The Pearl Post

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Students overwhelmed by AP classes, heavy workload See pages 10-11



THE PEARL POST| DECEMBER 2021 Print Editor-in-Chief Valeria Luquin Online Editor-in-Chief Delilah Brumer Managing Editor Gabrielle Lashley Features Editor Nathalie Miranda Opinion Editor Delilah Brumer Entertainment Editor Jessica Melkonyan Sports Editor Branden Gerson

Staff Writers/ Photographers Rikka Lei Dimalanta, Emily Flores, Maryam Haque, Elishava Ibarra, Nickalas Lembo, Draven Lukata, Alan Ruiz, Emily Short Contributors Julissa Cartagenda, Dashielle Dekker, Desiree Spurkel, Julyssa Cartegana Adviser Adriana Chavira 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 Unsigned or anonymous letters will not be published.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 The magazine is published bimonthly and is the official campus newsmagazine of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. The magazine is also posted



Cover Design by Gabrielle Lashley




Opinion Impact of bus driver shortage / Editorial


Special Reports Mester system’s effect on AP


Sports Fall sports in review photo essay

14-17 18-19 20

First semester wrap up / World Music Day photo essay / Bus driver shortage

students / Infographic with statistics

Entertainment Social media’s impact on fast fashion / Thrifting opinion / Winter break watchlist

Features Profile on Noam Levi / Students’ holiday traditions

Back Cover Photo by Delilah Brumer


For this issue, there was a lot of extra planning that took place. We wanted to incorporate holiday stories with our in-depth news stories. With the first semester coming to an end, we decided to focus on the mester system’s effect on AP students. As a result, this became the inspiration for our front cover. The illustration reflects the heavy workload students have during the holiday season. After publishing our first issue, a lot of our planning went into completely redesigning the magazine. We spent time analyzing other magazine layouts, finding inspiration and receiving feedback from a professional designer. Although this process was time-consuming, it was exciting getting to see all of our ideas come together on the pages. Despite all of our hectic schedules amidst the redesign, we couldn’t be prouder of each other and the end result. - Valeria Luquin

T H E P E A R L P O S T | VA L E R I A L U Q U I N


Students reflect on end of hectic first semester By Delilah Brumer @BrumerDelilah


s the first semester winds down, sophomore Liam Curran is grateful for the positive social experience he’s had these past few months. “Meeting new people is (a highlight),” Curran said. “It’s been very welcoming, everyone has been very nice since we only did virtual (learning) before.” This semester, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School has gone through a plethora of changes and students are dealing with the ups and downs. With a later morning start time, in-person instruction after a year and a half of distance learning, weekly COVID-19 testing and a vaccine mandate, there’s been a lot to adapt to. One of the most substantial differences this semester has been the implementation of a new 4x4 block schedule. “Since we’re doing the block schedule, we’re cramming a lot of stuff each day,” Curran said. “That’s the hardest part about (this semester), just keeping up with what we’re learning.” With the school now on a mester system with four periods a day, classes have been longer and more fast-paced. This causes difficulties for students including freshman Satenik Ayrapetyan. “I don’t really like (the new schedule),” Ayrapetyan said. “I find it confusing and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to retain information acquired from only one semester for the rest of my academic career here.” While the block schedule has been a challenge for many, it has also helped some students like senior Diego Hernandez excel in their classes. “(The block schedule) has definitely helped me improve academically,” Hernandez said. “It has taken a bit of a toll on my mental health, but I would say it’s much more rewarding academically.” The semester has also allowed for seniors to enjoy their

EMILY SHORT | The Pearl Post Juniors Jiselle Covarrubias and Mario Ronquillo give a presentation about the city of Merida, Mexico, during Glenda Hurtado’s third period Spanish 2 class.

last year of high school and savor on-campus school events. For Hernandez, one of those favorite events has been Fiesta Friday. “I kind of wish (the semester) was longer,” Hernandez said. “That’s mainly because I’m a senior. I don’t want high school to end soon.” Now that classes this semester are wrapping up, students are excited to take new classes next semester, after winter break. Ayrapetyan is especially excited to take Honors Biology and potentially the college class. “I’m looking forward to starting new courses and meeting more friends,” Ayrapetyan said.

Go to to purchase your 2022 Prestige Yearbook



World Music Day performers shine Students worked tirelessly both in the spotlight and behind the scenes to produce this year’s World Music Day performance. They spent several weeks decorating, performing and recording to create a COVID-19 safe livestream of the event. This year’s version of World Music Day, a Daniel Pearl Magnet High School tradition honoring the life of Daniel Pearl, was held virtually once again.

DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post Senior Alejandro Gomez plays the piano and hums to the tune of “Let It Be” by The Beatles during World Music Day recording. “A highlight was finally being able to get together and perform with everyone because last year we did it online,” he said. “We were able to look at each other and tell each other how we’re doing.”

