be delivered to students’ houses instead of given on campus before distance learning. Adapting to online circumstances meant finding alternative ways for student participation. Nicole Augusta, ASB President, explains, “Social media is a huge aspect of our virtual spirit activities! Our social media commissioners have been busy creating posts to publicize our spirit days and activities, and this has been our most reliable source of publicity these past few months.” These safe and social-distance friendly activities create a way for ASB to push forward during these times of frustration and change.

Q: What is the biggest challenge ASB has overcome during quarantine? A: The hardest challenge was the homecoming rally. Everything had to be pre recorded by a deadline and no one could work together in person. For such a big event, it was hard to manage setbacks and still make it fun. -Esi Otoo

Q. How have you been managing ASB projects while abiding to quarantine regulations? A: ASB projects had to have new processes. They may have to be virtual or social distanced but we are trying to keep them as normal as possible. A good example of this is the virtual scavenger hunt that went on last month. -Bryce Blaugrund

Resilience and adaptability have been especially prominent among ASB staff these recent months. Despite having to work around online classes, modifying activities, and not having easy access to an in-person team setting, this hardworking group of students haven’t quivered in the face of uncertainty. They have kept their positive spirits glowing and their creativity flowing. They have found innovative ways to emphasize our school spirit, from class color contests to creating a non-contact wishing well, an activity that usually takes place on campus. This creative organization has remained consistent in times of uncertainty, and adjusting to change is becoming one of their many strengths.

Q: How can students be more involved with ASB events? A: Our posters have been transferred into an online format and are constantly posted on our ASB Instagram. Students are now still capable of finding out about current events and keeping up to date with future ones to come! - Julia Quinones







Q: What is your favorite dessert? A: Cheesecake. Q: What is your favorite holiday? A: New Years. Q: Do you have a special talent? A: I play the piano. Q: What is your favorite movie? A: The Princess Bride.

Mrs. June Shin: you may have seen her name on the email sent out every morning when your day of online learning begins. Mrs. Shin, West Ranch’s office receptionist, has the very important task of sending out the Daily Bulletin each morning to students. She ensures students are receiving the correct information and gives them motivation by adding inspirational quotes in each of her emails. Mrs. Shin started working at West Ranch last August. Before that, she worked at several local schools around Santa Clarita, which include Pico Canyon, Oak Hills and Rio Norte Junior High. Prior to the pandemic, Mrs. Shin aided students with anything they needed, answered questions and handed supplies out. Currently, in addition to virtual Daily Bulletin, she handles all the phone calls that come into the school. “I get it through to the right person and help them out as best as I can,” she explained. When asked about what she loves the most about her job, she revealed, “I have loved every minute of being here. I really enjoy interacting with everybody. West Ranch is overflowing with the best staff. I absolutely love when you guys come in and just have questions and chat a bit. I miss that so much, just dealing with all the chatter.” Every day Mrs. Shin works diligently to answer phone calls and makes sure students can get through their day. If you ever have the chance, feel free to email her and thank her for all the hard work she puts into her job.

Spotlighting spectacu SCHO

G iS T



The well-being and mental health of students and staff at West Ranch is of utmost importance for school psychologist Mrs. Leana Duzdabanyan. As West Ranch’s psychologist, Mrs. Duzdabanyan supports students in their learning, mental health, behavior and success academically. She works alongside other staff members to ensure students are being supported. Before school was online, Mrs. Duzdabanyan interacted closely with students and staff members. “I conduct assessments for students so we can know if they’re learning well so we can support them in any way,” she explained. During the pandemic, she revealed, “It has been difficult. A lot of the work I do with teachers, administrators, and counselors has been virtual.” Mrs. Duzdabanyan has been a school psychologist for 17 years, starting at West Ranch in 2007. Before transferring to West Ranch, she was an intern in the district and then worked at Rio Norte Junior High. “I love working with students and seeing them be successful academically and emotionally,” expressed the school psychologist. On the daily, Mrs. Duzdabanyan makes sure West Ranch students and staff are receiving the guidance they need through positivity and motivation. The Paw Print thanks her for always supporting West Ranch.





Story by Jasmine Wongphatarakul and Brooke

Q: What is your favorite dessert? A: Cookies. Q: What is your favorite holiday? A: Christmas. Q: Do you have a special talent? A: I am a pretty good cook. Q: What is your favorite movie? A: The Toy Story series.











Q: What is your favorite dessert? A: Cherry pie. Q: What is your favorite holiday? A: Christmas. Q: Do you have a special talent? A: Aviation photography. Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Rogue One.

At this point in distance learning, we’ve all come to realize the value of technology in academics. West Ranch’s Technology Coordinator Mr. Norman McBride has understood the benefit of technology since high school when he worked at Magic Mountain as “the computer guy.” He went on to become a member of the very first West Ranch staff in 2004. “My job is to keep all of the computers and the network running for the staff and the students so they have the tools they need,” he explained. For 16 years, he has helped to set up and maintain “almost 3000 Chromebooks, about 600 desktop computers, and the whole network” at West Ranch. “I’ve helped get Chromebooks out to the students at home that are in need of devices,” Mr. McBride said. He also remotely supports teachers facing technical difficulties, and acknowledged that troubleshooting from afar is “a different world for a tech guy who’s hands-on.” Although no one knows what next semester will bring, Mr. McBride is making sure that each and every West Ranch student will receive a high quality education, online or in-person. “We’ve put a dual monitor setup on all the teachers’ desktops for when they do come back,” he revealed. “There’s a new in-room sound system coming for every teacher so they will have an amplified voice for the classroom through the speaker and a microphone, so [students] can hear them through a mask.” Mr. McBride’s mission is to enhance our learning and to ensure that no difficulty inhibits us from succeeding in the classroom. He deserves our thanks!

ular West Ranch Staff

e Johnston; Photos by Mrs. Shin and Yearbook





A typical day at West Ranch ends well before sunset. For Mr. Edwin Herrera-Campos, however, sunset is only the beginning. As West Ranch’s Night Lead Custodian, he is responsible for supervising our beloved campus until students return each morning. “I’ve been working at West Ranch for seven years now,” he said happily. “I’m in charge of six people. Basically, my job is to supervise those people, to make sure that they do their work.” While West Ranch students are (hopefully) getting a good night’s sleep, Mr. Herrera-Campos is cleaning and watching over the grounds. We take for granted what a beautiful campus we get to return to each morning on a regular schedule, and we have the Night Lead to thank for that. Mr. Herrera-Campos is working just as hard during distance learning as he does when the whole school visits campus every day, and emphasized that in the time of COVID, “we have to be more careful.” The dedicated Night Lead Custodian emphasizes that he likes everything about his job, but helping others makes it the most special. “I like working with people, and I’m busy all the time with requests. I like helping people.” You may never cross paths with Mr. Herrera-Campos, but he deserves to be thanked for all of his hard work! Shoot him an email and thank him for all that he does.




