The Tam News â€” December 2016
Recollections of a Kenyan Sisterhood by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes
Don’t Build the Wall by Nicole Anisgard Parra Protectionism’s Trade Offs by Dashiell Yarnold Address Climate Change by Marina Furbush Give Every Citizen Free Money by Marie Hogan Strengthen Gun Laws by Zoe Wynn Why We’re Pro-Choice by Arya Guinney & Nell Mitchell Why I’m Pro-Life by Sophia Venables
Leadership Enforces Stricter Club Rules by Marie Hogan
Students, Staff Address PreCalc Drop Rate by Maddie Asch & Alex Price
19 op/ed Coverboy by Ginger Lazarus
Briefly by Megan Butt, Josh Love, & Emily Pavis
The Cycle of Life by Georgia Pemberton
Tis the Season to Be Adventurous by Dahlia Zail
Senior Lucy Mutunga reminisces about her time in an all-girls boarding school in Kenya and discusses her transition to Mill Valley.
December 2016 — The Tam News
EDITORIAL: Building the Blue Wall by Staff Crackin’ and Slackin’ by the Opinion Staff
Blanket Burrito Time by Raqshan Khan
Colombia is More Than Just Cocaine by Nicole Anisgard Parra Heard in Tam Hallways by the Opinion Staff
Oh Captain, My Captain by Connor Norton By the Numbers by the Sports Staff
Sowerby Commits to Macalester College by Zoe Wynn
Athlete of the Issue: Ben Soicher by Josh Love
Coming out of this year’s presidential election, some in our community are elated, and many more are dismayed. Regardless of our individual hopes regarding the election, Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. While our president for the next four years is decided, what will happen to our country during his tenure is not out of our hands. In this month’s feature “Now What?” we compiled short opinion articles in which our reporters explored what issues are important to them and how they hope they will be addressed in the next four years. Some topics, such as immigration, abortion, and foreign policy, were the bread and butter of campaign speeches. Others issues were often underrepresented on the campaign trail, such as the issues of climate change, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and economic policy. In this issue, we also explored the issue of partisanship in our community. While Marin has a reputation for being highly liberal—78 percent of the county voted for Hillary Clinton this year—the “open mindedness” that we are so proud of, myself included, can sometimes lead to alienating those in our community who hold conservative beliefs or otherwise differ from the community norms. In our quest to end intolerance, we ourselves can become intolerant of the opposition. And, in our sheltered environment, we forget that opposing viewpoints are common or even dominant in other communities. It does us all a disservice to ignore the views of half of America, no matter how “wrong” we may find them to be.
EDITORS IN CHIEF: Danielle Egan, Marina Furbush, Raqshan Khan & Kendall Lafranchi
NEWS: Maddie Asch, Megan Butt & Josh Love LIFESTYLES: Francis Strietmann, Maddie Wall
Cover by: Lucky Shulman & Kennedy Cook On the Cover: Our staff explores the issues that they hope will be addressed in America over the next four years.
PHOTOS: Lucky Shulman & Ethan Swope GRAPHICS: Nicole Anisgard Parra COPY EDITORS: Piper Goeking & Samantha Locke
& Dahlia Zail
DESIGN: Kennedy Cook & Lucky Shulman
FEATURES: Kennedy Cook, Arya Guinney & Marie
BUSINESS TEAM: Megan Butt, Michael Diamandakis,
OPINION: Elissa Asch, Glo Robinson & Dashiell Yarnold
SOCIAL MEDIA: Francis Strietmann
Calvin Rosevear & Adam Tolson
SPORTS: Jack Loder, Calvin Rosevear, Miles Rubens, Adam Tolson & Zoe Wynn Tamalpais High School 700 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941 www.thetamnews.org
Volume XII, No. III December 2016 A publication of Tamalpais High School Established 1916
ADVISOR: Jonah Steinhart PRINTER: WIGT Printing
REPORTERS: Lucy Allen, Sabrina Baker, Michael Balistreri, Griffin Barry, Grace Bell, Mackenzie Bell, Andrew Bishop, Evan Boatright, Abigail Cabana, Connor Cardinal, Griffin Chen, Birgitta Danielson, Connor Dargan, Kavi Dolasia, Julian Dreyer, Jack Ferguson, Samantha Ferro, Andrew Ferron, Ava Finn, Maxine FlasherDuzgunes, Abby Frazee, Jacob Goldman, Benjamin Grant, Ephets Head, Caroline Herdman, Hannah Jeffris, Derek Jennings, Ravi Joshi-Wander, Keana Kennedy, Elise Korngut, Ivan Kovalev, Sophia Krivoruchko, Shane Lavezzo, Ginger Lazarus, Ryan Leake, Sofia Leuterio, Milo Levine, JT Lieser, Gabriela Lilien, Katherine Liviakis, Tess Lochman, Savannah Malan, Clodagh Mellett, Isabella Minnie, Cal Mitchell, Nell Mitchell, Celeste Moore Malnar, William Moye, Connor Norton, Hannah Nygard, Ben Olizar, Mary Overton, Emily Pavis, Georgia Pemberton, Evelyn Power, Alexander Price, Satori Richards-Bailey, Charlotte Rosgen, Kylie Sakamoto, Dylan Sgamba, Francesca Shearer, Emily Spears, Emma Steinberg, Sarah Stone, Spencer Stone, Kyle Sullivan, Jacob Swergold, Red Thompson, Scarlett Trnka, Sam Uriarte Sanders, Sophia Venables, Benjamin Wall-Feng, Daisy Wanger, Nikola Weisman, Maxwell Williams, Aaron Young EDITORIAL BOARD: Elissa Asch, Michael Diamandakis, Danielle Egan, Marina Furbush, Piper Goeking, Arya Guinney, Raqshan Khan, Kendall Lafranchi, Connor Norton, Georgia Pemberton, Dashiell Yarnold The Tam News, a student-run newspaper publication, distributed monthly, is an open, public forum for student expression and encourages letters and article contributions. The Tam News reserves the right to edit submissions for length and content. All content decisions are made by student editors. The Tam News is published monthly, though dates may vary. The Tam News is nonprofit and any proceeds and contributions are used in the production of the newspaper publication and for journalism education. Additional information concerning contributions or advertising can be obtained by writing to the address provided above or through our website. Copyright © 2016 by The Tamalpais News. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.