VALERIA LUQUIN| The Pearl Post Freshman Alia Galvan melodically sings and senior William Myers plays the bass and nods his head while passionately performing “Reptilia” by The Strokes.

VALERIA LUQUIN| The Pearl Post Sophomores Khalel Gillen and Sayda Rodriguez, both first-time World Music Day performers, sing the mellow chorus of “Remembering Sunday” by All Time Low.



ALAN RUIZ| The Pearl Post Junior Dashiell Dekker watches several camera angles as students set up to record.

RIKKA DIMALANTA| The Pearl Post Senior Evan Gleason beats the drums to “Across the Universe” by The Beatles.

EMILY SHORT| The Pearl Post Junior Emanuel Recinos strums his guitar to the tune of “Creep” by Radiohead. LEFT: Senior Hadley Amore-Mueller sings and plays the melody of “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies on his guitar. Although he is a senior, this is his first year trying out the experience of performing during World Music Day. Photo by Emily Short. UPPER RIGHT: Music teacher Wes Hambright supervises the recording of World Music Day. Hambright puts on the show every year by organizing the logistics of the event and teaching his students of various skill levels how to play instruments. Photo by Valeria Luquin. LOWER RIGHT: Seniors Daniela Rangel and Shauntrei Alipio perform “Last Nite” by The Strokes. “I got to socialize with the community and see how it worked because back in my freshman and sophomore year, I only got to see the surface,” Alipio said. “But after being able to communicate with the people that actually do World Music Day, I got to understand a lot more. The highlight of the experience was getting to know the people I worked with better, as cliche as that sounds. I mean it’s better getting to know people especially after quarantine.” Photo by Alan Ruiz.



School bus driver shortage leads By Delilah Brumer @BrumerDelilah


efore the fog fades or the dew evaporates, school bus driver Ismael Cabrera takes the wheel. Cabrera’s schedule, which recently has lengthened, begins when he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and ends when he leaves the bus lot at 6:15 p.m. “Right now we have a shortage of (bus) drivers,” Cabrera said. “Day to day, it increases the route time sometimes because you may have to help out with another route in addition to your current route, which makes the route a lot longer.” A national bus driver shortage is impacting the operations of school districts across the country, making Cabrera’s situation common, according to KTLA. This shortage complicates many Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) drivers’ and students’ daily routines, causing many students to arrive home later. This has forced Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) junior Elizabeth Rose to do chores like unloading the dishwasher and refilling the fridge later in the day, leaving her less time to complete other responsibilities and relax. “The later I get home, I’m more hungry, I’m tired, I’m annoyed,” Rose said. “That affects my homework a lot because at that point, I don’t really want to do anything.” LAUSD currently employs approximately 900 bus drivers and the driver shortage has prompted the district to consolidate over 200 routes, according to an email from an LAUSD spokesperson to The Pearl Post. “The national school bus driver shortage has had a direct impact to transportation,” the LAUSD spokesperson said. “At the start of the Fall 2021 school year, there were 200 plus routes that needed drivers.” Due to the shortage, DPMHS has had to reduce its bus routes from four to three this school year. These three routes are shared between up to 70 DPMHS students who are registered to take the bus and students from Mulholland Middle School. The two schools have different bell schedules and the routes have to be coordinated. While DPMHS switched to having instruction begin at 8:30 a.m. each morning this school year, Mulholland classes still start at 8 a.m. This forces DPMHS students to wake up earlier than what would otherwise be necessary if not for the bus routes being shared. With fewer buses and different start times, some DPMHS bus routes have been elongated by up to 35 minutes each way, according to DPMHS Magnet Coordinator Leah Pevar. “The buses are always an interesting experience,” Pevar said. “You just never know what may happen. The bus drivers are always very friendly and try their best to make it work out, which I appreciate.” In a survey conducted by The Pearl Post of DPMHS students who ride the school bus, 46.7% of respondents said that their bus ride is longer than in previous years. The difference in schedules between DPMHS and Mulho lland also poses a challenge on Tuesdays and minimum days,

LAUSD school bus driver Ismael Cabrera keeps an eye on the students boarding his bus after scho three this school year. This had a direct impact on the 70 DPMHS and Mulholland Middle Schoo

according to Pevar. Mulholland dismisses students early every Tuesday, but DPMHS only has 14 short Tuesdays throughout the school year. In addition, the schools’ minimum days don’t correlate. On these days when one school ends class earlier than the other, DPMHS combines bus routes and ends up with only two buses: one for the valley and one for the city. “Usually we don’t get a combined route,” said Rose, who lives in Sun Valley. “But if we do, it goes from me taking an hour and a half to get dropped off to me taking like three hours to get dropped off.” The bus driver shortage has also prompted concerns over COVID-19 safety and social distancing on buses. Due to the shortage, more students are on each bus and social distancing is not required, according to Pevar.