Q: What is your favorite dessert? A: Chocolate. Q: What is your favorite holiday? A: Christmas. Q: Do you have a special talent? A: Dancing. Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Action movies.




Senior West Ranch TV member Peter Suh has come a long way since his eighth grade skateboarding days, when he first discovered his love for filmmaking. The film industry has left a huge impact on his high school career, especially after he worked with West Ranch alum Neiko Pitman on a project that won first place in a student television network contest. Peter Suh is a force to be reckoned with as he produces highquality segments for the daily shows and integrates newer students into the program.


GILLESPIE Kevin Gillespie is a senior at West Ranch who founded a student-run nonprofit organization with his team members Shaden Nasr, Matthew Chan and Rachel Gim. The organization, Open-Source Print and Protect, designs, produces and distributes face shields to frontliners in the community. When quarantine began, Gillespie decided to make his own face shield design by using his 3D printer at home. Since then, OPP has been continuously working towards a safer community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.



Many events in the 21st century have acted as a catalyst for feminist movements, exposing feminisim to younger generations and inspiring many to join forces and fight for equality. Sophomore Caden Lee uses her voice in both her everyday life and social media platform to express her passion for womens’ rights and equality.


Daniel Tsan started playing the clarinet in 6th grade. Seven years later, he is one of the best, first chair clarinet for the West Ranch Band. The Paw Print talked to this talented artist and asked him several questions about band and life.

The 2020 election was a major event that occurred when everyone was quarantined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. While this election was significantly different from past elections, senior Skylar Higgins was eager to take part in the election. To become a poll worker, she registered at the LA County Registrar’s office and went through training online and in-person to learn how to operate the electronic ballot machines and how to aid people in the voting process.


Ashley Kim is a junior at West Ranch who has pursued a unique pastime during the months spent in quarantine. Kim created and manages personal blogs where she posts research and opinions on relevant social topics. Posts range from reviews of short films to stances on mental health in foreign countries. She uses her accessible outlet to share knowledge and inspiration to those who visit.

Isabella Montano Poll Worker

There is no doubt the coronavirus has broadened America’s political stage, spotlighting various topics and policies. Over this short period, we have seen deepening polarization. These tensions have increased activism, persuading millions to flood the streets protesting and demanding change; however, finding safe political advocacy opportunities as a student can be challenging. Despite the many barriers, West Ranch senior Isabella Montano has optimized her time at home, discovering a plethora of ways to engage in politics— one of which is volunteering as a poll worker in the recent presidential election.

Matthew Kei Mountain Biker

Matthew Kei is a senior at West Ranch who found a passion for mountain biking 10 years ago. Kei has grown in his love for the sport and even competed at two national championships. Since distance learning, Kei has found himself trapped in front of his screen attending classes and doing homework for hours. Mountain biking has served as an escape from his busy schedule, and he has remained incredibly committed to his craft—rain or shine, pandemic or not.

Owen Sayre Engineer

They say curiosity killed the cat—but for West Ranch wildcat Owen Sayre, curiosity is the air he breathes. The ever-inquisitive engineer, cellist, volunteer, and Astronomy Club president finds wonder in every facet of life and isn’t afraid to explore new territory. From helping launch a weather balloon into space to 3D printing a cello, Sayre masterfully applies his interest in math and science to hands-on experiences and fine arts.

Eric Luo

We all remember the beginning of quarantine, when the grocery stores were flooded and people were panicked. That is, until senior Eric Luo came into the picture. He co-founded Six Feet Supplies, a volunteerrun initiative that delivers groceries to homes without charging a single delivery fee—ever. Luo successfully balances his schoolwork and commitment to the debate team while performing his duties as co-founder. Even after an interview with CNN International and the establishment of 10 different branches of Six Feet Supplies in both Northern and Southern California, Luo maintains that the most important part of it all is making sure the people he serves are happy and healthy.

Karla Huazano

With the pandemic, many people have been having a lot of time on their hands, finding new passions and even starting businesses. Karla Huazano, a sophomore, found a passion for creating jewelry and began her jewelry business during quarantine. It started from a gift for her friend and grew into a business when she wanted to sell her creations to a broader audience.

Amy Arnold

As the pandemic restricts the general public from stepping outside, Amy Arnold lets nothing get in the way of pursuing her passion for rescuing. Through a virtual interview, The Paw Print got to talk to Arnold about her time in lifeguarding. In this Q&A, we will take a look into what sparked Arnold’s passion for lifeguarding and how she overcame the challenges she’s faced during these unprecedented times.


Geneva Cesoni

Geneva Cesoni is a sophomore known for her passion for playing team sports. Talented in both soccer and lacrosse, Cesoni has been following COVID-19 safety measures by practicing her skills remotely. She works to improve technique on her own and hopes to play professionally one day.

Gabriella Goldberg From balancing college applications and a busy school life to taking flight lessons, senior Gabriella “Gigi” Goldberg reaches “sky high” to meet her dreams of becoming a pilot. Her passion for flying has led her on her way to getting an official pilot’s license. She tells The Paw Print about why she loves flying and her latest accomplishments and aspirations.

Lexi Kranian Lexi Kranian, a freshman at West Ranch, started a project to educate people on fire safety for pets. Motivated by California’s heavy fire seasons, Kranian and her partner spread awareness on what to do in such an emergency. The two designed stickers to adhere on house windows, alerting firefighters of a pet inside. Though COVID-19 has made it considerably more difficult to reach her goals, Kranian overcame her roadblocks.

