Tam News March 2021

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THE TAM NEWS February 2021

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04 News 04 Link Crew hosts freshman campus tours 05 College Board discontinues subject tests, optional essay 06 Marin reprioritizes COVID-19 vaccine distribution Lifestyles 07 Review: “Drivers License” 08 Best Chocolate Cake in Mill Valley Features 09 @metooattam


Opinion 15 A typical Tuesday on Zoom & Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t 16 Editorial: The emotional impact of distance learning Sports 18 Cheerleading during the pandemic: Captain Georgia Smith 19 NCS releases sports plan for the remainder of school year


Dear Reader,

Oh hey, it’s been a while. Coronavirus and distance learning paused nearly every aspect of everyday life including the production of our monthly magazine. Almost a year later we as a publication and society are still far from “back to normal”. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 and much of 2020 will leave a permanent imprint on how we approach health, school, and even several socioeconomic issues. So naturally, this month’s feature “@metooattam” by Emily Stull dives into one of the several anonymous Instagram accounts to come out of spring 2020 recounting alleged instances of racial, gender, sexuality, and disability-based discrimination and harassment at Tam. Several other stories such as “Link crew hosts freshman campus” by Amelia Sandgren and “NCS releases sports plan for the remainder of the school year” by Alyssa Broad detail the nuances of COVID-safe student life. While our editorial analyzes “The emotional impact of distance learning” and suggests potential improvements for the, now partially, remote experience. None of these pieces, let alone an entire magazine, would be possible without our extremely dedicated and talented editors and reporters who have learned to coordinate with one another entirely remotely and, in some cases, individually taught themselves to use our production software. In addition, our new adviser, Sarah Black, has brought passion, encouragement, and guidance to The Tam News throughout this year. This is made all the more impressive given the recent budget cuts to this program. Finishing up this school year, we will continue to create monthly magazines. However, given the constraints of hybrid learning and budget cuts, they may not be punctual. Please continue to refer to our website for timely stories. Thank you for your continued support of The Tam News. Excited (and nervous) to see what the future holds,

Volume XV, No. I February 2021 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 © 2021 by The Tam News. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.

Editors in Chief Reporters Paige Anderson • Claire Conger • Claire Malkolm Armour • Jonas Barnes • Keyon Finch • Logan Little Teray Barnett JR • Aliyah Bassa • Savannah Behr • News Charlie Jefferson Beyer • Colin Bires • Leah Kennedy • Saranyu Nel • Samantha Ronald Board • Maxwell Bonneau • Devin Nichlos • Amelia Sandgren Bowbliss • Matthew Boyle • Hannah Bringard • Luke Bulger • Tyler Byrne • Lifestyles Kyandre Calloway • Alissa Campbell • SoTahlia Amanson • Jessica Bukowski • fia Carlin • Sebastian Chen • Alex Clapp • Sydney Parks • Jack Polakis • Tristan Isaiah Clark-Hexter • Sarah Clements Regenold • Jackson Coe • Desare Coleman • Dylan Yamanaka Collister • Kelsey Cook • Features Camilo Antonio Cordova • Nikodemos TJ Hill • Naomi Lenchner • Cruz Cornett • Chelsey Cruz • Sophie DaEmily Stull • Mikyla Williams lager •Amber Serena Nevaeh Dashiell • William deLorimier • Harrison Engel Opinion • Claudia Jane Epsha • Noah Erikson • Jake Cohen • Kennedy Enslowsmith Lochlin Farrell • Lauren Felder • Tesha • Oona O’Neill • Jessica Tempero Ferrell • Elijah Fowler • Caitlin Fried • Jasmin Garcia-Sanchez • Antoine GardSports ner JR • Elliot Gelbach • Chloe Gebruers Alyssa Broad • Catherine Stauffer • • Asher Goldblatt • Isabella Gonzalez Charlie Wiltsee Hernadez • Emily Gonzalez • Julian Goodman • Colin Gray • Jasper Grenager TBN Leopold Grossman • Griffin Gustafson • Cal Peterson Shahyan Hansia • Vance Harris • Sachi Hauser • James Hisanaga • Nancy Website Hoang • Charles Horowitz • Violet FranSaranyu Nel cie Howard • Noe Horton • Cole Hudson • Olivia Israel • Mia Johnson • Lee Katz • Social Media Zev Kaufman • Cassiopeia Kelly • Gavin Liza Lachter • Quinn Rothwell • Kennedy • Luke Francis Kimpe • Wesley Catherine Stauffer King • Alex Klyce • Aidan LaCorte • Luisarturo Lara • Mary Lawrence • Mackenzie Business Team Lebuhn • Carley Lehman • Sofia Lentz Samantha Nichlos • Oona O’Neill • Siyon Lewis-Farin • Nicholas Litle • Alma Lucas • Juliette Lunder • Anderson Cover Maldonado • Zebah Mamoon • Shaina Naomi Lenchner Mandala • Fiona Matney • Sylvie May • Emma McGee • Alec McGhie • Jack Editorial Board McIntire • Hailey Moll • Asa Moore • Paige Anderson • Tahlia Amanson • Jessica Derek Moore • Mariel Moore • Tai Morris Bukowski • Claire Conger • Luke Ferris • • Peter Nagel • Fatimah Nakhuda • Oliver Claire Finch • Leah Kennedy • Neely • Kai Neukermans • Conall Noonan Lexa Lemberg • Logan Little • Aeneas • Nicholas Norbutas • Jameson Norwood Nicholas • Quinn Rothwell • Emily Stull • Rowan Olds • Emmaline Pearson • Avi Perl • Henry Perrine • Alex Perry • Mark Adviser Quilter • Emerson Rabow • Tristan Rata • Sarah Black Emily Rosegard • Tyler Rothwell • Jonah David Saal • Anna Sanders • Alexander Printer Schnedecker • Ryan Scholl-Thurman • WIGT Printing Gabriel Schwartzman • Emersyn Scutt • Emmaline Sekula • Laurenne Shoua • Arielle Siegel • Wesley Slavin • Noah Solem • Kaya Sorcher • Maya Sorodoillet • Tom Sorodoillet • David Spector • Jack Spence • Robert Sternfels • Cadence Stirman • Savanna Stromberg • Flynn Stuart • Jade Sweeney • Nicholas Taylor • Zoe Temple Lang • Linus Toernqvist • Scarlett Tuescher • Daniel van Gerven • Gisela Vicente Estrada • Sunny Wanger • George Warga • Eloise Weir • Manny Williams • Marianne Wood • Hajra Yacoobali • Zane Yarnold • Aydan Yates • Braden Young


