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Willow Creek News


Willow Creek




Amir’s American Dream


From Nervous Newbie to Social Butterfly by Mey Uysaloglu Jigme’s Thoughts about Tam by Christopher Alvarez



Moving On by Dom Remillard Juggling School and Work by Bradley Page-Harris


A Woman in Training by Marie Moelck Bidstrup From Writing to Teaching by Theo Labes

Ambition + Basketball = Tashi Yeshy by Annum Angalia The Future of Sports by Blake Thompson



Jaiana Harris: Jump Around by Mason Christy Connecticut to California by Sophia Carrero


The Ups and Downs of Being a Basketball Player by Katie Murphy-Quinn Academic Adventures by Sarah Chrichton

Willow Creek News

Future Teacher by Shahyan Hansia The Life of a Private Chef by Lessther Maldonado with additional reporting by Felipe Dias


From Dungeons & Dragons to Future Engineer by Isabella Hernandez Josiah Profile by Selena Marmolejo

by Umar Cassim

From Small to Big by Stephanie Maldonado

13 The Right Track by Jade Renee Sweeney About Mary-Gang by Travis Mims


Building Community Through Individual Identity by Eliya Futatsugi Growing Up by Oliver Munoz


Made in India by Priscilly Medrano


Faizan Mamoon Profile by A’jaliah Anderson

Dear Reader,

This month Tam News students had the opportunity to work with students from Willow Creek Academy on the joint Willow Creek-Tam News publication that you now hold in your hands. We had the chance to share what we’ve learned about journalism, through our curriculum as well as our individual experiences, each of us engaging in a personal and creative discussion with our Willow Creek partner. As students who’ve spent anywhere from one to four years in the journalism class, this allowed us to recount the ways we, as student journalists, approach a story, as we helped our partners conduct interviews and write profiles. The subjects of these stories are Willow Creek alumni, now Tam students, and the articles reflect the experiences and aspirations of a diverse group of Willow Creek community members, from future chefs to basketball players. With many of these Willow Creek writers coming to Tam next year, we hope compiling this magazine gave them a friendly introduction to our school, as well as some familiar faces to look for on campus. And as they already are experienced, published journalists, we hope to welcome them on the Tam News staff!

Danielle Egan

Cover by: Raqshan Khan On the Cover: Hudaifah Azam, Faizan Mamoon, and Mary Jane Davis are among the students interviewed for this Willow Creek-Tam News joint magazine.

ADVISOR: Jonah Steinhart PRINTER: WIGT Printing

REPORTERS: Annum Angalia, Sophia Carrero, Umar Cassim, Sarah Crichton, Felipe Dias, Eliya Futatsugi-Touzet, Isabella Gonzalez Hernandez, Shahyan Hansia, Alan Maldonado, Selena Marmolejo Valdivia, Oliver Munoz, Jade Sweeney, Blake Thompson, Mey Uysalaglu, Christopher Alvarez-Novoa, Marie Bidstrup, Mason Christy, Theodore Labes, Lessther Maldonado, Stephanie Maldonado, Priscilly Medrano, Travis Mims, Katie Murphy Quinn, Bradley Page-Harris, Dominic Remillard

Volume XII, Willow Creek Issue May 2017 A joint publication of Willow Creek and Tamalpais High School Established 1916 Tamalpais High School 700 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941

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 © 2017 by The Tamalpais News. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.

Willow Creek News



From Nervous Newbie to Social Butterfly by Mey Uysaloglu

goal for the school year is to get by with good grades. Reyes originally lived in Sausalito before moving to Greenbrae. He lives with his mom, his older sister Jennifer, and his two dogs, Taco and Myla. Jennifer is 23 years old and the large age difference between them has impacted their relationship. When Reyes was younger, his sister would take him places when she was old enough to drive a car. Not only would Jennifer drive him places, but she would also give him advice throughout his high school years. “[Sophomore year], I wasn’t going great in math.” Reyes said, “My sister put me straight and told me to get my stuff together.” Reyes’s first experience at Tam was another sort of struggle. “My first day at Tam, I was pretty nervous because the campus was so big.” Reyes said, “I didn’t really know where to go. I was actually late on the first day because I got lost.”

