Tam News November 2019

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CONTENTS November 2019



News 04 Kincade Fire devastates Northern California 05 PG&E shuts off power across the state to reduce fire risk 06 District publishes 2019 Student Achievement Report 08 Administration and ASB close campus for next Unity Day Lifestyles 09 Review: Vitality Bowls 10 Review: Brickmaiden Breads 11 A new year of SOAR 12 Review of a skatepark from someone who sucks at skating Features 13 Un indocumentado mĂĄs


Opinion 17 Editorial: Burn notice 18 My life as a Trader Joe’s virgin 19 A review of all the cats I know 20 The freedom of hate speech Sports 22 4:37 23 Can you dig it? 24 Football Fest: seniors vs. juniors


Dear Reader, As summer transitions to fall, California once again readies itself for some of the hottest and windiest months of the year. For most of the state, this means one thing: fire season. In the wake of devastating wildfires in recent years, new measures are being put in place to prevent thousands of square miles of scorched land and suffocating air quality. Johanna Meezan and Summer Solomon cover the wide-scale power outages initiated by PG&E to prevent faulty power lines from sparking fires, while Ethan Swope presents a collection of photos of the Kincade Fire. While fire season has been around for decades, the fires in recent years have been exacerbated by climate change. Our editorial, “Burn Notice,” tackles the issue of climate change as both an international and local issue, pointing out uncomfortable truths about how Tam treats the environment and how Mill Valley doesn’t practice what it preaches. In “Un Indocumentado Más,” Gina Criollo writes about the experiences of Hector, a Tam student and Venezuelan refugee who is seeking political asylum in America. Her feature shines light on the adversity that those coming from war-torn countries face when trying to make a better life for themselves in America and critiques our government’s policies on immigration. With broad international issues such as climate change and immigration, it’s hard to focus on the small things that we, as students, can do to fix the current situation. But in the words of our editorial staff, “our responsibility is twofold” — we must be willing to accept and fix the problems that preceding generations have left us.

Editors in Chief Leah Fullerton • Kara Kneafsey Skye Schoenhoeft • Josie Spiegelman Benjy Wall-Feng News Jessica Bukowski • Logan Little Johanna Meezan • Samantha Nichols Ethan Swope Lifestyles Ian Duncanson • Chloe Gammon Emily Stull • Natalia Whitaker Features Tahlia Amanson • Claire Conger Claire Finch • Mikyla Williams Niulan Wright Opinion Sophia Martin • John Overton Lucas Rosevear • Tenaya Tremp Sports Paige Anderson • Eli Blum Jordan Cushner • Sam Jefferson Marco Steineke TBN Saranyu Nel Website Saranyu Nel Social Media Grace Gustafson • Quinn Rothwell Business Team Ian Duncanson • Sophia Martin Lucas Rosevear Cover Ethan Swope Editorial Board Colin Bender • Claire Conger Ian Duncanson • Leah Fullerton Sam Glocker • Sam Jefferson Kara Kneafsey • Saranyu Nel Skye Schoenhoeft • Summer Solomon Josie Spiegelman • Benjy Wall-Feng Niulan Wright Adviser Jonah Steinhart

Volume XIV, No. II November 2019 A publication of Tamalpais High School Established 1919 Tamalpais High School 700 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941 www.thetamnews.org 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 © 2019 by The Tam News. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.

Printer WIGT Printing Reporters (continued) Taylor Smith • Aryan Solanki Summer Solomon • Jackson Sperling Benjamin St. John • Catherine Stauffer Lukas Stoker • Pablo Stuart Steven Taitusi • Jessica Tempero Lauren Terry • Aleksander Teplitsky Tristan Tober • Ella Tollefson Aidan Toole • Iris Treharne-Jones Noel Urick • Mey Uysaloglu • Kaveh Vafaie Santiago Vera-Buoncristiani Elias Verdin • Daisy Wanger Katya Wasserman • Lassen Waugh Lily Wieland • Isabella Williams Carlos Wiltsee • Isabelle Winstead Hayden Yearout • Yasha Zink

Reporters Charles Abe • Cooper Alley Ava Amanson • Ruby Amezcua Charlotte Anderson • Mobeen Angalia Arkin Balain • James Ballschmider Dara Baradaran • Kaya Beasley Colin Bender • Saad Bham Benjamin Bogas • Dylan Boon Kayla Boon • Charles Boyle Alyssa Broad • Jamese Brown Jenna Bui • Nicole Caldwell Kimorion Calloway • Nyiera Campbell Federico Caruso • Daniel Casillas Carlos Castro Vonk • McKayla Cates Myles Cence • Hayden Chamberlain Reggie Chen • Andrew Cherner Jessica Clements • Jacob Cohen Alana Concannon • Edward Cooper Joseph Cooper • Gina Criollo Rory Cronander • Lawrence Dahms Richard Damico • Isis Delorenzo Zetana Demmerle • Gabriella Diecks Daniel DiPierro • Kavi Dolasia Alanna Donaldson • Avery Emison Kennedy Enlowsmith • Isabella Faillace Luke Ferris • Jack Fierstein • Jack Finn Eloise Flad • Tessa Flynn • Max Franck Sebastian Ghosh • David Gilmore Benjamin Ginnebaugh • Stephania Glass Sam Glocker • Joseph Glynn Talina Gonzalez-Alvarado Olivia Gould • Sebastian Graham Ronan Grele • Zev Grossman Cesar Guedez Oberto • Grace Gustafson Riley Hardiman • Serena Hariri Sophia Harkins • Taylor Hill Henry Hoelter • Colin Ingoldsby Kyle Johnson • Eva Jossart Quesada Keenan Karcs • Theodore Koffman Liza Lachter • Isabella Larson Maja Layden • Phoebe Leisek Lexa Lemberg • Felicie Lemee Naomi Lenchner • Elan Levine Ezra Levy • Chadson Lui Daniel Lund • Lily Lunn Zaahirah Majid • Francesca Malek Joshua Markowitz-Meeker Mariana Marquez Carrillo Akira Martha • Zelie Martin Sofia Matarrita • Marin Mattesi Amaari McCoy • Ezra McKinley Maya Meckley • Jake Mclaughlin Emily Mercy • Christine Moreno Max Moreno • Gabriella Mormorunni Christopher Newell • Aeneas Nicholas Barrett Nichols • Oona O’Neill Isabella Oldenburg • Athos Oliveira Katharine Owen • Bradley Page-Harris Sydney Parks • Kobie Pearson Cal Petersen • Luca Petrella Anna Plante • Jack Polakis Preston Radcliffe • Luke Rasake TaNaejah Reed • Tristan Regenold Nathan Robinson • Chloe Rodriguez Ethan Rosegard • Paul Rosenthal Dillan Ross • Quinn Rothwell Cassandra Ruark • Meya Saenz Zagar Dayanna Salas • Amelia Sandgren Kendall Scanlan • Emily Schauer William Schreiber • Tessa Schumacher Camille Shakirova • Carmen Shavers Foxy Shazam • Marcis Shelton Samuel Sheykhet • Caroline Shinner Nicholas Silva • Garnett Silver-Hall Cade Slijepcevich • Hugo Slothower


Kincade Fire devastates Northern California By Ethan Swope


he Kincade Fire started burning north of Geyserville on Wednesday, October 23. As of Sunday, November 3, it had burned 77,758 acres of land and was 78 percent contained.