Link Crew hosts freshman campus


By Amelia Sandgren


he freshman class of 2024 participated in their first tour of Tam’s campus led by Link Leaders Jan. 6 through Jan. 8. Students were on campus for approximately 75 minutes following arrows placed on paths throughout the multiple buildings and common areas. The tours were conducted in preparation for an expected return to campus on Jan. 6 which was postponed to Mar. 1. “Everyone has the nightmare about showing up to a new school and walking into the wrong room,” Link Crew advisor Abbey Levine said. “When students are lost and don’t know where to go, that’s more time of students aimlessly wander-



ing, perhaps bumping into other students, and that is not safe, in terms of health and Covid[-19] transmissions.” Many Link Leaders involved in the tours hoped that getting freshmen familiar with campus would make for a smoother transition t hybrid learning. “Navigating the Tam campus can be pretty daunting to incoming students, so the main goal was to help the freshmen be able to find their classes,” senior Abigail Alpert said. “I hope these tours gave the freshmen a better understanding of campus, since they already have their schedules, than the typical freshman orientation tour.”

For many new students, the Link Crew tour was the first time they had been on campus despite starting classes in August. Freshmen were eager to participate after being unable to engage in the traditional student orientation process. “My Link Leaders were super helpful with answering any of our questions, and they did a great job touring us around the campus,” freshman Lyla Macrae said. “I think that the Link program is a great way for freshmen to be introduced to Tam, and it is also nice to know some upperclassmen, like our Link Leaders, in case we need to ask them a question.” Students were given gift

bags containing fuzzy socks, hand sanitizer, sudoku puzzles, and a ticket to a Tam gear raffle as part of their welcome. The tours are the latest activity conducted in an attempt to engage new students despite online learning. Link Leaders have held events throughout the year such as baking, tie dye, Bob Ross painting, and [The] Office watch parties. Link Crew has hosted around 30 Zoom events for freshman this year, according to Levine. Despite these efforts, many Link Leaders have found it difficult to connect with students while online. “The experience this year is much less rewarding. Zoom is awkward, even with

people that you know well, so taking a group of ten random freshmen and sticking two or three juniors and/or seniors in the mix makes the whole dynamic feel super forced and awkward,” Alpert said. “It’s just been frustrating to not have a strong connection with any of them, but at the same time, I can’t figure out how that could have been different.” Students can also easily avoid interacting with their Link Leaders by turning off their cameras or not attending advisory periods. “It has been very difficult being a Link Leader online, especially with hyping

up the freshman and getting them excited,” junior Kendra Weisman said. Mandatory Support (formerly Tutorial) has also been organized by English class rather than advisory group. As a result, freshmen must leave their Mandatory Support Zooms for infrequent advisory meetings instead of Link leaders meeting them in their class. Link Crew teacher advisors agreed that it was more important to put students in Mandated Support based on their classes rather than advisory group to help them build connections with classmates, according

to Levine. Link leaders feel this has been another barrier to overcome while trying to befriend their advisory freshman. “Since our only contact is during advisory (about once a month) it has been hard to establish a bond within the group,” Alpert said. “No matter how enthusiastic I try to be, it just is not the same.” Despite these difficulties, Levine is optimistic that incoming students will eventually become more comfortable on campus over time and is planning on making a virtual tour for


students who were unable to attend in-person. “Even in the time of a budget crisis and when there’s lot of challenges, there’s still a lot of support for student activities that help people feel connected,” Levine said. “I feel really lucky that Tam is a place that recognizes the value in building community … This is a school that says ‘community is important’ and they put resources behind the work that we do and they really support the ideas that we have and the energy that we have, because it is really, really important.” ♦

College Board discontinues subject tests, optional essay By GG Mormorunni


he College Board, a nonprofit organization that administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) exam, issued a press release on Jan. 19 announcing the discontinuation of Subject Tests and the optional SAT essay. Subject tests are being eliminated immediately and students who have already signed up will receive refunds. The essay portion of the SAT will still be available until after June. Though the College Board had already begun discussion of removing the Subject tests and the essay due to waning influence in the application process, the pandemic forced the board to make this decision sooner than expected. Subject Tests, which are similar to the cumulative assessments taken by AP students in May, were designed to showcase a student’s knowledge in a particular subject. This new change may

have a large impact on students beginning the college application process, especially for students who don’t have access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are college level courses offered by the College Board to high school students. “The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability for low-income students and students of color means the Subject tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know. AP provides students rich and varied opportunities to showcase their knowledge and skills through college-level coursework,” the press release said. “I think AP classes are a better demonstration of my abilities in different subjects because it’s a year long class … You continuously demonstrate your knowledge there whereas on a test it’s a one time thing, it might be a ter-


rible day or you aren’t very good at taking tests,” junior Madison Mclean said. The University of California system and a steadily rising number of colleges and universities have already eliminated ACT and SAT test scores from the admissions process and oth-

ers are planning to phase it out over time. “As students and colleges adapt to new realities and changes to the college admissions process, the College Board is making sure our programs adapt with them,” the press release stated. ♦

