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October 7,2011 Volume XV Issue II

Vital Signs

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School

Bravo Makes Another Leap

Fresh Impressions by Karl Pascasio

by Cynthia Serrano

This past May, of the 2010-2011 school year, the students of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School managed to raise their API score by an outstanding 11 points from its previous score of 820, despite the obstacles. The obstacles included over population of the student body at 1,810, new staff replacing members who had been laid off, and long-term substitute teachers. All these factors would provide the basis for failure, but the 2011 exam scores show the exact opposite, setting a new record for the highest score ever achieved. These scores are based on the performance of students on the California Standardized Tests (CSTs) in May in areas of math, science, history and English. API is the acronym for Academic Performance Index and is measured on a scale of 200-1000. It is used to measure the academic growth of a student over the course of his or her educational career. The score, in turn, reflects the capability of the school in teaching the required materials. Improving the API score is crucial for Bravo High School’s future. If students fail to raise the school’s API score, it would become in danger of becoming a regular community school. Bravo would no longer be a magnet school and would only serve the purpose of eliminating the overcrowding of surrounding home schools. Many students are under the false impression that the CSTs do not matter and are irrelevant to their education because their grades are not affected by the results. In actuality, they do affect your education because

colleges look at these scores. As of now, these CST scores help those in the class of 2012 who will be applying to college in the coming months because they contributed to the increase of the API score. The scores verify rigorous curriculum at Bravo and reflect the students’ capabilities. The benefits of high CST scores outweigh the negatives, so for the two weeks of testing, do your best. Keep up the good work and continue to excel this 2011-2012 school year Bravo Knights!

“I think it's [Bravo] great! It seems like those high schools you see in movies!" -Aileen Ramos (‘15)

“It's a good school because of all the various clubs." -Herald Cuthkelvin (’15)

Illustration by Omar Gomez

Farewell Staff By Roxana Sierra

With the recent cutbacks across the district, Bravo has had to make some tough decisions by cutting staff in the textbook, custodial, and library departments; their last day was Friday, September 23. As many of you have noticed, the library is one staff member short. Marisol De la Cruz was let go. When asked about this decision, she responded by stating how sad she was about leaving Bravo, which has been a big part of her life; she was a former student. She was a great librarian, helping students with their technical problems and with finding books. She said that what she will miss the most is seeing the regulars come in everyday and greet her. De la Cruz also said that she will miss the 2008 AVID students, who are now seniors (“They know who they are,” she joked.) “Bring your books on time!” she jokes to all the late book returners; “It’s been good, I

can’t really complain,” she continued. Gabby Campos, textbook room head, is another person that was let go. She has been working at Bravo for roughly 15 years; the end of this school year would have been her sixteenth. To Mrs. Campos, Bravo has become a home; the teachers were much like her teachers. Now, she says, she has to prepare mentally so that she could start something new. She does, however, wish the teachers and staff the best of luck, and she hopes to see them again in the future. “It’s been a pleasure working with everyone here, especially my teachers,” Campos said as she continued working among the mountains of textbooks. There are also other staff members that are getting cut: Jeannie Cheung in the counseling office, Juan Valencia, Richard Chavez, Danny Reyes, and Martin Ayala from the custodial staff, and

Aida Cardenas from the textbook room. On behalf of the Bravo community, the student body, teachers and staff, we would like to thank you for making Bravo a better place and making it more efficient in helping students learn, getting their textbooks, giving students a clean school, and making their visit to the counselor a more enjoyable experience.

"It's been a roller coaster but it's good! I'm really happy I came here!" -Jenny Omana (’15)

"It's decent and the facilities are clean." -Joseph Yoo (’15)

