Page 1

Gear up for finals season with comics and art by your fellow Vikings! Opinion, page 4

Take a look at the photography department’s “In Focus!” A&E, page 9

See how Varsity guard Jonah Matthews (’16) keeps his head in the game. Sports, page 10


Santa Monica • Volume CIII • Issue V• December 12, 2013

Students serve justice in “Teen Court” Bianca Gonzalez Staff Writer

As of this year, Samo has become an affiliate of the Los Angeles Teen Court program which allows students to volunteer as jury members in the trials of minors. The student jury only tries first time offenders being tried with misdemeanors and are also in charge of selecting appropriate consequences. O-House Principal Kelly Tabis said these punishments must be approved by a judge before they are formally initiated. According to Tabis, to become a juror a student must go through a rigorous orientation and training process. On court dates, a clerk will randomly select students to serve as the jury for the particular case. “It’s an opportunity for our kids who are given citations, but also for kids who have an interest in law or legal matters or just want to provide an opportunity to help their community,” Tabis said. In order to prevent bias, defendants who are being tried by Samo students must attend school in another city. “One of the reasons is that it needs to be somewhat confidential is that you don’t want to issue a consequence to your friend,” Tabis said. School Resource Officer Erica Aklufi said she proposed the idea of Samo joining Teen Court in order to ensure that Samo students on trial for misdemeanors have an opportunity to be tried through Teen Court in another city. “The reason why we were really excited about getting Samo involved is because they can become

EMMA KOHUT / The Samohi

UNSTOPPABLE: ROP Dance students and members of Dance Combination Club (DCC) perform in the 2013 Winter Dance Showcase, “Unstoppable,” on Dec. 6. (Clockwise from Left to Right) Dance Level Two performs “The Explorers,” Dance Level One performs “Nocturnal,” DCC performs “New Era” and Dance Level Three performs “Stage Addiction.” tend the program on a regular basis because they want to so that we get enough trained students to run the program.” According to M-House Principal Elias Miles, the Teen Court system is more constructive than a traditional court because it allows for communication and contemplation on the parts of the juror and the student in question. “It brings the curriculum to life,” Miles said. “You get to see [the judicial system] in practice.

Teens helping teens in this way might be more powerful than just hearing consequences from another adult.” — Kelly Tabis, I-House Principal a part of this network of courts,” Aklufi said. According to Tabis, punishments are more resonant with students when the consequence is being presented by their peers instead of by adults. “Students learn from other students,” Tabis said. “Teens helping teens in this way may be more powerful than just hearing consequences from another adult.” According to Tabis, Teen Court needs approximately 38 to 40 jurors to attend orientation and train to be jurors. Currently, Samo has a 30 person jury pool. “My first goal would be to have a group of students who are committed to the program,” Tabis said. “[This means] that they would at-

We are always looking for ways to redirect some of that negative energy around kids that are getting in trouble.” Teen Court allows students to understand how the legal system works and how a case unfolds, according to Miles. It also allows Samo to intervene when students are charged with misdemeanor cases. “What Teen Court offers students who have charges pending is an opportunity not to go through the traditional legal system but to have a much more reflective approach,” Miles said. “[The jury] will be able to consider the teenage experience, which is different from just a judge slapping down a consequence.”

Malibu carcinogens may lead to district testing Olive Sherman Staff Writer

Following tests by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on campuses of Malibu schools for human carcinogens called Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Superintendent Sandra Lyon has requested a district-wide test for PCBs on other campuses. According to a public statement released by SMMUSD on Oct. 21, PCBs are a mixture of individual chemicals which are no longer produced in the United States but still exist in the environment due to their usage in past projects. The EPA’s data confirmed that it is safe to occupy middle and high school classrooms; however, samples taken from caulk primarily used in window sills showed PCB levels 37 times the level required to trigger EPA involvement. However, according to a statement released by Lyon on Nov. 22, the trigger levels do not indicate any immediate health risk. The EPA suggested that SMMUSD inspect school buildings, remove and dispose the caulk material, test surfaces near the caulk and inspect Malibu High School’s (MHS) ventilation system in order to keep the school safe. “The Board of Education will receive my recommendations for additional, district-wide testing and remediation, which will be overseen by the government health authorities, recommendations for best practice facility cleaning protocols and a plan

for increasing the district’s communications capacity to better address the community’s desire to receive timely information and updates,” Lyon said. PCBs were found and extracted from the soil of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School in 2011. Concerns over PCBs increased in early October when three MHS teachers were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and several other teachers experienced health problems possibly related to contaminants on campus. Because SMMUSD revealed the EPA’s data more than a month after parents and teachers voiced concerns about potential contaminants, parents are concerned about the transparency of the information the district has provided to them. These parents have formed an advocacy group called Malibu Parents for Healthy Schools, which has questioned the credibility of the district’s environmental expert and is currently hiring its own environmental consultant to independently review the district’s test data. “It is utterly irresponsible for the district to further delay investigations to discover the true extent of the contamination on campus,” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein said. “By taking evasive half-measures, the district is only fanning fears and breeding distrust.” PEER, a Washington, D.C. based environmental advocacy group, is demanding that the SMMUSD test the soil for lead, arsenic and benzene, in addition to the

PCBs. According to MHS transfer student Sofia Blanco (’14), Malibu students remain unaffected by PCB testing at school. “I was at the school for five years and got tested for cancer, but the results came back clean,” Blanco said. “I have talked to many of my old friends from Malibu and they all seem pretty unaffected by the situation; they continue to go about the school year as usual. It seems like a big joke to them.” According to Samo Principal Eva Mayoral, Superintendent Sandra Lyon is looking to conduct a district-wide study for PCBs and other carcinogens. “Because this issue has come up at Malibu, [Lyon] is interested in being able to take a look at district-wide buildings so she can get a sense of what’s going in on with all of them,” Mayoral said. “[Lyon] is looking to do a study across all of [the SMMUSD] campuses to make sure that any possible issues will be resolved.”

WHAT’S INSIDE Opinion Feature A&E Sports

3 5 9 10

News Samo construction to include 15 modernized science labs

December 12, 2013 Page 2

Joseph Staraci Staff Writer

When science teachers relocate to the new Science and Technology building this spring, they will be greeted by state of the art science labs. In an effort to modernize and improve school facilities across the district, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) voters passed Measure BB in 2006, a $268 million bond that promised new facilities and increases in student safety. According to SMMUSD, a portion of that fund will now be used to equip Samo’s new Science and

Technology building with 15 state of the art science labs. According to the district’s Facility Improvement Project (FIP) office, the science labs will feature enlarged whiteboards, which will cover a single wall of a lab and double as shelving space, as well as eye wash stations, fume hoods, energy efficient lighting, sustainable counter tops and glassware washing stations. “I think the new science labs will open up a number of new opportunities for our classes,” Science Department Chair Sarah Lipetz said. “For example, I think having more fume hoods available allows us to work with chemical reactions that I

wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing in the past. Students would then be able to better understand the nature of chemicals and the reactions they carry out.”

