Students face dangers online, must learn media literacy
See pages 12-16
VOL. 14, ISSUE 3 FEBRUARY 2023
Features Editor Angela Ledesma
Entertainment Editor Grant Asner
Sports Editor Sabrina Roberston
Digital Media Editor
Staff Writers/ Photographers
Jason Arevalo, Alysa Basmadzhyan, Elizabeth Rose, Maggie Simonyan, Keira Van Der Molen
Aischelle Baun, Nemesi Morales, Alexa Rodriguez, Maor Segalovich, Emily Short, Desiree Spurkel
The Pearl Post is an open forum for student expression as allowed by California Education Codes 48907 and 48950, committed to excellence in reporting, writing and photography.
The magazine strives to inform and educate students and faculty on events affecting Daniel Pearl Magnet High School.
Thoughts and opinions published in these pages are the work of journalism students and do not represent the position of DPMHS, its administrators or the Los Angeles Unified School District.
An unsigned editorial is the opinion of the Editorial Board, which is comprised of the Editor-in-Chief and the editors. Signed opinions in The Pearl Post reflect the views of the authors. A signed cartoon reflects the view of the cartoonist.
The Pearl Post welcomes letters to the editor. They should be 250 words or less and may be edited for length. Letters with profanity and obscenity will not be printed. Unsigned or anonymous letters will not be published. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com.
The magazine is published bimonthly and is the official campus newsmagazine of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. The magazine is also posted online at http://www.thepearlpost.com.
IN THIS ISSUE...
Cover Design by Gabrielle Lashley
News Posse Scholarship / Library closure update / Cyberattack update / Edgenuity student struggles
Features Book Nook: Black History Month / Ukrainian student profiles / Club Corner: Media club / College Corner: Financial aid
18-19 20-23 24
Special Reports Online safety and media
Opinion Online safety editorial / Valentine’s Day is a waste of money
Sports Hockey blog / Football blog / Athletes of the month
Entertainment Best 2023 video games / Artist of the Month / Patron Ad / Best Valentine’s Day love songs / Homemade Valentine’s Day gift guide
Back Cover Photo by Satenik Ayrapetyan
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
For this issue, we covered several relevant topics and events including DPMHS’ use of the online learning platforms APEX and Edgenuity, upcoming financial aid deadlines, Valentine’s Day and teen online safety. We worked to include a variety of visuals including infographics, artwork and photos. We also prioritized amplifying student voices by conducting surveys for two of our primary articles.
The biggest challenge we faced when putting this issue together was a very short production period. Since winter break ended on Jan. 9, we only had about three weeks between the first day of the spring semester and the day we went to press. Despite our limited time, we pushed ourselves to communicate, collaborate and produce high-quality content. We hope you find this issue informative and engaging.
- Delilah Brumer
THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023 2
Silcott secures Posse scholarship
By Alan Ruiz
After a grueling five-month interview process that includes group leadership activities and one-on-one interviews, senior Naamah Silcott received a scholarship from The Posse Foundation.
“It’s been one of the happiest things that have happened in recent years,” Silcott said. “It’s just really nice to see all the hard work pay off in the end.”
Only five seniors have received the prestigious Posse scholarship in Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) history. Posse identifies leaders in the community and offers them a full-ride scholarship. Silcott surely fits those criteria, as they are the Prestige Yearbook editor-in-chief and are the president of Pride Club and Black Student Union. They are also the co-president of Art Club and team captain of the Birmingham Community Charter High School varsity girls volleyball team.
“Her dedication to things around the school and what she has done to represent (DPMHS) shows that she can commit herself,” counselor Martina Torres said. “She puts herself in (extracurricular programs) and she lets them be a part of her. She’s a team player and an out-of-the-box thinker.”
Keonabelle Paniagua, who now attends Pepperdine University, was the last DPMHS Posse scholar. She saw Silcott’s leadership ability and recommended they apply.
“I was nervous,” Silcott said. “It was a very daunting thing to think that I could actually do something so out of my comfort zone. But if (Paniagua) thought I was capable, then I knew that I was capable in some way, shape or form.”
During the selection process, Silcott struggled with uneasiness caused by social anxiety. During the interview process, they met new people and experienced the pressure of competing with more than 100 people. They also combated self-doubt, worrying that they would not meet up to expectations.
“I wanted to drop out of doing it completely,” Silcott said. “But I just kept pushing and pushing because I knew it would be disappointing to (my supporters) but I was also thinking
about if I miss out on taking this opportunity.”
Posse prides itself on its Dynamic Assessment Process for finding worthy scholarship candidates. A key component of the process is an emphasis on diversity. The goal is to discover motivated scholars, including those from demographics that certain college admissions criteria may overlook. As a result, Posse is known for providing opportunities to all worthy students regardless of race, social class or any other demographic.
“When I went to the Posse ceremony (on Jan. 4), it was one of the most diverse crowds I had ever been in,” Silcott said. “It was really nice to see people who looked like me, sounded like me or acted like me. And it was also really nice to see people who didn’t. I’m grateful that they look out for that.”
Besides receiving a full-ride to a four-year college, Silcott will also stay alongside their fellow scholarship winners throughout their undergraduate college life. Silcott also looks forward to the training they will receive from The Posse Foundation through its pre-collegiate training program that prepares new Posse members for the college environment.
“I really appreciate that kind of guidance because most people don’t get that kind of mentoring,” Silcott said. “It’s very rare to see a program like this as willing to really invest as much time and effort into you as you invest into the scholarship.”
Silcott has selected liberal arts school Kalamazoo College in Michigan as their post-graduation destination. The school appealed to them because of its focus on the arts and the option to major in neuroscience, a field that Silcott is considering entering. For now, they have applied to the college as undecided with regard to a major in order to keep their options open.
“(The scholarship is) taking me down a path that I would’ve never expected out of my life,” Silcott said. “So, I’m really ecstatic to see what kind of person I become as a result of this scholarship.”