In a Messy Pinch by Roxana Sierra

With all the recent budget cuts and the layoffs, not to mention the rising unemployment rates in California, Bravo unfortunately let go of half of the janitors. (Now Bravo has one who cleans during the day, and two and a half who clean at night.) One of the janitors at this school stated, with great pride, that it was a privilege to work for, and at, Bravo because it is different from most other high schools. The janitor said that Bravo is a “melting pot” of different cultures and races, and it benefits the students in such a way that they grow up to be good adults and individuals of higher understanding (in terms of matters dealing with race). He continued, “It [letting go of the janitors] is the wrong thing to do.” Sure, the school saves money, but what about the janitors who have to clean up after a school with a population of more than 2,000? So now, to the students who eat the cafeteria food: What will you do knowing that there will only be a few janitors and one Service Facility Assistant (cleans all the restrooms)? The point is, it would be extremely helpful if the student population picked up after themselves and showed their manners. The student body should pick up their trays and throw them in the trash cans situated at every table end; there are plenty to go around. The few janitors will not be able to get to every single little piece of trash because it is Mission Impossible for them, day after day, to clean five floors, the gym, and the outside and inside cafeterias while still managing to throw away the trash. Keeping Bravo clean will require huge efforts from the reduced custodial staff, the students, the teachers, and the staff; everyone has to do their part. Though many of the students may not appreciate the fact that our custodial staff make sure the school is suitable for the next day of instruction, there were those who helped clean the cafeteria after nutrition and lunch: the PE classes, the teachers, and the responsible students who throw away their own trash. The school district is in trouble, but that does not mean this situation should be ignored. Everyone, as individuals and as a school, has to do their part to maintain Bravo’s integrity and make it more pleasurable for learning; but it must come from the “roots” of the school. Be role models. Keep the school clean, not just to lighten the already heavy load for the janitors, but because it is the better, more honest, and character-defining thing to do.

Rushing for Clubs

by Alexa Pena and Crystal Rivas

When lunch time began on Wednesday September 28th, everyone rushed to be a part of the highly anticipated Club Rush. All students­—Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors—gathered around the outdoor basketball area to see what clubs the school had to offer. While some students know what clubs they will be joining ahead of time, others were drawn to the clubs that were never heard of. There were a range of clubs­—from Photography Club to Paranormal Club, and to educational clubs such as Mentoring Club, where members are given the chance to educate younger students. Not only do the endless list of clubs look good for college applications, but they also give students the opportunity to be part of Bravo’s extracurriculars.

RUN ‘TIL YOU DROP As a new season looms, Bravo XC looks to continue success. by Albert Petrosyan One of the most popular sports programs in the academic-based Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet is the Cross Country (XC) team. Every year, more than 100 students put a lot of their free time aside to take part in this running program; and every year the XC team achieves much success in its meets and rallies. Many commend Mr. Rob Russell for leading such an effective program that brings much athletic praise to a school that is not known for its sports. After the usual strong season last year, much of the best athletes of the XC team graduated, leaving big shoes to fill for the upcoming juniors and seniors. Mr. Russell, however, believes that the team prepared well during the off season, as many of the important pieces in this year’s team participated in the summer camp. Edgar Orellana (’12) and Carlos Samaniego (’13) are expected to have great seasons since they both worked hard during the summer, adding a competitive edge to this year’s team. He also believes that some of the new runners can add new ideas and create a spark for a team that is looking to continue its successful run. Sophomores Dulce Morales and Jackie Lopez have earned Russell’s praise, something not easy to do: “They are pushing and working hard together to contribute to the success of our program,” he says. Despite the many positives, this squad has its weaknesses this year as well. Russell described that he was disappointed since many potential star runners from last year did not return to the team this year, which is a huge blow to the team. He also knows that XC has its tolls, especially from the minimization of sleep. Juniors, Seniors, and some Sophomores are very involved academically, entering important, as well as difficult, years in school; XC is an extracurricular activity that the students cannot fully lunge themselves in to. He knows that it will not be easy, but Russell has City Finals set in his sights. He does feel that reaching the City Preliminaries is attainable for this year’s squad, but the fact that they are placed in a new league this year does not help. The competition is there, especially rival Santee High School, whom Russell specifically indicated as a high-quality program: “They are a good team and will be tough to beat.” Los Angeles High and Maywood are question marks as Bravo has not faced those schools in years. As much as he likes winning, Russell will be the first to admit that his goal this year goes beyond the glory. “I want this year’s team to be like a ‘running family,’ always sticking up for each other.” Russell wants his runners to learn life lessons like “working hard will pay off” and “respect yourself, your team, and your opponent.” He wants the team to improve throughout the year by rebounding from tough performances and learning from their mistakes. Bravo XC has always held itself in high esteem; and every runner puts 100 percent of his or her effort in contributing to its success. During a long and tedious season, keeping up the consistency is very difficult; but through hard work comes success, and that is what Bravo XC has and continues to run for.