February 2021



Marin reprioritizes COVID-19 vaccine distribution By Charlie Wiltsee



ver 1,300 employees from all school districts in Marin County received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Marin Civic Center on Jan. 17, 10 months after the Tamalpais Unified High School District initially went into distance learning. However, Marin County has since rolled back the availability of vaccines in the wake of the California Department of Public Health’s Jan. 22 decision to prioritize vaccinations according to age. “The county has to prioritize 75 and older right now and we are told that they will then begin to prioritize educators again. So we are in a holding pattern and have not been given an updated time frame other than we are still in cue but things have shifted,” Tam Assistant Principal Kaki Mc-


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Lachlan said. According to an email sent to all Tam teachers and staff on Jan. 14, Marin County had created a fourtiered system to determine the order of the vaccination process, beginning with food service workers and educators providing in person instruction. TUHSD employees had begun receiving vaccinations beginning in Tier 1, starting with those who had a close proximity to students like employees working in the administration. This plan was halted however, and as of Jan. 22, only people aged 75 or older will be eligible to receive a vaccine, according to Marin County’s public health website. The change in distribution order was forced by the limited availability of Covid-19 vaccines leading to California Governor

Gavin Newsom’s decision. Newsome and the state of California released the new recommendations, which counties are expected, but not required, to follow. “We don’t have the doses for that … we have to have a more refined strategy to focus on a smaller group, and this is by far the most logical approach based on mortality [rates],” Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said in an interview with The Mercury News. Tam and other Marin schools are still waiting for updated timelines on when more staff members could be vaccinated and this uncertainty has been hard on teachers. “I was not able to get the vaccine. They had started vaccinating the first tier of teachers and then I heard

this process stopped abruptly because the state is considering getting rid of prioritizing teachers altogether and just focusing on people in higher age groups. I still don’t know what’s going on, and honestly, it’s causing a lot of anxiety because no one seems to have any answers,” history teacher Jennifer Dolan said. The eventual distribution of vaccines will not affect the return to in-person learning according to McLachlan. “We remain closed to in person instruction because of state restrictions and guidelines … So, unless the state updates their guidelines, which is never out of the question, we will need to wait until we return to the Red Tier to open for in-person instruction,” McLachlan said. ♦


REVIEW: “ DRIVERS LICENSE” by tristan regenold


igh School Musical: The Musical: The Series actress Olivia Rodrigo debuted her first solo single on Jan. 8 and it’s all anyone is talking about. Like most teenagers, I’ve listened to “drivers license” on a loop for the past week. Word traveled fast on TikTok, the tremendously time-consuming and popular social media platform, and listeners instantly fell in love. By the sound of the title, the song seems entirely wholesome, but that’s simply not the case. Rodrigo battles with heartbreak and we get the privilege of living through it with her. As of Jan. 14, “drivers license” was #1 on Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Global 200, held the record for most streams of a song in a week on music streaming service Spotify, has broken the record for the most requested song ever in one day on Alexa globally, and had the biggest first-week streaming debut ever on Amazon Music. After her booming start, Rodrigo received virtual praise from many other major influencers and outlets. Rolling Stone magazine wrote that the new hit single was a “song you need to know” and “an emotionally potent early contender for song of the year.” Before diving into the many reasons for the profound hype surrounding “drivers license”, you should know the dramatic backstory of Rodrigo’s lyrics. If the rumors are true, she’s singing about fellow co-star Joshua T. Bassett, who allegedly taught her how to drive ... and then broke her heart. Bassett is assumed to have left Rodrigo for Sabrina

Carpenter, another actress/ singer. The intrigue of this backstory certainly contributed to the insane popularity of “drivers license” and listeners’ devotion to Rodrigo. “drivers license” opens with real-life audio recordings from Rodrigo’s mom’s car unlocking and engine starting. Shortly after, a soft beat comes in and Rodrigo starts singing. “I got my driver’s license last week Just like we always talked about,” Tensions quickly rise when she starts singing about her ex’s new girl, “And you’re probably with that blonde girl who always made me doubt … She’s so much older than me, She’s everything I’m insecure about,” Rodrigo sings. These lyrics are the source of rumors that have developed, mainly on social media, around the love triangle between Rodrigo, Basset, and Carpenter, the presumed “blonde girl,” mentioned earlier. Following this lyric gossip, the chorus hits, and Rodrigo’s astounding vocal

range is revealed. She sings about not grasping how simple moving on to someone else could be. Now here’s where it gets even juicier. Brace yourselves - there’s more drama to be heard! Rodrigo’s lyrics in this point “Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me ...‘Cause you said forever now I drive alone past your street.” are assumably about one of Bassett’s songs, “Anyone Else,” where he sings about never imagining being with anyone else (assumedly other than Olivia Rodrigo herself). Shots are clearly fired when Rodrigo belts this to conclude her chorus, and the audiences were blown away by this story progression. In the second verse, the rhythm and flow of the song pick up and by this time, we all despise Bassett. After the second chorus comes the bridge, and let me tell you! When you listen to “drivers license” you too will not want this bridge to end. “Red lights, stop signs, I still see your face in

the white cars, front yards … Can’t drive past the places we used to go to, ‘cause I still f***ing love you, babe,” Rodrigo belts in a beyond catchy, almost aggressive tone. Also, that f-bomb right here was absolutely necessary for capturing Rodrigo’s raw emotions and giving listeners the precise anger and depth she wants them to hear. She repeats a similar lyric combination once more and then sings her chorus for the last time in a softer tone. If you’ve read through to the end of this article without listening to “drivers license,” what on earth are you still doing here? I only hope that your car speakers don’t burst and that your voice doesn’t break while scream-singing with Rodrigo on a late-night drive. However, given the plain existence of this song, these events may easily occur. “drivers license” has been a true gift to the rocky start of 2021, and the highlight of my year so far.♦