Reyes was late to his first ever high school class and had to get a late slip from the office. “I don’t like the feeling of being late, so walking to class I wasn’t feeling great.” Fortunately, his teacher didn’t mind much and understood the situation. Willow Creek Academy is a relatively small school, with a maximum of 30 kids in being each grade. “Meeting new people at Tam made me excited about high school.” Since there aren’t many kids at Willow, meeting new people can be something that students at Willow can look forward to in high school. Reyes has found his place and made friendships in his two and a half years as a member of the Tam community. Moving from a small middle school to a large high school, he has grown to be comfortable with the once unfamiliar surroundings. “Be open.” Reyes advised future Tam high students, “Don’t be scared to engage.”♦

“Meeting new people at Tam made me excited about high school”


was scared on the first day of school, coming from a small school.” said Daniel Reyes, a junior at Tam high who had graduated from Willow Creek Academy. Although he’s a junior, Reyes just turned 16 years old, as he skipped a grade. “One thing I’ve struggled with at Tam is being the youngest; I’m a year younger than I should be for the grade I’m in,” he said. His

Jigme’s Thoughts About Tam J

by Christopher Alvarez

igme Yeshey is a sophomore at Tamalpais High School and used to go to Willow Creek Academy. His favorite thing to do is play basketball. He played for the Tam basketball team during his freshman year. “It was our last game and I got put in with one minute left, I hit a three for fun,” Yeshey said about his favorite moment from being on the team. After he scored, all of his friends started cheering for him.

Yeshey also enjoys going to Tam. He said that his schedule this year is great for him. Yeshey enjoys Spanish class because his classmates are friendly and joke around a little in class but still get work done while maintaining a friendly environment. However, math is really intense and you can’t miss any of the classes. After high school he wants to go to community college for two years and then transfer to a University. ♦

“It was our last game and I got put in with one minute left, I hit a three for fun”


Willow Creek News


A Woman in Training S

by Marie Moelck Bidstrup

enior Misbah Mamoon is a strong independent young woman. She is the only girl in the weightlifting class offered at Tam. “I don’t like how people are surprised when I tell them I do weightlifting,” she said. “I just want the boys on the team and everyone else to see me as their equal.” “At Willow Creek, we didn’t learn anything unless we wanted to learn,” Mamoon said. At Tam, Mamoon claims, there are a range of academic levels. “I love Bio-med, it just started this year. [There is] an emphasis on learning rather than test scores,” said Mamoon. She believes that students should have a foundation in science in order to continue on to more difficult classes throughout their high school experience. “[Feminism] has a lot of negativity around it,” said Mamoon. She is tired of the public response to feminism, and often

gets special treatment from the other boys in her class. Mamoon noted that she is the one who receives “the encouragement and admiration.” “When I do it it’s the exception,” Mamoon said. When she first joined weightlifting, “it was shocking to be able to do things that boys could do...It’s expected of boys to do this, but it’s not an extraordinary thing that I can do it,” she said. When Mamoon first came to Tam, she said students were able to “pick and choose classes that were tailored to [their] personality.” From her experience at Willow Creek, she said that “it’s important not to be judgmental, because everyone is [initially] insecure.” “It’s not uncool to be positive,” she said when talking about transitioning to a new school, “you are what you make it for yourself.” ♦

“I don’t like how people are surprised when I tell them I do weightlifting”

From Writing to Teaching by Theo Labes


spoke with teacher Joann Powers of Willow Creek Academy, who teaches 8th and 7th grade English. I asked her what made her want to be a teacher. She said, “I already had a career in advertising and then with writing for newspapers with the Marin IJ as well as the SF Chronicle, but I wanted to do something a little more worthwhile and teaching speaks right for me.” This is also Powers’ first year of teaching as a full time teacher since she got her

teaching credential and she is working currently on a Master’s degree from Dominican University. Before that, Powers was employed part time as substitute teacher for the San Rafael City Schools District; specializing in their high schools and middle schools. Powers believes that teaching is more important than working for a corporation focused mainly on profit and news. Additionally, she looks forward to empowering future generations of students to become something big in life. ♦

“I wanted to do something a little more worthwhile and teaching speaks right for me”

Willow Creek News



Jaiana Harris: Jump Around S

by Mason Christy

enior Jaiana Harris has always challenges herself. Since she has always played with her older brothers and older players. “I remember that I had a hoop in my yard and I remember one Christmas, I got a basketball and I was just playing and as I got older I played with bigger people than me.’’ Her early start on the court started her off into lead her to an im-

pressive high school career. She earned a spot onto the Redwood varsity team as a freshman, far above many of her peers who played on the freshman team. After two years at Redwood, she transferred to Tam and instantly changed the varsity team. “I knew more people here [at Tam] and I was not happy [at Redwood].” she said. No matter the stage Harris has always faced challenges on the basketball court head on. ♦