Why You Should Join APES collected by Karl Kevin Pascasio A fairly new teacher named Ms. Ericksen took on the challenge of teaching an Advanced Placement Environmental Science class for the 2011-2012 school year. In an interview, she talks about the content and gists of her new class: about Earth , the policies that affect it positively and negatively, and everything else in between. What is the course about? AP Environmental Science is pretty unique among the sciences because it is interdisciplinary, which means it pulls from many different fields of studies—Biology, chemistry, geography, mathematics. It also looks at public policy and economics. All of these different fields influence our understanding of the environmental challenges that humans currently face. What is covered in the course exactly? Some of the major topic areas are sustainability, biodiversity, renewable and nonrenewable energy, agriculture, water use, pollution, and all of these are examined through the lens of human impact. One specific example that we will look at that hits close to home for Southern Californians is the availability of fresh and unpolluted water for us to use. What is fun about the course? Everything is fun about the course, of course! I think it gives students a great opportunity to learn about how the choices they make every day directly affect our world. We learn about what is happening right now in our changing world; and the science continues to evolve even over the course of the one year students are in the class.

Karl Pascasio (’13) of the Leadership class attempts to restore order among the rowdy crowd. With so many clubs and so little time, Club Rush was held once again on the returning school day, September 30th, to give students a second chance to sign up. Not only were Club Rush sign-ups hot and crowded, but they were also very chaotic, so some students did not have the opportunity to check out all the clubs. No need to worry, if students did not have the opportunity to sign up for a club, there are always other extra curricular activities for them to sign up for. In fact, some club presidents would even allow late sign-ups during their meetings.

RAKWith Halloween just around the corner, kids are preparing to go door to door in the late hours after dark screaming,

How will it help students, and as well as humans, in the future? For students, APES can be a very useful tool for students to learn about their strengths, weaknesses and interests, all in one class. Because it takes an interdisciplinary approach to the material, it exposes students to information that would otherwise take them five or six other classes of other fields of study to gain. For humans, environmental science is critical because we rely on this planet to keep us alive. We could not survive if we didn’t use the resources it provides for food, shelter, energy, and many other resources. Environmental science teaches us to think critically about the choices we make, and evaluate if these choices are in the best interest of all living things with whom we share our planet. What are some fun facts from the course? Listing off environmental facts can sometimes depress people, so I’ll give some positive and negative: • 20 billion beverage containers were used in California last year. More than 16 billion of those containers were recycled! • Lots of research is currently being done to see if algae could be biofuel replacement for oil. • Nearly half the water consumed in this country is used for livestock. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. • The average annual salary for environmental scientists in 2009 was $67,360. Why should students join? They should join because humans are members of the planet, not masters of it. It’s important to learn how both small and large choices we make impact everyone and everything on this planet. It’s the responsible thing to do for the world! What are some cool projects that the class will be doing? I don’t want to ruin surprises, but there will definitely be a few things revolving around food! I’m hoping we can grow some of our own and maybe do some cooking using renewable energy. And no, we will not be cooking Hot Cheetos! I’m also planning for us to visit a few different places, like a water treatment plant and maybe a landfill—gross, but fascinating. Our end of the year project will aim to make a permanent impact at Bravo.

simple right? Well here is the inaugural version of the monthly NFL FLYING HIGH - Ravens Dominate to the Top of Pretty Petrosyan Power Rankings: the 1st Petrosyan Power Rankings

by Albert Petrosyan

The Baltimore Ravens have been airborne since opening kickoff, and no one has been able to pull them down, not even close. In the first ever Petrosyan NFL Power Rankings (PPR), exclusive for Vital Signs, the Ravens have claimed the top spot and look like a team that will live in the top 5 this season. Contrary to popular belief, my Power Rankings are not subject to my personal judgment or opinion, but are created through a complex process involving numerous calculations. Available on every month’s issue, my monthly Rankings will determine the strength of each team so far in the season. The calculation method that I have devised is simple once understood: Each week the 32 teams of the National Football League are split into 3 groups (Elite, Good, and Bad). These groups are cumulative, meaning that playing well in one week does not give a team an Elite status, but through only consistent good play would promote a team. Once these three groups are established, their on-field matchups are analyzed and an amount of points is given to a team based on their status and the result of the game. This is done to ensure that Elite teams get fewer points for beating a Bad team as opposed to if a Bad team beats an Elite team. Here is a look at the scoring method: Blowout Win (by 14+ pts.)



