The Arrow November 2022

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Arrow 100 Lakeview Canyon Rd. Westlake Village, CA 91362 Volume XLV | Issue 2 | November 8, 2022

Rising caffeine addictions impact teens Pages 8–9 WHS mascot is re–evaluated

True crime grows in popularity

Fantasy Football unites sports fans

page 4

page 11

page 15



Arrow staff


makenna norman, alyssa rice & vivian stein

web editors–in–chief alyssa joo & allison tieu

business managers james miller & summer nichols

news section editor grace hefner

news editor sania gali

feature section editor allison tieu

feature editor jocelyn glick

arts & entertainment section editor alyssa joo

arts & entertainment editors summer nichols & lanza peretti

opinion section editor andy lynch

opinion editors james miller & junior rendon

sports section editor shane douglas

sports editors kalia bell & laura teegarden

graphics editor harrison weinberg

photo editor lucas van parys

social media editors sydney elias, sania gali & jocelyn glick

featured columnist sydney elias

adviser karie lynch The Arrow is written, designed and run by the students of the Advanced Journalism and Journalism 1CP classes at Westlake High School. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the Conejo Valley Unified School District, Westlake High School administration, faculty or student body. We welcome feedback. Letters must be signed by the writer. 100 N. Lakeview Canyon Road Westlake Village, CA 91362 (805) 497-6711 ext. 4225 Cover design by Alyssa Rice

Is there a problem with food waste at WHS? by makenna norman, alyssa rice & vivian stein

editors–in–chief The school bell rings, signaling the end of lunch. The WHS campus is a little more quiet and empty as many upperclassmen have already left for the day, but the remaining students settle into desks, teachers power on projectors for lessons and fifth period begins. However, this peace and quiet as afternoon classes start is in stark contrast with the state of campus. A half–eaten hamburger resides at the top of the amphitheater with crows already swarming nearby. Crumpled juice boxes and discarded cardboard lunch trays make their homes at tables or on the ground. Empty Doritos bags drift across campus in the light breeze. Multiple bottled waters and boxes of raisins lay next to trash cans as a result of attempted trick shots. Many students look forward to lunchtime as they can catch up with friends, relax for a little bit and for many, enjoy the free lunches that the Conejo Valley School District provides. While this program ensures all students have a lunch, questions have been raised about the food waste that arises as a result. “[There’s an] escalating national debate over how to improve child nutrition without the massive food waste and climbing costs in the $11.6–billion federal school lunch program, which feeds 31 million students daily,” according to The Los Angeles Times. As part of the current nutrition guidelines, students are required to take certain items with their lunches, such as a fruit or vegetable. However, since a lot of students turn to potato chips or a cookie before a bag of baby carrots, much of the required food goes unconsumed and is left in trash cans or simply around campus as lunch remnants. Not only do many students have to take food that they don’t want, some have to take food that they can’t eat at all. Vegetarian and vegan students often have to take food items containing meat if there is no vegetarian option, and students with allergies or other dietary restrictions may have to add food they can’t actually eat on their lunch trays. This contributes to the rising amount of discarded food at the end of lunch. “The best way to tackle food waste is to make sure students consume what they take,” according to “This involves good planning by school nutrition staff, getting students involved in decision–making, and having teachers educate students on the impacts of wasted food.” Currently, CVUSD students have little to no impact on school lunches, even though they are the ones consuming them. There often is a lack of options for students with dietary needs and other food restrictions, and schools are only required to provide an alternate meal to a student if they provide a medical statement from a doctor.


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TRASH TROUBLES: To help keep WHS clean, students should dispose of their trash in one of the many trash cans throughout campus. This simple effort will go a long way to reduce litter at WHS.

The Arrow staff poll Yes: 18 No: 1 Abstain: 0


“The school food service is encouraged, but not required, to provide food substitutions or modifications for children without disabilities with medically certified special dietary needs who are unable to eat regular meals as prepared,” according to The half–eaten lunches as a result of this policy are then discarded, and often not in trash cans. WHS’s custodial staff works hard to make campus look clean and trash–free, especially following lunch, but they can only do so much in the limited time frame they have. Hundreds of WHS students receive free nutrition snacks and lunches during the school day. With each individually wrapped food item, disposable lunch tray or carton of juice or milk, the amount of food and its packaging that end up discarded just continues to rise. “While children placed more fruits and vegetables on their trays — as required by the USDA mandates put in place in 2012 — they consumed fewer of them,” according to CBS in a University of Vermont study. “The amount of food wasted increased by 56%, the researchers found.” This increase in food waste is not isolated to fruits and vegetables or even school lunches either. When students are busy or selective about the food they eat, more food is likely to be thrown out because it is undesirable or will spoil before students return home to refrigerate it or pass it off to a family member. Consequently, more food waste correlates to an increase in litter following lunchtime. Gray trash and blue recycling bins are easily accessible across campus; thus, the responsibility falls on students to pick up after themselves at the end of lunch. The lunchtime dilemma requires a commitment from CVUSD and WHS’s nutrition teams and students. More variety in food and dietary–inclusive options will go a long way to decrease food waste and increase support of the school lunch program. In the meantime, there is one easy step everyone can take to combat the litter following lunch: pick up your trash.

Makenna Norman, Alyssa Rice & Vivian Stein The 2022–23 Editor Team



Iran fights for women’s rights by sania gali news editor


On Sept. 13, Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish– Iranian woman, was arrested in Tehran, Iran by the Guidance Patrol, also known as Iran’s morality police force, for violating Iran’s strict laws requiring women to wear a headscarf or hijab. She was rushed to the hospital due to collapsing from bodily trauma while in police custody and was declared dead on Sept. 16. Amini’s death has sparked outrage in Iran and across the world towards the current regime in power with mass protests being held in the Iranian cities of Tehran, Mahshad, Tabriz and Isfahan as well as international cities such as London, New York City, Beirut and Los Angeles. Women in Iran are leading these protests by burning their hijabs and cutting their hair as a form of rebellion against Iran’s strict dress code. For many women in Iran, Amini’s death has sparked anger and frustration towards the government in control. “I think that [the protests] symbolize that [women] are sick and tired of being oppressed for so long, and [now] they feel like they have a voice ... after so many events that happened,” said Iranian–Pakistani–American Fatima Marpara ‘24. Due to the social unrest towards the government, Iranian authorities have limited Iranian citizens’ access to the internet, especially platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram, which are used to coordinate and plan protests. “I can’t be in [constant] contact with anyone

IRAN TAKES TO THE STREETS: Protests continue on Sept. 20, 2022 at Kabir University in Tehran, Iran’s largest city, in hopes of achieving more rights for women.

in Iran,” said Iranian–American Elizabeth Biyoukaghai ‘25. “My dad is there right now and only sometimes [through] text [can I contact] him. Because of these protests, everything is just blocked. It’s insane to see how much control [the government] has over the people.” Often, the authorities in Iran have started targeting women as responsible for the protests and used physical force as a method to prevent them. Women in the protests are often jailed, shot or physically beaten for speaking up against the government. “[My mom and I] just left [Iran] because we couldn’t handle all the women’s oppression,”

said Biyoukaghai. “You have to be a strong woman to live in those countries.” The Iranian government maintains strict rules on how women should act and dress in society. As of 2022, Iranian Civil Code states that after reaching puberty, women cannot reveal their hair in public, obtain a passport without written consent from their husbands or marry non– Muslims. It is also much harder for women to file for divorce from their husbands, and they are forced to forfeit child custody if they remarry. The penalty for breaking these laws is imprisonment or floggings anywhere from 10 to 74 lashes. To read the full story, visit

Ventura County prepares for election by grace hefner news section editor With the Nov. 8 midterm elections approaching, some WHS students along with the entirety of Ventura County are preparing to cast their ballots for statewide and local candidates and propositions. For WHS students who have recently become eligible to vote, this will be their first time voting and, specifically, in an election which will likely set a precedent for their future voting habits. “Youth who reported having been either encouraged to vote or taught how to register to vote in high school are more likely to vote and participate in other civic activities and [be] more knowledgable about voting processes,” according to For students under the age of 18, it may seem hard to stay engaged with local politics, but there are still ways for students to be included. “[Students] can volunteer for political campaigns and eventually [they] will have to cure the problems that are already out there … so I think they should be involved,” said Sabrina Beckwith, CP World History and CP Government and Economics teacher. Students who are 16–17–years–old are also able to pre–register to vote by visiting, which allows them the opportunity to register with an adequate amount of time before actually voting. Because the level of knowledge regarding politics and elections varies among WHS students, some suggest that the school should provide and promote more resources for students to learn about voting in California.