A structure is destroyed during the Kincade Fire near Geysers Road. in Sonoma County on Thursday, October 24. ABOVE:

Fire crews work to contain the Kincade Fire. ABOVE AND LEFT:


The Tam news

PG&E shuts off power across the state to reduce fire risk


By Johanna Meezan and Summer Solomon with additional reporting by Logan Little


he Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) performed a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) across California to over 3 million people in October in an attempt to prevent wildfires being sparked by faulty equipment. This was partially in response to investigations that found PG&E’s transmission lines were responsible for catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018, including the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. “For public safety, it may be necessary for us to turn off the electricity when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, are forecasted,” PG&E said in a news release. The blackouts came in the form of two PSPSs. The first shutoff, which affected almost 2 million people


statewide, began in some parts of Marin County — Mill Valley, Bolinas, Sausalito, and Stinson Beach — on October 9 and continued through October 11. The second shutoff began on October 26 and affected an additional 940,000 people, including all of Marin. The blackouts resulted in the closure of Tam High on October 10 and of all Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) schools from October 28 through October 30. On October 23, prior to the second PSPS, the Kincade Fire broke out in Sonoma County, resulting in mandatory evacuations throughout the county.“My aunt and uncle live up in Windsor so they had to evacuate ... And then my family was in an area that eventually switched from an evacuation warning area to an evacuation mandatory area, so we had to get them packed up and ready to leave,” social studies teach-

er Arielle Lehmann said. “I ended up driving to stay with my boyfriend in Vallejo, where another fire broke out and we ended up being evacuated.” The day before the first power shutoff, TUHSD superintendent Tara Taupier wrote in an email to members of the community that there would be no change to the school schedule on October 9 as it was already a school holiday, Yom Kippur, for the district. She went on to state that if the PSPS continued to the following day, school would be canceled. The district policy as detailed by Taupier also states that if a power outage occurs while school is in session, the school will keep students, if at all possible, in class through the end of the day. The TUHSD does not yet have a plan to make up the days of school that were cancelled due to the power shutoffs. “We are working with both the California Department of Education and the county office to determine

what our best next steps are in regards to missed instruction,” Taupier said in an email. The second outage occurred within the week before Friday, November 1, when many early applications for colleges and universities were due. As a result, many seniors were forced to leave Marin to finish their applications, and some schools extended the deadlines for students from California. “I basically had to leave Marin in order to get any work done or just find somewhere to work ... I was able to get my work done, but it was definitely more difficult and I lost a lot of time I could have used to improve my applications,” senior Talia Beyer said. A PG&E community resource center was open in Sausalito from October 10 through 11, offering restrooms, bottled water, an electronic device charging, and air-conditioned seating to impacted Marin residents. Two additional community resource centers opened from October 21 through 29 in San Rafael and Novato.♦

November 2019



District publishes 2019 Student Achievement Report By Leah Fullerton The report summarized student achievement through the CAASP test and showed major discrepancies based on race and socioeconomic status.



he recently released 2019 Tamalpais Unified High School District (TUHSD) Student Achievement Report revealed academic differences between

district schools, as well as a significant achievement gap. Superintendent Tara Taupier presented the report at a board meeting

News flash Upcoming stories and tam’s Newest Headlines from the past few weeks 6

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on September 24. Taupier worked with data analyst Alina Hartel, the district office, and schools to compile the data, but assembled the majority of report herself.

The report synthesizes the results of the annual districtwide California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test, taken by

Tam District and SOAR receive Ruby Bridges Student Leadership Award

NEWS 11th graders. Other data included in the report are common assessments such as the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) tests, and statistics such as graduation rates. Additionally, the report highlights the “potential next steps to improve the learning of all students while narrowing the opportunity and resultant achievement gaps that persist in our district.” According to Taupier, the report serves as a way to assess the effectiveness of the district’s current priorities and their impact on academic progress. The achievement assessment presented the CAASPP scores of 11th graders district-wide. The test evaluates student abilities in two sections: English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and math. According to Hartel, about 95 percent of the TUHSD junior class took the 2019 CAASPP test. The 2019 data reported that 72 percent of Tam juniors met or exceeded ELA/ Literacy standards, while 53 percent met or exceeded the math standards. Tam’s ELA success rate is one percent above the district average

of 71 percent. TUHSD had a collective math success rate of 58 percent, placing Tam significantly behind the average. However, the most apparent score discrepancies are seen under socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnicity. In both sections, students who identified as African American and Hispanic scored significantly lower than their white peers. Because Hispanic is considered an ethnicity applicable to people of any race, the data for Hispanic students as shown in the report accounts for only non-white students who identified as Hispanic. These results have been somewhat consistent over the past few years, and district staff are using the data to address the larger problem at hand. Simultaneously with district-level discussions, the report is put to use within each high school. “The next steps within schools [are] somewhat up to administration, and each year, schools take different approaches,” Taupier said. The district implemented programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and


the Tam High Success Network in an effort to address the impact that a lack of guidance or financial stability has on student performance according to Taupier. According to the program’s coordinator, Suzanne Garcia, the AVID elective enrolls students who are motivated, but lack access to resources, and teaches them concrete academic skills. The Success Network, which currently only exists at Tam, connects disadvantaged students to on-campus support, including an adult mentor and academic tools, according to Taupier. Last year’s results were promising. “There was a significant increase in students passing, specifically in math, at the end of R1 over the previous year,” Taupier said. Taupier said the district is “in conversation” on expanding the program to other district schools. The report also notes the goal to officially reflect the district’s commitment to underserved students. Taupier hopes to enact both an updated TUHSD mission statement and an equity policy within the next six months.

The equity policy would “be explicit about addressing the opportunity and achievement gap” and provide the board with “direction to keep equity in mind when making resource or budgetary decisions,” according to Taupier. Taupier said, “When a board adopts a policy, it sets a standard of importance, it gives the sense that it matters to this district.”♦

Newsom passes school start time bill: by 2022, all california High schools must start no earlier than 8:30 A.M. November 2019



Administration and ASB close campus for next Unity Day

By Samantha Nichols with additional reporting by Avery Emison and Claire Finch


he Associated Student Body (ASB) and administration decided to close campus during lunch for the Tam Unity Day on Friday, October 25, and potentially all subsequent Unity Days. According to ASB advisor Nathan Bernstein, Unity Day will be closed-campus in hopes of restoring the event’s initial purpose: to unite the student body. “The whole idea of Tam Unity Day is that kids get a longer lunch to really decompress and spend time with each other and have a unifying event on campus. And what we found is that kids use the extra 20 minutes to drive all the way to Chick-fil-A,” Bernstein said. The new policy was finalized last year by ASB and the former administration.