We don’t want science to be a spectator sport, but something the students are involved in.” — Principal Eva Mayoral In addition to providing modern scientific supplies, the new science labs will be furnished with cutting

Junior class “stays fly” with soda bottles

Brian Kanjo Staff Writer

Nick Hammer (’15) and Junior Steering have joined forces to produce customized Samo soda bottles, the proceeds of which will go towards Junior class funds. Hammer said he was able to create the unique bottles through his parents’ bottle distribution company. Each soda bottle will read “Stay Fly” and will be labeled with information about the class of 2015. Hammer will make the labels with Adobe Photoshop, drawing on his experience making labels for other companies. By selling Samo soda, Junior Steering plans to raise money for class-specific goals, like less expensive yearbooks and prom tickets. According to Head of Junior Steering Samantha Hsieh (’15), bottles

will be sold at future school events and to Junior Steering members’ family and friends. Hsieh said that she had some difficulty settling on a design. “’Stay Fly’ was just a catchy slogan we came up with. We didn’t want our class year to be the focus of the label, so on one would feel like they were buying something that wasn’t theirs,” Hsieh said. “But we did put our year at the bottom of the label [and] the nutrition facts and flavor, blueberry lemonade, is also included on the label as well.” Hsieh said Junior Steering adviser Douglas Kim suggested the idea earlier this year. “Mr. Kim suggested selling soda bottles and customizing the labels because he had previously worked with Nick Hammer’s par-

edge technology to promote research and allow students to enrich their critical thinking skills, according to the FIP. “Each new science lab will re-

ents’ company to make customized sodas for his basketball team,” Hsieh said. “We ended up thinking it was a really cool idea, and we’re currently finalizing the design and getting ready to have them printed.” According to Hammer, the bottles will be sold for $1.75 individually, $6.50 in a pack of four and $30 in a pack of 24.

Rich Lopez Tutoring SAT Math AP Statistics, Algebra Geometry, Calc. ABC 310-384-7628

ceive new student and teacher laptops,” the FIP said in a press release. “The access to the laptops can be

utilized during real-time experiments to collect and analyze data during lessons.” Principal Eva Mayoral believes the new science labs are not only important because they allow students to become more proficient with technology, but also because they nurture students’ passions for learning and achievement. “We don’t want science to be a spectator sport, but something students are involved in,” Mayoral said. “We want to make science real for kids. It’s one thing to read about science — it’s another to actually do science.”


The Samohi is a biweekly newspaper by, for and about Santa Monica High School students. Our goal is to empower the student body through information. We do not represent the views of the administration or staff. We do not endorse advertisements placed in our paper. Editor-in-Chief: Sam Reamer Managing Editor: Jones Pitsker Online Editor: Mia Lopez-Zubiri Editor-at-Large: Francesca Billington News Editors: Anika Narayanan Muhammad Yusuf Tarr Opinion Editor: Natasha Munasinghe Feature Editors: Amancai Biraben Micol Azcarate A&E Editor: Max Gumbel Sports Editors: Brooke Weiss Emma Wergeles

I need to take four AP’s to get into college, or do I? You should do it for college things I spend my time doing right now are mostly for the eyes of a college admissions officer. Every single one of us has been trained to think that life is a series of steps: highschool to college to success. I will never shake the feeling that every mistake I make now, as a 16-year-old, is going to in

Shayan Chetty Staff Writer

Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History. AP Language and Composition. AP Statistics. AP Calculus BC. The four AP classes I’m taking this year have absolutely nothing to do with what I want to do in college. In fact, I have no idea what I want to do in college. So why am I taking them, you ask? It’s the answer most every high schooler has for some part of his or her life: I’m doing it for college. I need to do it for college. My entire existence thus far has been a game of “Will this look good on my application?”, and for good reason too. Practically every student at Samo has been told at some point in their life that their dreams of success can only become reality with the help of a college degree — and not just any college degree. Those top level private schools and universities with ridiculously low acceptance rates are going to look for the best of the best students. In most cases, this means the kids who pushed themselves the hardest. And the truth of it is that the

Art Director: Tianru Wang

Staff: Crystal Chang, Shayan Chetty, Camille De Beus, Claire Goldberg, Bianca Gonzalez, Lillian Graham, Noah Johnson, Brian Kanjo, Emma Kohut, Fiona Moriarty-Mclaughlin, Diego Perdomo, Sam Rietta, Ben Ross, Francine Rios-Fetchko, Jack Sadler, Olive Sherman, Joseph Staraci, Cindy Yen, Gabriel Ziaukas Address: 601 Pico Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405 To submit ideas for opinion articles please email us at

Language and Composition teacher, posed my class with an interesting exercise to think about why we’re doing things when we do them. Why do we robotically go from class to class, frantically worrying about the next essay we have to turn in and the test next Thursday? And for that matter,

My existence thus far has been a game of ‘Will this look good on my application?’ and for good reason too.” some way have a much bigger and more ghastly consequence in my adult life. This mindset that my high school career is what either makes or breaks my future career is one that I needed to adopt in order to get ahead. In the admissions process, are pared down brutally; those who haven’t been equipped with AP classes, extracurriculars and community service are those left behind. So, I’ve taken the easier route: I’ve bowed to my fate as a workaholic, at least for these four years of high school. I’ve stuck my nose into textbook after textbook for the sake of the future I’ve been promised, and I don’t regret a single minute of it. High school may not be the ten-year-long journey that Odysseus faced, but if any goal is going to motivate me to defeat my own personal Cyclops, it’s college. Kitaro Webb, my AP

why are we all so stuck on this idea of college and its singular power to make us truly happy as adults? The answer here is that we have to; the modern educational institution pits us against our classmates Hunger Games-style, making the very top the only place that will yield success. And we end up enduring the relentless work when we realize how very badly all of us want to go to that one college of our dreams. The frantic worrying and robotic behavior? It’s nothing more than working towards a goal. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I hate every aspect of my life and the things I do are only for college. But I’d be lying if I were to say that anything in my life is done purely out of passion—some things may have started out of pure passion but have probably been continued for the sake of my resume. I love playing volleyball, but I’m not unaware of the fact

that four years on a sport adds a nice balance to my future college application. In no way, shape, or form is any of that mindset something to be ashamed of. In fact, I’ll take pride in the face that one of the reasons I’m in volleyball is to further my college application—I’m working towards a much bigger goal while taking opportunities as they come to me. Many of my classmates and I could have free periods or no AMs or maybe even five classes. But with the college-bound perspective that we have, that is far less sensible than facing the sleep deprivation and stress that a junior with 4 AP classes has the privilege of experiencing. So when I’m posed with the quintessential question, “Why?”, I will proudly say “Because it looks good for college.” High school is a melting pot of people pursuing their goals, and in my case, furthering my collegiate and adult career. And while I may be following the trend of my classmates by filling my schedule with activities for the eyes of an admissions officer, it’s a trend I’m forced to follow. Doing things for the sole purpose of showing them to the admissions board is not a show of superficiality but rather one of ambition, and the ambition that comes with wanting a successful future is the reason an entire generation of overachievers has emerged.

