February 2024 Issue

Page 1

Empowering students to think critically and creatively since 1913







SPHS Tiger Band and Orchestra will hold their annual Spaghetti Dinner Night fundraiser on Thursday, Feb. 29.

The annual junior vs. senior assembly and flag football game will be on Friday, Mar. 1.

South Pasadena students will deliever self-organized TED Talks on Saturday, Mar. 9.

Meet the new mayor of South Pasadena



velyn Zneimer is the first female Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) mayor of South Pasadena and is the first Jewish mayor since 1888. Zneimer has lived in South Pasadena since 1984 and has loved the community the entire time. “When I moved here, they had a Welcome Wagon and a neighborhood brought all their bread baskets, cookies, baked goods…Wow. I felt so welcomed,” Zneimer said. Zneimer went on to volunteer for organizations like SPEF and the Natural Resources Commission. Additionally, she became one of the board directors for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation. Zneimer became a city clerk in November 2013 and was sworn in as council member on Dec. 1, 2020. Three years later, on Dec. 20, 2023, Zneimer was unanimously elected as mayor by the city council. “South Pasadena is actually acknowledging that diversity is here and it’s here to stay. It’s very heartwarming,” Zneimer said. “I came to South Pas[adena] because I wanted my kids to go through really good schools. And then I had three items: good schools, writing stabl[ility], and a golf course. And I found a city.” Zneimer plans to implement new features to the community, add new safety policies, and diversify in South Pasadena in her 24 month term. “I think we’re going to purchase a 500,000 [dollar] vehicle for the public works, this is actually a big truck that can be driven by one person, it will fill the potholes by itself,” Zneimer said. “It’s computerized inside. At the present time…you have to dig it out and you

have to compress, and you have to heat the asphalt and you have to pour it. It’s tedious. But this is done by any machine. So it’s quite expensive, but it’s time saving, and it saves money for the personnel time. So it’s a big accomplishment to get that.” She additionally hopes to install city-wide bicycle lanes, a project that has been in the works for 11 years. The project aims to improve community safety and prevent collisions. Environmental conditions have prompted the need for an update. Zneimer has also served in the Los Angeles County Bar Association Armed Forces Committee (LACBA) aside from her involvement with the city council. She is not only a full time trial attorney for state and federal cases, but has also been a part time Los Angeles county pro tem, or temporary, judge for the California Supreme Court since 2006. Zneimer has faced many challenges when it comes to implementing her goals and running for mayor. Zneimer has experienced discrimination and hopes to improve South Pasadena for everyone. “When I took my oath, I directed city staff to draft a resolution, acknowledging that we were a sundown town, and that we now adopt diversity, equality, [and] inclusion,” Zneimer said. “I compromise on deals like contracts or even my cases but [with] standards like morality, I don’t.” Zneimer emphasizes a focus on collaboration between the local government and its residents. She aims for overall fairness and teamwork. “I want collaboration. It takes a village to complete a project. Collaboration within [the] local government and its residents is really important,” Zneimer said. “A project can only happen if it’s okay with the public because we are a service city, so we provide service to our residents.”




Nikki Haley stands out as a Republican candidate navigating the challenges of being a female politician in a race dominated by older male counterparts as her policy is called into question.

Tiger predicts the winning candidates of six of the categories in the 2024 Academy Award nominations, to be aired on Sunday, Mar. 10, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on the ABC channel.

SPHS baseball began its preseason with a 7-1 win over El Rancho and will continue to prepare for a successful league. The team has been training to take the Rio Hondo League title.

Page 7

Page 12

Page 14





SPHS English department includes students in AI policy discussions

On Jan. 31, students and teachers discussed the future of AI policies. Some students argued that school is meant to prepare them for real world jobs, which have already integrated AI, and thus the English department should fully embrace the new technology. For example, newsrooms have already begun to use generative AI to produce news stories and sports beats. A Futurism report found that Sports Illustrated had been running AI generated sports articles that had successfully passed as human journalism for several years. Additionally, a job advert from Newsquest Media Group, the second largest publisher of newspapers in the United Kingdom, recently inquired for an AI assisted reporter — is a hybrid of traditional journalism and generative AI.



he SPHS English department hosted a discussion among teachers and students regarding the AI policy during the late start period on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The event was open to all students. Students were provided with a paragraph outlining the SPHS English department stance on artificial intelligence, which stated, “Using the work of a former or current student, copying and pasting information from the internet, and/or using AI generators (e.g. ChatGPT, Caktus AI, Google Bard) will unfortunately result in a zero on the assignment or assessment, a phone call or email home, and a referral per the SPHS policy outlined in the Tiger Guide.”

The discussion centered around the students, who debated the usage of artificial intelligence in English classrooms and the implication of its widespread use in the workforce today. Students mentioned possible uses of AI in an English classroom such as summarizing texts, writing essays, citing sources, and creating titles. AI mimics a search engine, which begs the question if anything truly differentiates using Wikipedia, which summarizes topics from a trove of sources, from citing AI, which summarizes topics from the Internet. “Ever since spell check, or all these things that have come out, like Microsoft Word when I was a kid, there has been less and less emphasis on conventions… like the rules of grammar,” said English teacher Katya Cantey. “While these things are important for someone to master, they’re not as important anymore.”

“If you’re applying for a job in which you can use AI for every aspect of it, you’re not going to have that job. That job is not going to exist in the future,” said Cantey. “So we’re now asking the question: what is the value in a human? What are the things that we shouldn’t allow an AI to do? I don’t think school should be preparing students for jobs that will not exist for them when they graduate.” The discussion also touched on the purpose of English class to foster critical thinking and writing skills. Currently, ChatGPTZero, Turnitin.com, and editing history are used to identify AI-written assignments. “With my sophomores, I think they see it as a way to get things done. I always talk to the students first, and it’s never accusatory,” said English teacher Katherine Jaroch. “I think my AP students are more worried about if I think they used AI. I know it happens a lot … where a student says they didn’t use AI but ChatGPTZero said [they] did.” The English AI policy will face revision, and the English department plans to meet again to discuss among staff.

Vroman’s Bookstore plans to sell locations individually STORY ZOE CHEN PHOTO SHIN-HYE (RACHEL) CHOI Vroman’s Bookstore is looking to sell all three of its locations independently of each other, as announced by Vroman’s Bookstore chairman and majority shareholder Joel Sheldon in early January. Sheldon says he is ready for new happenings after owning the bookstores for over five decades, reported NBC Los Angeles. “As I approach my 80th birthday, it’s time to begin the process of retiring and finding new ownership outside of the Sheldon family,” Sheldon wrote in a statement on the bookstore’s website. “Vroman’s deserves new ownership with the vision, energy, and commitment necessary to take it into the future…This was not an easy decision for me, but it is in the best interest of Vroman’s, our employees, our customers, my family, and our community.”

Vroman’s is currently Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore. Adam Clark Vroman founded the first Vroman’s in 1894 when he sold his personal book collection. Upon his passing, Vroman left his bookstore to some of his longtime employees — one of whom was the great grandfather of Vroman’s current owner, Sheldon. Vroman’s opened its second location in Hastings Ranch, Pasadena in 2002. In 2009, Vroman’s acquired its third location when it purchased Book Soup, a West Hollywood independent bookstore in danger of closing. The current plan is for each of the three locations to be sold separately. Sheldon assured members of the community that they will not see a difference in the

bookstores’ hours or traditions for the time being. Still, the news came as both a shock and a relief to some. “The feeling right now is that it’s just a really cozy bookstore, and it’ll be really sad if they change that,” freshman Adeline Woo said. “But…as long as they don’t change too much, then I think I’m okay with it.” Sheldon thanked the community for their support throughout the years, and closed his statement with a request for continued support through the transition and afterwards. “While our ownership change will be a time of some uncertainty, it is also a time for optimism and excitement for what the future can bring for Vroman’s and our community,” Sheldon wrote. “There is a myriad of possibilities, and we look forward to them all.”

Sheldon has not currently identified a buyer, but said that he is carefully looking for someone who shares his same passion for the independent bookstore business. “We want someone who really appreciates Vroman’s and wants to continue it as a community resource,” Sheldon said in an interview with Pasadena Star-News. “We’ll start with local people — maybe a family or group of younger people who would really look forward to this.” The process is expected to take over a year. Sheldon has made it clear that he does not intend to sell Vroman’s to any national retail chains; he plans for the bookstores to stay independent. “The whole idea of this is to continue the legacy of Vroman’s in the Southern California community,” Sheldon said. “We hope the only changes are positive changes with enthusiasm and maybe some new ideas.”

Republic of Lucha closes down STORY ABIGAIL KIM Republic of Lucha was founded in 2020 by Javier Robles and The Lucha Brothers, Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fénix. The Lucha Brothers are professional tag-team wrestlers, and Robles is a South Pasadena resident. Located on Mission St., wedged between Diamond and Fairview Ave., Republic of Lucha opened in early 2021 before closing down this past New Year’s. The three co-owners started the Republic of Lucha in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, all three were uncertain about the future of their respective occupations. To create a stable job for themselves, they opened up the store, which

UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP, the bookstore hopes to continue its independent legacy. is dedicated to lucha libre, or Mexican professional wrestling. Lucha libre originated in Mexico around the 1900s. A mix between an art gallery and a store, the store hosted many events that celebrated lucha libre.

they would walk in,” Robles said. “It was pretty nice because it was all ethnicities, all genders so it wasn’t specific to a certain demographic.”

“Professional wrestling is pretty big in the US and in the world. There’s a very specific style of Mexican wrestling with the masks and the characters, so we try to celebrate that and have events that celebrate that culture, and have merchandise that reflects [it],” Robles said.

Republic of Lucha’s online store practically mirrors the in-person store, and the owners hope to publish the online store as soon as possible. The store signed a three-year lease upon their opening in 2021, which ended just as 2024 began. As rent prices increased, the three co-owners needed to find a less spacious location.

The customers that Republic of Lucha garnered in South Pasadena were a mix between already-existing lucha libre fans and residents who found themselves attracted to the store’s decorations and fascinated by the culture. The store has also worked with the SPHS Latinx Student Union to host a movie night and a Day of the Dead altar competition.

“It’s a wonderful space, [and] I wish we could stay there forever. But the financial realities force you to make decisions,” Robles said. “So we needed to find a smaller space where we could save money, instead of spending more money on rent.”

“We had…masks and mannequins…so little kids that are local to South Pas[adena] just lost their marbles whenever


The Republic of Lucha has no definite locations. However, the store hopes to stay local and continue to spread lucha libre throughout the area.