Connecticut to California by Sophia Carrero

moving. “As a little kid I cried a lot to my parents, trying to get them not to move.” Begic-Toepfer said, “[Moving] used to really annoy me, because I had to make new friends and start all over.” As Begic-Toepfer spent most of his childhood moving, he’s learned how to make friends easier. “Moving a lot growing up made my transition from Willow Creek to Tam a lot easier, because I learn how to make friends.” He can now use the skill of moving to make new friends in a new school. He has previously been to larger schools, making the transition from middle school to high school easier for him as well. Moving helped him learn how to make new friends wherever he goes. “Moving a lot growing up made my transition from Willow Creek to Tam a lot easier, because I’ve learned how to make friends.” His next few years at Tam will be easier for him, and he will make even more friends. Participating in track and swimming opens up more opportunities for him to make more friends too. Even though Begic-Toepfer has learned to make new friends, he won’t forget his old ones. “You can keep in touch with old friends too. That’s just life.”♦

“I had been living in Connecticut for a year and a half or so when the hurricane came”


ll the windows were boarded up and the stores were closed. There was a hurricane coming, Hurricane Sandy. I was freaking out because it was my first hurricane.” Eno Begic-Toepfer said. At the time of Hurricane Sandy, Begic-Toepfer was living on the east coast. He has lived in Idaho, Connecticut, and California, and he has been in Sausalito for about two years now. “Including moving from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school, I’ve been to nine different schools from first through ninth grade.” Begic-Toepfer is 15 years old and is a freshman at Tamalpais High School. He


runs track and swims. “I spend two hours per day each week training for [track and swimming].” Swimming and track are things Begic-Toepfer could balance easier when he attended Willow Creek Academy, but he’s learned to manage sports along with his school, friends, and family. His family has been a central part of his life. “My parents enjoy moving a lot,” BegicToepfer explained. “They can easily move because of their jobs; my mom is a lab scientist; she looks a blood and there aren’t that many people who do that. My dad is a nurse, and nurses can get jobs easily wherever they go.” “I didn’t like moving when I was young,” Begic-Toepfer said. “The first time I moved I was really worried.” Eno first lived in Boise, Idaho, but would not stay for the rest of his life. The longest he’s been in one school is two years. New London, Connecticut was the second city he lived in. “I had been living in Connecticut for a year and a half or so when the hurricane came,” he said. “We ended up going to a shelter for no reason because it wasn’t as bad as it was supposed to be. That was actually nice because I got to meet new people in the shelter.” Growing up, Begic-Toepfer didn’t like

Willow Creek News


The Ups and Downs of Being a Basketball Player by Katie Murphy-Quinn


rom a broken finger to having a loved one step out of the game, Dolce Mazariegoz has seen the ups and downs of being a basketball player. She began playing when she was just five years old, as her mother would also play. “My mom would play, so I just wanted to be like her,” Dolce said. Playing basketball with her mother was a norm for her; that is, until her mother had to make room for a baby. “It felt kind of weird,” Dolce said. “We were so used to going every Sunday to games, and, I don’t know, it just stopped.” But, despite this obstacle, Dolce kept playing basketball - until another barrier came up. She broke her finger, making her unable to play basketball.“It was kind of

frustrating because I would be home all day with nothing to do and I hate not being able to do anything,” she said. But, eventually, Dolce healed and was

Dolce aspires to be a therapist or nurse when she leaves Tam. She said she wanted to “return the help” that she got when she was young, as she received help controlling her anger and other issues, in particular, channelling her energy through basketball. Basketball has been a big part of Dolce’s life since she was young, though there have been broken fingers and new additions to her family holding her back. However, she continues to love her hobby and keeps playing through whatever’s thrown at her. “It feels good because...I’m not thinking about schoolwork, anything like that,” Dolce said. ♦

“It was like a family, everybody knew, we weren’t all perfect and we learned from each other” able to play basketball again. “It felt good because I was finally doing something,” she said. Dolce feels close to her teammates. “It was like a family, everybody knew, we weren’t all perfect and we learned from each other,” she said.

Academic Adventures by Sarah Chrichton

Academy (WCA), his favorite teacher was Roy Baker. Baker has been a teacher in WCA for five years. Baker has taught middle school English and history. Mamoon’s favorite Willow Creek memory was working in Mr. Devol’s woodshop, “That was the best part,” he said. Carter Devol is the middle school science teacher at WCA. He has worked in Willow Creek for six years. A couple years back, Devol organized a wood workshop class where students could build things like birdfeeders out of wood. Many students like Faizan enjoyed working with Devol. Mamoon’s favorite subject at Tam is science, “I really like the teacher, he’s really fun, exciting,” he said. In between classes, Mamoon enjoys hanging out with friends

and playing soccer. “I picked Tam because all my family and my cousins went to Tam. All my friends were also going here, so I decided I would go to Tam,” he said. Mamoon mentioned the biggest difference between WCA and Tam was the change in dress code, the many classes, and the different schedule, “It’s a different environment,” he said. When asked about the differences in people and communities Mamoon said, “I haven’t seen many differences, there’s the same people from WCA, all my friends are the same.” Mamoon is not sure about his college choices yet, but said he’d be interested in joining fashion design or the fashion industry. Mamoon’s advice for incoming freshmen was to “try new things, play a sport or join any clubs, just participate.” ♦