It has not been confirmed for future Unity Days, but ASB and administration will make their decision based on the outcome of this event. “The spirit of Tam Unity Day is really supposed to be about relaxing and taking time away from the rush of eating lunch ... it’s designed to de-stress and decompress and be able to build relationships and just relax,” principal J.C. Farr, who made the final decision to close campus, said. “At first, our committee was unsure if having a closed campus was the most successful way to encourage Unity Day participation,” senior Lauren Pyfer, a member of the ASB Unity Day Committee, said. “However, after talking with Mr. Farr, we agreed that having a closed


campus will increase participation in events and encourage school unity.” The administration will enforce the new rule by patrolling the campus, ensuring that students do not leave during lunch. In addition to the closed-campus lunch, ASB will change the structure of Tam Unity Day to accommodate the entire student body. “We will have around 11 [food] trucks, including some local businesses that students like to go to for normal lunch so they don’t miss out,” sophomore Abby Brooks, a Unity Day Committee member, said. The event will also include live music from student artists, a flea market, interactive games, crafts, student-staff dodgeball, and several club booths.

The committee is aware that students may push back against the new policy, but they are hopeful the event succeeds in unifying Tam more effectively than in the past. “I feel like it’s just going to cause more backlash because students don’t like change,” sophomore Sydney Boyd said. “I know that there are a lot of people at Tam that want more school spirit and community and this is a great opportunity for them to contribute to creating that atmosphere,” Brooks said.♦



REVIEW: Vitality Bowls By Max Moreno


itality Bowls Superfood Cafe, which opened in August in the East Blithedale shopping center, serves açai bowls, smoothies, fresh-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, kombucha on tap, and a few lunch items, such as paninis and salads. But on two recent visits to this airy café — part of a regional franchise chain — I was left somewhat underwhelmed at what felt like overpriced offerings. My first visit was on a hot day after school, and I tried the signature Vitality Bowl ($11.99), which includes a smoothie base of açaí, banana, strawberries, flax seed, and their “VB Blend” (a mixture of mangosteen, aronia berry, camu camu, moringa, açai, blueberry and pomegranate). Their menu has a wide selection of dif-

On my second visit, on a Sunday, the store was bustling with parents and kids, and I opted for the salami panini with mozzarella, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, dijon mustard, and pesto ($6.99). The paninis range from roasted turkey to veggie to peanut butter banana and cost between $4.99 and $7.99. The store markets their six different paninis as add-on items to their smoothies and bowls (for $4.99, you can add any panini to another menu item), so I didn’t expect the sandwich to be large. My panini was flavorful, with melted cheese, a good pile of spinach, and a fair helping of salami, but was more of a snack than a meal. Unfortunately, I had to wait 30 minutes for the panini to be prepared, which

was most likely because the new store is still working out service kinks. After 25 minutes, I asked if the panini was still coming and soon after, it arrived, alongside a $3 coupon off my next purchase as an apology for the wait. With several juice and açai bowl places to choose from in Mill Valley (including Juice Girl Mill Valley and BŌL Superfood Cafe), Vitality Bowls isn’t alone in slinging fruit-centric treats to our health-conscious town. Vitality Bowls offers a clean, friendly place to stop in for a snack or lunch. Once the store works out a few service issues, it should be popular among the Jamba Juice 2.0 generation. Just don’t expect a low-cost snack.♦




ferent bowls to choose from, and each bowl comes in medium and large sizes. The thick, sweet purée is topped with a few sliced strawberries and bananas, a sprinkling of granola, and some honey, though I couldn’t see any on mine. The bowl was pleasant, tasting much like an icy smoothie, but toppings were rather sparse. If you’re looking for health food, an açai bowl might not be the best pick; the owner said Vitality uses an açai pulp that’s presweetened with organic cane sugar, though they don’t add additional sugars Overall, the medium-sized bowl has around 400 calories. The Vitality Bowl was a great snack, though not very filling, so I’m not sure I’d pay for it again.



November 2019




Brickmaiden Breads By Tahlia Amanson



rickmaiden Bread has been one of West Marin’s go-to local bread companies for many years now. In the mornings, the Brickmaiden products are always sold out at the local grocery stores, which is the only place people were able to buy them, until now. In August, Celine Underwood, the owner of Brickmaiden Bread, opened her first storefront for her bread company on 40 Fourth St. in Point Reyes. It has morning beverages and pastries, as well as bread, fresh out of the oven. Before the the bakery opened, Brickmaiden was known for its amazing sourdough bread, which you can buy in a loaf or a baguette. Anything goes great with the bread, but personally


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I prefer it with some goat cheese, topped off with a few slices of tomato, and sprinkled with a little bit of salt on top. The word was out about the new bakery, and I thought that I might as well try it because I’ve been in love with its bread ever since I was little. It was a hard decision, but my sister and I finally decided to share a raspberry and blackberry tart with whipped cream–like topping ($6) and a chocolate chip scone ($4). I’m the type of person who doesn’t like food too sweet, so I appreciated the raspberry and blackberry tart. It was very tart, and the bottom was this crust that was kind of flaky once I bit into it. Even though

the tart was very tasty, visually appealing, and not too sweet, it could have been a few dollars less for its size. The price wasn’t a surprise, though, because of the location of the bakery — West Marin is such a tourist destination that every food place in it is overpriced. The chocolate chip scone was very well baked. In my opinion, to have a well-baked scone, you need to be very persistent with the time so that you don’t under- or overcook it. Most scones usually turn out to feel like bricks, but this wasn’t the case with Brickmaiden’s scone. It also wasn’t too sweet, and there

was a hint of coffee in it, which made it unique compared to the other scones that I have tried. I thought that it was very good, possibly one of the best scones I have ever had. I also felt like it was worth the price. I would recommend anyone who likes bakeries to go check out Brickmaiden. It’s a nice setting when you walk inside, the food is good, and you’re able to eat outside in a nice backyard. I felt like it would have been better if there was more to the menu of pastries, but it’s new so it’s understandable that the menu doesn’t offer a drastic variety of bakery goods.♦


A New Year of SOAR By Tenaya Tremp


n October 15, the district branch of Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) received the Ruby Bridges Award for student leadership. Tam High’s branch is led by by sophomore president Ruby Rose Amezcua and advised by social studies teacher Claire Ernst and counselor Sandra Pula. It is focused on leading honest conversations about race. “We’re trying … to really make [SOAR] a space that anyone feels welcome, especially students of color, where we can actively have that conversation about race and do things to make Tam a more welcoming place,’’ Amezcua, who is a reporter for The Tam News, said. SOAR meetings take place during lunch on Thursdays in room 154. The meetings are “a place to come and talk about what sort of issues are coming up for people, which obviously varies all the time,” according t o Ernst.