Local water polo club faces dissolution The San Gabriel Water Polo Club struggles for pool access amid scheduling conflicts. STORY SONYA SHIMPOCK PHOTO KAITLYN LEE


he San Gabriel Water Polo Club consists primarily of students from the San Gabriel Valley and local high schools in South Pasadena, Temple City, Eagle Rock and Pasadena. According to its website, the team aims to “prepare players for a meaningful High School water polo experience.” The club also hosts games and tournaments outside of the regular season, creating teams based on skill levels and the principle that, regardless of talent, everyone can participate. However, the club no longer has access to a pool to practice or play in and has been unable to secure any rental time at the SPHS pool. “We are taking in the SPHS boys to develop them because they have nowhere to go as…the [Rose Bowl Water Polo team] will only take the absolute best and experienced players but not the majority of the SPHS players,” Guillermo Frias, the water polo club coach, wrote to then-current SPHS athletics director Anthony Chan via email in September 2022. Frias hoped to reserve a slot at the SPHS pool for the San Gabriel club, which majorly consists of SPHS students on junior varsity water polo. “I write again to see if you can find time at the [high school] for a team made up of SPHS boys. We would like pool time for the club season that follows the HS (high school) season…this year we expect to double the number of SPHS boys we take in, essentially incoming freshmen because they are beginners and will not make it onto the [Rose Bowl] team.” Frias continued in his email to Chan. Chan acknowledged both Frias’ request and the connection between SPHS players and the San Gabriel club in his response, but was unable to approve any new permit applications. He urged Frias to reach out to the district office for facility rentals, adding that “the SPHS Athletic Director’s office does not have the authority to approve SPHS facility permits…and the final decision rests with the SPUSD district business office.” The issue remained largely stagnant through 2022, but picked up again in August 2023. The pool time that the San Gabriel club had tentatively leased from the City of

LA fell through, and without a pool to practice in, the San Gabriel club would be forced to dissolve. The team took the matter to the South Pasadena school board in hopes of obtaining a time slot at the SPHS pool. “The issue with the pool really wasn’t a very large issue until we took it to the school board. When we did that, they listened to one of our club’s coaches, some parents, and even myself. However, they simply took our concerns and essentially ignored them. Without addressing any problems we brought up, they simply said they didn’t wish to change anything about our situation with the pool,” Samuel Whitman, an SPHS water polo team and San Gabriel Water Polo Club member, said. The district was unable to accommodate an additional time slot at the pool — currently, all time slots are filled by SPHS athletics, the Rose Bowl water polo team, and the Sea Tigers (a club swim team). Sundays remain clear of any activities in order to provide a rest day to the residential neighbors of the high school.

“All high school teams, academic programs, and PE receive priority use of SPUSD facilities. After those needs are filled, we offer approximately 3.5 hours [every day], Monday through Friday, available for rental at the SPHS pool,” David Lubs, the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services at the South Pasadena Unified School District, said. “The District has long-standing relationships with both the Sea Tigers and Rose Bowl Aquatics to split the available time. Our relationship with Rose Bowl Aquatics is further strengthened by our agreement with them to send some of our Special Education students to the Rose Bowl for specialized service and physical therapy. We are honoring prior relationships [and] commitments, and there is no additional rental time available at the pool.” The San Gabriel club will dissolve due to the fact that they were unable to secure pool time. “Currently, I don’t see the board caring enough to actually change anything which is sad, but it’s just how it is,” Whitman added.

Wellness Center grand opening STORY BENJAMIN REGAN The SPHS Peer Mediators had its grand opening of the Wellness Center to the study body on Thursday, Feb. 15, serving brownies and hot tea at the event. The creation of the Wellness Center was headed by SPHS Head Peer Meditators, seniors Rowan Smith and Marlee Foster, along with the counseling department, and SPHS ASB Health and Wellness Officers senior Victoria Abelev and junior Sienna Drake. “The Wellness Center is now officially open to all SPHS students,” Smith said. The space serves as a place for students to take a break and enjoy their brunch, lunch, and after school time. It features games, puzzles, beanbags, fidget toys, and a projected fireplace to help students relax during their days. Students using the Wellness Center will have access to SPHS Social Worker Natasha Stebbons’ office. Stebbons also played a vital role in putting the place together over the last few months. The Wellness Center was announced at SPHS’ talent show and future Peer Mediator events will be held in the space.





Celebrating Black History Month at SPHS Black History Month is annually celebrated in the month of February. With this year’s theme of African Americans and the Arts, Black contributions to literature, music, theater, and music have become the forefront of celebrations nationwide. Within Pasadena, a detailed schedule has been announced by the city. At SPHS, the Black Student Union aims to provide a safe space for students who identify as Black and educate the community on Black history. PAGE DESIGN OLIVIA CHIN



Club unites Black students Black Student Union, after not being renewed since its original stint as an SPHS cultural club, has made a resurgence in the past few years and now is running strong under the leadership of senior co-president Mia Holden, senior co-president Maya Johnson, junior vice president Avery Taylor, senior secretary Kimberly Robinson, and senior treasurer Hanna Diop. “[The mission of BSU is to] bring the Black students at this school together but also just everyone in general…[and] have a place for inclusivity,” Holden said. During Black History Month, BSU has an increased presence on campus. To celebrate this momentous month, they are releasing a series of posts on Instagram that highlight historical Black figures, hosting noontime music takeovers on Fridays, and holding an informational booth on the Tiger Patio. “BSU plans to commemorate Black History Month by [providing] different activities [to increase] school involvement through Instagram, during lunch, and with our club,” Taylor said. The club is planning on holding several drives to raise money for their activities on and off campus. Plans

for community involvement are currently in the works and have not been finalized yet. “BSU, like the other cultural clubs on campus, really seeks to provide a space for students in South Pasadena that identify as Black or African American,” club advisor Annalee Pearson said. “[It’s] a safe space to celebrate one another, talk about current issues, enjoy time together, and just really kind of get to know the community at large.” Pearson’s goal for the year is to support members of the club with a community space and faculty backing in their academic, cultural, and personal endeavors. She also hopes to revamp the club’s legacy due to its relatively recent return. “Our club is pretty new, so we’re just trying to get it started,” Holden said. “Hopefully next year and in the future, we can have a legacy [from] this year. Black students could just have a place…on campus where they feel at home.”

A legacy of afrofuturism in the art world Walking into Pasadena City Hall, one is greeted by a painting of Loretta Thompson-Glickman. In 1982, she became Pasadena’s first Black mayor and the first Black mayor of an American city with over 100,000 residents. Now, the Loretta Glickman Endowment Fund for AfricanAmerican Youth, established by the Pasadena Community Foundation, maintains her legacy. February is Black History Month: the annual celebration of Black culture, figures, and contributions. Ever since its creation in 1928 by Carter G. Woodson, each year has upheld a theme. 2024 is “African Americans and the Arts” and will highlight African American creators. It is impossible to discuss the artistic contributions of African Americans without noting the cultural thread of afrofuturism, which has left an indelible mark. One of the most notable writers of American literature is Octavia Butler (1947–2006). Born in Pasadena, Butler would go on to pioneer the concept of afrofuturism in her stories. Afrofuturism can be considered to be an exploration of the African diaspora through a futuristic backdrop, a cultural theme found in literature, music, and art. Most notably, Butler weaved stories with a diverse cast of characters and Black female protagonists.

Her 1987 novel Dawn, which formed the first installment of the collection Lillith’s Brood, follows protagonist Lillith Iyapo through a universe in which humans are on the brink of extinction. Butler’s style of writing has been described as raw and unfiltered, and this is certainly seen in Dawn. From 1993 to 1998, Butler created the Parable series, which follows Lauren Oya Olamina and the belief system she creates in dystopian California. Butler’s works, which feature Black perspectives on dystopian futures, have won the Hugo and Nebula Awards multiple times. In February 2023, Butler inspired the opening of independent bookstore Octavia’s Bookshelf in Pasadena, which highlights books written by female and BIPOC voices. Afrofuturism can even be spotted in superhero films such as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther in 2018. Drawing inspiration from traditional African designs, African American costume designer and artist Ruth E. Carter envisioned the armor of Wakanda that gave Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther an iconic look. Wakanda is a fictional nation designed to be untouched by European colonizers. Black Panther became the highest grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker. It was ranked in the top 10 films of 2018 by the American Film Institute,

and it was the first film of the superhero genre to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Across the nation, Black History Month is being highlighted in African American literature, media, music, and artwork. The city of Pasadena has also announced a packed schedule of over 30 Black History Month celebrations and activities around the city. The month of February will feature events almost every day, including live bands and guest speakers. The centerpiece of February’s festivities is the 42nd annual Black History Parade on Saturday, Feb. 17. It is the largest and longest running Black history parade in Southern California. This year, the festival will honor Jackie Robinson, Pasadena resident and the first Black athlete to play Major League Baseball. On the same day, residents can attend an artist reception with photographer Alfred Haymond. On Sunday, Feb. 18 and Monday, Feb. 19, the celebration of Robinson’s legacy will extend with community projects at the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena.

SPHS Black representation is lackluster South Pasadena is a predominantly white town, with 45.03 percent of the city identifying as white. There are 33.19

percent Asian-identifying residents, 12.13 percent identifying as multiracial, 5.51 percent identifying as other, and 3.72 percent of Black-identifying people. These statistics are also reflected at South Pasadena High School. There are only a handful of Black faculty members at SPHS, with a Black student population of 1.4 percent. SPHS also has no ethnic studies courses available in the course catalog despite a wide offering of free electives such as UC Graphic Design, Android Development, and TV and Radio production, as well as a built-in Internship Program. However, ethnic studies courses at high schools are still a pilot program; according to College Board, about 700 high schools around the US are piloting the AP African American Studies class for the 2023–24 school year. SPHS does, however, have Introduction to Ethnic Studies through the Pasadena City College Dual-Enrollment program, allowing students to take a collegelevel and college-paced class on ethnic studies. Curriculum taught at SPHS is also exclusive. For instance, the English department only features one Black author, Chinua Achebe, author of

Things Fall Apart, on its book lists for 10th grade English. This novel is about the day-today lives of the members of a Nigerian tribe. Achebe writes about the effects of colonialism and the implicit racism the tribe members face from white colonizers. Comparatively, a Florida high school, Fivay High School, includes four Black authors on their 10th grade English reading list: Lorraine Hansberry, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and David J. Dent. At El Toro High School in California, they feature two Black authors (out of 10 total authors) on their 10th grade English book list: Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. A high school in Japan, Seisen International School, also includes two Black authors: Maya Angelou and Malcom Gladwell. The history department at SPHS does, however, offer a curriculum that covers various historical events, including those related to Black history. For 10th grade World History, the curriculum is thoroughly taught through the Modern World History textbook. In 11th grade US History, students are taught about slavery in the United States, but the subject fizzles out after the period of the Civil Rights Movement.








The perils of performative marginality False assumptions of marginalized identities invalidate true struggles and experiences.


ocial media personality Haley Kalil recently posted a video titled Me and my undiagnosed autistic tendencies. The video was frighteningly out of touch — Kalil played up a devastatingly rude and blunt persona, blatantly reinforcing negative stereotypes surrounding neurodivergent individuals. The video is merely one small part of a perplexing trend that has only further flourished in the growth of the digital age — the struggles and identities of marginalized communities are being co-opted and repackaged as “quirky” attributes or unique selling points. Individualism is like a currency of its own in the realm of social media — the aspects of one’s identity that stem from marginalization are paradoxically both revered and exploited. Users are encouraged to present their lives and backgrounds in ways that are most likely to garner likes, shares, and follows — which leads to influencers often prioritizing or fabricating sensational or “quirky” aspects of their experiences at the expense of authenticity. When influencers are able to commodify the experience of marginalization without actually having to endure systemic oppression, it trivializes the lived experiences of those who are actually affected while also breeding cynicism and skepticism towards individuals who seek to share their genuine experiences of marginalization. Furthermore, if social media is fraught with false claims to a marginalized identity, this not only diminishes the perceived legitimacy of actual experiences of marginalization, but it also contributes to a competitive, performative culture where the severity of one’s struggles becomes a perverse form of social capital. This trend is frighteningly prevalent in the entertainment industry as well. TV shows and movies frequently utilize marginalized identities for shock value or narrative convenience,

or will simply tout their diverse characters across the screen in hopes of appealing to a broader audience.Reducing marginalized characters and individuals to stereotypical or one-dimensional roles perpetuates harmful stereotypes and deprives audiences of the ability to engage with authentic representations of the diversity of the human experience. For example, Indigenous peoples are often depicted as bloodthirsty warriors or overly silent and stoic; even when they are portrayed somewhat “positively,” they still serve as foils or guides for white characters. This practice also creates a distorted view of these marginalized communities among consumers of entertainment, contributing to misunderstandings and furthering prejudices. The impact of these practices is profound. For individuals from marginalized communities, watching as their identities are exploited or misrepresented can lead to feelings of alienation and invisibility. It also reinforces the notion that their value in society is contingent upon the entertainment, educational, or commercial utility of their experiences rather than their inherent worth as individuals. Businesses and consumers must first acknowledge that the the baffling practice of the privileged identifying with the marginalized exists, and only after that can policies change. The younger generation has a responsibility to, as they move into society, begin to dismantle the mechanisms that enable this exploitation of marginalized identities. SPHS students have the ability to pave the way for a future where all individuals can genuinely thrive without their identities being reduced to mere tools for personal and financial gain. A commitment must be made to understanding and addressing systemic inequalities — not just when it is convenient or beneficial for individual advancement, but as a genuine effort with no terms and conditions.