In brief California Gas Prices California gas prices rose to an average $6.39 per gallon at the beginning of October, making it the state with the highest average in the United States. Multiple California gas stations charged prices of over $8 a gallon, and this inflation can be attributed to high demands, limited supplies, taxes and more. In response, California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the California Air Resources Board earlier in October, allowing refiners to switch to winter–blend gasoline which has a higher vapor pressure that allows cars to ignite fuel easier in cold temperatures. This change would have minimal impact on air quality and increase the gasoline supply instead of waiting until November. The winter blend costs less to manufacture, so switching earlier will lower gas prices.

Russia, Ukraine RussiA, Conflict As of Nov. 5, Russia has launched numerous Iranian–made drones across Ukraine, which have injured, killed and trapped multiple people. These drones have struck important civilian and energy infrastructures. Ukrainian Air Forces combatted these drones by shooting them down and have reported to have shot down more than 300 of them. According to a statement by Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir– Abdollahian, they acknowledged that they sent a limited number of drones to Russia months prior to the invasion and denied that they continue to supply weapons.

College Applications


“I don’t really know much about [voting], so I guess [voting information] could help anyone who doesn’t know about it,” said Andy Juy ‘23. For information about in–person voting and ballot drop–off locations within Ventura County and to view the candidate lists and election results, citizens can visit While national level elections are important, many argue that local elections are just as important because they affect their own communities’ governments and people. “You have more of a say [in local elections], and I think often you have more of an opportunity to make changes locally,” said Michael Freda ‘23. One of the most contentious aspects of this year’s local midterms has been the election for CVUSD school board candidates. While current school board President Karen Sylvester


and Vice President Lauren Gill maintain their seats for two more years, there are three seats up for election which will affect the CVUSD school board as a whole. “It’s a really controversial election, and our CVUSD [school board] is really divided,” said Beckwith. “I think that there’s two groups that both want to see a lot of change, but they are fighting for different things, so I think the outcome is going to be interesting to watch.” The upcoming election has already had near record–breaking turnout for early voting, according to New York Times, as many assert the importance of staying informed about midterms. “I think that having an understanding and an education about what you are voting for definitely makes a difference [when you are] participating [in voting],” said Freda.

Most college applications are due between November and February, with early admissions deadlines in November. The UC and CSU systems’ fall 2023 admission application deadline for all applicants is Nov. 30. For UC applications, students must create an account and fill out the information required, which includes the response to four personal insight questions. The application fee for each UC school is $70. For more information as well as to create an account, visit admission. For California State Universities, students must create an account at and the application costs $70 per school.

Thanksgiving Events On Nov. 24, Elite Sports California is hosting its ninth annual Thanksgiving Day 5k run. The race starts in Rancho Simi Park at 8 a.m. and goes along Arroyo Creek. This event is available for all ages, and participants may run or walk. All finishers will be given a medal, shirt, water bottle and goodie bag. Standard entry fee is $50. For more information, visit

Compiled by Allison Tieu



WHS re–evaluates Warrior mascot

said Branham. “We used to have options were suggested by faculty headdresses on the side of every members. The first option proposed locker bank and all over [WHS]. that WHS keep the Warrior About six years ago or so, we got rid name and imagery. of the tomahawks. Through some of “I just think that those conversations, people talked changing [the mascot our past During the start of the 2022–23 about the feathers on the spear and disregards] school year, WHS has taken steps the feathers having Native American achievements and takes out what it means to be a Westlake to re–evaluate the school mascot, imagery and correlation.” This school year, the faculty Warrior,” said Ethan Bolger specifically regarding its affiliation with Native American culture. and staff at WHS have held a few ‘23. “I think there’s more nd Faculty and staff members have meetings, with each side expressing positivity in our current brand row a an ar . g in than trying to rename a brand or held discussions regarding possible opinions on the mascot. d ll A Lakota clu wa n headre ign in s the gym “We didn’t end up coming to change it. It’s more of a positive ss collag changes, and these conversations have s IBE” s found on e is A “TR s runs acro some of r the origin podiums e introduced three separate courses of much of a conclusion by the end of tradition [to] bring everyone th a still used fe al by teache action: keep the current mascot how any of the meetings, [as] it was mostly together rather than tear people rs. it is, remove the Native American people voicing their opinions and not apart. We are trying to promote a but in life, ” said varsity head imagery but remain as “Warriors” or finding a lot of common ground,” said [sense of] community.” football coach Mark Servé. Roger Biersborn, AP Art History However, others argue that “You’re going to get knocked rebrand completely. the imagery doesn’t have any tie to down and have to decide whether “If the way we have these teacher and WHS yearbook adviser. Some students have expressed WHS’s achievements. conversations isn’t done right, we are you are going to stay down or get “If the accomplishment is up, and in my mind, a warrior is going to divide people,” said Principal concern that various cheers at WHS’s Jason Branham. “Our society is so rallies and sports events reinforced a something to be proud of, then the going to stand up.” heightened and ready to be divided, negative stereotype associated with image not being there doesn’t change Since the name Warriors it,” said Kayla Maxedon, Honors and Native American imagery so I didn’t want that to happen. the Native American culture. “Even though [the cheers are] Biology teacher and WHS alumna. have been associated with WHS for That was my fear that people would become so polarized that we lose not supposed to be violent, it’s very “It’s the school, and it’s the people, multiple years, some Chumash tribal inted e pa ks ar with the aggressive in the way that [WHS does] not the image. To me, the image members have voiced concern that the sight of the ‘why.’” w a h gym toma n. Prior to COVID–19, a small it,” said Keira Lefkowitz ‘24, a tribal should be something that people can atmosphere on campus and in student Two side of the TRY” sig N e U h t O C on group of teachers initiated a discussion card carrying member of the Akmel O’ rally around.” section cheers will continue to be tied RIOR “WAR S o m e to the American Indigenous culture about the possibility of an alternative Otham Peoples. Native have expressed even after removing the imagery. mascot with Branham, but they “As we are already asked to fill decided to delay further conversations A m e r i c a n s , “I feel like even if [WHS] changed the gap with fundraisers and financial e need to define concern with [we] have current the logo, and even with the name situations where parents aren’t able to until the pandemic settled. what the Warrior the use of the Warriors, ignorant minds are going to donate, and that adds another burden “Our school represents more worked so hard represents. Let feathered spear add the spear, and they’re going to add to an already taxed booster club.” than just us,” said Branham. “When to get away [COVID–19] hit I said, ‘Listen, from that word Although no decisions have been that definition of the Warrior as part of the the war bonnet,” said active Chumash ‘savages’ WHS brand. people are feeling enough stuff in our of tribal member KC Rodriguez. “They’re made about what is best suited for WHS, dictate and drive what our we’ve “Feathers still going to do these other racial acts the staff and faculty are committed to world right now with the pandemic, which chants and mascot become.” are the most to celebrate the Warrior.” so we’re [going to] put this on pause.” been called.” supporting the student body. Others Since the 1990s, a national “Being part of these faculty With this in mind, a third option –Jason Branham sacred thing across all involves rebranding WHS entirely discussions, there are a lot of differing movement has prompted schools and feel that the I n d i g e n o u s and removing the mascot and the opinions,” said Lisa Ryder, Geometry sports teams to re–examine their use of i m a g e r y tribes,” said name Warriors. Native American imagery. 79 schools used at WHS CVS and Computer Science teacher. nationwide have changed their mascots portrays the Native American Lefkowitz. “In my tribe, we work a “[The Chumash people] “For me, when I’m in those meetings, since 2010, and 40 schools have changed community in a positive light and lot with feathers to the point where didn’t self proclaim [themselves] as and I’m hearing that passion, it since the beginning of 2019, according celebrates its culture. Individuals I wouldn’t touch a feather because warriors,” said Rodriguez. “That’s just speaks to me about how much the that support keeping the mascot also it’s so sacred. There’s traditions and all colonization. That’s not who we faculty cares about the school and the to “We need to define what the voice that the accomplishments and rituals of why we use feathers; it’s not are; that’s not what we look like. That students. Even when we don’t agree, Warrior represents,” said Branham. achievements of WHS help highlight just [for] a cute t–shirt.” picture and image has no connection we do agree that we care about WHS.” Given this concern, a second to who we are or ever been … That’s “Let that definition of the Warrior the Indigenous culture. Despite the focus on staff and “I think for me [the Warrior is] course of action would involve never been a part of our history.” dictate and drive what our chants and faculty meetings, Branham has stated mascot become … People are looking an identity,” said Melissa Magpali, AP keeping the Warrior name but However, some feel that the that there will be a student–wide vote at the logo, name and mascot, but to Ceramics and ASG adviser. “Being eliminating the Native American Warrior name and imagery is a large on the mascot in the future. here for 16 years — I did not go here imagery associated with the school. part of WHS’s image. me it’s so much deeper than that.” “We have to make sure that we The steps taken to re–examine — but I feel it’s part of my life. I think If this option was employed, WHS “Warrior just in general is such a have to engage everybody — students, the imagery associated with Native that the Native American imagery is a would use a Warrior external to the cool image to have,” said Izzy Glonek staff, community, [and] alumni,” said Americans have remained steady, positive imagery, and it acknowledges Native American culture. ‘23. “I feel like having that Native Branham. “Now that we’ve had those “We [want] an actual, physical American [origin] in that name kind of conversations, the next step is having with WHS removing specific images what they’ve been through.” Due to the differing opinions on mascot that represents more than shows that we are the Warriors … [but] a lunchtime meeting in the library and and references over time. “Back in 1999, we removed how WHS should address the current just a sports program and embodies I’d want to have a conversation about it inviting all students to come. I think it’s mascot, three different everyone on campus,” said Scott and sit down and understand where the important that we have conversations the headdress from everything,” Holloway, AP and CP Physics teacher. [Chumash tribe is] coming from.” to discuss the ‘why’ and the reasons “I understand that having a mascot During the meetings, some that we are even considering this before of strength is important, but does teachers and staff expressed concern having a vote. If you just go with a the strength need to be portrayed in about the financial impact that vote without understanding the ‘why’ a violent manner, such as when the rebranding would have on WHS. behind things, then they are going to crowd does the tomahawk chop? As “There are a lot of other expenses vote based on what they think in their a faculty, we’ve tried to erase things in education that are not fully funded, head without some real information.” that we know are bad stereotypes, but and the amount of money that it’s With the privilege of voting students keep bringing it back and going to take [to rebrand] could go comes the responsibility to educate associating it with the Warrior name.” somewhere else,” said Kristi Hronek, oneself on the issue. For some, the name Warrior is WHS science teacher and WHS “I would say educate yourself, important in defining their attitude booster club member. “As a parent, [and] hear both sides, because “Wah’K towards life and encourages the I would be concerned because I’m both sides are very important,” o yearbo n–Tah,” em application of a positive mindset already asked to voluntarily give a lot of said Lefkowitz. “Think about why bl the em o k S , H W is WHS An original ol’s Osage tribe named aft ho when faced with challenges. sc money … anything that already has a somebody would want to keep it, but e th er on from O is stamped klahom the 1978. m “I think there is an aspect of logo would have to be repurchased and also think about why someone would fro r te a ar . founding ch being a Warrior, not just in football redone. From a booster perspective, ... want to get rid of it.”