N E W S | VA L E R I A L U Q U I N


s to fewer routes, longer rides can earn more money elsewhere, according to ABC News. In addition, there are stringent background check requirements to become a school bus driver, according to the LAUSD spokesperson. The situation has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with approximately 4% of LAUSD bus drivers opting against getting vaccinated, despite the LAUSD staff vaccine mandate, according to the LAUSD spokesperson. Another reason for the loss of drivers is the safety concerns that some drivers have about the pandemic. “Part of it is some drivers have just opted to retire because of all of the COVID fears,” Cabrera said. “Some drivers have decided to retire because they just didn’t want to take the vaccine.” LAUSD has ramped up recruitment measures and hopes to hire more bus drivers to help mitigate the shortage. The district has begun paying new applicants for the two-month training process and has increased outreach on social media and job search websites. These measures have resulted in an increase in of respondents' of bus respondents' new43.8% candidates participating in the28.6% district’s driver training bus rides are longer than buses are crowded or program, according to the LAUSD spokesperson. in previous very crowded. The school busyears. driver shortage is proving difficult for students and drivers alike, but many of them have also expressed gratitude for one another during these days of early mornings and late nights. "It takes long to "Everyone is pretty well with the students"It sucks “We get along and the get home and I breathing on because I get drivers do a lot to help each other out, ” Cabrera said. “We have can't do my other and hometolater but to each work together to make sure we get everybody school and homework on everybody home. We try to get them home safely anditthat’s it is very overall isn't the most crowded." important part.” the bus because bad." I can't focus."

School Bus Driver


By the numbers

DELILAH BRUMER | The Pearl Post er school on Nov. 10. Due to the driver shortage, DPMHS had to reduce their routes from four to School students registered to take the school bus.

“We wear masks and that’s really it,” sophomore Shawn Frazier said. “Yeah, (I feel safe) I guess. I (want) better social distancing because there’s like none in the bus.” Although social distancing is not enforced, students on the bus are still required to wear masks and the buses are sprayed with disinfectant after every trip, according to Cabrera. In addition, LAUSD continues to follow Los Angeles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 safety guidelines, according to the LAUSD spokesperson. The bus driver shortage does not stem from one problem, but rather several ongoing issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. One existing reason for the shortage is that a commercial driver’s license is required to be a school bus driver and oftentimes drivers with that creden-

How long is your bus ride home? 30-60 minutes

60-90 minutes 90-120 minutes 120+ minutes

0-30 minutes

DELILAH BRUMER | The Pearl Post Almost half of the students who take the are bus spend 30-60 on the bus. Statistics and quotes based onminutes a survey Statistics are based on a survey from The Pearl Post of 36 DPMHS students.

conducted by The Pearl Post of 36 DPMHS students. Infographic by Delilah Brumer




LAUSD must end students’ bus commute exhaustion The district critically needs to hire more drivers. By Gabrielle Lashley @yogabbygabby_l


y alarm chimes at 5 a.m., I brush my teeth, get dressed, make my lunch and arrive at my bus stop at 6:20 a.m. I have to endure this early schedule due to the national bus driver shortage. With a bus driver shortage plaguing U.S schools, students across the country have been subjected to tiresome ramifications. At Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, four bus routes have now been cut down to three and my peers and I have been feeling the effects. Now I get home at the latest I ever have before and it’s cut into the time I use to do homework, work for my internship and sleep. Even though I live in Gardena and go to school in Van Nuys, my bus schedule was never a problem for me, nor did it ever affect my work schedule until this year. Before this change, I used to get back to my bus stop around 5 p.m. Then I’d get my homework done and be in bed at 10 p.m. to get my eight hours of sleep. Now, I don’t arrive at my bus stop after school until 5:40 p.m. With a bed time of 9 p.m. dragging down my feet, I often get less than seven hours of sleep each night. This leaves me with no time to eat breakfast in the mornings and less time to do homework at night. As a student in Advanced Placement classes and an intern at Inner-CityArts, I need this time to keep up with my workload.

School Bus Driver


By the numbers

43.8% of respondents' bus rides are longer than in previous years.

28.6% of respondents' buses are crowded or very crowded.

DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post Based on a survey conducted by The Pearl Post of 36 DPMHS students who ride the bus, nearly half of respondents’ bus rides are longer than in previous years.

"Everyone is

DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post Sophomore Shawn Frazier boards one of three DPMHS school buses on Nov. 10.