The Tam News — December 2016
Leadership Enforces Stricter Club Rules L
by Marie Hogan
eadership is enforcing club regulations more strictly this year in a move to increase oversight and protect against potential audits. Because of increased state auditing, clubs are now required to take notes on every meeting and check in regularly with a newly set up Google Classroom, among other changes. Leadership advisor and English teacher LesLeigh Golson stressed that school administration itself has little control over club legislation. “For a very long time, rules have been set by the state, and by the financial auditing guidelines statewide, that rule how student money is spent, in schools, through the ASB guideline,” she said. “What’s shifted this year is we have new auditors, and we have new focus on compliance, for a couple of reasons. One, colleges want some assurance that when students put that they’re in whatever number of clubs, that we have some roster, that we have some data, that says yes, we can confirm that they were in that club. The other part of it is that when you do a fundraiser for your club, we have to be able to account that the money that is spent that way is spent in the best interest of the student body.” Reception to the changes from the clubs themselves has been mixed. Senior Jacob Seiderman, Co-President of Junior Statesmen of America [JSA] said that the new protocols had not negatively impacted the club. “It is relatively simple for us to submit a set of minutes frequently, at nearly every meeting, or at least we have a run down of what happened, so that for those who were missing they can get up to date on what occurred,” he said. “It’s reasonable for clubs to be taking minutes anyway, as it’s good practice, not only for continuity, making sure you’re approving and doing things, but
also good practice for when you do need to record things in real life, and have things recorded for when people are missing.” However, some club leaders feel that the increased focus on compliance places a burden on clubs that are smaller or focus on activities outside of school. Junior Jacob Renneisen, a captain in training on the sailing team and ASB Secretary, dis-
liked the way that the changes were implemented. “I think that it’s important in theory, that the clubs are going through the proper proceedings. But I think that there would be much more effective ways of doing it than making every club subscribe to a Google Classroom and fill out the minutes,” he said. “I’m on the sailing team, but
December 2016 — The Tam News
it’s technically a club, so they just have to meet with the teacher advisor once a week and talk about sailing but not really do anything, just to prove their existence, because we meet outside of school, and one of the rules is we have to meet on campus.” Golson acknowledged that the statewide protocols weren’t designed with these types of clubs in mind. “We’ve already met with sailing, we’re meeting with mountain biking this month,” she said. “We’re trying to document how it is that they run differently, and then we’ll put that up for board approval, for that to be the exception to the rule, because we have outside coaches, there are boats and supplies and yachts, and things way beyond what makes sense for truly a school organization.” However, Golson embraced the trial and error process that the reforms necessitate. “We can’t suddenly fix everything,” she said, “so if we end this year and learn and learn a whole bunch of lessons and start next year with even more clarity, and if we do it as kind of a coming on board, that’d be better for everybody.”♦ GRAPHIC BY EMMA BLACKBURN
Students, Staff Address Pre-Calc Drop Rate S
ince the beginning of the school year, 22 percent of Pre-Calculus students have dropped the class. Out of the 93 students who started in pre-calculus, 20 students dropped out of the course within the first three months of the school year. “This is the biggest drop we’ve seen probably in the last... two years,” counselor Evelyn Dorsett said. Three Pre-Calculus classes are being offered this year, all of which are taught by math teacher Peter Foster. “I think there were a couple students that were recommended for Trig/Stat and they decided to try Pre-Calculus, and were kind of overwhelmed,” he said. “There were a lot of drops that happened in the first one or two weeks of school.” Those that dropped the class had several options. Some juniors have chosen to drop out of math completely this year, and plan on taking Trigonometry/Statistics during their senior years. The majority of students, however, have stayed enrolled in math, but have moved to either precalculus or trigonometry/statistics online classes, or transferred into Trigonometry/ Statistics at Tam. According to math teacher Rebecca Henn, the higher level of understanding required for pre-calculus causes students to struggle, as they can no longer follow a set structure laid out by the teacher. “When we do proofs, I can’t get up there and tell [the student] what to do,” Henn said of teaching pre-calculus. “[They’re] just at that level with [their] mathematical thinking where [they’ve] got to start taking more creative solutions and pulling all this together [themselves].” Junior Annika Jackson, who is taking pre-calculus, has noticed more demanding expectations in her class than in previous years of math. “Pre-calc does not allow room for usual math techniques like memorization but forces you to use all previous math knowledge and new concepts to solve a complicated problem; it’s easy to get lost in the jungle each problem creates,” she said. According to math teachers interviewed,
by Maddie Asch & Alex Price
part of the challenge of pre-calculus is the large amount of curriculum teachers have to fit into a very short time period. “You have to have an iron class strategy for getting all of that material taught and learned and practiced on a limited time schedule,” said Math Department Teacher Leader David Wetzel. “There’s a lot of situations in calc where you have to spend the entire period going through curriculum, with very, very little time for practice in class.”
88% of students remain in pre-calculus.
This rigorous curriculum has proved a challenge for many students, such as junior Avery Robinson, who dropped out of PreCalculus to take it online. “I found myself having to relearn the material at home before doing homework, even if I had paid full attention in class that day… [The time it took] was not only impacting my sleep schedule but also taking an emotional toll. I would sometimes have sort of breakdowns because I would be so stressed about just pre-calc,” she said. According to Dorsett, most of the students who dropped the class pointed to the demanding workload as a factor in their decision. Wetzel feels that students should be doing only one hour of math homework a night. “Anything more than that, there’s an issue... If it’s taking you more than an hour to an hour and a half to do your homework, it’s not practice,” he said. Multiple students interviewed said during the beginning of the year, their homework took up to six hours, and afterwards it remained at around two hours. Calculus teacher Susan Proksch believes one cause of the time consuming workload comes from students’ lack of
focus as they do their homework. “[The amount of time homework takes you] depends on how [you] do [your] homework. I mean you’re a teenager; how often is your phone on?” she said. Wetzel stressed the need for students to take initiative with their learning and even look ahead in the textbook or class calendar to be prepared. Additionally the math teachers interviewed said the department offers many resources to help support students. “We have the math assistance program, where we have something scheduled in the mornings, something scheduled in the afternoon, everyday of the week for students to come in and see a math teacher,” Wetzel said. In addition Foster has opened up Tuesday and Thursday lunches for students to come in and ask him questions. However, according to Foster, students should rely on independent learning as well. Sophomore, Julia Sheppard believes that this style makes her grow as a student. “Asking for help… he doesn’t just want to spoon feed you the answer, he wants to help you learn so sometimes he can be a little harsh about it but I think that you have to realize that he’s doing it for your own good,” she said. Foster emphasized that students should not wait to ask him questions. “Whenever my students are challenged by the homework either because of the difficulty or length of the assignment, it is always helpful for them to tell me immediately so I can respond to them the very next class,” he said. According to Wetzel the main problem is the communication between student, parents, and teachers around Pre-Calculus. “The guideline that we have to follow [when a student wants to drop a class] is that the student and the parent need to meet with the teacher… and see what the student can do to get help in the class,” said Dorsett. Yet Foster said that of the 20 students that dropped the class, he recalls only “one meeting [and] maybe two phone calls [with parents], and I think that was about it.” ♦
The Tam News — December 2016
B R I E F LY
Annual Blanket Bash
by Josh Love & Megan Butt
eadership and the PTSA will hold their second annual Blanket Bash on December 1 at the Tam High student center from 7-9 p.m. Participants will make no-sew blankets out of donated fleece that will be given to the St. Vincent charitable organization which will be distributed to families in need around the Bay Area during the holidays. Those unable to attend the event are encouraged to donate fleece, socks, and toiletries. Snacks and refreshments will be provided and participants can receive community service hours.♦