Don’t do it just for college

Photo Editor: Elizabeth Mebane

Faculty Adviser: Kathleen Faas

December 12, 2013 Page 3

Francesca Billington

Editor-at-Large If two roads diverge in a yellow wood, many students would take the one that leads to “the best” college. Despite broken limbs or frostbite, getting accepted into college is all that matters. Almost every time someone says they do something “just for college,” I can’t help but think that this ambition is counterproductive. Although getting into a great school is not an unreasonable goal, sacrificing our physical and psychological health ultimately sets us back. Of course there are things we can’t avoid because they are required. There is a line, however, that separates ambitious students from college obsessed ones. Students, even myself, create a mental checklist of all the things they need in order to be considered for college admissions; clubs, extracurricular activities, difficult classes and volunteering. One of the first things we tend to place on this checklist is clubs. Upon entering high school, teachers immediately suggest that we sign up for clubs. Eager club presidents pass out

flyers advocating educational or community service clubs. Im my freshman year, I found myself piling on clubs in the hope that it would make me seem involved in Samo. I soon discovered, however, that I didn’t actually want to attend many of these club meetings and that I joined them just to seem like an active student. Surprisingly enough, I did really find interest in Key Club, a community service based organization. It’s very apparent in a club like this, where

personally signed up for Delians, I didn’t have the mindset of helping the community but rather being in an honors society. Now that community service hours have been temporarily suspended, there is not much effort needed for the application process. Being a Delian is attractive because it looks good on college transcripts, but now that no requirement for community service exists it seems like a group that exists for the sole purpose of conferring a special

Ultimately, doing what we are passionate about will impress colleges because we do what we love best.” members come and go, who is actually interested in what the club has to offer. This ultimately benefits not only the club, but the person. Joining groups simply for college makes it less likely that you will like the club because it won’t seem like a hobby, but something you have to do. Delians Honors Society also faces this dilemma, as many students apply thinking of their applications. For me, the society serves the main purpose of allowing students to wear gold stoles on graduation. A vast number of Samo students participate in Delians because they have outstanding grades. The main objective of these students, however, isn’t to complete community service, but to simply be in this group. When I

status on its members. Taking rigorous classes is important; it allows us as students to challenge ourselves. There is a time, however, when we risk the enjoyment of exploring new subjects to simply work for a grade. Signing up for an honors or

Advanced Placement (AP) course without the desire to learn anything hurts the class, environment and the grades of a student. To take a class because it’s challenging and looks impressive does not benefit anyone. Just like anything, moderation is key. Of course we can’t take all classes we like. It’s important, however, to remember that clubs and grades are just pieces that make a good student. Ultimately, doing what we are passionate about will impress colleges because we do what we love best. We should not change ourselves for college, but rather utilize what we already like and can do. So even if you take numerous AP’s and volunteer for hours on end, do it because you have a reason to, not just because of college. If the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts, then remember that college will be just one part that makes you whole. And that will make all the difference. Haus buddies: By Josue Lobos

Winter at Samo: By Emily Claus

Seasons of stress: By Tianru Wang

To stress or to post?: By Jennifer Reynoso


The types of Snapchats you get at school: By Crystal Chang

December 12, 2013 Page 4

Feature Student Writers

December 12, 2013 Page 5

For most high school students, the idea of a future career is a distant concept. However two Samo students, Bryce Johnson (’16) and Elliott Baumohl (’14), have already succeeded in creating names for themselves in the world of online journalism.

SAM RIETTA / The Samohi

Bryce Johnson: Johnson writes for about sports.

SAM RIETTA / The Samohi

Elliot Baumohl: Baumohl writes music reviews for

Sam Rietta

Francine Rios-Fetchko

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Bryce Johnson (’16) was reading articles on a sports website when he saw an ad for Sportskeeda, a website which gives sports writers an opportunity to write about their favorite players and teams. “I’ve always wanted to write, but there was no way to get my [stories] out there,” Johnson said. “I saw the ad and it said it needed a writer for the [National Basketball Association (NBA)] and I thought to myself, ‘Why not?’” Since Sportskeeda first hired Johnson last summer, he has written numerous articles about the NBA, two of which, about the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, have a total of 2,000 views. “During the summer I wrote just about an article a week, but now that school has started it’s more like every two or three weeks,” Johnson said. “It really doesn’t matter how many views I get. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hope people read it, but I just like writing about something I love.” Johnson said Sportskeeda has given him the freedom to write about subjects that interest him. For each article he writes he gets paid 10 dollars. “I love basketball and it’s what I know best. Writing these articles has given me nothing but good experiences,” Johnson said. “I already feel like a much better writer.” Johnson said that the first article he wrote is still his favorite because it was his first experience in the world of sports writing. “The article I wrote on The [Miami] Heat was my first article,” Johnson said. “I researched it and I analyzed it for hours. It also really helped with my editing skills. It was my first fully finished article and it felt like everything was perfect.” Although Johnson’s career is just beginning, he said he will continue to write for basketball and hopefully receive an even larger audience than he already has.

After writing for, an online music publication, Elliot Baumohl (’14) decided to take his writing to the next level. He submitted a complete application to the co-founder of, another online music publication. “ is one of the premier online music publications around. We’re essentially one step down from the Pitchfork and Rolling Stone-type sites,” Baumohl said. “We try to bring our users the highest quality music that you seldom hear on the radio.” As a staff writer, Baumohl chooses all the music that he reviews for the site and tries to write at least three reviews per week. Baumohl said he has created strong relationships with managers, public representative agents and artists, who have given him experience and credibility in the music world. Instead of getting paid for each article he writes, Baumohl gets backstage passes and concert tickets for the music he reviews. “My favorite part is the relationships I build with artists,” Baumohl said. “It’s rewarding to have handson experiences with the music I may potentially write about.” Although Baumohl usually works with smaller artists, he has talked to many big names in the music world. Baumohl said he once spoke with Chance the Rapper’s agent, who was working with Childish Gambino and Kid Cudi. “We all enjoy music for our own respective reasons, and I wish to expand readers’ interests past mainstream artists that you hear on the radio every day,” Baumohl said. Earmilk has offered Baumohl a taste of what it is to be a professional music critic. The website is a place for him to combine his passion for music and his writing skills in order to apply them to a future profession. “I hope to use the connections I’ve made to start managing acts,” Baumohl said. “I’ve been in contact with a few artists and hope to be launching stuff in the near future. I definitely see music playing a role in my career.”


December 12, 2013 Page 6

COOL CLUBS Behind the lunchtime madness: Samo clubs

Brian Kanjo


Staff Writer

The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays in B200

If you like killing your friends in a virtual world as a fat short man with a mustache or a laser-toting fox, then you should check out Super Smash Brothers Club. Started by Finn Bordal (’14), Jason Oyakawa (’14) and Daniel Chenevert (’14), the club provides setups of all three of the popular Super Smash Brothers games for students to play. Super Smash Brothers is a series of fighting video games, featuring many of Nintendo’s most successful characters like Mario, Link and Pikachu. The series has titles on Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube and Nintendo Wii — Super Smash Brothers, Super Smash Brothers Melee and Super Smash Brothers Brawl, respectively. Walking into the club itself is surreal — see six televisions are set up with five Nintendo Wii’s and one Nintendo 64. Students are huddled around each television, cheering on their friends and heckling their enemies, while anywhere between two and four members battle each other. Some TV’s host “competitive” games — one-on-one matches between skilled players — and others “casual” games, with two to four kids battling for fun. Bordal said the club, which has dozens of members, had humble beginnings.

“My friend Daniel and I were at a [Super Smash Brothers] Melee tournament and met some high schoolers from Valencia who started a successful [Super] Smash Brothers Club, thus inspiring us to start our own with our friend Jason,” Bordal said. “[Super] Smash Brothers has been a passion for us for years, and it’s a pleasure to share our knowledge and experience with other people, have fun playing the great games and foster a healthy community.” Club member Ben Gelfand (’14) said he shares Bordal’s positive view of the games and club. “I enjoy being able to play a game I grew up playing with so many people who enjoy it just as much as I do,” Gelfand said. Bordal said the club took off from the beginning, immediately gathering over 40 members. “Hopefully our club will ultimately support both average people looking for a fun game and a competitive environment with serious rankings and tournaments,” Bordal said. On Tuesday, the club is primarily “competitive,” featuring the faster-paced games of the series and more intense matchups, whereas on Thursday it is primarily “casual.” Anyone who wants to try their hand at some fighting is invited to stop by during lunch.