During quarantine, the Los Angeles Unified School District lost an unbelievable number of bus drivers due to things like the labor shortage, according to an article from KTLA 5, the inability to find and employ people with a commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and the vaccine mandate. When the school year of Fall 2021 began, LAUSD reported that over 200 bus routes were consolidated. With a mere three routes left at DPMHS, the number of students on my bus has tripled, creating a more uncomfortable bus ride to and from school. According to a survey by The Pearl Post, 43.8% of students’ bus rides are longer than previous years. Those who get on the bus first in the mornings have had their bus ride time increased the most—me being one of them. Luckily, there have been efforts made to hire new bus drivers and prevent any more from being lost. According to an article from KTLA 5, districts have been “offering higher bonuses, providing the training needed to get a commercial driver’s license and increasing hourly pay to attract more drivers.” According to an LAUSD spokesperson, the district is making an effort to recruit more bus drivers by promotion on social media. Hopefully, these steps in the right direction will bring in more bus drivers by the spring semester and students like myself won’t have to face the consequences any longer.



DESIREE SPURKEL| The Pearl Post Now that AP classes are condensed due to the 4x4 block schedule, many AP students and staff members at The Pearl Post feel unprepared for AP exams.


AP classes overwhelm students


ate-night study sessions, canceled weekend plans and empty cups of much-needed coffee have all increasingly become fixtures of Advanced Placement (AP) students’ lives. As the semester concludes, we have no end in sight. AP classes are always notoriously stressful, but the anxiety they cause has worsened after Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) implemented a new 4x4 block schedule this semester. The majority of AP classes are now only one semester long, causing them to be much more fast paced than in previous years. This change has taken a toll on AP students, including many editors and writers for The Pearl Post, who are trying to juggle AP coursework and extracurricular activities. Due to the block schedule, AP classes either start in August and end in December or don’t start until January and end in June. This is a frustrating twofold problem because most AP

exams occur in May and many students feel unprepared. Students in fall semester AP classes have a gap in learning from January to May once their classes end, while students in spring semester AP classes don’t even start learning their AP content until January, giving them only five months to understand a year’s worth of material. The Pearl Post staff’s mental health has taken a hit because of these condensed AP classes. That being said, we still work tirelessly to produce content for our newsmagazine and website. Many teachers are trying to help AP students stay on track by offering after-school tutoring, which they should continue to do throughout the year. In addition to other AP students, The Pearl Post staff would benefit from school faculty members’ continued flexibility.



Shortened length of AP classes worries students, teachers GABRIELLE LASHLEY | The Pearl Post Juniors Elizabeth Rose and Joseph Botti take notes in their AP Environmental Science course as the teacher James Morrison gives a lecture. With the reduced time in their AP classes, students take almost twice as many notes as they would have in previous years.

By Alan Ruiz


ue to the 4x4 schedule, most Advanced Placement (AP) Teachers too are disturbed by that possibility. classes have been shortened from a duration of 40 weeks “I worry that I won’t have them for five months and that to 20 weeks. This has generated distress among students. they’re going to forget a lot of what we’ve been doing,” AP “It would be so much easier to have it the whole year,” English Language teacher Ron Baer said. junior Joseph Botti said. Science teacher James Morrison teaches AP Environmental All AP classes at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School except Science (APES), a new course for DPMHS. He covers one unit for AP World History have been shortened to one-semesper week when he would usually take one and a half to two ter-long courses compared to lasting the whole year as they weeks to go over a unit prior to the mester system. Morrison have in previous school years. Teachers are concerned that the has been taking polls of his students to gain insight on how shortened course duration will result in the students’ lack of they are faring with the sped-up class. So far, the responses understanding of the entirety of the required concepts. Uneasi- have been mostly positive. However, Morrison has stated that ness is settling into the students as the first semester will come it has been difficult to condense AP Environmental Science, to a close on Dec. 17. which covers such topics as biology, “I feel that it’s very rushed economics, chemistry, physics, sociolobecause we have a very limited gy and law. amount of time to get ready and it “They have a test every week,” feels like we’re falling behind beMorrison said. “They have (a) lab every cause of the short amount of time week. I mean, we’re doing as much as we have,” AP Environmental Science we can with the time we have.” and AP English Language student To remedy this “gap”, the school Danielle Haiwongse said. is planning to host virtual Saturday Because AP classes are only workshops during the spring semester one-semester-long, a unique to allow students to meet with their AP Danielle Haiwongse challenge is presented for students teachers and review material or learn taking the courses in the fall semesadditional concepts. ter. After students finish their AP course in the fall semester, Also, counselor Martina Torres is a proponent of AP they go through the spring semester without reviewing the Readiness, a program organized by the University of California, material in class. Los Angeles. The program consists of virtual workshops held This is because the 4x4 schedule is designed to give on selected Saturdays where students from different schools students four new classes in the spring semester. Students are can benefit from AP training provided by master AP instrucanxious that their memory of the topic will slip, reducing their tors. These workshops started in September and will continue chances of scoring well on the AP exam. through the spring semester.

I feel that it’s very rushed because we have a very limited amount of time to get ready.

