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L a Vista

September 27, 2013 1401 Artesia Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Vol LXIV, Issue 1

California switches to Common Core By Alex Wycoff Staff Writer

Mira Laing/ La Vista

OPERATION HOME COMING: Mira Costa juniors and seniors elected (from left) seniors Matt Stern, Shannon Sieminski, Mandy McKeegan, Emily Everhard, Matt Jones, Lillia Mora and Garret Greller, along with five others, to the 2013 Homecoming court, which Principal Dr. Ben Dale announced on Wednesday during fourth period.

ASB announces 2013 Homecoming Court By Emily Petillon Managing Editor Associated Student Body revealed the 2013 Homecoming Court princes and princesses on Wednesday during fourth period. Juniors and seniors elected 12 seniors for their service to the community. The princes are Chase Crandall, Teddy Friedman, Garrett Greller, Matt Jones, Kirk La and Matt Stern. The princesses include Emily Everhard, Makena McCarroll, Mandy McKeegan, Lillia Mora, Shannon Sieminski

and Shauna Yates. “Being voted onto the court is pretty exciting,” Stern said. “We have an awesome group, and I can’t wait for the games that ASB has planned.” The court will participate in different games and activities during lunch, such as rap battles and dance-offs, beginning on Oct. 3. “I’m honored to be nominated,” McCarroll said. “I look forward to dressing up and the games.” Participants will also perform a dance during a pep rally on Oct. 11, the day of the Homecoming

football game against West High School. “I think it’ll be fun when we get to choreograph our own moves and perform it in front of everyone,” Sieminski said. The court will also dress up in themed costumes during the same week. Seniors will vote for the Homecoming king and queen, who will be announced through a video during halftime. “I’m looking forward to making a Homecoming video,” Greller said. “I’ve wanted this since freshman year.”

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, Common Core State Standards will replace the Standardized Testing and Reporting in all California schools. California’s Board of Education first approved CCSS in 2010. This test is not nationally required, and states each have their own individual choice as to whether or not they use CCSS. “Although the CCSS is not a national set of standards, since the majority of the country will be taking it [CCSS], it will be very helpful while comparing test scores with other states,” Executive Director of Educational Services Carolyn Seaton said. The Academic Performance Index, the method used to rank schools based on STAR testing, will also be used for CCSS. “We want to keep improving,” Vice Principal Ian Drummond said. “Then again, our test scores are very good to begin with.” The Board of Education released the new standards for the English portion of CCSS, but other subjects are still being adjusted and will not be available to the administration for viewing until later this year. “Right now, it’s only available in a pilot form,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “There are sample questions, but until we see the test in 2015, it’s hard to say exactly

what will happen. However, I am looking forward to seeing how Costa students will do on the new test.” The key difference between STAR and CCSS is that CCSS is done online rather than with pencil and paper. It also focuses exclusively on mathematics and English. The Costa administration said that the test will feature more analytic questions than before. “Teachers often tell me that they can’t possibly teach all of their content areas standards, let alone teach them in depth,” Seaton said. “The CCSS are designed to be fewer in number and to require students to engage in higher order thinking skills.” Although the CCSS is said to be implemented as a better way to impose the necessary skills for college and beyond, students feel that a single test will not have any real impact. “I think disadvantages in college stem from the way students are taught to apply their knowledge, not the knowledge that they’re actually taught,” senior Brian Anschel said. The teachers and administration are hopeful and excited about the opportunity to better Costa and compete nationally with other high schools. “It will all depend on how it is weighted,” Dale said. “We always perform at a high level of excellence, and I think the change will definitely give us a chance to start killing it nationwide.”

Olson takes leave for credential issue By Dana Sternthal News Editor

Curran was a substitute teacher at Costa for five years prior to being a student teacher for economics teacher Chuck CurUnited States history teacher Cassidy rier last year. He also taught economics for Olson took a two-week to six-month leave two semesters in the Costa summer school of absence from teaching on Sept. 18 be- program. Curran received his social scicause of an unreleased issue concerning his ence credential this past summer. teaching credentials. “Both of my daughters went to school at Olson’s absence from the classroom will Mira Costa,” Curran said. “I have a lot of not affect the Costa baseball program ac- history with this school. I’m excited to be cording to Princia long-term substitute pal Dr. Ben Dale, “He’s working on his credential here.” as he will continue Many of Olson’s to coach full-time. issue with the state. I fully expect students believe his “Olson is still him to return to the classroom as absence will not affect the head coach of their class, and they soon as possible.” the baseball team,” believe their long-term Dale said. “He’s substitute will prove to Dr. Ben Dale down there every be a sufficient replaceMira Costa Principal sixth period doing ment. his job.” “I’m not worried While Olson is because I think Olson on leave, Mark Curran, a substitute teacher is a good teacher, and he will be back in with a social science credential, is taking time to finish the school year,” junior Carhis place. son Boden said. “Since the substitute has “He’s working out his credential issues taught classes before, he will be able to with the state,” Dale said. “I expect him to teach us until Olson returns.” return as soon as possible.” Olson was unavailable for comment.

Annie Gense /La Vista

STANDING IN A HALL OF FAME: (from left) Principal Dr. Ben Dale announces Costa Hall of Fame inductees Elroy Langs, Gary Hartzell, Kendra Gorlitsky, Antonio Carbayo, Mike Silva, Cliff Meidl, Casey Minor and Danny Strong on Friday at the second annual Distinguished Alumni assembly.

Costa honors Hall of Fame inductees Julia Difiori Theme Editor Costa held its second annual Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday to honor eight alumni for their achievements during their time at Costa and after graduation. The inductees included Antonio Carbayo, Kendra Fleagle Gorlinsky, Gary Hartzell, Elroy Lang, Cliff Meidl, Casey Miner, Mike Silva and Danny Strong. “I am very honored, humbled and above all, proud to be a part of the history of Mira Costa,” Lang said. The day included two separate assem-

blies, in which the inductees spoke about their experiences at Costa and successes later in life. “I had a wonderful experience attending Costa, so it’s very special to be inducted,” Strong said. Costa honored the inductees once again during the home football game against South High School that night. “Introducing the Hall of Famers at the assembly was one of the most rewarding things I have ever had the chance to do at Costa,” senior Teddy Friedman said. “It was great seeing all the love the alumnus had for the school.”



September 27, 2013







Minimum Day

Manhattan Beach City Council meeting in the council chambers at 6 p.m.



Band field tournament at South High School


Pacific Coast Highway/Aviation improvement meeting at 7 p.m. at the Hermosa Beach City Hall Chambers

Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board Workshop discussing 2013-14 goals at the MBUSD board room

5-Saturday Mira Laing/ La Vista

OCTOBER: 1-Tuesday

RA RA RIOT: The Mira Costa High School varsity cheer team practices its routines on Sept. 19 to prepare for the upcoming home football games.

Manhattan Beach 10K Run at 7:30 a.m.

5-6 Saturday-Sunday



Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Double Late Start: School begins at 10 a.m.

In ‘N Out Honor Roll Lunch


School Site Council meeting from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. in the administration office

Hermosa Day at the Beach Triathlon at 7 a.m. at the Hermosa pier




Club Day at lunch in quad

A/B Assembly Schedule from 12-1 p.m. at Waller Stadium for Pep Rally

CSU Application Workshop in College and Career Center at lunch

Manhattan Beach City Council/ Cultural Arts Commission Meeting at 6 p.m. in the Manhattan Beach council chambers


Homecoming football game at 7 p.m. at Waller Stadium

MBUSD board meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the district office

Hermosa Beach City Council meeting at the Hermosa Beach council chambers at 7 p.m.

SAT Exam (off campus)





PTSA Meeting at 12:30 p.m. in the guidance office conference room

Coordinating Council Meeting at lunch in the administration office

Manhattan Beach City Council meeting in council chambers at 6 p.m.

Oct. 11-12: Tournament at Torrey Pines Oct. 15: vs. Peninsula at Peninsula High

ton at 2:45 p.m.

Oct. 14: vs. Los Alamitos at MCHS at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16: vs. Palos Verdes at Palos Verdes

CAHSEE Testing for sophomores at 8 a.m. Financial aid presentation in auditorium at 7 p.m.

2-Wednesday CAHSEE Testing for juniors and seniors at 8 a.m.

4-Friday First Progress Report grades due

No school: Staff Developement Day

Manhattan Beach Ed Foundation college speaker Paul Kanarek from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Costa auditorium

Sports Girls Volleyball: Sept. 27: vs. Los Alamitos at MCHS at

5:30 p.m. Oct. 1: vs. Laguna Beach at Laguna Beach High School at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 2: vs. Palos Verdes at MCHS at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 10: vs. West Torrance at MCHS at 5:15 p.m.

On the Web:

School at 4:15 p.m. Oct. 17: vs. Redondo at MCHS at 7 p.m.

Girls Tennis:

Boys Football:

Mar at 3 p.m. Oct. 3: vs. West Torrance at MCHS at 3 p.m. Oct. 7: vs. Brentwood at Brentwood at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8: vs. Peninsula at Peninsula at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 9: vs. Cerritos High School at MCHS at 3 p.m. Oct. 10: vs. Redondo Union High School at 3 p.m. Oct. 15: vs Palos Verdes at Palos Verdes High School at 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 27: vs. Loyola at 7 p.m. at Los Angeles Valley College Oct. 4: vs. Newport Harbor at Newport Harbor High School at 7 p.m. Oct. 11: vs. West Torrance at Mira Costa at 7 p.m.

Girls Golf: Oct. 1: vs. Chadwick at Chester Washing-

Check out our website for a video of exclusive interviews with this year’s Mira Costa Hall of Fame inductees.

ton at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 2: vs. Chadwick at Rolling Hills Country Club at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 3: Burbank Tournament at DeBell at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 8: vs. Peninsula at Peninsula Valley Country Club at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 9: Knabe Cup Tournament at Lakewood at12:30 p.m. Oct. 10: vs. Peninsula at Chester Washington at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 15: vs. Redondo at Alondra Golf Course at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 17: vs. Redondo at Chester Washing-

Oct. 2: vs. Corona del Mar at Corona del

Boys Water Polo: Oct. 2: vs. West Torrance at MCHS at 3 p.m.

Oct. 3: vs. Montebello at MCHS at 3:15 p.m.

Oct. 4-5: Novice Tournament at MCHS

at 3 p.m. Oct. 8: vs. Peninsula High School at MCHS at 4 p.m. Oct. 10: vs. Redondo Union High School at MCHS at 3 p.m. Oct. 12: vs La Canada at MCHS at 4 p.m.

High School at 3 p.m.


Sara Feld/ La Vista

“ I think the new technology

has a lot of potential; however, I think it is a work in progress for teachers to be efficient using it. Christine Baral Math Teacher


September 27, 2013

La Vista


Robberies occur in Manhattan Beach By Talia Gerard, Allie King and Riaz Mamdani Staff Writers

Alex Daniels / La Vista

TOP OF THE CHARTS: Costa’s API score of 912 is displayed on Costa’s digital billboard. Despite dropping one point from last year, Costa remains one of the top schools in the state.

API Score for 2012-13 year drops one point By Aaron Schwab Staff Writer Mira Costa’s Academic Performance Index score of 912 was released on Aug. 29 for the 2012-13 school year, decreasing from last year’s API of 913. Despite dropping for the first time in 11 years, Costa still remains one of the top high schools in the state, ranking ten out of ten on the state scale in comparison to other schools. “We always perform at a high level of excellence,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “Both the teachers and the students always perform well.” Based on standards provided by the California Board of Education, the target API score for California high schools is 800. With a score of 912, Costa is well above the standard score. “They change the variables around each year,” Costa Vice Principal Ian Drummond said. “They’re constantly shifting the measurement to determine our API. I’m not concerned that we dropped one point.”

Many Costa students believe that their teachers are able to provide instruction that improves their academic level. “The level of education that we receive is so superb year after year,” junior Wyatt Wiggins said. “This allows us to reach our level of academic achievement.” Following the score decrease, the Costa administration feels that there is room for improvement in future years. “The evaluation process for the common core for the next few years will fluctuate,” Drummond said. “API’s may increase or everyone may drop. When we hit the 900s, it was very impressive, but we should keep improving more.” Next year, the API will be based on the Common Core Standards. Instead of the original system, the new standards test students’ understanding of a subject rather than memorization of facts. The Common Core State Board of Education sets standards for students from K-12. “We excel because we have great teachers and great students who are willing to learn,” Dale said.

about what happened and were very frightened and discombobulated when they came over after the incident,” junior Cameron Frye said. Many Manhattan Beach residents are In response to the recent amount of nervous about the amount of crime that has crime, the Manhattan Beach Police De- taken place in recent weeks. There was a partment has employed various programs shooting at 33rd and Highland on Aug. 10. to ensure the safety of the city. “I am more nervous now, especially beOne such program being offered is the cause a house at the top of my street was service of police officers coming to check recently robbed,” sophomore Renee Venup randomly on houses and securing the tura said. “My family and I are taking more surroundings to assure safety. The police precautions, such as setting the alarm when also have had officers drive around un- we leave the house and locking all doors marked cars and have coordinated with and windows.” other agencies such On Aug. 22, Costa as FBI Regional students Noah Delen“The best thing for the commu- bach, James Khulman, Taskforces. “Due to the con- nity to do is make sure they don’t and Jonathan Arensten cerned and ner- leave valuables unsecured or in were robbed at gunvous residents, point near Peck Avplain sight in your vehicle.” we have provided enue, between 6th and these options to 8th street. The robber John Loy help make our city confronted the students safer,” Manhatand took their cell School Resource Officer tan Beach Police phones. Chief Eve Irvine “Even the most said. “Any one of vigilant person can be us could be a victim in situations dealing robbed in this situation,” Costa School Rewith robbery or burglary. However, there source Officer John Loy said. “Anyone can has been no mass increase or decrease in get robbed; teachers, students, even cops crime since the highest crime rate year get robbed.” in Manhattan Beach, which was 2011.” According to Loy, residents of the city One recent crime was the home inva- are not being careful enough with their besion and burglary of Manhattan Beach longings, which makes them easy targets residents. The female victim, in her mid- for thieves. twenties, walked into the home while the “The best thing for the community to do intruders were ransacking the house, and is make sure they do not leave valuables they proceeded to tie her up. Her father, in unsecured or in plain sight, in your vehicle his mid-fifties, later walked in and was tied or around the outside of the house and to up as well. After the intruders left, the two keep garage doors shut and locked when victims managed to untie themselves and not in use,” Loy said. “Keep your doors rushed to their neighbor’s house, where and windows shut and locked when you they contacted the police. are not in your house, and report any suspi“My neighbors were in complete shock cious activity to the police immediately.”