Blowout Loss (by 14+ pts.)

Elite vs. Elite





Elite vs. Good





Elite vs. Bad





Good vs. Elite





Good vs. Good





Good vs. Bad





Bad vs. Elite




(only if 3 pts. or less) 0

Bad vs. Good





Bad vs. Bad





Rank Team (status) Record Petrosyan Points 1. Baltimore Ravens (Elite) 3-1 2. Green Bay Packers (Elite) 4-0 3. Detroit Lions (Elite) 4-0 4. New Orleans Saints (Elite) 3-1 5. Houston Texans (Elite) 3-1 6. Tennessee (Good) 3-1 7. Buffalo Bills (Elite) 3-1 8. New England Patriots (Elite) 3-1 9. San Francisco 49ers (Good) 3-1 10. Washington Redskins (Good) 3-1 11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Good) 3-1 12. New York Giants (Good) 3-1 13. San Diego Chargers (Elite) 3-1 14. Chicago Bears (Good) 2-2 15. Oakland Raiders (Good) 2-2 16. Cincinnati Bengals (Good) 2-2

Analysis 16 pts. 14 pts. 13 pts. 12 pts. 11 pts. 11 pts. 10 pts. 10 pts. 10 pts. 9 pts. 9 pts. 9 pts. 9 pts. 9 pts. 7 pts. 7 pts.

For the full list and explanations, the extended version is online at our Journalism website.

Halloween Crossword Puzzle

Tim Burton at LACMA by Ajay Saniano

From the moment you enter the mouth of a deranged colorful face, a red swirl transports you to the mind of Tim Burton himself. The multi-eyed black creatures with abnormalities catch you off-guard. Scattered around the first room are various artworks from his brilliant mind on any type of canvas, even concepts from his version of Alice in Wonderland were among those hung on the walls of LACMA. In the corner of the room, Robot Boy’s Sculpture stood out with a working, eerie, light-up eye. Red walls welcomed his line of artwork against the wall, along with articles and papers of his high school days. Early movies he directed were playing on each wall. Clear resemblances of signature “shock-art” lay with the abstract pieces used and almost horrific scenes, such as a talking severed head. The next gallery exploded with color and unimaginable things; pirates and continent-sized Romeo and Juliet, Little Dead Riding Hood, and clever quotes such as A Man with Permanent Seeing Eye Dogs, Giving Your Eyes a Rest, and Mental Floss—all taken literally. His rendition of Hansel and Gretel was playing, with a multi-colored, gooey and vibrant ending. A dark room with black light enveloped the next room, with a sculpture of Oogie Boogie glowing, as well as a spinning carousel with fancy monsters hanging from strings, and eyes watching from every angle of the room. A grey area contained movie set pieces such as the Original Catwoman’s suit and Batman’s mask. In the back of the room, closed in the glass case, was Edward Scissorhands’ suit, complete with the gloves. Aside from movies, animation rested in the room as well. The most prominent animation in that room was The Nightmare Before Christmas. Displays of Jack’s heads, concepts of Oogie, Zero, and a severed Sally were placed everywhere. The final room had pieces inspired by Tim Burton, like Planet of the Apes and Mars Attacks! More animation props from the Corpse Bride were dedicated to one wall, while Sleepy Hallow’s scarecrow and Sweeny Todd’s razor collection were awed by many. Severed heads and massive dolls showed the inspiration taken from Tim. Cartoons from his book, The Melancholy Death of Oysterboy, were playing to entertain with its odd, grotesque, deranged comedy as both children and adults were entertained. Upon exiting, huge towering tube men flailed around, almost waving goodbye. This exhibit is Tim’s entire history at its peak. Tim has always inspired me as a child and the opportunities to visit LACMA and see his art was irresistible. His artwork is still open to the public, so grab the chance to witness his artwork up close and personal before it leaves Halloween day!