THE PEARL POST| DELILAH BRUMER 3
EMILY SHORT| The Pearl Post Senior Naamah Silcott holds a certificate that they received after being awarded a full-ride scholarship from the Posse Foundation on Jan. 4.
PROVIDED BY NAAMAH SILCOTT| The Pearl Post Senior Naamah Silcott stands along their fellow scholarship winners on Jan. 4 during the Posse Foundation’s 11th annual awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Library reopens on Tuesdays
By Satenik Ayrapetyan @sayra.syrup
Senior Yvette Mandujano spent much of her early years at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s (DPMHS) library, hanging out with friends, playing games and reading books. Following the departure of DPMHS’ teacher-librarian in October 2021, the library remained closed for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year and into the start of the 2022-2023 fall semester.
With the library’s closing, the DPMHS Library Advisory Committee also dissolved. The committee had been around for multiple years and served as a place where students could develop digital library skills, learn about library resources, read to elementary school students and go on field trips to various libraries across Los Angeles.
“I personally have so many memories in that library,” Mandujano said. “Mainly because of my friends but I also had signed up to be a part of the library committee because I heard from previous years that it was really exciting. They went on trips, visited other giant libraries and I was excited. But then when it was shut down I just was immensely disappointed and had to give up on possibly taking field trips ever again.”
Since mid-fall, the library has been open on Tuesdays throughout the day and for one hour after school for “social hour.” The library is managed by parent volunteer Colleen Elkins, who allows students to check out books as long as they do it on paper, due to the fact that she does not have access to the digital checkout system. However, her presence did not bring about the return of the DPMHS Library Advisory Committee, nor does it fulfill the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) 2019 union demands, which state that a librarian is required to be full-time employed at every public school.
“We remain dedicated to finding a suitable candidate to serve as librarian at DPMHS,” a Los Angeles Unified spokesperson said. “While our search remains underway, we have a parent volunteer that supports the library after school on Tuesdays for our students.”
Social Hour as an afterschool club encourages students to participate in various activities with each other, functioning as a place to wind down while having fun. While she volunteers at the library, Elkins hopes for it to be a place of comfort for students.
“I cleaned it up,” Elkins said. “I got the books off the floor. I fetured some books up (on top of the shelves). I’ve been trying
to go through and organize the books and make a list. I can’t get into the checkout system but if students want to (check books out) we can do them on paper, old school.”
With multiple activities and games for students to play, as well as the ability to check out books, the library powers through despite its ongoing search for a working librarian.
“I think this could become a place that’s more of a social place,” Elkins said. “A place to study, a place that has access to books and access to things that you could just relax with, places to curl up.”
For freshman Nemesi Morales Rios, the Social Hour club has allowed her to do all that and more, as it provides students with room inside the school to wait for their parents and socialize with their peers as they wait to be picked up.
“My mom tends to be super late to pick me up,” Morales Rios said. “So when they started doing the Tuesday (Social Hour), I just went there to hang out with my friends and explore. It was definitely better than waiting on the bench… there are a bunch of game boards, we pick out which one we like and play with our friends. It’s a nice place to relax and chill.”
4 THE PEARL POST | FEBRUARY 2023
ALAN RUIZ| The Pearl Post Freshman Nemesi Morales smiles at freshman Serena Elkins while playing Telestrations in the library after school on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
DPMHS remains without a full-time librarian after the library closed more than a year ago.
WiFi problems linger months after hack
Students and teachers have faced tech struggles since September.
By Jason Arevalo @flamingtoxic622
SSenior Ralph Uy De Ong uses Schoology to complete assignments for his classes but struggles to get a stable connection to the school WiFi. Uy De Ong notices that Schoology and Google Docs move slower than ever.
“I feel the slowness because when you have to do assignments over Schoology that are due that period, it can get annoying because you’re unable to complete them, whether that be struggling to get online or struggling to turn them in due to the WiFi,” Uy De Ong said.
Due to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) cyberattack that happened the first week of September, teachers now have to complete a two-step login process for certain online programs. Even with the additional steps, there still have been glitches on the platforms that teachers and students use, according to Spanish teacher Glenda Hurtado. She has noticed that certain areas of the school, such as the back of the school, have a weaker connection to the WiFi.
“I feel like the physical textbook helps me plan out my lessons, especially when some of our resources like the e-book go down, which is why I force my students to bring the text book because it’s one of the most reliable resources available,” Hurtado said.
Other teachers have figured out ways around the WiFi issues. English teacher Francesca Gunther has her students use their phones in class as a workaround if they are struggling to connect to the school WiFi. Resource teacher Sadia Aziz has students do paper and pencil assignments if their computers don’t work.
“What I have learned is that paper and pencil, as well the photocopier are really good tools,” said Resource teacher Sadia Aziz. “Technology is not the only way of teaching things.”
The LAUSD conducted an internal cybersecurity audit that was prepared more than two years ago but has failed to follow through with its recommendations, causing the district to be vulnerable to hacks. In addition, the school district knew about the initial stages of the September hack as early as July 31 but
did not immediately make that information public, according to the Los Angeles Times article published on Jan 21.
As frustrations persist, LAUSD is working to solve connectivity problems by updating WiFi networks in schools and providing tech support.
“I use my data instead of the WiFi,” sophomore Malaika Afridi said. “While it works, it uses a lot of my data.”
5 NEWS | DELILAH BRUMER
DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post A student holds a phone, which displays a no internet connection screen. Students have been struggling to connect to school WiFi for several months.
APEX, Edgenuity exhaust students,
By Gabrielle Lashley @yogabbygabby_l
Watching long videos and trying to comprehend content on a digital platform has become the norm for many students, including junior Declan Curran, who’s been using Edgenuity for the past three years.
“I don’t think Edgenuity should fully replace teachers,” Curran said. “It’s definitely harder for some students to learn, especially if you don’t have internet (connection) but it’s a lifesaver if you don’t have a teacher.”
Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS), like many other schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), is using online learning platforms such as Edgenuity and APEX for several classes. These platforms use online videos and modules to teach students material that they would usually learn from live teacher instruction. Through these online courses, students earn grades and credit like they would through live instruction.
Since students returned to on-campus learning in the 2021-2022 school year, DPMHS didn’t require as many online licenses compared to during distance learning. Due to the lack of teachers for classes, like the unfilled position of a second math teacher for the past year, students have been requesting licenses for courses that DPMHS doesn’t have enough teachers for. Other students have been using online learning in order to
“I’d prefer live learning because there’s more interaction between teacher and students,” said sophomore Kristen Intal, who is taking AP World History on Edgenuity. “If I have questions, I can ask (teachers) and get an answer relatively quick. With Edgenuity, you do get a response with an email but that can be anywhere spanding to 24 hours. it’s not immediate.”
According to Edgenuity.com, Edgenuity is currently being used by more than 20,000 schools around the world and over 4 million students. In the 2021-2022 school year, LAUSD spent roughly $158 Million on online resources, including these platforms. During distance learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of Edgenuity and APEX became widespread throughout the district. Although DPMHS has returned to in-person instruction, the school continues to use these platforms for classes, including AP Calculus, AP World History and AP Spanish Language.
“If there’s a necessity to (using Edgenuity) then I can understand why (LAUSD) has to use it but if they have the option to use a live teacher, that would probably be better,” Intal said.
According to Guidance Counselor Martina Torres, around 30 Edgenuity licenses were requested so far in the 2022-2023
6 THE PEARL POST | FEBRUARY 2023
DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post
Based on a Pearl Post survey of 23 DPMHS students who are taking Edgenuity or APEX classes, 78.2% of students say that learning on these platforms is worse or much worse than classroom instruction. In contrast, 17.4% of students say that learning on these platforms is the same as classroom instruction and 10% say it’s better.
students, increase course opportunities
spring semester and eight APEX licenses were either requested or are currently in use. However, in the fall semester of this school year, four Edgenuity licenses and no APEX licenses were used. APEX and Edgenuity are both online learning platforms with similar curricula but they are paid for differently. While LAUSD pays for the classes that students request on Edgenuity, DPMHS has to allocate a portion of their budget to pay for APEX licenses, which are $520 per student. APEX is sometimes used instead of Edgenuity because LAUSD rejects some class requests.
“I feel like (it’s) a little bit more hands on with (requesting classes). (For) the APEX process, it’s super expensive for our school,” Torres said.
Students have said they’re having difficulties using Edgenuity due to the overload of videos and the large amount of content compacted into four-month periods. Many students taking online classes have also complained about receiving classes several days to weeks late, which cuts the time they have to complete the course. Torres said that once she requests licenses for online classes, she has to wait for LAUSD to then approve the course.
“Students getting their classes late is a big issue,” said senior Yvette Mandujano, who is taking AP Calculus on APEX. “There’s been some things that could have been avoided.”
Other students find Edgenuity to be a very useful platform, allowing them to take classes they need on their own time and with their own pacing. Senior Sal Amador, who is using Edgenuity for credit recovery, prefers the digital platform because of the distractions that may come with live learning.
Long-term DPMHS math substitute George Padgett says that while online learning is a useful platform for students who aren’t able to have a live class, the use of it over quarantine has seemed to worsen students’ learning gap. Padgett, who teaches geometry and precalculus, previously used Edgenuity but is now teaching out of a textbook. Other DPMHS teachers who use Edgenuity were contacted for interviews but they declined to comment.
“I’m finding students need a lot of review, prep and remediation on skills they missed out on or didn’t learn very well,” Padgett said. “I’m taking extra time to catch them up.”
Substitute Math Teacher
“(Edgenuity) gives people an opportunity to make up a grade, like mine,” Amador said. “Nothing changed. I’m just doing it on my own time and from the comfort of my home.”
Many DPMHS students said that they are disappointed by the lack of live teachers for certain classes and that although online learning platforms are a useful alternative, live instruction is still preferred. Many also said that a student’s learning experience is what they make of it.
“You can sit in a class all year and not learn anything or you can sit in a class for a week and learn a lot of things,” Amador said. “Learning really depends on you.”
7 NEWS | DELILAH BRUMER
DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post Two computers sit open with the online learning platforms Edgenuity and APEX. Daniel Pearl Magnet High School bought 42 licenses for the platforms during the 2022-23 school year.
I’m finding students need a lot of review, prep and remediation on skills they missed out on or didn’t learn very well.
Honor these 5 authors for Black History Month
By Nemesi Martinez
Black History Month is a tribute to many African Americans’ hard work. It started in February 1926 by author and historian Carter G. Woodson, as a week to learn about the culture and accomplishments of African Americans. This became known as “Black History Month” in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. Here are the top five Black authors that will help you get into the spirit of the month.
Angie Thomas, a young adult novelist, is a great author who is most well-known for the book “The Hate U Give.” Thomas takes on the injustice of many racial problems and faces them head-on with this book. Many of the same pattern, including “On the Come Up,” and “Concrete
Rose.” Thomas even includes love stories “Blackout,” and “Whiteout” for romance fans.
Renowned author and poet Maya Angelou is known worldwide for her work, including her many published novels and poems. Even though she passed away on May 28, 2014, her work is still being studied and treasured. Angelou’s most known book is her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” where she talks about her traumatic childhood. It is truly a heartbreaking story that is a must-read for poem lovers. This book makes the reader better understand the injustices many African Americans face such as racism and their struggle for
For fans of LGBTQ+ novels, I have the perfect author for you. Aaron Foley is a journalist and author, currently serving as senior digital editor for the PBS NewsHour. His bestselling book “Boys Come First,” is a gay fiction book published early last year. Foley makes a hilarious take on three gay men trying to find love which has garnered him a large audience of followers. This book is engaging for all audiences, even if you aren’t a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Though Foley hasn’t published too many novels, you will be waiting for more after reading the few he does have.