February 2021



Best Chocolate Cake in Mill Valley By: Jordan Cushner


ll of my dearest friends and avid Tam News readers know of my enthusiasm and borderline addiction to iced coffee and scones, though notably I am three days clean (of both products). What they don’t know is that I have another food product that I clutch close to my heart: chocolate cake. If anyone tells you that chocolate cake is not superior to all cakes, they are lying. If you’re sad, there’s no need to worry! Chocolate cake will be there for you until your tears have

Baking Show within days. Nothing can compete with its ethereal perfection, and if you think otherwise you are in the wrong company. Now, as someone who has eaten three entire chocolate cakes in the past two weeks, I have become, frankly, a chocolate cake connoisseur. To fuel my love, as well as create an excuse to purchase and consume more chocolate cakes, I have decided to uncover the best chocolate cake in Mill Valley. The air was crisp and the daylight had emerged when I trotted into Whole

chocolate hit my taste palate, pairing near perfectly with the rich frosting .The cake itself was moist, making it very easy to consume, say, two to three slices on a daily basis. My one qualm was that the frosting to cake ratio could have been slightly improved. Not every bite included a sufficient amount of frosting which is a shame because the frosting was so delightful. A couple of days later, after polishing off the Whole Foods chocolate cake, I made my way down to Mill Valley Market to replenish


dried out. It is there when you are happy as well; your partner in crime, always up for celebrating with you like there is no tomorrow. It is the salve to all problems. Online school feeling tough? Do not fear trusty chocolate cake will be your steadfast companion through the long drab days of shelter in place. Chocolate cake will not judge you for wearing the same sweats four days in a row, nor will it blink an eye in learning that you have watched seasons of The Great British



Foods. Knowing exactly where to go, I rushed over to the bakery section and snatched the first cake I laid my eyes on: The Rubicon Chocolate Cake. Visually it was classically beautiful, just as a chocolate cake should be-standing proud and tall, with thick icing. For the whole cake it is only $11.99, which is not bad pricing whatsoever. When I first tried it, after purchasing and making it home of course, the flavor immediately erupted into my mouth. Decadent

my supply. After finding their bakery section, I immediately was impressed with all of the options, their bakery including not one, but three chocolate cakes in a variety of sizes. After a long internal debate, and painstaking care, I selected what they labeled as the “chocolate fudge cake.”The gold leaf decorated frosting and the promised dulce de leche component had me sold. While it was a personal sized cake and much much smaller than the whole foods cake, it was $11.99 which


is quite pricey for the size. After eating the first bite, the rest of the cake went quickly. My money was well spent. The rich fudge was darker chocolate and paired perfectly with the moist heavenly cake. The duche de leche was delicately sprinkled about the cake and brought the perfect sweetness and flavor profile, making it genuinely impossible to not finish the entirety of the cake. My only complaint was the pricing. Though a cake of this quality, is certainly worth the sacrifice. The next evening, I entered Safeway. Since Safeway is not exactly known for their finely crafted or artisan baked goods I was hesitant, yet desperate to fulfill the chocolate cake shaped empty space in my heart. After combing the aisles, I narrowed my options down to two cakes; the vegan chocolate cake, or

the very off-putting and intimidating square chocolate cake. Wanting the traditional cake experience I decided to go with the square one, ignoring my instincts screaming at me to never trust square cakes. Consensus - I was wrong to ignore my instincts. My experience was so unpleasant that I was not able to finish the chocolate cake which really speaks to the poor quality. The frosting was overly sweet and not at all like the desired thick fudgy consistency. The cake itself was on the drier side and also very sweet - combined with the frosting just elevated the sickly sweetness and served to mask the true rich chocolate flavor that all chocolate cake lovers seek. The only plus side of it was that the cake was cheap, only $2.49. Overall, I ended my chocolate cake journey full and satisfied.

Regardless of the one Safeway mishap, I was pleased to discover that there are many above par chocolate cake options in Mill Valley. If you are willing to spend your own or parents’ money, I would strongly recommend the Mill Valley Market fudge cake, not just for its flashy exterior but for its beyond perfect flavor. Next, if you want a traditional chocolate cake experience I would go with the Whole Foods chocolate cake. No complaints from me, I will (literally) take that cake any day. Last and very much least, if you are in peril and specifically need to pick out a Safeway cake product, I would go with the infamous square cake. While it was not the most pleasant, it will fill you up and does admittedly check the chocolate cake box.♦

““If anyone tells you that chocolate cake is not superior to all cakes, they are lying.”

February 2021



@metooattam By: Emily Stull

Graphics by Emily Stull Cover by Naomi Lenchner

Trigger warning: The following article discusses experiences of sexual harassment and abuse. Please be advised. In 2006, human rights activist Tarana Burke first used the phrase “me too” to raise public awareness of rampant sexual harassment and abuse in our communities. Eleven years later, in 2017, actress Alyssa Milano revived the expression on Twitter, setting social media on fire. “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Half a million replies on Twitter and 12 million related posts on Facebook were shared within 24 hours. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) predicts that those who speak up fall short of half the true number of victims. This not only applies to adults. In total, according to Aljazeera, 58 percent of students seventh through twelfth grade experience sexual assault or harassment. 10