SPECIAL REPORTS | GABRIELLE LASHLEY “I encourage our AP students to attend the Saturday workshops that will be provided because I think they’ll find that they will be extremely helpful,” Torres said. Junior Elizabeth Rose, who is taking AP English Literature and APES, is planning to continue her current practice of congregating with fellow APES students on Google Meets to quiz each other on certain concepts and review the answers for past tests. Botti is taking APES and he is going to review Quizlet sets he has made about the course topics. Others like junior Sammy Willett, who is taking APES as well, have decided to repeatedly study their notes to keep material fresh. “I’ll go over the material at home, like try and figure out ways to constantly keep it in my brain, whether that be going over notes, making mental notes or just writing it down somewhere,” Willett said. “It’s proved to help you memorize things.” Torres is concerned about AP scores because of the emotional and mental stress that generally has accompanied the academic lives of students during the pandemic. She also worries that the characteristics of distance learning have led students to have a deficiency in certain skills needed for their current AP classes.


“Students are a little bit more reluctant right now to work harder and to go above and beyond the minimum requirement right now,” Torres said. “So it’s a matter of kind of getting back into the regular pace and I don’t think we’re back on to a regular pace yet.” Teachers such as Morrison and Baer have been assigning AP mock tests to their students to prepare them for the AP exam in May. Baer has increased emphasis on learning test-taking strategies. Additionally, students have benefitted from the teachers’ willingness to explain and tutor after class if needed. “The teachers are very helpful and you can just go to them at the end of class,” Haiwongse said. “I find that pretty helpful.” Only time will tell how AP scores will be affected by the condensed courses. For now, students will have to work hard to stay afloat as the course material and AP exam rush toward them. “The fact that I have half the time for all of them to study for the big test is very scary,” Rose said.

GABRIELLE LASHLEY| The Pearl Post Almost half of DPMHS students believe their teachers have properly prepared them for the upcoming AP exams. Even so, many students still continue to worry about how their reduced class time will take a toll on their performance on the AP exams. Statistics are based on a survey conducted by The Pearl Post of 29 DPMHS students.



Reflections on full fall season Student athletes who participated in football, volleyball, water polo and cross country took part in the first full season of high school sports since before the pandemic. Over the course of the season, this group of athletes underwent weekly COVID-19 testing, vaccination and mask requirements in order to safely play through the ongoing pandemic. With the fall season over, here is a collection of sports photos that capture their recent experiences as student athletes.

ALAN RUIZ| The Pearl Post

UPPER MIDDLE: Goalie Josiah Landis launched the ball to his teammate in varsity water polo practice on Sept. 21. The Birmingham Patriots boys water polo team finished the season with a 15-13 record and advanced to the postseason. On Nov. 16, they were eliminated from further playoff contention following a 9-17 loss to Palisades Charter High School. LOWER RIGHT: JV football player for Birmingham Community Charter High School Diego Villanueva clutches an offensive lineman’s jersey durimg a scrimmage on Oct. 26. His team fell short to El Camino Real Charter High School on Oct. 29 in their last game of the season. This loss brought them to a record of 4 wins and 5 losses on the season, resulting in them missing the postseason. “I felt I did pretty good since it was only my first year but I started almost every game,” Villanueva said. DELILAH BRUMER | The Pearl Post





UPPER RIGHT: Varsity volleyball teammates middle blocker Naamah Silcott and opposite hitter Cheyanne Losino exchange words of encouragement during a timeout in their Wednesday night match with Cleveland Charter High School. The Birmingham Patriots girls squad completed the regular season ranked 32 in the LA City Section finishing with a final record of 10 and 19. They qualified for both the city and state playoffs before they experienced two subsequent first-round exits. “We definitely played to the level we should be, we just weren’t executing during the games, ” team captain Silcott said . “I’m still proud of them for playing to the best of their ability and even though we lost, still feeling accomplished afterwards.” UPPER LEFT: Sophomore Cheyanne Losino serves the ball during the second quarter of a weeknight match on Oct.26. Losino began playing volleyball in 5th grade and competed for her first time this year as a part of the Birmingham Community Charter High School Girls Varsity program. “I was glad to make varsity and definitely had to adjust to the new level of play. I definitely improved throughout the season and am excited to see what next year offers,” opposite hitter Losino said. LOWER LEFT: Freshman cross country runner Deven Symeak bustles across the track of Birmingham Community Charter High School during practice, lapping his fellow JV teammates several times over.