by Valerie Conde

Across 2. A pale light sometimes seen at night inside a pumpkin. 4. Something that is orange and round. 6. The evening before All Saints’ Day; often devoted to dressing up and getting candy. 7. Provoking fear or terror. 9. A covering to disguise or conceal the face. 10. An apple that is covered with a candy-like substance. 11. A mental representation of some haunting experience. 12. A movie based on the Egyptian curse. 13. A monster able to change appearance from human to wolf and back again. Down 1. A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 3. A phrase that gets you candy. 5. Halloween _________ at Knotts Scary Farm. 8. Something reduced to its minimal form.

Forget the Candy. Time for a Scare! by Alexa Pena With Halloween just around the corner, kids are preparing to go door to door in the late hours after dark screaming, “Trick o’ Treat!” in their princess costumes filled with glitter. Others dressed as super heroes, while teenagers plan on where to go with their friends. So, as that time of the year approaches you ask yourself, “What do I want to do and where should I go?” Well, don’t worry; I might be able to help you out on that. Some suggestions of top places to go to may best be an amusement park or even trick o’ treating at a local neighborhood. One subject on everyone’s mind is Universal Studios Horror Nights. While everyone waits outside impatiently for the gates to open, you walk towards the dark, elongated gates of Universal Studios, it is 7:30 pm and everyone waits. A huge explosion goes off as if they were Fourth of July fireworks, and a large dark curtain falls to show a dramatic entrance of the park’s opening of Horror Nights. Everyone rushes to the opening mazes, while people are bumping into creatures, who are patiently waiting to scare some unlucky individuals. One way to clearly picture this, for example, is the Horror Nights commercial: Everyone is running from “fear” and looking back at the same time. Prepare to be scared. An attraction they have is the “Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare,” by far the best maze with its unexpected people coming at you and items popping out. In this maze, you hope that nothing will happen and you’ll be able to walk on by. However, while walking throughout the park, it begins to darken and the only light is from

the rides, shops, and the occasional lamp post, unless the massive amount of fog isn’t in the way. Not only are the park’s creatures just standing around waiting to scare some unlucky individuals, but they are also very difficult to discern apart from fake statues­—people with the long, dark, black over-coat, standing still, and people with chainsaws chasing after them. Word of advice, don’t run away and show fear, they will come after you even more. The final maze I recommend is the ever-so-famous Mexican urban legend, “La Llorona.” As you walk into what seems to be a church scenario with people sitting down, “La Llorona” stands in her white long wedding dress shrieking, “My kids!” She then cries and shrieks even louder at the moments you least expect it. Now, if you’re not a fan of these types of adventures you can always settle for less. Visit “The Queen Mary,” with an event known as the “Dark Harbor” you’re sure to get scared without even trying. From October 7 to 31, roam around the halls late at night with its well-known demonic past and you’re sure to have a scare. Yes, it’s haunted; but hey, you’re bound to run into a ghost and experience what may be your first paranormal encounter. Enjoy this Halloween. And of course don’t forget to watch your back, because you may never know who may sneak up on you to scare you this 31st!

Let’s Learn Japanese Language!

Pitzer College Blurb

KYODO SYSTEM Japanese Language Schools

by Monica Roque

A member of the renowned Claremont Colleges, P i t z e r College takes a different approach to a liberal arts education. With emphases on diverse intercultural understanding, environmental sensitivity, and student autonomy, Pitzer students are actively motivated to expand their education beyond campus boundaries. For the 2011 US News & World Report, Pitzer College ranked in the top 50 liberal arts colleges nationwide, as well as 13th nationwide in Most Students Studying Abroad.