“The people are really great and nice,” Amezcua said, “and there’s food provided. It’s not a major commitment, people can come whenever they can.” Dropins are welcome and always appreciated, according to Amezcua. Another aspect of SOAR’s agenda is having members attend around four day-long trainings with students from other clubs at Tam and

throughout the school district. “Most of the staff [at Tam] have attended these all day trainings about racial equity and racial justice,” Ernst said. “The students also go through a similar training ... it’s similar to what the faculty goes through but it’s more focused on ultimately activism, like what are you going t o take

back to your campus and what are you going to do to try to start addressing racism as you see it showing up.” After participating in these training days, members of SOAR have to figure out how to incorporate the things that they learned into their work at Tam. Last year, they helped run one of their biggest events yet, Breakthrough Day, during which students worked on having open conversations on race and listened to different presentations about race. SOAR plans to build from the momentum of last year. “I know that there’s a lot of plans to continue to plan these actions and events that will bring the Tam community in and further conversations about race,” Ernst said. “We have workshops for teachers planned in terms of making them more aware of what’s going on at the school and what they can do if problems arise,” Amezcua said. “We also want to have more workshops with students, more guest speakers, and more events that celebrate other cultures.”♦ GRAPHICS BY SKYE SCHOENHOEFT

November 2019


Review of a skate park from someone who sucks at skating LIFESTYLES

By John Overton


’m not gonna sugarcoat anything here: I suck at skateboarding. I’m so bad. Like, profoundly bad. I, being so very bad at skating, am in the perfect position to review a skate park, the one place I shouldn’t be. Unlike Mill Valley Middle School (MVMS), the MVMS skate park isn’t a living hell. There is some really nice shade behind some of the ramps and it’s very nice to sit there until someone asks you to get out of their way. There is also a skate ledge which is comfortable to lie down or eat on because its nice and flat. Again, this is a skate park, so there may be skaters that get pissed at you for lounging on the obstacles — they’re so entitled. One downside to the skate park is that the ground is very hard, and it will give you a big fat bruise when you fall on your butt. It would be nice if they



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spruced the place up with a good bit of padding, because I like keeping my pelvis intact. Another downside is that the park is right next to a sewage plant, so if there’s even a slight gust of wind, you get a nice noseful of tiny airborne particles of fecal matter. Whoever decided to put a school there must’ve been unable to smell or just really stupid. While we’re on the topic of location, because MVMS is perched atop a squishy, squishy marsh (which also smells horrible), it’s literally sinking. Go to the skate park now, because you might not be able to in a year, with climate change and sea level rising. On the off chance that you aren’t the worst skater on the planet, you may be able to enjoy the smooth, concrete bowl-like thing which is also a miniramp, or the vert ramps and A-frame.

The park, while being very small, does have good flow and plenty of obstacles. There is also a fun little flatground section which has a sloped version of those concrete thingies that you find at the tops of parking spots. Additionally, there’s a metal beam that you can do grinds on, but it’s definitely too high for me to ollie onto (if I could even do one). Another great thing about the skate park is the lack of annoying scooter kids that constantly get in your way. But instead of scooter kids, there are horrible skaters (like me) who are too incompetent to stay on their boards for more than five seconds at a time. They (me) are actually kinda worse because they (me) somehow manage to send their (my) board flying 20 feet in every direction — which can be a serious hazard (sorry).♦


Many of us are unaware of the struggles undocumented students go through in the United States. We don’t realize that these issues are so close to home.

Un indocumentado más By Gina Criollo


ector will never forget the traumatizing day when soldiers came and captured his neighbors in Acarigua, Venezuela. The Tam senior, who asked to remain anonymous because of his immigration status, recalled the experience. “I remember when the military came into my block and kidnapped all my neighbors. They came with their face covered with black ski masks, uniforms, in huge trucks ... they were holding one gun in each hand. I am not exaggerating. Nunca he visto tantas armas. La palabra perfecta para describir ese suceso es: pesadilla, lo juro. I have never seen that amount of guns. The perfect word to describe that is: nightmare, I swear,” he said. After his dad’s family came to California, Hector and his parents and sister got on the plane that took them out of the devastating situation that they were living in. Here in Mill Valley, he and his family started a new life without a job or a place to stay — just a room in a relative’s house. Hector and his family are now waiting for political asylum. According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asylum is granted to foreign citizens who face persecution, or a fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. If they receive asylum, Hector’s family will be allowed to live and work in the U.S. They will also be able to apply for permanent resident status. But it has been a year so far without any response from the USCIS to them. About 300,000 Venezuelans are in the United States soliciting and applying for asylum, according to the United Nations International Organization on Migration. The night of the kidnappings reminds Hector of the

Nunca he visto tantas armas. La palabra perfecta para describir ese suceso es: pesadilla, lo juro. I have never seen that amount of guns. The perfect word to describe that is: nightmare, I swear.

November 2019



Me encanta Tam. Aquí me han aceptado como uno de ellos desde el primer dia. I love Tam. They accepted me as one of them since the first day. ABOVE: There are two ways to file for asylum, affirmative and defensive. Individuals may only apply for affirmative asylum if they are in the United States and have arrived there within the past year. Individuals may apply for defensive asylum if they are in removal proceedings or if their application for affirmative asylum is rejected. Affirmative asylum cases are reviewed in an immigration office or before USCIS, and defensive asylum cases are decided in immigration court.

Data is from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, and TRAC at Syracuse University. Years refer to fiscal years. GRAPHS BY BENJY WALL-FENG


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high stakes of his asylum application. “We stayed at home, covered with blankets, even curtains, under our beds. Nos dimos cuenta de que todo eso estaba pasando porque mis amigos empezaron a hacer demasiado ruido. Ellos empezaron a gritar como estrategia para darle a la gente algo de tiempo. We knew that was happening because my friends were really loud, they started screaming as a strategy to give people some time,” he said. Venezuela has spent six years under a dictatorship. The whole country is in a fiscal phenomenon called hyperinflation, meaning that the economy is increasing at a rapid, excessive, and out-of-control rate. One of the biggest impacts of this is that all goods and services prices have risen to more than 50 percent per month. “Venezuela’s hyperinflation today is around 2.6 million percent. Let’s just compare to USA inflation which is 1.8 percent ... But you can clearly notice the big difference,” Hector said. “This affected my family instantly ... The fridge started to be more empty every day, and suddenly we were not even able to find certain products.” Certainly the soldiers shattered the safety of many people in his little town, including Hector and his family. “The military were looking for the richest. I think they didn’t look for us because they already had the order to look for specific families. They literally kick down the doors of their apartments and pulled out the people who were inside ... After that, they stole all the money they could,” he said. “And, you know what? Fue frustrante el hecho de no poder llamar a la policía o a cualquier otra autoridad porque ellos fueron los que planearon todo. Ellos nos hicieron eso. No teníamos protección. Sólo nos teníamos el uno al otro. It was frustrating that we couldn’t call the police or any other authority because they were the ones who planned everything. They did that to us. We had no protection. We just had each other.” Suddenly, Hector ended describing his shocking experience, saying, “It has been three years, and we don’t know about them since that day. Ellos nunca volvieron, y sus famil-