Boos & Bravos


Tiger’s cheers and jeers for the month of February






BOO to love. St Valentine didn’t die for this.

BRAVO to Renee Rapp. A gay girl can get an amen.

BOO to non-celebrities who go live on Instagram.

BRAVO to Winston Churchill. Stirring the pot of

It’s just a FaceTime at that point.

American politics with quotes he never said.

BOO to Singaporeans. Of course I’m a part of the

BRAVO to students speaking at AP meetings. Blink

Chinese Communist Party.

twice if you need help.


BOO to Prince William. At least act sad that your

BRAVO to people who come to school when they’re


dad has cancer.

sick. Let it spread.


BOO to masculinity. Why can’t men be cutie

BRAVO to college spam emails. Nice knowing

patooties, too?

someone wants me this Valentine’s Day.






Demolishing old buildings is not a travesty 1020 El Centro St., pictured below, was home to the SP district office building for 40 years before moving in 2021. long-standing structures. The designation “historical site,” determined by the National Register of Historic Places, ensures that a building, district, statue, or object cannot be torn down. Criteria for the prestigious title include places where nationally significant historical events occurred, places where nationally significant people lived or worked, places that represent an ideal that shaped the nation, and outstanding examples of design or construction, architecture, or engineering. Only the last criterion has merit.



n July 2021, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) School Board and Superintendent Geoff Yantz made the trek across El Centro St. and arrived at the new district office building. The South Pasadena district office building, which was located at 1020 El Centro St. for more than 40 years, moved to 1110 El Centro St., an arguably bland and architecturally unimpressive site in comparison. The old location is a beautiful brick building with arches across the hallway and had previously been El Centro Elementary School in the 1920s and 30s. Many South Pasadenans felt the move was disrespectful to the long-standing district office building at 1020 El Centro, especially considering that the new location lacks the architectural value of its predecessor. In this case, the original building still exists in South Pasadena; it has not been torn down and is currently in the process of being sold. Other historic buildings have not been as fortunate. The Circle Star Theater in San Francisco, best known for hosting a young budding star named Frank Sinatra just scraping the beginning of his enormous fame and success, was torn down in 1997. Outrage ensued over the

theater’s demolition, and the fact that it was replaced by a generic complex only added fuel to the fire. However, destroying the building did not destroy its legacy; Sinatra still performed there, and that is far more memorable than the actual building. Just because a building is considered “historic” does not mean it cannot be torn down. The correlation between the value of a building and the length of its existence is not linear. The duration of time that a building has stood does not prove its worth to society. It is irrational to preserve a structure solely because it has existed for so long; nostalgia and unwillingness to change blinds people from improving and obstructs the ability to focus on the future. Instead of how long they have occupied Earth, items should be judged by the mark they have left on individuals. Change is often coupled with reluctance, as it carries an uncertainty for the future. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the movement to preserve historic buildings. Passionate citizens have formed conservancy organizations, inspired by childhood memories and apprehensive to imagine a world where the staple of their city is gone. Even celebrities have used their platforms and voices to endorse efforts of maintaining

A building, if not otherwise architecturally unique or beautiful, has no tangible significance. The events held under the building’s roof, even if they “represent an ideal that shaped the nation,” are unrelated and detached from the building itself. While the event holds cultural, political, or societal gravity, the actual building is unlinked from any accomplishments it played host to. Tearing down the building does not alter the course of history, nor does it discredit, erase, or retract from the impact of the event. Many preservation organizations try to portray the building as representative of the event, the physical symbol that stands in for its influence. In reality, the milestones that took place within its walls should be celebrated far more than a replaceable building. The idea that a physical thing has no relation to its history does not apply universally. A wedding ring, for example, passed down through generations, is valuable. It is more than just the idea of the ring, or any family heirloom; the actual object, felt in the palm of one’s hand, is a powerful symbol. An ancient book or a cultural artifact are important, amplified by their history, as tangible objects. Buildings are the exception because it does not matter where an event took place as long as it happened. A building’s history is not only a baseless justification for its value, but being so attached to the past poses a threat. Old buildings are not up to modern safety standards, failing to comply with more recent requirements established with earthquakes and fires in mind. Being pulled into the past by nostalgia, infatuated with what one is used to, can prevent people from looking for modern solutions. A shift from preservation to improvement could be for the best, even if it means parting with a favorite childhood building.

Private college counselors and an unfair advantage STORY KATE LIU ILLUSTRATION SUNHYE (SUNNY) CHOI The looming shadow of college applications darkens what should be a time of excitement and anticipation for high school seniors. This process requires a slew of essays, standardized tests, recommendation letters, and financial aid forms; each step steeped with its own set of challenges and uncertainties. College counselors emerge as pivotal tools during these times of stress. But more often than not, their assistance is a luxury enjoyed by a select few rather than a resource accessible to all. College counselors provide a wide range of services, from assisting students in choosing appropriate colleges to polishing application essays and obtaining financial aid. Since a vast majority of these counselors were once admissions officers, they have firsthand experience with the qualities that colleges look for in potential applicants. However, because of the wide range of services they offer, getting access to professional college counseling comes at a high cost. A college counselor’s fees can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, making it unaffordable for most families. This makes the difference between those who can afford these services and those who cannot quite obvious.

Baes and Nays HANNA BAE

Student journalist: yes, and? I was hanging out in the SAC room after school a couple of weeks ago, when one student came up to me and asked who wrote an article in the paper she had in her hand. Given the article was written under an anonymous credit, I told her I couldn’t disclose that, but she was more than welcome to air out her thoughts. She left without saying too much, but I sat there feeling oddly content.

The benefits for those who enlist the help of a college counselor are undeniable. These counselors not only improve the quality of the application process but also seem to mold the very essence of the applicant. They might suggest that students modify their extracurricular pursuits or even change their intended majors to adhere to what is most likely to get the applicant admitted. They shape a story that will increase a student’s chances of getting admitted to these schools. Some students even begin working with college counselors as early as freshman or sophomore year, giving them a substantial head start in preparing for the competitive college admissions process. A majority of the time, this early intervention comes to dictate the students’ whole high school trajectory. The counselor helps students determine which clubs to join, which summer programs to participate in, and which classes to take. Moreover, the emphasis on admission to elite institutions can perpetuate a culture of competition and anxiety among students. Instead of focusing on finding the right fit for their individual needs and aspirations, students are pressured to prioritize prestige and rankings above all else. This can lead to a mismatch between student and institution, resulting in a lack of fulfillment during the college experience. When I first joined Tiger, I didn’t have much of an idea of what I was doing, and I very much did not have a vision for myself. I was decent at writing and thought that writing for the school newspaper would serve well on my college applications and give me opportunities to write about things outside of my painfully slow English classes. But as I’ve gotten used to the taste of the words “student journalist” on my tongue, I’ve gotten used to angry, frustrated, ruffled, criticism. If anything, I’ve come to appreciate it. The critical feedback, once a source of discomfort and selfdoubt, has become a badge of honor. The Print Managing Editor during my sophomore year talked about how her very first article on Tiger caused a slew of passive, aggressive, and passive aggressive responses from unnerved adults in the community on the thriving Facebook page. In a way, she had produced the pinnacle of journalism. It used to bother me whenever someone was upset over something that was in the paper. I hope to be a very amicable person, so it was upsetting whenever someone didn’t agree with what was in the paper I oh so cherished. The longer I sit with this thought, I’m honestly thrilled. That means I’m doing my job right.


The disparity in access to quality college counseling perpetuates inequality in the college admissions process, with those who cannot afford such assistance at a disadvantage. Addressing this issue requires an effort to level the playing field and ensure that all students have equal access to the resources they need to succeed in such pursuits. College counselors are a resource that should be available to all, and the college application process will never truly be fair until this can be done. Media is the core of the narrative of change, no matter how big or small. Whether that starts in the classroom, on campus, in the community, or national scale. If the Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines is any indication of the magnitude of student journalism, it would not be bold to say that my little press pass I use to get into football games can bring cataclysmic change. The realization that discomfort and debate are often precursors to understanding and change has been liberating. It reaffirms the essential role of media in shaping narratives, driving social progress, and challenging individuals to confront their preconceptions. I’ve had my fair share of criticism. From friends, family, peers, teachers, and also unknown commenters online, it’s bordered on hate. But what that tells me is that my writing, to all capacities, starts conversations. That’s the job of a journalist. Our work is resonant, relevant, and reaching the hearts and minds of our readers. In embracing the ethos of journalism as a conduit for change, I have found not only my voice but also a deeper understanding of the power and responsibility that comes with wielding the pen.




Best of the worst: Nikki Haley gains “success” Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley now takes the stand against Trump in the ongoing Republican primaries. STORY CLEMENTINE EVANS ILLUSTRATION HEEJOON (JOON) LEE


he 2024 presidential race started with several Republican candidates including Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and the only likely female candidate: Nikki Haley. Haley has been a compelling candidate in this election, arguing on behalf of antiimmigration, pro-life, and standing in opposition to Medicaid, Medi-Cal, and the Affordable Care Act. Haley can be considered a more desirable candidate for the Republican demographic she is trying hardest to appeal to when she is compared to Trump and all his flaws and mishaps. For Republicans, she could be considered the lesser of two evils. Haley is appealing for so many Republicans because as they shift away from backing Trump, she represents a lot of traditional conservative values, which is the biggest part of her platform. The Grand Old Party (GOP) has gone through numerous candidates for the upcoming election, none of whom lasted long enough for the real race to begin. Trump and current president Joe Biden, though similar in age, stand on opposing sides of pretty much every issue. Haley, on the other hand, is over 30 years younger than Trump and Biden. She does, however, stand on the same side as Trump on several issues. Although Haley is on the opposing side to left-leaning policies and issues, one of her most vital assets has been coming in handy during her campaign: her gender. Being a woman allows her to empathize with, and be empathized with by, other women. However, identifying as female does not guarantee her a win. Men will continue to see her as just a woman, not a politician. Haley also has guts. She has stayed in this race for longer than anyone has anticipated, despite people telling her to drop out, including the Republican National Committee (RNC) insisting that the party rallies around Trump. She has continuously challenged Trump to debates, showing her supporters, as well as MAGA supporters, that he is unwilling to face her. Haley has also pointed out several times Trump’s mental errors: confusing her with Nancy Pelosi; thinking the world was going to enter World War II, when he supposedly meant World War III; accusing him of not talking about things that do not actually matter; and saying that he has been “his own worst enemy.” Haley has remained competitive in the race, unflagging in her efforts to win the presidency. Haley is standing

strong, insisting that she is “not going anywhere.” She has stayed in the race far longer than other candidates like DeSantis and Ramaswamy, outlasting fellow Republican candidates. As Trump continues to attack her, she stands her ground, making voters see her as brave, bold, and unfailing in her efforts to win approval.

received only 30.5 percent of votes, being overtaken by the 63.2 percent of the “none of these candidates” option on ballots. Losing to no one is frankly humiliating. The fact that people are voting for no one over her correctly illustrates her place in the campaign trail and the extent to which her policies are flawed.