ANIME CLUB Francine Rios-Fetchko Staff Writer For over ten years, Samo’s Anime Club has been one of the most popular clubs on campus. It specializes in everything anime — from anime-related games to anime clips. Anime is a term used to describe Japanese animation, commonly in the form of shows or comics. This type of entertainment has attracted a large audience; it touches on universal themes. The shows are known for using Japanese culture as the basis of plots. Every Friday, over thirty students meet in Japanese teacher Emily Kariya’s room to socialize, eat and relax while watching anime clips. According to Kariya, the officers of the club like to pick clips the members have never seen before to introduce them to new artists and allow them to continue exploring other forms of anime. “The idea of the club is to create a social group, or a network of people who have similar interests, that being Japanese anime,” Kariya said. Students also participate in many other anime related activities. Some members participate in cosplay, a term short for “costume play” that refers to a performing art in which people dress up as different characters for fun. According to Julia Menyhart (’15), a member of the club since freshmen year, anime club members usually dress as anime characters and go to different types of

events in downtown ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 people. “Besides watching anime we sometimes host gaming nights where people can bring their [Nintendo] DS’s and play each other over [Local Area Network (LAN)], sometimes there’s a [Super Smash Brothers] Brawl tournament or two,” club president Garrison Finley (’15) said. “We also have attended media conventions like Anime Los Angeles and Anime Expo as a group in previous years, with a lot of the members cosplaying as various characters from anime or manga.” The club’s favorites include “Kyoukai no Kanata”, “Madoka Magica”, “Little Witch Academia” and many others. Most of the clips range anywhere from three to thirty minutes and feature hand drawn or digitally created anime characters. “Personally, I really like the animation style and the plots,” Menyhart said. “It’s basically like American cartoons and TV shows, except it’s made in a different country that has a different culture, which is interesting to see. I really like learning about different cultures, and Japan has an especially beautiful one. Although not all anime reflects that, it’s interesting to see the modern Japanese culture that you wouldn’t see in normal American TV.”

The club meets on Fridays in L205

GARDENING CLUB Ben Ross Staff Writer You walk though the concrete walls that envelop high school, rushing from class to class, looking only at your phone or a vocab list for the test you’re about to take. However, if you take the time to look up, you’ll see little pockets of color and life thanks to Samo’s Gardening Club. Samo’s garden coordinator Lucia Burke works with a group of Samo students twice a week to help maintain the crops. Members refer to Burke as “Master Gardener” because she has years of experience working in various gardens. Luckily, it is not solely up to Burke to provide for the club. “The district gives us a budget to buy all of our materials like seeds, soil and tools, but we also receive a large amount of donations on top of that all.” Burke said. The club meets on Fridays in The Green House near the Tech Building Quad

According to club member Ann Hulbert (’14), the club grows a variety of different crops, including lettuce, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, carrots and arugula. “Every few weeks, we have a ‘Salad Party’ where we eat all of the produce that we actually grow,” Hulbert said. “It’s really great to be able to know that you’re eating something you grew yourself.” Club president Lezlie Rueda (’14) has been a member of the club since the second semester of her sophomore year. Rueda said that the gardening club is a way for her to get away from all the stress and troubles an average day of high school can bring. “It’s just a break in the day where I can get away from it all,”Rueda said. “It’s really peaceful and in the end it’s fun, which is all that matters for me.”

All drawings by: CRYSTAL CHANG / The Samohi


December 12, 2013 Page 7

Samo Film Presents: SamoHIGHLIGHTS Francine Rios-Fetchko Staff Writer When you think of CityTV, you might imagine a continuous live stream of dull city council meetings, interrupted by a few black and white infomercials. Nevertheless, the Samo film department is working to expand the channel’s audience by adding a show of its own, “Samohighlights,” to the Saturday morning routine. This year, Samo began its third season of “Samohighlights,” a show, written and produced by Samo students. Sixteen of film teacher Bill Wishart’s Film and Video production students have come together to create and air the show. In all eight of the episodes, students are featured as hosts and guests. The students put in a lot of time and effort into producing the twenty-five minute episodes. According to Wishart, students write scripts, rehearse anchors, find guests to be on the show and finally bring all these components together in the five hours they have to shoot. These efforts are led by the executive producers of the show, Alana Feldman (’14) and Ruhi Bhalla (’14). Student hosts present news, talk and performance shows to their audience. Students cover events, feature their peers and talk to different people about organizations, events or even sports teams. In the performance shows, the producers look for students who have interesting talents that they want to share with peers. Sophie Horwitz-Hirsch (’14) was interviewed on the show about her participation in marching band. Horwitz-Hirsch said the show was not only a fun experience but was also a good way for her to show Samo students what the marching band is really about. “My favorite part of the experience was knowing that I wasn’t just speaking for myself but for over a hundred other people,” Horwitz-Hirsch said. “It was really cool knowing that my voice was being used to promote something that I and an entire band put a lot of time and effort into.” From dealing with nerves to figuring out film logistics, students who star on the show get a chance to see what being on TV is really like. According to performer Zander Tyger Allman (’15), it is also a great way for young performers to start getting experience in the music world. “It was pretty incredible to see how professional and under control everything was,” Harry Gilboa (’15) said. “Everybody knew exactly what to do, and I was amazed at how smooth the whole process went considering the level of complexity people had to deal with while using all of the high end equipment.” According to Kai Hakomori (’17) and David Shi (’14), both reporters on the show, one of the best parts of the experience was watching peers preform. Jessica Fuller (’16) who preformed an original song on the show, said that the pressure put on students makes most nervous. Thankfully, the show has a “talent wrangler” to calm students down and get them what they need. This position is reserved for someone with great organizational skills and the ability to relax and calm other people in nerve-racking situations. “Before I went on I was pretty nervous because I had never pre-

ROBIN GEE / Contributor

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER: The “Samohighlights” cast and crew pose in front of their show’s backdrop, proud of having aired their first episode.

ROBIN GEE / Contributor

ON SET: Zahari Dimitrov (’16) adjusts the camera angle and focuses while shooting an episode of “Samohighlights.” ROBIN GEE / Contributor

IN ACTION: Crew members Phillip Fernandez (’16) controls the camera footage in real time while producer Alana Feldman (’14) manages the editing room. formed an original song in public before,” Fuller said. “The song was very personal so it was a little like reading my diary in front of everyone, but preforming is definitely a thrill, and it helped me gain more confidence and inspired me to write more.” Aakeem Allahjah (’14) who was interviewed on the show for winning Homecoming king, said that although the experience can be nerve-wracking, being on the show was worthwhile. “It was a really fun experience since both of the hosts were friends of mine. One of my favorite parts was getting ready and going over lines with Sadie [Dorf (’14)] and the hosts because we got to crack jokes and laugh while also getting ready to shoot,” Allahjah said. “I look forward to looking back on this experience 30 years from now.” Although the program’s goal is to get information to the students, Wishart said the experience of creating the episodes is more valuable. “Not having a huge viewership is okay from the standpoint that the experience is really valuable and the techniques that the students use are something that they will be able to use for the rest of [their] lives,” Wishart said. According to the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) Department Chair Rebel Harrison, the program is

a great opportunity for students to be able to work in a professional environment. Studio 16, where CityTV is filmed, is equipped with high quality cameras, lighting equipment, a lighting grid and a control room complete with a mixing board and monitors. “Working in that environment is a great experience,” Feldman said. “I think of it like a job almost—we have all the resources as if we were really making a show on TV.” For students like Sadie Eller (’14), who is interested in continuing to work with film and video in her future, this is a unique opportunity. “The experience has given me such an insight into the world of production,” Eller said. “I now know how to work a three-camera shoot, operate a switcher and organize a show. I have learned things at CityTV that I will carry with me and apply to my filmmaking.” The program has aired three of its four first semester shows and plans to continue their upbeat and show in the middle of informational CityTV. The show will continue to air every Saturday morning at 8:30 through the end of the school year.