New CCC counselors arrive at Costa By Kayla Knowles Staff Writer The Manhattan Beach Unified School District selected Megen Anspach and Kristi Branim as the new College and Career Center counselors in place of Gail Currey and Katherine Folkman, who both left Mira Costa last school year to pursue careers as private college counselors. Anspach and Branim both have prior experience in college advising from working at many different high schools as counselors. “When I was in high school, I didn’t have the same sort of support that the CCC offers,” Branim said. “I feel that if programs such as the CCC were made important when I went to school, I would not have been confused as to what

I wanted to do with my life. An entire conflict could have definitely been avoided.” Anspach received a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts and psychology, and Branim received a Master’s Degree in counseling. They were chosen from a pool of 250 applicants. “They were hired because they were the best fit for the job,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “They are going to do a great job. They know how to handle students and parents and are very upbeat and welcoming to everyone who comes in.” The CCC is a school program that gives students access to college information and career choices. The counselors play a role in the program by providing the tools necessary for students to

Geoffrey St. John /La Vista

COMPASSIONATE COUNSELORS: New CCC counselors Kristi Branim (left) and Megen Anspach (right) were hired strarting this school year to replace former CCC counselors Gail Currey and Katherine Folkman.

seek help and advice. “I became an educator because I love being involved with young people,” Branim said “I wanted to do something that had a greater connection to people.” Anspach and Branim are in the process of coming up with new ways to assess what they must change and accomplish to maintain the program’s achievements. “It’s a bit frustrating to have new counselors, only because they aren’t used to working with Costa kids,” senior Nicole Tordella said. “I think that once they get more experience under their belt, it’ll be easier for everyone.” Since the CCC has been a success in assisting students enroll in four-year universities, few changes are going into affect with the new counselors. They feel the most important part of their work at Costa is to make themselves as available to students as possible. “We are a good fit,” Anspach said. “We coordinate well together which is important to create good relationships with parents and students.” Dale believes that with the addition of counselors Anspach and Branim, the CCC is expected to be a success. “Like the previous CCC counselors, they will continue the successful program,” Dale said. “They will continue to make improvements and changes that will fit our school for the best.”

Hannah DaGiau / La Vista

HOCUS POCUS: (from left) Junior Julia McDermott, senior Estefania Freire, junior Ryan Fiene and sophomore Miranda Baldo will star in the Mira Costa Drama Department’s fall play, “The Crucible.”

Drama prepares for fall play By Oliver Gable Staff Writer The Mira Costa Drama Department fall play, “The Crucible,” opens on Nov. 1. Sophomore Madeline Huggins, senior Matt Sena, and juniors Julia McDermott and Ryan Fiene will play the main characters of Betty Paris, John Proctor, Abigail Williams and Reverend Samuel. “I am very excited to be performing ‘The Crucible’ this year,” McDermott said. “We hope it will do as well as other plays have in the past.” The drama students have character workshops for a couple of days with Cathy Bear, an improv instructor who has her own comedy team, “The Groundlings.” Bear helps the students develop their character and instructs them while practicing their scenes.

“We chose ‘The Crucible’ because we feel it is a classic, wellknown piece that will be a great challenge for the students to perform,” drama instructor Carol Mathews said. “We are also hoping to get the History and English departments involved with the production of the play due to its historical relevance in both subjects and position on the junior summer reading list.” The Drama Department is trying to create a four-year plan of different styles, genres, and shows for the Drama Department. The goal of this program is to provide a wider variety of genres for students. “We want to provide the opportunities for students to participate in different styles of theater,” Mathews said. “This way students will be able to act in a larger variety of theater.”

4 La Vista News Hermosa Beach holds oil drilling discussions By Mai Nojima Circulation Editor The City of Hermosa Beach invited its residents to express their thoughts concerning the potential oil drilling by E&B Natural Resources in Hermosa Beach on Sept. 12 and 23. The first meeting in the Clark Building focused on what the residents want for Hermosa Beach in the future. Representative from the urban planning firm CZB facilitated a discussion among residents, which included various interactive exercises and discussions that were focused on what kind of lifestyle residents want. “We want to see how decisions, such as oil, will fit in to the quality of life in Hermosa,” Hermosa City Manager Tom Bakaly said. Representatives from Kosmont Companies, who are in charge of the Cost/Benefit analysis and Health Impact Assessment for Hermosa Oil, held the second meeting at the Hermosa Beach Community Theatre. At the meeting, the public provided its opinion on what should be in the Cost/Benefit Analysis and Health Impact Assessment. The analysis will evaluate the potential fiscal impacts on the city under the proposed oil settlement, which is set to be presented in January. The Health Impact Assessment will identify potential health consequences from the oil production. “The things we are doing to ed-

ucate the public are not required by law,” Hermosa Beach Mayor Patrick Bobko said. “We want to educate people more so they can make the best decision possible.” A representative from Kosmont Companies also spoke at the meeting about what the residents will expect to gain or lose with the implementation of oil drilling. If voters choose to leave the oil-drilling ban, there will be a $17.5 million settlement payment that the city will have to fund. If voters choose to repeal the oil drilling ban, potential oil and gas reserves, royalties and costs to the city will be considered. “There is big cost that is associated with the drilling that will affect the royalties that is going to be paid to the city,” committee chair of Keep Hermosa Hermosa Stacy Armato said. The HIA gave an overview presentation on health issues pertaining to Hermosa oil drilling. HIA will be investigating potential is-

sues over the course of the next few months and McDaniel Lambert, a company that specializes in environmental risk, will write the investigation. “We are responsible for not only the land we live on, but also the ocean, and the oil drilling can affect the health and well being of our oceans,” Hermosa Beach resident Chris Miller said. Keep Hermosa Hermosa is an active group hoping to ensure a safe and green future for Hermosa Beach by keeping E&B Natural Resources out of the city. “Right now, it is a big informational process,” Keep Hermosa Hermosa representative Kevin Sousa said. “We are trying to get the youth involved. We have them informed on how an oil processing plant will affect their lives.” The final vote for the oil issue will be held next November. “Ultimately, what matters is that the residents get to vote on this issue,” Bobko said.

Lisa Valicente/ La Vista

DRIPPING DANGERS: Hermosa Beach resident and spokesperson for Keep Hermosa Hermosa Kevin Sousa (left) and other Hermosa residents participate in an exercise at a meeting in the Clark Building on Sept. 12.

September 27, 2013

Annie Gense/ La Vista

ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT: Los Angeles Director of Community Programming for Interactive-Activism Katie-Jay Scott (left) spoke to Mira Costa Model UN students about the survivors of the Darfur genocide.

I-Act speaks to MUN students By Madeline Taylor Staff Writer Three spokesmen from the nonprofit organization InteractiveActivism spoke to Mira Costa’s Model United Nations classes on Sept. 17. Katie-Jay Scott, Los Angeles director of community programming, spoke to the students about her work with survivors of the Darfur genocide. I-Act aims to support 300,000 Darfurian refugees that are living in 12 different camps along the weapon-protected borders of Chad and Darfur and do not receive any government support. “We have no hope inside of these refugee camps,” Darfurian refugee Abdul said in an I-Act video interview. “The international community is our only hope.”

“The team was not in Iraq to win, but to inspire the world and the other refugees at home,” physical therapist for the team Dr. Alexandra Nuttall-Smith said. Scott and Nuttall-Smith informed MUN students on how to get involved in the program. “It’s so easy to get involved,” junior Remi Dayton said. “You can help by donating money or gently used soccer equipment, and I am definitely interested.” I-Act encouraged the Costa students to do their part to better the lives of the Darfurians. The students’ contributions add to the help the Darfurian United Academy already gives to the refugees. “I really encourage the students to help with the cause,” Model United Nations advisor Bob Timberlake said. “Their interest will help the refugees thrive.”

Teacher contracts will reopen By Kellie Mullin Staff Writer The Manhattan Beach Unified School District and the Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association are planning to begin negotiations concerning the teacher contract proposals for 2013-14. According to the proposals, MBUSD is looking to change teacher evaluation procedures and the school calendar, while MBUTA is hoping to alter working hours and distribution of assignments for its Union members and discuss the release time provisions and how to respond to students leaving school for religious purposes. Both MBUSD and MBUTA proposed that higher salary and benefit adjustments should be addressed. “All the items that are reopeners are items that we’d like to see some resolution on,” MBUTA President Shawn Chen said. “Salary is at the top of our list.” According to the proposals, the overall

goal of these contract reopeners is to maintain a sound budget focused on maximizing student achievement. This includes creating a learning environment with sufficient teachers and resources. “My main hope for negotiations is that we can sit down and quickly find a common ground,” MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews said. “I also hope that we can have this conversation between adults in a way so that students are not impacted at all by our negotiations.” The fiscal impact has yet to be determined from the finalization of the contracts. The passing of Proposition 30 on Sept. 3 is expected to generate over $6 billion in revenue for California’s school systems. According to Chen, this may create more leeway in the discussion for raising teacher salaries. “It’s the first time in about seven years that there has been an increase in funding,” Chen said. “This should affect the negotiations if common sense prevails.”

Second lockdown drill proves successful By Alex Wycoff Staff Writer The Mira Costa administration held a second morning lockdown drill on Sept. 13 to fix security inconsistencies that occurred in the first Sept. 12 drill. During the first drill, many teachers ignored the lockdown and didn’t lock their doors, and security did not respond to the red cards posted in some teachers’ windows, which indicate an injured student. “It wasn’t up to our standard the first time, but the second drill was as perfect as I could have expected it to be,” Costa Prin-

cipal Dr. Ben Dale said. Despite the need for two lockdown drills, the Costa administration and security have assured both students and staff that the campus is safe. “We didn’t do a full mock-up drill because it wasn’t the protocol.” Dale said. The administration scheduled the drills so that teachers and students could adjust to proper lockdown procedures in the new math and science building. “If teachers and students prepare properly, it could help save their lives tremendously,” School Resource Officer John Loy said.


September 27, 2013

La Vista


MBUSD transitions to PowerSchool move to PowerSchool provides our teachers, our parents and our students with a web-based data The Manhattan Beach Uni- system that is used by districts fied School District switched in around the world.” August to PowerSchool, a new MBUSD began to discuss the student information system that switch, but the decision to switch condenses the previous student was made in early August. After information programs into one. the decision was final, teachers PowerSchool incorporates the and administrators were told the functions of Aeries, Gradebook transfer of systems would take Wizard, Intouch, Infosnap, and place at the beginning of the Illuminate, which the district school year. previously used, into one soft“The only disadvantage that ware. Because all of MBUSD is I can see at this point is that we converting are trying to Powto get ev“Although we had some prob- e r y t h i n g erSchool, there will lems with PowerSchool this year, ready while no longer next year it will make schedul- school is be differing easier for everyone, which in session, ent student which is makes the switch beneficial.” information never idesystems at al,” Costa each school Vice PrinDeborah Hofreiter level in cipal Jaime Vice Principal MBUSD. Mancilla “We were looking for more of said. “I am confident that within a one-stop shop for all of our stu- a few months, things will be rundent information system needs,” ning smoothly.” Costa Prinicpal Dr. Ben Dale Not only must the transition be said. made while school is in session, A committee of counselors, but teachers were only offered administrators, teachers, office one workshop to be trained in personnel and technology ex- PowerSchool prior to the school perts began meeting last year to year. According to some teachers, determine what to do with the this has made the transition exout-dated grading and scheduling tremely difficult. systems. “Although I used PowerSchool “We requested proposals from at my previous teaching job, I major student information sys- think it would be extremely benetem vendors, and they presented ficial to have more than one Powtheir products to the entire com- erSchool training workshop for mittee,” MBUSD Superintendent teachers,” Advanced Placement Dr. Michael Matthews said. “This Biology Jessica Bledsoe said. By Julia Sheth Theme Editor

Delaney Kluth/La Vista

SMARTY PANTS: (from left) Seniors Ryan Gulland, Milo Davis, Stephanie Caridad, Austin Yamada, and Matthew Wenner qualified to be National Merit Scholar semifinalists and are in the running for various prestigious scholarships.

Students receive National Merit Scholar Semifinalists By Kellie Mullin Staff Writer Mira Costa seniors Stephanie Caridad, Milo Davis, Ryan Gulland, Matthew Wenner, and Austin Yamada became National Merit Scholar semifinalists on Sept. 11 after placing in the top one percent of all California students who took the Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test last October. The PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for high school students throughout the United States based on PSAT scores. There are approximately 1.5 million entrants every year. Usually, there are about 15,000 semifinalists, 8,000 of whom become finalists and receive a scholarship. Once semifinalists are chosen,

they have to complete an application which shows their academic achievement. “Receiving my score and knowing I would qualify for National Merit was really exciting,” Gulland said. Any junior who takes the test in October qualifies for the National Merit Scholarship. “The National Merit Scholarship wasn’t on my radar when I took the PSAT,” Caridad said. “Receiving my score and being named a semifinalist was a mindboggling surprise.” In order to succeed at such a high level, Costa’s semifinalists used different methods of study. For some, minimal test preparation was required, while others studied extensively. “My end goal for the PSAT was to qualify for the National Merit,” Gulland said. “I did over ten

practice tests for the English and Critical Reading sections.” In February of 2014, the National Merit Scholarship Foundation will notify the semifinalists by mail if they have been chosen to be finalists. Finalists will be presented with a certificate from the National Merit Scholarship Program and are then automatically considered for either the National Merit $2,500 scholarship or the Corporate-Sponsored Merit scholarship, which awards between $500 to $10,000 a year Another option is the CollegeSponsored Merit scholarship, but the student must attend a college that offers this type of scholarship money to be considered. “My hope is that being a semifinalist will open doors for me further down the line when I make my final college decision,” Caridad said.

Costa deals with scheduling issues By Jessie Rosenfeld Staff Writer

Maha Samad/La Vista

FRESH FACES: (from left) Eliza Hynes and Keshia Fields are the new Student Academic Support counselors at Mira Costa. They work with the administration, staff and students to ensure student success.

New guidance counselors join Costa staff By Stacy Cruz Staff Writer Mira Costa added Keshia Fields and Eliza Hynes to the Student Academic Support program as the new support counselors for the 2013-14 school year. As recent arrivals to SAS, both new counselors seek to broaden and enhance the program to better help the students in SAS. “They’ll be working with our SAS students,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “They’re, in theory, just like the CCC and are going to continue the great program.” As counselors, Fields and Hynes work on scheduling and one-on-one counseling with students. They also team up with teachers, fellow counselors and administrators to construct gradu-

ation and college plans. “We work closely with the Academic Support teachers to implement the SAS curriculum into the classroom,” Fields said. “We teach weekly lessons, and the topics we cover vary from academic tools and skills, to social skills, to career planning.” Fields and Hynes are also the representatives for Costa at the bi-monthly School Attendance Review Board meetings, where they assist students with attendance and behavior problems. They also counsel students with 504 plans or with mental, psychological or physical disabilities. “Our goal is to increase motivation, to help students build on their strengths, and to understand the value of knowledge, learning and growing,” Fields said.

The SAS program is designed to help students complete homework during school hours so that they can better understand the material. Counselors come in during the week to aid students and assist them with their work. “The program is so amazing because it gives you time to do work and study for tests, which you don’t usually get to do during school,” sophomore and SAS student Ryan Quigley said. According to Dale, the SAS program is expected to remain as helpful as students have found it in the past with the addition of the new counselors. “We are both thrilled to be the new Academic Support counselors and feel so lucky to be a part of Mira Costa High School.” Fields said.

The transfer of student information to Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s new student organization system PowerSchool slowed the Mira Costa registration process, according to Vice Principal Deborah Hofreiter for the 2013-14 school year. The MBUSD organization system that arranges scheduling was switched to PowerSchool in August. Between Aug. 20 and 23, students had to change their schedules as a result of scheduling mistakes and conflicts that were not originally handled by PowerSchool. “There are problems in schedules every year,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “The fact that we were rolling in a new student information system made correcting it take longer.” According to Hofreiter, when student data was put into PowerSchool from Aries, PowerSchool was unable to find mistakes in student schedules. Since mistakes could not be detected, there was an overload of students in some classes and some students had class periods missing. “Scheduling issues are something that we need to address and not something we want to have usually, but I think next year is going to be a lot smoother” Hofreiter said. According to Hofreiter, as many

as ten Mira Costa staff members were on PowerSchool at the time manually inputting student schedule information, causing the computers to be slower and the scheduling process to be longer. “Our priority is to make sure every student’s schedule allows them to have what they need,” guidance counselor Sue Bertran said. “We want students to have as many options as possible.” To correct oversized classes, the administration asked for volunteers to switch out of large classes. However, because not enough students volunteered, the administration chose students randomly to switch. “The decision was generally made after a conversation between myself and the head of that department,” Costa Vice Principal Ian Drummond said. “Any students that were switched out of a class were randomly chosen to move, but it would also have to work into their schedule.” Next year, students will choose their classes off PowerSchool online, so PowerSchool will be able to decide on how classes should be arranged for each course to avoid scheduling conflicts. “Once we get PowerSchool smoothly integrated into Manhattan Beach schools, it will be a much better system,” Hofreiter said. “You can look in one place for your attendance, grades, assignments, and schedule and all of it will be one log in.”