In an effort to abate this growing percentage, high schoolers nationwide have taken matters into their own hands, establishing student-led task forces and outlets for victims to anonymously share their stories. Considering the virtual circumstances of many high schools in the pandemic, these initiatives have either begun as, or transitioned to, online outreach. The student-led Instagram account @metooattam was created in early August 2020. It serves as an anonymous platform for Tam student survivors to submit their personal experiences with sexual harassment and assault. @metooattam publishes the submissions anonymously, often accompanied by the student’s graduation year, to draw attention to these issues in our community. “I don’t think Tam has an abnormal amount of sexual harassment. I defy you to find a high school where these things don’t happen. But Tam has a culture,

like most high schools do, of boys doing things and getting away with them because it’s hard to hold people accountable when survivors are afraid to speak out,” senior and founder of the Instagram account said. Due to privacy and safety reasons, the founder has been granted anonymity. The account was inspired by other platforms such as @ blackattam and @lgbtqattam, which in a similar fashion, provide Tam students with an outlet to share their stories. “The account picked up speed really fast. After the first week or so I was getting submissions almost every day. I knew that sexual harassment was apparent, but I didn’t expect how many reports of sexual assault that I gotten,” the founder said. As of now, the account has received and posted almost 200 submissions. According to a poll held by the creator in November, 71 per-

*Editor’s note: the graphics pictured in this article only depict traditional female bodies, however, le recognized that sexual harassment and abuse impacts all genders.

et it be

features cent of the 679 followers are female, while 29 percent are male. Their submissions include varying personal experiences, questions regarding what qualifies as harassment or abuse, and general comments from the community. “I think this account just brings awareness to the students through personal experiences that might not know that these things happen,” senior Piper Rutchik said. “I really enjoyed the idea, and I think people anonymously sharing their stories and experiences really opened a lot of people’s eyes. I had a lot of my guy friends recognize this as a really big issue for a lot of women, especially at Tam.” Not only do women’s experiences become known on the account, many men submit their stories as well. “Because it is about sexual harassment from females to males, I think my post may have brought some light an issue it is under-represented because of the nature of society,” a male student at Tam under the pseudonym Ivy said. (He has been granted anonymity for safety reasons.) Contrary to other anonymous “tip lines” or consultation resources, the @metooattam account releases all of its anonymous submissions for the survivors’ stories to be seen by the public. “I’ve never used an anonymous tip line before, but those reports aren’t made public, so you still feel alone after you do report it,” the founder said. “But this [account] is a space where people can come and find other people, or just hear other stories and realize they’re not alone.” They argued that when survivors’ stories are not shared with the community, it contributes to an overall lack of awareness. “I think, starting the conversation really matters, and it’s good to have a platform for people to see that they’re not alone,” the founder said. They originally created the account out of struggling with their own experience with sexual assault from a few years ago. They said it as an opportunity to unite themselves with other students in similar situations, and to prevent feeling isolated in their recovery. Another poll taken on the account’s Instagram story determined that 96 percent of the 11

features followers find the overall platform to be beneficial to themselves or to the community in some way. “I think this account has helped so many people, myself included,” a Tam student granted anonymity for safety reasons under the pseudonym Violet said. Violet had been following the account from the beginning, and was happy to see a resource like this in our community generate attention. “Rape culture is so normalized in high school, and almost every girl I know has a story,” she said. “I have recommended many people to follow it and since then, they say have realized how prominent these issues are, especially in high school, and that they wouldn’t have known otherwise.” Violet felt generally safe in sharing her experience on the account, but “some of what I had shared was so specific, I was worried about it being traced back to me. Lots of it was. Some people realized and then offered me support, which I was grateful for. Some people [who traced it back to me] got angry and cut me out of their life altogether,” she said. However, after their submission was released, Violet received a generous amount of support through the comment section of the post. “It made me feel great, knowing that there are people who really care about these issues. Some of the comments were even from family members and friends who didn’t know I had posted that submission, and



that was very nice to see,” she said. Following Violet’s submission, she continued to maintain contact with the founder of the account. “I found so much love from the owner of the account.Whoever they are, they really helped me, and I felt comfortable sharing more after that,” Violet said. She felt that sharing her story with the community “really helped [my recovery process]. It felt so good to share how I’ve been feeling. I have had so much anger, and sometimes I get lost in intrusive thoughts and all that can make it go away is just writing everything out.” Not only, as Violet said, does writing out an experience aid the recovery process, but Rutchik added that overall, the account appears to serve as a resource for one-on-one conversations with the founder, if needed. “It’s made clear that people can reach out to whoever runs the account, talk to them about [their experiences], or to contact [a professional],” Rutchik said, referencing the bio of the account’s profile page, reading “This is a safe place to share. We believe you. [Direct messages] are always open.”

“It felt good to share [my story] and the person who runs the page and I [direct messaged] a bit and they are extremely helpful,” Ivy said. Some students confide in the founder prior to sharing their experience on the account to have support in the first step of speaking out. “I know the person who runs the account and they encouraged me to share my story,” an anonymous Tam student under the pseudonym Aster, said. Aster’s story is distinct from others on the account in that they had given consent initially, but later withdrew it after becoming uncomfortable. However, the assaulter continued to abuse Aster, despite them repeatedly saying they “wanted to take a break.” “My story wasn’t very typical. This is because the first part was consensual but at one point I withdrew my consent. I hope this made other people realize that you can withdraw your consent at any time, no matter what,” Aster said. Aster saw sharing her experience as an opportunity to bring awareness to the meaning of consent and hopefully empower others

who have had a similar experience. “So many sexual assault and rape cases happen at Tam, and most people don’t share their experiences with adults or friends for fear of being judged or not believed,” they said. “But having the ability to share your experience with other survivors and allies anonymously can really help make you feel understood.” The comment sections of each post are consistently filled with words of support from followers, however an occasional male student will respond to a submission with “well, guys get sexually harassed too.” “I’m not going to look past that, obviously. But [they] take away from other people’s experiences, which was a little bit annoying. But that doesn’t have to do with the account, it’s just more of the people who are trying to involve themselves a little bit,” Rutchik said. Ivy responded to those specific comments, saying he “feels that because of the way our society works, boys’ voices when they have an experience are almost valued less because males are more seen as ‘the predator.’ So, when a boy makes a comment that is dismissive, it is al-