Mystery followers will be excited to hear of Walter Mosley’s novels. Mosley is most known for his work in crime and mystery, with his best-selling book being the “Easy Rawlins” series. It follows private detective Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins facing and solving crimes. The detective is a veteran of World War II, and a “no funny business” type of guy. This bone-chilling mystery is a fan favorite and a must read if mystery is interesting to you.
THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
8 Book Nook
GABRIELLE LASHLEY | The Pearl Post
GABRIELLE LASHLEY | The Pearl Post
As the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine nears, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) welcomes two Ukrainian students: freshmen Sebastian Olfatmanesh, who has been in the U.S. for three months, and
Alisa Kaharchanko, who has been here for 10 months.
“I feel a lot more comfortable here because in Ukraine, even before war, I always wanted to come here to the U.S. and start my life from the beginning,” Olfatmanesh said. “Coming here changed my life for the better.”
Since coming to the U.S. after the war began on Feb. 24, 2022, both Olfatmanesh and Kaharchanko are getting used to the cultural differences between Ukraine and the U.S.
“I wouldn’t say it’s very different here but the mentality of the people is very different,” Kaharchanko said in Russian. “The reaction of people to certain matters, there’s a difference between those that were born here and the socialization, the culture, the habits. For example, to take the language, many people here joke about it to some degree.”
Olfatmanesh has also been adjusting to the new environment. Though he had a hard time finding a group of friends in the beginning, he feels very comfortable at the school now. One hobby that has helped him cope through the change is guitar. Olfatmanesh began playing guitar for two years now and performed a couple of songs in the winter concert.
“It (guitar) is my favorite thing to do,” Olfatmanesh said. “I don’t know how I would live without it. It kind of saved my life.”
Kaharchanko also brought her hobby to the U.S. and enjoys playing tennis. She has been playing tennis for two years and wishes to be a professional tennis player in the future.
“I play in a Russian-speaking team and I’d like to make it a profession,” Kaharchanko said.
FEATURES | ANGELA LEDESMA 9
ELIZABETH ROSE | The Pearl Post Freshman Alisa Kaharchanko works on her computer during biology on Jan. 26.
ANGELA LEDESMA | The Pearl Post Freshman Sebastian Olfatmanesh practices playing the guitar during Advanced Band on Jan. 30. Olfatmanesh and his peers are practicing for the spring concert.
Lights, camera, action! Media Club creates haunting series
By Alysa Basmadzhyan @alysa_katee
The Media Club is starting off with an exciting project that connects the school’s history with a supernatural twist. Both old and new members alike are thrilled to begin the Pearl Net News T.V. series with a working title called “High school spirits.”
“I joined (the Media Club) because I had a lot of interest with video creation from the start,” freshman Jordan Viviano said. “I got into video editing around 2016. When I found out there was a club pretty much dedicated to that sort of thing in this school, I just kind of decided to take that opportunity.”
Media Club was started in 2018 by video production teacher Mark Middlebrook and has been ongoing every year since. Middlebrook hopes to incorporate
the rich history of the school, which used to be a hospital during World War II with ghosts into the new TV series.
“We want to use the whole school as a set and we will be including part of the school’s history,” Middlebrook said. “We are gonna be fictionalizing it so we can utilize PNN, journalism and drama and all the other stuff that goes into filmmaking.”
For now, the club has a trailer in the works and hopes to have finished an episode or two of the series by next month.
“I think that this project is pretty big school-wise and I’m actually pretty excited about it,” said senior Jiszelle Arana, the director of the series.
10 THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
ANGELA LEDESMA | The Pearl Post Video Production teacher Mark Middlebrook talks to senior Media Club members Ralph Uy De Ong and Jiszelle Arana on Nov. 17 while editing videos. The Media club meets every Thursday to create a T.V. series with a working title called “High school spirits.” For now, the Club is working on a trailer and will have an episode out soon.
I think that this project should be something that people should look out for and will be pretty fun. Senior Jiszelle Arana ”
Seniors rush to finish financial aid forms on time
By Keira Van Der Molen @k.kiwi_o
As the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act (CADAA) application deadlines are approaching on June 30, seniors are rapidly submitting their forms with the guidance of School Counselor Martina Torres.
“It’s (FAFSA and CADAA) the only way that students could be eligible for any financial aid from the start,” Torres said. “That’s one of the ways that students are eligible for financial aid, if approved.”
FAFSA is a form any United States citizen meeting academic standards of a 2.0 GPA (C average) can complete in order to receive financial help for college from the federal government. This is contrary to CADAA, in which a student who applies for the application does not have to be a United States citizen, but instead can be an undocumented student or a student with a visa, according to California Student Aid Commision.
According to FederalStudentAid, if a student wants to add any corrections to their application, they must have it re-submitted by Sept. 9. But if a student fails to apply entirely, they are no longer eligible to submit that year’s FAFSA form.
CADAA doesn’t have a strict deadline but students are encouraged to submit their forms by March 2 to increase their financial aid options according to csac.ca.gov.
“The first step is to create the Federal Student Aid ID,” Torres said. “Then the second step is to gather the tax documents, the 2021 tax documents from parents in order to start the FAFSA application or CADAA application.”
Jasmine Orozco is one of the 24 DPMHS students who has finished their financial aid application. For her, the second step of the process was the most complicated. It requires an individual to include their parents’ tax information, as well as information about their household income, according to Education
“You need your parents’ tax forms and it seems like the most difficult part until you actually start going through it and it’s just like a tedious process,” Orozco said. “Just finding out how to do it was hard because it was confusing when I first found the website. Having someone to help you is always a good idea.”