by sania gali & summer nichols news editor & co–business manager









Daylight savings may become permanent in 2023 Proposed in 2021, the Sunshine Protection Act will end the time change and make daylight savings permanent. If this bill passes, it will go into effect on Nov. 5, 2023.

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Club Corner


Junior State of America opinion editor


by junior rendon

s @j

The Junior State of America is a nationwide, student–run organization that focuses on civic engagement in politics and aw teaches students how to get involved through hs speaking and debating about different policies and current events. The WHS chapter of JSA meets every Tuesday during lunch in room 62B. TAKING THE STAGE: WHS alumna Keira Pender A typical meeting begins with JSA ‘22 makes her standing argument at the JSA Spring president Cheryl Xiang ‘23 updating State Convention on May 1. members on upcoming club events followed talking to new people and learned to be more by a “thought talk.” “We’ll pick a topic ... and then you raise your comfortable with myself.” From lighter discussions to more hand, contribute a thought [and] ask the room controversial debates, a question,” said Xiang. JSA intends to help “It’s just a nice, organized hope to help students students with self–esteem discussion that’s a lot more gain more awareness and raise awareness relaxed than a debate. We have candy if you of the politics of the about the politics that impact them. talk because we want to world and to also help them “I hope to help encourage participation.” develop confidence.” students gain more Discussions held during JSA club meetings –Cheryl Xiang awareness of the politics of the world and to also allow students to also help them develop find their voices, learn to speak for themselves and debate in a safe and confidence,” said Xiang. JSA will have an upcoming Fall State organized environment. “JSA for me was really helpful in putting convention beginning on Nov. 12 and ending myself out there,” said Xiang. “I started on Nov. 13 at the LAX Sheraton.


Many people look forward to an end in DST as they find that the time shift messes up their schedules, especially regarding sleep. “Every time I wake up [after DST, I realize,] ‘Oh shoot, it’s an hour later’ prepari or ‘Oh shoot, I have n for an hour extra,’ and s savin g f t h p g i i it always throws me gs yl off,” said Alexander da – Gradually shift to an earlier Falls ‘26. bedtime two–three days in advance. However, – Expose self to natural light to the change in adjust internal clocks. time may have – Eliminate sleep disturbances, some more drastic such as caffeine and screens, one– consequences. The two hours before bed. hour difference SO RI throws off the body’s AR H BY circadian rhythm, a GRAPHIC natural 24–hour sleep– wake cycle that regulates sleepiness and wakefulness at While different times of the day, which DST may can lead to sleep deprivation. soon be nearing “If we adopt permanent standard time, its end next year, that our internal clocks will more likely be in sync doesn’t mean it’s over yet. DST for with the rotation of the Earth, seasonal changes the 2022 year is still set to end at 2 a.m. on Nov. and the sun clock,” according to sleep specialist 6, where clocks will be set back one hour. Dr. Phyllis Zee in “Daylight Saving Time and “Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose Your Health” on time has come,” said Rubio.


b ed urn r at 2 Clocks t yea 2 0 22

Daylight savings has been a point of contention for a long time. Many find it unnecessary, and some have even wanted to end the constant clock–changing for good, which is exactly what may happen next year. In March 2022, the Senate unanimously agreed on passing the Sunshine Protection Act, which is set to come into effect on Nov. 5, 2023. “[The Sunshine Protection Act] makes [Daylight Savings Time] the new, permanent standard time,” according to the Library of Congress. “States with areas exempt from DST may choose the standard time for those areas.” However, this isn’t guaranteed yet. The bill still needs to be

approved by the House of Representatives and President Biden before it is passed. The bill was received by the House of Representatives on March 16 and still awaits approval according to The Library of Congress website. “I think it’s important we’re delaying it until November 2023 because of airlines, the rails and transportation methods,” said Marco Rubio, senator and Sunshine Protection Act sponsor. “Others have already built out schedules based on the existing schedule on the existing timeline of this. They’ve asked for a few months here … to make that adjustment.” DST was first officially established in Germany during WWI as a way of preserving power and fuel for the war effort, before making its way over to the United States two years later. Since then, DST has gone through many changes, until the current system was established with the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Permanent DST is not a completely new idea, however, and has been experimented with in the past. “Permanent DST existed during wartime periods of 1918 to 1919 and 1942 to 1945 to conserve energy,” according to “The [United States] also experimented with permanent DST in January 1974. That ended in October 1974 because of significant public dissatisfaction with darker mornings.”


by harrison weinberg graphics editor

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Students balance religion with school

by makenna norman

co–editor–in–chief For public schools across the United States, school is not in session on Christian holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday, and sometimes Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, so that students can observe such holidays without academic obligations interfering. However, students who belong to other religions must balance holiday celebrations and traditions with school, and it can sometimes be difficult to do so. WHS has a diverse student body with a variety of religions and cultures represented, some of which include conflicts with school, such as Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. “Schools somehow think they fixed [the problem] by rebranding Easter and Christmas vacations as spring and winter breaks,” according to Petula Dvorak in “Not every student is Christian. So why don’t all school districts recognize that?” “But the fact is, Christians still get the day off for their big holidays, and the region’s growing, diverse populations get, well, nothing.” Islam generally observes two key holidays, Eid al–Fitr and Eid al–Adha, for which the dates are determined by the Islamic calendar. In 2023, Eid al–Fitr begins the evening of April 21 and ends the evening of April 22, and Eid al–Adha will begin the evening of June 28 and end the evening of June 29. In 2023, the holidays do not conflict with school; however, this has not always been the case in the past, such as in 2022 when Eid al–Fitr ended the evening of Monday, May 2. Eid al–Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which takes place over the course of 30 days during the holy month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslim people abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk. The lack of food

Religious holidays during 2022–23 school year Diwali:

The five–day Festival of Lights celebrates beginnings and the triumph of good over evil.