Despite her moxie, Haley is nowhere near perfect. Her stances on policies that would help more people than not are frankly ridiculous: fighting immigration is hypocritical, as she is the daughter of immigrants calling for “closing the U.S. border;” opposing abortion and a woman’s right to choose limits her own rights; and falsely connecting transgender girls playing sports to upticks in teenage suicide is utterly incorrect.

The race for the White House continues with candidates who are less than ideal. There is no such thing as a perfect nominee or a perfect president. Haley has risen to the position of being the best of the bad choices. She has moxie to continue in the race and stand strong on her issues, defying core values of the GOP.

Haley’s campaign has proven courageous and tough, but she still cannot appeal to all voters in order to gain the support she desperately needs to potentially win this election. Her recent polling throughout the country has proved embarrassing. In the Nevada primaries, she

None of the three candidates embody all of what their respective parties hoped for and not what the American public envisioned. The U.S. is being forced to settle for one of three imperfect candidates, all having flaws that they cannot change. But the most powerful seat in the world should not be sat in by someone who should be in a nursing home or someone who is the fallback option.

Misattribution of “Douyin” trend shows gorge in Asian representation culture. While there is a lot of overlap between Chinese and Korean makeup, this style was distinctly Douyin. Influencers like James Charles make small, well-intended mistakes all the time. However, Douyin makeup is not the only part of Chinese culture that Western consumers misattribute to Japan or Korea. Viral beauty products like C-Beauty’s Florette heart-shaped jelly lip tint pen originate from China, but are also frequently mislabeled as Japanese. While Asian influence is at an all-time high, Americans’ appreciation of Asian culture is blindsighted, an unbalanced playing field where some cultures are getting more recognition than others. Of course, this is not to say that Korean and Japanese media are highly praised in the U.S. However, the two cultures have been much more welcomed.

STORY LINDA YUN ILLUSTRATION ISOLE KIM The American melting pot has been bursting with Asian influences in recent months. From K-pop, to manga, to makeup, it is not unfair to say that the Western market is obsessed with all things Asian. However, amidst these changes, it seems that only certain Asian cultures are getting recognition. Snippets of culture from one country in particular, China, seem to be left in the ingredients pile. The difference, when compared to other eastern Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, becomes even more apparent. While K-pop stars fill up thousands of stadiums across the U.S., and Japanese anime is broadcast on major screens, it seems as though Chinese trends are oddly absent, suppressed or mislabeled as Japanese or Korean. One example of this phenomenon can be seen in Douyin, or “TikTok” makeup. Douyin makeup is a popular Chinese makeup style that has recently gained traction in American media. Using shimmery eyeshadow, soft pink lip colors, and dewy pink or mauve blush, the style has been one of China’s most popular makeup inspirations for the better half of the 21st century. However, major creators like James Charles in his 2023 video, “Trying a Full Face of Korean Makeup,” attribute the style instead to Korean

The misattribution of Chinese culture allows other cultures to commodify their cultural power as global influence. Proper attribution is especially important on social media because the speech that information spreads at has an immense power on global markets. The Daily Trojan words the immense influence of microtrends beautifully. “These seemingly small trends and makeup looks have the potential to turn into cultural and international resources.” As people flock to social media in record numbers, as seen in how social platforms gained 320 million users in 2023 (according to DataReportal), the significance of proper attribution becomes apparent. In the case of foreign beauty trends, like Douyin makeup or any non-American product, being featured in a viral video portrays the culture of origin in a positive light. When Chinese microtrends are dubbed as Japanese or Korean over and over again, the audience is essentially conditioned to see Japanese or Korean culture positively. The reverse is also true: ignoring Chinese culture gives the impression that only Japanese and Korean cultures are worth exploring. This imperfect representation of Eastern media has broader political implications. According to The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the South Korean government is attempting to convert Korean’s pop culture into soft power by bringing celebrities to diplomatic events. This suggests that the West is still somehow obsessed with the phenomena of foreign culture — an obsession that Chinese culture does not receive.


For China — a country that has always been negatively represented online, with righteous government criticism, anti-communism sentiment, and misplaced blame for COVID-19 — positive cultural representation is crucial to understanding the rest of its rich history and culture that have been buried underneath the misinformation. When unique elements of Chinese culture are misattributed to Korea or Japan, it makes it impossible for China to have representation outside the political sphere. The Western view of Asian culture is in contrast with how East Asians actually see themselves. For example, although Japan and China are directly at odds with each other diplomatically, Japanese people still freely admit that much of their culture originated from China during the ancient Nara period. In a similar vein, history textbooks in Korea also freely admit that the writing system and political systems of Korea, among other things, take influence from imperialist ancient China. All of that is to say that many countries in Asia have millenia of intertwined history. Of course, times have changed and these cultures have all evolved in their respective ways, but for Americans to dismiss Chinese culture as lesser than that of Japan or Korea is ironic when the foundation of such cultures were laid down by the culture that critics condemn. While discussions over the lack of representation for Chinese culture boil, it is worth noting that the discussion of Asian culture is not complete without full representation of all 48 countries. On movies like Crazy Rich Asians, the producers (either on purpose or for convenience) drew a clear line that connected the ethnicity of being Asian to being Eastern Asian. However, this definition dismisses the lived experiences of the almost 700,000 people who live around the South China Sea. Immigrants from this region are then forced to identify with the media’s warped definition of what the Asian experience looks like. Culture does not exist in a vacuum — it is just one pawn in the game of global politics. Countries that are getting the spotlight in the melting pot are often loyal U.S. allies, which goes to say that media portrayal is directly linked to current political relationship to the hegemon. Not every influencer who has misattributed Douyin makeup is trying to invalidate Chinese culture. However, as an online generation, users must be conscious about the biases within the cultural trends so as to not lead to cultural erasure.



Love — the driving force for humans everywhere L

ove is the emotion that has perplexed and inspired humanity for centuries. More prominent in the month of February, love remains a topic of fascination and, at the same time, much contemplation — what is love? Love is an intense feeling of deep affection or to greatly enjoy something or someone. This complex feeling encompasses a large variety of strong emotions, such as positive thoughts and mental states. However, because of love, individuals may also undergo feelings of despair. So if it causes despair between some, why even fall in love? What is the point of love? The process of love can serve as a powerful force that forms human connections; love’s purpose is not just mere attraction towards others. Not only does it deepen the bonds between individuals, it also contributes to one’s well-being and personal growth. Hardships and attachments come with love. Love causes various feelings of negativity — the termination of the attachments from the things people love result in these hardships. Whether it is the despair of a loved one passing away, a break up, or a loved stuffed animal getting lost, it is love that causes these negative feelings. Though love may create hardships, love gives people reasons to feel strong positive emotions as well. Love has the ability to enrich humans, and it is the driving force behind countless actions that humans make. The things people do for love and in the name of love are unlimited. Love for children acts as inspiration for parents to drive to a grocery store and buy them their favorite snack. Love for a subject will encourage students to reach their full potential. With love, people make their own sacrifices and think of others before themselves. Love is what drives humans and their goals. Being able to love and perform actions in the name of love differentiates humans and makes humankind unique. Since the beginning of time, humans have been striving to express and deepen their love. Music, literature, sculptures, etc. are all made in the name of love. For example, Romeo and Juliet, a popular work by William Shakespeare, involves the love of two Italian youths and the actions they do for love. A painter with their love for the muse, a pet owner with their love for a dog, a sculptor and their clay — all of it are from love. With

love, connections between humans deepen and shape human personality and esteem. Love can be expressed every day, but a day when many people will present their love openly is Valentine’s. Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day: the day of love. However, just like its subject, the origin of Valentine’s day is complex and full of emotions. The roots of Valentine’s Day trace back to Christian martyrdom and ancient Roman traditions. Although most stories are sourced to the Chrisitan martyr named Saint Valentine, all stories tell that Feb. 14 is the day of love and passion. Many people believe there is an expectation to show more love on Valentine’s. However, love is constantly with everyone every day. Valentine’s may feel exclusive, but it is not; love is everywhere every single day.

Love will always be love. No matter if the date is 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future, love is a universal experience. Love will be expressed in various forms and perceived in different views. Love is complex — there are different psychological, cultural, and philosophical Celebrated annually on Feb. 14, lenses on love that Valentine’s Day brings together people can vary from individual to of all backgrounds — from long-term individual. Love will continue to remain a captivating and essential aspect in the human experience, and it will be a timeless emotion and everchanging force in connecting people across time and cultures.

couples, honeymoon daydreamers, to hopeless romantics. Tiger analyzes the feelings of modern love experienced through the eyes of angsty young adults, from converging feelings, commercial pressures, to the dreaded modern “situationship.”

Situationships: the gray area of the generation The idea of dating solely for marriage is outdated in the newer generations of young adults with online communication and unclear boundaries. However honorable of a goal it may be, dating for marriage simply is not a viable option for some — with the mental, emotional, and financial work it includes. Instead, a new term has taken fire across social media, which includes all of the intimacy of a relationship without the level of commitment generally expected. “Situationships” are a new kind of relationship that acts as an extended “talking stage,” where the partners are hanging in an unstable balance without knowing whether to fully plunge into the relationship. The lack of obligations may be freeing, but it blurs the boundaries of a platonic and romantic relationship without proper communication. Situationships did not come entirely out of left field. A new generation of young women are more

The love issue: SPHS loses the lovin’ feeling

likely to want a situationship rather than a relationship, because the title of the relationship comes with the connotations that saddle women with the emotional labor. Relationships can begin to feel like a formulaic pattern with the traditional song and dance of dates and unspoken rules of communication. The inherent lack of rules in situationships creates an environment that is free from the stifled pattern of a relationship while reaping the benefits of romantic intimacy. Thriving intimacy has been, and will continue to be, healthy for people whether it is a friendship or romantic relationship. Aside from the mental and emotional effects of sharing a deep connection with people, the physical benefits are abundant. Reduced stress, boosted immunity, better sleep, and a longer life are all proven to be effects of a healthy relationship. It cannot be understated that whether the attachment stems from a situationship or exclusive relationship, people prosper with healthy connections. It is when the relationship becomes harmful, that is where the problem lies. Miscommunication becomes the downfall of these situationships. A fundamental misunderstanding between the two parties arises when the boundaries of a relationship are not communicated. Just as the lack of rules can be freeing, it also creates a gray space where the situationship itself comes into question: exclusivity, future plans for commitment, and certain expectations go unspoken. The vague definition of a situationship lends itself to an obscured perception of the relationship. One person may see the situationship as a transition stage into a committed relationship further into the future, but the other person sees it as a brief fling. Exclusivity, unless clearly communicated, strikes a precarious balance that may or may not allow for non-monogamy, depending on the arrangement. When the situationship veers off course, both parties are left feeling cheated and hurt in a relationship that was never clear to begin with.