La Vista

September 27, 2013

Varied use of Sparknotes allows for improved student understanding By Sara Feld Calendar Editor Costa students’ use of Sparknotes, an educational aid website, should be allowed, but limited soley to educational support and summary, through proper navigation of the website. Sparknotes, when used as a supplement to the assigned reading, can be a great study tool to help students understand the original text they previously read. As stated by, the website is a source to help students learn, not to help students cheat. In fact, Sparknotes’ goal is to have students use its site to help them comprehend literature. English teacher Jonathan Westerberg believes that students should try not to use any other source outside of the text, but on the other hand, texts are challenging and utilizing an outside source

is often helpful. Students need to be able to use sources like Sparknotes cautiously to supplement their understanding of assigned work. Recently, some English teachers gave their students surveys that asked questions such as if they read their summer reading or relied on other sources. They gave these surveys partially out of curiosity as well as to understand their students’ knowledge, or behaviors, Julia Chambers/ La Vista coming into the school year. Understandably, the use of a survey shows faculty concern with the overuse of outside resources. According to English De-

partment Co-Chair Pam Jenning, Sparknotes should never be used. She tells her students at various points throughout the year not to use any outside research unless she makes it part of the assignment. Jenning wants her students to become more comfortable with interpreting the text on their own. Although overuse can be harmful to a student’s learning, by not encouraging students to think for themselves, the use of Sparknotes and other outside learning sources should not be prohibited due to its ability to aid students who struggle with comprehension. Novels written in Early Modern English, such as all Shake-

spearian works, are difficult for students to comprehend, making outside sources a helpful resource. Sparknotes provides excellent explanations and translations of these novels, allowing students to better understand literature and remain accurate in their reading. Sometimes, students are unable to follow the plot structure, inhibiting their ability to delve into the meaning behind the words. In this case, non-textual sources can act as a take-home instructor, aiming to clarify students’ confusions and misinterpretations so they can focus more on their own analysis. In order to prevent over use of Sparknotes, teachers should familiarize themselves with the key content of Sparknotes and test their students on topics not covered by the website. Teachers can then recognize whether a student is copying word for word what Sparknotes summarizes or if

they are using it as a supplement. This will prevent the abuse of this website and ensure that students learn how to use it properly. Alternatively, students should steer away from the analysis section of the website, which provides in-depth thinking on novels, in order to explore their own ideas and conclusions. Summaries and character lists should be the primary use of Sparknotes, due to the fact that reading outside analysis of novels hinders a student’s ability to develop interpretation skills. Sparknotes is a beneficial site when students use it solely as a reference to supplement original texts. Teachers should allow the use of Sparknotes, yet employ cautionary tactics to discourage the abuse of provided analysis. Limiting their use of Sparknotes, will aid students’ reading accuracy and high-level thinking.

Online advice and therapy proves beneficial Shannon Perez Staff Writer

patients to avoid speaking to a specialist in person, which caters to clients who cannot drive, people who don’t have enough time for a traditional session or anyone who is hesitant to see a counselor in person. This makes appointments at specific times and locations unnecessary, attracting people who are constantly on the go. According to Costa students, it is difficult to find time to see a therapist. However, spending the short amount of time to respond to an e-mail sent by an e-counselor would be well worth the time. The privacy regarding online counseling is also an attractive aspect. Individuals who are too

Online therapy is a newly emerging method of treatment and is proving to be a more rewarding and beneficial alternative to traditional therapy. Most online counseling methods are structured around the questions the clients pose to the professionals, which provides information for the expert so the best answer may be given. Some websites such as and provide a range of treatment options online from professional forums to one on one virtual interaction. These individualized systems inPeople seeking advice or help volve a client communicating directly with a profes- from an online therapist should sionally chosen therapist, proceed with confidence. via e-mail or text message. The advantages of online coun- shy or frightened to face someone seling, the most obvious of which don’t have the initial discomfort are the convenience and remote when presenting a problem that access of an online therapist, pro- could be potentially embarrassvide a basis for this innovative ing. After a virtual relationship solution. According to Costa psy- is formed, more comprehensive chologist Janet Allen, both adults diagnostics of the clients feeland students are constantly en- ings and thoughts are possible grossed in their devices, illustrat- due to the established history and ing the promise of this technolog- breadth of information. ical alternative. This would allow Arguably, there is a question of

security and credibility regarding an online counselor. However, many prominent websites, such as and, have hand-selected accredited therapists who simply continue their practice outside of the office. According to, potential online therapists go through intensive screening and background checks in order to check their credibility. After this intense process, an individually selected therapist is chosen based on the client’s needs. As stated by, the most important thing is to find what each individual is comfortable with. With its ability to cater to individuals in a timely and accurate manner, the internet has provided a powerful method to connect larger and more diverse audiences with guidance, support and advice. Ultimately, people seeking advice or help from an online therapist should proceed with confidence. The unique opportunities that these virtual sessions provide create an equally if not an exceedingly positive experience that traditional therapeutic sessions would offer.

Top Ten Ways to Get Down a Crowded Hall 10. Use coach Lee’s playbook to get down the hall. 9. Gather some friends and do the Mighty Ducks flying VFormation. 8. Don’t wear deodorant. 7. Get a riot shield. It gets gnarly in there. 6. Close your eyes and just pray that you make it through. 5. Wait until the crowd disperses. It’s worth being late to class; they can’t take attendance correctly anyway. 4. Grab hold of a senior’s back pack and hold on for dear life. 3. Throw on some Jordans and leap over the crowd. 2. We’ve heard the AP Art History textbook is big enough to be used as a plow. 1. Grow a beard. Wear a robe. And simply part that sea of people. Jack Allen, Aaron Chelliah, Maddie Nerad/ Opinion Editors Shaylyn Austin/ Editor-in-Chief

MBUSD’s recent addition of PowerSchool will be advantageous to Costa By McKenna Berry Staff Writer Mira Costa’s transition from GradebookWizard to PowerSchool, although not yet completed, will be a more efficient system, with easier access to students’ grades, schedules and teachers’ everyday necessities. Beginning 18 months ago, technology experts and a committee of counselors, administrators, teachers and office personnel met to determine the logistics of the switch to PowerSchool. In the past, Costa has used GradebookWizard, Infosnap, InTouch, Illuminate and Aries to record grades and student records. Now, all of these systems have been compiled into one. As stated by Manhattan Beach Unifed School District Superintendent

Dr. Michael Matthews, having throughout all of middle school, several systems was not efficient. and she found it to be more useful Previously, parents with mul- than GradebookWizard. Having tiple children would have to man- all local schools on this system age more than one account and will provide a shorter adjustment possibly learn to navigate mul- period for incoming students and tiple websites because Costa used parents. GradebookWizard and ManhatPrincipal Dr. Ben Dale stated tan Beach Middle School used that the school was looking for Edline. a “oneOn PowThe new and improved system will s t o p erSchool, offer an easier way to go about day-to s h o p ” parents for all of -day tasks and issues. only need C o s t a ’s to adjust to student information system one system and can conveniently needs, and PowerSchool was the monitor all their children on one one that fit the criteria. Before account. school started, the administration Compared to other local held a teacher workshop to teach schools, Mira Costa is late in its the faculty the specifics of the transition to the PowerSchool new system. This workshop was system. According to former Her- a beneficial tool to help teachers mosa Valley sophomore Miranda adjust, but it will take more than Baldo, PowerSchool was used one to get teachers fully acclimat-

ed to the progam. Although PowerSchool has the potential to be a more productive system in the long-run, it is not easy to have a whole district transition to a new student information system within the first weeks of school. According to many teachers, with so many changes occurring at Costa at the same time, getting used to this program will be challenging. Despite the difficulties, strong communication between administrators and teachers will ensure a manageable transition. According to Mira Costa guidance counselors Sue Bertran and Jennifer Woodie, Mira Costa’s scheduling staff did not know what program they would be using for scheduling for the beginning of the school year. However, Matthews claims that the summer

was always the target for the rollover. This lack of communication caused confusion amongst the staff members and has resulted in a lengthy rollover period. Students did not receive their account information until the fifth week of school, making it difficult to monitor their first quarter grades. Despite the uncertainty about the rollover date, many teachers and counselors have had a positive attitude toward learning all of the new techniques. It is important that more workshops are offered so the staff can become familiar with the system as soon as possible. Despite the initial challenge of switching to PowerSchool, having a more efficient and concise student information system will benefit parents and students in the near future.


September 27, 2013

La Vista



Is the use of new technology on Mira Costa’s campus for better or worse?

This year, Costa made many technological changes, including the introduction of Mac Book Pro lap tops and Eno boards for each classroom in the new math and science building. There are also Wi-Fi access points in every classroom, providing campus-wide coverage and accessibility. Along with these advancements, the newly implemented Mobile Device Initiative encourages students to bring their personal devices into the classroom. Costa’s transition toward “21st-Century Learning” proves both promising and challenging to the campus as a whole.


Technology will provide in-class freedom


Costa lacks strategy for new technology

By Jack Allen Executive Opinion Editor

By Aaron Chelliah any information as to how the school will Any student who cannot afford a device Opinion Editor aid this endeavor besides school-wide Wior does not wish to use one on an everyday Fi. At Manhattan Beach Middle School, basis can borrow an iPad from the adminMira Costa’s Moble Device Intiative, ac- istration by emailing Dale. The administraWhile Mira Costa’s innovative transition there is a substantial set of applications companied by various new technological tion’s foresight on this issue will easily acto the widespread use of devices and tech- used by the students to enhance their eduadvancements, An optimistic staff will benefit this pro- commodate every nology in the new math and science build- cational experience, none of which high will surely bening is forward thinking, it is overwhelming school students have been notified or even student on campus cess and help students become more inteefit all members to teachers and students and is unsupported advised about for the Mobile Device Inias necessary. It grated with new equipment as well. of the Costa by a cohesive plan. tiative. Additionally, some teachers have will also allow for community and will allow for more edu- students to test how an iPad can aid their One of the primary new technologies fea- confided that they are wary of allowing cational freedom on and off campus. tured in the new building is the Eno board, iPads and mobile devices into classrooms learning abilities to see if it appeals to him Although many are concerned with or her before purchasing one. which allows teachers to use the electronic because of the distraction they pose. students becoming distracted by their board as a white board and as an interactive Even the transition to the Macbook Pro, However, if the administration own personal devices such as iPads and wishes to entirely depend on descreen. This innovation which seems relatively insignificant, has laptops, there are many ways to prevent vices for Costa’s academic exis an effort to keep up created large problems for the teachers in this issue. English teacher Jonathan West- perience, sessions or lessons with the recent wave the new math and science building. The erberg utilizes a red card and green card to teach students about useful of technological change change to the new Apple-based systems system in which no devices can be used applications and educational that has been sweeping is intimidating to the less technologically while the red card at the front of the room programs would be benefithrough not only Man- savvy, and is time consuming even for the is showing. This ensures the attentiveness cial. Students need to be able hattan Beach, but the technologically inclined due to the comof students during specific periods of class to use their devices to their entire country. How- pletely foreign nature of the software. time, allowing for teachers to lecture or full potential, and this should ever, the implementaAccording to a few new building faculty give instructions free from distraction. tion of this technology members, this disparagement between Mabe taught during school hours. According to Mira Costa Principal Dr. Dale is open to utilizing “Midis incredibly hindered cintosh and Microsoft also makes it diffiBen Dale, teachers are “ready, willing and way Day,” this year’s version of by the fact that Costa cult to transfer files, control other devices able” to utilize this new technology, but “May Day,” in February to teach has not provided enough in the room, and execute things as simple time must be allowed for the faculty to students the educational advantraining for teachers on as Powerpoint presentations. These trivial learn and grow with it. If Dale’s optomis- tage of technological devices. how to use these new, for- problems occur frequently throughout the tic outlook on the faculty proves true, it eign devices. During these teaching ses- Julia Chambers/ La Vista day, yet the primary technological support will certainly help the overall integration sions, students should also be Dale acknowledged this prob- for teachers is via e-mail, which can take of technology. lem and stated there is help for those who an entire day to be responded to. taught how to easily organize assignments With the implementation of new Eno and tests on a device. Having notes, asask, and primarily believes teachers should To truly address the issue, Costa needs boards in the math and science building, signments and other important items help each other and learn from their peers. designated technological officials to not teachers can now teach with a digital styl- digitally organized in programs such as Several teachers in the new building, who only help the transition go smoothly for the ist, therefore making instructional web- Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote not have developed their teaching style over teachers, but also to provide a solid founsites, photos and videos easily displayable only leaves a paperless and eco-friendly multiple decades, are now forced to ac- dation of how and when students should from a teacher’s individually-issued lap- trail, but also provides a server-based commodate these new machines with no use their mobile devices to enhance their top. Evidently, this will promote the use back-up system for work that is lost or left pretense of how to operate them. With only learning process without distracting from of outside sources which will supplement at home. Leaving an assignment at home two isolated train- These changes will only slow down instruction. By textbooks and everyday learning materials or losing one entirely is always a possiing sections, a establishing proclass curriculums and hinder, rath- ficiency early on, in class. number of respectblility when work is completed with pen For teachers who prefer traditional and paper, and devices easily prevent this ed and award- er than support, the learning here Costa can create a teaching styles, there are alternate uses for common mistake. winning teachers at Costa. culture of efficient Eno boards. Instead, they can be used as are overwhelmed, rather than enamoured, technological innovation in the future. Costa’s current technological advancea third whiteboard in the classroom. This ments will surely benefit the student body by the new advancements in technology. These technological changes at Costa, allows each individual teacher to choose and faculty with the vast expanse of eduAdditionally, the concept of encouraging more specifically in the new math and scithe amount of technology he or she wants cational tools it carries. With individual students to bring devices is commendable ence building, have been implemented in to integrate into the classroom and also devices, students now have the ability to in theory, but in actuality, the school has far too rapid of a succession to work effiprovides a back-up teaching method in the personalize their methods of studying and done little to make this aspiration a real- ciently. These changes will only slow down event that the technology malfunctions or all aspects of learning that would otherity. Dale was adamant that the future of the class curriculums and hinder, rather than fails during school. school is in the iPad, but he did not provide supplement, students’ learning at Costa. wise not be available.

Roving Reporter

Is the use of new technology on Mira Costa’s campus better for students?

“Yes, it is a great improvement because we, as students, have a wider source of knowledge for homework and reports.”

Zoee Dalis Freshman

“Yes, I think that it’s a lot more convenient now that we have the technology. It makes the lessons easier to understand.”

Audrie Loucks Sophomore

Lisa Valicente/ La Vista

“It will eventually be a great tool, once there is time to test what works and when teachers get a chance to innovate.”

“No, because there will be too many distractions associated with new technology in the classroom.”

Stacy Cabrera English Teacher

Jonathan Tondo Junior

“No, the new technology has not made learning easier, and in fact, it’s been more of a distraction in class.”