Oct. 22–26

Also known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates love, spring and new life.


April 5–13

Eid Al–Fitr:

Passover, which celebrates the liberation of the Israelites begins with a seder involving prayers, readings and symbolic food.

April 21–22

Sources:,, &

and drink during the day can make it difficult for students to participate in sports or perform to the best of their abilities in their classes. “We have a couple holidays during school, but since we’re not given them off, it’s kinda difficult,” said Elias Jamal ‘24. “A couple years ago [Ramadan] was during basketball season, so it was really tough [because] I had to fast with no water and no food and had to practice and play games.” Additionally, Muslim people traditionally pray five times throughout the day, at dawn, noon, mid–afternoon, sunset and evening. Some Muslim students struggle to pray at school because of distractions from other students and lack of a quiet place to focus. “A prayer room [on campus] would be nice instead of praying in hallways with people staring at you,” said Emma Caldwell ‘23, co–president of the Muslim Student Association. “Having an established room would make it so people don’t invade our space and we can stay focused.”

March 8

The Muslim holiday Eid Al–Fitr, which translates to “the festival of the breaking of the fast,” takes place at the end of Ramadan. GRAPHIC BY JOCELYN GLICK

In Hinduism, which is both a religion and a culture that individuals identify with differently, there are many holidays and festivities throughout the year which Hindu students must balance with school. For example, this year, Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is on Monday, Oct. 24 in 2022, and Holi, which is celebrated by dancing through the streets and throwing colored dye on each other, takes place on March 8, 2023. “There are more minority cultures that I would like to see represented in terms of holidays and days off where we get to really connect with our culture,” said Anwita Suresh ‘25. Uttarayan is a Hindu festival in January celebrating the arrival of spring, and festivities include kite–flying. Additionally, Navaratri is a festival that takes place over the course of nine nights in September or October. It is observed and celebrated in various ways, but some people dance around a statue of the goddess Durga for several hours, and some people fast during the festival.

“We were supposed to spend nine days fasting, but we didn’t because of school,” said Abhigna Srikantam ‘23. “We sometimes have to give away religious responsibilities in favor of school.” Jewish students in CVUSD are able to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur without having to miss school; however, people who are Orthodox Jewish often take multiple days to observe these holidays and only a few districts provide these days off of school. Additional Jewish holidays that take place during the school year are Sukkot, which lasts for seven days, as well as Passover, which includes a seder the first and second night that can conflict with sports practices and other school activities. Hanukkah also often falls before winter break begins. “Rosh Hashanah is a two day holiday and we only get the first day off [of school], so I take the second day,” said Jessica Garland, English 10CP and English 12CP teacher. “The school was very understanding of my need to take off.” Although not all religious holidays are allotted time off from school, students are entitled to miss school to observe religious holidays. According to the California Department of Education, excused absences include “observance of a holiday or ceremony of the pupil’s religion”; however, this does not always act as an adequate solution. “Students must choose between school and their religion,” according to Sameen Ali and Zyma Lakhani in “Schools should recognize non–Christian holidays.” “If [students] do choose to observe their respective holiday, they can miss vital information ... being taught in classes. This increases the workload and stress students already have, which ultimately puts the individual at a complete disadvantage because they simply wanted to celebrate their faith.”

Inaccessability on campus impacts WHS students by shane douglas

sports section editor


Rain poured down on WHS students as they frantically scurried to their next class periods. As the rain intensified, their walking pace followed suit. Golf carts shielded a multitude of faculty from the downpour, moving them effortlessly across campus. Yet, for students such as Taylor Brown ‘23, who used crutches as a means of navigating throughout campus, commuting was not so simple. Over her shoulder, most students and faculty were making the trouble– free commute to shelter while she could only hope for accommodations. Despite WHS operating as a school for over 40 years, many disabled students are forced to face the negative effects of a lack of accessibility on campus. Most notably with the addition of Building 6 and temporary shutdown of the Building 4 elevator last school year, many disabled students find it difficult to navigate from class–to–class. “It was hard … I would have to [use a] crutch all the way from Building 3 to Building 6 in the pouring rain,” said Brown. “It would have been nice to have a golf cart or [other accommodations]. The golf carts would drive right past me and not ask [to] help while it was pouring rain.” For students with physical disabilities, the incorporation of Building 6 into student schedules has proven to be an obstacle

when navigating through campus, especially considering its extensive distance from the other buildings. The distance from Building 6 to other classes often negatively affects attendance rates for physically disabled students, causing students to miss out on valuable curriculum each day. The steep slope leading up to Building 6 can prove to be problematic as well. “The hill going to the science building is really steep, so I can’t get up it myself,” said Maya Clark ‘23, co–president of the Disabled Students Union at WHS. “I use a manual wheelchair, and I try to go up [the hill], but [I fall] backwards, [and] … I have to have someone help me.” Some students face less challenges than others, but still encounter more obstacles than their non–disabled peers. “It’s hard because I don’t want to distract other people,” said Brooke Pollard ‘25. “I leave [class] early because it can get kind of crowded in the hallways [during passing periods], which isn’t good. Other than that, taking the elevator isn’t that bad.” For some disabled students, accessing upper stories can be challenging, so the elevator is utilized to meet these needs. However, during the 2021–22 school year, the Building 4 elevator was temporarily out of order, therefore jeopardizing students’ educations. Since then, the elevator has been operable for those that have a key. “Last year, the elevator to [Building 4] was broken,” said Clark. “I had a Calculus class upstairs, [and] I couldn’t get to it because [the Building 4 elevator is] the only elevator that

MAKING WHS MORE ACCESSIBLE: Emma Caldwell ‘23, co–president of the Disabled Students Union, discusses facts and statistics related to disabilties.

goes to the third floor. Everything else only goes to the second floor, so I missed a month of class … It was really difficult to catch up after that.” As co–president of the Disabled Students Union, Clark is working to increase accessibility for disabled people in the Thousand Oaks community, specifically trying to improve building infrastructure to further accommodate wheelchairs. She also hopes to improve accessibility at WHS. “[The Disabled Students Union educates] people on issues of disability,” said Clark. “In the future, we are going to work with local

community members that have buildings [in order] to have them be more accessible.” In Clark’s personal experience, the school system has lacked support and accessibility for disabled students. When she first started using a wheelchair, the school would not give her a key to an elevator. Instead, she had to ask staff each day to grant her access to the elevators. “That’s not access,” said Clark. “To ask someone for access [is] not access. Say you were going into a [classroom] … The door’s locked. You don’t have a key. That’s not access to your classroom. That’s not an accessible classroom. That’s essentially what happened with the elevator.”





Teens partake in Gilmore Girls effect my [fall wardrobe staples].” The Gilmore mother and daughter duo have ingrained themselves into many peoples’ minds by providing a sense of comfort and nostalgia anytime the TV displays the little town of Stars Hollow. “I love the cozy feeling of [Gilmore Girls] with the coffee and the small town,” said Long.