Safeway Opens Unisex Bathrooms
by Emily Pavis
fter a customer complaint, the Camino Alto Safeway has transitioned to two gender neutral facilities. According to store manager Eric Dohner, the switch was made a couple months ago. Some people are against the switch, such as Juan Contreras, a Safeway employee. “We are born as a boy and [a] girl, and according to God it’s not the right thing to do,” he said. On the other hand, freshman Evie Robson thinks that the change is a positive one. “It’s really good that places [are] making sure that everyone feels welcome and accepted,” she said.♦
December 2016 — The Tam News
Students Create Parking Petition
by Josh Love & Megan Butt
n November 3, seniors Emma Blackburn and Kate Hofele created an online petition in response to recent parking issues at Tam. The petition on standunited.org was not meant to resolve the parking problem immediately, but to spark a conversation between administration and students. “We created the petition... with the goal of making the administration aware of how many students are negatively impacted by the parking situation,” Blackburn said. The petition received over 100 signatures in the first hour and reached the goal of 300 signatures in just five days.♦
by Georgia Pemberton covered one wall. A cheery employee 30 dollars and a lot on your mind, give it swapped out the five-pound weights a shot. Just like I read on the wall of the under my seat for two-pounders with studio that fateful day back in May, I am a smile and a chipper, “Good luck! If part of “the tribe, the you feel like you’re going to pass out pack, the posse,” or throw up, don’t be afraid to take a and I couldn’t be break! Have fun!” prouder.♦ Seated in the back row, I was so close to the rider in front of me that I could practically lick the logo on the back of her leggings. Our instructor sauntered up onto the podium and bellowed, “We ready to rock, Marin?” Cheers erupted from the Lululemon army around me. The lights shut off, the music somehow got louder than it already was, and we were off. The next 45 minutes were some of the hardest and sweatiest of my life as I struggled to hit my “tap-backs” (a sort of squat-push-up hybrid, performed in quick succession to the beat of a song) and keep up with rapid-fire bicep curls while continuing to pedal. But though I wanted to cry a few times and spent an embarrassing amount of sprints trying to just breathe, let alone pedal, I no longer wanted my money back. I left the studio feeling broken physically, but mentally, I was on top of the world. Thirty dollars is a lot of money, let alone for a single exercise class. But for me, and for the thousands of other riders at studios around the country, every time we clip into our favorite bikes and flip our towels over the handlebars, all of our problems PHOTOS BY EMMA BLACKBURN melt away. Every class, I push myself to the very edge of my physical capability, and it’s in those moments that I feel weightless. I inhale intention and exhale expectation. I rejoice in my climbs and find freedom in my sprints. It’s how I work through problems, even those that seem insurmountable: enter class with an issue on my mind and 45 minutes later I have a solution. In fact, SoulCycle has been such an integral part of my life and such a perfect stress-coping mechanism that it was the subject of my first Common Application essay. It’s worth the money and then some. So next time you have
cle of y C
by Georgia Pemberton
Thirty dollars can buy you a lot. It’s three custom sandwiches from Whole Foods, plus three kombucha, if you’re a kombucha kind of person (I am). It can fill threequarters of my gas tank, which can get me up to Sunset or to TPumps five times, six if I’m lucky. It’s two meals at Blue Barn, or a whole lot of bagels. Or you could spend that 30 dollars like me, and clip into a bike at SoulCycle. I’m the punchline of a lot of jokes driving my parents’ car into the city to ride in a color-coordinated, candlelit studio with Beyonce thrumming in my ears, surrounded by the Marina District’s finest. But for me, every class is worth it - the rush-hour traffic over the bridge, the entrance fee, the sarcastic remarks from my friends. It’s more than just a workout, it’s therapy. For a long time, I was one of the many who scoff at SoulCycle. I couldn’t understand my friends who would spend so much to do so little. But one Saturday in May, one of my mock trial teammates dragged me with her to a class. “The instructor’s really hot, Gigi, come on. It’ll be fun. You’ll love it, I promise,” she begged me. “And we can go to Nekter after!” So with the promise of eye candy and an açai bowl on my friend, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot. I walked into the Marin studio and was immediately uncomfortable in an old college t-shirt and leggings, whose cleanliness was questionable at best. Surrounded by coordinating spandex outfits and fresh blowouts, I had a growing sense of dread as I signed the waiver and paid another five dollars for shoes and a SmartWater. This feeling was only exacerbated as I watched the previous class file out of the studio, beet-faced and soaked with sweat. I wanted my 30 dollars back. Five minutes before our class began, we entered the studio as Beyonce’s "Partition" blasted through speakers overhead and shook the huge mirror which entirely
The Tam News — December 2016
Recollections of a Kenyan Sisterhood S
by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes
enior Lucy Mutunga considers herself part of a sisterhood in Kericho, a county in the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley. Mutunga looks back on the days where she would join the other girls in hanging up their collared uniforms to dry, and teach them the dances of her home. Deprived of luminous handhelds and the day-to-day hum of metropolitan streets, Mutunga experienced an education away from her family. When living in Kenya, Mutunga traveled eight hours to attend MOI Tea Girls Secondary School (MCHAI), an all-girls boarding school surrounded by Kericho’s lush tea plantations. Arriving in Mill Valley from MCHAI in Kenya her freshman year, Mutunga admitted liking Tam so much that she felt likely to “stay in school all day.” At her first impression of MCHAI, “I was like, ‘I want to go home!’” Mutunga said . “Many of the teachers were very up-
tight. My math teacher, Ms. Langat, gave too much homework and would smack your head with a long green stick if you said something wrong.” She also recalled a history teacher who would spank students for any question they missed on his exam. “At school, people wore many layers of jeans, because they were afraid of being spanked,” Mutunga said, with disdain. “When I stood up and criticized him for spanking, he sent me to the principals office. Nonetheless, the harsh punishments seemed a reason to stay close and bond with her classmates. Mutunga recalled joining clubs and sports activities each semester. “At the end of every term, each dorm unit would present something: a play, a fashion show, a dance,” Mutunga said. Mutunga joined volleyball, cross-country, and a drama/music club to build friend-
December 2016 — The Tam News
ships with girls who had been raised primarily in the Rift Valley. Being social helped Mutunga overcome the initial cultural barrier of living in a new region of Kenya. In Machakos County with her family, Mutunga considered herself part of the Kamba, a Bantu ethnic group prominent in parts of southern Kenya. After moving to MCHAI, Mutunga was immersed in a Kalenjin majority, a culture based all over the Rift Valley. She noted a prejudice when one of her desk mates “would separate her desk from mine, and wouldn’t share textbooks.” Mutunga also added that, “many of the teachers had a harsh Swahili accent,” and it took a giggle or two for her to grow comfortable to new emphasise on certain words. She only felt like their differences had been forgotten when they taught each other styles of Kenyan traditional dancing. “Our dances were a mixture of back-
Lifestyles grounds,” she said. When asked what she missed about Kenya, Mutunga said, “I miss Kenyan food and Swahili classes.” Swahili was a strict academic discipline at MCHAI, which demanded that students alternate between speaking the coastal language and English on a daily basis. If students stepped out of line—speaking in the incorrect language on a certain day—they were subject to spankings, washing dorms, sweeping the school compound, or even suspension. On the weekends, MCHAI organized farming trips, where Mutunga and others would get a chance to harvest crops like kale, mangoes, and avocados. Sundays during her second semester, MCHAI brought in a preacher who talked mainly with the students about current events. He described America as a country of sexual freedom, using Hollywood as an example of an industry that takes advantage of girls’ appearances. “Ever since then, I’ve been high-strung,” she remarked. The memory of the preacher scared Mutunga when she moved to California. Currently, Mutunga communicates with Kenyan youth groups without having to travel miles back home. On the other hand, Mutunga mentioned that no form of her Kenyan Christian Religious Education class is offered in California. “People don’t seem to be involved in the word of God here,” she said, explaining it is difficult for her to live in a predominantly nonreligious community. At MCHAI, Mutunga only saw her parents every three months and could only call them through the permission of her teachers. As a result, Mutunga’s parents decided to move to California in search of a better education system for their children. Mutunga has since found Tam a place where individuality is encouraged, and teachers treat students with respect.