The one clear rule to a situationship — which is by definition, a lack of commitment — can interfere with intimacy in all kinds of forms. The undefined nature of the relationship leaves individuals in a constant state of uncertainty, particularly if one party develops deeper feelings than the other. While this situation can occur in a steady relationship, it is far more likely, and far more impossible to measure, in a situationship. The murky communication leads to insecurity in the relationship and impedes true emotional intimacy, especially without a label. The label carries a certain weight of respect to a relationship, both from the inside and outside. A relationship is validated by society as “exclusively committed” with the proper label, and in turn, a couple is more secure in their relationship to one another. Without a label, one side may become unsure of their position in the relationship, and lack of communication skyrockets. A trend on social media sees people sharing their experiences with situationships, some lasting for over a year. This may not be an issue when both parties are clear about where their priorities lie, but the real-world experience consists of a one-sided relationship. One party contributes to the situationship in hopes of developing a committed relationship, while the other is left to lead them on. In the end, satisfaction is short-lived, yet the relationships hanging in the balance between platonic and romantic persist, no one quite willing to commit to a beginning or end. A situationship is not inherently bad, but the fulfillment relies on the people, easily turning sour or downright toxic.



Valentine’s day: the romantic holiday that rapidly became a commercial scheme V

alentine’s Day is oftentimes known for its hearts, Cupid’s arrows, and love letters. However, Valentine’s Day has crumbled and fallen into the trap of commercial pressures, as it has just become another consumerfueled holiday.

money. According to a study done by Montclair State University, data collected from social media showed that the keyword “Valentine’s Day” was most likely to be associated with “shop” or “gift.” In fact, “shop” and “gift” were 113.17 percent more recurring than “love.”

Many retail stores capitalize off of Valentine’s Day. The second the doors open, shoppers are surrounded by flowers, chocolates, and cards in a flood of red and pink. Huge signs, discounts, and hearts are thrown at customers, grasping the viewer’s attention.

Valentine’s Day creates a competition on who will receive the best or most gifts, which taints the true meaning of love. The price on the material possessions is just a number, and no monetary value should be associated to how much partners may love each other. Centering Valentine’s Day around the monetary value of gifts disassociates the holiday with the reality in which price does not equal love.

The original “valentine” was a poem, and early Valentine’s Day practices included handing out cards and writing letters to loved ones. In spite of this, it has turned into another commercialized holiday that is less about love and more about

Self-proclaimed influencers often show luxurious rose bouquets, expensive gift baskets, or heaps of chocolate they received for Valentine’s Day on social media. People cannot be expected to receive the same number of gifts as an “influencer” whose job is to promote a materialistic lifestyle. Many influencers will find themselves posting brand deals around Valentine’s Day where they partner with brands to encourage buying even more gifts for one’s partner. Valentine’s Day is a holiday no longer about sincere gifts, but one where people feel obligated to purchase expensive gifts for their partner, and if not, they face the backlash of being called “bad” partners or get accused of not doing enough. As the holiday has evolved, giftgiving is no longer regarded as a sweet gesture, but more as an expectation that partners have for each

other. Instead of being grateful for the gifts they receive, people may find themselves angry if they do not get gifted extreme and overly lavish objects. Valentine’s Day is no longer the holiday it was in the 1500s. Giftgiving is the expectation, and many equate love to the price of what they receive. Rather than buying gifts, partners can look towards other, more thoughtful ways to show their affection towards one another. They can gift personalized notes, poems, and experiences, instead of expensive material items. Emphasizing these alternative ways can shift the focus from money and greed to gratitude and thoughtfulness. There is no particular way that the holiday “should” be celebrated, but both partners can reach a mutual agreement on how they want to celebrate it. Without this talk, it is unrealistic to simply assume that one will receive gifts, and not buying an expensive gift for one’s partner should not be shamed. Expensive flowers and luxury items are not needed to declare love, and in reality, Valentine’s is just a seemingly random day in February.

Relationships transcend typical societal expectations


From fake kindergarten marriages, Shakespearean sonnets analyzed in English, and the ever-turbulent relationships of celebrities and peers, the presence of romantic relationships has been an integral part of culture and how the world is perceived. Amatonormativity, the belief that people universally seek an exclusive relationship, has been a central expectation of the human experience. Being in a relationship, or seeking to be in one, is considered the normal state regarding romance with the assumption that those who do not explicitly desire romantic connections are considered “unusual.” With the belief that such experiences will fulfill an insatiable need, individuals hold varying experiences, romantic or otherwise, and differing expectations pertaining to how relationships should be conducted. With the variance in experience and cultural pressure to gain relational worldliness, the relevance of emotional maturity to compatibility transcends traditional relationship standards. This begs the question of whether or not the idealization of romance, especially approaching mature experiences at a young age, is inherently good. Cognitive capabilities associated with privileges like driving a car and voting are generally assumed to be developed at 18. However, the development of emotional maturity fluctuates depending on individual experiences rather than biological processes. With the introduction of romantic relationships from birth, children imitate the relationships of the people around them and thus the presence of romance, even before experiencing attraction, is permeated starting from those playground marriages. A relationship’s “success”, which may be defined by emotional quality or longevity, is dependent on the participants’ abilities to set healthy boundaries,

communicate, and eventually deal with rejection, which demands emotional maturity that may not be possessed at a younger age. However, societal pressures can create tunnel vision regarding romance and later intimacy, which is more likely to affect those in their late teens until their prefrontal cortex, which controls the ability to make decisions and plan for the future, is fully developed around the age of 25. Rather than advising students to abstain from intimacy, it is more effective to educate students and allow clear access to contraception clinics. The acknowledgement that modern relationships are deviating from traditional expectations, from the idea of the “appropriate” age to be exposed to certain experiences to whom one can have a relationship with, expands the boundaries of what society may deem acceptable now is most commonly demonstrated through age gaps in high school and beyond. The juxtaposition of idealization and scandalization depicted in the media is used to shame women and uplift men. Men dating younger women tend to be normalized compared to women and younger men, and mostly ignored in same-sex relationships, due to gender roles that deem younger women more desirable due to their youth. Within high school, there is the prominent idea that students are in different stages of life at generally different grades. When these grade gap relationships occur, judgment is placed upon the older of the two to know better, and relationships that are around two years or more of difference are looked down upon. While these irregular relationships tend to be shamed, if the two are in a mutually consenting and equally mature relationship with well-established boundaries it should be of comparable concern as a normal relationship. However, the age gaps are oftentimes used as an excuse to pressure the younger into experiences they aren’t necessarily ready for. The existence of an age gap doesn’t automatically mean a participant being groomed, but can infer an imbalanced power dynamic

on the basis of experience. A relationship between two consenting adults differs greatly from two teenagers because of the vast knowledge gained between those two stages of life. While it may not be a sole reason as to why these relationships may not be appropriate within high school, it is safer to say that relationships are more likely to be healthy and balanced when the participants are similarly mature and able to consciously set individual boundaries. While high school offers newfound independence and freedom to make decisions as students mature into adults, there is an undeniable emotional gap in maturity between the majority of students and those entering the next stages of life. With the rise of experimentalism and openness to nontraditional relationships, deeming when one is “ready” for mature experiences is a harder world to navigate than ever before. It is critical for those entering adulthood to make informed, cautious decisions without succumbing to the outside pressures of how much others experience in comparison to oneself. There are expectations that come with age differences and relationships in general, but it the level of maturity and compatibility that really changes the ability to conduct a successful partnership.




Charlotte’s Web Charlotte Dekle

Mamma Mia, Here I go again My latest existential wondering came about in the normal place: Trader Joe’s. I was strolling through the aisles with my cart scavenging for the mac-andcheese as it dawned on me — I will probably be a mother someday. I don’t know which combination of synapses connected to form the thought chain of mac-and-cheese-to-motherhood, but it happened and freaked me out. I go through the motherhood crisis once a month, you can probably guess why. Folks younger than I have become parents; both willingly and unwillingly. Why is the prospect so foreign to me? Motherhood has always been a possibility for me, as it is for roughly half of the population. These questions seemed especially omnipresent given that we were reading Frankenstein in Lit, a novel consumed with the idea of creation and the duty of a creator to its creation. In becoming a mother, will I be as consumed with the ideas of a perfect baby and fear that every one of my blunders is a blueprint for the baby’s future failures?

Posthumous publicity: advertisement or admiration? As society tackles celebrity legacy, the moral line becomes blurry. STORY & ILLUSTRATION ISABELLE WONG


eceased celebrities might find their final resting places somewhere other than flower-filled memorials or graves with Pentagon-level security. Musicians who suffered tragically early deaths, such as Whitney Houston or Elvis Presley, live on holographically through A.I. generated concerts, and shows like Glee and Riverdale honor late actors Cory Monteith and Luke Perry, respectively, by embedding final farewells into their scripts. The ways in which companies, families, or fans pay their respects to these celebrities take many different forms. A celebrity’s family may create an organization under their name, designed to carry on their name and legacy posthumously. In other instances, these methods of career continuity are taken up by public relations (PR) teams who might be tasked with managing merchandise sales or official websites, giving a more professional nature to these eulogies. These homages may be well-intended, but they bring into question whether or not intention takes precedence over the potential disapproval from the celebrity whose career is proliferated — a question of marketing over morality. Frida Kahlo is an example of a figure whose image is used for capitalistic means, disregarding the principles she established during her lifetime. Today’s society continues to appreciate Kahlo’s work and beliefs more than half a century after her death. However, the artist’s face is found not only in her portraits, but also adorning T-shirts produced by fast fashion companies. Taking into account that one of Kahlo’s core beliefs during

her lifetime was anti-capitalism, the existence of her modern-day legacy in products that earn profit for large corporations which Kahlo would likely oppose directly disregards her character. The actions taken by singer Michael Jackson’s family in the years after his death represent a more genuine form of sustaining a celebrity’s legacy. Members of the Jackson estate aim to carry on his legacy by sharing his music with audiences discovering him postmortem. For instance, following his death, sister and fellow artist Janet Jackson performed a tribute to him with her performance of Scream at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Looking towards more commercial forms in which Jackson’s artistic career continues to exist show similar sincerity to the approach of his family. While shows such as Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE may be paid experiences, their purposes lie in giving audiences the chance to see the art of his performance style years after his passing. Analyzing the different circumstances in which modern industries use these celebrities’ identities presents a spectrum for honoring them, with disregard and commemoration lying at opposite ends. Disrespect is subjective, as is respect. This subjectivity roots itself in the desire to preserve the reputations these celebrities obtained during their lifetimes, approached by different people in many different ways. However, those who wish to follow such desires must recognize that life after death is not something every celebrity may want. Such recognition ensures that the image of the deceased is not used as a PR puppet and defines the line between appreciating a legacy and abusing it.