most like a comeback. It is wrong, but comes from a place of hurt.” Besides an occasional raw comment, there have been negative responses to the general format of the account. In the beginning, the founder received submissions including the names of students who were alleged rapists. Feeling as though they would otherwise be protecting the perpetrators, the founder published these submissions. A private dispute between those involved ended in the removal of the submission, and discontinuing the disclosure of any names noted in reported experiences. The founder declined to comment on the record about the event to protect their safety and prevent harassment. The Tam News was unable to contact the other parties involved. When an incident is submitted to the anonymous Google Form for the account, it relies on the founder to format the story into a post and publish it. To some students and followers of the account such as junior Ruby Rose Amezcua, this leaves room for error or misconceptions. “It seems that there’s someone that we don’t know, picking and choosing what information is being shared,” Amezcua said. Amezcua

FEATURES refers to interactions she’s had, in which her friends have made submissions that have yet to be published. “We’re just waiting to hear what this person decides or doesn’t decide is important information to share about people that we go to school with, or that we know,” she said. “I think it may help not having an anonymous person leading the account. But, allowing the people that are sending in to be anonymous.” Amezcua believes this would protect the integrity and accountability of the account. “I think initially it was the idea of it would help combat, and raise awareness of sexual harassment in this area, which in some ways it does. However, I think [the stories] can become twisted accidentally,” she said. Amezcua referred to “blanket statements,” which are submissions calling out a specific sports team or organization for having sexual misconduct. She hoped that there would be more follow through after these posts. One submission falling under this category implicated Tam’s football team as having a group chat for explicit photos of other female students. “Starting with information like that and letting that spread can be harmful without follow through,” Amezcua said. “I mean, it also takes away from people listening to the stories or the experiences of other victims’ [experiences] on the account.” The founder explained that when they receive a submission alleging against a specific group of students, they do report it to the administration. However, they are unaware of the follow through taken after they report it. “I think it’s a valuable resource to have,” football coach 13

FEATURES Matthew LemMon said in regards to the overall account. “But I think there’s a couple of things wrong with internet anonymity.” He explained that the post concerning the football team was originally brought to his attention by another teacher. “I was never approached by any individual that wasn’t on the team about it,” LemMon said. LemMon shared the post with the team, and although many said they had seen it already, all of them denied having anything to do with it. “Obviously high school kids wouldn’t say whether you’re right or someone else’s right, they’ll deny that it exists,” he said. However, he referenced prob-

lems the team has had in the past, saying that a few members who usually speak up “and that I know really well would have said something if it was going on. Whether something at a party happened or someone using drugs or something like that, someone will come tell me. [It’s that] kind of relationship.” LemMon followed up with the team regardless of whether or not the alleged group chat existed, through a socially-distanced discussion during practice. “Honestly, I talk to my football players about social things and things to be aware of that happen irrelevant of being called out for something. We’ve talked about that kind of stuff all the time,” he said. Link Crew coordinator and English teacher Abbey Levine added that behind the scenes, Tam programs “do a number of things and work really hard to promote safety and diversity, and so making statements like that out of context I think does misrepresent what’s actually happening at times. But I also think that it opens up dialogue and I think that that’s more important.” Certain submissions explicitly ask for the founder to report the assault or harassment to Tam’s administration, in which case accord-

ing to them, they do. However, they will not report personal incidents if not explicitly requested. “I only report things if people specifically ask me to, so that I’m not taking actions without someone’s consent,” they said. In past circumstances, when the founder contacted Tam’s administration on behalf of a survivor, they were told that due to standard protocol, the administration cannot act unless the survivor reveals their identity. There has been no official response to or public addressment of the account from Tam’s administration. Principal J.C. Farr did not respond to The Tam News’ request for comment on behalf of the administration. Although, the founder is proud to see some changes in the community since the account’s creation. Beginning in fall of 2020, a few months after the account’s creation, Link Crew initiated actions to raise awareness of sexual harassment in their program. A submission on the @metooattam account cited a link leader sending unsolicited messages to ninth graders in their Link Crew group. This post was brought to Levine, who in response, inaugurated a series of sexual harassment trainings and awareness sessions. “[The account] brings a level of awareness to the larger


community around the experiences of what is sometimes the silent majority,” Levine said. “I mean, what we found with Link Crew was that sexual harassment was taking place and we had no idea.” She noted that through this account, not only do programs including Link Crew recognize sexual harrassment’s place in their organization, but “also that we had not created a space where students could bring those issues to us directly. We, as a Link Crew program, are really grateful to the student who [reported] that [experience].” “If there is an accusation made I think it is the program’s

responsibility to investigate that accusation,” Levine said. In addition, they established a new anonymous tip line for Link Crew-focused reports. Unlike standard tip lines, and inspired by the @ metooattam account, the platform provides a section for students to request further action on behalf of the link coordinators to confront sexual misconduct in the organization. “I would love to see those experiences continue to have visibility. There was a big wave of posts in the beginning of the year, but now I feel like it’s tapered off,” Levine said. Moving forward, the found-

er of the @metooattam account hopes to continue sharing the experience of survivors of sexual assault and harassment in our community and pass the account off to another Tam student after they graduate. “[Those who have shared] are so brave, and it makes me happy when people have [direct messaged] me saying, ‘I am so grateful that I found this, and I’m so grateful to you for creating this,’” the founder said. “It gives me the [motivation] I need, when I’m afraid that my name is going to get out and I wouldn’t be safe, to just keep doing what I’m doing.” 15