Welcome to Kochu Gakubu for the 2011-2012 school year! Students interested in Japanese manga or anime are invited to participate. School Hours: Saturdays 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m Administrative Office: Kochu Gakubu (Jr. & Sr. High School) 1218 Menlo Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90006 Office: (213) 383-4706

Kowloon Dimsum Restaurant: A Culinary Disaster by Monica Roque If you’re in the mood for FilipinoChinese fusion cuisine, find a different restaurant. Despite its Chineseesque name, Kowloon Dimsum, located in LA’s Koreatown at 223 S. Vermont Avenue, is essentially a low-cost Filipino fast food joint with a Chinese-inspired menu, including over-microwaved shu mai dumplings, dense pork siopao buns, week-old arroz caldo porridge, and poorlyprepared Filipino breakfast meals. Being a fan of Filipino breakfast food, I opted for the cornsilog, a combination meal of corned beef, garlic fried rice, and over-easy eggs. The meal did look fairly appetizing, but after I tasted the first spoonful of garlic fried rice I immediately knew that something was off. The garlic fried rice had an unpleasant crunchy texture as if it were left for hours on a windowsill on a sunny Los Angeles afternoon to solidify and eventually spoil. The bland corned beef and eggs were not something to rave about either. The very next day, I suffered the stabbing fury of stomach flu in my third period class. Even my mother and father felt Kowloon

Dimsum’s gastrointestinal wrath. If you’re looking for a pleasant dining experience, Kowloon Dimsum is not the restaurant for you. Its blatant lack of ambiance complements its awful excuse for Filipino-Chinese cuisine. If you’re stubborn enough to disregard my warnings and visit Kowloon Dimsum anyway, let me ask you this: Do you enjoy dining on luxury Styrofoam plates and bowls while drinking soapy water out of Styrofoam cups? Maybe I’m exaggerating when I say that Kowloon Dimsum should be renamed “Spoiled Filipino-Chinese Fast Food served on Styrofoam Cutlery,” but this new name would just about sum up my dining experience. As I walked to the trash bin to dispose of my dry and tainted cornsilog combo meal, I saw that the bin was literally overflowed to the brim with Styrofoam plates of partially eaten food. It was then that I realized that perhaps I wasn’t the only victim of poor dining quality at Kowloon Dimsum.

Vital Signs Volume XV. Issue ii

William Nubla

Jasmine Montanez

AJ Saniano

Amy Guerra

Cynthia Serrano

Albert Petrosyan

Katherin Javalera

Jacqueline Romero

Crystal Rivas

Monica Roque

Editor in Chief Editor in Chief Editor in Chief

Managing Editor Managing Editor

Photographer in Chief Editor Editor Editor Editor

“Pitzer College strongly promotes student independence. We have an excellent Study Abroad program which allows students to take control of their own education and take advantage of the outstanding academic and extramural opportunities Pitzer has to offer.” –Constance Lumumba-Perez, Assistant Director of Admission

Bravo’s College Guests for October 2011 by Monica Roque





Oct. 7 @ 11:00am



Oct. 10 @ 10:00am



Oct. 13 @ 11:30am



Oct. 20 @ 9-10:00am



Oct. 20 @ 12:30pm



Oct. 21@ 12:30pm



Oct. 24 @ 9:00am



Oct. 27 @ 11:00am






Every Mon. & Wed.



Weekly, every Wed.



Weekly, every Wed.


Top: Albert Petrosyan, AJ Saniano, William Nubla, Francisco Perez Araujo, Karl Pascasio, Enrique Marroquin, Omar Gomez Bottom: Katherine Navarro, Hannah Contreras, Helen Bezikyan, Sarah Perez, Katherin Javalera, Cynthia Serrano, Crystal Rivas, Jacqueline Romero, Roxana Sierra, Amy Guerra, Monica Roque, Valerie Conde, Alexa Pena, Jasmine Montanez, Citlaly Orozco, Maria Guillen

Editorial Matter

Letters to the Editors

Opinions expressed in Vital Signs belong to the writer. They do not reflect the opinions of the journalism staff or those of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School.

Letters to the Editors concerning any topic relevant to Vital Signs are welcomed. Please refrain from using vulgar or disrespectful language. Letters should be brief and may be edited to maximize space use and heighten clarity. Letters may be anonymous or signed by the author. Please send letters to: or Drop them into Mr. Rodriguez’s box, room312

OCT 2011  

Bravo's October 2011 Issue

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