ALAN RUIZ| The Pearl Post



Fast fashion industry grows rapid By Gabrielle Lashley @yogabbygabby_l


uring quarantine, fast fashion chains have grown bigger and faster than ever before due to their promotion on social media, with TikTok being one of the most popular platforms. “(Social Media) has 100% affected fast fashion,” Daniel Pearl Magnet High School junior Jessie Witt said. “As far as I know, since people advertise buying a lot of clothes, it makes other people want to buy the same clothes and it causes a lot of impulse buying. (TikTok) is the worst one.” Fast fashion is trendy clothing produced at a fast rate and sold for cheap, according to the article “What is Fast Fashion,” from good on you. However, fast fashion is also known to be responsible for heavy land pollution and exploitation of workers in poverty, which is something that’s begun to worsen due to its growing publicity over platforms like Instagram, Twitter and especially TikTok. While some users of TikTok have used the platform to promote the utilization of fast fashion, others have taken the opportunity to speak against it. “The more you look at things, the more it’s going to end up showing up on your feed,” Witt said. “Then you’ll be looking at more people, (finding) more items of clothing from fast fashion companies and then (you’ll) end up wanting to buy the same items of clothing.” “Fashion-Tok,” the fashion portion of TikTok, has the most impact when it comes to the growth of fast fashion. Due to people’s boredom during quarantine, the social media platform gained up to 2.6 billion downloads in 2020. According to BusinessofApps, it also had a revenue increase of 457 percent compared to previous years. “TikTok has become one of the most influential apps nowadays,” young fashion entrepreneur and DPMHS junior Vince Gillen said. “It has greatly affected how we buy stuff because of influencers and how they advertise hauls about the stuff and how much traction they get.” According to “The Top 5 TikTok Tips & Tricks, published by Fanbytes and “How to Succeed on TikTok,” from BetterMarketing, to do well on the TikTok algorithm, you usually have to upload videos at a consistent rate and at least once a day. This means that people from Fashion-Tok would have to buy new clothes constantly and the cheapest way to do so is through fast fashion.

“(In) quarantine, we really got to discover ourselves and I believe that fashion is one of those factors we were able to develop a new interest in,” Gillen said. “Fast fashion has become that because it’s one of the ways we can have that certain piece of clothing we can post on social media to get that traction.” “The Impact of Fast Fashion on Garment Workers,” from good on you, stated that fast fashion is also responsible for taking advantage of people with social and economic vulnerability and putting them into poor and under-paid work spaces. These workplaces put these predominantly female workers in a position of possible health risks, sexual harassment and unable to save money due to their payment being so below living wage. “Everything being manufactured isn’t humane,” DPMHS freshman Genesis Cuellar said. “It’s not fair to the workers who get paid half of what they work hard to make. They’re human too and we’re paying this amount without knowing the back-side of it.” According to a “What is Fast Fashion?” from good on you, fast fashion is also known to pollute the environment because of the cheap materials they use to make their clothing. To keep up with the rate at which new types of clothing are gaining popularity, they have to buy materials like polyester and toxic dyes to meet customer demand. The rate at which clothes are getting popular is called “trend cycles.” These cycles are happening faster than ever before because of social media influence and TikTok has been the most influential since the beginning of quarantine. “It damages the environment and most of it is being misused,” Cuellar said. “It’s not even produced very well. It’s not clothes people actually put their hardest work into and it just affects the environment with all these factories (that produce them).” According to “How TikTok Makes Fast Fashion Faster” from Lithium Magazine, these trend cycles used to last around 20 years. Because of the rise of social media and the need to meet algorithmic demands, that duration has lowered to a couple of months at most. The duration of microtrends, trends that were known to last from three to five years, sped up as a result. Due to the amount of microtrends appearing on platforms like TikTok as often as week to week, consumption of fast fashion products has sky-rocketed, effectively speeding up fast fashion production.

“(Fast fashion) damages the en-

vironment and most of it is being mis-used.” Genesis Culler



idly due to TikTok influence

EMILY SHORT| The Pearl Post Fast fashion is trendy clothing produced at a fast rate and sold for cheap. it has been damaging the environment and lives of people who are financially vulnerable.. The drawing above consists of packages from online fast fashion stores that some TikTok influencers spend loads of money on to present clothing hauls to viewers.

“Because of how cheap fast fashion is, it allows people who have lower incomes to purchase cheaper items of clothing, ‘’ Witt said. “It’s good for that but it’s overall more negative than positive.” Another aspect to include is the “hauls” trend, where people go on “$1,000 hauls” at online, fast fashion manufacturers like Shein or Romwe. People spend large amounts of money on clothing to make short TikTok videos; and at a consistent rate to keep up with the algorithm. With the large number of TikTokers doing this, production continued to grow to meet the rising demands.

“I always see hauls and stuff and that’s become a new type of format to grow your platform on social media,” Cuellar said. “They buy so much to show how stuff is pretty cheap but a lot (of the time) it’s just the same as buying normal, expensive clothes but (it’s) worse for the environment.” As these factors continue to contribute to the rise of fast fashion and the fall of the environment, young people continue to criticize these establishments and encourage changes to be made. “A way to have a solution for this crisis of fast fashion is to have a sustainable way of shopping, like thrifting (and) using sustainable and reusable packaging,” Gillen said.