perfect in–between,” said Eva Firoozbakhi ‘25. “It’s not too hot or too cold, so it feels refreshing, [and] fall fashion is very comfy with sweaters.” Rory Gilmore is known for her straight A’s, Yellow, orange and brown leaves cascade to the ground. Warm temperatures and burning high aspirations and addiction to reading just summer heat transition into crisp breezes and about any type of book. The books she is shown chilly afternoons. The comfort of autumn is reading throughout the show have created a new here. With mornings encompassed in dewy trend within TikTok’s subsection called “BookTok” weather and a slight mist resting on parked cars where people challenge themselves to read all 408 as clouds cover the sun, many people are eager of Rory Gilmore’s books. “The entire series constantly referenced to sport chunky sweaters or sip from oversized books and writers, featuring all the characters latte cups with a new book cracked open. reading a wide range of All of this may literature from The Art of sound similar to a certain show airing from ometimes I’ll see War by Sun Tzu, to The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath,” 2007 about a young Rory’s outfits, and according to Joanne Tran mother, her teenage I’ll think about it in “Read like Rory, Lead daughter and a quiet town in Connecticut. when I pick out an outfit.” like Lorelai.” “Bookworms and avid fans of the show It’s been 15 years since –Summer Long have taken the pledge the Gilmore Girls’ finale to complete every single premiered, but the book referenced or seen influence of leading character Rory Gilmore, played by Alexis on the show.” With comfortable yet chic sweaters or Bledel, has resurfaced on social media platforms with countless #gilmoregirls tags turtlenecks, pleated skirts and tights becoming staples in wardrobes, the “Rory Gilmore Effect” has flooding peoples’ feeds. For many, Gilmore Girls embodies the introduced a classic, preppy style for today’s teens. “Sometimes I’ll see Rory’s outfits and I’ll comforting feeling that autumn provides, with its crisp atmosphere, fall–themed think about it when I pick out an outfit,” said Summer Long ‘25. “Dark colored knitted activities and warm clothing. “I love fall weather because it is the sweaters, corduroy pants and cardigans are

by andy lynch opinion section editor






Childhood movies return as sequels in 2022 PHOTOS COURTESY OF IMDB

Hocus Pocus 2


Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Available on Disney+

Available on Disney+ on Nov. 24

Available on Disney+ on Dec. 21

After almost 30 years, the adored 1993 Hocus Pocus received a sequel. On Sept. 30, 2022, Hocus Pocus 2 was released and is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. The three Sanderson sisters — Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah, Bette Midler as Winifred and Kathy Najimy as Mary — return for the remake. When two young women, Becca and Izzy, played by Whitney Peak and Belissa Escobedo, mistakenly summon the Sanderson sisters into present–day Salem, they must quickly scramble to stop these witches from creating chaos in the new, modern world. Although many fans excitedly awaited this sequel, the response to the film was less positive than anticipated, with the movie receiving a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many felt that it did not live up to the standards of the original and lacked creativity. Other fans took an opposing stance, suggesting that the sequel encompassed the same fun and family–friendly nature as the previous film. Overall, viewers had mixed opinions on Hocus Pocus 2, but most came to the conclusion that it’s worth a watch for the sake of nostalgia alone.

Fans were elated when Disney announced the sequel to the beloved 2007 movie Enchanted. Starring Golden Globe and Oscar nominee actors Amy Adams as Giselle and her TV–husband Patrick Demspey as Robert Philip, Disenchanted is expected to release on Nov. 24, 2022. Giselle, along with Robert and his daughter Morgan, have recently moved to Monroeville to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In this seemingly perfect suburban town, Giselle and her family face a multitude of unexpected challenges. However, the animated kingdom of Andalasia might just provide the magic touch she needs to give her a happily–ever–after. Shortly after arriving in the kingdom, chaos threatens to destroy the prosperity of Andalasia, and viewers are guided through the rocky adventure of Giselle’s attempts to stabilize her new life. For many Enchanted fans, the music was the highlight of the film. Disenchanted does not disappoint and has even promised Broadway star Idina Menzel who plays Nancy Tremaine a featured song in the film according to Ultimately, the excitement surrounding the film has created high expectations for this long–awaited sequel.

The Shrek universe captured many fans’ attentions from a young age and is making a comeback for modern day teens. The suave and charming Puss — who is known for his iconic leather boots and expert swordsmanship — returns to theaters for another sequel on Dec. 21, 2022. In this highly anticipated film, Puss realizes that his passion for escapades has come with a price. After his previous adventures claimed eight of his nine lives, Puss sets out on a heroic journey to find the magical last wish that will restore his nine lives. With almost 10 years between Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the animation technology has surpassed what it was in 2012. Director Joel Crawford and production designer Nate Wragg wanted to make the animation more “immersive” for viewers, according to The film stars Antonio Banderas, who is voicing Puss for a sixth time, and welcomes Florence Pugh as Goldilocks and Olivia Coleman as Mama Bear. In this sequel, the audience can experience both a new twist on the classic story and a more realistic style of animation.

Compiled by Summer Nichols and Lanza Peretti



True crime popularity skyrockets



who has committed a heinous act … You don’t need to swear off all your favorite true and fictionalized crime shows forever. But the old adage ‘everything in moderation’ applies.”


to continue killing men [primarily African–American men],” according to “Some family members of the victims of Dahmer have also spoken out against the series, saying it has retraumatized them.” While in prison, notorious serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer received fan mail and love letters due to the mass publication of their murders. Glorification of these criminals can be harmful to the victims and their families, as they cannot escape the incident, even after the perpetrator was convicted or dead. “Some [true crime shows] focus a lot on the serial killer and glorifying that killer rather than humanizing the victims,” said Marcum. “In some serial killer movies, [such as My Friend Dahmer with] Ross Lynch as Jeffery Dahmer, thirst traps on TikTok are sometimes made, and stuff like that is definitely not good.” While there are still problems with true crime movies and TV shows, not all true crime media is harmful or negative. “Watching true crime doesn’t make you strange or weird,” according to Dr. Childs at “It’s human nature to be inquisitive. True crime appeals to us because we get a glimpse into the mind of a real person


being obsessed with it], and it depends on what lengths you take it to,” said Ella Marcum ‘24. a&e editor “Obsessed is when you do creepy stuff and start to get weird with it.” Notorious serial killers and charming Many believe that the rise in popularity of con men are rapidly becoming the apple of serial killers can lead to dangerous sentiments. entertainment’s eye. Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, People who crave fame and attention may John Wayne Gacy and other criminals have see this popularity and become fascinated, transformed into widely–known names during potentially hoping to follow in the footsteps of recent years because of the rise in true crime these criminals. documentaries, television shows and movies. “I think [these shows] could definitely Pop culture has capitalized on this new spike be dangerous because a lot of serial killers of murder and crime shows probably started out by producing more movies with an obsession in true and TV shows of this genre. ome [true crime crime,” said Marcum. “I Many are enthralled with do definitely think there is shows] focus a pattern with killers and the morbid, gory details that these stories depict and seek a lot on the their obsession.” to find answers as to why In addition to serial killer and glorifying scrutiny regarding the criminals do what they do. “I enjoy wondering that killer rather than sentiment the popularity why those people would of true crime promotes, humanizing the victims.” the new series about serial do these things like murder other people.” said –Ella Marcum killer Jeffery Dahmer Anneke Timmerman ‘24. titled Dahmer — Monster: “It is crazy to think about.” The Jeffrey Dahmer Story With increased attention to true crime, rising has produced some negative responses and scrutiny comes simultaneously. Many people, controversies, especially surrounding his however, debate where the line falls that divides victims, including the effect this show and many simple interest and infatuation with the subject. others alike have had on victims’ families. “I think there is definitely a difference “Much of the discussion has focused [between being interested in true crime and on [how] systemic racism allowed Dahmer

by sydney elias

Mystery podcasts sweep entertainment platforms



Crime Junkie

Up and Vanished

S–Town, hosted by Brian Reed, is unique from other true crime podcasts, as it follows John B. McLemore who thinks he has the answers to what happened in his small Alabama town. This podcast has a novel–like structure, immersing listeners in the story. McLemore asks podcast host Reed to investigate the son of a wealthy family who allegedly bragged about getting away with murder in his small town of Woodstock, Alabama. During Reed’s investigation of the crime, he strikes up an unexpected friendship with McLemore. The podcast includes various recordings of conversations between John and Reed. The story takes an interesting turn as it steps back from the mysteries of the town and focuses more on John’s dark and fascinating life. This podcast was downloaded a record–breaking 10 million times in its first four days. Telling the story of three years of investigation by Reed, S–Town is an extraordinary, ever–evolving story very much worth the listen.

From solved to unsolved cases, Crime Junkie has it all. With a different featured case on each weekly episode, listeners will find themselves infatuated with every new story. Every Monday, host Ashley Flowers talks about a new case in a casual and informative way. Crime Junkie includes mysteries such as murders, missing people, serial killers and wanted fugitives, with episodes ranging from 10 minutes to one hour. The podcast earned a 4.8 star review on Apple Podcasts. The information Flowers provides is always accurate and thoroughly discussed. Listeners are always able to interact and engage by sending Flowers additional information they may have and voicing their thoughts to Since each episode is about a different case, listeners can pick up at any point and choose the topic the interests them most. Crime Junkie is the ideal podcast for people who don’t have too much time on their hands or just want something quick to listen to.