SADIE ELLER / Contributor

IN ACTION: The Samo film crew shoots former host Arden Lassale (’14) reporting on “Samohighlights”

ROBIN GEE / Contributor

LIGHTS: Crew members Javier Calderon (’14) and Anika Mahadeva (’14) manage the bird’s-eye-view camera.

December 12, 2013 Page 8


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December 12, 2013 Page 9


Samo photography students exhibit what is important to them in the Roberts Art Gallery.

ABOVE: Ali Guvendiren (’14) brought a GoPro portable camera along with him as he lived his everyday life. NEAR RIGHT: Ben Brady (’14) photographed a bowling pin he found in his living room, seeing similarities between the object and himself. FAR RIGHT, TOP: Aide Colmenares (’14) took photos of subjects wearing wolf masks to symbolize human secrecy. FAR RIGHT, BOTTOM: Analy Bravo (’14) aimed to capture the pure individuality of each of her subjects and unmask the people behind stereotypes.

Teacher’s Take

Security officer “D,” who asked not to be photographed, discusses the stupidity of media sensationalism surrounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s crack cocaine use.

Boring. Why does that matter? Why is it relevant to the students at Samo? Is he the mayor of Santa Monica, or the mayor of Los Angeles? No. No one cares. Why hasn’t the school provided parking for seniors at the Civic Center? Why aren’t our bathrooms clean? Now that is relevant.”


The Samohi

The A-Z of new “Pokémon X and Y” Cindy Yen Staff Writer

“Pokémon X and Y,” recently released for the Nintendo 3DS, promises a grand adventure through the Kalos region with many features old and new. The game showcases many old features that Pokémon fans have fallen in love with, including the Generation I starters and the Experience Share item, which is now enhanced to suit all members of your Pokémon team. However, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company have revolutionized game play by incorporating new features like the new Fairy type Pokémon, mega evolution and horde battles. At the start of your adventure in the Kalos region, you, as a Pokémon trainer, get to choose between three starter Pokémon: Chespin (the Grass type), Fennekin (the Fire type) and Froakie (the Water type). In addition to these starters, you can also get starters from previous Pokémon generations. You can download a Torchic, a Generation III fire Pokémon, from the Internet. Also, after you beat the first gym, Professor Sycamore will provide you with a choice between the three Generation I starters: Bulbasuar, Charmander and Squirtle. The additions will help returning players feel nostalgic as well as help your Pokémon team be strong right at the beginning of the game. Nintendo has tried to incorporate the Internet more in this game, and they have succeeded. For instance, the addition of the Player Search System (PSS) gives you the ability to trade or battle with anyone in the world. Not only can this provide you with Pokémon from other countries, but you can now see how strong your Pokémon party really is

against other trainers. Through the PSS’s trade you can trade any one of your Pokémon for another random one. You can still trade and battle your friends through Wi-Fi, and now you can visit each other’s Friend Safari to catch rare Pokémon once you beat the game. Another great aspect of “Pokémon X and Y” is the improved Experience Share. When one of your Pokémon battles against another Pokémon, the Pokémon gains experience points. When that Pokémon gains a certain amount of points, it levels up. Leveling up your Pokémon will make it stronger, and it may even evolve into a new Pokémon. When you activate the Experience Share, every Pokémon in your party now gets half the experience points of the Pokémon who battle, even though not all of them might fight in a battle. Although the Experience Share is a returning item, its new features make the game into something previous Pokémon games couldn’t become. However, not every video game can be perfect, and “Pokémon X and Y” does have some flaws. For instance, although the addition of the Fairy type Pokémon was one of the major selling points for the game, the Fairy type Pokémon are the new Dragon types in that they are difficult to defeat and good-looking. In this game, the Fairy Pokémon can easily defeat the Dragon type because of innate abilities. This makes Dragon Pokémon no longer the dominant Pokémon. There are barely any types of Pokémon that can easily defeat a Fairy Pokémon except for Steel and Poison Pokémon. This creates a battle against a Fairy Pokémon frustrating and almost impossible early in the game. The addition of mega evolution is also new to the game. In order to ac-

tivate mega evolution, your Pokémon needs to be holding to its Mega Stone and you need to have the Mega Ring, which will be given to you after you beat the third gym. Mega evolution may seem exciting, but it only raises a Pokémon’s base stats and abilities. It can also change the Pokémon’s type for some Pokémon. For example, a mega evolved Pinsir is a Bug type Pokémon, but when mega evolution is used on it, it gains the Flying type. Mega evolution stops after one battle, so you are required to activate it every single time you fight. However, the graphics of mega evolution are beautiful in 3D, the Pokémon growing and transforming before your eyes into something stronger, more colorful and fierce. Another flaw in the game is presented by the horde battles. In horde battles, one of your Pokémon goes up against five Pokémon that are at significantly lower levels than the other Pokémon in that area. However, if you want to defeat a horde, you must use a move against each Pokémon one at a time or use a move that can wipe out the whole field. If you want to catch a single Pokémon in a horde, you must defeat the four other Pokémon first. This isn’t only annoying, but it’s also a time waster. Of course, you can escape from a horde battle, but it’s always good to battle as much as you can for those experience points. Overall, “Pokémon X and Y” provides trainers old and new with a good experience. The graphics are amazing, especially the battles in 3D, and the new features of mega evolution and the use of the Internet in the game help tie the game into an enjoyable experience.


December 12, 2013 Page 10

A close look at the start of the Maddy Tung (’15) Maddy Tung (’15) is a unique asset to the wrestling team, as she is the only girl competing on the mat. Joseph Staraci Staff Writer If you happen to walk into the wrestling room during practice, there’s a lot to see. Tens of live wrestling matches, hundreds of double-leg take downs and thousands of sweat drops. But amid all the tosses, slams and twists, you’ll see a single girl: Maddy Tung (’15). After starting martial arts at just five years old, Tung was introduced to wrestling after Samo’s coach Mark Black came to her sixth grade Physical Education (P.E.) class and demonstrated how wrestling worked. After Black informed students of Samo’s middle school wrestling program, Tung was quick to join. “When I heard about wrestling, it was the perfect match for me,” Tung said. “I knew it was totally my thing. I had to try it — it was a natural progression of my personality. Mentally, both [martial arts and wrestling] are combat

sports that require focus and the ability to be one-on-one with your opponent and take responsibility for the match. Martial arts teaches self discipline, confidence, health, respect, perseverance, self-improvement, integrity and spirit. These principles in a way define me.” After seeing Tung wrestle for the first time as a sixth grader, Black knew that Tung was going to be something special. Black’s hunch soon became reality, as Tung ended her sophomore year by missing state championships by one place. Tung continued to dominate in tournaments around the globe. “She had an overly busy summer in terms of wrestling,” Black said. “She went to Las Vegas and Competed in Western Regionals and took first. She took fourth in the nationals in Florida and went to Austria and competed for team USA. After, she got to compete against some of the best girls in the world while training at the Olympic