PHOTOS BY FRANCIS STRIETMANN
“At school, people wore many layers of jeans, because they were afraid of being spanked.” Mutunga was relieved to leave the rigorous institutions of MCHAI. “Every two weeks, we had an exam,” Mutunga said. “These exams determined our performance in the class. Then, we had to take end-ofyear exams to place into the next grade level.” Increasingly ready to accept a new form of education and social atmosphere, Mutunga joined Link Crew to build mentoring and leadership skills around
younger students. She has also established strong connections with many of the foreign exchange students, who essentially parallel her situation. Like Mutunga, these students assimilate in a learning environment that discourages, if not forbids, the beating from an iron-hand. Through school and community outreach, Mutunga hopes that cultural immersion will soon become a less difficult process for young, aspiring adults.♦
PHOTO COURTESY OF LUCY MUTUNGA
The Tam News — December 2016
'Tis the Season to be Adventurous
The weather's getting colder, and the days are getting shorter. That could only mean it's time for the holidays. Here's a few things that can help you get into the spirit this holiday season!
by Dahlia Zail
Just because we don’t actually get snow in San Francisco doesn't mean we can't do other cold weather activities. Ice skating rinks in the area include the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Rink, the Holiday Ice Skating Rink at Union Square, and the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center. The rinks at Union Square and the Embarcadero Center both open on November 2, while the rink at Yerba Buena is open year round. The rinks are $11-12 plus a small fee for renting skates and are open any where from all week to a few hours on the weekend. Check the websites for more specific information on times and prices. Various Locations in SF $55-119
Union Square Tree Lighting Union Square Park Free
The Union Square Tree Lighting, an annual event which has taken place since 1989 this year is scheduled for November 25. The tree lighting starts at 6 p.m., but the tree isn't actually lit until 6:40. The tree is decorated with more than 33,000 Twinkling Led lights and 1,100 ornaments. There is also live music, including performances from Aloe Blacc, The San Francisco Boys Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and the cast of She Loves Me. Get there early for a good spot!
December 2016 — The Tam News November
GRAPHICS BY EMMA BLACKBURN
Various Locations in SF $11-12
This one may be the one to bring your parents along for because, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little pricey. Holiday teas are available at many hotels around San Francisco. One being at the Fairmont Hotel which is also the location of the Giant Gingerbread house and consequently is called the Gingerbread Holiday Tea and opens November 25. Prices fluctuate throughout the month for adults and children from $99/$69 to $119/$89 respectively. Check the Fairmont Hotel’s website for additional information regarding bookings. Other tea spots include Top of the Mark in Nob Hill ($60 per person and open Monday-Thursday from 2:30-5:00), and The Westin St. Francis (Prices range from $55-$68 for adults and $35 for kids, open 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays November 26 to December 18).
950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108 Free This gingerbread house, often referred to as the eigth wonder of the world, is a more than 22 feet high and 23 feet wide victorian style house made with thousands of homemade gingerbread bricks and more than a ton of Royal icing and candy décor. At the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, November 28, free refreshments are offered as well as an opportunity to take pictures with Santa Claus, a Balloon Elf, and a Christmas Fairy. This may not sound super appealing to you high schoolers, but bring your little siblings and win some big points with your parents. The house is open for all of December. Union Square Free
The Bill Graham Menorah
Since 1975, San Franciscans have come together for the Menorah Lighting in Union Square. Hanukkah is an eight day holiday, therefore the menorah is lit every night for eight days in early December. The first lighting will take place on December 6 at 4:30 p.m. There will be performances by Jerry’s Kosher Deli (yes, this is a band name) and the kids from Everybody is a Star—a non profit organization that gives kids with special needs access to the arts. There will also be Music and Kids Crafts starting at two. A nice event to bring a younger sibling to!
g t s
e’ve reached the end of a long, exhausting election season. The dust has cleared. Donald Trump is the President-Elect, and all of us, supporters of Clinton and Trump alike, are left with a big question: what now? In a race driven by personality, it’s easy to forget the job of a president, not to go on a crusade for their worldview, but to represent their constituents and endeavor to understand the inner workings of the country to the best of their ability. Tam students may be tired of the election, but we’re still passionate about the issues. In the following articles, we outline what matters most to us. The Tam News — November December 2016
Don’t Build the Wall by Nicole Anisgard Parra
In this year’s presidential election, there could have hardly been a larger divide between the candidates than their stances on immigration. President-Elect Trump’s policies called for the building of a wall on the Mexican border, immigration bans, and massive deportations nationwide. The most drastic change he wants to implement is ending birthright citizenship, despite the 14th Amendment stating that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Clinton’s campaign, on the other hand, proposed the creation of a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. Trump has said that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers, which is an entirely misinformed, absurd prejudice used for fear mongering. It’s also incredibly dehumanizing to witness his referral to nonU.S. citizens as “illegals.” As citizens living in a community with people from all ethnic backgrounds, how can we support ideology that further perpetuates an idea of separatism? People from a certain group cannot simply be categorized as being inherently good or evil. Immigration has far more benefits than it does drawbacks. When immigrants enter the labor force, they increase the productive capacity and growth of the economy. It would be extremely detrimental to our country to close our borders entirely to those in other nations who want to be able to work in the U.S. and become citizens. Our nation was founded on the backs of immigrants from all parts of the world, and with comprehensive immigration reform, we could create a more modernized system to allow those who entered our borders to achieve a more straightforward path to citizenship. And, because public safety is often an argument for why we shouldn’t allow immigrants seeking refuge from terrorism, there would be an established system in place that would screen immigrants before they could secure entry into our country. So, because immigrants contribute to the growth of our economy, and also diversify the very nation founded with the arrival of immigrants from all parts of the world, it should be allowed to continue, but with the proper safety regulations enforced.
December 2016 — The Tam News
Protectionism’s Trade Offs by Dashiell Yarnold
Donald Trump is a lot of things, but being educated on the complex inner economic workings of the U.S. and its adversaries is not one of them. While there are many flaws in Trump’s analysis, his biggest error stems from the proposed detrimental effects Chinese trade as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has on U.S. manufacturing companies and workers. While maybe well intended, Trump’s protectionist behavior could prove more damaging to the global economy than (relatively) free trade ever was. Trump believes that NAFTA has sucked jobs and equity from the US economy when this couldn’t be further from the truth. After the trade deal’s enactment in the mid ‘90s, over 30 million U.S. jobs were generated. Trump has called NAFTA “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere,” but the numbers indicate that the U.S. economy, along with many others, owe a vast amount of economic growth to NAFTA. According to Investopedia, trade between NAFTA partners surged to 197 percent during 19932006. Trump’s claims that U.S. manufacturing declined as a result of the trade deal was utterly untrue. U.S. manufacturing output rose 63 percent during the aforementioned time period and still remains relatively strong. Currently, 17.2 percent of total global output derives from United States exports. We stand as the second largest manufacturer second only to China, and remain the world’s largest economy. Many have argued that Trump’s campaign rhetoric resembles nothing of his actual plans. I pray that they’re correct. If Trump goes ahead with his high tariffs, we are at risk of damaging not just our economy, but the rest of the world’s as well.