Alexa Siglar Siglar Alexa As remote schooling continues, senior Alexa Siglar is working to maintain a sense of normalcy in students’ extracurricular spheres. Siglar, the current president of the National Honors Society, has been efficiently using her time in quarantine to create positive change within our community. Leading her team of NHS officers and hundreds of students who are passionate about volunteering has been no easy task. However, Siglar’s sheer determination has proven that virtual volunteer work can be done—and can still be effective.

Radhika Epps Epps Radhika Quarantine has provided an opportunity for many to take time on what they couldn’t do before and for senior Radhika Epps, that was coding. She has been able to explore quantum coding, a branch of coding related to quantum physics. It takes a sharp mind to excel in computer science, and Radhika has all the skills she needs to build a career out of it.

Erin Ha Erin Ha is a sophomore at West Ranch who is a hardworking volleyball player at our school and in outside clubs. Team games such as volleyball are especially impacted by COVID-19 since they require multiple people in close contact to play. However, despite the situation, Erin continues to pursue her career as a volleyball player in a quarantine-friendly way.


This year, we asked students...

What was something


that happened to you over quarantine? Story by Katie Luo Design by Minjun Kim

y friends I got closer to m them and got to know we better because ery day. started to call ev

Something good that happened to me over quarantine was the growth of th e relationships I have with frien ds. With quaran tin e cutting us off from each ot her, it was comm on for us all to reach out to each other constantly everyday, and therefore make up the social inte ractions and connections we used to have da ily. These efforts even allowed us to spend more tim e, connecting with each other on different topi cs of life, rather than just school , which was very normal to talk about because w e would see each other every day at school. Th is, being able to make the effort to reach ou t more, connect, socialize, etc. allowed me to gr ow closer with fri ends for which I’m very grateful for.

Sean Seo, 12th

Leena Kang, 10th

I began playing a ga me called genshin impact and I am obsessed. Whatever free time I have I spend playin g that game. I really enjoy the range of abilities and explo ration the game has to offer.

I’ve discovered a sudden love for jazz musicians

Emerson Nathan, 10th

Jonathan Dolce, 10th Something goo d that happened to m e over quarantine is th at it gave me more ti me for personal stuff an d was very relaxing.

Carsen Yahata, 9t h

I got to spend more time on my art and made a wall of my paintings in my room.

I did my online d river’s ed and passed m y permit and I am now d oing instructional dri vers training to get m y license.

Caden Lee, 10th

Truman Harrah,

During this time of quarantine, I have been able to spend so much more time with my family which I think is very valuable especially before I go off to college next year. I also had more free time to think about the more specific details of my future plans and how I want to achieve those plans. Quarantine hasn’t been the ideal situation but I definitely think it was a blessing in disguise.


about myself I learned more emotions and ons, and my passi f gained a lot o interests, and confidence. d ew pet leopar

I also got a n gecko!

Isabella Montano, 12th

11th Rebecca Lee.

I watched the Q ueen’s Gambit. It is pro bably one of the best shows I have seen in a lo ng time.

to ened happ chedule t a h t my s ll with, good fi e was thing Some r quarantin re space to plish m e o o v c m o c e h a n m wit y to p it u c to eve a g e p freein ing my ca st and tim ercise, as s re ex ed increa ith more aily’s t of d that allow ve .W n e u r o o m m le , I’ a u s d d ie ivit che goo get a a flexible s bs and act g this s lu in well a oin more c t busy dur j p e o t k e n m ee itely b D defin X ! n w o lockd 2th

ie Gabb

Jessamine Jin, 12


I got to sleep a lo


Go, 1

Marcus Salvador,


TOP 12

COVID-19 friendly


By A&E Team As LA County enters its tenth month in quarantine, winter break may look a lot different this year. With classic chilly-weather activities like ice skating and holiday parties not being an option, an exciting winter break may not seem like a possibility. Though the pandemic outside may be frightful, these innovative, safe ideas for holiday fun sure are delightful!


Gift Exchange by Mail

While the absence of holiday parties makes giving gifts more complicated, mailing someone a present is an easy, contactless way to make someone’s holiday. Even if it’s something small, the kind gesture shows you were thinking of them. Make it a “Secret Santa” by assigning faux names to a group of friends and mail the gifts using those instead, or donate to a local holiday toy drive to bring seasonal love to a local family. Giving gifts can still be an entertaining and fun activity to do in quarantine.


Online GIft Shopping

As the holidays near, you may find yourselves in need of shopping for your loved ones. Shopping can be very stressful during this time of year, so doing it online can be easier and more convenient. Save money by shopping secondhand from sites like Depop or Poshmark. Overall, this holiday season can be easier with stores giving the option of shopping right from your home.



Look for Festive Decorations

Christmas lights never fail to bring classic holiday cheer each year. No matter the part of the city, you can always find some whether they’re on your street or way across town. Drive around neighborhoods to simply admire the work of others and let it uplift the holiday spirits this season. The well-known Candy Cane Lane will also be open but will have social distancing restrictions. Dozens of houses will be lit up this year across the city to spread joy, so be on the lookout.

Spa Day

Without a doubt, 2020 has been a stressful year. Treating yourself to a spa day is the perfect way to unwind and recharge as the year comes to a close. A spa day can consist of anything from a simple face mask and pedicure to going all out with homemade spa water, candles, and a bubble bath. Altogether, it is a great way to make a productive yet relaxing use of time in isolation.


Bake Holiday Treats

Baking is a fun and festive solution to cure boredom, spend time with family, and make a tasty snack. Use boxed cookie mix from the store or challenge yourself to a more complicated recipe. You could also hold a baking competition against other family members and test each other’s skills. Make too much? Freshly baked goods also make a great gift to deliver to friends or donate to a local homeless shelter.