“Try new things, play a sport or join any clubs, just participate”


aizan Mamoon is a sophomore at Tam High. He spent his earlier years in Willow Creek Academy. Back at Willow Creek

Willow Creek News



Moving On S

by Dom Remillard

ophomore Ben Elliot was born in Miami, Florida then he moved to Sausalito in 8th grade. According to Elliot, he moved here because he wanted to try something new. He said Miami was way more humid and the temperature here is more cool, which he appreciated. Ben’s first year at Tam High was easy for him, he signed up for computer science but now that he is a sophomore he’s kinda getting bored of it. One of the things that Elliot liked about his first year was how big Tam was. “I like Tam because it’s way bigger, [there are] more people in a class and not always

the same faces. Different people I can talk to and make more friends,” Elliot said. Elliot thinks that a bigger school is better because it’s not so compact and nobody really messes with you. He thinks that most of the teachers are pretty nice and if he had another choice for high school it would still be Tam. Elliot started skateboarding when he was six years old. Playing sports, not on a team, but only with his friends is more fun according to Elliot. He has also been thinking of a getting a job either at Patagonia or Whole Foods. ♦

“I like Tam because it’s way bigger, [there are] more people in a class and not always the same faces.”

Juggling School and Work by Bradley Page-Harris

grade can get help with their homework. It has been around for 22 years, and will continue to help young scholars in the future. Bautista has to balance going to Tam, going to Bridge the gap, and working at Gap. Whether she’s at school, Bridge the Gap, or working at the Gap, she is always working hard. When she’s at Tam, she likes to hang out with her friends. Many of the people she spends time with have been her friends since her time at Willow Creek, but she has also made some new friends at Tam as well. “I hang out with new people, and old friends from Willow Creek,” she said. To her, the transition going from a small school to a big school was frightening. “It was a big deal to me. I was a little scared, but when I got used to it, it was easy,” she said. Bautista has a lot of friends

at Tam, and she loves it there. She likes the Campus, but she hates the stairs. Bautista said that she is sometimes a little uncomfortable at Tam because of the diversity. The diversity at Tam is different from Willow Creek, because at Tam, most of the students are from Mill Valley. As for Willow Creek there are people from Marin City, Sausalito, Mill valley, San Rafael, and so on. In her free time, Bautista goes to the teen center in Marin City. The teen center is a place where teenagers get to hang out, play video games, relax, and do homework. Bautista doesn’t play any sports, but she would like to. Her grades weren’t as good as she would have liked them to be, but when they improve, she plans on playing a sport or two. Even though Bautista’s schedule is always very busy, it’s apparently not busy enough for her. ♦

“It was a big deal to me. I was a little scared, but when I got used to it, it was easy”


aria Bautista is a current sophomore at Tamalpais High School. When she’s not in school, she goes to Bridge the Gap, or works at the Gap clothing store in Corte Madera. Bridge the gap is a place where students from kindergarten to 12th


Willow Creek News


Ambition + Basketball = Tashi Yeshey by Annum Angalia

Her best memories ware from when she lived in Fairfax. “[I liked] having the freedom to just go outside and just do our own thing,” she said. She also added, “I think it’s better that we live in Marin City now.” Once Yeshey started high school, she joined basketball at Tam. She was impressed with how social everyone was on the team because she was nervous and afraid that it would be hard for her to make friends with the other girls. She ended up making lots of friends and having a great experience until she got “cut off” when she got the stomach flu and stopped showing up to practice. Yeshey’s goals in life are “to complete high school and move on to college with good grades.” “I want to be a physical therapist but if that doesn’t work I’m gonna be

a social worker,” Yeshey said. She wants to get into UC Berkeley by getting great grades and trying her hardest even though she knows it’s hard to get in. Something she finds hard at Tam is the math classes because according to Yeshey, “in 8th grade we didn’t really have good math class.” She also found some aspects about Tam very different than those at Willow Creek. “In 8th grade we all traveled as one group, we stuck together but at Tam we switch classes with many different people and many different groups,” she said. She would still prefer high school over middle school even though it’s quite a bit harder. Yeshey said she likes Tam alot and can’t wait to see what the rest of stay at Tam has in store for her. ♦

“[I liked] having the freedom to just go outside and just do our own thing”


reshman Tashi Yeshey is a former Willow Creek Academy student who now goes to Tamalpais High School. She is 14 years old. Her brother Jigmi also goes to Tam.