If it pleases the court (the reader), I want to divulge some of my parenting fears in hopes that writing them down could assuage them. To start, human creation is baffling to me. I don’t mean that in the lack of the birds and bees talk, just on a cosmic level. The fact that one wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am could result in an entire life being formed is astonishing. Maybe it’s the question of body ownership. If I get pregnant, my body can become an incubator for another. In many states in the U.S., the collection of cells within me will have more rights than I do. My body will become an instrument of the state. If this responsibility is thrust on me against my will or a complication arises, I can’t be sure that society will have the support systems necessary for me to make a decision about my body. This isn’t even comparable to the hellish reproductive nightmare that so many people live in right now, but who knows how much more draconian and inhospitable the country will become in my prime fertile years? Possibly it’s unethical. Given how climate change is ravaging the world, bringing a child into a society that may not exist when the child grows up strikes me as a tad unfair. Is it selfish to bring a child for my own happiness if the child may not get to experience happiness as it grows up? Perhaps it is the fact that motherhood means a change in the roles I have always known. Even though I will always be a child to my mother; in this new status, I will be a mother to a child. I will be the Victor Frankenstein to my creature and will thus bear full responsibility for my progeny’s problems. I am sure that being a mother is wonderful and I hope that if the time comes, I will be ready for the responsibility. My mother is amazing and I hope that I can at least replicate her parenting style. But in time I will forget my childhood and the way I was raised and be forced to create a new blueprint for the next generation. Then again, I am only 18. Maybe these thoughts of life and birth are too grandiose for the feature section of a high school newspaper. Perhaps I will just have to live my life and eat mac-and-cheese and wait to be ready.




Let people live, wearing makeup or not The simple decision to self-express with makeup does not imply the vanity that is often associated with it. STORY ROSE VANDEVELDE PHOTO SUNHYE (SUNNY) CHOI


akeup is versatile and varied, capable of covering and hiding, or of accentuating and empowering the canvas it sits on. To choose what powders, creams, and inks to put on is to create art. Each stroke can be defining or restricting, depending on what others and the user makes of it. Makeup itself is nothing but the tools used by an artist, and a sense of good or evil is simply the perspective of those viewing. Expression through makeup does not imply vanity or “fakeness” — and if used to remedy the insecurities caused by the wounds of society and its beauty standards, it is not something reproachable. The public’s perspective of makeup has changed with the ever-shifting tides of beauty standards. In fact, makeup accompanies these standards all the way to ancient civilization. Cosmetics were first seen in Ancient Egypt and were used heavily. Possessing and using makeup was a status symbol, and was believed to please the gods. At other points and places in time, makeup was almost literally demonized. The book of Jeremiah in reference to makeup: “And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in crimson, that you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.” The Romans derided makeup, but Byzantines embraced it. In Britain, Queen Victoria declared it vulgar. Makeup was associated with sex-workers and scorned by the general public. In the 1920s, makeup finally reemerged — in the Anglo-American world at least. Dark kohl lined eyes, dark red lipstick, and bright red blush marked the entrance of makeup back into the mainstream. Makeup’s association with vanity has remained a prevalent one today. Society’s terminology has changed, however, pivoting from simply vain to the cutting “fake.” Whether face-to-face or behind a profile picture, people are quick to condemn others for wearing “too much makeup,” assuming shallowness and vanity. Even quicker is social media to condemn the young users of makeup. The “Sephora kids” of Generation Alpha are

some of the first to grow up in a world immersed in their screens. Rather than a generation obsessed with products, they are a product of both the generations of makeup use, and of one that has grown up scrolling through the lives of those who took years longer to learn the same things. The umbrella labels of “spoiled” and the ubiquitous “fake” do not take into account the pressures that form the way that things are. The problem in the popularity of makeup at younger and younger ages is not rooted in the simple use, but in the “need” to use it, and in the often harmful effects of the products they use. While some of the criticism surrounding makeup comes from men, some of it also comes from women. Even from women, looks that take more effort and time are called too much and assigned labels like high-maintenance and “pick me.” In short, effort beyond the normal is seen as “trying too hard.”

The standards of social acceptability that prevent the most overt criticism of not wearing makeup do not carry over to the other side — criticism of wearing too much. From the mainstream of comments and judgments, it seems at surface level that criticizing one for wearing makeup is okay, when really the opposite is true. In a point slightly reminiscent of America Ferrera’s monologue in “Barbie”; women are expected to wear makeup, but the makeup should not be obvious, otherwise the wearer is fake and trying too hard. Buying tons of makeup and products implies consumerism, but achieving a “no makeup” look takes products upon products. Restricting what is “acceptable” in makeup restricts self-expression. In the end, makeup is simply a tool that society has weaponized in the form of beauty standards and veiled criticism. Judgment for wearing makeup is as criticizable as judgment for not.

All of Us Strangers in a strange and lonely land STORY SOPHIE MERTZEL ILLUSTRATION HEEJOON (JOON) LEE All of Us Strangers is a new romantic drama written and directed by Andrew Haigh, following screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott), whose life is so empty of people that even his London apartment building is almost uninhabited. That is, except for Harry (Paul Mescal). One night, Harry comes to Adam’s door, sparking a relationship between them. As the film continues, the pair grow closer, and Adam begins to reconnect with his past. The film’s main focus is the experience of loneliness. Adam has spent the majority of his life without close connection and seems resigned to that existence, even while longing for more. Meeting Harry inspires in Adam a desire for relationships in his life, and delivers the conviction to seek them. This encourages Adam to visit his childhood home for the first time in years.

Upon entering, he sees his father (Jamie Bell) and mother (Claire Foy) as they were in 1987, prior to their deaths in a car crash when Adam was 12. While he does not know how they are there, he begins visiting daily and discussing his life with his parents. The atmosphere of this film is oppressively isolated. The entire cast is made up of four characters — Adam, Harry, and Adam’s parents. Even when scenes are filled to the brim, it only heightens the emotional distance between Adam and others. The music contributes to this tension and emptiness, balancing between ethereal and haunting. At times, it is bright but soft, particularly in scenes between Adam and Harry. As the film continues and Adam reckons with his grief, the music becomes heavier with deep and eerie tones. Even without watching the film, listening to the score can take one on the same emotional journey.

The most powerful force of All of Us Strangers is how it places silence intentionally. It uses a white space of noise, allowing the focus to remain on the actors’ physical presence. This choice allowed a more subtle and raw portrayal to come through. While watching, it almost gives the impression that the majority of the movie is without dialogue. This is able to be so effective thanks to the excellent acting of the cast. Scott carries the emotional weight of the film, and the viewer watches as his expressions tell the whole story. He is a great physical actor, and any casual viewer — perhaps having seen him in the titular role in Hamlet — can see his ability to convey a multitude of emotions at once. Scott wears this emotion on his sleeve without it ever feeling like a gimmick. This transports the audience right next to him, almost as if they have entered his consciousness, and is especially effective when the audience is not sure what is truly real. Mescal’s ethereal performance plays well off of Scott. Harry is full of charisma, pursuing Adam and putting his all into their relationship. His role requires joy and flirtatiousness along with intense sadness, and all are played so well that it is easy to feel like an intruder in their lives. The actors’ chemistry as these characters is more than could have been asked for, imploring the audience to root for them. The costuming and performances of the parents sell the impression that Adam is walking into another time. The film does not shy away from the realistic difficulty that would come with the past being sent to the present. Their portrayals beautifully show the experience of grief; that time does not heal all wounds. A death from one’s past, especially in childhood, will continue to affect them. The way Adam perceives relationships with others is shaped by this loss, and his journey seeing them again so many years later helps him continue on with his life. He does not necessarily “heal” from that loss, but acknowledges the pain it causes him. This portrayal of grief feels refreshing and more nuanced than much of the mainstream media. The ending to All of Us Strangers is devastating, leaving the viewer with more questions than answers, and one thought: Do not be a stranger. The film portrays the sadness, beauty, and loneliness of life, creating a breathtaking world in a matter of 105 minutes.





Tiger’s Academy Award Predicitions Tiger predicts the winning nominees for six of the categories in the 2024 Oscars.

The Boy and the Heron is the beautiful new film from Studio Ghibli set to win Best Animated Feature. It is Hayao Miyazaki’s 12th movie, coming after a long pause in filmmaking.

Lily Gladstone brings a stunning and poised performance to Killers of the Flower Moon, a Western drama based on the book of the same name by David Grann. Gladstone plays Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman who becomes caught in the crossfire of an investigation after massive discovery of oil on Osage land leads to murder.






The film has been in progress for the past seven years and features beautiful animation, world building, and interesting themes of relationships and yearning. In addition, it has a beautiful score that fits right in place. Miyazaki has only won a single Academy Award despite the mass praise for his films, and The Boy and the Heron is well deserving of a place on that list.


Taking place in 1940s Japan, it follows the story of a boy who finds a gray heron after moving to a new home and encounters a world inhabited by both the dead and the living. Miyazaki has commented that it is one of his more personal works.


Best actress



Best animated feature

Despite its long run time of over three hours, the film’s captivating storytelling holds viewers’ attention. Gladstone has been praised for her grounding performance in the role of Burkhart, portraying a variety of emotional themes with a realistic tone. Her relationship with Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio) becomes a key point of the film conveyed with heart. If Gladstone wins, she will become the first Indigenous woman to take home best actress.

The other likely contender is Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse, the follow up to Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse of 2018. The film has been praised for being a successful sequel with gorgeous animation and a well paced story. However, its first installment won the award in the same category in 2019, making the likelihood of its sequel to win reduced.

However, controversy has been present due to Margot Robbie not receiving a nomination for her role in the blockbuster Barbie. Ryan Gosling, nominated in supporting actor for his performance as Ken, commented on the disparity expressing his disappointment over the lack of nomination for the actress. The media attention this gained has led to an overshadowing of actresses like Gladstone deserving of the win.

Best original song

Best director

Billie Eilish’s What Was I Made For? had a huge impact on both the charts and social media.

Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is sure to score him a second Oscar for Best Director. The film is adapted from David Grann’s novel Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, exploring a series of murders of a Native American tribe, Osage, in 1920s Oklahoma.

It topped the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, culminating at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is featured in an achingly beautiful scene in the Barbie movie and musically explores the uncertainty of life and the search for meaning beyond the roles and expectations imposed on oneself, reflecting Barbie’s (portrayed by Margot Robbie) journey towards self-discovery and understanding her place in the world.

Both the film and the novel follow the relations between the Osage Nation and the local political bosses looking to exploit the Osage’s tribal land after oil was discovered on that land. Because of this discovery of oil, the Osage people became the wealthiest people in the area, practically overnight, making the white men in the surrounding area mad with jealousy and greed. Scorsese’s direction of filming tradgedy in this movie is more than Oscar-worthy.

“I would really like to say that…I just want to dedicate [this song] to anyone who experiences hopelessness, the feeling of existential dread, and feeling like, what’s the point, why am I here, and why am I doing this?” Eilish said while accepting the Chairman’s Award for What Was I Made For? at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

His collaboration with actors and actresses like Leonard DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, and Cara Jade Myers tie the film together. Working with producers like Bradley Thomas and Dan Friedkint give audiences a movie filled with history, tragedy, and love. Scorsese’s direction of this movie, which combines so many different themes and perspectives, will definitely have him collecting an Oscar.

Best picture Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, is positioned as a strong frontrunner for the Best Picture category.

Best actor

The movie is visually striking; Nolan utilized the wide screen IMAX format in order to capture the detail and brilliance of both the deserts of New Mexico — where the majority of the movie takes place — and countless introspective close-ups, which are mainly of the titular character, J. Robert Oppenheimer (portrayed by Cillian Murphy).

Cillian Murphy’s explosive performance in the astonishing film Oppenheimer makes him frontrunner for the category of Best Actor. Murphy portrays the complicated and theoretical role of J. Robert Oppenheimer, highlighting the minute details of the man: the brilliant and tormented father of the atomic bomb.