ias tampoco. They never came back, and neither did their families.” Many immigrants come to the U.S. with the hope of building a new life, a better future, and a secure environment to live in. Political asylum programs are designed to help millions of people that come to the U.S. from extremely dangerous conditions, such as hunger, violence, disease, and extreme poverty. According to USCIS data, nearly 30,000 Venezuelans applied for asylum in the U.S. in 2017. On average, about 50 percent of Venezuelan asylum claims are denied, according to a Homeland Security report in March 2019. Those denied asylum are at risk of deportation back to their home country. A USCIS officer, who was not authorized to speak to the media, expressed opposition to what the system is currently doing with the immigration cases the U.S. is dealing with: “This is just another attack on the asylum system.” This unstable situation is the famous dilemma of what the government says versus what the government really does. “Well, even if we are always uncertain, like, with that distrusting feeling ... We pray every night,” Hector said about his distrust in the U.S. government. Despite all that Hector has gone through, he always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude. “He is so cheerful, I always see him so happy, he has a lot of energy ... But he is also such a kind person. I know he will always have my back,” said Marco, a Salvadoran sophomore who also asked to remain anonymous. “Me encanta Tam. Aquí me han aceptado como uno de ellos desde el primer dia. I love Tam. They accepted me as one of them since the first day. They have been always worried about how I feel, and they always look after me. One of the best memories I have here at Tam is about the friends I have met here,” Hector said. “These people support me in my good and bad moments. When I came, I was having a really bad moment. Irte de tu país no es tan fácil y mucho menos

cuando no quieres hacerlo. Leaving your country is not that easy, and even less easy when you don’t want to do it.” Hector’s experience has taught him the importance of family, and because of that he is now thriving in his new environment. “No sabes lo que tienes hasta que lo pierdes. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. For example, I miss my mom’s family, my ‘homies,’ the beach, the hot and tropical environment, all those things ... And now that I don’t have that close, I realize how happy I was.” He added, “You also must be brave ... In those kinds of situations regardless of how scared you are, you need to calm down and not let a crazy impulse to ruin everything.” “Aún tengo esperanza en mi país. Tengo fé en Venezuela. Ellos lo lograrán, yo sé. I still have hope in my country. I have faith in Venezuela. They can make it. I believe,” Hector said. “Sé que cuando esto pase, indudablemente, volveré así como lo harán todos otros Venezolanos que se han ido. I know that when this happens, undoubtedly, I will go back there just as every single Venezuelan,” he added. “Los Estadounidenses suelen pensar que nosotros como Latinos venimos aquí para ‘robar sus trabajos’ o dinero, pero eso no es cierto. Por ejemplo, en este momento lo que nosotros queremos es un lugar seguro. Americans might think that we as Latinos come here to ‘steal their jobs’ or money, but that is not true ... we want a safe place right now, you know.” Even though the U.S. government is aware of the situation, Hector said politicians have not helped in terms of opening the doors of the U.S.to fleeing immigrants. They don’t realize how important it is to prioritize these situations. “Millions of Venezuelans have fled their country, but Trump’s anti-immigration, anti-refugee stance has closed America’s door to them,” Manuel Madrid wrote in The American Prospect. “Now that we have more than a year here, it is time for the government to give us an answer about our solicitation. Every time my mom or dad receives a phone call from an

November 2019



Sé que cuando esto pase, indudablemente, volveré así como lo harán todos otros Venezolanos que se han ido. Los Estadounidenses suelen pensar que nosotros como Latinos venimos aquí para ‘robar sus trabajos’ o dinero, pero eso no es cierto. Por ejemplo, en este momento lo que nosotros queremos es un lugar seguro.


I know that when this happens, undoubtedly, I will go back there just as every single Venezuelan. Americans might think that we as Latinos come here to ‘steal their jobs’ or money, but that is not true ... we want a safe place right now, you know. 16

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unknown number is actually so stressful, because you don’t know who it is. And, if it is somebody from Immigration, we are afraid of the famous phrase, ‘You have 90 days to fly out of this country,’” Hector said, adding, “No es justo para nosotros. Ellos te dejan construir una vida totalmente nueva y si ellos quieren, pueden acabar con eso como si nada. It is not fair for us. I mean, they let you build a new life and if they want, they can just end it like that ... So, sometimes I think: What if we do not apply? What is gonna happen with all of this?” Take into account that since 2015, when Nicolás Maduro’s mandate began, “About 4 million Venezuelans — 5,000 per day — have left the country seeking food, work, and a better life,” according to World Vision data. Feelings such as anger, frustration, depression, stress, and anxiety are becoming more common for Venezuelans, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). First, since there is a lack of psychiatric medication, the most vulnerable population in this case are those with severe mental illnesses. Second, kids and adolescents are the most affected by the frustration of their inability to provide food or other needs for their families. Finally, women are the third population most affected by depression and anxiety. The APA said that, on average, about 29 to 33 percent of Venezuela’s population is currently struggling with a mental issue. About 25,000 people died of hunger and diseases in Venezuela this year, according to World Vision data. “What this administration has demonstrated again and again over the last several years is that crises and vulnerability ... have not been the factors that have moved them,” said Nazanin Ash, the International Rescue Committee’s vice president of policy and advocacy. Under Maduro’s dictatorship there has been a bloody struggle. “Maduro’s regimen just destroyed the whole country,” Hector said. “I’ve realized that people in this town do not even know what is happening in this country. So, that is why I really appreciate this interview. This is a way to make people realize that there are so many things happening outside, and that the USA is not the only country in this continent. Just a few days ago, I was talking to an American guy, and he just asked, ‘Where is Venezuela located?’ And it is not the first time this has happened to me. People have made me question such as: ‘In which continent is Venezuela?’ ‘Is Venezuela the same as Minnesota?’ ‘What is happening in Venezuela?’ ‘Who is the president down there?’” Hector completed the interview by saying, “Thousands of Venezuelans lived the same as my family, or something worse. And now, unfortunately, there are millions living the same today. Así que, esta es mi oportunidad de contar mi experiencia y dar a conocer que estas situaciones no me sucedieron sólo a mí. So, this is my chance to tell my experience, and to get to know that those situations did not happen just to me.”