The Future of Sports by Blake Thompson

he wasn’t allowed by his parents, so he played lacrosse because it is fast paced and hard hitting. He made the varsity team, but he was moved down to junior varsity before the season started. “There is a lot of competition in lacrosse,” Balistreri said. Balistreri is a sophomore at Tamalpais High School. He is from San Ramon, California and moved to San Carlos before finally moving to Sausalito. He attended Willow Creek middle school before going to Tam. Although Balistreri enjoys sports he realizes that he doesn’t have a career in them. “I know I can’t play professional [lacrosse] so I might as well be involved,”

Balistreri said. “If I could be a sports management guy and be in an organization it would be a lot of fun.” Balistreri has been interested in sports management since a young age. “Sports management is really interesting to me because when my brother was maybe two or three I taught him to catch and hit a baseball and I’ve always liked teaching people how to play sports and help them get better,” Balistreri said. He wants to study sports management at San Diego State or Long Beach University. Then, he wants to change the sports world by becoming the next Billy Bean. ♦

“I’ve always liked teaching people how to play sports and help them get better”


ichael Balistreri always had a strong interest in sports. He played basketball freshman year and lacrosse the year after that. He wanted to play football but

Willow Creek News



Future Teacher by Shahyan Hansia


ustice Parker, or as his friends call him, JP, was born in California and lives in Marin City. He is fifteen and his parents were both born in California. He remembers his first day of Tam as a fun one, where he got to meet new people. Since going to Tam he has matured; Tam has made him look at life another way. He seems to enjoy high school. Parker likes to play basketball but can’t play right now since the season’s over. He likes to play because it is a stress reliever and

he’s good at it as well. His favorite activities are history class basketball and drama. He likes drama as he likes to convey his personality. “I love drama as I express myself and I won’t get judged,” said Parker. Drama first semester helped him get out of his shell. He can be himself in that class. Parker wants to be a history teacher, teach something, or be a famous basketball player. “I think it’s cool how people from the past lived and that people from the future will then read our history so that’s why you have to make an impact on the earth,” Parker said. ♦

“I love drama as I express myself and I won’t get judged”

The Life of a Private Chef by Lessther Maldonado with additional reporting by Felipe Dias


amarree Williams loves cooking for others and entering cooking competitions. Though he now goes to Tamalpais High School as a Freshman now, he used to go to Willow Creek A c a d e m y, which he enjoyed. He discussed how it felt moving from a small school to a big school, and said it was ok because most of his friends went to the same school so he got to hang out with them most of the time but he also made new friends. He plays frisbee for fun and he enjoys playing it with his friends. He said, of sports in general, “I like watching it more than playing it”.

He especially enjoyed going to Willow Creek Academy because he was a part of a program called Eco-Top Chef, which served food to the entire school. “I liked going to the camp because I would meet other chefs and we would trade recipes.” Another one of Kamarree’s passion is he likes to design games some of his favorite games are fighting games, COD, and sport games. He said “I love playing video games”. Kamarree plans to follow his career of becoming a game designer or a chef with his own restaurant. He would like to design sport and fighting games. He said he likes making breakfast food the most, and it is also his favorite food to eat. ♦

“I liked going to the camp because I would meet other chefs and we would trade recipes”


Willow Creek News


From Dungeons & Dragons to Future Engineer


by Isabella Hernandez

eet Robert Gallardo, a ordinary high school student with not so ordinary interests. He’s passionate about science fiction and pop culture. Gallardo went to Willow Creek and is currently a junior at Tam. But beyond school, he is passionate about all things science fiction: he loves Star Wars and is in Tam’s Dungeons & Dragons club. He loves music, specifically rap and Dubstep. His favorite artists are Ice Cube and Biggie. “There haven’t been many great rappers since Ice Cube,” he explained. “Music

helps me focus. It lets me drown out all the noise and distractions.” Gallardo used to play guitar and wishes he still could. He is saving up to buy a new guitar. In addition to music, his favorite T.V. show is Castle because he likes that it’s funny. But Gallardo has interests other than pop culture. At Tam, his favorite class is engineering. “I like the math and practical aspects of it,” he said. After high school, Gallardo wants to go to college and get a degree in 3D graphic designs and or biomedical degree. ♦

“Music helps me focus. It lets me drown out all the noise and distractions”

Josiah Profile by Selena Marmolejo


osiah Delorenzo, freshman at Tam, was born in Florida. He has three siblingsone older brother, one younger brother and one younger sister. Delorenzo was born in Florida and moved to Vegas, and then moved to Florida and back to Vegas again before settling in Marin City. He moved to Marin two years ago and attended Willow Creek for 8th grade before coming to Tamalpais High school.