Craft Up a (Snow)Storm

Try some of The Paw Print’s favorite artsy activities: you can knit a scarf for a loved one: an affordable way to try a new hobby and show someone you care. Or create a Christmas collage by printing out personal photos (or your favorite Pinterest images) and bedazzling them with glitter, glue and stickers. Plant owners can also decorate their houseplants for the holidays in ornaments and garlands as an alternative to decorating a Christmas tree.


Spruce Up Your Space

Another great way to spice up the festive season is to start interior decorating. From a wintery, sophisticated vibe to a warm and cozy ambience, there are so many ways to personalize your house into your very own holiday habitat. You can get tons of inspiration from Pinterest, find a majority of DIY materials at Hobby Lobby or Michaels and purchase pillows and fairy lights from Target. There are so many options, so go crazy!


Capture the Moment with Self-TImed Photos

COVID-19 may be preventing us from having a photoshoot with our friends, but nothing is preventing us from taking great self-timed photos by ourselves. By setting up a tripod or leaning your phone against a wall, we can time our cameras to take pictures after a few seconds. The Paw Print also recommends using a mini projector or LED lights to spice up your photo backgrounds.


Raise a Glass to 2021

With the new year coming up, it’s never too early to begin thinking about what you want to accomplish for 2021. Varying from regularly calling a relative or picking up a new hobby, resolutions for the new year are always a fun topic to ponder about for the future. Be sure to follow up with your resolutions and achieve your goals by the end of the year.


Cozy Up to a Holiday Movie During the Holiday season, movies can bring together family and friends. These movies vary from animated comedies like “The Grinch” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” to classic films such as “Home Alone” and “The Christmas Chronicles”. Nothing unites people in the holiday spirit more than watching a movie while eating your favorite snacks.


Go Stargazing

Mount Pinos, a mountain by Frazier Park, is a perfect spot for stargazing. You don’t even need to hike up the trail: you can stay in the parking area and watch the stars from the clearing or the comfort of your car. It’s recommended to go during a new moon so the brightness of the moon won’t block out the wonderful array of stars. Check beforehand if there’s snow as well: the elevation at the top is 8,848 feet and you don’t want to be freezing. If you plan on going be sure to bring warm clothes, a blanket, some hot chocolate or coffee and have fun stargazing.


Try Holiday Drinks from Different Shops

Nothing says “winter time” like the frenzy of holiday drinks being released at every other cafe in town. From the classic Starbucks Peppermint Mocha to a Cookie Butter latte from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, there is never a shortage of warm, festive flavors. Take your family on a trip through SCV and test out which cafe reigns supreme as a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.


HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS MOVIE Story by Emily Yoon, Gaby Lesmana, and Vanessa McLaughlin Graphics by Emily Yoon If New Year’s Eve is our time to turn over a new leaf, it must be the job of Christmas, or at least Christmas movies, to submerge all who celebrate into a vat of stunningly blasé, peppermint-flavored monotony. Calling Christmas rom-coms a genre of their own is like classifying all of Hollywood’s Chrises as their own race. Sure, we don’t need all of them, but somehow we’ve looped ourselves into an alternate universe where there’s a particular market for movies with identical plots and gaunt-looking white men with beards in their thirties. It’s a bit of a Chrisis. Still, there’s a certain comfort in watching what might as well be the same movie over and over again. If you didn’t like the edgy, misogynist humor of “Groundhog Day,” maybe you’ll like vanilla Millennial humor cinnamonwrapped à la Hallmark and Netflix Originals. Watch as a competent, career-driven businesswoman learns that the Wall Street sphere just isn’t for her! See as she ends up in her hometown (surprise!) for Christmas

and falls for her middle-school boyfriend (Ew! We know), who, for all the strategically warm mood lighting and royalty-free Christmas jingles that play whenever he’s around, is little more than a glorified, Fred-from-ScoobyDoo-esque lumberjack. Or see in awe as an American tourist books a lastminute trip across the pond to a tiny country that doesn’t exist and bumps into a boy with killer table etiquette and a secret to hide. He’s actually the Prince and is hiding his whirlwind romance with a foreigner from his traditionalist parents and a disapproving public? Who would have guessed? But we’ve broken down the Christmas rom-com tropes to a T! This year, you can create your own cheesy cinematic rom-com universe in spirit of the holiday season with The Paw Print’s Official Guide:

It’s as if the disgruntled business partner or exfriend is always standing in the wings, waiting for their moment to show the world just how envious they are of the happy couple. They probably have very little to do with the actual plot but are just dying to sprinkle coal in everyone’s stockings. In summary, this character is only there to be scowling in the background and will most likely fail in whatever ‘evil’ scheme they are plotting.


They’ve got places to be, or so they think. They’ve probably got several scenes talking on the phone while juggling a coffee and file folders just to hammer home the idea that they’re busy. Despite all of that, they give up their career at the end to be with someone they just met.



CHOOSE A SETTING: CITY It’s always New York because they have snow. Can’t LA get some love? Why don’t we just have a “sand blizzard” instead?



You’ve taken the scenic route: you’re spending Christmas in a totally real European country! It’s a charming trope, especially in the “Princess Diaries” films, but once you have a million countries with names like “Aldovia” or “Cordinia” running around, you have to worry a little. Where is Europe mysteriously getting all this real estate? Are they going to wage a third World War?

Oh no! A snowstorm! What’s this? A charming little town in the middle of nowhere that just happens to be obsessed with Christmas? A random bearded local that might just be the love of your life? The unexplainable desire to stay forever even though you have other places to be and dreams to tend to?

CHOOSE A CHARACTER: Whether they’ve got a rough family history or a nonexistent social life, the vulnerable, “I’ve never had anything in life” protagonist creates the perfect opportunity for the love interest to show her the true meaning of Christmas. Which is, apparently, cheesy montages of ice skating and awkward “‘I just met you” gift exchanges. But hey, they always end up a happy couple, so who are we to judge?