Editorial: Burn Notice


limate change is not new, but in recent years its consequences have become viscerally apparent. The 2017 wildfire season was the most destructive on California record — until 2018, when wildfires killed over 100 people and caused over $3.5 billion in damages. And this July was the hottest month in recorded history. Since then, the Kincade Fire and statewide power blackouts have made it clear that last year’s devastation is part of a trend. Our house is on fire. Absent global action

She added, “The eyes of all future generations are upon you.” The current staff of The Tam News are the first of these generations. Our eyes are on world leaders, but also on local authorities, whose job it is to create and maintain a sustainable community, and on residents, whose job it is to inform that process. In September, after overwhelming pushback from homeowners, the Mill Valley City Council withdrew a proposed fire safety

“Making environmentally conscious decisions is difficult, and assigning responsibility to others is easy.” on an unprecedented scale, it will stay that way. If there is a silver lining to this cloud of smoke, it is that climate awareness and activism have skyrocketed. On September 20, four million people marched in the Global Climate Strike, the largest event ever of its kind. Many of those people were high school students. At the September 23 United Nations Climate Action Summit, where most countries promised disappointingly little, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said to world leaders: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.” GRAPHIC BY TENAYA TREMP

ordinance that would have required the removal of vegetation in a three-foot perimeter, or “hardscape,” around homes. Over 1,800 people signed a Change.org petition lobbying against the ordinance. “Curb appeal, a critical component of home value, will be destroyed in many cases” if the hardscaping provision were to pass, the petition warned. It’s difficult to imagine that houses that burn down will retain many “critical components” of home value. That the hardscape plan became a “voluntary” suggestion should not be misconstrued as a compromise. Instead, it is an indication of a broader, worrisome truth: Making environmentally conscious decisions is difficult, and assigning responsibility to others is

easy. Governments and corporations are largely at fault for the damage that has been done to the planet. At the same time, people who are overe a g e r to allot blame ignore their own role in attenuating that damage. Then our responsibility is twofold. On an international level, our generation must continue to pressure politicians and industries to enact long-overdue regulations. And in our cities and schools, we should work to institute reasonable policies that make an sustainable lifestyle the path of least resistance. “Reasonable policies” in the above sense do not have

ministrators implemented a compost collection system, compensating custodial staff as necessary for the additional work, and if those administrators m a d e trash and recycling containers more accessible, fewer students would be inclined to litter. If the Trump administration continues to ignore or roll back environmental rules, local governments can work with citizens and corporations to pass responsible climate standards, as California and automakers have attempted to do. To start, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Marin City, Bolinas, and other cities should follow Fairfax and San Anselmo by instating bans on single-use

“We should work to institute reasonable policies that make an sustainable lifestyle the path of least resistance.” to also be unpopular. For example, parking at Tam is notoriously overflowing. If school administrators created parking spaces designated only for students who carpool, they would incentivize sustainable actions without mandating them. Another example: Our district does not compost organic waste. If TUHSD ad-

plastic. It is true that policies like these will not have an outsize impact on stopping global climate change. It is also true that without policies like these, global climate change will not be stopped.♦

November 2019



MY LIFE AS A Trader Joe’s Virgin By Claire Conger


have a confession. You’re probably going to want to sit down. Maybe even have a medical professional present in case of severe shock. It doesn’t seem that bad to me, really, but based off of reactions I’ve gotten in the past, you’re probably not going to like it. Here it goes. Never in my 16 years on this planet ... have I been to Trader Joe’s. I know, I know. Take a breath. It’s go-

voring each bite and laughing at the toucan cartoons that decorated the side of the box. I told my mom all about wonderful snack I’d found that day, but “Trader Joe’s is too far away,” she said, crushing my first attempt to enter the world of Trader Joe’s. In the following years, my exposure to the Trader Joe’s brand became more and more frequent. At school,

“Trader Joe’s ready made frozen lunches, Trader Joe’s snacks, Trader Joe’s this, Trader Joe’s that.” ing to be OK. Growing up, my mom and I would walk down the street to buy our groceries at DeLano’s Market, the store in Tam Valley that became Good Earth. If we didn’t shop there, we’d go to the Whole Foods downtown. At eight or nine years old, I first discovered the off-brand foods that Trader Joe’s had to offer at a friend’s house. We ate their twist on Oreo’s, Joe-Joe’s, by the handful, sa-

I was surrounded by peers who would consume Trader Joe’s religiously. Trader Joe’s ready-made frozen lunches, Trader Joe’s snacks, Trader Joe’s this, Trader Joe’s that. My Whole Foods 365 brand lunches seemed to be at the bottom of the trade hierarchy during lunch. In middle school, I tried again to convince my mom of Trader Joe’s wonderful, off-brand magic. “Too much plastic,” she fired back. How


was I supposed to refute that? My only option as an immobile tween was to just accept it. So I did. I’m now in my junior year of high school, and because all my best friends shop only at Trader Joe’s, the temptation is back. How could I resist their Scandanavian Swimmers, their take on my favorite Swedish Fish? But going to Trader Joe’s now seems so out of character. I’ve been built off Whole Foods brand and Good Earth organics. How could I start now? When I confess my Trader Joe’s virginity, people respond in one of two ways: shocked or aggressive. Obviously, I prefer a shocked “How is that possible?” or “That’s so weird!” to the,

unfortunately more common “F*** you.” I’ve recently been approached with my first opportunity to visit a Trader Joe’s. My best friend is moving to a house in Corte Madera, where a Trader Joe’s is situated. Until about a week ago, when I was informed of the locations, I had no idea how close one was. Because my mom had told me so many years prior that is was “too far away,” I had assumed it must be much farther than Corte Madera. I now live my life as a Trader Joe’s virgin who has only ever seen the store once. But soon, all that will change. Soon I will fit in, and I owe it all to peer pressure.♦

Heard in the Hallways “I might be fat but I’m still agile” —Science Building

“I’d rather be alone with my cat” -Senior Steps

“Who even reads The Tam News anyways?” -Tam News Room 18

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“It’s not stealing, it’s sampling” -Safeway “Every test is an open note test if you try hard enough” -Math Building


A review of all the cats I know

By John Overton


irst things first: I am a dog person. Dogs are so kind and sweet and pure and nice that it’s hard not to be extremely biased when it comes to my opinions on other animals. I, however, am a man of culture and diversity; I embrace the odd, different, and novel. So I thought it would be fitting that I catalog and rate my experiences with every cat that I have come to know over the years. While this list may be small, it will provide you with the insights of an animal connoisseur such as myself.

I begin my list with an old pet of mine, a large fluffy cat named Persia. Unfortunately, the animal died before I had the pleasure of really getting to know her, but my memories recount her to be a benign creature who

mostly stayed outside. She was rather a mystery to me. I so rarely saw her that, when I did, I thought it a special occurrence worthy of celebration. Ah, those were the early days, before I learned of the sadistic and cruel feline nature.