Deloenzo grew up traveling saying “I’ve been all around the country” “I see a lot of good in traveling. I get the chance to meet a lot of people, and have new experiences. The one downside is that I continuously have to start over.” However, he has found the transition to Tam easier than he expected. “It’s been different. There is a lot more freedom, and I have become more independent,” he said. Because he has moved around so much he is constantly having to make new friends, but when he moved to Marin he found that everyone was nice. “I made a friends group fast,” he said. In his free time he enjoys playing video games and exploring San Francisco with his friends. A prominent part of Delorenzo’s life is his passion for music. Delorenzo says, “I like making music, and my own tracks. I play the drums. I really like the experience,

and I haven’t been in a music program like this one. We get the chance to perform in front of the class and express our feelings.” He really enjoys making music and sees music in his future, “yes that’s where I’m headed. [Music] is what I want to do.” His favorite rapper is J. Cole, and connects with the messages J. Cole’s music brings. “My favorite artist is J. Cole. I like him because I see him as one of the real rappers today and everything he writes is real.” Next year Delorenzo wants to become more involved at Tam High, and is planning to tryout for baseball or track. He believes in forming strong ties to the school community as a way to meet new and have new experiences. “My dad is always telling me to keep my head held high and be proud of who I am.” Delorenzo Is excited for the next three years of highschool and the new experiences that await him. ♦

“I like making music, and my own tracks. I play the drums. I really like the experience, and I haven’t been in a music program like this one”

Willow Creek News



Amir’s American Dream by Umar Cassim


mir Modan has always been a serious and hard working student. He is attempting to relive the American dream by getting good grades. “I want to get good grades and make my parents proud of me,” Amir said. His goal is to attend UC Berkeley, although he’d settle with any of the UC’s. After college, he eventually wants to work at a software development company like Google. When asked if he was nervous com-

ing to Tam from Willow creek, he responded “I was not nervous and I felt the same in Tam as I did in Willow Creek Academy.” Amir is certainly someone who is confident in his abilities. He plays no sports because he has no time as he is working hard and is backed up with homework assignments. He is a hard worker when it comes to school work and achieving his goals. In Amir’s free time he watches TV or plays computer games. If he goes out with his friends he usually just goes out to eat. Amir is someone who will accomplish a great deal, and every day he is actively working to achieve his objectives. ♦

“I want to get good grades and make my parents proud of me”

From Small to Big by Stephanie Maldonado


a’naejah Reed is a 15 year old girl who is athletic, creative, traveler and etc. She goes to Tamalpais High school and she is a freshman about to be a sophomore She gained so much respect from her friends and teachers and community because she helps them and supports Marin City and our school. She is a great singer, she also got an opportunity to sing at a basketball game in which she played at. She also played basketball for her freshman year and got on the team and she was very excited and one of her favorite basketball team is the Golden State Warriors. She is a traveler, She has gone to Croatia, Kenya, Mexico etc. “ I really liked the people there.” She was raised in Marin


Willow Creek News

City with three other siblings two girls and one boy. The oldest is turning 17 this month and her two younger siblings 11 years old. One of her favorite classes is photography because she likes to take pictures. She hasn’t thought about any colleges nor what she would like to be in the future because she is still a freshman and she has three years left. She is not in clubs yet even thought she would like to be in the next three years. Something that is special to her is that she is still very close with the friends that she had at Willow Creek. She was in a very small community and a very small middle school and started high school at a very large high school. She went to willow creek academy from 5th grade to 8th grade. “ it was a very small community” She looks up to her mom because she says it’s a amazing seeing a women as such a good role model. ♦


The Right Track


by Jane Renee Sweeney

igh school has been pretty sweet for 17 year old senior Janette Lemus. Born in Berkeley, Lemus attends Tam High, where she has high goals and dedication and gives school her all. Lemus’s favorite class is P.E because she likes to exercise which fuels her love for soccer. She plays soccer and started at a young age of six. She plays on a team but does not play for the Tam. Lemus said she wants to go to college to get a business degree and open up a dessert store. “I definitely want to go to college,”

Lemus said. Lemus says that her favorite thing to do is hang out with her best friend junior Piper Gilmore “She’s nice and she doesn’t judge, also she accepts everyone for who they truly are,” Lemus said. When asked about the education at Tam she explained how it was high quality and you can actually learn. Lemus said she chose to attend Tam “because my sister attended Tam and was educated fairly and I wanted the same education”. Happiness is something Lemus goes by to keep her going in life and to motivate her. ♦

“My sister attended Tam and was educated fairly and I wanted the same education.”