The movie is more of a dramatization of Oppenheimer’s life than it is a retelling of the American attacks on Japan; the movie’s characters and events are symbolically and metaphorically significant to the main underlying message of the movie, which explores the human personality and the unforeseen and everlasting effects of decisions perpetuated by both individuals and societies.

Murphy is able to show Oppenheimer in all of his emotions, captivating audiences with a riveting performance. Oppenheimer’s key role in building the bomb that effectively ended World War II shines through Murphy’s ability to blend into the role. The moral dilemmas contrasted with the defining moments of modern human history, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, play out in the acting and facial expressions.

Performances from the main cast, which included Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon, were all especially well done and provided the emotion and intensity that the film called for. Oppenheimer is also already a heavily praised movie; the movie has already been awarded five Golden Globes.

Murphy switches back and forth from the brilliant creator of the atomic bomb to the mad scientist who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands people, giving audiences the satisfaction of watching the plot unfold. He has given a new life to his character in a more transforming way than perhaps the movie expected.

Due to both the quality of the film and the large societal impact it had, it is likely that Oppenheimer will be awarded the Best Picture award at the 2024 Oscars.







hard to see in the midst of cluttered urban houses, palm trees, and cars.


We wove through residential streets, nearing the location of the towers. I finally got a glimpse of the top of the tallest tower when we were about two blocks away. As we turned a corner and the bushy trees slid out of the way, the full towers came into view.

he Watts Towers are a sight to behold. Cone-shaped structures of varying heights — the tallest standing at almost 100 feet tall — spiral towards the sky like dropped ice cream cones in the community of Watts, Los Angeles. Each tower is mostly hollow, constructed only of a spiraling gridlike frame of steel bars and little else. The framework is smothered in a layer of mortar, creating a rough but finished look. One of the towers unique aspects, however, are the hundreds of thousands of tiny colorful objects pressed into the mortar — objects dubbed as “found junk.” The abstract mosaics make the towers glitter every color in the sunlight; black and white photos cannot do this effect justice. The sight was incomparable to anything I had seen before.

The towers were definitely tall. But, I have to say, when you have grown up in Los Angeles surrounded by skyscrapers that are tall enough to block out the sun, the Watts Towers do not seem quite as imposing as they have been described on travel websites. Still, the Watts Towers are the world’s largest single construction created by one individual and are certainly impressive, even if not so imposing. I stood and stared up at the towers for long enough that my neck began to ache.

Simon Rodia architected the towers in the early 1900s. An Italian immigrant, he arrived in the community of Watts in 1894 at age 15. Later, at 42 years old, he purchased an oddshaped triangular plot of land and began his masterpiece, which would take him 33 years to complete.

The word “towers” may be slightly misleading. The name implies, at least in my mind, something like Rapunzel’s tower or Tower Bridge: a building with walls and an empty interior that one can climb up into. The Watts Towers are not that.

Watts was a predominantly Black neighborhood in the early 1940s, and the towers served as a mark of pride for the impoverished neighborhood. Riots in 1965 destroyed much of the surrounding landscape, but the towers remained mainly untouched. In 1990, the towers were designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark; only about 2,600 total structures have been designated as such.

I would instead describe the Watts Towers as a collection of “spires,” which I think of as smaller, more decorative, and less functional than towers. The interior of each Watts structure was filled with supports, reminding me of an orderly set of laser maze beams.

The drive from South Pasadena to Watts took about half an hour on the bright Saturday morning that Rachel and I chose to go. I looked around as our car pulled off of Interstate 105, thinking that hundred-foot towers would be easy to spot from a few blocks away. As it turns out, thin and hollow towers covered in gray cement are extremely

The Watts Towers website talked of 17 major structures. As I counted from the ground, there were three spires that I was willing to categorize as “major,” each between 80 and 100 feet tall. Nine more spires ranged from 20 to 50 feet and were mere rods that rose from the ground with decorative peaks. Comparatively, the other five structures that the website had talked of were small enough to be missed, only about 10 feet tall with little decoration.


The three major towers seemed to each have a different architectural theme, with one’s supports orderly and gridlike and another’s wild and bubbly. All of the structures were interconnected by a domed, branching inner set of supports about 10 feet off the ground. With a paid tour, one can walk under these supports and look up at the interior supports of the towers. The mosaics on the towers were truly stunning. They were a different style of mosaic than the perfectly polished and square-cut stones that depict realistic images. The towers’ tiles were an expansive assortment of items, including but not limited to broken bottles, pottery vases, smooth rocks, rough rocks, seashells, teacups, china plates, bowls, and a lone 7 Up bottle. Color palettes for sections of mosaic seemed to be chosen semirandomly, some following a certain scheme and others an explosion of clashing colors. The triangular-shaped plot of land that the towers stand on is in the midst of a grassy park. A small cement amphitheater within the park featured a timeline carved into the ground that detailed Watts’ history. Despite their location in a little-known residential area, the towers have stood at the heart of social and economic movements that call for equality. They remain an important symbol of originality, innovation, and freedom for African-American and Latino communities, and their well-known effects on history attract many to the site each year. Rachel and I stayed for about 45 minutes, simply walking around the base of the towers as she took pictures and I scribbled down notes. The area was calm and quite peaceful, save for the occasional airplane flyover and train going by. The neighborhood seemed to be waking up as we left, dogs barking and cars honking as we drove out of the city and back to South Pasadena.




SPHS baseball swings for the fences Baseball looks to thrive during the 2024 season with team chemistry and energy.



PHS’s baseball started off their 2024 season by winning the non-league home game against El Rancho High School on Saturday, Feb. 10 with a score of 7-1. This season, the team will have a total of 19 players, consisting of seniors, juniors, and one sophomore. The team, led by head coach Jaime Garcia, is excited for this year’s season and aims towards their goal of winning the Rio Hondo League championship and winning CIF. The Tigers have been practicing on the field all year, along with training in the weight room three times a week. As they go into the season, they hope to motivate each other with their teamwork. “I think really the chemistry between all the guys last year [was great] because all the people that I was playing with, I loved all of them,” senior right fielder Devin Robinson said. “If you have great chemistry…I think it brings your team together better as a whole…the way that we played [was elevated because of how well we know each other].” The team will rely on one of their greatest strengths, pitching, as they go into their official season.

“Nolan Adams, who was a junior last year, pitched great. He was first team all league in the Rio Hondo League… we have a lot of great pitching,” Garcia said.

support each other on and off the field. Teammates have been playing together since freshman year, or even in the South Pasadena Little League.

The team has been training during the off-season and pre-season in preparation. Fall and winter consisted of weekly games, and in the summer, pitching coach John Seevers conducted a throwing program.

Garcia has been coaching at SPHS for seven years, and has coached many players since they were freshmen — another factor in the team’s strong atmosphere.

“[There are] guys who throw 93 [or] 95 miles per hour and I think in the Rio Hondo League it’s been a couple of years since we’ve…seen that, but there are some teams that do have some guys who throw like that, and we face those type of teams so it’s good to face them off in the off-season which we’ve never done,” Garcia said. Garcia believes that the team’s chances of winning this season are high. The team this year is extremely competitive, and Garcia thinks they have a shot at winning the league championship in addition to moving on to compete for the CIF Division 5 title. “I feel like we have a very talented group,” Garcia said. “I’ve been here seven years, six years as a varsity head coach, and I believe this will probably be the most talented team I’ve had in the six years I’ve been [coaching].” The team has developed strong chemistry in the time they have been playing together, and they continue to

Robinson and many of his teammates have known each other since they played in the Little League. With this strong team chemistry, they are able to support each other wholeheartedly both on and off the diamond. “We’re able to get into the mode whenever we want,” Robinson said. “I think everyone complimented each other really well…once we start rolling, we’re not going to stop.” The team hopes to emerge victorious against San Marino and play well from the first pitch. After two first-round exits in the past two years, they hope to advance and eventually take the division title. The Tigers will play in their first home tournament game against the Arroyo Knights on Friday, Feb. 16, which will then be followed by another tournament game against the Pasadena Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 17. Their third tournament game will be played against the Cathedral Phantoms on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Ignorance of the abuse of animals in leisure and sport STORY MORGAN SUN ILLUSTRATION SUNHYE (SUNNY) CHOI Animal sports were an event in the Greek Olympic Games as early as 664 B.C. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing began in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Blood sports surged in popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages, including bears, bulls, dogs, and cocks fighting with each other in various forums. However, just because the fight does not end in slaughter, does not mean that the sport should be acceptable. Animals that are already exploited for entertainment and sport do not deserve to be mistreated in the industry by injury and neglect. In modern day, horse racing is one of the most common gambling sports with animals. Bullfighting, dogfighting, and cockfighting are also heavily prevalent in LatinAmerican and Asian countries, though dogfighting and cockfighting are illegal in the U.S. Bullfighting is not outright banned in the U.S., only a so-called bloodless form is legal, where it does not end with killing the bull.

Not only is the injury and death rate in horse racing concerning, but the use of whips as well. Whips can play a role in keeping both the rider and horse safe, leading the horse away from danger or getting its attention. It was long thought that horses, with thicker skin and backsides, could not feel the pain from a whip. However, newfound research opposes these well-worn ideas, revealing that horses and humans have no significant difference in the skin layer, and horses can feel as much pain as a human when being whipped. “Repeated strikes of the whip in horses that are fatigued as they end a race are likely to be distressing and cause suffering,” University of Sydney Professor McGreevy said. “A horse’s loss of agency as it undergoes

this kind of repeated treatment is thought to lead to learned helplessness.” There may be merits to using a whip for safety, but many riders still use the whip as encouragement during a race, hurting the horse in an attempt to go faster. A similar phenomenon occurs in the entertainment industry, especially with companies such as SeaWorld. In 2013, the documentary Blackfish was released where it followed the life of Tilikum, a 12,000-pound orca that killed a trainer by dragging her into a pool at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. The film implied that orcas become more aggressive in captivity and in the controversy that followed, SeaWorld halted its orca breeding program. However, it is not merely orcas who suffer in captivity. Many of the large aquatic mammals in SeaWorld have also demonstrated signs of chronic stress and boredom. Dolphins live in large, complex social groups and swim vast distances every day, but in captivity, they can only swim in endless circles inside tanks.

Two main versions of North American bullfighting exist. One of them was instituted after a ban on bullfighting in California of 1957 caused backlash in the PortugueseAmerican community. The animal is not actually injured as in a traditional corrida, but is instead stuck with velcro patches on its shoulders and the bullfighter throws velcrotipped lances at those patches. This practice involves intentionally irritating and provoking the animal, and there are many people in California (and elsewhere) who feel that this form of the sport should also be banned.

The Department of Agriculture cited the company for animal welfare violations during a scheduled inspection of SeaWorld Orlando in December of 2022. They discovered a dolphin “actively bleeding” from “many deep rake marks,” and excessive chlorine levels in the dolphin tanks. “In the wild, if there is aggression between two animals, they can simply swim away into the open ocean,” John Jett, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld Orlando said. “But in captivity, the animals are trapped, and what you find is dolphin-on-dolphin aggression that is manifested quite often in broken teeth and rakes up and down their bodies.”

Just as recently as 2023, an uproar was stirred from the deaths of seven horses at the home of the Kentucky Derby, where the safety of horse racing was once again called into question. Each time a series of deaths occur in the horse racing world, safety reforms are spread nationally. However, the injuries and deaths of horses in the sport are practically unavoidable. If a horse gets a leg injury, not only is its career in horse racing over, but its life is over as well. Horses get euthanized after a leg injury because of the near impossibility of recovery. Euthanization is therefore the merciful way to pass, but the deaths could be prevented by simply avoiding injury via racing altogether.