Later on in my childhood, I was introduced to a cat belonging to one of my neighbors. This animal, at first glance, seemed a perfect thing to pet, so fluffy and soft. Lo and behold, that cat was a total jerk. When I went to pet it, the thing went berserk and attacked me with one of its vile little cat hands. “Oh, he’s just skittish,” said the owner. I always hated that neighbor. You would think I had

learned my lesson about cats, right? Wrong. Later in life I became acquainted with two felines who belonged to another neighbor. These cats, in hindsight, were a little less menacing, but they still had a lust for blood. I was out in my yard one day, chillin’, when one of them came by. “Okay, it’s a cat. Cool,” I thought to myself, and proceeded to ignore it. But a small commotion from a bush caught my attention, and to my surprise, out rushed the cat with a dead bird. A dead bird. That’s right, my neighbor’s cat snuck onto my property to kill a bird! What a jerk! And it wasn’t just that cat, it was the other one too! On several occasions, I have seen those two cats come into my yard to hunt. I even see them stalking my

chickens from time to time. Vermin. The only good cat experience I’ve ever had was with a particularly large individual. This big ‘ole boy, coming in at about 20 pounds of pure c h o n k, is Moose. I like him so much because he acts like a dog. He’s fat, he’s nice, he’s kind, and he likes getting the scratchies. What more could you ask for? Oh right … you could ask for a dog. But as far as cats go, Moose is the best, because he isn’t a narcissistic prick like all the rest. Most cats suck, and that’s a fact. If you think your cat is the exception, it’s because your cat has brainwashed you with superficial charm and sociopathic manipulation. You need to wake up! Your cat is using you!♦


November 2019



The freedom of hate Speech


’ve been told that as a journalist I should have the First Amendment memorized. To an extent I agree because the First Amendment is so ingrained in our country and our journalism. When it comes down to it, freedom of speech is at the heart of a democracy. Now that I’ve satisfied my journalism and leadership teachers, we can move on. I’m here to argue that to fully understand free speech and free expression, especially as it pertains to you as

speech is considered free speech. And no matter how much hate speech may hurt me or those in my community I understand why it’s protected and it should always be protected. The other day I overheard a woman trying to make a group of students feel better about an event where an extremist was using hate speech. In an effort to make them feel safer she told them that hate speech was illegal, and they were being protected, not the extremist.

“For the same reason that speech must be protected by the courts and under free speech, I believe that our school should not restrict any kind of speech.” a student, you have to know more than just the First Amendment. Plus, that a basic understanding of free speech will protect you as a student. To me it’s obvious why we need free speech. Yet thanks to a growing trend in our community towards hate speech, the slurs about our principal scrawled on campus and the enrollment of an extremist in our district, the discussion of hate speech is hitting much closer to the proverbial home. Many people believe that hate speech is a crime. In fact, about a year ago my own journalism teacher wasn’t sure whether it was legal or not. I hate to break it to you, but not only is it legal, it’s considered a constitutional right, as hate


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I wanted to believe that. I wanted to believe that those who hated what I looked like or represented would be punished, but I ended up contradicting the woman because I felt that no matter if the alternative is scarier, it’s better to be educated than in the dark. I also think it’s important to understand why hate speech is not illegal so that one doesn’t feel betrayed by a constitution they’re required to live by. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, and every time it has come up before the Supreme Court, it has been upheld that the need to protect free speech extends to all hate speech. In 2017, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kenne-

By Niulan Wright

dy wrote this about hate speech:“A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.” What Justice Kennedy is saying is that if the people who oppose alt-right groups call that groups speech hateful, that group could also call speech coming from the people that oppose them hateful. The Supreme Court ruled that speech can be illegal if it is deemed obscene or

promotes violence against a person or group of people. However, “obscene” and “promoting of violence” are subjective values, and many of these laws change when in the context of schools. When it comes to schools, the most important Supreme Court case that governs the way schools approach the first amendment is the 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines. In this case, the Des Moines school district was sued by the families of three students when the school district suspended them for wearing black armbands in protest against the Vietnam War. The court ruled, “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” This case declared




that to censor free speech, a school must be able to show that the free speech “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school,” according to the ruling. This case effectively meant that the First Amendment and lack of hate speech restrictions apply to schools — that is, unless the school deems any of that speech to be disruptive. In the 2010 case Defoe v. Spiva, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled just that. It de-

cided that, “racially hostile or contemptuous speech” can be banned even if it doesn’t cause disruption. Many students at this school would probably agree that with the Defoe case, and while I agree that hate speech is horrific and should be condemned by the school, I’m not sure I agree that it should be banned. For the same reason that speech must be protected by the courts and under free speech, I believe that our school should not restrict any kind of speech

Hear something in the halls? Think something is Crackin’ or slackin’? let us know on the tam news instagram: @thetamnews

on campus. It may make sense that in a predominantly liberal school, no one would have a problem with a possible banning like this. Yet I would challenge them to think of the many other schools in our country. The schools in this country are on a spectrum of political views. What if, for the first time, you were a minority not because of physical traits or sexuality but simply because of your political position? Suddenly speech that might be deemed “racially hostile

or contemptuous speech” could be yours, simply because it was the dissenting opinion of the students and faculty at your school. I understand that it can be terrifying to go to a school where people like the extremist in our district were getting escorted around by campus security or where you might hear racial and homophobic slurs from mouths in the hallways, but their right to that speech means that you have a right to yours and I have a right to mine.♦


Feel Strongly about something we write? Read community responses and Submit your letters to the editor online at thetamnews.org/letter-to-the-editor November 2019




With a sub-five-minute time and a top 30 ranking in the state of California, junior Tomo Sharber has his sights set high.

By Jordan Cushner




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unior Tomo Sharber, a student athlete at Tam, has big goals this cross country season: making it to the state championship. Running a 4:37 mile, and as a top 30 junior in state, Sharber continues to look toward reaching his goal. Last year, not making it to the states was a disappointment. Determined to achieve higher this year, Sharber has a plan of action and the passion to execute it — committing to training outside of practice as well as keeping track of his personal goals. Sharber runs six out of the seven days of the week, and does so not only to improve, but because he loves it. “Running you get that sense of self achievement after you do something big that you just wouldn’t get out of other sports,” Sharber said. Sharber believes that running goes beyond cross country. “It’s about following a system, trusting the process, putting in the work, especially on those hard workout days, just really pushing through.” Sharber said. By applying these training habits, Sharber thinks he can improve upon other aspects of his life: “I think school is a lot about staying following a plan, and staying organized even when things get hard.” While his coach doesn’t mandate going on a meal plan, Sharber has taken the responsibility to do so himself, acknowledging the role food plays in his athletic performance, “You get to this point where you know you’re eating like s*** and then you see it as well you feel it,” Sharber said. Recognizing this has led him to hold himself accountable for his eating habits, cutting out “junk food” like candy or soda. Aditionally, for Sharber, the mental aspect of running is huge, and he admits he gets nervous before big races. Music has proven to be a good outlet, and Sharber utilizes it as a resource to get out of his head pre-race. “Before the race I listen to anime music, like Jpop ... Listening to the openings gets me hyped up and reminds me of the good things coming,” Sharber said. Currently, Sharber sees himself running in college, and is open to running to anywhere at the collegiate level, whether that’s at a D1 school or for a lower level like NAIA. Recognizing the commitment that running for D1 takes, Sharber considers what he would most like to get out of his college experience. “I’m fine with anything as long as they let me have academics over athletics because I know for some schools they want you to major in running ... It’s a lot but it’s what you’re signing up for,” Sharber said. Regardless of what lies ahead, Sharber is thankful that running has become a part of his life; he said, “I started running and have loved it ever since ... I haven’t regretted a single thing.”♦

Can you dig it? Girls varsity volleyball aims to compete in NCS By Jessica Bukowski


he 14 players of the girls varsity volleyball team enthusiastically patted each other on the back, with wide grins spread across their faces: They had just won their 17th match, bringing their season stats to a total of 18 and 9. It’s hard to believe that only three seasons ago, the team had placed last in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL). In past seasons, the girls varsity volleyball team has found it challenging to win matches. For four consecutive seasons from 2013 to 2016, the team placed last of the ten teams in MCALs. This losing streak came to an end in the 2017-2018 season, when the team finished in eighth place. In the 2018-2019 season, the volleyball team also placed eighth overall. Currently, the volleyball team has played four MCAL matches, including wins against Novato and San Marin High School and losses against Drake and Redwood High School, placing them in fifth as of October 16. “We have a really good team this year. It’s a group of very experienced, dedicated, hard-working, and talented group of players,” head coach Ray Karter said. The team’s current record of 18-9 is the best they have had since Karter began coaching in the 2016 season.