DELILAH BRUMER| The Pearl Post Students should make an effort to shop more at thrift stores and there are many local options. Along Ventura Boulevard there are trendy stores like American Vintage.


Thrift, reuse to protect planet By Nathalie Miranda @nathal0ser Fast fashion severely damages Earth, yet it’s still how many students fill their wardrobes. Thrifting is a better alternative, as it allows students to reuse nice clothes while causing less harm. Fast fashion is one of the highest polluting industries in the world and the fabrics used are made from materials that will not decompose in landfills for many years. Along with the negative effects it has on the environment, the fast fashion industry pays its workers close to nothing while giving them long hours. Companies that contribute to fast fashion make clothes that are made out of materials that harm the planet when they’re thrown out. More than 60% of fabric fibers are synthetic, so when they end up in the garbage they will not break down. The water consumption that the fashion industry uses is also extremely damaging, consuming one-tenth of the water that is used industrially around the world. It takes about 713 gallons of water to make just one cotton shirt, and the damage to the Earth’s water doesn’t end there. Washing clothes attained through fast fashion in a regular washing machine releases tons of toxic microfibers into the ocean.

With all the negative effects on the world because of fast fashion, students need to learn how to get clothes through different ways. One of the ways they can get clothes while also making a difference to the environment is through thrifting. Thrift stores sell used and donated clothes for usually more affordable prices than other stores. Shopping at thrift stores allows consumers to use clothes that the original buyers didn’t want anymore that would’ve most likely ended up in the trash. Another benefit is that it prevents buying directly from companies that make clothes through fast fashion. Not giving those companies money directly limits the amount of profit they get, which leads to them not being able to manufacture as many clothes that harm the environment. Students should make an effort to shop more at thrift stores and there are many local options. There are countless Goodwills in the San Fernando Valley and along Ventura Boulevard there are more trendy stores like Iguana and American Vintage.



Wonderful winter movies to watch It’s the most wonderful time of the year - the time to watch films that bring seasonal joy. Here is a curated list of select classics for holiday cheer. By Dashiell Dekker @dashlovesfilm

“A Christmas Story (1983)”

“Planes, Trains, & Automobiles”

It’s a classic. An effortlessly hilarious and endlessly quotable piece of holiday history. In this adaptation of the works of Jean Shepard, we follow young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) dealing with the trials and tribulations of adolescence during the most wonderful time of the year. Accompanying him are his two nutjob parents (Darren McGavin & Melinda Dillon) who spice up the film with their quirky but sharp delivery - coupled of course with a witty screenplay to top the whole thing off. | The Pearl Post It’s always a go-to for my father and me during the holidays “A Christmas Story” is streaming on Hulu and HBO Max. and it might just be for you too. If you’ve never experienced “A Christmas Story,” do yourself a seasonal favor and watch this as soon as you can.

In this John Hughes staple of American-rooted entertainment, we follow an uptight businessman (Steve Martin) on his way to celebrate Thanksgiving. He takes a misguided flight evading his destination, forcing him to tag along with a talkative curtains salesman (John Candy) to embark on a road trip like no other. Hughes (previously responsible for “The Breakfast Club”) takes the conventional road movie structure and impressively overlaps it with the universally | The Pearl Post able backdrop of holiday cheer. “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” is As Hughes’ signature filmmaking streaming on Hulu. style seems to be complacent with stark comedies or dramas, “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” breaks typical dramedy structure and opps as a transitional gradient from one genre to the other. Acting almost as an emotional journey, similar to the characters in the film. Genuinely funny and fantastically paced, this is a must-see.

“Carol (2015)” Todd Haynes’ holiday romance is unconventionally sweet and melancholic. Cate Blanchett plays an oh-so familiar unsatisfied housewife who ventures to secure the heart of her newfound love, a store clerk played by Rooney Mara. Swiftly sketches against a backdrop of the 1952 Christmas season, “Carol” is a daring Christmas-romance. The film’s visual language transpires past-cinema’s glory days, giving the film an authentic ‘oldie style’. The colors are dynamic and soothing to the eye, helped only more by the fantastic use of seasonally accurate production design. There’s never been a holiday film (or LGBTQ+ oriented film for that matter) that has brushed uniqueness onto a clean canvas quite like “Carol.” This myopically portrayed and dazzlingly passionate tale of love is an essential for anyone interested in | The Pearl Post ry-pushing holiday movies. “Carol” is streaming on Amazon Prime and MUBI.