Griffin Lay Senior

8 La Vista

Editors’ Note


September 27, 2013

Junior editor-in-chief carries on legacy and reputation Mira Costa High School 1401 Artesia Boulevard Manhattan Beach, California (310) 318-7337 ext 5233

By Taylor St. Germain Editor-in-Chief Over the last 63 years of La Vista’s production, a legacy of acclaimed editorsin-chief have gone in and out of room six and onto bigger and better things in the real world. With years of experience that have come before me, the standards are set pretty high. We have had editors go on to write for Harvard College’s Harvard Crimson, University of Southern California’s Daily Trojan and even get articles published by the Hollywood Reporter. Clearly, La Vista has shaped highly successful writers, to whom I hope to follow in their footsteps in the coming years. As a junior editor-in-chief, it feels as though the pressure is even greater. Managing an entire staff, editing every

September 27, 2013 Volume LXIV, Issue 1 Editors-in-Chief Shaylyn Austin Taylor St. Germain Managing Editor Emily Petillon Copy Editors Risha Rohera Casey Sublette News Editors Kate Robak, executive Gassia Ashikian Dana Sternthal Opinion Editors Jack Allen, executive Aaron Chelliah Maddie Nerad Arts Editors Ian Rapoport, executive TJ Ford Jack Howorth

to be a writer on the high school newspaper, and now, reality has exceeded my previous ambitions. As a junior, I am looking forward to the next two years of La Vista. With a majority of the staff being a part of the junior

Mira Costa needs clearer policies for student schedule issues

Theme Editors Courtney Hughey, executive Julia DiFiori Sameeha Jilani Quinn Kropschot Julia Sheth Sports Editors Katie Von Behren, executive Maddie Coate Sierra Williams Calendar Editor Sara Feld Photo Editors Nicole Fischer Emma Salzman Business Manager Chase Williams Circulation Editor Mai Nojima Adviser Michael McAvin Staff Writers McKenna Beery, Kathryn Belknap, Madison Braybrooke, Alec Carlson, Megan Chelliah, Ashely Cohen, Daniela Coe-McNamara, Stacy Cruz, Alexandra Daniels, Catherine Drinker, Adam Enomoto, Lilly Fabian, Brendan Fisher, Mackenzie French, Cameron Frye, Eric Furth, Oliver Gable, Kelly Gallagher, Carly Gaspari, Talia Gerard, Janessa Gonzalez, Warren Gordon, Cameron Ibrahim, Jamie Kellleher, Pardis Khorasani, Allison King, Delaney Kluth, Kayla Knowles, Naomi Kruh, William Kuhns, Michael Lebbin, Maya MacGregor, Riaz Mamdani, Diego Marcucci, Jessica Miller, Annabelle Mirhashemi, Kellie Mullin, Rolando Nichols, Yuka Noda, Kara Patman, Shannon Perez, Samantha Pinsky, Anna Real, Claire Regenstreif, Juliana Riverin, Jessie Rosenfeld, Will Sevy, Cate Schiff, Aaron Schwab, Quin Severo, William Sevy, Madi Taylor, Amanda Tsao, Elizabeth Tsuang, Jacob Verkeet, Corey Vikser, Bobby Wymbs, Alex Wyckoff Photographers Niku Asgari, Hannah DaGiau, Annie Gense, Mira Laing, Maha Samed, Geoffrey St. John, Lisa Valicente Editorial Board Jack Allen, Gassia Ashkikian, Shaylyn Austin, Aaron Chelliah, Maddie Nerad, Emily Petillon, Kate Robak, Risha Rohera, Dana Sternthal, Taylor St. Germain, Casey Sublette Disclaimer: LA VISTA is the student newspaper of Mira Costa High School, serving 2,700 students in grades 9-12. Content, which is the responsibility of the LA VISTA staff, is not subject to administrative approval. Unsigned editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper, while opinion columns represent only the writers’ views. Advertisements do not necessarily reflect the views of LA VISTA. LA VISTA publishes 10 issues throughout the school year on a tri-weekly basis and distributes 3,000 copies to both Mira Costa classrooms and subscribers. LA VISTA is associated with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and welcomes signed letters to the editor on topical issues from

MCHS community. They may be mailed to Michael McAvin in the administration building mailbox or sent to Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Please contact for any issues regarding corrections. the

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With a majority of the staff being a part of the junior class, I hope to see improvement in such an inexperienced staff.

class, I hope to see improvement in such an inexperienced staff. I cannot wait to see us transform into excellence over the next couple years. With the close of our first issue, I have realized how truly fortunate La Vista is to have such an impressive staff of young writers and editors (even if it takes us a couple hours to come up with a clever kicker). The drive to learn, the ability to challenge and debate one another and the capability to be efficient is going to help us uphold previous years’ standards and, hopefully, excel. Throughout the coming year, my coeditor, Shaylyn Austin, and I have decided to make La Vista a learning and growing experience. Our staff is prepared to learn from our predecessors, develop and hone our skills and make La Vista 2013-14 the best year yet.

Staff Editorial

Life Editors Emily Lockwood, executive Ari Gevov Sabrina Pickett

Mission Statement: LA VISTA

sections’ pages and producing a 20-page newspaper is not an easy task, especially with the added work of junior year. In the midst of preparing for the SAT and trying to cram in AP’s, La Vista production weeks surely take a toll. Though with the added stress, comes a huge honor. Becoming La Vista’s editor-inchief is not only humbling but completely surreal. Ever since I was young, I wanted



providing only the highest quality reporting while maintaining a strict standard of journalistic integrity and providing its readers with relevant content.

The Mira Costa administration handled the scheduling conflicts resulting from the Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s decision to switch from the program Aeries to PowerSchool fairly but needs to look into creating uniform and flexible student transfer policies. The transition to PowerSchool did not occur until late August because of confusion between MBUSD and Costa’s scheduling staff. According to Mira Costa guidance counselors Sue Bertran and Jennifer Woodie, they did not find out which system they would be using until midAugust. This delay did not leave the administration with enough time to balance classes before schedules were issued. According to Woodie, it takes counselors twice as long to change a student’s schedule using PowerSchool than previous schedule systems. In addition, PowerSchool’s data is not compatible with Aries, inhibiting PowerSchool from recognizing large class sizes when the initial transition took place. When seeking to decrease class sizes, according to Vice Principal Ian Drummond, the administration first asked for volunteers to switch out of the large classes. If no one volunteered, then the adminis-

tration would randomly choose students, allowing no possibility for students to contend. While this was not the best case scenario, it was the only equitable way to handle the unfortunate situation. Due to the situation at hand, students who are forced to transfer out of classes need to be granted flexibility regarding their integration into a new teacher’s classroom. In cases where students are forced to switch teachers, Costa needs to develop a standard policy for transferring grades from the students’ previous to c urrent E F /L V classes. According to Drummond, teachers are encouraged by the administration to take the student’s previous grade into consideration but are not required to do so. Requirement of grade transferring would ensure that all transferring students are treated equally. As students are making their transitions, they must keep in mind that they are not the only body affected by class size alteraric




Staff Editorial

tions. Teachers must take on the burden of helping these students catch up with the rest of the class. Drummond claims that make-up work is also under teacher discretion. This has the potential to be unreasonable if students have a limited time to make up work that their classmates have already completed, while also being expected to keep up with the current curriculum. Regardless, students must be courteous toward those attempting to accommodate their needs. Students should be responsible for approaching their new teacher to discuss difficult aspects of their new schedule. In reciprocation, the administration should strongly suggest a policy in which teachers are open to flexible and personalized make-up work deadlines. It is evident that the administration is dealing with class size changes in an appropriate manner given the poor circumstances caused by the district’s decision to change the scheduling system at an inconvenient time. While students should remain level-headed and reasonable when transferring into their new class, Costa needs to develop uniformity and promote a flexible make-up work strategy that ensures student comfort and adequate integration into a new class.

Costa needs to establish new tardy policy during construction

Because of complications, such as over- to get from one classroom to the next. Adcrowded hallways, that have arisen from ditionally, after polling 64 students, 53 current and upcoming construction at of them responded that construction has Costa, the administration needs to imple- directly affected their ability to arrive on ment reforms that make the commute of time to class. Considering this small majorteachers and students around the campus ity of students shows that students do actumore efficient. ally struggle to get to their classes within With the implementation of Measure BB, Costa was able to construct a new The administration must implement math and science building and remodel necessary reforms to maintain its a majority of its classrooms. Although Measure BB has had a positive impact high standard of safety. by creating a more modern educational facility, it poses problems regarding a stu- the time allotted, accommodations such as dent’s ability to get to his or her class on extended passing periods or a lenient tardy time. According to Advanced Placement policy need to be put in place for the reBiology teacher Jessica Bledsoe, students maining duration of construction. often arrive late to class or arrive as the bell In order to accommodate the student sounds covered in sweat. Students should body, passing periods must be increased to not be penalized for tardiness that is out of either seven or eight minutes. An extra mintheir control and should be accommodated ute would allow students to reach their class appropriately due to this inconvenience. on time and would not dramatically affect With the arrival of the new math and sci- teachers’ plans, considering construction is ence building and the increased use of por- supposed to end early winter. Ultimately, tables, some students have to travel from this would result in the extention of school one side of campus to the other within six days by about seven minutes. minutes. Heavy traffic in the new building If changing bell schedules is too difficult and in the locker halls because of limited or unreasonable, the administration should entry adds to the time it takes for students temporarily amend its tardy policy to be

more lenient while construction is still in progress. Students arriving late to class because of congestion caused by construction in their path should not be penalized. In order to ensure that a lenient tardy policy is not abused and is kept honest, teachers should be advised to allow only a one to two-minute cushion for students who have to commute long distances. Clearly, a discussion between the student and teacher, regarding a student’s inability to arrive on time, would need to take place in order for this policy to remain honest. According to Bledsoe, she has spoken to several of her students who have to cross the campus to get to her class from the portable rooms. Bledsoe and a number of her students, through courteous communication, reached an agreement to account for understandable tardiness. This is a logical approach to the problems that construction has created for students and should be an example of how to handle this situation. Ultimately, Costa’s administration needs to accommodate for and address significant problems caused by the ongoing construction and should implement necessary reforms regarding student tardiness until construction comes to a resolution.


September 27, 2013

La Vista


Mira Costa inducts alumni into the Costa Hall of Fame By Naomi Kruh Staff Writer Most people think about students graduating from Mira Costa and moving a prestigious college, but nobody really wonders what they do once they move on from their lives in education. Last year, Mira Costa created a Hall of Fame to honor distinguished alumni who have accomplished outstanding achievements. Eight new members were inducted on Sept. 20 at the second annual Hall of Fame ceremony. “All of the potential inductees had extremely fantastic characteristics, but the chosen inductees stood out for their leadership, their service to the community and accolades they acclaimed,” Student Body President Kirk La said. A selection committee made up of administrators and faculty members determined the 2013 Hall of Fame class.The eight inductees are Elroy Lang, Gary Hartzell, Kendra Fleagle Gorlitsky, Antonio Carbayo, Mike Silva, Cliff Meidl, Casey Minor and Danny Strong. Lang, a member of Costa’s first graduating class to attend all four years, taught for decades in Costa’s Social Studies Department as well as local colleges such as El Camino, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. He laid the foundation for the competitive interscholastic surf program that is now popular across the South Bay. “My favorite part of Mira Costa

Annie Gense/ La Vista

Hall of Fame: Mira Costa held its second annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sept. 20. The eight inductees were (from left) Elroy Lang, Gary Hartzell, Kendra Fleagle Gorlitsky, Antonio Carbayo, Mike Silva, Cliff Meidl, Casey Minor, and Danny Strong. was being involved in the incredible diversity of our student enrollment,” Lang said, “Every day was an adventure.” Hartzell initiated Costa’s AP History program in the early 1980s. He is one of the only eight people to speak at the White House Conference in 2002 and remains on the advisory board of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. “The years I worked at Costa were years of personal fulfillment drawn from working with people who had the same goal,” Hartzell said. “The goal was to make Costa great.” Gorlitsky graduated in 1969

and was the editor-in-chief of La Vista. Currently, Gorlitsky supervises students as Clinical Professor of Medicine at USC and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Carbayo is a member of the 1969 graduating class. He attended the University of California, Irvine and was a graduate of the Post Baccalaureate program. Speaking both English and Spanish, he provides medical service to an underserved population in Santa Ana. “It is a huge honor to have my story told as I know it will help those who are making important life decisions,” Carbayo said.

“Kids need to believe that no dream is unattainable if one is willing to work hard for it.” Silva graduated from Costa in 1979. He served as an attorney and then chief of staff for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, playing a role in international finance for the United States government, including time in Iraq working to stabilize its Central Bank. Meidl, from the graduating class of 1984, nearly lost his life in a construction accident where three live electrical cables sent 30,000 volts of electricity through his body, causing damage to his legs. He then underwent 17 medical procedures and was able to

walk again. He took up kayaking and competed in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Georgia, as well as the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. “Being inducted into the MCHS Hall of Fame is an incredible honor for me,” Meidl said. “I’m proud to be a graduate of a great educational institution.” Miner, who graduated in 1988, dedicated 20 years of service to the United States Army. He developed a resiliency program that helped soldiers learn about effective coping skills to deal with stress. Miner was recognized with two Bronze Star medals and four Meritorious Service medals. “I think my biggest accomplishment since Costa is realizing life isn’t about me and that since not all people have the same opportunities, I have an obligation to help in anyway I can,” Miner said. Costa 1992 graduate Strong is an actor and an Emmy-winning writer. Some of his credits include “Pleasantville,” “Seinfeld,” “Nip/ Tuck” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” He earned an Emmy nomination and won the Writers Guild Award for his screenplay, “Recount,” an HBO movie about the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. Once construction at Mira Costa is complete, Dale is hoping to create a memorial to honor the members of the Hall of Fame. “Eventually we will get a place on campus where we put all of their names,” Dale said. “Something like a Walk of Fame.”

Junior Jordan Cohn travels to Israel By Maya MacGregor Staff Writer Riding camels through the desert, floating in the Dead Sea and training with the Israeli army is not a typical summer for a Costa student, but junior Jordan Cohn went on this once-in-a-lifetime, month-long trip to Israel this past summer. Cohn signed up for this excursion with friends that she met at Camp Hess Kramer through the North American Federation of Temple Youth. Cohn was given the option for this trip because at CHK there is a gap year between one’s last year as a camper and the time one becomes a counselor in training. She chose the Adventure Program, which takes members on a four-week summer journey. “I have a better understanding of Israel and its history, which I was able to experi-

Courtesy Jordan Cohn

WOrld traveler: Junior Jordan Cohn traveled to Israel over the summer to learn more about the Israeli culture during her gap year at Camp Hess Kramer.

ence with my friends,” Cohn said. Cohn swam in the Mediterranean Sea, hiked through the Negev desert and climbed Mt. Shlomo. She visited several places including the modern coastal city of Tel Aviv and the ancient city of Jerusalem. “Everything is very safe and organized there,” Cohn said. “It doesn’t feel like there is a threat all the time.” As a part of the Adventure Program, Cohn was able to choose a week-long special interest experience. Cohn trained at an army base where she learned how to shoot M-16’s, practiced the army crawl and camoflauge and ran eveywhere they went. “It was incredible to see such camaraderie, and I don’t think I would have ever gotten to see and participate in such a physical and mental challenge anywhere else,” Cohn said. “It was the most challenging thing and rewarding thing I have ever done.” According to Cohn’s parents, they sent her on this trip expecting her to gain new perspectives and more knowledge about Israel’s past and present. “Jordan forged a deeper sense of understanding of what it means to be Jewish and learned to make positive personal choices while gaining independence traveling from home,” Cohn’s mother, Lora Cohn, said. Cohn believes her trip changed her perspective on life. She connected with her friends from camp over this experience, and together they learned about their Jewish heritage. Cohn has decided to go back again to Israel next summer. “It really changed my views of Israel after being immersed in their culture and seeing for myself what I’d been hearing and taught for so many years,” Cohn said. “Now I see why we practice our customs the way we do,” Cohn said.