AMANDA TUNG / Contributor

THE MATCH BEGINS: Maddy Tung (’15) (left) shakes hands with her opponent before a match at a tournament in Canada. Training Center in Colorado Springs.” For Tung, training with the best female wrestlers in the world not only allowed her to propel her wrestling techniques to the next level, but also helped her become the person she is today. “The experience was amazing,” Tung said. “I got to talk to world cham-

pions. I feel like I can become part of that group, and I’ve learned so many new techniques from them. But more importantly, it made me develop a more positive attitude and a heightened sense of self confidence.” Although Tung is the only girl on Samo’s current wrestling team, she is

Imanni Maxwell (’15) After overcoming a knee injury, Imanni Maxwell (’15) is ready for a successful season as starting point guard. Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin Staff Writer


SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES: Imanni Maxwell (’15) prepares to shoot a free throw during practice on Dec. 4. Maxwell is wearing a knee brace to help prevent more injuries to her knee as she plays this season.

The roaring crowds, buzzers, whistles and swishes drive basketball players. Starting her journey at just the age of six, captain of the girls’ varsity basketball team Imanni Maxwell (’15) is continuing to make achievements in her passion. “In her freshman year she made the varsity team with [former] Coach Marty Verdugo and one game she just kept scoring, making assists and shutting down on defense,” shooting guard Nicole Rosenbach (’14) said. “It was unbelievable; she destroyed.” Maxwell began playing for the Boys and Girls Club co-ed basketball league at six years old

when one of the coaches, Jerome Blockman, scouted Maxwell out. She made the team, beginning her unbreakable love for the sport. “Imanni is coming off a season in which she suffered a knee injury which kept her sidelined the entire time,” coach Marisa Silvestri said. “She has come back this year with something to prove, as she is the starting point guard.” Basketball keeps Maxwell focused, as she is continuously thinking about her end goal: playing college basketball “I enjoy taking the leading role of the team, making plays and getting everyone involved,” Maxwell said. “I like the pressure.”

Jonah Mathews (’16) After scoring 41 points in the Harvard Westlake game on Dec. 4, Jonah Mathews (’16) has proven himself to be a key player. Diego Perdomo Staff Writer It was the appearance of the 6’0” freshman with the long arms that helped him earn a spot on the boys’ varsity basketball team. However, it was his smart and fast style of play that helped Jonah Mathews (’16) become a key point guard, shooting guard and leader on the team. As a new season begins, Mathews is ready to return and hold his own as he continues to build a name for himself and Samo. “Seeing Mathews coming in as a tall, lanky, 6’0” freshman [last year], he looked like he could have potential,” point guard Ray Mancini (’14) said. “I didn’t know how good he was going to be until he joined our team and became a great [asset]. Ever since then he just kept getting better and better.”

As the younger brother of Jordan Mathews (’13), one of the athletes who brought Samo to a championship, there are inevitably high expectations of the younger Mathews. “My own personal goal is to meet the expectations of my brother, and live up to that,” Mathews said. Coming as a freshman last year to a team that created a legacy for Samo, Mathews had to take greater strides than the rest of his teammates to keep up with the team’s pace. According to coach James Hecht, Mathews embodies the overall skill set of a smart offensive player with a great work ethic. “I can count on one hand all of the freshmen who were on varsity, and he was one of the ones who truly earned it,” Hecht said. The relationship that Mathews


BACK OFF: Jonah Mathews (’16) runs down the court during the Harvard Westlake game on Dec. 4. has with his teammates off the court helps build trust, which is crucial for a primarily new varsity squad, which suffered a loss of 13 seniors last year. “I’ve played with him for a while

so I know spots that he likes to shoot from, plus we get along off the court, which also helps translate well on the court,” small forward and power forward Mikhail Brown (’16) said.

adamant that it doesn’t affect her. She has taken the lessons she learned when wrestling around the world and applied them back home. “Wrestling has taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid to pursue what I enjoy because of gender,” Tung said. “For example, I really like math, and I want to be an engineer. Though many people tell me that engineering is a man’s field, I’m not afraid of entering engineering because of [my experience] wrestling. I’m never going to let gender stop me.” Teammate Jake Beare (’15) said that Tung has gained the respect of the wrestling team, despite being the only female. “All of the men on our team look up to and admire her,” Beare said. “Day in and day out she is one of the hardest working wrestlers and she is always quick to motivate others to work hard too.” According to Black, Tung’s unwavering boldness will help her achieve success for her ultimate aspirations, becoming an Olympic champion. “She’s on a different trajectory,” Black said. “There’s no reason she can’t compete in the Tokyo Olympics.” Maxwell believes that her team will succeed this season because of the team chemistry the girls have. “We are a quick, small team. We don’t have a lot of height, so we will be challenged against some teams,” Maxwell said. “But as long as we work hard and together as a unit, we will succeed.” Maxwell’s former coach helped her become the determined player she is today. According to Maxwell, Blockman has inspired her to continue playing and pursue basketball after high school. “Imanni is an amazing player,” Rosenbach said. “She is a threat on offense and a great scorer while at the same time knows where everyone else is on the court to make an assist. She is really smart on the court and adds an efficient flow to the game that is hard for other players to achieve.”

Mathews is a committed player who dedicates extra time to practice shooting. Mathews hopes he can help motivate the team as they reach for the heights of last year. “During a game against Beverly right before the first half ended, he drained a three [point shot] in the face of the opposing team’s player,” Mancini said. “That showed me that it doesn’t really matter what grade you’re in — you can’t stop this guy. He’ll take on anyone or will shoot over anyone whenever the time comes. He has gathered the leadership from his brother and [is] ahead of several seniors who have joined this year. He has definitely earned his stripes and he will without a doubt be a great leader.” Matthew’s talent and leadership skills will both be shown on the Viking’s scoreboard. “His supreme confidence, shooting range, ball handling, height, athleticism and his will to win will lead to many victories and are what will make Mathews one of the key stars of this approaching season,” Brown said.


December 12, 2013 Page 11

winter 2013-2014 sports season Omar Sanchez (’14) Captain of the Samo boys’ soccer team, Omar Sanchez (’14) leads his team with his strength and passion. Bianca Gonzalez Staff Writer Known for his optimism on the field, commitment to the game and soccer experience, Omar Sanchez (’14) has proved himself a talented and determined soccer player. Sanchez has been a midfielder on the boys’ varsity soccer team for the past three years. He started off as many soccer fanatics do, playing for American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). From the age of four, he began developing his love for the sport. Although he recently injured his ankle and was out for six weeks, Sanchez became more motivated to begin the season, in hopes of helping the team exceed its potential. Sanchez is currently varsity team captain along with goalkeeper Eric Stocker (’14). According to Stocker, Sanchez has proven himself a good

leader. “He helps lead the team with me, and is one of the best players on the field,” Stocker said. “He’s really skilled on the ball and can pass and cross well.” According to Sanchez, his responsibility as one of the leaders is not only make decisions that will benefit the team but also to ensure that team members are communicating effectively. Although the team is extremely lively and most of the players have grown up together, Sanchez intends to improve the way they communicate. “[Sanchez] is always positive with the players around him; they can see what he does on the field and try to match that,” boys’ varsity coach Andy Rock said. “He’s always encouraging the players to work harder, be stronger and be tougher.” Although it’s Sanchez’s first year as captain, he is already contributing