The complexity of the second step is something senior Lucia Avellaneda can agree on. Avellaneda said it is difficult at first because you need to file your parents’ taxes and getting all the necessary information for that on its own was a struggle.
The easiest step of the FAFSA application process for both Avellaneda and Orozco was step one: creating an account where you input your information such as your social security number, your birthday and your name.
“It’s more time consuming and something we can get confused on but it’s a fairly easy process to go through compared to other things,” Avellaneda said. “I think most people can go through it in less than an hour, which was very helpful for me.”
Whether you are a senior working through the financial aid forms or a junior seeking to prepare for the future, it’s a good idea to learn more about your options such as what is required for the FAFSA and CADAA form and consult with your counselor.
“Seniors must complete their financial aid form,” Torres said. “They can complete FAFSA as one of their two options or they can choose their other option which is the California Dream Act Application. But they need to speak to me to help determine which one they should do if they don’t already know.”
11 FEATURES | ANGELA LEDESMA
ANGELA LEDESMA | The Pearl Post
Academic counselor Martina Torres stands in front of the FAFSA and CADAA board on Jan. 26. Torres adds the name of senior students who have completed their FAFSA or CADAA to mark the overall student progression.
12 THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
Artwork by Desiree Spurkel
Online threats, misinformation grow along with new generation
By Elizabeth Rose
Senior Sarah Esser initially got social media in sixth grade to better connect with her friends, unaware that she would also be left open to the eyes of anyone who stumbled upon her account.
“I get a lot of older men commenting on my stuff,” said Esser, who’s accumulated over 2,000 followers on Instagram. “It’s really disgusting.”
In late 2022, a Riverside catfishing incident took hold of national headlines and showed the real-life risks of engaging with strangers online. A Virginia police officer befriended a teen girl online using a falsified persona and obtained her personal information before he drove to her home, killed three of her family members and abducted her. Similar interactions to the one depicted here, while not to this extent, occur behind the scenes every day.
A study done by technology nonprofit Thorn shows that 40% of all minors online have been approached by someone they didn’t know. A similar study conducted by Smart Social
revealed that 50% of people ages 15-24 have experienced abusive behavior online.
“(Uncomfortable online interactions) happen a lot,” said senior Giselle Khalil, who has over 2,000 followers on Instagram. “Sometimes people make fake accounts to say weird things (about me). I’ve kind of learned to just ignore it after a while.”
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has left more teens than ever dependent on social media for interactions and information, with roughly one in three saying some of their closest friends are those made online. This also enables anyone with the necessary means to access those who live their online lives openly. Junior Lauren Galvez has done her best to stay out of the public eye.
“(I got) social media because I wanted to connect more with my friends,” Galvez said. “(My account) is public but I purposely don’t add myself to any of the pictures or videos I put out.”
Q: Have you ever felt unsafe or uncomfortable online?
13 SPECIAL REPORTS | RIKKA DIMALANTA
AND PHOTOS BY RIKKA DIMALANTA AND DELILAH BRUMER
The results of a study from the World Economic Forum state that the most popular social media platforms among this generation’s teens are YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. A poll consisting of 55 Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) students widely supports this, with 21.8% of students saying they use YouTube, 52.7% saying they use TikTok and 87% saying they use Instagram. Over half of the participants, 54.5%, say they choose to keep their main accounts private.
“If someone (I don’t know) requests to follow me,” a freshman who took the poll said. “I don’t let them. I only follow my friends, family and educational accounts.”
When asked how they protect their digital footprint online, 53% of respondents said they either refrain from posting things pertaining to their lives or review things before they post.
“Stuff on social media stays on there forever,” sophomore Donovan Ochoa said. “There’s no way of it just never existing. So I think it’s important to just not post stuff that your future self wouldn’t be proud of.”
Out of all the poll respondents, 63.6% also said they’ve encountered misinformation before, with the most notable topics they’ve seen including rumors pertaining to influencers and the COVID-19 virus. Massachusetts Institute of Technology noted in a 2018 study that misinformation on Twitter, which is used by 32.7% of DPMHS students, often spreads
faster than the facts. The same study notes that most hoaxes are propelled by people rather than bots.
The News Literacy Project offers programs aimed to help people look into the legitimacy of questionable pieces of information online. Students, like those in DPMHS’ photography class, can use this resource to factcheck the sources they see online and dig deeper into a topic rather than accept the surface information they may come across.
“There’s a lot of things that go into media and through social media,” said sophomore Genesis Cuellar-Figueroa, who has over 1,000 followers on Instagram. “Sometimes there can be false information that can be spread and it can make it this big thing that could possibly harm someone or ruin someone’s reputation as well.”
With these increasing digital dangers, from misinformed young minds to frequent online threats, more teenagers are questioning whether or not social media is really worth the risk of putting their personal safety on the line.
“There’s a lot of age ranges on social media,” Cuellar-Figueroa said. “I guess that’s a reason why (people) should advocate more for safety, because there’s a lot of people who have no good intentions and they just love bothering people. So safety is something that’s pretty important when it comes to social media.”
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Managing Editor Rikka Dimalanta contributed to this report.
Stuff on social media stays on there forever. There’s no way of it just never existing. So I think it’s important to just not post stuff that your future self wouldn’t be proud of.
Sophomore Donovan Ochoa ”
“ There’s a lot of age ranges on social media. I guess that’s a reason why (people) should advocate more for safety, because there’s a lot of people who have no good intentions and they just love bothering people.
Sophomore Genesis Cuellar-Figueroa ”
Based on a survey of 55 Daniel Pearl Magnet High School students, 54.5% of students said they have private social media accounts. Additionally, 43.6% of participants said they post less than once a month while 30.9% said they post one to two times a month. When asked how they protect their digital footprint, a senior said “I don’t post something that is harmful to others. If I do post, it isn’t something extremely personal. I always remember that once it’s on the internet, it is never leaving truly.”