He’s got no discernible personality save for “nice,” but he probably dresses up in a Santa suit for the annual Christmas extravaganza. He owns a wardrobe of exclusively Fair Isle sweaters and flannels. He also seems perfectly fine with living out his days in the middle-of-nowhere town where he was raised, which is more than a little unsettling. But for the sake of the Christmastime cheer, he’s perfect husband material.


over the world. Four West Ranch students share their own particular traditio

For Janice, New Year’s is a time for family. True to Korean customs, Janice participates in the traditional bowing ceremony, or jeol, that the youth of each family typically perform for their elders as a sign of respect in exchange for small envelopes of money. Janice explains, “Our family obviously is less traditional because we don’t dress up in our traditional Korean clothes, but we still go to our grandpa’s house and we do the jeol. We get sebae don which is where we get money for doing the bowing ceremony.” Afterwards, Janice and her family enjoy a bowl of rice cake soup, or tteok guk. “Eating the tteok guk the birthdays by year, not actual birthdays,” Janice explains. For Janice, eating a meal with her extended family and of this tradition that she has been enjoying for her whole life.

New Year’s is not only for spending time with family but also making sure good luck passes on. Drestine’s family makes sure that every light in their house is turned on to ensure a brighter start to the new year and to bring in good luck. “Ten minutes before the new years we have to turn on all of the lights in the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lamp or a bathroom light we have to turn it on. It’s to bring luck for the new years and to make the house brighter for the new year.” Another tradition her family has is making as much noise as possible when the clock hits midnight, which she explains is “to scare away the bad luck of the previous year and introduce new luck.” Drestine also it’s only done once a year and we’re all together when we do all those things so it makes it feel more merrier and more at home. You have all these people around you that love and support you and you know you’ll conquer the new year together.”

ons, shedding light on the unique cultures on this campus alone.

Freshman Kishneet Kuar enjoys New Year’s Day immersed in temple to “spend time with family and God.” Kishneet enjoys a

a traditional rose milk beverage, rooh afza. The day is always lighthearted and jubilant, never too heavy. “It’s just to have fun,” she explains. “It is a way for all of my family to be together in one place with our friends because everyone just meets up there.”

Everyone celebrates New Year’s differently and that is what makes it so special. Giana’s family has a well-known tradition part is drinking champurrado with my family and just being chocolate. It is made with cinnamon sticks, masa harina (corn of course, the chocolate. “What makes this all special is that this is the season and time for everyone to come along together and just spend time with each other,” she said. New Years is a perfect time to be with the ones you love and celebrate different traditions to remember those times before us.


field star

matthew matthew krogh krogh

commits commits to to dartmouth dartmouth Story by Colin Park Graphics by Noah Neri

ld star rogh

When one thinks of sports, they may think of basketball, football, baseball, or soccer. However in sport, many do not think about is shot put and the hammer throw. Under the category of track and field sports, shot put and hammer throw are one of the most difficult sports to perfect. Here at West Ranch, we had a chance to interview Matthew Krogh, a senior athlete who competes in the shot put and the hammer throw. Krogh told The Paw Print that at the age of nine, he was “trying out different sports, and ended up being pretty good at shot put,” so he “stuck to it.” By practicing five to six

2013: Krogh competes in the hammer throw during a meet for the first time.

times a week, he still strives to improve every single day. Krogh’s natural talent and hard work are the reasons why he has become so successful in this sport. In life, he aspires to be like Elon Musk, a business magnate and engineer who is most famous for being the designer and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. In shot put, however, he aspires to be like Ryan Crouser, an American shot putter and discus thrower who won the gold medal for Team USA at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and Tom Walsh, a New Zealand athlete who is the current national record holder

2014: Krogh throwing shot put at nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.


in both outdoor and indoor shot put. When asked what he thinks is the most important physical and mental trait to have in the shot put and hammer throw, he stated, “Mentally, you need to be focused every practice, and physically you need to be lifting trying to get stronger, while also developing quick twitch muscles.” An average training day for Krogh starts off with working on technique, then doing stairs, plyometrics, sprints or light cardio, then to go lifting. In all, this process takes four hours of his time. During competitions, Krogh tries to stay focused on the game and his technique. He oftentimes has a list in his head about what he needs to improve while also trying to clear his head and stay relaxed. This seems to be very helpful for Krogh as he is currently throwing a 12 pound shot 56 to 57 feet, and a twelve pound hammer 185 to 190 feet. He can even clear a distance of 160 to 165 feet by throwing a 16 pound ball. His stats are so good, in fact, that he has been scouted by many prestigious colleges. Krogh explained, “The recruitment process was pretty stressful. I filled out a few athletic questionnaires

and emailed a few coaches, and got responses from Dartmouth, Yale, Stanford, UPenn, UCLA, USC, and Duke.” Krogh was so dedicated that he was sending daily videos of him throwing and lifting to these coaches, while also communicating with them via phone and Zoom calls. In the end, Dartmouth, Yale, Stanford and USC were all very interested in Krogh, so he took a visit to all of these schools on his own, since official visits were canceled this year. “Throughout my recruitment process and during my visit,” Krogh said, “I fell in love with Dartmouth’s campus, the feel of the school, the team and the coach.” Krogh felt that Dartmouth Coach Jeff Forino truly understood technique and specific muscle training for throwers, while also being very lighthearted and fun with his mannerisms and training. The future college athlete also highlighted that he loved the small classes, academic excellence, Greek system, professors and the extremely tightknit alumni network. With all this in mind, Krogh committed to Dartmouth in October. The greatest athletes play sports for the enjoyment of the game, and Krogh is no exception; he loves the competitive aspect of shot put, and every day he tries to outwork and compete with other players, teammates and himself. As his time as a college athlete approaches, The Paw Prints wishes him the best of luck on his journey on Dartmouth’s track and field team!

dartm 2018: Krogh throwing shot put in the national championship, this time in South Carolina.

2019: Krogh after placing in shot put at the Nike Arcadia invitational.


in quarantin 6 FEET

Story by Noah Neri Graphics by Brooke Johnston The Paw Print is continuing its look into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected students by interviewing West Ranch athletes about their training at home. For many West Ranch students, athletics is a passion, another area in which they can strive for excellence. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic closing schools and shutting down gyms and sports training programs, many athletes have been forced to modify their training routines. Varsity volleyball player Kaitlyn Jizmejizan told The Paw Print, “It’s been tough not being able to practice with other players. This year my team has added new players so it would be nice to get to know their habits on the court and practice next to them.” In order to stay in shape during quarantine, she has been taking private lessons with a local volleyball club, and her coach has given workouts to do at home. Despite a delayed season, she remains hopeful about returning, as she believes “this year we have a great chance of winning the league.” Jizemjian hopes to make a deep run in the CIF playoffs.