Lisa Valicente/ La Vista

going back to school: Jessica Wiseman is not only a Mira Costa alumna, but she is also a new English teacher on campus this year. She plans to encorporate technology into her classroom.

English Department welcomes Wiseman By Shannon Perez Staff Writer For most students graduating, high school is their chance to look to the future and forget their time spent in the classroom. Costa alumna Jessica Wiseman, who graduated in 2008, found herself back on campus in a new teaching role. “I feel like in a lot of ways, things really lined up for me, and it feels right being back,” Wiseman said. “I’m behind the scenes now, and I see so much of how the school works. Teaching is very different from being a student.” Wiseman attended Bard College to attain her Bachelor’s Degree and Columbia University for graduate school. She taught for five years at the Young Woman’s Leadership School of East Harlem in New York. “Jessica was clearly the best candidate and a great addition to the Mira Costa faculty,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. One of Wiseman’s major goals is to not only educate students academically, but to teach and empower them to find confidence

in who they are as their own person. “The biggest lesson, maybe the theme of my life, has been that you don’t have to be like anyone else,” Wiseman said. “You have to do your own thing. And above all, I value authenticity and honesty.” While at Costa, Wiseman played the violin at Carnegie Hall and was also a part of the literary magazine Reflections, with current English teacher Shannon Vaughan. “We have had other teachers at Mira Costa who graduated from here at some point,” Vaughn said. “It is wonderful to see them come full circle.” According to Wiseman, after being in New York for college, graduate school and for teaching, it was time to come back to Los Angeles to get back to her roots and create teaching opportunites at Costa. “Costa has added some new buildings, but for the most part it doesn’t look or feel that different,” Wiseman said. “I feel so lucky to be new, but also to know my way around. A lot of my old teachers are here, and I’m grateful to have them as mentors and supporters of my teaching.”

Constructing a new costa

Roving Reporter Do you think the new math and science building is beneficial to the educational experience at Costa?

Progress has been made. What is next to come in the Measure BB construction project? Compiled by: Courtney Hughey/ Executive Theme Editor, Julia DiFiori, Sameeha Jiliani, Quinn Kropschot, and Julia Sheth/ Theme Editors and Jamie Kelleher/ Staff Writer

“Solar panels are being investigated but would tion of multiple English, foreign language and The Measure BB construction project, which qualify under Prop. 39,” VanderPoorte said. “There Learning Center classes into the remodeled finger consists of three phases of renovations, is entering were not enough funds under Measure BB for solar buildings. These newly-emptied English classPhase Two with the completion of the new, techno- panels. The science building’s roof is ready for rooms will then undergo improvements to evenlogically-integrated math and science building. solar panels. We are also looking at putting solar tually house a student store, media arts room and Manhattan Beach residents “The project will leave us panels near the pool.” social science classrooms once the modernizations approved this three-year long Originally, Dec. 31, 2013 was are completed. with a true 21st-century the appointed completion date “All phases of the Measure BB project are proconstruction bond in 2008, which funds plans for replac- learning environment for for the entire project. However, jected to be completed by October of 2015,” ing Costa’s outdated facilidue to unforeseen electrical wir- Bagley said. “Though that seems like a long time our students.” ties, improving the existing ing issues during the construction from now, it will be here before we know it, and finger buildings, creating a of the math and science building the project will leave us with a true 21st-century Dr. Rick Bagley, new outdoor common area and tentative plans for additional learning environment for our students.” and upgrading the campus- MBUSD Deputy Superin- installations, the newly-expected After classes are moved into the remodeled buildwide IT framework. completion date is set for the fall ings, the demolition of the administration building, tendent “The projects at the high of 2015. the remaining English classrooms and the mainteschool are on time and on “We, the teachers, understand nance room will begin. The clearance of the English budget, as the science building, Phase One, is com- that it is not easy to get a major project done at buildings will make room for a new central quad plete,” MBUSD Board President Ida VanderPoorte the correct time,” Manhattan Beach Unified Teach- area with new landscape and hardscape. A multisaid. “For this reason, the board is very happy with ers’ Association President Shawn Chen said. “But, purpose hall, including a stage and seating area for the construction project.” there are a lot of unplanned events that could have varying student activities, will be added at the west Phase One, the construction of the new math and been wrapped up in a neater end of the new commons and a “The new building has exscience building, which was completed in August, fashion.” new satellite food service will was the most expensive of the projects. Phase Two of construction ceeded all of our expecta- be located on the left-hand side “All of the teachers in the new building are includes upgrading existing of the outdoor stage. tions and is a great example equipped with the best technology to improve the north finger buildings A, M “The commons will make it overall learning environment,” Mira Costa Princi- and N, which is currently oc- of how to integrate new tech- a more cohesive place to hang pal Dr. Ben Dale said. “The new building has ex- curring, and the classrooms nology into our curriculum.” out with other students, because ceeded all of our expectations and is an excellent attached to the administraright now they are all spread out example of how to integrate new technology into tion building. Improvements across the campus,” Dale said. Principal Dr. Ben Dale our curriculum.” include remodeling the roofs, “The new commons will bring Initially, renovations were designed to adhere adding energy-saving solar us all together into one, centralto Leadership in Energy and Environmental De- panels and new windows and installing new, state- ized location.” sign Gold Standards, an organization dedicated to of-the-art air conditioning and heating systems. With the completion of the last phase of the projawarding building projects for energy efficiency “The school’s contractor is confident about an ect, the entire renovation project is expected to be and environmental design. However, due to a de- early January move-in date for the finger build- completed no later than fall of 2015. creased amount of funding, these plans will be car- ings,” Bagley said. “However, it is more realistic “In spite of the inconvenience, Mira Costa will ried out in the future once funds are available. The to prepare for a later move-in date in order to en- benefit from the construction,” VanderPoorte said. MBUSD believes that the addition of solar pan- sure that everything is ready.” “The new building creates an educational enviels onto the building’s roof would qualify for the After the renovations of the finger buildings are ronment that enriches the experience of both the acceptance of funds that may be allocated under complete, Phase Three will begin with the reloca- teachers and students.” Proposition 39.





Emma Lindberg Freshman

Sam Jones Sophomore

“No, because it’s farther away from the other buildings, and I’m late to class a lot.”

“Yes, it is larger and more spacious than the older buildings. It is also very clean.”

Franchesca Dutra Senior “ No, it is not more beneficial to my learning. They’re still the same classes, just in a different place.”

Courtesy This computer-generated image demonstrates what the Costa campus will look like once all renovations under Measure BB are complete. At this point, the project is expected to be done by the fall of 2015.

Building A New Costa, Block by Block


Kai Borich Junior “Yes, it makes learning more fun because of the interactive use of technology.”

Phase One

Phase Two

The new math and science building was completed in time for the first day of the 2013-14 school year. The rooms are larger with bigger desks, glass windows and Eno Interactive white boards, which are the only environmentally-certified interactive white boards. They are made of recycled materials and do not draw power from power outlets.

The renovation of the finger buildings includes a retrofitting to make them more earthquake-resistant and the addition of new technology and chairs. The estimated completion date of the finger buildings is between the end of the first semester and winter break of 2013-14. Lisa

Phase Three

sy Courte



nte /

La V


Karl Kurz Science Teacher Yes, it is a much nicer class than my old one.



The new quad and cafeteria area will be a wide space where students will be able to meet and eat lunch and snack together. The new quad will create a sense of student unity and, hopefully, there will be a bonding between grades, according to Principal Dr. Ben Dale. The new quad is the last phase of construction and is projected to be done in the fall of 2015.



La Vista

September 27, 2013

Katherine Folkman and Gail Currey take their college knowledge to new heights By Alec Carlson Staff Writer Moving from a school setting to a private practice, former College and Career Center counselors Gail Currey and Katherine Folkman found new ways to help teens find their way into college. Currey and Folkman left Costa last year and are each working for separate college counseling companies. Folkman is working for Collegewise a private company owned by Princeton Review and Currey started her own college counseling company. “I was given a terrific opportunity that I couldn’t resist,” Folkman said. “I am now a private college counselor and the co-director of the Collegewise South Bay office in the Riviera Village.” The Collegewise offices provide counselors for college applicants and their families to help them stay organized throughout the process of applying to college. “Folkman has really helped me throughout the process of applying to college,” senior Nicole Tordella said. “She does a great job creating a stress-free environment and making the application process much more enjoyable. I leave her office feeling confident and excited for my future.” Currey has also started her own college counseling business called Gail Currey College Counseling. She helps students find colleges

Geoffrey St. John/ La Vista

a college career: Former Costa College and Career counselors Gail Currey (not pictured) and Katherine Folkman (above) are working for new companies to guide high school seniors through the college application process. that are a good fit for the student academically, socially, geographically and financially. “I want to work in greater depth with a smaller number of students, so I can really get to know them, create an individual plan for their high school years and help them become strong candidates for college admission,” Currey said. Together, these two counselors guided Costa seniors through the college application process for the past five years They helped students admit into colleges and

universities throughout the United States and to countries abroad that were right for them. “I am thankful for both of these counselors,” senior Morgan Mancuso said. “Had it not been for them, my application experience would have taken twice as long and been a much larger pain.” Former MBUSD Superintendent Beverly Rohr hired Currey. Her job was to improve and restructure the CCC and make it a place where students felt comfortable coming when they had

questions or needed help. “During our time here, we created a new college and career curriculum for freshmen through seniors and more than tripled the number of visiting college representatives,” Currey said. “I also created the CCC website.” Both Currey and Folkman gave classroom presentations to all grade levels and had individual meetings with students and their parents to help them understand the aspects of the college admission process.

“I enjoyed the college admissions side of my job as well as helping the students find the right college for them and also providing clarity throughout the nuances of the application process,” Folkman said. The two also coordinated and ran the Scholarship Notebook program, culminating with the Senior Recognition event at the end of each school year. The scholarship notebook is a personal profile that seniors create in order to receive scholarships for their college tuition. “I also helped create College Knowledge Night, coordinated the Boeing Summer Internship Program, administered the book awards and other awards for juniors, visited universities in the United States and around the world to familiarize them with our students and presented at state and national conferences,” Currey said. Although the days spent in the CCC were busy helping seniors find their way, Folkman and Currey expressed that there were bigger and better things for them to help students find a school that fits for them. “I really enjoyed getting to know the students and their parents,” Folkman said. “I very strongly believe in the philosophy of finding the right fit and helping families realize that there are many college options available to students.”


September 27, 2013

La Vista

Hanna Watkins takes soccer to Vietnam generate income. She also worked to build new housing in the village. “It was the most rewarding feeling to be It seems that most high school clubs meet able to help these people, and I have never for only a few minutes during the lunch pe- been so happy,” Watkins said. “The job riod each week. Costa sophomore Hanna was simple, I was working to make people Watkins invested time outside of the lunch smile and give them a better life.” period when she spent two weeks of her Before Watkins traveled to Vietnam, summer bridging cultures and enhancing Kleats for Kids focused on donating to lothe lives of children in Vietnam. cal schools in the Los Angeles area. AcWatkins, sophomore Brooke Gleason cording to Watkins, Gleason and Major, and sophomore Danielle Major founded the club is now able to expand its services Kleats for worldwide. Kids in fall “It was of 2012, a great for our club at Costa club to colthat collect so much lects sports equipment equipment for Hanna to and soctake,” club cer jerseys member for undersophomore Courtesy Hanna Watkins Hannah Orprivileged children. tega said. KICKING IT IN VIETNAM: (Center) Kleats for Kids Club PresiThrough “Going to dent sophomore Hanna Watkins (above) traveled to Vietnam for a service Vi e t n a m two weeks to teach children English and soccer. group called was an Youthlinc, Watkins traveled to Song Cau, amazing experience for Hanna.” Vietnam for two weeks to deliver equipDuring her time in Vietnam, Watkins ment the work of the club. was able to break the language barrier and “I wanted to see the world and help connect with the kids she taught. She found people at the same time,” Watkins said. the members of the village to be open and “This trip seemed like an opportunity to do welcoming to her. both.” “It was one of the most special experiIn Vietnam, Watkins taught children ences of my life,” Watkins said. “I formed English, played soccer and helped estab- relationships with some of the kids as if lish profitable programs for the village. they were my [own] siblings.” “My contribution to the community were In addition to changing the lives of the the Kleats for Kids soccer balls, jerseys, people in the village, Watkins claims that mini goals and equipment,” Watkins said. her own life was changed. She hopes to “The kids loved the soccer stuff. They incorporate service into her future travels. went crazy [about it].” “I have gained a greater knowledge of Watkins assisted in setting up a system the world and its opportunities,” Watkins called Micro Committee in which some said. “I have learned that I will always villagers in Song Cau were given a cow to [have a tendency] to help others.”


By Carly Gaspari Staff Writer

Katie Belknap/ La Vista

ni hao, chANG: Pauline Chang (above) is Costa’s new Mandarin teacher. Chang taught at Manhattan Beach Middle School before teaching at Mira Costa.

Costa welcomes Mandarin and Pauline Chang By Lilly Fabian Staff Writer Students say “ni hao” to Pauline Chang and the new Mandarin 1 and 2 courses, which made their Costa debut this year. Chang was born in Taiwan and taught Mandarin in local schools as well as schools in Southern California. She taught Mandarin at Santa Monica High School for three years. “Mandarin is becoming a very popular language and is continuing to grow,” Chang said. According to Chang, Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It boasts the highest number of native speakers and is becoming one of the most popular foreign languages to learn. “China’s influence [on the global economy] is growing, so it could be helpful to know Mandarin for careers,” Gong said. In the past, Costa only offered Spanish, French and Latin. Due to popular demand from Manhattan Beach Middle School students, Mandarin was brought to Costa. “We brought Mandarin and Chang to Costa because of the kids who were taking it at MBMS,” Principal Dr. Ben Dale said. “We wanted those students to be able

to continue studying the language.” Chang’s Mandarin 1 class is an introductory course intended to familiarize students with the language. Students who took the language at the middle school and wanted to continue their studies have the ability to take Mandarin 2. “In my classes, I use a lot of pictures and gestures to help students understand the language,” Chang said. According to Chang, the most effective way to help students absorb Mandarin is through visual aids and interactions. “I was born in Switzerland and lived in China for most of my life, so I am pretty fluent in Mandarin,” sophomore William Gong said. “Chang is a great teacher, and I feel like I’m still learning new things.” According to Gong, Chang’s Mandarin 2 class focuses on grammar, tones and characters. She engages the students in many activities to help them learn the language. “It is beneficial to know Mandarin for use in global business,” Chang said. With her extensive background in teaching, Chang encourages students to dive into learning language. “I am very excited to be at Costa, and I hope to teach more Mandarin courses in the future,” Chang said.