SPECIAL REPORTS| RIKKA DIMALANTA 15
RIKKA DIMALANTA | The Pearl Post
The Pearl Post conducted a survey of 55 Daniel Pearl Magnet High School students about their experiences with online safety and misinformation.
Scrolling danger: student online literacy must improve
Students’ ability to navigate all the information around them is only getting more important as we adapt to an increasingly online world. There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation online. Both misinformation and disinformation are the spread of false information, though they differ in the intention behind them. Whereas misinformation is accidental, disinformation is the deliberate spread of wrong information, such as propaganda. This makes it difficult to discern fact from fiction.
As student journalists, it is our job to provide trustworthy information but we also want to promote the use of credible news sources. That is why media literacy is so important to understand. It may be easier to find information from the first website we see. A video or a post on social media, but the easiest way to get news is not always the best way.
First and foremost, you should be wary of information that may not seem credible. If you know that a source you are looking at isn’t reputable, don’t take information from them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Do your research before you believe in information you see online or on social media. If you do see something online that you aren’t too sure whether it is true or not, then it’s always best to find credible sources and check. To check if a news source is credible, ask yourself if there is biased information or who owns the news source. These steps should be taken before you share content because fact checking will help prevent spreading misinformation in the first place.
The Pearl Post students learn about news literacy and take quizzes to better our understanding. We use resources such as
the News Literacy Project (NLP), which helps people learn to identify credible news sources. NLP shares tips, a podcast and quizzes to test your knowledge on news literacy. Freshmen in the photography classes also do weekly assignments from the NLP’s Checkology online curriculum.
As we spend more time online, other dangers apart from misinformation can come with it. In late November last year, former Virginia police officer, 28-year-old Austin Lee Edwards, catfished a teen by pretending to be a 17-yearold. Edwards ended up getting the personal information of a 15-year-old girl he developed a relationship with online. He groomed the teen before ultimately killing three members of her family who resided in Riverside. This tragic event brings up more than just misinformation on social media. Catfishing and grooming have become easier than ever due to social media. People can become a whole new person online and deceive others of who they truly are. The motives of people online can vary and sometimes they can be misleading or malicious. So don’t be the next victim. There are a lot of dangers online apart from misinformation and online predators so be wary of what you see and do online.
16 THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
DELILAH BRUMER | The Pearl Post
A freshman in Journalism teacher Adriana Chavira’s fourth period photography class takes a news media literacy quiz during Media Literacy Week, Jan. 20-27. Media literacy is important in understanding and identifying misinformation, which can take many forms such as lies or propaganda.
The motives of people online can vary and sometimes they can be misleading or malicious. ”
OpinionSweet or sour? The downsides of buying Valentine’s Day products
By Angela Ledesma @Angela_Ledesma_
Feb. 14 has been welcomed by all as the day of love. As soon as Christmas is over, stores start putting out goods colored in the appealing red, pink and white colors associated with Valentine’s Day. As exciting as it is buying chocolates for your significant other, friends and family, it is undeniable that Valentine’s Day has become so pervasively consumerist. Valentine’s Day doesn’t only apply to people who are in a relationship. It is advertised for everyone. Whether you want to buy candy for your friends or yourself, it is still encouraged to buy Valentine’s Day products because of how heavily marketed it is.
It is no secret that companies have capitalized on this and created the tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day through flowers, chocolates and other merchandise. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), spending for Valentine’s Day in 2022 was the second highest in history, hitting a jaw dropping $23.9 billion, $2 billion more than the year before. There isn’t anything wrong with a day dedicated to the
ones that you love, though this connects with the underlying broader problem of capitalism. Corporate greed has blown up this holiday disproportionately, turning it into the fifth biggest money making event in the United States in 2022.
According to the NRF, people spent around $175 per person in 2022. That is more money being spent than a day’s work for minimum wage in California. Though celebrating Valentine’s Day may be an expensive choice, businesses have instilled expectations into the minds of consumers. We not only want to give chocolates or flowers during Valentine’s Day but we want to receive gifts, ultimately playing right into the hands of this capitalistic money-making scheme.
Rather than falling for this capitalist scheme, I think we should be spending our time with the ones nearest to us by choice, not because of a holiday. As sweet as Valentine’s Day may be, at the end of it all, it’s just another consumerist strategy by corporations that has been warped to being a day of love.
17 OPINION | SATENIK AYRAPETYAN
DELILAH BRUMER | The Pearl Post
A scattered collection of coins, dollar bills, Hershey Kisses and candy hearts lie on a table, representing Valentine’s Day and the consumerist culture surrounding it. Shopping for the holiday may be fun, but by doing so the buyer actively partakes in the capitalistic nature of the money-making event, rather than declaring their love.
‘I can’t imagine not being a Kings fan.’
By Sabrina Robetrson @sabrinastired
My experience with hockey started the day I was born when I was given a small hockey stick with the date of my birth on it. Some of my fondest and earliest memories are watching the Los Angeles Kings play on my family’s big box TV.
I remember sitting with my dad and trying to learn the rules while the game was happening. Hockey is fast, the puck is small and my dad was talking so fast I couldn’t really keep up. But I managed to learn the rules. My dad always says he’s proud that he’s raised me right.
The National Hockey League season starts in October and each team has 82 games. There are 32 teams spanning from the West Coast to the East Coast and of course Canada. The Stanley Cup Playoffs start in April and the Kings are currently in the running to make the playoffs.
Nothing beats when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup in 2012. When they won, my dad jumped up and cried. He had been waiting for this moment his whole life. I remember being so excited and jumping around with my sister.
After they won, there was a parade in Downtown L.A. that my family went to. On our first bus, there were only a couple of Kings fans, but every stop gathered more and more fans. When we finally got downtown all the players were on party buses waving and taking turns holding up the Stanley Cup. I swear that the then alternative captain Anže Kopitar waved to me!
Hockey has been a huge part of my life. I know I would be a different person if my parents weren’t huge hockey fans and I can’t imagine not being a Kings fan.