Up and Vanished is an investigation–style podcast hosted by Payne Lindsey that revisits cold cases. Lindsey goes through case evidence, interviews witnesses and does onsite investigation. Season 1 focuses on high school teacher Tara Grinstead who went missing in 2005 from her home in Ocilla, Georgia. In Season 2, Lindsey discusses the disappearance of young mother Kristal Reisinger from a remote mountain town in Colorado. This season also includes bonus episodes to answer listeners’ questions. In Season 3, Lindsey heads to Montana to find answers to the 2017 disappearance of Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a 20–year–old woman who vanished from an Indian Reservation. Unlike many other true crime podcasts, each season of Up and Vanished goes in depth on just one case, making it the perfect podcast to binge. Compiled by Lanza Peretti



Sydney says

U.S. democracy faces polarization crisis


Struggles of college admissions by sydney elias featured columnist

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance to put the United States on the list of backsliding democracies in 2021 and the United States to decline by 11 percentage points in its Freedom House’s democracy index rating over the course of the past decade. The cornerstone of U.S. democracy is a plurality of voices and opinions, and U.S. citizens’ disdain for different ideologies only serves to break U.S. democracy apart. As a result, despite being seen as a global superpower, U.S. politics are very poorly perceived in the Western world. One explanation for growing polarization is the prevalence of biased reporting and news coverage. With confirmation bias prevelant on social media and news outlets such as Fox News or CNN, with sources often strictly divided along political lines, people find themselves only hearing, believing or repeating information that supports their biases. People see different images of reality, preventing them from having healthy or relevant discourse. When people can’t agree on basic facts, it’s impossible to develop solutions to real problems that the United States faces. U.S. news networks profit from polarizing communities and spreading their divisive agendas. The United States should opt towards a shift in economic incentives for news services to ensure that the motive to polarize no longer exists. Countries such as the United Kingdom or Germany, for example, fund public broadcasting which prevents the government from propagandizing and ensures factual and unbiased reporting. In fact, data shows that polarization in Germany has been decreasing for the past three

decades, according to Simon Munzert and Paul C. Bauer in “Political Depolarization in German Public Opinion, 1980–2010.” Even so, Americans should be able to sort out their differences. All people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, have the same goals: prosperity and success. However, the dehumanization of the other side only serves to divide and prevent discussion on issues that truly affect society. Of the developed world, the United States has the highest level of income inequality, systemic racism through structural violence, the biggest opioid epidemic, the most shootings, the worst healthcare system with the most uninsured people, a poor education system, a lack of gender and LGBTQ+ equity and more. Yet, Americans focus on dehumanizing their political enemies instead of collaborating for change. Remember, all people are human beings — regardless of their political stance — and they deserve respect and dignity, as American democracy depends on it.


The dreaded Nov. 1 deadline has officially passed. The impending decision that could possibly determine my future is now in process. All I can do is wait. I finally submitted my college applications. This anxious feeling of waiting surpasses the stress of writing college essays, filling out applications and sending transcripts. This is a feeling of helplessness. The ball is now in the admission officers’ court. The decision is in their hands. While waiting to know who accepts or denies my request feels vulnerable and definitely scary, it is simultaneously thrilling and exciting. This is the beginning of a new life path filled with endless opportunities, friends and fun. Looking back on my college application process, I followed some strategies that allowed me to submit my applications three weeks early, feeling as confident in my work as I possibly could. Having a solid list of colleges was extremely important right off the bat. Applications are costly, with prices ranging from $60–$80 each. Because of the time, effort and cost of these applications, it is essential to apply to the right combination of schools. I quickly became very familiar with the terms “reach,” “target” and “safety.” The perfect college list combines a few of all three. Solidifying this list as soon as possible and knowing that I would be more than happy to attend any of these schools was the first step in my college application process. Starting my essays during the summer before my senior year allotted me valuable time to refine and perfect every word I wrote, without the stresses accompanying senior year. I didn’t realize it would be so difficult to talk about myself. Filling an entire application with my interests, goals and accomplishments was far more strenuous than it sounds. Brainstorming topics and deciding what you want to write about may be the hardest part, but simply spilling out words onto a piece of paper is the best way to begin. Ideas will flow, and with some patience and a careful eye, you will have crafted an essay that perfectly encapsulates who you are as both a student and individual. While applying to college is no simple task, the results can be very rewarding. Completing an application to your utmost ability is all you can do. Put forth your best effort and know that the decisions made — whether good or bad — do not define you. There is no need to dread the Nov. 1 deadline; instead, look forward to it and the future it ignites.

Education system sets unrealistic expectations by lucas van parys photo editor It’s 7 p.m., the sky is dark, you’ve just gotten home and you sit at your desk to scan your Canvas dashboard. There is a mountain of work ahead of you, and you’re exhausted after just getting back from practice, so naturally you don’t want to do it. The excessive amount of work the school system has placed upon students has lead to a depletion of motivation. Students work diligently on maintaining top grades and completing assignments they don’t genuinely care for, yet some still receive punishment as their grades plummet. Bad grade after bad grade, students get discouraged and give up on learning. The school system is failing students with more than just F grades. Schools give immense amounts of work to be completed outside of school hours and push students to work for the rewards of high grades, which isn’t an effective form of motivation for everyone. Simply put, modern schools expect far too much from their students. Highly accredited colleges require students to have high GPAs as well as exceedingly well–rounded personalities. In the past, a high GPA could almost OF C ANVA




You’re talking with friends one day when you start to notice glaring eyes — you’ve said something wrong. Standing there confused, you wonder what could have set such tense friction. Moments later, your friends condemn you for believing that universal healthcare is good, and you now find yourself in the midst of a friendship–ending bash. In accordance with human nature, people like to think that their beliefs represent the truest reality of the world and that everybody else has gotten it wrong. Regardless of what one believes, people must be in consensus about one thing: unless they can respectfully agree and disagree with each others’ opinions, democracy is at stake. “Today, 72% of Republicans regard Democrats as more immoral, and 63% of Democrats say the same about Republicans,” according to a Pew Research Center study. In fact, some partisans are willing to go even further: “15% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats agreed that the country would be better off if large numbers of opposing partisans in the public today ‘just died,’” according to Hathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason’s report “Lethal Mass Partisanship”. This immense hatred is outright dangerous for a country that is founded upon freedom of political expression. U.S. citizens should pride themselves over differences in opinion, a privilege the majority of the world doesn’t have. Polarization only contributes to the degradation of U.S. democracy. It’s polarization that caused the





by james miller co–business manager

guarantee acceptance to a prestigious college, but now, colleges expect students to be in a sport, perform volunteer hours, gain work experience and have several additional hobbies. UCLA’s GPA requirements are lower than many prestigious colleges at 3.4 unweighted, yet they still only have a 12.4% acceptance rate according to Becky Weinstein on Depending on the circumstances, a student with a low GPA should be provided with more educational support than a student with a high GPA to equalize opportunities after graduation, but this just isn’t the reality. Schools are creating a large rift between the high–achieving and the poorly prepared, students which continues long past graduation. Too much extrinsic motivation can serve to motivate students only through the virtue of rewards, like grades, according to Andrea Rice’s article “What Is Extrinsic Motivation and Does It Really Work?” When students are only focused on the rewards of a grade or athletic scholarship, they lose desire to learn beyond the scope of a class. Students complete their assignments with the sole purpose of receiving good grades, which creates an unhealthy relationship with studying. ”The best teaching incentives are no incentives at all,” according to Beth Lewis on Lewis details how all teachers want their students to be intrinsically motivated

to perform to the best of their ability, but too much extrinsic motivation ruins that self– commitment completely. The school system discriminates against the impoverished as well, with private schools and higher education requiring upwards of $30,000 a year, according to Emma Kerr and Sarah Wood on Private colleges and high schools are able to offer students higher level education that often leads to greater professional opportunties, but at much higher prices. This is not fair to impoverished students as it creates an educational barrier based upon income. Additionally, many American citizens pride themselves on having the best education system in the world when that is simply false. Countries like Norway and Switzerland beat the United States according to the Education Index: a measurement for the mean years of schooling within a country for citizens above 25. The United States is ranked No. 21, with Switzerland and Norway ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. This clearly shows that compared to other countries, the United States is not supplying equal opportunity through education. Instead, it’s falling far behind in education and losing dedicated students because of impossible expectations and exorbitant costs. Schools must begin to emphasize students’ intrinsic motivation which will inspire learning and eliminate all–too–prevalent burnout. Schools should help all students succeed, regardless of their academic ability, and give lower-income students opportunities to pursue equally–paying jobs in the future.