Senior Gabby Wolf utilizes Spanish and Environmental Science in Costa Rica Wolf spent four and a half weeks using the language and immersing herself in the vast Costa Rican culture By Samantha Pinksy Staff Writer While many students choose to take classes over the summer through the MBX Athletic Foundation’s summer school, senior Gabby Wolf spent her summer learning in a completely different environment. Wolf studied Spanish and Environmental Science abroad in Costa Rica for four and a half weeks. Wolf was accepted to the Punahou School in Hawaii, which then allowed her to attend Environmental Science and Spanish courses at La Universidad de la Tierra, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. While she was there, she worked closely with a group of students her age and learned primarily about integrated pest management, which is pest control without the use of fertilizer or pesticides, to increase the usable mango yield from 35 percent to 85 percent. “My step mom went to Punahou School,” Wolf said. “My parents heard about the program and asked me to apply because they knew [that] I have recently been interested in studying Spanish and Environmental Science more in-depth.” According to the Punahou School website, the trip to Costa

Courtesy Gabby Wolf

PURA VIDA: Senior Gabby Wolf (above) spent most of her summer immersed in the Costa Rican culture and continuing her education in environmental science. While living with a host family, she took part in laborious activities like harvesting and building canals. Rica is one of the Summer Study programs offered through the Wo International Center in an effort to provide prosperous opportunities for the students to interact with the people of the host country and to immersively experience their language and culture. “I chose the program because I wanted to further my grasp of the Spanish language while simultaneously learning about a different culture,” Wolf said. “My father lived in Colombia for many years, which greatly inspired me to explore both Central and South

America.” For the first week of the program, Wolf stayed in a dorm at Earth University and attended Spanish immersion classes for three hours a day. For the remaining time that she spent in Costa Rica, she lived with a host family. She dedicated most of her time to manual labor, which included field work, cleaning, harvesting mangoes, taking water samples and building canals. “While I was in Costa Rica, I grew very close to my host family,” Wolf said. “My host mother,

Vanessa, was practically like a saw a monkey traveling on top second mother to me. My host of a stampede of goats. She also grandfather, Don Felipe, also partook in adventurous activities doubled as my mentor. Don Fe- such as hang-gliding. lipe and I took many frequent “My parents were generally hikes, and we visited several dif- supportive about me living in ferent ranches.” Costa Rica,” Wolf said. “My faAccording to the Punahou web- ther spent time in Colombia while site, the object of the program is in the Peace Corps, so he told me to teach its students about sus- how amiable Latin Americans are. tainability. In order to do this, My mother was slightly worried, Wolf and her companions applied but my step mom was especially integrated pest management. excited about my opportunity to “The Costa Rican attitude to- go [to Costa Rica] and experience ward the environment is infec- Punahou.” tious,” Wolf said. “Food is never More than anything else, Wolf ever wasted. Table scraps are giv- was appreciative of the Cañas en to dogs and chickens. Water is Dulces’ mindset. She has made re-run through sanitary systems to it her goal to apply it toward her be recycled, and very few people own life, especially when she has own and drive cars.” stressful burdens such as the colWolf stayed in a town called lege application process to comCañas pile. Dulces. “ T h e “To Latin Americans, women are While program considered generally less adventur- was perthere, she ous and interested in life. Being had limitfect for me ed access because I American led people to assume I to the inwas rich and snobby. I had to prove really have ternet and to them that I consider myself to be a passion electricity for the protheir equal.” and took tection of showthe enviers using ronment,” only a Wolf said. Gabby Wolf bucket. “It was Senior Wolf exa really pressed great way that the most exciting occurrence to learn more about agricultural during her visit was when she science and sustainability.”

14 La Vista


September 27, 2013

Mira Costa senior Aj Wilson utilizes lifeguard skills to save a drowning citizen The Los Angeles Medal of Valor Dinner honors Wilson with Distinguished Service Award in Redondo Beach. By Yuka Noda Staff Writer Throughout the world, countless people are recognized for their accomplishments. Regardless of whether it may be inventing a new type of technology or saving human lives, like senior Aj Wilson, the accomplishment can be promising. This was the case for Wilson. He was at the beach with his father, Jeff Wilson, earlier this spring when he saw a man being swept out to sea in Hermosa Beach on Second Street. Without hesitation, Wilson swam out to save him as the on-duty lifeguards were performing a rescue at the time and were not at the scene. “The whole time during the rescue, I didn’t think,” Wilson said. “I just kind of did [the rescue], but I felt determined.” Wilson dove into the ocean without any form of lifeguard equipment. He calmed the drowning man and provided him with instructions, enabling him to pull

time he dedicates to the Junior Lifeguard program, Wilson is a member of Costa’s varsity water polo team. “Waterpolo and Junior Lifeguards has given me the athletic ability and the inspiration to become a lifeguard in the future,” Wilson said. “On top of that, the praise from my waterpolo coachhas continued to motivate me.” Wilson will be taking a test to become a certified lifeguard. He is confident that he will pass the test after several years of practice and training. In the future, he hopes to Katie Belknap/ La Vista become a full-time lifeguard. “[This experience] has defiSAVES THE DAY: Senior Aj Wilson (above) rescued a man from the ocean at Second Sreet in Hermosa Beach. Wilson was honored with the Distinguished Service Award at the Los Angeles Medal of Valor dinner in Redondo Beach on Aug. nitely helped to shape my future,” Wilson said. “I feel more confi1. He has been a part of the Junior Lifeguard program for eight years. dent, not just at the beach, but also the man back onto the shore. definitely was a well-deserved lifeguard in the future. in making important decisions.” “I was afraid, but I did not recognition.” A cadet is responsible for leadWith his heart set on becomhesitate in guiding him to save The Medal of Valor dinner and ing younger junior lifeguards in ing a certified lifeguard, Wilson [the man being pulled out to committee was first created in their traincontinues sea] because of Aj’s training and 1987 by the United States Life- ing. The “[This experience] definitely to keep up strength,” Jeff Wilson said. saving Association Board of Di- cadets must his shaped my future. I feel more con- with For performing this rescue, rectors to award public safety of- learn lifeschool work Wilson received a Distinguished ficers who have voluntarily risked guard op- fident, not just at the beach, but and particService Award at the Los Angeles their lives for the benefit of others. erations in also in making really important pate on his Medal of Valor dinner in Redondo The Distinguished Service Award addition to school sport decisions.” Beach on Aug. 1. The Medal of is given to people who have ex- their regular team. Valor Committtee selected Wil- ceeded in community service. junior life“I think Aj Wilson son for his civil duty of saving the Wilson has been a part of the guard traineverybody Senior drowning man. Junior Lifeguard program for ing. at Costa “I think it was entirely appro- eight years. During his sopho“Being a should share priate,” Director of Youth Service more year, Wilson became a cadet means that the instructors with his accomplishment,” Jeff of the L.A. County Fire Depart- cadet. According to the Junior respect you more, and you lead Wilson said. “Anybody would ment Daniel Murphy said. “As Lifeguard program, the cadet pro- junior lifeguards the way that you have tried to do something in that far as I know, he is the youngest gram grooms the current junior want to,” Wilson said. situation, or at least that’s what Aj person to win the award. It most lifeguard to become a certified In addition to the amount of thinks.”

Mira Costa seniors Emily Everhard, Matt Stern take The Building Class to Kenya By Mckenna Beery Staff Writer

in a rural area called Massai Mara, Kenya. While traveling they spent their time with the Kishon Community Center to help eduOn top of going to school, Costa seniors cate students withing the Oloirien Primary Matt Stern and Emily Everhard traveled to School. Kenya over the summer to build schools “The organization is a great cause; the for those in need. concept of pairing a first-world school with The two went for the independent, non- one [in a third-world country] is a great idea and proved to be very effective last [summer] for our fundraising efforts,” ambassador of The Building Class senior Jackson O’Connell said. Everhard and Stern traveled to Kenya to begin building the first school funded by The Building Courtesy Matt Stern and Emily Everhard Class. Accordeducation Building: Seniors Emily Everhard (left) and Matt Stern (right) ing to Stern, they set up educationwent to Kenya with The Building Class over this past summer. based relationprofit, Costa-affiliated organization called ships within the community that will be adThe Building Class to build a school in vantageous to The Building Class of 2014 Kenya. and the building classes of the future. The Building Class is an organization “[While] I was living in the community, whose goal is to bring together high school I was physically constructing a school for graduating classes to raise money that goes Oloirien,” Stern said. “I was able to form toward the building of a school in Massai incredible bonds with many of the children Mara, Kenya. Stern and Everhard’s goal at the school.” is to spread education worldwide and inThe seniors traveled with The Building crease opportunities for learning for those Class’ partner organizations, Free the Chilless fortunate. dren and Me to We, two Canadian-based, “I set out on the journey for my organiza- non-governmental organizations that have tion, The Building Class, to interact with a agreed to help construct local schools. community that will receive a school house Both organizations focus on aiding develbuilt with the funds from the Mira Costa oping nations. Building Class of 2014,” Stern said. “Free the Children and Me to We are For three weeks during the summer, both amazing organizations,” Everhard Everhard and Stern lived in a small tent said. “It was incredible to see communities

that they had been working with in Kenya with clean water, organic sustainable farming and all-new school rooms.” This trip to Kenya was made possible because of funds raised by Costa students through private donations and fundraisers from the 2012-13 year. Each ambassador of the program pledged to raise $500 dollars. As a result, The Building Class exceeded its goal of $8,500, and raised a total of $10,000. “It was a huge accomplishment to raise as much money as we did,” chief ambassador senior Michaela Loudermilk said. “[The club] was so ecstatic when we found out we exceeded our goal in such a short amount of time.” In the future, Everhard and Stern plan to return to Kenya to visit the school that they raised money to build. They hope to pass down their campaign to the current Mira

Costa High School juniors, as well as to expand their fundraising vehicle to other schools in California. Eventually, they would like to spread the mission of The Building Class throughout the country. “My partner, Emily, and I hope to have funds raised for between five and eight schools by the end of this school year,” Stern said. In order to spread the word about their organization and to get more people involved, Stern and Everhard created the website,, where more information can be found. “Matt and I wanted to show that even though we are teenagers, we can still touch the world in various ways,” Everhard said. “The power of resources is especially strong through the education system, so building the class for these students made putting in the effort worthwhile.”


September 27, 2013

La Vista


Rockstar North raises the bar for video games in “Grand Theft Auto V” By Jack Howorth Arts Editor

costing aapproximately $265 million to produce. However, in only the first 24 hours on the Very few video games suc- shelves, “Grand Theft Auto V” ceed in blowing away all of their made over $800 million. In the competition and setting first three days of the release, it a new benchmark for made over $1 billion, making it the gaming industry. the fastest grossing commercial Very few video games release of all time. are like “Grand Theft “Grand Theft Auto V” is a Auto V.” third-person action-adventure Rockstar North, game that centers around the developer of three different protagothe incredibnists in the fictional state ley successful of San Andreas. Like “Grand Theft the previous “Grand Auto” franchise, Theft Auto” games, combines unthe fifth installment paralleled gamefeatures an openplay mechanics world environment, with new, innovawhich allows the tive features and player to exan outstandingly plore the city realistic and saand intertirical world to exact with the plore. Despite being people. The player overtly inapropriate, switches between Mithe thrilling experichael, a former bank ence of “Grand Theft robber who now is in Auto V” makes it witness protection, the best video game Franklin, an ex-street of the year. Courtesy gangster, and Trevor, a Rockstar North psychotic meth-dealing began the development of trailer park criminal. “Grand Theft Auto V” shortly The most notable feature of after the release of “Grand Theft the game is that the player can Auto IV” in 2008. Since then, switch between any of the three it has become the most expen- protagonists at almost any mosive game ever to be developed, ment, which is unlike anything

seen in the previous “Grand system stops working. Another Theft Auto” games. element that adds to this realisThe heists in the game serve tic portrayal of the game is the as the climactic moments of the Artificial Intelligence, which regameplay. A good deal of sponds by having spectators take the game is spent in the pictures with their phone or run preparation phase, as away screaming, among other the player must search reactions. This acute attenSan Andres for equiption to detail gives the world ment and go over of “Grand Theft Auto V” plans for their a realistic portrayal of approach and life in California. team. This On the surface, grants the San Andres apprears player to be no more than creative simply a renamed jurisdicCalifornia. Howtion, presentever, the virtual ing an element of world is actufreedom toward the ally brimming gameplay. It also with social brings an engagcommening sense of risk t a r y. and reward, as the Radio player’s personal stations planning proves lampoon right and left esssential in its wing news, and misoverall score. The sions in the game result is yet anothhave the player iner outstanding asteract with figures pect, unmatched by that resemble “Grand Theft Auto modern icons, Courtesy V’s” peers. like Mark ZuckOne of the reasons “Grand erberg and Ryan Seacrest, Theft Auto V” is so successful- generally at said icon’s expense. ly immerssive is that the tiniest Rockstar North’s emphasis on of details were considered. For creating a satyrical videogame is instance, if the player drives a made all the more outstanding as car through a tunnel, the GPS almost no other videogame has

ever featured anything similiar to it. This distinctive world approach is pioneering for the videogame medium. The gameplay is made significantly more accesible by the option to allow the player to skip missions. In past “Grand Theft Auto” games, some of the missions are extremely difficult and prevent players from progressing through the game. This prevents the player from getting stuck on any one mission and allows them to move through the game at their own pace. Yet, it is the game’s obscenity and graphic nature that prove to be the its major weakness. The heavy focus on drugs and nudity is a distraction from the plot. Even worse, overly violent moments, like one in which the player is forced to brutally torture a man, are unsettling and unecessarry. Despite this, “Grand Theft Auto V” is one of the biggest releases of all time, and with hours of phenomenal gameplay, this game has met the high standard associated with the “Grand Theft Auto” series, serving as the last hoorah of the current console generation before the Xbox One and Playstaion 4 hit the stage. “Grand Theft Auto V” is rated-M and is now available for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for $59.99

“MGMT” proves flat despite a few gems By Julia DiFiori Theme Editor Psychedelic music is known for its hallucinogenic sounds, characterized as being oddly mesmerizing; unfortunately, “MGMT” defies the generalizations of the genre and turns out to be closer to a bad trip than a mind-bending musical journey. With its highly anticipated selftitled album, “MGMT” delivers its trademark psychedelic style, but disappointingly so in an understated, unamusingly mellow feel with fewer pop elements and ill-fit eclectic sounds. Composed of Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, the band released its first EP, “Time to Pretend,” in 2005. The full-length album “Oracular Spectacular,” came in 2007, followed by the “Congratulations” album in 2010, both complete hits with such chart-toppers as “Electric Feel” and “Congratulations.” The pair scored a spot on the top ten “Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone in 2008, placed ninth in the BBC’s Sound of 2008 Top Ten Poll and won a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Non-Classical Remixed Recording for the Justice remix of “Electric Feel.” While the songs on “MGMT” are dishearteningly less polished than those of previous albums, the lyrics are slightly poetic enough to act as a focal point, partially salvaging what would otherwise be a series of boring tones. Although the electronic effects are captivating in some regards, the sounds throughout the album don’t convey anything more than

a sense of confusion stemming from the seemingly randomized mix of synthesized tones. In previous albums, such sounds worked to make abstract and alluring melodies that appealed to the masses but now seem to be lost in the translation of the band’s attempts at evolving. However, the lyrics prove to be a quasi-blessing in an at-first glance nonsensical disguise for the jumbled album. The wording of the songs is superficially convoluted, but with a deeper, more engaged listen to tracks like “Mystery Disease,” MGMT’s true genius is revealed with its unexpected profundity. It shouldn’t be taken as a grain of salt, though, that the treasure trove of lyrics featured in the album completely saves it, as the lyrical aspect of the tracks is only a small plus in the accompaniment of still oddly mixed sounds and computerized tones. But, to say that “MGMT” is a complete flop would be wrong, as the album is not all terrible tone compilations, but unexpectedly features a few diamonds in the otherwise majorly rough set of tracks. One song on the album, “Alien Days,” especially

stands out and unquestionably impresses. It features a beautifully dream-like instrumental introduction where child voices sing smooth, light tones and gradually fade into mature voices until the vocals are of a clearly much older male, making the sounds utterly stupefying and far more creative than any other artist in the same electronic pop genre. Unfortunately, songs like “Alien Days” come very few and far between in “MGMT.” A perfect example of the album’s general mediocrity is the duo’s cover of Faine Jade’s 1968 psychedelic pop song “Introspection.” Disappointingly, their modern version offers only a slight electronic edge to the classic but not enough to make it successfully revamp the original, adding it to the list of unsatisfying tracks throughout the album. In its self-titled album, MGMT produces generally flat music from a failure to compose interesting melodies. The band does, however, produce a couple of rare, outstanding tracks that combine quality lyrics with unique musical accents. “MGMT” was released on Sept. 17 and is in stores now.