Another West Ranch athlete, swimmer Harrison Kim, described how with the pandemic, “procedure has changed.” He told The Paw Print sign-in to club practices is much stricter now, and how “it is always six feet apart, masks on, unless you’re in the water. In the pool it is max four to a lane and two per side.” Kim is maintaining healthy habits, as he described his daily routine, as “working out separately in the mornings” then “training with my club and sleeping right.” The Paw Print also asked West Ranch Varsity Basketball Coach Jeff Bryant how he’s keeping his players in shape and motivated for a potential season. He told The Paw Print that West Ranch Basketball “has a full regimen players can do on their own” and that he “encourages athletes to be creative with their workouts to challenge themselves and to find some type of motivation to push through.” Bryant also described how the quarantine has created a skill gap between some of his players. When asked if there was noticeable changes in team conditioning at the beginning of practice this year, Bryant replied, “I have seen a change, some athletes really took advantage of


no school and no team activity and really worked on their individual game/conditioning and stayed positive as if the season is guaranteed. Some athletes didn’t do anything and it really showed on the first day of voluntary camp. We understand it is tough to find motivation if you don’t know what the future holds.” Motivation seems to be the key for athletic success as this pandemic seems to drag longer and longer, seemingly without an end in sight. “Before COVID came, the track and field team was in excellent shape. We were ready to put down fast times and do some damage in the league,” Track and Cross Country Coach Jonathan Choi remarked. “After the sudden shutdown of spring sports and months of uncertainty, I have noticed most of my athletes came back a little bit rusty both physically and mentally. The end of Spring and Summer was hard for both coaches and athletes. I think just being able to come back and condition as a team in the Fall really helped the team’s mental health, morale, and physical fitness.” Choi described how he has been recommending

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and other dynamic exercises and drills to his athletes, in order to keep them in shape and motivated. “The main thing that makes a successful runner is consistency,” Choi told The Paw Print. “No matter where you are, you can always get a workout in, and even on the days you don’t feel like doing it, that’s where the discipline comes in. Those who truly love what they do will find a way to get it done.” Finally, Coach Choi expressed optimism for the upcoming season and gave credit to the administration, stating that he “would like to thank our awesome Athletic Administration (AP Kristan Hinze, AD Dody Garcia, AD Anne Konrad, AD Ryan Lindgreen) for making that happen. My Boy’s Cross Country team has been crushing workouts and we are ready to chase after our 6th straight Foothill League title!” Many West Ranch athletes have been forced to turn to individual training and private coaching more than ever with high school shut down. Hopefully this will pay off as they can now return to their teams and get ready for the upcoming season. Stay positive and healthy Wildcats!

6 FE


T E E 6F




Story and graphics by Reya Mehta Sleeping is arguably the most important thing that a person, especially a growing teenager, can do for themselves. But many students find themselves lacking in this department, getting significantly less sleep than the recommended 8-10 hours. Distance learning has impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives, and sleep is yet another example of this uprooting. Many students have drastically changed their sleep schedules. Raushni Chowdhury, a West Ranch junior, reports that she has been “sleeping a little bit later than usual, at around one-ish,” and waking up just a few minutes before school. “I feel like pre-coronavirus, there was always a set schedule for everything,” Chowdhury says. “I was like I have school from this time, and then I have extracurriculars, and then I go to sleep. But now it’s like everything is kind of mashed together, so I don’t really have a set schedule.” Another West Ranch student, sophomore Caden Lee, goes to bed at around midnight, waking at eight in the morning on weekdays and noon on weekends. She reports having some trouble sleeping lately, finding that “there are so many distractions, it’s hard to feel tired enough to close your eyes.” Staring at computer screens all day has worsened this issue. Many studies on the effects of blue light on sleep show that the specific wavelength interferes with melatonin production, according to Harvard Health. Though helpful during the day, boosting awareness and attention, the light disrupts the natural patterns of sleep. The increased exposure to computers and phones that emit blue light, especially later in the day, causes alertness at night. LED lights are more energy-efficient than fluorescent lighting, but they also “also produce a fair amount of light in the blue spectrum.” Harvard Health recommends using dim red lights at night, as the wavelength is “less likely to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.” Coffee is certainly not a new discovery to West Ranch students, but this “addiction” seems to have been amplified while at home. Lee admits that she drinks coffee “more than five times a week,” and feels almost

reliant on it. “I have been trying to wean off of it,” she adds. “I don’t want to be dependent on caffeine for the rest of my life.” Though drinking coffee isn’t inherently bad, it is important to remember that it can very easily disrupt sleeping patterns. Caffeine has an average half life of about five hours, but can take eight to ten hours to completely leave your system, according to Healthline. A cup of coffee, if drunk at five in the evening, may not completely leave your system until one in the morning. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are not a pleasant thought. Fragmented sleep has been correlated with the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Deep sleep, the sleep stage that comes after REM, is necessary to clear out toxins that are secreted by brain cells during the day. Without proper sleep, these toxins can build up in your brain and cause complications later in life. While one night of bad sleep will not affect you severely in the longterm, repeatedly neglecting your sleep can have repercussions. Though it may be hard to close your eyes and drift off into dreamland, certain things can make falling asleep easier. Exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning can wake you up, but artificial light has the same effect. So as the sun sets, try to use less artificial light, as it can disrupt your sleep. Spending some time outside, even for just 20 minutes, can also help reset your circadian rhythm. The pandemic and distance learning have undoubtedly had many negative effects on students’ sleep, but there have also been some benefits to staying at home. Students have found it easier to simply curl up and take a nap once school is over for the day. “I nap pretty much anytime I feel tired,” Lee says. “Whether that’s at two in the afternoon or six in the evening, I kind of just conk out.” Ultimately, sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing. Distance learning may make it considerably harder, but maintaining good sleeping habits may help make the best of the situation.