About Mary-Gang by Travis Mims


ary Jane Davis is a 15 year old freshman from Tam. Her favorite thing to do is party with her friends and she also says her mom inspires her. She

said she wants to be like her when she is older. At Tam, she likes basketball, taking pictures and doing fashion. She says she wants to start a fashion club. Mary Jane’s favorite thing to do is to hang out with friends and do fun stuff in her free time and work at the Sausalito Theater Club. Another thing she likes is the freedom you get at Tam, such as going off campus and go eat with friends at your favorite restaurant they all walk to whole foods. She says her favorite place to eat is Super Duper Burger. Mary Jane discussed how all the class hierarchy work. The freshman are still little kids and the seniors act cool. The sophomores pick on the freshman and the juniors are to focused on getting their grades up for college. She said she has a one younger sibling and her parents meet in Hawaii. Mary Jane said when she turns 15 in a half she’s going to get her work permit and work at Sau-

salito Yacht Club. Her favorite color is turquoise and her favorite classes are spelling. She originally wanted to do photography but she likes ceramics because there aren’t any deadlines. She also said she likes basketball and plays on the Tam Girls Basketball Team she thinks that football is too repetitive. She said she has lots of friends and people call her Mary Gang that’s one reason why she has many friends. Some more stuff she told me that photography has lots of deadlines She said the only reason she has friends is because her name is Mary gang. She said she like fashion and she wants to style people and when she gets older she will have a fashion store. She said all the men at Tam are snakes and she told me about what people do in their grades she said the freshman are still little kids the sophomores are the same as seniors but are rude to freshmen and the seniors think they’re too cool to talk to people. The last thing she said was she can’t wait to be a senior so her and her friends can just be chilling. ♦

Willow Creek News



Building Community Through Individual Identity by Eliya Futatsugi


ophomore Chris Giron says the transition from Willow Creek to Tam highlighted the differences in the two communities. Giron attended Willow Creek two years ago. He explained the main difference between Willow Creek and Tam is the number of students at the school. “At Willow Creek, you’re with all your friends from kindergarten and you don’t think much of it.” Giron says that his favorite moment at Willow Creek was the eighth grade camping trip. “[Let’s] say there were some people who you really didn’t get to connect with in your last year of Willow

Creek, the trip made you really get comfortable with people.” While at Willow Creek, Giron enjoyed the school camping trips, but now at Tam, Giron appreciates building community in school activities like rallies. “The whole school is there and you’re with classmates and peers. You can see the bonds within the community.” Aside from camping and rallies, Giron has different interests, such as playing soccer and eating pizza during his free time. He also has dreams of becoming an entrepreneur when he gets older. Giron vocalized that there’s a lot of different people at Tam and everyone can fit in somewhere. “At Tam, you find out who you are.” ♦

“The whole school is there and you’re with classmates and peers. You can see the bonds within the community”

Growing Up by Oliver Munoz


riana Agnew is student at Tamalpais high school and a former student at willow creek academy. Agnew has always been happy whenever she is reading and writing. That’s why she works part-time at a non-profit theater company writing scripts and setting up the background, that is where she spends her weekends. Another thing Agnew likes to do is go to the beach and surf. She always have been around water her whole life. Agnew was born and raised around the beaches

and one of her favorite things to do when class ended, at Willow Creek Academy, would be to go and surf. Agnew’s favorite memory at Willow Creek Academy is cleaning up the creek,

“The big difference between Tam and Willow Creek is they expect more from you”


Willow Creek News

she enjoyed it very much. Agnew and her buddies would go to the creek and clean it to help the sea and its animals. “The big difference between Tam and Willow Creek is they expect more from you,” she said. “Don’t be scared to come to Tam.” ♦