Address Climate Change by Marina Furbush
As we end this tumultuous election cycle and move on to the next chapter of our country, I hope that our legislators will focus on an important issue affecting everyone: climate change. We need long lasting infrastructure to aggressively regulate carbon emissions, without being crippled by short term commercial or economic interests, and able to survive party changes in Congress. Already, Trump has promised to reverse the Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to restrict the output of carbon dioxide, especially that created by power plans. This ObamaClinton directive would have shut down most, if not all, coal-power electricity plants, according to the BBC. While I am sympathetic of the economic plights faced by many in areas that coal is produced or processed, we cannot stymie attempts to reduce climate change solely because of short term considerations. Climate change will affect everyone in the world. Already we’ve seen examples of some of the devastation that is looming in our future, in the form of increasingly frequent natural disasters and extreme weather. In August we encountered catastrophic flooding in Louisiana that damaged an estimated 60,000 homes. Looking back to the recent past, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated the eastern seaboard. At the height of the storm, 7.9 million businesses and households were without power, and Sandy caused an estimated $62 billion in damage, according to CNN. If
ild the Wall
climate change is allowed to continue unchecked, these examples will be two in a very long list. As EPA writes on their website, “The intensity of Atlantic hurricanes is likely to increase as the ocean warms. Climate models project an increase in the number of the strongest...hurricanes, as well as greater rainfall rates in hurricanes.” Sea levels will continue to rise, exacerbating hurricane’s effects, leading to wide scale flooding and forcing millions of people from their homes, to say nothing about ocean acidification, precipitation pattern changes, decreased sea ice and snow cover, warming oceans, and the overall rise of global temperatures, all likely consequences, according to NASA. It’s not enough for average people to “walk more” - transportation only accounts for about 26 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and includes emissions from trucks, ships, trains, and planes according to the EPA. Instead, systemic changes must be enacted to reduce climate change from the top down. While the Paris Climate Accords will create a good foundation for tackling climate change, Trump has said that he would “cancel” it within his first 100 days of office and told Reuters in May that “at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else.” For all of our sakes, I hope that Trump’s decision is to instead strengthen the US’s commitment to reducing our carbon emissions.
Give Every Citizen Free Money by Marie Hogan
Imagine a country in which every citizen was given a guaranteed minimum income. It sounds crazy, communist even. But there’s evidence to suggest that it would be an effective option to support the approximately 43 million Americans living under the poverty line. Our current welfare system limits choice, disincentivizes recipients from working, doesn’t offer assistance to the formerly incarcerated, and is laden with stigma. While it may help with survival, it doesn’t succeed in lifting people out of poverty. The result is a country in which those starting “from behind” are denied the equal opportunity America should, in theory, aspire to provide. There’s no consensus, of course, that a guaranteed minimum income would correct for that. But the idea has been endorsed by a wide variety of figures, from Martin Luther King Jr. to free market loving economist Milton Friedman. The basic idea is that most citizens, even those who wouldn’t otherwise require government assistance, get a regular supplemental income, no strings attached. This idea seems to rub many the wrong way, in large part because they don’t trust the recipients. There’s something humanizing, though, about allowing everybody, including the impoverished, to make their own financial choices without judgement. In a sea of shaming and trope-filled political rhetoric, we need that desperately. In addition, Our current system allows for subsistence, but not much more. When people are give the opportunity, they are innovative. That innovation, however, cannot thrive in a state of prolonged economic stress.
The Tam News — December 2016
Why We’re Pro-Choice by Arya Guinney & Nell Mitchell
Strengthen Gun Laws by Zoe Wynn We must have stricter gun laws. This includes banning the use of assault rifles, and increasing control and background checks when selling a gun. Unfortunately, for many voters and politicians today this is too progressive. Ever since I can remember there have been mass shootings that have surrounded me. On average, 17 mass shootings will occur in the two weeks from when I am writing this to when this magazine is delivered. Growing up in my generation, we have become numb to the news of mass shootings because they have become so common. Guns often fall into the hands of people who are not mentally or physically able to responsibly own a gun. Just 12 days after a horrific 1996 mass shooting in Australia, its government took action. The government bought back one fifth of all Australia’s semi-automatic weapons, created laws that prohibited private sales, required all gun owners to register their guns and mandated that buyers provide a “genuine reason” for purchasing one. According to the Washington Post, Australia’s homicide rates dropped 59 percent in just 10 years following the reforms. We should follow Australia’s example and strengthen gun regulations. The problem is that a part of our country believes if we make one law constricting gun use, then their second amendment rights are being violated. This idea of protecting your freedom by encouraging gun ownership isn’t logical. If in 2015 firearms killed 13,286 people, how is your safety being protected if you are at risk for being shot and killed? How is your safety being protected if in 2015, at least 265 people were accidentally shot and killed by children who found an unsecured gun in their own home? The worst way to lose your freedom is death. There are far too many lives at stake due to our country’s excessive gun use. Despite this, many proponents of guns say that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” If this is true, then why has Australia’s murder rate dropped so drastically? Why are guns getting into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill? Why are six and seven-year-old children going to school one day and never walking out again? I am ashamed that our great country is so advanced technologically, economically, and politically, yet nothing is being done about this pressing issue. We must have stronger gun control laws. I won’t support this culture of guns. In this next presidential term, gun control is a crucial issue that must be more than talked about. It is time to make a change.
December 2016 — The Tam News
As humans our ultimate right is to our bodies. From a very young age we are taught that our bodies are sacred. “Treat others how you want to be treated” and other phrases of simple morality speak to the fact that we deserve complete control of our bodies and anything that goes against that is wrong. So then why, when it comes to women’s bodies, are there so many questions? When a woman becomes pregnant and is in a situation where she wants to get an abortion, whether it is because she was raped, having a baby is dangerous for her health, or she wouldn’t be able to economically or emotionally support a child, the decision is hers to make. Every time. If a young woman is still pursuing her education and becomes pregnant, why should she have no choice in deciding whether to have the child? As women who are pro-choice, we do not take the concept of abortion lightly. The decision to get an abortion is extremely emotionally and morally challenging. No woman wants to be put in that position. But to us, the idea that anyone other than that woman would make the decision, takes away the core value that our bodies are sacred and ours to control. Pro-choice doesn’t mean disrespecting the women who do not believe in abortion on a moral or religious level. Pro-choice does not shame any womenit supports the individual right of every single woman. For most who oppose abortion the issue is religion. And while anyone can have their opinion, America is a country that values the separation of church and state. The beauty of our country is that you can practice any religion, but the beliefs of one religion don’t govern every person in the country. Why should this be any different with abortion? There needs to be trust that as women, we know ourselves. Beyond the issue of religion, women are shamed for getting pregnant and not wanting to carry the child to term. This argument fails to address the situations where women have used contraceptives and still end up with an unwanted pregnancy. If a woman knows she can’t successfully take care of another human being, our society has no business placing blame or judging her in any way. For us, it’s hard to see any legislation other than prochoice legislation as logical. Pro-choice legislation does not affect those who are pro-life when it comes to their decision about abortion - it may conflict with their morals but it does not actually impact their ability to live in accordance with their beliefs. But pro-life legislation does the opposite. It prevents any woman who might want to get an abortion from being able to make that decision, placing the restrictions of one point of view on every person. At the end of the day, we deserve complete control of our bodies. Legislation should not dictate this, it is in the power of each American woman. It’s her body, her choice.