Happiness is just a click away Story by Jaeeun Park Graphics by Timothy Kang and Ricky Rojas

It is December 2020, and about nine months have passed since I began life within my bubble consisting of the kitchen and the living room couch. The only node that connects me to the outside world is the Internet. In the span of months, new art prints have been taken on and off my walls, my closet has been reorganized and added to and many failed cakes have been baked. A lot of my free time in quarantine involves some form of change, a way to take my mind off of the chaos going on in the world. Panic buying has come and gone in waves. From hand sanitizer to toilet paper, deals on the Internet have fluctuated at staggering rates as demand far outweighed the supply. To cater to increasing traffic, online shopping sites are taking advantage of consumers to advertise more. Retailers’ online revenue growth rose 68% since April, according to Forbes. There is a definite and consistent spike in online purchases for household supplies and groceries. But when will we address the nonessential side of the spectrum? As quarantine conditions persisted and people realized lockdown would last a while, they began to find outlets for coping mentally. The accessibility of online shopping platforms from the safety of one’s home combined with a greater amount of leisure time made for a surefire rise in consumer activity. Classes are all online, and most extracurricular activities are risky, put on hold. In terms of practicality, there is no need for new outfits and more games, devices or accessories. There are no stares to make me rethink my fashion choice nor superficial judgement to be felt. All anyone has and will see of me is my head and neck. However, I, for one, have grown increasingly dependent on retail sites throughout quarantine. With social distancing measures firmly in place and the health of my family members to keep in mind, I refrained from venturing into the outside world for long periods of time. Excursions to malls and restaurants were not feasible options. Instead, I found myself scrolling through advertisements at night awed by the variety of items offered by sellers from kitchen

appliances to craft supplies. Most of the time, I don’t even end up buying whatever I was looking at. The holiday season is only adding to the surge in online shopping. Research from Adobe Analytics shows that for the week of Nov. 4 this year, U.S. consumers spent $21.7 billion online, and are projected to spend about $193.78 billion using this method during winter, according to Digital Commerce 360. Online shopping seems to cure my boredom, give me an outlet for my pent-up impulsivity and entertain me on a scale to which nothing compares. A 2013 study done by Professor Ayalia Ruvio at Michigan State University assessed the relationship between materialism and traumatic stress. Rampant unemployment, economic instability and other psychological burdens in times like the pandemic have been shown to increase consumer spending. For those who do not have strict schedules or events to look forward to, tracking packages offers solace and anticipation. According to Mashable’s Anna Iovine, “Many people are currently experiencing a loss of control, and shopping could be a way of coping with it. It gives people a sense of agency and volitional behavior over their otherwise non-autonomous lives, as they have to both stay at home and watch what’s happening to the outside world unfold before them.” The professional graphics and products offered by virtual stores seem to be endless, stimulating the brain and conjuring oh-so-lovely visions of actually owning products. Even deciding which products to buy or not engages the psyche, keeping one occupied for quite some time. I dare say the process itself is where the fun lies, as I find myself ending up with too much spare time nowadays. I justify looking at inflatable whales planning for “the summer after quarantine,” blatantly ignoring the fact that I despise swimming pools and don’t know how to swim. I fantasize of easier times, when my only worry was where I wanted to travel to for a family trip. Iovine elaborates that “shopping can provide a sort-of wish fulfillment for our future selves, even if we have no idea what the future will look like.” Planning for the future is a way to remain hopeful, waiting for a better, safer time to come. Many don’t have much occasion to even leave their house, so buying clothes or trinkets are especially unnecessary. However, shopping nowadays is not of necessity but a way to escape, a coping mechanism for those who can be comforted by material wealth. In times such as these, I feel like it’s okay to treat yourself. Your mental well-being is of utmost importance. The year is coming to an end and there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future will bring. We won’t be prepared for everything, and the world may undergo a lot of change. Things will get overwhelming, but those moments will be faced and overcome one at a time. Find your comfort place and what makes you happy. For me, it just happens to be in the shopping cart icon on my screen.


Testing In Peril

Responses to COVID’s impact on testing Story by Ricky Rojas and Brandon Kim Photos by Ricky Rojas Graphic by Timothy Kang