A typical Tuesday on Zoom

wake up at 6:50 a.m. Half awake, I sit up in bed and scroll through my phone. At 7:08 a.m., I roll back over to turn on my computer and log into my zero period PE class. My teacher asks for “cameras on,” and I hit “start video” button. My eyes are drawn away from the computer and towards my phone. It’s calling out to me. Of course, I get sucked back into my phone and the world beyond the four walls of my room. When I look up from my phone, the teacher is dismissing the rest of my classmates. First period: my teacher welcomes us into her class, playing music as she does so every time. The happy tunes fill my empty brain as I stare at my teacher mask-

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t By Amelia Sandgren


eople really don’t like teenage girls. Growing up, I never considered how my interests would be perceived by other people. As a child, I would wear excessive amounts of makeup or roll around playing football. To me, those two activities weren’t mutually exclusive, but later I realized that I would need to pick one or the other, and either way, I would lose. I began thinking about this again when I saw someone pose the question online, “What’s one thing that a girl can do that she won’t get judged for?” Stop and think for a second and you’ll realize there’s nothing. If you enjoy fashion, makeup, or baking, men will say you’re too “girly” and women will condemn you for



By Lily Lunn

ing her exhaustion with a fake smile. She starts talking about atoms, electrons, and electronegativity. I’m lost again. Back on my phone I go. I begin to get texts asking me for last nights homework and todays notes. I become so distracted by the notifications that I’ve missed what our next assignment is. Second period, I enup neglecting my class and focusing on other work for other classes, occasionally coming back to the Zoom tab to stare at black screens. I am eagerly waiting for 11:10 a.m. because that means lunchtime and I will get out of bed for the first time today. After the quick 40-minute break, I climb back into

my bed with a Yerba Mate in hand, ready and caffeinated to log into my third-period class. My teacher sends the class off into breakout rooms of our choice. My breakout room makes fun and light conversation despite having nothing new to share. The little white rectangle pops up on my screen, informing me that the breakout room will be closing in 10 seconds. I say my goodbyes and return to the main session. Fourth period: my teacher greets us and begins to talk through current events, “ “Trump has been impeached … again.” And this is just a typical Tuesday. The class switches gears, and suddenly we are talking about imperialism, Native

not being “progressive.” We fought for the right to play with men, so what are you still doing in the kitchen? Except no one likes to mention how preventing women from doing hobbies they enjoy, simply because they are traditionally feminine, is just as oppressive as restricting them to those hobbies in the first place. You aren’t betraying the feminist agenda by doing something that brings you joy, only putting down

other women for branching out does that. And then there’s the same treatment of women who like to play video games or skateboard. Now they are either “too masculine” to be dateable or they are a “pick me girl,” desperate for male attention to the point where they feign interest in male hobbies. But never fear! Everyone will quickly snuff out a “pick me” in disguise. “You like a sports team? Cool! Now name every player on the team, their record, and how far they went in the 2005 Finals.” No one is immune. Indie listeners are trying to be quirky, horse riders are weird, opinions make you bossy, and self-confidence is shallow. The summer of 2019 is infamous for their “VSCO girls” whose main prerogative was to wear shell necklaces and protect sea creatures, yet they were picked apart relentlessly. Twilight has it’s issues, but

Americans, and colonialism. I keep gazing down at the clock on the bottom right of my screen, calculating how many minutes I have until the class is over. Great. Finally, it is 2:35 p.m., my favorite time of the day. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me. ♦

so does Transformers, the difference is one had a female fanbase. People still question whether gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading, are real sports despite them being some of the most physically grueling activities played today. And yeah, it’s important to be able to take a joke. It’s funny watching someone gallivant around their room like a horse. And not everyone is going to jump at a woman with a 50-question verbal exam the second they are excited to watch the Warriors, but sometimes it’s worth it to take a second and consider that not all women choose their hobbies based on men. Most of the time, we enjoy a certain hobby or activity, because we simply do. ♦



Editorial: The emotional impact of distance learning Editor’s note: This article was written prior to the district going into hybrid learning and reflects the staff’s opinions at that time. A follow-up editorial regarding hybrid learning will be published on the website in the coming weeks.


o state the obvious: distance learning is a sorry substitute for in-person instruction. Lesson plans have been stripped of engaging activities and assignments, student fail rates have spiked district-wide, and teachers are regularly lecturing to a mosaic of silent black rectangles. However, in addition to its commonly cited academic pitfalls, the student body seems to be experiencing emotional distress at the hands of at-home education. Many students have expressed feeling extremely unmotivated going into their third semester in distance learning. Sports, school-wide events such as rallies and dances, and the small moments of everyday interaction with peers and teachers have been divorced from the school experience. All students have left to focus on are Zoom lectures, homework, standardized tests, and for seniors, college applications. Without any typical highlights, the school day feels increasingly monotonous and isolated. Worse, the line between school and free time has been blurred by distance

learning. It’s exhausting to spend hours each day on the computer only to continue working on homework in the same room, in the same chair, looking at the same blue screen for hours afterwards. As a result, many students are experiencing headaches, insomnia, and eye strain. Some have even reported turning to drugs and alcohol more frequently. Many are only compelled to keep pushing forward by hope for a potential return to campus. However, the dozens of reneged return dates from the district have cast serious doubt on that prospect and depleted overall morale. Of course, none of these complaints compare to the bigger losses many have suffered during this time including unemployment, sickness, or the death of a loved one. However, they are compounding these traumatizing experiences. Given all this, students are desperate to find ways to improve the distance learning experience beyond cliche self care advice.

Here are The Tam News’ Recommendations: 1. Don’t operate as

if things are normal. Both

teachers and students can benefit from acknowledging the trying conditions we’re experiencing and lowering expectations to match them. You may not be operating at a 100 percent. That’s okay. Take care of

your physical and emotional self before ruminating on personal goals. In addition, we encourage teachers to alter late work and extension policies to be more generous wherever possible. Distance education simply isn’t the same quality as in-person instruction and current as-


signments should acknowledge that distinction. This isn’t a reflection on teachers’ instructional abilities, but rather the emotional and physical impediments students are facing right now.