Why I’m Pro-Life by Sophia Venables
I am not a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I support policies from both conservative and liberal platforms. The prominent liberal bias at Tam definitely influences the degree to which I voice my conservative views, particularly regarding abortion. I do not support a woman’s right to have an abortion under all circumstances, because I believe abortions should be treated as a lastresort, emergency procedure utilized only in the cases of rape, abuse, or incest. Abortion is not a form of birth control. As a supporter of aspects of the feminist movement but also a supporter of the prolife movement, I struggle to commit to any specific political party. I disagree with the promiscuity encouraged by aspects of the feminist movement, because I don’t think people can accurately separate their feelings from their bodies. Having sex should be meaningful, because it is so intimate. If two people are respecting each other’s bodies and they have talked about not wanting a child, then it is inevitable that the measures necessary to preventing an unwanted pregnancy will be taken, because there is substantial mutual respect. The reason I support abortions only in specific circumstances is because I believe that unless sex is non-consensual, then the woman consented to the fact that she might become impregnated upon having sex, especially in the cases of unprotected sex. Therefore, in the cases of rape, abuse and incest, the cause of the pregnancy was non-consensual by the woman, and an abortion should be performed.
In circumstances where there is a threat to either the mother or the baby’s life, I believe the pregnancy should continue its course, until a decision is made by a medical professional to perform an abortion. This way it becomes a medical choice rather than a moral decision to end the baby’s life. If America used this system, it would also eliminate a woman’s ability to abort a child once she finds out it may have physical or mental disabilities. I am especially disturbed by these kinds of abortions, and believe having clear rules regarding when an abortion should be performed would prevent the murder of innocent babies. Most people know someone who was told by doctors that their child would have disabilities, before the child was born. The decision to abort babies that could have disabilities later in their life is not only immoral, but prejudiced against people with disabilities. I cannot support this kind of blunt prejudice. In situations where the couple simply cannot afford to raise a child at this moment in their lives, then I believe that the woman should continue the pregnancy, have the baby, and put it up for adoption. Having an abortion instead of continuing the pregnancy requires the woman to undergo a risky medical operation to kill a baby. A child is dying because the couple considered themselves mature enough to have sex, but not mature enough to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. And if the couple or woman gets attached to the baby
during her pregnancy, despite previously thinking she did not want kids, then all it proves is that aborting the child was never the correct solution, and she does have the capacity to love her child. The value of a human life should not be jeopardized by people having unprotected sex and refusing to accept what that has resulted in. Most abortions are given because the woman or couple simply does not want a child, but there are thousands of other couples waiting to adopt. Unless the way the baby was conceived in an non-consensual way, an abortion is not the answer. I want the stigma around people who support pro-life to be diminished. As a fairly liberal Catholic, I am completely torn between political parties. I don’t support abortion, but I don’t support the death penalty either. There is a difference between being conservative and being religious, but lately our culture has combined the two. It’s like if I lumped people who don’t believe in God into the same category as people who hate religion. As I approach my eighteenth birthday and eligibility to vote, I desperately crave the formation of a political party, based on the true religious morals of nondiscrimination and value of human life above all else. In a sense, I crave a gray area. I want to vote liberal and conservative at the same time. But for now, I cannot support the use of abortions unless in cases of rape, incest, or abuse.
For more opinions on a variety of other issues visit www.thetamnews.org The Tam News — December 2016
EDITORIAL: Building the Blue Wall
ollowing the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, the Tam community has demonstrated disappointing behavior in the wake of its discontent over Hillary Clinton’s loss. Students who have publicly supported Donald Trump have been subjected to overt shaming. Heated verbal altercations involving conservative students were initiated by several of our liberal peers on campus. Throughout the day, malicious, demeaning, and accusatory language was used in conversation between the opposing groups in classes, at lunch, and during passing periods. Because Marin County is such a politically homogenous, liberal community, we seldom encounter opposing opinions. This lack of political diversity can create a climate of “liberal arrogance.” Journalist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times
Throughout the day, malicious, demeaning, and accusatory language was used in conversation between the opposing groups in classes, at lunch, and during passing periods. defined the term as, “the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion.” Because we grew up hearing primarily, if not exclusively Democratic views, we take these positions as the hard and fast truth. We neglect to critically examine alternative opinions and often choose to disengage with oth-
Crackin’ and Slackin’
December 2016 — The Tam News
ers that ascribe to a differing political perspective. This self-imposed social schism inadvertently creates a “blue wall” that is growing taller and wider, despite our liberal values of inclusion and diversity. Most Marinites self identify as progressives, who, above all else, exercise and advocate for tolerance. We support minority groups such as women, LGBTQ+, African American, Latino, and Muslim communities. Yet, we overlook one other minority group in Marin: conservatives. Our embrace of diversity should include all genders, ethnicities, races, sexualities, religions, and political affiliations. This aim for inclusion is founded on a basis that requires engagement. Groups such as the KKK that run on a platform of pure hatred and blatant discrimination may not deserve our embrace. However, too frequently we fail to take the steps necessary to distinguish hateful factions from groups that merely have opposing opinions. Instead of reflexively dismissing or attacking members of another political party, we should follow the set of values that we loudly champion, and practice tolerance of others. Although we may ardently disagree with the opposing views, it is important that we listen to, acknowledge, and respect them. As citizens of the United States of America, we must stand behind the democratic process and honor freedom of speech and individuality. We must practice and promote civil discourse, understanding, and acceptance in order to tear down the looming blue wall. Or else, we self-effectively embody our own worst fear: intolerance.♦
Blanket Burrito Time
by Raqshan Khan
The Tam News â€” December 2016
Colombia is More Than Just Cocaine
hen people ask where I’m from, and I tell them that I have family in Colombia, I brace myself to hear comments like,“So, do people in your family do cocaine?” or “Why do you even travel there? Don’t people get kidnapped all the time?” I try to shrug these comments off and explain to people that no, my family members are not drug addicts, and, newsflash: people aren’t being kidnapped every day. Many people’s only firsthand exposure to Colombia is the Netflix series “Narcos” . This show portrays the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar and his building of a billion dollar cocaine industry in Colombia. After viewing, it isn’t difficult to see why they may, curiously or jokingly, ask about the dangers of traveling to the country. Colombia has had a very troubled past with guerilla warfare and drug cartels; the Colombian Conflict, a low-intensity conflict, began in 1966 between rebel groups that formed after US-driven anti-communist repression and is still going on today. The country garnered worldwide attention when its current president, Juan Manuel Santos, attempted a peace treaty this year with the rebel forces after more than five decades of conflict. A key thing to remember is that the conflict has been occurring only in very remote parts of the nation for the last 20 years, and thus should not deter people from visiting the country. It is very unfair to paint over the relative peace the country has today with its past.