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly altered students’ bit of their importance in recent years, they are still a huge lives. From sports being canceled to school being online, milestone in a student’s life. nothing is really the same. Standardized testing has also taken The senior class has been seriously affected by the change. a hit. AP exams were all free response, open note and online. Though many seniors take the SAT/ACT before winter break of Meanwhile, the SAT/ACT have been cancelled for many months their junior year, those who didn’t or wanted to retest would be as testing centers were forced to close due to the pandemic. in for a frustrating ride as the pandemic would cancel testing “AP exams [last] year were really bad. I know a lot of people dates for the rest of the year. have an easier time with multiple choice and this year no AP Jayden Barnholtz, a senior at West Ranch High School, exam had multiple choice so that really messed people up,” stated, “I mean initially [I wasn’t] really exactly sure how it was lamented junior Eric Lee. “It was kind of frustrating ‘cause going to work. We kind of just thought [coronavirus] wasn’t personally I’m better at multiple choice questions than free gonna last that long. It was unfortunate that [the SAT] got response, but due to it only being free response I think I could cancelled in March ‘cause I’ve been studying for that, but then have scored a bit better with a normal AP test.” I thought I’ll take it in June.” He continues explaining that his The transition to online has made some teachers worried for June appointment was then cancelled along with his August this year’s exam, worrying their students won’t be prepared. appointment. Mr. Burrill, West Ranch’s AP Calculus AB Teacher, has had to To Barnholtz, learning the material wasn’t much of a problem, completely redesign his class to overcome the hurdles students but he soon felt unmotivated to study due to the delays in face due to online school. testing as well as many colleges, such as the UC system, “[Last year] was easier as it was just review. I knew who beginning to look past standardized test scores on college cheated on our [online] exams and who everyone’s friends applications. Fortunately, Jayden was able to take the SAT at were. It’s much harder teaching from scratch as I don’t know Trinity in September and October, though other students didn’t [the students]. It was much have the same opportunity. easier to know who was doing Numerous underclassmen well and help those who were are also finding themselves in a struggling [in person]. Now I bind as SAT Subject Tests have rely on flex time to give students [The] AP exam was more of a been continuously postponed. additional help, but the students marathon than a FRQ. There were Most worry this time gap will who need it the most are usually negatively affect their score as way too many questions for the time it has been a few months since not the ones who come.” “The problem [with AP limit so it was up to the students to they have taken the class. students] is that most are only Unlike the SAT/ACT, which test concerned with their grade, see how many questions they could your fundamental understanding but the kids who do the best answer of English and Math, the Subject in my class are the ones who Tests are similar to AP Tests as care about learning the content Mr Burrill, AP Calculus Teacher they only test one subject at a and put the effort in. As I’ve time. These tests, ranging from learned by teaching this course for many years, those who put World History to Phsics, aren’t required by most colleges, but in minimum effort start to fall behind and don’t get the grade can be used to differentiate students who are applying to more they want.” competitive degree programs. The PawPrint also asked Mr. Burrill about the AP exam format. With more and more schools moving to be test optional, “[Last year’s] AP exam was more of a marathon than a FRQ. standardized tests are now taking the backseat to extracurricular There were way too many questions for the time limit so it activities and grades in college applications. Though this was up to the students to see how many questions they could change is sudden, colleges have been slowly moving away answer. Also, knowing [the College Board], the questions from standardized tests over the years. Some believe it’s a good weren’t ones you could type in a calculator [so] you would need idea. As Eric Lee put it, “[holistic admissions] show the more a good understanding of the content. I hope that they add [a creative aspects of students through their essays and through multiple choice section] back to the exam, even if it’s online. extracurriculars. So it might be a good way for students to get There are many ways they can make the questions secure and accepted into college.” [multiple choice questions] make it possible for students to be The shake-up in standardized testing has affected students tested on a much wider array of information.” nationwide. Though colleges have shifted focus away from AP exams were far from the only test affected. The Scholastic standardized tests, these exams were still important to the Aptitude Test, otherwise known as the SAT, has been used as a students we interviewed. Whether it was because they thought measure for academic ability ever since it was first distributed it would help them get into the school of their dreams, didn’t by the College Board in 1926. Then about three decades later, want to waste all those hours of studying, or simply wanted the American College Test (ACT), another exam designed to to fulfill this important milestone, everyone interviewed had differentiate student from student, was created. For a long one thing in common- they never stopped trying to take these time, colleges used these tests as a way to gauge a student’s tests, even if they needed to reschedule many times or drive an academic achievements. Though these tests have lost a little hour to another school.


c t i e o f ns on 2020 e r

Story by Iman Baber I’ve avoided writing this piece for weeks. Because I have no idea where to start. I took upon the task of writing this article, reasoning that the nature of the last year warrants some reflection, some thought, some overlying message that we can all walk away with. But, while outlining this article, I found that I would be parroting the same headlines that have filled our news feeds for the last few months. We all know what has happened this year. I know I’m hardly qualified to talk about hardship or struggle. I am fortunate that my family can safely stay at home, without having to worry about our next meal or our financial stability. Millions of people across our nation go through those struggles. It feels extremely tasteless for me to indulge in introspection whilst thousands of lives are being lost everyday. Yet, I can’t deny the weird, existential nature of this year. How tragedy added upon tragedy. How incredibly fragile everything feels. This year has served as an eyeopener to how our world really works. And, if I’m being honest, I’m feeling more angry, sad, and scared than anything else. I’m angry seeing the maskless protestors going against coronavirus restrictions, screaming “dictatorship” while my little sister, immunocompromised, cries at home, shaking, afraid to go outside lest she catch the virus. I’m angry at people who say that this is all a hoax, while a close family friend, who is a nurse, recounts her days at the hospital, where patients are dying and healthcare professionals are running low on PPE. I’m angry because this pandemic has and will continue to harm so many people indirectly due to the existing flaws in the system, yet so many others refuse to take it seriously. I’m sad because I see that this world is full of people who go out of their way to be unkind to others. And I’m scared because this year has truly realized many of Gen Z’s worst existential fears. When we were younger, climate change was something taught to us in our elementary science classes. We knew it was happening, but it felt far away. Distant, slow, something that we were sure our leaders and elders acknowledged and would work to stop. That if we listened to our books and teachers

and remembered to recycle and reduce waste, everything would be alright. But, with time comes understanding. And change. Now, the climate crisis rages on amidst the global pandemic, and its effects are appearing in more horrifying ways everyday. I know I can’t be the only one who, during that month of relentless forest fires, felt intense panic and fear watching the billowing clouds of smoke, having not seen the sun for what felt like weeks. Racism and police brutality have taken so many innocent lives. Yet, too many question if this is even a problem, and too many more horrifically try to justify what has happened. Politically, this year has been tumultuous, to say the least. It feels everyday something new happens, topping whatever event transpired the day before. Amongst all this, I along with my fellow peers in the class of 2021 are currently in the midst of applying to colleges. It’s harrowing taking these next steps building towards your future - something you have prepared for your entire high school career - in the midst of uncertainty. Of course, I recognize that these problems are vast and deeply entrenched within our society. Realizing this can be overwhelming, and it may make our normal day-to-day lives feel… redundant. I’m sorry if I sound all doom and gloom. To be honest, I’m not really sure what point I’m trying to get at right now. I hope I’m not being an echo-chamber for your fears. Rather, I guess this is just my way of reaching out, and hopefully recognizing your feelings. One thing that 2020 brought that I hope will never change is normalizing self-care and discussion of mental health. If you are feeling overwhelmed, this is my message to you to take care of yourself. Drink water, eat something, and take a few breaths. Reach out to someone if you feel isolated. Chances are they are feeling the same way. Never forget that you are the only you this world has, and it is people like you that make this world a brighter place. The last few months have been rife with chaos and stressful events. This warrants necessary change long-overdue change that we will have to prepare to fight for. With 2021 fast approaching, and only a few weeks left in the year of unpredictable, may we enter the new year with new understanding and more kindness.


Profile for The Paw Print

Winter Issue 2020