NOT SO ELECTRIC FEEL: (from left) Duo Andrew VanWyngarde and Benjamin Goldwasser disappoint with monotonous melodies in the album “MGMT.”


Broke IT DOWN: Josh Holloway(above) stars as Jason Blake, a dance coach in “Battle of the Year.” The film fails with a cliche plot and poor film editing.

“Battle” proves cliche By Lizzy Tsuang Staff Writer It is sad that even with very little competiton in the dance movie genre, “Battle of the Year” results in little more than an imitation of its peers. Directed by Benson Lee, “Battle of the Year” has a somewhat heartfelt message and a talented cast-the right ingredients to make a quality film. However, these blips of hope are overshadowed by the choppy video editing, underdeveloped characters and a generic and shallow storyline. The film is centered upon an international break dance competition called The Battle of The Year. Former coach Jason Blake (Josh Holloway) attempts to revive the spirit with breakdancing, or “b-boying,” after a 15-year losing streak of the USA team. In order to ensure a victory, Jason creates and begins teaching a group of 13 dancers known as the Dream Team. While the acting is passable, the storyline of the film is far too

similar to other successful dancecentered movies like “Step Up.” The narrative is predictable and repetitive, resulting in a complete lack of substance. Another major hinderance of the film is the poor editing. Many of the actors in the film are actual professional dancers, but overdone splits between screens and incomphrehensive snippets of dancing conceal the actual talents of the stars. The film’s saving grace is its overall message. “Battle of the Year” serves as a display of the importance of teamwork. The message stays in tact, as the growing connection of the members of the Dream Team grows. “Battle of the Year” is an overall disapointment. The talented dancers demonstrate the possibility of what the film could be, but this, unfortunately, is poorly executed. Despite the heartfelt intentions and theme for the film, the final product is a disasster. “Battle of the Year” is rated PG-13 and was released on Sept. 20. It is now playing nationwide.



La Vista

September 27, 2013

Arctic Monkeys maintain status-quo with alternative experimentation in “AM” By Madeleine Coate Sports Editor There is a general fear of the unknown, but The Arctic Monkeys prove this to be misguided as their contuiniously changing style brilliantly illustrates the potential and payoff of experimentation and diversity. Although the band treads no unexplored ground of the alternative genre in the album, “AM” remains another success with its multiple hit tracks. Their heavier use of guitar and drums, rather than electronic sounds, the superb vocals and overall lyrical genius make for an unarguably high quality album. The English quartet, composed of lead vocalist Alex Turner, lead guitarist Jamie Cook, bass guitarist Nick O’Malley and drummer Matt Helderscame, came together in 2002 and gained momentum from their internet fame from Myspace. In 2005, they signed a record deal with the independent record label Domino. Before “AM,” the band released five other studio albums, with the most recent being “Suck It and See” released in 2011. In its decade together, the band has won a host of awards, including five Brit Awards and Best British Group twice, and it has been nominated for two Grammys. The group is also known for exploring a different aspect of the


you do wanna know: (from left) Band members Alex Turner, Nick O’Malley, Jamie Cook and Matt Helders of The Arctic Monkeys impress with singles from their intruiging new album, “AM,” with its move into more eclectic sounds. alternative genre in each album, as demonstrated in “AM.” In the album, the group successfully experiments with richer, deeper sounds. The tracks like “R U Mine?,” “I Want It All,” and “Fireside” show a sliver of the band’s former personality in the wake of its seemingly changing style. Such tracks have a quick pace, reminiscent of songs from the band’s past albums

like “Old Yellow Bricks,” and are just as well-written as their older songs and albums. “R U Mine?” is one of the first singles from “AM,” and is by far the album’s best track. Its abstract lyrics, rhythm and chorus are so enthralling that they make the song nearly perfect. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” stands as the most unique track in the Arc-

tic Monkey’s repitoire thus far. The lyrics are honest and raw and sung by Turner in his trademark sultry tone, making the track irrestistibly alluring. His rich vocals are also complemented by flawless guitar riffs, adding to the song’s layers. Among the other wildly popular and noteworthy songs on the album is “Do I Wanna Know.” The song is entrancing, with a

strong base line founded in heavy electric guitar riffs. The listener can’t help but be intruigued by the same deep vocals by Turner, making the song not only catchy but distinctive of the new direction that the Arctic Monkeys are continually heading. The high-quality tracks featured on “AM” make the album a success; however, in terms of a wider scope of the band’s development, its experimentation demonstrates its musical vitality but is still indicative of its yet unreached potential. With “AM,” the Arctic Monkeys continue to explore the varied alternative genre, even if their heavy drums and guitar emphasis feels a bit too similar to their peers like the Black Keys. The album is composed of minimal lo-fi sounds and a myriad of rich, acoustic beats, as well as Turner’s powerful vocals. Overall, “AM” is yet another success for the Arctic Monkeys, whose popularity and fan-base is still on the rise. Despite a few weaker links, the overall album is full of outstanding hits. As a clear change from its beginnings, “AM” is filled with quality singles thanks to the outstanding talent of each member of The Arctic Monkeys in another incredible album under the band’s belt. “AM” was released Sept. 9 and is available retail and digitally.


September 27, 2013

La Vista


“The League” impresses with fresh comedic style By Casey Sublette Copy Editor Imagine having a life that consists of fantasy football and sabotaging your friends’ lives for your own amusement. Welcome to “The League.” Created by Jeff and Jackie Schaffer, who previously worked on sitcoms such as “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The League” consists of only a brief plot outline, which grants the actors a full range of comedic freedom. With no written script to go off of, FXX’s hit show brings forth refreshing comedic value. The new fifth season of “The League” proves to be one of the funniest yet, with a continuation of the show’s distinctive humor and original storyline that ties to the characters’ addiction to their fantasy football lives. Originally airing in 2009 on FXX, “The League” is based around a group of friends whose only goal in life is to play fantasy football. All of the actors on the show have prior improvisation experience, both comedic and dramatic, which leaves the dialogue with the quality of a scripted one. The goal of the characters in “The League” is to win the “Shiva Bowl,” similar to the Super Bowl but much less glamorous. Last place in the league receives the “Sacko,” a trophy made from a bull’s scrotum. The loser also must face humiliating punish-

ments that are too vulgar for print. Each player will do anything to win, whether it’s crossing one’s husband or drugging friends; nothing is off limits. Wacky scenarios always seem to arise throughout the series. For example, the gang makes fun of each other’s marriages, comparing their difficulties to NFL players and various football regulations. Similar out-of-the-norm scenarios like this one are so abolutely ridiculous that they continue to establish the show as one of the funniest on television. Another standout aspect of “The League” is the unorthodox vocabulary used as ways to circumvent censorship. The most popular phrases, such as “frutada” and “eskimo brothers,” show the actors’ cleverness and hilarity by making light of offensive words. Most of the characters are very relatable to the viewer. Nick Kroll

takes his role as Ruxin to different levels of comedy, constantly rattling off sharp comebacks and providing cheap yet satisfying laughs with classic off-color humor. His witty jokes are referred to as “the Nick Kroll highlight tape” by Jeff Schaffer because of the myriad of jokes he is able to think of. Yet, there are some problems. At times, “The League” can get repetitive as the jokes and phrases become overused. Sometimes, certain situations from past seasons are reused, bringing a redundant feel to the show. However, the blunders are minimal and do not affect the overall comedic value of the show. There may be only three episodes remaining in this season, but “The League” has a clearly bright future ahead of it. “The League” airs on FXX every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.


IT’S NOT JUST FANTASY: (from left) Pete (Mark Duplass), Andre (Paul Scheer), Ruxin (Nick Krioll), Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), Jenny (Katie Aselton) and Taco (John Lajoie) provide distinctive improvised humor in “The League.”


AIN’T NO SUNSHINE WHEN THEY GONE: (from left) Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) maintain crude humor in absurd scenarios with the ninth season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

“Always Sunny” keeps shining By Oliver Gable Staff Writer Wednesday nights just got a whole lot brighter with the return of the hit series, “It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia.” “Always Sunny” has just started its ninth season under the lead writers of Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton (who also star as some of the main characters). The balance of crude humor and blatantly insensitive dialogue makes the show, once again, one of the most hysterical on television. “Always Sunny” is based on a group of friends who collectively own a bar, and while trying to manage it, get into antics. In the ninth season, the gang has faked a comedy career for its friend Dee (Kaitlin Olson), sparked a gun debate in the city of Philadelphia and attempted to win the Best Bar in Philadelphia award, and that’s only the beginning. The various activities the group takes part in always end poorly for them. Season nine’s use of situational comedy and current events has it set to be one of the best sea-

sons in the show’s history. The use of new plotlines gives newer viewers the ability to understand “Always Sunny,” while previous viewers can continue to enjoy the development of the characters’ group dynamic. The constant references to current events like the gun laws and school safety keep the show relevant, and the group’s absurd beliefs and actions regarding these topics put a comical tone into every situation. The characters’ cynical and ridiculous opinions on common issues coupled with crude humor, swearing and immature name calling are constant elements in the show. This frequent immaturity is so absurd that it is hard not to laugh. “Always Sunny” is a must-see show. Whether the viewer is new or returning, there is something to appreciate in every episode. Crazy adventures relating to current issues that the gang finds itself involved with keeps the viewers on their toes and dying of laughter. “Always Sunny” airs every Wednesday on FXX at 10 p.m.

Strong performances, intense atmosphere advance “Prisoners” to excellence By Ian Rapoport Executive Arts Editor The love of family can push people to do extreme things. The powerful bond between father and daughter serves as the foundation in director Denis Villeneuve’s psychological thriller, “Prisoners.” Founded on compelling performances, the ambitious director’s dark film is engrossing, elaborate and one of the best films of the year thus far. The narrative follows carpenter Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), who lives with his family in New Hampshire. One Thanksgiving day, Dover’s young daughter, Anna (Erin Gerasimovich), goes out to play with a friend only to be kidnapped without a trace. As the initial investigations under Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) prove unsuccessful, Dover resorts to torture and vigilantism in order to find his missing daughter. What proves most shocking about the film is how easy it is for the viewer to sympathize with Dover’s gruesome actions. While the police are calm and unsuccessful in finding evidence, Dover’s aggressive nature in illegal interrogation provides him with hints regarding the whereabouts of Anna. This serves as the needed justification to the viewer for the father’s drastic measures. The all-star cast capitalizes on the film’s intensity. Initially, Gyllenhaal’s acting is stoic, but


TAKE NONE: (from left) Jakle Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman both star in Denis Villeneuve’s psychological thriller, “Prisoners.” Despite an incredibly depressing atmosphere and some convoluted character motives, the stars’ performances, accompanied by a complex and engaging narrative, result in a film that easily stands as one of the year’s strongest. his rising emotional intensity throughout the entirety of “Prisoners” goes hand-in-hand perfectly with the changing nature of the conflict. Yet, it is Jackman’s acting that steals the show. The AcademyAward winner brings his talent in full force by overshadowing

Gyllenhaal’s phenomenal performance. In the more hectic moments of the film, Jackman reaches incredible levels of rage that are both incredibly terrifying and astonishing. Villeneuve’s capability for building tension is present throughout the film. The slower

pace of some scenes is made engaging by the gradual rise of the ambient score. Each violent payoff is all the more impactful because of the time given to allow its significance to build, resulting in a film that is constantly engaging. It is ironic that the film feels

too short at a total run time of two hours and 33 minutes. Not a single moment feels wasted, as scenes early on appear to have no real connection with the main plot. However, as “Prisoners” continues, moments like these are revealed to be essential in the overall conflict. Unfortunately, it is Villeneuve’s ambitious nature paired with the complex narrative that weaken “Prisoners.” The elaborate character motives that are developed in the latter half of the film are simply too complicated to be fully explained in the already long run time. The overall somber tone of the film serves as a double-edged sword. The lack of any humor or lighter moments makes it obvious that this was the way in which Villeneuve always intended “Prisoners” to be. While the sheer despair in the escalating conflict creates an impactful atmosphere, the dark mood becomes overbearing with nothing to alleviate it. Ultimately, it is rare that a film reaches the level of engagement that “Prisoners” does. The ambiguous and complex nature of the story is captivating and makes it all the more enthralling by the combined efforts of Gyllenhaal and Jackman. Despite an aggressive approach in the ambiance and storytelling, “Prisoners” still stands as a likely contender for film of the year. “Prisoners” is rated R and is now playing nationwide.


La Vista

September 27, 2013


Silvera, JV football face new challenges Sophomore Silvera QB shows potential to start

JV football team deals with player shortage By Jacob Verket Staff Writer

By Rollie Nichols Staff Writer Under the Friday night lights, the varsity football team takes the field to play against teams from across the South Bay area. Sophomore Jacob Silvera is one of the varsity quarterbacks alongside senior Greg Briskin that will be playing this year. Silvera has played football since he was eight years old. He has played six years of tackle football, and this will be his second year suiting up for varsity at Costa. Coach Don Morrow has been helping Silvera with his mechanics and leadership. With practice, Silvera helped lead his team to a victory against Downey on Sept. 13 while playing the entire second quarter. “Morrow is a great coach who teaches me a lot about how to be a great quarterback, teammate and leader,” Silvera said. “The team worked hard during the week, and it paid off. Morrow worked us hard and was happy with the outcome of the game.” Being one of three sophomores on the team, Silvera has learned to respect the upperclassmen. The coaches strive to have equality within the team. “Jacob tries his hardest to make his teammates better, so I consider him an equal on the team,” junior tight end and linebacker Dane Largent said. Silvera was put into his first varsity game during the second quarter against Notre Dame High School on Aug. 30. Silvera had four completed passes in eight attempts, 108 passing yards and eight rushing yards. “Although we did not win, the game gave us an opportunity to get better by working harder and bonding as a team,” Silvera said. “We are ready to play our best and

Mira Laing/ La Vista

SILVERA STARTS: Sophomore quarterback Jacob SIlvera practices passing skills in preparation for Costa’s game today. work as a team to go far in League.” Morrow was impressed by Silvera’s performance against Notre Dame High School, but he still has to decide whether Brisken or Silvera will start. “I do not have a starting quarterback right now, but I will be using the preseason to see who that will be,” Morrow said. “They both have great strengths and weaknesses and are in equal contention to earn the starting spot,.” The football team is working to have a successful season this year and improve from last year’s performance. “Not turning the ball over and playing as a team will be the key to our team’s success this season,” Silvera said.

An average National Football League roster contains 53 football players, with 11 athletes from each team on the field at one time. Mira Costa’s junior varsity football team faces the challenge of having less than 30 players on its roster. According to sophomore tight end Cameron Alexander, many players have to play multiple positions on offense, defense and special teams, leaving a minimal amount of players available to substitute in the game. “There are certain positions that do not have enough players in case of an injury,” Alexander said. Injuries can be problematic because there is no depth on the team, and it is difficult to find replacements for the injured players. “There is more pressure now because the tight end, Cameron Alexander, got a concussion, so now I’ve had to move to tight end,” sophomore quarterback and tight end Nick Rangel said. With a limited roster, coach Matt Baker said they can get a better look at the players and specialize the practices to include more drills to improve each play. “I feel like I get more repetition at my position and that makes me a better player,” Rangel said. Recruiting is illegal for public schools; however, football looks to athletes from other sports as well as Costa’s Physical Education classes. As of Sept. 16, the JV team recruited seven more players, both sophomores and juniors to play. “Adding new players gave us the reassurance of having substitutes to play in games,” Alexander said.