These animals are being used for the entertainment of the public, forced to perform in captivity. The conditions of the animals, in both the entertainment and sports industries, should not be ignored by the masses. Giving up gambling on races and a dolphin show with the family is a low cost for protecting the animals. Instead of being forced to race or perform, companies should instead focus their efforts on the rescue and conservation of the species — like SeaWorld should have been, all along.







outh Pasadena winter sports teams finished up their 2023–24 seasons by early February, and are transitioning into the offseason or continuing their playoff runs. Of five winter sports, the Tigers amassed a total of 73 wins and sent four teams to CIF section playoffs. Boys’ basketball won league for the first time in 30 years. Girls' basketball won their fourth straight league championship and went 10 games undefeated in the Rio Hondo League. Girls’ soccer finished fifth in league, and boys’ soccer and girls’ water polo were eliminated in the first round of playoffs. Boys' basketball lost their second round of CIF 73-74. Girls' basketball played in the Quarter Final on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Girls’ basketball Girls’ basketball swept their 2023–24 league season. The team’s season started in late November in a tournament, at which South Pasadena played public, private, and preparatory schools from all around the state. The Tigers left the tournament with a perfect 8-0 record, a great indication of how the rest of the season would turn out. The Tigers dominated each of their 10 Rio Hondo League games. The league opener against San Marino led to an 81-22 win, and in a game against Blair, the Tigers put up more than 90 points despite missing key players. A matchup against Monvovia in early January turned out to be a total blowout — the game closed with a final score of 121-10, a South Pasadena win of 111 points. After an 81-8 win over Blair, the Tigers finished league with a perfect 10-0 record. Both senior point guard Dylan Tse and junior shooting guard Kayla Boozer were named Player of the Game repeatedly throughout the season. Tse is currently ranked 35 nationally for Points Per 32. Boozer is currently ranked 10 nationally for Double-Doubles. The Tigers moved past their first round of CIF playoffs against Glendora 56-52 and hope to continue their playoffs run in the next round. They are currently ranked 61 in California.

Girls’ soccer

Boys’ soccer

Girls' soccer had a season of ups and downs, ending with an overall record of 4-7-2. The team, off to a strong start, began league play with a set of three wins from pre-season games and their Dec. 9 tournament. They secured a victory in one more game: their Dec. 15 match against La Cañada.

Boys' soccer completed their season with a 7-4-3 record, finishing third in Rio Hondo. The Tigers had a strong season, finishing it out with a complete win over Blair — a team they have consistently performed well against — in a 8-0 sweep.

The Tigers relied on their strong defense throughout the season, but consistently struggled to find the opposing team’s net. In league, this challenge showed in low scores and narrow losses. Senior captains Iris Pollard, Simone Assaf, and Zoe Kim led the way for the Tigers throughout the season. Junior goalie Ava Hartstein headed the team’s defense, blocking several shots per game.

The Tigers dominated the midfield throughout the season, aided especially by sophomore Sam Rodak and junior Emilio Gonzalez-Mosqueda. Seniors Joe Hwang and Sawyer Fox, along with junior Joel Kim, paved the way for the Tigers in offense. Sophomore goalkeeper Mick Dubester, juniors Leo Fiss and Ethan Kung, and senior Evan Takeda-Teer upheld a strong defense in the season.

The team, finishing fifth in the Rio Hondo League, did not make it to CIF this season. Despite this, the juniors, who will lead the team next year, have high hopes for next season.

The Tigers consistently performed well against San Marino, Blair, and Temple City, despite falling to rival La Cañada. The team did officially make it to CIF, but lost in the first round 1-2 against Chaminade.

Boys’ basketball

Girls’ water polo

The SPHS Boys’ basketball 2023-24 season finished with an overall record of 23-6. The team made it to CIF and ia currently ranked 90 in California and first in the Rio Hondo League with a record of 9-1. The team additionally is ranked 20 in California Division Three.

Girls' water polo had a successful 2023-24 winter season, ending their season ranked third in Rio Hondo League with a 14-11 overall record. They started off their season with two consecutive losses to John Burroughs High School and Flintridge Preparatory School, but followed those up with a four-game win streak.

The Tigers won their first non-league game on Nov. 17 against the Camarillo Scorpions with a score of 71-62. The team also won their first tournament game against the Alemany Warriors on Nov. 27 with a score of 82-76. A league game against San Marino Titans on Dec. 13 ended with a Tiger win of 112-76. Top performers of the season included senior Derek Peterson who made 92 total free throws, senior Russell Williams who contributed 21.1 points per game, junior Jack Madison who made 8.3 rebounds per game, and junior Sebastian Martinez who made an average of 3.7 assists a game. They played their final league game against Blair on Feb. 1 and left with a score of 93-49, entering CIF.

Two highlights were when the Tigers crushed both Marina High School and San Marino High School, winning both games 15-0. During the long-awaited South Pasadena and La Cañada game, they performed surprisingly well during the first half of the game but unfortunately fell through at the end, losing 5-10. The team was led by juniors Reese Buckley and Cleopatra Walker, and had two graduating seniors, Elizabeth Petty and Ellen Leung. The Tigers made their way to CIF and are currently ranked 10th in CIFSS Division Three. However, their run fell short in their first CIF game, where they lost 6-7 to Etiwanda at home.







Nak-nak! Who’s there?

The competitive game ended 56-52, qualifying the Tigers for round.

The exhibition

Girls’ basketball wins CIF round one


There’s an art exhibit I’ve wanted to go to for months, coming up soon. The art itself is a bit bittersweet, reminding me of someone I can barely look at without unintentionally flustering (and admittedly can’t stop seeing in my dreams), but I should go anyway accompanied or not. The idea is something about reclaiming those associations back, so they no longer belong to others — so I don’t feel sad listening to a playlist I made about them, and the songs become just songs. As another Valentine’s Day comes and goes, I don’t know if I feel particularly freed of obligation or am reminded again of how devoid I am of lasting connections of any kind. Maybe both. As of now, the majority of my past connections have been severed, perhaps for the best, and I cannot wait to go on to college to leave the city where I’ve experienced moments that still require time before I can look back on them again with fondness or even humor at my naivety.


score to 33-32, and the half closed with South Pasadena only a single point ahead of Glendora.


“It was really stressful,” Harada said. “We were stressed, but we were also really excited…that’s just how playoffs go.”

South Pasadena won the tip off and gained possession. The teams settled into a slow rhythm as players dribbled the ball up and down the court, with neither team able to score. A full minute passed. Glendora scored the first two points of the game at 6:58 in the first period.

Nervous tension had certainly been present in previous periods, but it really stood out during the third period. This was especially prevalent when none of four rebounded Tiger shot attempts made it through the basket. The Tigers took a slight lead 40-32 after Tse managed another two-pointer for the team. Minutes then passed with neither team able to sink any of their many shot attempts.

irls’ basketball went head-to-head with the Glendora Tartans in the first round of CIF playoffs in a home game on Thursday, Feb. 8. Two days later, they won their second round game against the Flintridge Prep Wolves.

Senior point guard Dylan Tse shot two free throws shortly after, both of which she easily made. Senior point guard Jamie Rain Kim then sank a threepointer from an impressive distance, bringing the Tigers’ lead up to 7-4. The Tartans called two timeouts in the next two minutes, and as the Tigers pulled ahead, the Tartans struggled to keep up. Junior point guard Mia Leach managed a three-pointer from a corner of the court that Glendora had neglected to defend. The Tigers began to define a lead after another three-pointer from Tse raised the score to 18-12. The period clock dipped below a minute as the Tartans slowly garnered points. Multiple Tiger fouls allowed the Tartans four free throw attempts, three of which they made. A Glendora two-pointer with two seconds left on the clock closed the first period with a dramatic 22-22 tie. The scores, again, stayed excruciatingly close during the second period. The Tartans started with possession of the ball, but a quick interception from junior shooting guard Kayla Boozer caught the Tartans off guard, which allowed Boozer to score the Tigers another two points, 24-22. A clean three-pointer from Glendora then brought the score to 24-25, and for the entirety of the next minute, each team was never more than a point behind the other. Suspense built up as the clock ticked down. A final free throw from senior shooting guard Yuzu Harada set the

Kim achieved a rebound and a two-pointer before the game entered another defensive stretch. Concerned by the lack of offense, the Tigers called a full timeout with just under three minutes on the period clock. The Tigers pulled ahead immediately after the timeout to take their largest lead of the game. A two-pointer from Tse whooshed through the net just as the period clock buzzed, bringing the score to 5236 and leaving the Tigers with a more satisfying score than previous periods. Point gain in the fourth period was extremely slow for South Pasadena — the Tigers gained only four additional points. Meanwhile, Glendora upped their game, leaving both players and spectators on edge. Glendora began a rolling streak of momentum and South Pasadena faltered, missing shots enough times for the Tigers to call another timeout. Still, Glendora continued to close the gap between the Tigers’ and the Tartans’ scores. The score was 55-50 with one minute left on the clock. A Glendora two-pointer upped the score to 55-52, bringing the Tartans one three-pointer away from a tie. A frenzied rush arose in the last 10 seconds of the game. Junior shooting guard Maddy Wong was awarded two free throws, and the gym hushed in anticipation. Her first shot bounced off the rim. But her second shot sailed through the hoop, and Tiger cheers erupted through the stands as the scoreboard flashed to 56-52, guaranteeing that Glendora would need at least two shots to tie the scores. Glendora was unable to score any points as the clock neared zero. The Tigers won the game 56-52.



There’s more...

Like the paintings intertwined to that someone I hope to reconnect with, I do want to remember — the benches at the park where I’ve spent hours laughing with friends, the cafes where I found the best mint iced lattes, the classrooms where I failed my tests while finding comfort in my classmates’ shared suffering — and hold no resentment for the not-so-great moments. But right now, they feel a little too raw to be funny stories or evoke any sort of fondness, as I am still filled with a sense of loss that makes it hard to come to classes that leave me painfully aware of my surface-level connections. Walking into stores, I am bombarded with reddish pink boxes of sweets, and cheesy heart-shaped items. When I was younger, I always assumed I would have someone to receive them from, or for me to give. Even recently, I bought giant bear plushies as gifts to friends I wanted to express my love and appreciation for, but can no longer do so as I don’t have these people anymore. I often think about my fault in those losses. Am I destined to lose everyone because of who I inherently am? This isn’t a victim situation — I accept them as situations I could’ve handled better but didn’t, and bear the guilt and constant wanting for the companionship I once had, romantic or otherwise. I miss the car rides and sunsets, conversations about boys and family and successes, comparisons of Spotify playlists, the feeling of joyful weightlessness that offered respite from everything else in the world. In a sense, did I choose to sacrifice them for immediate pleasures? Things I found more hope in? I don’t really know what I chose. I don’t know if I would make the same decisions, but it doesn’t help to regret alongside thorough reflection. That’s what I tell myself. For now, I’ve tried to reconnect to people I haven’t spent time with, which feels better. There is less of an expectation of who I was, and moreso acceptance of who I am, consciously. There is still time to forgive hurt and accept these people, possibly completely different now, back into a life that may be unrecognizable in a good way. In a month, I’ll hopefully ask that someone to accompany me to the exhibit, and the art will feel a little less mournful.












Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.