Heard in the Tam Hallways 18
by Nicole Anisgard Parra
I have been to Colombia thirteen times since I was a baby, and have never felt that I was in any danger. On the contrary, I found myself extremely welcomed by both family and strangers alike. I was able to attend school with other girls my age every summer, visit the beautiful Pacific and Caribbean coasts of the nation, and venture through the Amazon rainforests. I have seen the modern aspects of the nation, with large city towers and business suits, and have visited remote indigenous villages. The country itself is extremely diverse in terms of ethnicities and languages. While it has certainly helped that I am able to speak Spanish fluently with the locals, most people in major cities are well versed in English as their second language and are accommodating to Americans. Popular tourist destinations, such as Cartagena, Medellin, and the capital city of Bogota, would require a tourist to exercise the same amount of caution as if they were walking around San Francisco. It’s best not to venture out late at night in the more suspicious areas unless you are in a large group, and I would not recommend someone to take a walk alone at night wearing expensive clothing and jewelry. This, of course, is traveler’s common sense. I attribute the misconceptions people have about Colombia and other countries to the fact that students in Marin County barely study both past and modern history aside from the United States and Western Europe in the typical high school curriculum. To incorporate every single culture or country’s history into four years would be difficult, but the obvious lack of information regarding certain continents can leave individuals with both uncertainty and curiosity asking: What
“This isn’t on spark notes so I shouldn’t be expected to know this.”
-MIDDLE KEYSER December 2016 — The Tam News
by the Opinion Staff
are the origins of my genetic and cultural background? What are the driving political instabilities that lead to a tarnished image that lasts to this day? How come we don’t study Native American, South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, or African history in depth prior to European influence, or without mentioning war? I know the names of virtually every single European who died in the English Civil War, but I had to do research outside of school in order to learn about the creation of Gran Colombia by Simon Bolivar, and its revolution for freedom from Spain. It’s not so much European history that I have a problem with; it’s the fact that the curriculum regarding world history is focused on European wars and their immigrants’ arrival to America, not how Western civilization’s globalization influenced cultures around the world. The only time other countries seem to come into play is when the U.S. or Europe is involved in warfare with or against them (for instance, the Spanish American War in Cuba in 1898). Because of this eurocentric curriculum, we have this issue of hastily making assumptions about a country based on stigmas heard or seen on television shows. Yes, drugs are sold and will continue to be trafficked out of Colombia for as long as there is a demand for them, but the country itself is not overrun with drug dealers or drugs. Do you know what else Colombia exports to the United States? Oil, coffee, bananas, and textiles, according to the Embassy of Colombia. But, exportation of coffee doesn’t exactly make for an exciting narrative in a television series, does it? If we as a society are capable of reevaluating and analyzing stereotypes, we can begin to diminish their use and the amount of harm those affected experience. ♦ GRAPHIC BY NICOLE ANISGARD PARRA
“Im wearing black because i’m mourning my motivation.”
Person 1: “That was passive aggression at its finest.” Person 2: “Oh, I wasn’t trying to be passive.”
ociety has always had unfair stereotypes for both men and women, one being that only women should wear makeup and play with Barbies, while men should play sports and act tough. The makeup brand Covergirl, is known for having iconic female role models as their campaign ambassadors; Katy Perry, Pink, Taylor Swift, and countless other famous women. It was a shock to the beauty world when Covergirl announced that their new Covergirl (Coverboy) would be James Charles, age 17. Charles first started getting attention on his Instagram account and YouTube channel, where he produces makeup tutorials. Covergirl has a great opportunity to shine light on this stereotype and hopefully make progress towards breaking that barrier for both men and women. The first impactful action that put Charles on the map in the beauty community occurred last month on social media when he posted his high school senior portrait on Twitter. The photo depicted the act of applying highlighter to his face. Those lacking a background in beauty were astonished; this was an irregular act for a teenaged boy. I thought this was extremely influen-
by Ginger Lazarus
tial by sending a blunt message. If you really want something, then you have to put yourself out there. Yes, there are going to be critics, but once you can get past them, you can show your true self. I took Charles’s brave stunt as an inspiration for my future self. I’ve always been hesitant to voice my opinion because I was afraid of what others would think about me. In recent years there has been a surge of male “beauty gurus” popping up on social media platforms, demonstrating that they too, have the freedom and confidence to put on makeup and transform themselves into a more feminine version of themselves, which many would call a “women’s act.” Growing up as a young woman, it was very clear to me what society’s message was: to always keep up your appearance in order to satisfy society’s standards.
Charles has opened a door that will hopefully give the general public some insight into fascinating world of both gender makeup artists. I am an avid YouTube watcher, and currently a good 45 percent of the people I am subscribed to are males. What’s funny is the fact that most of the male “beauty gurus” are close to or are better at applying makeup than the female YouTubers. A new generation has arisen as we embark on a diverse path and open mindset towards gender neutral pronouns. The brand hopes that Charles will resonate with “Generation Z” and hopefully be profitable, “Getting Gen Z on board with the brand could help the brand find more success in that market again. Social engagement is off the charts,” said Laura Brinker, Vice President of Marketing at American makeup brand Coty. Having a Coverboy could open up the conversation of gender roles and hopefully mitigate the vast amount of stereotypes that currently exist. If such a small change can spark a revolution, then why can’t we apply similar efforts to the wage gap and other very important concepts? If we desire a future in which the gender barriers are no longer a reality, then we must create an environment conducive to progressive thinking and follow the path that generation Z has begun to pave. ♦ GRAPHIC BY EMMA STEINBERG
“I saw a lady outside trying to dry the pavement with a hairdryer in the rain this morning, sometimes I really feel like
“We beat hitler, let’s get laid.” -SCIENCE BUILDING
“I was built to be a burrito eater, not a runner.” -STUDENT CENTER
The Tam News — December 2016
Sports Sports Opinion
Oh Captain, My Captain by Connor Norton
t seems that far too often having captains at the varsity and junior varsity levels of high school sports creates more issues than it solves. This could be due to a number of reasons: the team disagrees with the captain, the captain thinks they are a coach, or having a captain simply ruins the dynamic of the team. Though it may seem slightly ironic, I am a captain of the water polo team, and having this position largely contributes to this opinion that I share with many students. From my own experience I have found that it is very rare to find a captain that works the team, motivates them, and leads them successfully. Not every team should have a team captain, because unless there is a player qualified for the job, the position can and often will cause problems. In theory, a captain is a wonderful idea; one of your own, that you respect, being the voice of your team and making sure the kids slacking off stay focused. However, for this to be achieved, everyone on the team needs to respect the captain, which is not always the case. What is the criteria for a strong captain? I believe it has everything to do with the balance of skill, knowledge, competitiveness, and leadership skills. Many know the feeling you get when someone less experienced or skilled than yourself criticizes you, or, even worse, when they yell at you. It is frustrating, it is upsetting, and it kills team chemistry and team building. Having a captain that isn’t a good player doesn’t work. The captain doesn’t have to be the best player; they just have to be one of the more skilled players on the team. And if they aren’t, the captain should know that
they probably are not qualified to be correcting other people. Captains have to have a strong knowledge of the game, otherwise they can’t help their teammates. They also have to want to win. If it’s clear that the captain is motivated purely by their desire to succeed, it makes the captains criticisms less personal and more meaningful. Finally, at the end of the day it seems fairly self explanatory, but a captain has to have strong leadership skills and charisma for having a captain to make sense at all. This is important; leadership skills help the captain work well with other players, especially in his or her grade. I have become a leader on the varsity water polo team this season, and I can tell you it has been difficult at times. I’ve learned teammates don’t always use the term “captain” endearingly and that sometimes I have to be okay with being the bad guy. But I’ve also noticed that I can influence the team positively: we waste less time, set a high tempo for practice, and have the freedom to respectfully instruct players when needed. On the water polo team all seniors are captains
(mostly for college applications), however I grew into the “captain” role without needing the official title from the coach. I think that is the way team captains should be: a natural progression initiated by the team. I’m not trying to argue that I’m an amazing captain or even a good one. My point is that captains need to understand all aspects of the job, and not every team in high school will have a student that does. As I collect my final thoughts, I seemed to have missed the most important requirement of all. A captain should know he is no better than anyone else in the program. Everyone on the water polo team has a role, and everyone is equal. Despite skill, age, or experience, I try to treat everyone well and equally. I hope my teammates have never questioned whether or not this was my belief, because it is, and I care about my friendship with all of them. I know how lucky I am to be a part of the best program at Tam. So unless a team can elect one of their own that fits the criteria well, high school coaches should not select a captain where no qualified individual exists.♦
GRAPHIC BY MIRANDA CHURCH
BY THE NUMBERS
Record of boys’ varsity water polo team as of November 8.