Mackie Kennedy (’14) As a leader and competitor, Mackie Kennedy (’14) is leading the girls’ water polo team through her final season. Shayan Chetty Staff Writer Samo’s girls water polo team had four seconds left on the clock and were down by one in overtime. They had already endured a long game, and with so little time left to tie it up the girls looked to their captain, perimeter player Mackie Kennedy (’14). Kennedy scored a critical shot and led her team to victory in sudden death. The win not only boosted the morale of the team, but showcased Kennedy’s ability to play and work with her team under pressure. “I was able to focus, work together with my team and pull off a win,” Kennedy said. “I realized that I had to step up and be the shooter. Once [the team] was put under pressure, we saw our potential.” Kennedy began playing as a freshman, and had difficulty adjusting to the

rigor of the team. According to Kennedy, starting a sport as difficult as water polo without having ever played before was a challenge. “I just kept working from that point freshman year,” Kennedy said. “I never missed practices and tried to be there for the team, making sure the other players were doing as well as they could.” Kennedy says the friendships she formed made the work, commitment and perseverance worthwhile. “The team is really close and I became really committed to it,” Kennedy said. “We spend a lot of time practicing at crazy hours and we’re always together.” While the team was a major motivation, Kennedy said water polo coach Matthew Flanders also pushed her to her potential through rigorous practice and high expectations. “[Flanders] makes you work hard

JOSE LOPEZ / Contributor

PASS IT ON: Omar Sanchez makes a strong cross-field pass to one of his teammates in a game against Hawthorne. his skills as an experienced player to help guide the team in a positive direction, according to Jaryd Dorsey (’14). “He brings the experience — he’s been on varsity [since sophomore year], so he knows what it’s like to play CIF games and go far,” Dorsey said. for compliments and recognizes when people are improving,” Kennedy said. “He appreciates hard work and commitment.” Flanders said Kennedy guides by example, showcasing her sportsmanship and constantly growing to be a more aggressive player. Teammate Sofia Blanco (’15) said Kennedy’s kindness, encouragement and talent make her more than just a skillful passer and shooter. “[Kennedy] is always there trying to push us harder,” Blanco said. “She’s a really good player and a beast in the water as well as an all-around nice person. She makes us want to be like her by always being on task and by being an amazing player.” According to goalie Shayna Shnayder (’15), Kennedy has proven herself to be an all-around team player — her buoyant and confident outlook combined with her skill as a perimeter player earned the respect and adoration of her teammates. “[Kennedy] is a great player in and out of the water,” Shnayder said. “She definitely makes the girls want to go out and play hard through her positivity and by making it not only fun but challeng-

According to the boys’ varsity coach Serafin Rodriguez, Sanchez’s small physique may seem like a disadvantage, but his ability to go for the ball with a great amount of force allows him to perform just as well. “[Sanchez] is able to [steal the

ball] away from anybody of any size,” Rodriguez said. “His ability to go for the ball is so hard and strong that you won’t even notice how small he is.” Sanchez’s ability to play the game and his willpower to win the ball leads to his success during games. “He’s energetic. When he’s chasing the ball he never stops,” Rock said. “He’s fast, and he has a great touch on the ball.” According to Rock, one of the key necessities in soccer is a player’s attentiveness. “He’s the guy that we can put in a lot of different positions and anywhere we ask him to play he plays,” Rock said. “He’s always looking for the ball. Even when he doesn’t have the ball he’s looking around seeing what’s going [on].” Sanchez said he has many plans for the team. He knows that each player has his strengths, so he wants to apply that talent during the games. “[We’re trying to find] how our team chemistry can improve because that’s the main thing that separates mediocre teams from great teams,” Sanchez said. “I want us to have a successful and memorable year.”


BREAK THE TIE: Mackie Kennedy winds up in preparation to shoot in a sudden death against Granite Hills High School. ing. She plays with aggression and puts everything she has into the game.” Flanders says Kennedy guides by example, showcasing her sportsmanship and constantly growing to be a more aggressive player. “[Kennedy] leads by working hard

during the season and offseason; she is a great focus player,” Flanders said. “She has improved miles over her three years on varsity, and we are looking for great things from her this year.”

Girls’ soccer overcomes injuries in preparation for its season

JOSE LOPEZ / Contributor

TEAM HUDDLE: The varsity girls’ soccer team huddles up for a team cheer before their first game against Mira Costa on Dec. 2. Francine Rios-Fetchko Staff Writer With up to eight girls out because of injuries during the preseason, the Samo girls’ soccer team

is facing a huge obstacle this year. However, through countless hours of practice and sprints, the team is continuing to improve and move toward its goal of starting the season strong. “We have had anywhere from

seven to eight players out at one time who are all at different stages of recovery,” Coach Jimmy Chapman said. “But our distractions are gone and despite the issues we have had with injuries we are focused solely on getting better every day at practice.” The team is still recovering from the various injuries that debilitated almost half of its players for anywhere from two weeks to two months. According to captain Marie Salem (’14), who was out for six months last year because of a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL), not only do these injuries affect the individual players, but they affect the team as a whole. “For a while, a handful of the girls on the team, including myself, were hurt and that put more stress on our team because we’re still finding ourselves and the movement of the team,” Gabby Dyrek (’15), who was out with a knee injury for six weeks due to a strained MCL said. “Relying on our teammates and working hard when coming back to practice is key.”

According to the Youth Soccer Organization, women soccer players are prone to knee injuries because of their anatomy, and their joints undergo stress during tackles and while landing. Not only are girl soccer players prone to these injuries, but the combination of club soccer and high school soccer at the same time heightens this risk. For students who play both high school and club soccer, the fall is a busy time. With pre-season training at school, in-season training in club and up to two games every weekend, their bodies are put under a lot of stress. “I definitely think that being in club and Samo soccer has affected my healing process,” Janet ColemanBelin (’15), who has been out for over a month due to ankle injuries, said. “It’s pretty detrimental, actually, because if I feel I am able to practice at high school I feel obligated to practice at club, and two practices in one day for injured ankles is not good.” According to Chapman, al-

though the numerous injuries have been difficult, they have overall strengthened the team. “Being at 100 percent is probably the biggest challenge,” Chapman said. “With that, however, it allows some of the less experienced or younger players a chance to really step up and develop and grow so that all players are strong. Because of this, we will be much deeper and stronger from top to bottom.” Despite the overwhelming number of injuries, the team has been able to come together on and off the field, and is looking forward to a successful season. “It’s really hard when so many people are injured because we don’t have as many people at practice so it is difficult to do drills that require the whole team,” Salem said. “But we’ve all been working really hard to recover during the pre-season, and despite our injuries, I think we are very excited and anxious to begin the season.”