“Phantom Thread” Not a definitive holiday film by any means but it totally fits the winter spirit. A wealthy and refined dress designer in 1950s London (Daniel Day-Lewis) finds his muse in a waitress (Vicky Krieps) and the two develop a romantic relationship. They soon learn their Victorian love comes with an expensive cost, much more taxing than any voguish dress. Paul Thomas Anderson’s exquisitely trimmed tale of a twisted relationship against the brash British countryside is a cautionary tale of control and longing. But don’t be fooled, it is its meandering overdramatics and elegant imagery that make it a pleasurable watch for the holidays. It even | The Pearl Post takes place during Christmas! “Phantom Thread” is streaming on Amazon Prime.



Freshman dances her way to first place By Alan Ruiz


reshman Noam Levi has been dancing since she was two years old and her modern contemporary dance performances have won her first and second place in recent dance competitions. “I didn’t think I would win,” Levi said. “I just thought of it as ‘I’m going to do a regular dance competition.’” On Nov. 1, Levi ranked second in a dance competition. when she performed a solo choreography. On Oct. 21, Levi participated in a dance competition in San Francisco against other California dance studios. For that competition, Levi performed a solo and a team choreography. The judges awarded her the first-place award in her age division. “I just knew I (could) do it because I’ve been doing it for so long,” Levi said. Levi started ballet dancing at the age of two and competing at the age of four. Since then, she has transitioned to modern contemporary dance, which has a similar fluidity to ballet. Dancing also led a seven-year-old Levi to meet her best friend, whom she used to dance with. Memories of dancing with her best friend as well as the calming aspects of dance fuel Levi to continue with her passion. “I actually find it therapeutic, like it’s really fun and it calms me down,” Levi said. The dance studio Levi performs with is located in Beverly Hills. She spends four out of the five weekdays at dance practice. The practices usually last around four hours per day. To prepare for the competition in San Francisco, Levi practiced her choreographies for around two and a half weeks. When she’s not busy dancing, Levi can be found shopping or playing with her cat and five dogs. For her potential career, she is considering becoming an actress and mental health activist. For now, though, she plans to continue dancing as a hobby. “I love doing it,” Levi said. “It just makes me feel good.”

JULYSSA CARTEGANA| The Pearl Post Freshman Noam Levi has been competitively dancing since she was four years old and has won many awards throughout that time.



Students’ favorite holiday traditions By Emily Short @crying_apollo

Grant Asner, 11th grade “I travel, and over this winter break, I’m going to London, Switzerland, Belgium and Paris. I do this every year, since eighth grade and we’ve been to places like South Africa and almost all the states in America. Once my grandma passed away, my mother didn’t feel comfortable celebrating without her, so we kind of just left for the month. We made friends, like my mom’s friend that lives in one of the places we travel to and we try to see everything that we can.” Jad Limcaco| Wikimedia Commons Over the winter break, junior Grant Asner plans to visit many places including Paris, France with his family.

Ashley Harrison, 11th “The main holiday tradition we have are celebrating Hanukkah, watching crime shows, and just taking a trip somewhere. It’s nothing too special and with COVID, some of these have been less consistent. We celebrate Hanukkah the usual way. We light the candles, my mom recites a prayer in Hebrew, sometimes we get gifts, etcetera. For the crime shows, we just put whatever is on and the trips are usually to places like Cambria or Kernville. These traditions are special since it gives me something to look forward to, yeah there’s Christmas, but the tiny things feel a lot bigger.”

KVPICS| Wikimedia Commons Junior Ashley Harrison frequently visits Kernville, CA during the holidays.

Rochelle Polushkin, 12th grade “Every year, my family celebrates New Year. It’s a Russian tradition and we do a party each year. My grandpa dresses up as Grandpa Frost and we put on a little talent show and it’s really cute. We have a really big family so we just do it in whoever’s house we can. We invite all our family, like all my cousins, aunt, uncles and some of our close family friends. My parents celebrated the tradition back in the Soviet Union and they brought it with them to America when they immigrated. It’s special because they’ve been celebrating it since they were kids and now they’re passing it on to us.” Photo provided by Rochelle Polushkin Senior Rochelle Polushkin gathers with her family and close friends every year to practice a Russian tradition passed down from her parents.




This is Delilah Brumer’s second year on staff. In addition to being The Pearl Post Online Editor-in-Chief, she is also Secretary of the DPMHS Local School Leadership Council, President of the Library Advisory Committee and a member of the Los Angeles Times High School Insider Student Advisory Board.

Junior Jenica Felicitas directs the third take of “Let It Be,” originally sung by The Beatles, during World Music Day recording. Felicitas, along with other students in Mark Middlebrook’s Video Production class, conducted the behind-the-scenes recording of this year’s World Music Day livestream. “The highlight of directing World Music Day would have to be the fact that I had to get out of my comfort zone,” Felicitas said. “I had to socialize with people I’d never met before, give people instructions and collaborate with people. My communication skills have gotten better.” Submit your best photos with a brief description to thepearlpost@ for a chance to be featured in the next issue of the The Pearl Post newsmagazine.

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