Injuries won’t stop the love of the game
By Jason Arevalo @flamingtoxic622
Despite the number of injuries each year, football is one of the most popular sports in America, drawing millions of viewers each week. The Super Bowl is the crown jewel of The National Football League (NFL), with last year’s game attracting about 99.18 million viewers.
I love watching football, especially the NFL games. I grew up watching the NFL games which is something I share with my family. My family had two people who played high school football. My 16-year-old younger cousin plays for the Chatsworth High JV football team. He got hurt badly last year and sprained his ankle, causing him to miss out on a couple of practices and games. My 18-year-old cousin played for his Clark High School football until sophomore year.
Besides watching my cousins play football, my family watches each new NFL season. I’ve lost my voice sometimes screaming at the TV screen wanting my team to make a different play or messing up on a touchdown.
With 32 teams across the country, football has the most injuries compared to any other sport. The NFL had about 129 injuries as of 2021. Two recently injured players are Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered from commotio cordis and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered from head and neck injuries.
To protect players football equipment has changed over the years. The first football helmet was only made out of leather straps and moleskin, now it’s made out of light and durable plastic. The teams wear thigh, knee and shoulder pads to limit the damage a player takes.
If any player is not wearing this equipment, then they are not allowed to play. If a player is injured too many times they might be dropped from the team. With the safety equipment they are still prone to injuries on the field.
Despite the criticism of the sport because of the injuries, my family and I still plan to gather around the TV and watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.
18 THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
The Super Bowl is the crown jewel of the NFL. Jason Arevalo ”
SABRINA ROBERTSON | The Pearl Post
The Los Angeles Kings won their first Stanley Cup in 2012 and an 8-year-old Sabrina Robertson went to the parade in downtown Los Angeles with the rest of her family. They took a photo with a fan dressed up as a gorilla in a Kings T-shirt.
Athletes of the month
Athletes spring into the new season
By Maor Segalovich
Athlete of the month senior Kennedy Fayton-Guzman has been playing basketball on the high school level since freshman year. She is ready to play her last season with full effort.
Question: What made you start playing basketball?
Answer: I was quite into sports at a young age. I played multiple sports like soccer but I liked basketball the most.
Q: What is the hardest part of being a basketball player?
A: The hardest part is definitely staying consistent by pushing through and remembering why you are there.
Q: What does it take to make it to varsity?
A: To make varsity you have to put in a lot of hard work and show the coach that you care. You have to be committed to the sport to make it far.
Q: How does playing basketball affect your high school experience?
A: It takes a lot of my time. Coaches expect us to do both sports and academics. I usually try putting academics first.
Q: What was your most memorable moment of high school basketball?
A: Last year winning the championship because we haven’t gotten a championship in a long time and winning and bringing home the championship was just a great feeling.
By Sabrina Robetrson @sabrinastired
Athlete of the month sophomore Anthony De La Maza has been wrestling for Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) since the beginning of the new season. De La Maza was inspired by classmate Draven Lukata who is also on the BCCHS Wrestling team. De La Maza is ready to take charge and have a great season.
Question: How long have you been wrestling?
Answer: Maybe a couple of months.
Q: Have you been able to participate in any events or matches yet?
A: Me personally no. I’m still training to get better, you know, before actually wrestling. At Birmingham, there’s been tournaments and stuff.
Q: Which team are you on?
A: I’m on JV.
Q: Did you have any prior experience before joining the team?
A: I barely started doing wrestling but I did JuJitsu before.
Q: What made you want to join the wrestling team?
A: It seemed fun and also Draven Lukata helped convince me.
Q: What’s your goal for this season?
A: To just get better.
19 SPORTS | SABRINA ROBERTSON
ALAN RUIZ | The Pearl Post Junior Varsity wrestler Anthony De La Maza wrestles a teammate during practice on Jan. 26. De La Maza, who is on wrestling team for Birmingham Community Charter High School, has been wrestling in high school for several months.
SABRINA ROBERTSON | The Pearl Post Varsity girls basketball player Kennedy Fayton Guzman dribbles the ball during pregame warmups on Jan. 18. The Birmingham Community Charter High School Paitriots went on to beat the El Camino Real Charter High School Royals 74-46.
Artist of The Month
February can’t get enough of Jenna Ortega
By Alexa Garay
Jenna Ortega, better known for her role as Wednesday, rose to fame after the recent Adams Family reboot “Wednesday” dropped on Netflix and blew up in popularity that sparked a fresh start in her ever-growing career.
Until the age of eight, Ortega now twenty years old, didn’t always live in the spotlight. She started her career doing commercials for major businesses like McDonald’s and Old Navy, which soon built her career up from there. She then played minor roles in shows such as “CSI: NY” and “Iron Man 3”, eventually leading her to gain the part as Harley Diaz in Disney Channel’s 2016 sitcom “Stuck in the Middle.” Her performance received great reviews and success leading to Ortega receiving an Imagery Award.
After great success with her Disney channel show, she went on to continue her work in the acting business appearing in shows like “You” and “The Fallout,’’ paving the way to where she is now. Ortega’s light is going to shine bright for the upcoming years.
“I definitely feel like there is a shift in my life,” Ortega said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “And I feel a shift in energy and change and I feel like it’s definitely a new time in my life. So it’s been a bit of an adjustment.”
The outcome of Netflix’s new top series “Wednesday” was a great success, breaking many records. It became one of three Netflix shows with more than one billion watch hours on the platform, already being nominated for two Golden Globe awards just months after its release. It is without a doubt that February is Ortega’s month with the uprising popularity of her iconic dance in episode four “Woe What a Night” and with many trends revolving around her such as many trying to recreate dance scenes and makeup looks inspired by Ortega’s character. She is leaving a mark on the media industry as we know it today.
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STAY TUNED NBC Jenna Ortega, better known for her role as Wednesday, rose to fame after the recent Adams Family reboot “Wednesday” released and blew up in popularity.