Alex Daniels/ La Vista

WADE AWAKE: Senior team captain and perimeter Drew Rogerson passes the ball in a pre-season game against Palos Verdes High School on Tuesday. The Mustangs defeated the Sea Kings, 7-5.

Early morning practice prepares varsity boys water polo for season By Kara Patman Staff Writer Many Mira Costa students struggle everyday with after-school activities as well as waking up early for a zero period class. As zero period students walk into the classroom, the water polo team is just climbing out of the pool. This year, there are 18 boys on the varsity water polo team. Each morning, they report to the Costa pool to start their onehour workout by 6 a.m.. They also practice for two more hours after school. “Morning practice teaches discipline,” team captain senior Drew Rogerson said. “Getting in the routine of waking up before school to swim makes us mentally and physically tougher.” The morning practices are focused on conditioning, consisting largely of leg workouts and swimming laps. The team members wear weights while treading water to strengthen their legs. In the afternoon, the boys focus on strategy and fundamentals in game-type situations.

“Morning practice is more of a challenge because of all the swimming,” Rogerson said. “Afternoon practice is based on passing, shooting, scrimmaging and game situations to make sure you are prepared for every game.” Coach Jon Reichardt estimates that approximately 90% of the team also plays on a club water polo team. Some players struggle to balance the sport with full days of school and additional homework. “My personal challenge is zero period.” junior Chase Williams said. “I don’t have a break in my day from 5:30 until snack time, and I am always rushing to class.” The Mustangs defeated Palos Verdes High School, 7-5, on Tuesday. The boys’ next series of games is today at a tournament in Coronado at the America’s Finest City Invitational. “Last year in California Interscholastic Federation [CIF], we lost far into the tournament,” Reichardt said. “This year, I’m training my athletes as hard as they can go up until the final day of the season.”


Sept. 27, 2013 TEAM RECORDS as of Sept. 25



Bay League

La Vista


Sports Briefs

Win Loss Tie Win Loss Tie Rank Girls cross country competes in Bob Firman Invitational 2 0 The Mira Costa girls cross country team trav“It was really amazing to have the chance to travel eled to Boise, Idaho on Saturday to race against all the way to Idaho and experience racing with girls 0 Girls Golf 3 high schools from across the nation in the Bob from all over the country,” junior Kara Jeong said. Firman Invitational. “I think the team performed extremely well.” 2 1 Football -

Boys Water Polo

Cross Country








Girls Tennis








Girls Volleyball








Top Performers

Sebastian Franck-Love (Senior) Football

Amy Gaal (Freshman) Tennis

Franck-Love had 161 rushing yards and scored one touchdown with 15 carries in the game against South Torrance last Friday.

Gaal won her two matches, 6-1 and 6-0, against tennis rival Palisades High School on Wednesday. She is currently undefeated.

The Mustangs placed sixth in the invitational out of 16 teams. This was the first time that Costa was invited to compete in the invitational.

Costa participated in a meet on Thursday at Peninsula High School; however, results were unavailable due to the time of publication.

Boys varsity water polo defeats Palos Verdes High The boys varsity water polo team defeated Palos Verdes High School, 7-5, on Tuesday at Costa. Costa started off strong with a goal from senior whole set Andrew Burdiak within the first 30 seconds. Both teams continued to play an aggressive game until the end of the first period. During the second period, senior left wing Gabriel Smith scored the second goal for the Mustangs in the bottom right corner, making the score 2-0. Minutes later, junior perimeter Andrew Todd floated the ball over the goalie’s head, resulting in the third goal of the game. “We played well enough to win the game, but it was a close match,” coach Jon Reichardt said. “The boys will continue training to improve their game for the rest of the season.” With the momentum on the Mustangs’ side, a penalty shot

Alex Daniels/ La Vista

SEA OF KINGS: Senior Austin Norris looks to score in Tuesday’s game against Palos Verdes High School. Costa won, 7-5. from the Sea Kings brought Costa’s shutout to an end. During the third period, Palos Verdes scored

again, tying the score 3-3. Costa responded with a goal from senior whole set guard Austin Norris, who scored off an assist from Smith. However, Palos Verdes responded with two goals, making the score 4-5. Senior team captain and perimeter Drew Rogerson tied up the score, 5-5. With a minute left, junior perimeter Brandon Lavinsky scored the go-ahead goal, following it with another one 30 seconds later, ending in a Costa victory. The boys next home game will be on Oct. 2 against West Torrance. “I know I could have played better,” junior goalie Nicholas Dale said. “There were plenty of shots that should not have gone in. It was a tense game, and we were all getting butterflies. As the season progresses, we’ll grow more confident and play much stronger in the future games.”

Girls golf wins match against West Torrance High School

Skylar Caputo (Junior) Girls Volleyball Caputo had 61 kills and 32 digs throughout the seven games she played last weekend during the Durango Classic Fall Tournament.

Austin Norris (Senior) Waterpolo

The Mira Costa varsity girls golf team beat West Torrance High School, 210-187, on Tuesday at Chester Washington Golf Course. Sophomore Marni Murez led the team with a 33. Sophomore Andrea Lee and freshman Ashley Kim both shot 34’s, and senior Megan Kim shot a 38. “We have been playing really well lately, and we even beat our personal best,” Megan Kim said.

Norris scored three goals in the first game against Santiago High School and one goal in the game on Tuesday against Palos Verdes.

“I think the lineup is pretty strong, and I am confident that we can continue to keep playing well throughout the season.” The team played yesterday at Alondra Golf Course in Lawndale against West Torrance High School, but the results were unavailable due to the time of publication. “We started off the season well, but we’re always looking to improve,” Kim said.

Compiled By Maddy Braybrooke, Lily Fabian and Michael Lebbin/ Staff Writers

The A-Team clinches a way to your heart Marni Murez (Sophomore) Girls Golf

Abby Hong (Senior) Cross Country

Murez shot a 33 in the golf match on Tuesday against West Torrance High School at Chester Washington Golf Course.

Hong improved her time by four seconds in the Palos Verdes mini meet. Her new record is 11:50 for the two-mile race.


2 4 5

The number of fall teams that have travelled to compete in matches out of state. Girls volleyball played in the Las Vegas Tournament, and girls cross country competed in the Bill Firman race in Idaho. The number of freshmen on the varsity tennis team that are undefeated in non-league games. The number of boys varsity water polo players that participate in the Olympic Development Program.

Compiled by Maddie Coate, Katie von Behren, and Sierra Williams/ Sports Editors Photos by Katie Belknap, Hannah DaGiau, Annie Gense, Delaney Kluth/ La Vista

With our first issue of the year underway, we, the A-Team, would like to welcome you back after a long summer. In recent news, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West. But what does it really mean to clinch something? Well, Costa has clinched yet another way of aggravating students by creating construction at every possible walk way. Or is it better phrased as candidates for the ASB elections clinch their winning ticket by throwing “ragers” and giving away candy (but not Almond Joy, no one likes Almond Joy). And somehow, ASB members were also able to clinch the majority of the homecoming court. While the A-Team’s failed nominees are currently on suicide watch, we demand a recount. In other news, the National

Football League season has begun, bringing back the perfect excuse to ditch church on Sundays. So who is the most “clutch” player on a football team? The answer is clear - the kicker. Many of you stereotype kickers as being the scrawny little soccer player on the team who has no athletic ability. Most of that statement is false (besides the soccer playing). Have you seen Sebastian Janikowski? He is 6-feet 2-inches tall and weighs a whopping 258 pounds. Not only does he rack in $3.8 million per year, but his biceps are bigger than your head. There is also the assumption that kickers are lazy. Their job is just as hard as anyone’s. While the linemen are playing patty-cake with one another, the kickers are taking intense mental reps with frequent cat naps in between.

The rigorous training they must endure is beyond the hardest conditioning workouts known to man. The continuous kicking of the ball and then running to retrieve it to kick again works up quite a sweat. Now that we have established that kickers are boss, let us get down to the real stuff. Known for having the mental toughness of a marine, kickers have their pet peeves. For example, no kicker wants to squib or pooch kick a ball. Let the kickers kick it deep so they can show their leg strength to the ladies. That’s why they play football, right? When it comes to crunch time, kickers are more clutch than Ryan Braun passing a drug test. Whether it’s a game-winning field goal or an excuse for why your printer broke for the third time this week, kickers will be there.

September 27, 2013 SPORTS 20 La Vista Football sweeps South Torrance Spartans in its first home game, 60-7 By Jacob Verket Staff Writer On a day where Mira Costa inducted distinguished alumni into the Costa Hall of Fame, the Costa football team played in hopes of one day being in their position. In the first home game of the season on Sept. 20, Costa defeated South Torrance High School, 60-7. Senior wide receiver Harrison Morrow scored four touchdowns and also intercepted a pass in the second quarter that he almost returned for six more points. Before this game, Morrow had never scored a touchdown while playing for Costa. “We practiced hard to correct our errors and after preparing ourselves, we did not take the game against South lightly,” Morrow said. “Our offense played a great game, and our defense did not let up and constantly stayed persistent.” The Mustangs started off with a strong defensive stop in South’s first possession. When the Mustangs regained the ball, senior quarterback Greg Briskin led the team down the field, capping off the drive with a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver and cornerback P.J. Onusconich. “This win was really important for our team after a rough start in the season because the game showed that we can fight back in any situation” senior running back Sebastian Franck-Love said. “But our defensive game has been dominant, and we are continuing to improve our plays each week at practice to become physically and mentally stronger.” While Costa went three and out to start the second quarter, running back and outside lineman junior Tre Searcy quickly regained the ball with a fumble recovery.

Annie Gense/ La Vista

Spear the Spartans: Senior running back Sebastian Franck-Love (24) runs the ball for the next down in the second half, while offensive linemen senior Michael Roberts (66) and junior Michael Holiday (75) block South’s defense. The Mustangs beat South Torrance High School with a final score of 60-7. Searcy then scored the third touchdown, making it 20-0 after a fumbled snap on the extra point. “Our kids worked hard in practice, studied in the film room, and they worked with a lot of intensity,” coach Ray Lee said. “The boys train hard throughout the week because we are always looking to improve our game.” Sophomore quarterback Jacob Silvera threw a deep pass to Morrow for his second touchdown of the game, then Costa intercepted a pass to set up the third touchdown for Silvera and Briskin. “The way we came together at home for the big win was amazing.” Morrow said. “It felt really great to represent Costa, and

I know that as a team we are ready to take on the Loyola Cubs.” The Spartans got inside the red zone for the first time late in the second quarter but failed to get a first down. Silvera then ran a two-minute drill, hitting Morrow for his fourth and final touchdown reception with 13 seconds left in the half. “In practice we focused really hard on our passing attack to become a more balanced team and to add on to our tremendous running game,” junior receiver Jonathan Quinn said. “Morrow played a fantastic game, and our two quarterbacks had a great night.” Two touchdown runs from senior running back Tanner Otto and one more from

Franck-Love in the second half added to the Mustang win with a final score of 60-7. Costa’s preseason record is now 2-1. “We scored a lot of touchdowns in the game against South because our running game was strong and focused,” FranckLove said. “They stacked the box and did not cover the receivers.” The Mustangs will face Loyola High School in a non-league game tonight at Los Angeles Valley College at 7 p.m. “We are definitely going to have to be on top of our running game,” Franck-Love said. “We have played Loyola many times, so we know it is going to be a back-andfourth game. Our passing game needs to be consistent in order to win the game.”

Girls varsity tennis defeats Palisades High School, 14-4 By Pardis Khorasani Staff writer After eight consecutive sweeps, the girls tennis team added to its undefeated record on Wednesday, when the girls played Palisades High School and won, 14-4. The team is currently undefeated in the preseason and has started Bay League. “I think we have a good team this year, the best one we’ve had,” freshman singles player Amy Gaal said. After the first round, singles players juniors Brooke Swallow and Taylor Klein won 6-3 and 6-2, respectively. “My first match today wasn’t challenging, but I think we had a good match,” Swallow said.

Freshman singles player Gaal won her first match, 6-1, adding to her undefeated streak in her first year playing at Costa. “I think that I played really well and had good placement,” Gaal said. Senior Sydney Ascher played doubles with junior Dana Sternthal in the second and third round with Claudia Fellows in the second round, winning both matches. Senior Paula Cenusa with junior Mai Naojima also won, 6-1. Freshman doubles duo Isabella and Katarina Draskovic won their matches, 6-0, 6-1. “Our two matches were pretty easily won, but I think the Bay League matches will be more challenging in the coming weeks,” Katarina Draskovic said. In the third round, the doubles team,

seniors Hannah DaGiau and Michelle Tran, started out close. In the end, however, the girls lost, 6-3. “Hannah and I hit some great volleys and gave the team a good run,” Tran said. Palisades and Costa have traditionally been rivals. In this match, Palisades only won four matches. “The players were talented and challenging,” Palisades singles player senior Julia Takakjian said. On Thursday the girls played Palos Verdes, but the results of the match were unavailable due to time of publication. “We’ve been playing really well, and after the first Bay League game, we can actually tell how good of a team we are,” coach Joe Ciasulli said.

Lisa Valicente/ La Vista

DOUBLES DUO: Freshman Katarina Draskovic serves the ball against Palisades in her last non-league match. The Mustangs won, 14-4.

Girls volleyball wins Bronze bracket in Durango Fall Classic By Bobby Wymbs Staff Writer

Mira Laing/ La Vista

SERIOUS SETS: Senior Sammy Furlan (5) sets the ball up to junior Sam Sestanovich in a nonleague game on Sept. 17 against Edison High.

Girls volleyball traveled to Las Vegas last Friday to compete in the Durango Fall Classic Tournament and was the division champions of the Bronze Bracket. The Mustangs entered the tournament as one of 63 teams and finished in 17th place overall. “In the tournament, I feel that we played some of our best volleyball,” junior outside hitter Skylar Caputo said. “We represented Costa as one of the dominant volleyball teams in the tournament.” Costa began pool play on Friday and faced Flagstaff High School, then Riverside High School and later finished second to Horizon High School from Arizona. “I am happy about getting second in the pool,” junior middle blocker Katie Rethmeyer said. “The game we lost we came

out strong in the first set but couldn’t win the following sets.” In the final game against Horizon, the Mustangs fell, 30-28, in the first set. Costa lost to Horizon in the second set, 25-15, allowing Horizon to take first in pool play. “The first set we should’ve won, and the second set, we just fell apart,” sophomore defensive specialist Emma Smith said. The team’s pool performance advanced it to the Bronze Bracket at Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada. “Each match, we tried to control our side of the net and play aggressive defense,” coach Lisa Arce-Zimmerman said. “Our defense was so good that our hitters were able to be overly aggressive at the net. It was a really impressive tournament for the young squad, and I feel that we were very successful in the tournament.” Costa defeated Liberty High School in the quarterfinals of the Bronze Bracket, ad-

vancing the girls to the semifinals. “We had been building momentum throughout the day, so I knew we would be tough to beat,” junior outside hitter Katrina Kernochan said. With a win against Branson High School in the semifinals, Costa qualified for the championship game against La Costa Canyon High School. “We all stepped up and played our best with strong ball control,” senior libero Brooke Feld said. In the first game, the Mustangs defeated La Costa Canyon, 25-13. The second game was a back and forth set, with Costa losing in the end, 25-23. The girls came back and won their third game, 25-17. “We knew that La Costa Canyon was the team to beat,” Caputo said. “We wanted to win and show that we are a team that deserves to play in the higher level brackets for future tournaments.”

Issue 1 2013