Made in India by Priscilly Medrano

runs in my blood. My family always plays it, and I love it as a sport….I always wanted to play it kinda grew into me.” Azam explained that his family influences him and inspires him to do things in life. For instance, his family played volleyball back in India, and Azam grew into that. His older half-brother on his mom’s side graduated from Tam High in 2004, and that inspired him to attend Tam. Azam is happy about attending Tam, “It’s a great opportunity, and you get to meet a lot of people.” Previously, Azam attended Willow Creek Academy, in Sausalito. “Comparing to (Tam)...Willow Creek is a very small student body, not many students in a single classroom, versus when you come to Tam, you have classes with like 30 different people,” said Azam. Many changes happen, especially with friends. In high school, meeting a lot of people it expected, and it causes you to make new friends. Azam admitted he isn’t close with the kids he grew up with, “I wouldn’t say hangout with them, I might bump into them and then we might walk along and talk for a while.” But even though Azam doesn’t hang out with his old friends from Willow Creek, he still continues his Indian traditions within his family, his favorite holiday is Ramadan. “We have our religion, we have the celebration for the end of Ramadan where we fast for a month, from sunrise to sunset, and at the end of the month of fasting we get together as a family and feast,” he explains. Ramadan is his favorite tradition because not only does he have a great feast, but he also gets to spend time with his family. Family is big for Azam. “My dad is 85 right now, and my mom is 55. My dad had 14 kids with his first wife, all in India, all

before the 1950’s. They all migrated here, they all grew up, had their own children, got their jobs here, had their own lives. All my siblings are at least older than 50. One

“Volleyball runs in my blood. My family always plays it, and I love it as a sport”


udaifah Azam, or Hoody, was born in Marin General Hospital on February 9, 1999. For most people in Marin County, being born at Marin General Hospital wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. For Azam, it was the moment that marked him a firstgeneration American citizen. When his father was in his 60’s, he married his second wife and moved them to America, where Azam was born. “My dad moved here to get a better future, and he went back to marry my mom. I was made in India, but I was born have a good future and a head start,” he explained. Curious about how he thought of being “made in India,” I asked him how much of his Indian heritage was a part of his life. He replied instantly with, “Oh, a lot. I’d say 95 to 100%...My parents were both born in India, and we have our whole family here (in California), that was originally in India, but you can’t just let go of the past, so we’re just continuing it. It’s our heritage, and we’ve gotta keep following it.” Azam does follow his heritage in America, too. He plays on the Varsity Boys’ Volleyball team at Tamalpais High School, where he’s a senior. “Volleyball

of them, from my mom’s side, graduated from (Tamalpais High School) in 2004. I have 13 half siblings, and I don’t have any siblings from the same mom or dad.” Azam stays in touch with all his family, though, and travels back to India frequently. He has been to India about 12 to 13 times. “It’s like you’re stepping into a whole other world, it’s very different from where we stay here in America.” In India he likes riding motorcycles around the city. “It’s an adventure, it gives me a little bit of an adrenaline rush,” describes Azam. He loves motorcycles, and riding them back in India is more fun because it’s more free, but it is more dangerous because the population is more crowded. In America, it’s important that Azam drives, because in his shoes, both of his parents can’t drive and is an important task, especially to even get groceries and food. “My dad is too old (to drive), and my mom just…doesn’t drive,” Azam explains, “but someone needs to get food.” According to Azam, the food in India is more traditional and fresher, compared to food in America. “The food in India is more original than over here (in America), since it’s straight from the streets.” But the food in America is different for Azam, because it makes him feel like he’s at home. “It feels like I’m home, because there’s not really a diverse community out there, it’s really mostly all Indians, Muslims or Hindus.” Azam said it himself. He may have been made in India, but he was born in America. ♦

Willow Creek News



Faizan Mamoon Profile


by A’jaliah Anderson

y family immigrated here for better education and just a better environment,” sophomore Faizan Mamoon said. “Our whole family’s here.” Today, he’s a normal American kid who loves playing basketball with his friends. But he wasn’t always like that. “When I first came here I knew English, but not well,” Mamoon said. “I was really nervous and shy.” When he came from Pakistan, he was only eleven. When he came, he went to Willow Creek and started to speak more English. He was shy and didn’t really know people. “But once I got in the class it was really helpful, the teachers were helpful,” he said. “My best year in Willow Creek was 7th grade,” Mamoon said. “I knew every-

one at the school and in my class, I knew all the teachers, and I was comfortable.” Another thing he learned there was that he needed glasses. He learned that in 6th grade. “Sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade, I was sitting in the front, looking at the board, because I was too lazy to get my eyes checked,” Mamoon said. 8th grade is when he got glasses. “I was coming to high school and I needed to see,” he said. Now he’s popular and he’s changed since he’s been here in a good way. He’s not shy anymore and he plays basketball every day with his friends. “We usually play at like 5 or 6. We play at the park near our houses, and we call each other and then we play,” Mamoon said. “Halfway through the game, we sometimes call more people.”♦

“My family immigrated here for better education and just a better environment”


Willow Creek News

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Willow Creek & The Tam News Joint Issue Willow Creek News


Faces of Willow Creek  

Willow Creek Academy and Tam High joint publication

Faces of Willow Creek  

Willow Creek Academy and Tam High joint publication