December 2016 — The Tam News
Number of girls’ varsity cross country runners who made All-League at MCAL finals on November 9.
Sowerby Commits to Macalester College by Zoe Wynn
Senior Katie Sowerby recently committed to Macalester College in Minnesota for basketball. PHOTOS COURTESY OF KATIE SOWERBY
nlike most seniors, Katie Sowerby already knows where she is going to spend the next four years. She recently committed to play basketball at Macalester College, a Division III school in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sowerby believes she will enjoy her college life both on and off the court. “I found [a school with a] community I really liked, but at the same time I get to play basketball,” she said. As the starting point guard on the girls’ varsity basketball team for all four years of her high school career, Sowerby has developed an intense love for the game. “Thinking about not playing basketball, I just really couldn’t imagine it, which is part of the reason I chose to commit [to Macalester],” she said. Tam coach Michael Evans is proud of Sowerby’s accomplishments and is optimistic about her future. “I am very happy and excited for her,” he said. “She has found a college to continue her desire and commitment to compete on the basketball court.”
Sowerby began the recruitment process during her junior year, in which she helped lead her team to its first ever MCAL championship as point-guard. “I wasn’t really sure I wanted to play basketball in college when I started my college search process,” she said. “But since it was DIII, I reached out to coaches my junior year.” Sowerby attended a Princeton basketball camp over the summer, which was a major recruiting center for many DIII colleges. “That’s where I met the coach from Macalester. At that point we got to talk and there was a lot of mutual interest,” she said. She received a competing offer from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, but decided after her first visit that Macalester was the perfect fit. “I went out for an official visit and that was an overnight with the team, and I stayed over with the team and watched them practice,” Sowerby said. “I did more research on the school and it had everything that I was looking at on paper.... so that was what compelled me to do the official visit.”
Sowerby has already bonded with her future teammates. She acknowledges that the college sports atmosphere is very different from Tam. “I spent a lot a time with the team at Tam, but we don’t live on the same campus so we aren’t as integrated,” she said. “Just being on the team and living in the same area and that level of connection with each other is a little nerve wracking for me.” Evans is confident that Sowerby’s work ethic and passion will carry over to her success at Macalester. “She is a very hard worker and she puts in countless hours in the offseason....She plays with passion, confidence, and is a leader on the court,” he said. Although basketball will be a major aspect of her college life, she still values her education. “I wanted to make sure... [to] prioritize my academics and I wanted to make sure that I found a college that could give me both [basketball and academics] and Macalester could do that,” Sowerby said.♦
Check the Tam News online (www.thetamnews.org) for more vivid and vibrant sports coverage. Number of points scored by the varsity football team in their win over Drake on November 5.
Score of the girls’ varsity tennis team’s winning match over San Marin on October 20.
The Tam News — December 2016
Athlete of the Issue: by Josh Love
Ben Soicher GRAPHIC BY EMMA STEINBERG
golf if you play badly, you can’t hide behind someone else,” he said. Soicher has been ruthless on the course. Coming off six straight tournament wins, including the San Jose Invitational, Soicher was the youngest golfer to qualify for the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA). Soicher has also played with Division I golfers from Stanford. Last summer, he competed in a tournament with 70 participants, most of whom were in college, and managed to place 16th. In addition, he has played in a two-day event with golfers from Beijing. Soicher says his very first tournament during fifth grade was the most influential. “I saw a kid playing at a tournament who was 16 and really good, and that’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do,” he Eighth grader Ben Soicher has played golf since age two, and looks to continue golfing in high said. Soicher currently plays for the MVMS school with the Hawks. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN SOICHER golf team and practices at the Mill Valley and Sonoma golf courses five times a week ost people consider golf to be a sport after school. And if he is not at the course, designated for old, wealthy men he has a net in his backyard and a putting who socialize more than exercise and drive green in his room. around the golf course in their Polo T-shirts Soicher plans to continue golfing as a and slacks. Well, that’s not the case for Ben Soicher, an eighth grade student at Mill Valley Middle School (MVMS). Soicher picked up his first golf club when he was two and hasn’t put it down since. He was introduced to the game by his father, Barry Soicher, who played for Tulane University in college and brought Soicher to the course to watch him play regularly. “He’d give me candy every time he made a bogey [one stroke over par],” Soicher said. But golf is not as popular with the rest of the Soicher family. “[My] mom and brother hate it,” Soicher said, laughing. Despite his young age, he enjoys the game because of its independent nature, “I’ve never really liked team sports, and in
December 2016 — The Tam News
Hawk. “Right now [my decision is] probably Tam. It’s less difficult academically [than Branson], which would make more time for golf,” Soicher said. “There would be less stress about grades.” His second choice is Branson, but he seems confident about playing golf at Tam.“I talk a lot with [varsity coaches] Dustin [Nygaard] and Bruce [Cardinal], and most of my friends are going there,” Soicher said. “They also have a really good [golf] team.” Soicher is talented enough to take Tam to the elite level, and he definitely has the motivation to get there. “All his hard work, he’s done it himself. He really loves the game,” Soicher’s father said. Soicher’s goal is to play for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) during high school, an organization that runs elite tournaments for amateurs. What keeps Soicher motivated is the urge to always improve his game. “You have no idea how you’re going to play. There have been times when I’ve been upset, but it’s just about getting better,” he said. “Never stop trying on the golf course, because every shot counts.”♦
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