YES by vivian stein co–editor–in–chief As a PowerPoint with a made–up scenario related to decision making appears on the projector, the class collectively sighs, with some pulling out phones and others staring off into space. The teacher quickly starts the lesson, glancing at the wall clock to make sure there’s enough time for the quiz planned at the end of class. Many students and staff members think Social Emotional Learning only manages to cut into class time and that it does not serve a clear purpose, but this mental health–based program actually aims to improve students’ well–beings at school and at home. SEL is defined as “an integral part of education and human development [and] is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals,” according to For the 2022–23 school year, Conejo Valley Unified School District mandates 30 minutes of SEL incorporated into curriculums every week. At WHS, the responsibility of teaching these lessons rotates between educational departments, with English, math,

science and social science each taking on a different week every month. “SEL aims to help students better understand their thoughts and emotions [and] to become more self–aware,” according to “Developing these qualities in the classroom can help students become better, more productive, self–aware and socially–aware citizens outside of the classroom in the years ahead.” This program has five core components: self– awareness, self–management, social awareness, relationship skills and making responsible decisions. Each of these primary focuses aims to guide students in multiple categories so they are receiving well–rounded mental health education, which is beneficial for developing teenagers. When the COVID–19 pandemic hit in early 2020, students shifted to online learning and quarantined at home for months. About 214,000 U.S. children lost a parent to COVID–19, and many others had parents laid off from work, leading to financial burdens, according to the National Education Association. Grief, along with isolation throughout quarantine, only increased already high anxiety and depression levels in students. “In the past year, 15% of teens suffered at least one major depressive episode — that’s an additional 306,000 teens over the previous 12 months,” according to the National Education Association, which received 2022 data from Mental Health America. “On top of that, nearly two–thirds of teens with major depression say they haven’t gotten any help.” School can contribute to anxiety and

depression, whether the sources of stress come from social settings, pressure to do well in classes or any of the other various factors involved in educational environments. Seeing as school is a place in which most teenagers spend a large amount of their time, incorporating mental health resources on campus is a great way to assist students with mental health– related needs, making SEL a crucial part of classroom instruction. WHS’s campus Wellness Center, as well as surveys for students through Canvas, are just a few ways CVUSD is trying to help students. SEL is the only method that is incorporated into classrooms themselves, which allows all students to receive mental health aid, because some are not aware of the Wellness Center or other available resources. “Research shows that SEL not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors, such as kindness, sharing and empathy,” according to “[SEL] improves student attitudes toward school and reduces depression and stress among students.” What truly matters most is the intent behind SEL. Schools, like WHS, acknowledging that students’ mental health is

important enough to address is just one step further in the goal of helping teenagers feel that school is a safe place to express emotions and talk with others.


Is SEL a beneficial addition to class curricula? Opposing Opinions

During the 2022–23 school year, CVUSD has incorporated 30 minutes of mandated social emotional learning during high school classes once a week. The goal is to improve students’ mental health, but there have been mixed reactions, with strong opinions both in favor and against the program.

NO by alyssa joo a&e section editor


As of this school year, Social Emotional Learning has been incorporated for 30 minutes each week in specific core classes. Despite its good intentions to improve students’ mental health, it does not genuinely help teens and can even heighten students’ stress levels. While SEL is required by the district, the way it is carried out varies between teachers. Some teachers dedicate an entire period to these lessons, others do the bare minimum and some skip it altogether. On top of inconsistency in its application, SEL puts a negative stigma on social and emotional health. Treating it as a burden or requirement conveys the harmful message that discussions about emotional health are silly and unimportant.

SEL also takes time away from academic curricula. When teachers spend time on it, they lose valuable time to teach. Academically– motivated students may feel pressure because they miss out on their academics or have to make up assignments that would have been done in class, but were replaced by a required SEL lesson. This can add to stress instead of alleviate it. On top of subtracting from class time, many students feel uncomfortable getting in touch with their feelings on command. “Individuals engaged in forced vulnerability to get their needs met may find themselves in burnout, resentment or fatigue,” according to Croswaite Counseling. While genuine vulnerability can be helpful, forced vulnerability can actually make students feel worse. SEL is also somewhat selective. It ignores unpleasant feelings, such as anger and indignance, and focuses on more digestible emotions like happiness which promotes productivity over helping students genuinely understand themselves. These “negative” feelings “rarely receive validation in SEL,” according to Valerie Strauss with The Washington Post. In fact, SEL heavily emphasizes “self– regulation” but does not provide any tangible methods of improving emotional regulation. Most SEL lessons involve telling students to

independently manage their feelings but lack specific direction. Students who need the help SEL intends to provide are not given the proper, detailed guidance for healthier mental and emotional independence. When students need to take time in class to focus on their well–being, they should be given the time and opportunity to do so. Going to the Wellness Center takes up about the same time as, if not less than, SEL lessons and gives students the autonomy to make their own decisions for their health without disrupting the education of themselves and their classmates. Mental health is not a one–size–fits–all topic. Making everyone sit through something they don’t want may foster feelings of aversion to mental health aid instead of welcoming it. WHS’s alternative resources for social and emotional health are always available, so students should be given the choice of when and how they take care of themselves without a mandatory and ingenuine portion of class time providing it. To make an improvement in student mental health, it’s essential that schools listen to students and offer a safe space for them to truly understand and express themselves. The best alternative to SEL may be adding more space and resources to the Wellness Center or making counselors more readily available to teens.



WHS winter CIF athletes to watch for

Michelle Zheng spins into success

by summer nichols

Emma Naftzger ‘24 Girls Soccer “We are really close [as a team], and the captains really help with the whole environment, so I think the team bond is really important.”





Gwyneth Peterson ‘25 Girls Water Polo “We were moved up in a division, so we are going to have to practice really hard so we can make it to CIF and hopefully win a few games there.” Compiled by Shane Douglas

PERFORMING AT THE TOP: Michelle Zheng competes in The Mandarins 2022 summer production: The Otherside. This futuristic show included music inspired by Pink Floyd, Stranger Things and others.

universal guide for her team, but it especially helps freshmen who are new to the sport. “She always makes sure that everyone has everything,” said Carlota Cao Torres ‘26. “If you’re dropping a toss constantly, she will stop and go to help you, and she always makes sure you never say the words ‘give up.’” Both freshmen and upperclassmen teammates recognize that fear and failure are not words in Zheng’s vocabulary as she encourages others to exemplify the same courage and willingness to learn. “There is a lot of danger in doing what we do,” said Zheng. “We’re throwing blocks of wood and metal in the air, so concussions and broken fingers are common. But trust in your technique, delve into it, and you can do anything.” Colorguard constantly limits Zheng’s free time due to her substantial commitment to training, which takes about 10 hours a week, not including football games and competitions. “It is a really big time commitment,” said Zheng. “It’s hard to have a social life and get school work done outside of it, but it is very much possible.” However, a large time commitment isn’t

the only adversity Zheng and her team have to contend with. There have been numerous occasions where the team is not prioritized as much as other sports, especially when requesting practice space. “When we get disrespected for what we [do], that takes a big hit mentally,” said Zheng. “But we’ve been able to keep a close group, and these are my best friends on and even outside of campus. I love the support I get from them.” The long–term friendships that Zheng has formed with her teammates are something she deeply values. With graduation coming up, she never takes her team for granted. “I found my family here,” said Zheng. “We do everything together, and I spend every second I can with them.” Ultimately, continuing colorguard in any capacity — whether competing with a team or coaching — is a main priority for Zheng as she feels it has contributed to her growth as an individual. “Embrace the chaos and don’t be afraid,” said Zheng. “I learned to be fearless through [colorguard], and I found myself. I built so much confidence because of it.”

Highlighting KC Barber’s cross country triumphs by junior rendon

opinion editor

As the final lap of the race approaches, the incessant sound of runners behind you begins to fade out. When you look up to see the timer, a sense of victory washes over you. As you see your final time and your mind pieces it together, you realize you’ve just broken a school record. Boys varsity cross country athlete, KC Barber ‘23 broke the WHS three mile record with a time of 14:31 at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic Invitational on Sept. 15, 2022. The previous record for the boys three mile record was held by alumnus Drake Nienow ‘19 with a time of 14:52. “It was a really fast race, and I was ready to go out and get it done,” said Barber. “When I came around the final corner and saw the time, I knew I was gonna break it, so I was pretty excited. I just remember crossing the [finish] line and raising my hands.” Barber dates his cross country beginnings back to middle school, where he began building up this skillset. “I’ve been running since seventh grade,” said Barber. “I did two years with a youth cross country team and then I’ve done four years on varsity with WHS.” Breaking the school record had been Barber’s



Jaden Nachimzon‘23 Boys Soccer “I think I have proved myself on the field and off the field to be a good leader and a good teammate. I think that I earned the respect of my teammates because I show them respect as well.”