Upcoming games that are blowing players away
By Aischelle Baun
2022 came out of nowhere with the games it gave us. Some were good, some were bad and some were too glitchy to play. But now, a new year is around the corner, which means new games to look forward to.
Sea of Stars
BY SABOTAGE STUDIO
Hollow Knight: Silksong
The developers of popular game “Hollow Knight” are dropping another bomb with the announcement of the long-awaited sequel “Hollow Knight: Silksong,” set for somewhere before June 2023. The player will be playing not as The Knight, but as a new character named Hornet from the previous game. Hornet is the princess-protector of Hallownest and she ventures into a kingdom of silk and songs.
Resident Evil Four
Coming out on March 24, Capcom plans to release another remake of an iconic entry, “Resident Evil 4.” The popular horror survival shooting and puzzle-solving adventure games have been in the works for a while with content they wanted to add but couldn’t due to deadlines. Now trailers are out and it will be playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox Series X/S and PC. Since it’s a remake, the story may diverge from the original or be kept the same.
BY NINTENDO BY CAPCOM
If you like role-play, turn-based adventure games that have a rich story and a beautiful modern retro art style, then the creators of “The Messenger,” (2018) Sabotage Studio, have got you covered. Originally set to release in 2022 but pushed back to 2023, Sabotage Studio developed a new world called “Sea of Stars.” You play as two Children of the Solstice with the powers of the sun and moon to perform Eclipse Magic, the only force capable of fighting off the monstrous creations of an evil alchemist known as The Fleshmancer.
Sabotage Studio has a website to check out where you can preorder a package to play the game on PC and console platforms of Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. With the developers dropping snippets of gameplay and more characters to help you out, this game is going to be full of surprises.
Fire Emblem Engage
Another game to look out for on the Switch is “Fire Emblem Engage,” releasing on Jan. 20. In the new game, you play as the protagonist Alear as characters travel across four realms to prevent the resurrection of the apocalyptic Fell Dragon with the help of heroes from past Fire Emblem games.
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Originally set to release in 2022 but pushed back to 2023, Sabotage Studio developed a new world called “Sea of Stars,” where you play as children of the Solstice.
The adventure role-playing game has already released multiple trailers along with the 1st expansion passed up for preorder for additional content for the game releases.
No one expected that in 2017 we would get a game called “Hollow Knight” and blow us all away, but it did and we desperately craved more. Finally, the wait is now over!
Coming out on March 24, Capcom plans to release another remake of an iconic entry.
Songs that will make you shine for your Valentine
By Jenica Felicitas and Rikka Dimalanta
Music has always been a special way to express emotions and feelings that go beyond words alone. Here are four love songs that you can use to connect with your feelings or simply enjoy to your heart’s content.
UK-based Filipina indie singer beabadoobee explores genres in her most recent album “Beatopia,” which released last year. “You’re here that’s the thing” is the last track on the album and the lyrics talk about a person’s unwillingness to commit to an official relationship even though the singer thinks they like her back. The gentle melody of this song, from the acoustic guitar to the singer’s soft vocals, makes it a sweet ending to the album.
BY SPOTIFY BY SPOTIFY
The Filipino pop-song “Gusto With Ya” by DENY, which was released in 2021, talks about how she’s learned to be dependent on another person without letting go of her own independence. Hence why the desire to be with them rather than being by herself grew stronger.
“you!” by LANY is the first track on the pop band’s album “mama’s boy” that was released in 2020. The lead singer, Paul Klein, sings about a person who has become an significant part of his life after being there for him during a difficult time.
22 THE PEARL POST| FEBRUARY 2023
listen to the full Valentine’s Day Playlist
the QR code to
@jenicasdumplings and @rykaaai BY SPOTIFY
Beloved essentials for the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift
By Keira Van Der Molen
Stuffed Animals Flowers
Stuffed bears holding a heart is a fantastic gift for someone who would prefer a fuzzy companion to have and hold. We’ve all seen movies where the protagonist is holding a stuffed animal close to their heart and that’s exactly what your Valentine may want.
Flowers are a great alternative gift for Valentine’s Day, especially if your valentine has an appreciation for nature. Gifting a bouquet of flowers allows for lots of creative freedom in choosing color and size. Picking flowers is also an inexpensive option that still sends a passionate message.
Candy Valentine’s Card
Gifting someone candy is not only a sweet treat but it’s also a nice subtle way of showing someone you care about them. Candy can be the fail safe solution. Whether the candy is bitter, sweet or spicy, there is always one treat that lights the eye of someone, bringing a sense of nostalgia.
What if you don’t know what someone’s favorite candy is or what they’d actually wear? Expressing your feelings in a card is a simple yet meaningful gift. A Valentine’s Day card marks important Days of our lives that someone can keep forever. It serves as a reminder of how much they matter to you.
23 ENTERTAINMENT | GRANT ASNER
Artwork by Gabriellle Lashley
STUDENT PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTLIGHT
BEHIND THE PHOTO
Freshman Mose Judge-Glascock hits a ball during after school tennis practice on Jan. 18 at Birmingham Community Charter High School. This is his first year being on the team. “I enjoy forming bonds with my teammates while playing the sport,” Glascock said. “I also just like being there with my friends from Birmingham. Some goals I have for tennis is mostly to improve, I think that’s what everyone wants to do in a sport. I also just want to have fun.” Glascock recently left the tennis team.
Submit your best photos with a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in the next issue of the The Pearl Post newsmagazine.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Satenik Ayrapetyan is the Opinion Editor for this year’s Pearl Post staff. This is her first year on staff but she is excited to see what she can bring to the table. She is also a member of the Student Advisory Board at High School Insider and the National Honor Society. As someone who enjoys writing, Satenik can’t wait to see what the next years on staff will bring. In her free time, she enjoys collecting colorfully patterned button-up shirts.