“I don’t feel there is a divide between the grades on the team. Typically, you would think that there would be, but this team has proven the opposite” The current members of the team attribute their recent success to an increased level of commitment. “There’s a stronger will to want to play to the best of our ability, so therefore, the motivation is there, and it shows both in practices and in gameplay,” senior Ella Bricker said. Bricker and senior Tate Martinelli are this year’s captains of the girls varsity volleyball team. Junior Caitlin Smith agrees with Bricker’s reasoning for the team’s success. “I think the level of dedication has grown for sure,” Smith said. “The people coming in are more experienced than past years, but they’re also just more committed and dedicated to making the team the best it can be.”


Although the volleyball team consists of students in all four grades, Bricker believes that it has not stopped them from getting along. “There is not a divide between the classes, and it doesn’t feel like we’re in separate grades. It feels like we’re really playing together as a team, which is important,” Bricker said. Freshman Wesley Slavin agrees with Bricker. “I don’t feel there is a divide between the grades on the team. Typically, you would think that there would be, but this team has proven the opposite,” Slavin said. Regarding her older teammates, Slavin said, “They have welcomed the freshmen and made sure to keep us included at all times, as well as make sure there is a strong bond between everyone.” Bricker adds that it was extremely important for the team to spend time together outside of practices and games. “I think our biggest thing this year has been building team unity,” Bricker said. “We make an effort to bond together outside of practice and really just support each other and it really shows on the court.” The team has lunch together every Wednesday, which Bricker believes has added to their ability to play more cohesively. Not only has the volleyball team stood out as a unit, but individual players have gained recognition as well. Junior Olivia Smith’s performance as an outside hitter has grabbed the attention of the Marin Independent Journal (IJ). “I was awarded the Marin IJ Prep of the Week for two weeks in a row,” Smith said, adding, “I was really happy that they thought I was an athlete who made an impact those weeks.” The volleyball team is looking forward to the rest of the season and getting the chance to achieve their goals. “Getting top four in MCALs is definitely our biggest goal,” Caitlin Smith said. The team also hopes to advance further in the North Coast Section (NCS) than they have in previous years. All team members strongly urge students to attend upcoming matches. “We would really love for people to come cheer us on at matches. The support would really mean a lot to us,” Bricker said.♦


November 2019



FOOTBALL FEST SENIORS VS. JUNIORS Satire by Grace Gustafson and Tessa Schumacher

F SENIORS ROSTER Lily Travers Thalia Greenberg Sam Sternfels Sofia King Ellie Flad Siena Blair Katya Wasserman Grace Gustafson Elena Klyce Carina Kelly Hannah Gruender Grace Rodriguez Renata Fabiola Phoenix Vogel



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ootball fest, known as powder puff in the past, is a football game that occurs during homecoming week between junior and senior girls. Although it is meant to be a friendly and fun game, as the seniors and juniors prepare for the big game, trash talking begins. “The junior girls are talking about powder puff like they’re experts already. We’re the ones with the year advantage here guys, calm down,” senior Siena Blair said. “Senior year is all about asserting dominance,” Blair added, and that’s without a doubt what the senior girls plan on doing. With the best coaches in all of MCALs — seniors Elliot Pavis, Ben Reade, Cooper Marshall, Keenan Karcs, and Aidan Newell — the girls have zero doubt that they will be victorious. “At this point, the juniors should just forfeit because of our stellar players and coaching,” Pavis exclaimed confidently. “If this year’s seniors were able to tie the seniors last year, we will definitely take down the juniors this year,” Blair said. The senior class is full of “first team” ranked athletes including Lily Travers, Thalia Greenberg, Sofia King, Siena Blair, Sam Sternfels, Ellie Flad, and more. When asked about the junior competition, Sofia King responded, “I don’t even know who those people are. Are they even competition?” The seniors can evidently talk the talk but will they be able to walk the walk? Typically, the senior class usually wins the game, but the junior team is not letting this stop them.

“We are in it to win it”

“We are in it to win it,” junior Aniela Kramlich said. The coaching staff is made up of five junior football players: Jack Elherman, Lochlin Farrel, Danny Jenkins, Ethan Rosegard, and Josh Cushner. Although most have had a considerable amount of concussions, their heads are still in the game, determined to let nothing distract them their task: pushing the juniors to to their highest potential. Jack Elherman spoke to this. “We are going to practice hard and make sure everyone knows the plays. Our starting lineup is the best ever and we got the most athletic girls. Easy dub,” he said. Rosegard, who is a reporter for The Tam News, added, “We already have 25 plays scripted.” Additionally, there has been supposed talk of “hell week” — a set of intense and demanding trainings meant to condition the players — taking place before school among the junior coaches and team. Many of the potential players on the junior team feel similarly to their coaches. Ellie Ryersen, Aniela Kramlich and Mari Karp all have some experience with football and have no doubt they will dominate on the field. Kramlich explained, “My brother is on the JV football team so I frequently watch his games. I’ve been raised in a sports intensive household, so it’s easy to say I’ve watched a lot of football.” She went on to say, “I think we will kick the seniors’ ass! We are stronger, more


Senior Football Fest Team

The Senior Coaches

“We have beat them in the chants so we can beat them in this too” competitive, and have better spirit!” Karp agreed with Kramlich and mentioned, “My brothers watched football every Sunday so it was always on growing up so I know the sport pretty well, I also think we definitely have a shot beating the seniors because we are overall more athletic.” The juniors seem to be fully confident in their athletic ability and are excited to show it on the field. Ellie Ryersen referred to a prior 2021 victory — the junior class beating the senior class in the chant during the homecoming rally last October. “We have beat them in the chants so we can beat them in this too,” she said. The juniors seem to be looking good, having one goal in mind: taking home the win of the big game. With a fully dedicated coaching staff and excited players, the junior class is going to give the seniors a run for their money.♦


JUNIORS ROSTER Ellie Ryersen Aniela Kramlich Mari Karp Tessa Schumacher Lexi Valverde Quinn Rothwell Abby Moll Kendall Cormier Georgia Smith Jordan Cushner Kirsten Whetstone Chloe Carney Sofia Hammer Phoebe Merriman Chloe Christensen Sophia Hughes Kelley Grant Jane Kraaijvanger Kleigh Carroll Sam Smith

November 2019



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