2. Minimize camera

guilt/stress. Having your

camera on during class can create a more engaging virtual environment and force you to focus. And it can be especially helpful for teachers who need student feedback to ensure they’re effectively conveying concepts/ ideas. So if you’re feeling up to it, turn it on. However, don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to showcase your home environment or if sometimes you just don’t want to stare back at yourself for another hour and 15 minutes. (You can turn off self-view in the video settings tab). There are other ways to participate in class

including using the chat feature or unmuting yourself.

3. District and Tam

administration,don’t over promise. Be honest

about the chances of us returning to school this year and what that experience might be like. We understand you’re operating with limited and regularly changing information. However, students are easily excited hearing about the next return date, but become just as, if not more, disappointed, when that date is inevitably pushed back/canceled. So if it’s looking like hybrid learning just isn’t possible this year, let us know right away and don’t build up false hope. We would much prefer you try to make distance learning more enjoyable than waste time and energy putting together unusable hybrid plans.♦

February 2021



Cheerleading during the pandemic: Captain Georgia Smith By Claudia Epsha


articipating in gymnastics and dance throughout her childhood, senior Georgia Smith dreamed of being a cheerleader for years. As a result, she has been on the Tam cheer team for all four years of high school. At the beginning of 2020’s cheer season, Smith was voted to be one of the three cheer captains. “I have been looking forward to being a [cheer] captain since freshman year,” Smith wrote in an email. As a cheer captain, Smith leads the team in practice, choreographs performance routines, and teaches material to newcomers. “It’s a pretty big commitment. It’s considered

year-round since we start try-outs in spring, train over the summer, and then cheer for football season (fall) and basketball season (winter).” One of Smith’s favorie hings about cheer is performing dances during half time and school rallies. She also enjoys bonding with the new members of the team and forming close friendships with her teammates. “[As a cheer captain] you also have to be a good role model,” Smith wrote. “I try to be someone that anyone on the team feels like they can come to for things inside or outside of cheer.” Due to the pandemic, Smith’s favorite aspects of cheerleading and lead-




“NOW WITH ALL THE GUIDELINES, IT IS MUCH HARDER TO GET TO KNOW THE GIRLS AND MAKE THE BONDS THAT WE NORMALLY DO.” ing as captain have not quite met the high hopes she had for her senior year. “It’s changed a lot since we don’t really have a sport to be cheering for or rallies to perform at,” Smith wrote. “We have still been doing practices since the fall, with different pods, masks, and other precautions.” The team usually hosts a cheer sleepover and other bonding experiences to connect the team and Smith explained how much easier it would be to get to know one another if they could see each other in the halls of school and talk more often. The team was not allowed to practice stunts due to social distancing so they focused more on dancing and conditioning. Just this January, however, the team has decided to stop practices until further notice, due to the severity of COVID-19. “It is fun being captain but COVID-19 has definitely taken away lots of the good

things about it … Now with all of the guidelines, it is much harder to get to know the new girls and make the bonds that we normally do,” wrote Smith, “Especially because there are two different pods so I don’t get to interact very much with the ones who aren’t in my pod.” In addition, there are a lot of traditions that the captains look forward to such as being a flyer with the football players at the fall homecoming rally as well as various other special highlights in rally performances that were canceled due to the pandemic. “Even though I haven’t gotten to experience the normal cheer season this year, I have still enjoyed the practices and activities that we have gotten to do and look forward to watching Tam Cheer grow in the future.” Smith wrote. She hopes to be able to perform at the senior rally later this spring, as her last cheer performance on the Tam cheer team.♦




NCS releases sports plan for the remainder of school year By Alyssa Broad



he North Coast Section (NCS) of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) released a proposal and press release regarding the implementation of each sports’ schedule and proper COVID-19 tier for the remainder of 2020-2021 on Jan. 14. “It is our hope that this will allow all our student-athletes the opportunity to participate in the sports that they are so passionate about, even in this year of uncertainty and great sacrifice!” the press release said. Commissioner of Athletics Pat Crucishank and Associate Commissioner of Athletics Bri Niemi detailed the plan to integrate athletics safely into the rest of the school year. The Executive Committee created a calendar and broke down each sport to correlate to a specific tier. The tier designates when a league is allowed to

Crosscountry Golf Swimming & Diving Tennis Track & Field WIDESPREAD

RED TIER play a sport in relation to their county risk level. The different tiers are Purple, Red, Orange, and Yellow aligning with the county risk level of Widespread, Substantial, Moderate, and Minimal respectively (detailed in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy). “What this means is, if approved as presented, leagues will set their seasons of sport based on the color tier that their county resides in and the sports allowed in that tier,” the press release wrote. The press release included a total of ten decisions or rules - one specifically regarding the football season which must end by April 17 - and the rest applicable to all sports. All NCS

Baseball Lacrosse (girls’) Field Hockey Softball SUBSTANTIAL

ORANGE TIER competition must take place no sooner than February 1 and conclude by June 12. All of the information and proposed sports tiers are subject to the approval of the individual county where each league is located. Leagues must work with “the California Department of Public Health, the local counties that their league resides in, and the approval of their member schools and districts,” in order to properly create their sports calendar. Marin County is currently one of 54 counties out of 58 in California

Lacrosse (boys’) Football Sideline Cheer (football) Soccer Volleyball Water Polo MODERATE

YELLOW TIER that remain in the Purple or Widespread Tier, where more than 8 percent of the entire county has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. This proposal was approved by the NCS Board of Managers during their meeting on Jan. 29 and is now in effect.♦ GRAPHICS BY EMILY STULL

Basketball Sideline Cheer (basketball) Wrestling MINIMAL February 2021