December 12, 2013 Page 12

SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT this issue in young adult culture Art by: CRYSTAL CHANG

The Samohi

Lilly Graham Staff Writer

The Girl on Fire is back. Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has returned as Katniss Everdeen in “Catching Fire,” the action filled sequel to “The Hunger Games.” With a great storyline, talented actors and amazingly vivid special effects, “Catching Fire” is one of the best movies that I’ve seen all year. Based on the best-selling series by Suzanne Collins, the movie follows Katniss Everdeen, darling of the Capitol and hero of District 12. She and fellow Hunger Games victor Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson) are forced to compete for the second time in Panem’s annual Hunger Games. The 75th Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell, is the stage for most of the story. In the Quarter Quell, the male and female tributes from each district are chosen from the existing pool of Hunger Games victors. Because she is the only female victor from District 12, Katniss is forced to represent her district in the hellish games. Peeta volunteers to compete with her because he won’t allow Katniss to go without him. I n com-

G N I H CATC FIRE parison to the first film, Lawrence and Hutcherson expand on the roles of Katniss and Peeta. Following the book perfectly in this aspect, Lawrence embodies Katniss’ angry and combative personality while Hutcherson portrays Peeta’s calm and collected state of mind. Lawrence also expertly shows Katniss’ conflicting and shifting emotions between her love for Peeta and her love for Gale. In the beginning of he movie, Gale acts on his feelings for Katniss and she doesn’t object, but throughout the film, the audience gets to see Katniss’s transition from Gale to Peeta. The love Peeta feels for Katniss is genuine, and as the movie progresses, she falls for him as well. Lawrence and Hutcherson do an exceptional job convincing the audience that Katniss and Peeta really are in love. Many other A-list actors appear in the film, such as Woody Harrelson, who plays Katniss and Peeta’s drunken mentor Haymitch Abernathy, Elizabeth Banks as the bright and zealous Effie Trinket and Liam Hemsworth, who plays Katniss’s honest and loving friend Gale Hawthorne. Lawrence

demonstrates her true acting ability when Katniss and Peeta are in District 11 on their Victory Tour. They both give heartfelt speeches about the district’s fallen tributes, Rue and Thresh. Katniss addresses Rue’s family and apologizes for being unable to save the 12-year-old girl in the previous Hunger Games, where Katniss and Rue were allies. With tears streaming down her face and a crack in her voice, Lawrence gave a very emotional performance. The plot is fast moving, but still easy to follow. Much like the book, the storyline starts out slow, then finishes in a flash. Readers will be happy to know that the original plot and many details of the book stay intact throughout the film, like Peeta’s double knotted shoe laces and how Enboaria, one tribute, has sharpened teeth. Several details are different though, such as the addition of a brand new training arena. I loved following the different twists of the story. The visual artistry in the film is stunning, particularly when Katniss’s wedding dress transforms into her the mockingjay dress in a burst of flames and ash. Flames are used often in Katniss’s wardrobe, including her glowing Opening Ceremony costume, in which the fabric

lights itself with bright fire and smoldering embers. Amazing special effects bring the games to life, generating rabid baboons with drooling fangs, vibrant lizards and dangerous warping forcefields that cause explosions when struck by any object. These effects make the movie captivating and bring detail to many important scenes in the film. Displaying amazing costumes, romance, violence and multiple plot twists, “Catching Fire” has a little bit of everything. If you read the books and even if you didn’t, “Catching Fire” is a must-see movie. The movie’s compelling twists and turns keep its audience on the edge of its seat, and we’re all reminded that Panem’s revolution is rapidly approaching. “Catching Fire” is a movie that entertains audience members who haven’t read the books while simultaneously pleasing avid fans.



Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Cindy Yen

Lilly Graham

The “Divergent” trilogy by Verionica Roth is set in a future dystopian Chicago that is split into five factions. At the age of sixteen, all citizens of the city must pick a faction to join. Tris, the main character, chooses the Dauntless faction full of the brave and fearless. However, she soon learns that she is Divergent, or one who possesses traits of three of the five factions. Divergent people are seen as dangerous to Chicago, so Tris must keep this secret at the expense of her life. Throughout the journey, Tris must also learn about who she is and her place in the world. In this last book of the series, Tris (the main character) and a group of her friends travel outside the fence of Chicago. There, the team, called the Allegiant, learns about the secrets of Chicago, including how the city is simply a government experiment to fix those who are genetically damaged, or not Divergent. When I started the book, I was immediately excited. I knew Tris and her friends exploring the outside world could lead to many different possibilities and plots in the book. However, I feel Roth explored way too much. There were many unnecessary and underdeveloped characters, subplots and climaxes in the book that it seemed like the pages never ended. Even though Roth probably intended to add depth in the book, it only left me confused. What’s different in this book than the first two is the dual narration. Instead of just Tris’s point of view, Roth also tells the story from the view of Tobias, Tris’s boyfriend. At first I was kind of annoyed by this because Tobias’s point of view was boring. Roth seems to have tried to incorporate the emotions of the two main characters to add a little flavor to the story, but Tobias’s part is not well developed until the latter stage of the book when Tobias and Tris start to go on different paths to shut down the experiment. Despite all of this, the book satisfied me. I found the idea of the experiment and the different genetics interesting because it was unexpected. Roth took a simple concept and built a great world upon it. The best part of the book was the end, though, because it emotionally moved me and clenched my heart into everlasting sorrow. Throughout the trilogy, the themes of family versus power and sacrifice are discussed deeply. The end of “Allegiant” provides the truth about these themes, and its impact is powerful. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t as great as the other books. The bar has been set high, and unfortunately the content and development of the book fell short. However, the themes at the end of the book are ones that we can all relate to, and Roth communicates them effectively and emotionally.

Rick Riordan, author of the best selling “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series and the “Heroes of Olympus” series, released the fourth boon, “The House of Hades,” on Oct. 8. The story picks up where “The Mark of Athena” left off, following the prophesied seven demigods and their friends on their quest to defeat the evil earth goddess Gaea. Though Mother Earth is depicted as a loving, maternal figure, that description couldn’t be more opposite to her true nature. Two of our heroes, Perceaus “Percy” Jackson, son of Poseidon, and Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, are falling toward the pit of death, Tartarus, after being dragged by the goddess Arcane. The rest of the gang, Jason Grace, son of Jupiter; Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite; Leo Valdez, son of Hephaestus; Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto; Nico di Angelo, son of Hades and Frank Zhang, son of Mars, works hard on the bow of the “Argo II,” Leo’s flying warship, fighting giants and monsters in their attempt to get to Greece in time to close the Doors of Death before Gaea can raise her army. The novel is filled with many interesting details from Greek and Roman mythology, intertwining the two similar cultures. Throughout the plot, our heroes discover many strengths within themselves with the help of famous mythological figures. While in Tartarus, Annabeth finds the courage to ask for help from the giant Damasen, telling him that he is the only one who can save them and change his own destiny. When confronted by the God of Love, Cupid, in the Italian town of Split, Nico admits that he is in love with Percy, giving it as his reason for always avoiding the son of the sea god. Leo washes up on the island of Ogygia and meets the nymph Calypso, daughter of Atlas, whom he falls for but is forced to leave, though he swears he come back to her. Hazel is confronted by Hecate, goddess of magic, who tells Hazel she must learn to manipulate the Mist, the veil that shrouds mortals’ eyes from the monsters of the demigod world. Riordan continues his same third-person style, every chapter in the point of view of one of the seven demigods, switching off through out the novel. With this point view, readers are able to see the thoughts of each of the protagonists, instead of just a single backstory. Giving insight into the minds of each demigod helps readers to become attached to all the characters, instead of just one main figure. Filled with adventure, magic, mythology, bitter conflict, romance and impending world destruction, “The House of Hades” keeps readers on their toes. Thankfully, Riordan didn’t leave us with an insane cliff-hanger like he did in “The Mark of Athena,” but we still eagerly await the release of “The Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus,” which is due in the fall of 2014.

The Samohi Cycle 5 12/12/13  
The Samohi Cycle 5 12/12/13