Art and sport are often recognized as two separate entities, but colorguard is one of the few exceptions. Members complete a series of synchronized spins and tosses with items such as flags, mock rifles and sabers, while simultaneously performing a choreographed dance to music. Michelle Zheng ‘23 has always participated in dance and music, but after discovering colorguard her freshman year at WHS, she found a way to combine both of these passions. “I found a happy medium between dance and marching band, so I joined colorguard in 9th grade,” said Zheng. “I absolutely fell in love [with it].” Many colorguard members conclude their training after high school, and few individuals go beyond local teams. Zheng defied those expectations when she joined a world–class Drum and Bugle Corps called The Mandarins, based in Sacramento, where she competes at the highest level offered for the sport. “I got to tour the country,” said Zheng. “I think I visited 14 states, and I lived out of my suitcase for 80 days, practicing 12 hours per day in the heat of Texas with 114 degree weather. [I was] living, eating and sleeping colorguard.” Along with participating in The Mandarins over the summer, Zheng is also one of the captains for the WHS colorguard team. “Being a high school captain, you need to be able to be their friends, but also be their mentor and give them guidance,” said Zheng. “You need to be assertive, and sometimes that can be hard.” Despite the challenges that arise when carrying out her duties as captain, Zheng’s efforts are duly appreciated by her teammates. “She just carries the team,” said co–captain Marilyn Garcia ‘23. “She’s awesome, and she knows so much about [colorguard].” Zheng’s expertise continues to serve as a


co–business manager

RUNNING FOR A RECORD: Boys varsity cross country competitor KC Barber (right) catches up to his Park City High School competitor at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic Invitational.

goal years prior to Sept. 15 and was something he had been excited about for a while. “I was actually going into the race with that goal in mind,” said Barber. “So that’s what I focused on. I’ve been looking forward to breaking it for a long time.” In preparation for a season focused on breaking the school record, Barber made sure to kick–up his workout regime during the summer of 2022.

“This year I really focused on making sure that I was running everyday,” said Barber. “[I focused] on workouts and made sure that I was hitting all the times I needed to.” With any competition comes reason to worry. In Barber’s case, he had hundreds of other competitors on the course to be cautious of. This may not come as a threat; however, the amount of people creates a lack of space and potential danger on the course. “[There] were a lot of people to navigate through,” said Barber. “There were around 300 people in the race. I had to make sure I didn’t get tripped or trip anyone else. That was probably the biggest concern.” With this achievement in his senior year of high school and college applications coming up, Barber plans to continue cross country in college. “I have a pretty short list [of schools], but the goal is definitely to run in college,” said Barber. With his final varsity cross country season coming to a close at the end of November, Barber’s hard work has paid off, and he now looks forward to the final races of the season. “[My personal season] has gone pretty well,” said Barber. “The overall goal was to break the school record going into the season, [and now] I’m looking forward to moving forward in the postseason.”



Fantasy Football motivates football fans USER: This is the user’s profile and display name.

(as of Nov. 4)

TRADES: This is where the user can propose trading players with other users in the league.


Record: 2W–8L

PLAYERS: This lists the players on the user’s team.

Next game: Season over


attempting to select a combination of players that will propel them to the championship. “Typically, I draft the running backs in the first round, which is probably the best thing to do,” said Poley. “There’s certain wide receivers that could go in the first round, but mainly running backs [are] the best way to go [in the draft].” Fantasy Football involves much strategical depth, and though managing a Fantasy team can be time consuming, it can be appealing for many people. “I really enjoy the strategy of it all, and I’ve spent hours of my life talking on the phone with other people in my league [about strategies],” said CP and AP US History teacher James Wyllie. “It’s a big part of my recreation — just thinking about it and doing deals.” To read the full story, visit

Dance team performs Dancing with the Warrior Stars by laura teegarden sports editor PHOTO BY GRACE HEFNER

The WHS dance team spent weeks learning and teaching dances to partners and teams in preparation for its annual Dancing with the Warrior Stars competition. This year, both duos and groups battled to earn the title of champion. “Dancing with the Warrior Stars is exactly like Dancing with the Stars, only the Warrior part [consists of] fellow athletes at school who usually have no dance background,” said dance team captain Kenna Lorenzini ‘23. Sports teams such as basketball, waterpolo, baseball and swimming joined as members of the dance team to prepare choreography for the event. Along with sport teams, extracurricular clubs such as mock trial also participated. “It’s a huge fundraiser the dance team puts on every year,” said dance team member Alexa Koniares ‘25. For the first time, the dance team competed not only in pairs but also as teams. Along with duos consisting of one dance team member and their partner, the team split in half and each worked with various teachers who danced and competed alongside the team. “Dance team members have to schedule their own rehearsals with their partners ... crews and come up with choreography themselves,” said Lorenzini. The dance members led their groups and had to find time to practice that worked with both the schedules of the dance team and the

FROM POOL TO PERFORMANCE: The WHS water polo team hits the stage at the Dancing with the Warrior Stars event hosted by the WHS dance team. They ended the night with the mirrorball trophy, placing first in the group competition.

team or club they were collaborating with. “It’s hard to work around the schedule of the dance team and whatever sports team we are assigned,” said dance team member Ava Saremaslani ‘24. “For example, the waterpolo team has practices most days until 6:30 p.m. and has games on weekends, so we have to schedule rehearsals around that.” Along with having to find the time for practices, the dance team put in many hours to choreograph and teach their dances. Each team had to do multiple rehearsals with their group to ensure they were prepared for the performance. “[My group and I] spent a lot of time working together to choreograph our dance. We created our piece together and then taught it to our group members on the basketball team over the span of three to four rehearsals,” said Koniares. “The rehearsals were always fun and high energy.”

Teaching the choreography to the other athletes required hard work and dedication from the dance team. The event allowed for different groups at WHS to interact and get to know each other as fellow sport teams and clubs. “It was difficult to teach the non–dancers choreography at the same pace as the dance team because they have less experience with dance,” said Saremaslani. “It’s definitely challenging at times, but it’s really fun to work with all the non–dancers and get to know all of them better.” While the event highlighted the dance team and their hard work, it also emphasized school spirit and the importance of unity within sports, extracurricular groups and teachers at school. “It’s a great chance to bond with other teams and clubs at our school,” said Koniares. “We all put in a lot of effort and had a lot of fun working with our groups.”

Cross Country Record: N/A Next meet: Nov. 12 CIF–SS Prelims Location: Mt. SAC

Water Polo


PERFORMANCE: Projections for a player’s results helps the team managers decide on a starting lineup each week.

Record: 21W–1L

CIF–SS Division 2 Quarterfinals

CIF Outcome: Lost 6–8 vs. San Marcos



Connor Nekovar ‘24. “Now, I’ve been playing for two or three years. I’m in two leagues with my dad right now.” Since the game is online, people can play in the same league even if they don’t live near each other. This gives players an opportunity to connect with people they don’t see often and can provide an activity they can bond over regardless of physical distance. “My other family members aren’t close to us in location, but we are always texting and joking around about which [Fantasy] team is better,” said Cole Janowicz ‘23. “We’ve definitely gotten closer over it.” For many, Fantasy Football is more than just watching football. It combines sports with strategy, as participants research different players and develop the best team they can,


COMPETITION: This is where the user can see who they are competing against in a given week.

Record: 21W–1L CIF–SS Open Division Round 1 CIF Outcome: Lost 14–4 vs. Mater Dei



Accompanied by the NFL’s popularity comes the yearly Fantasy Football mania, which kicks off with the draft in early September. Whether participants are playing for money, bragging rights or just for the fun of it, Fantasy Football is a popular activity to pair with watching football as NFL playoffs draw near. Fantasy Football is an online game where individuals create their own virtual football team and act as the team manager. The season begins with a league draft where players build their perfect team one pick at a time. Participants will then compete against other players to gather the most points based on how well their players perform. There are 15 weeks of matchups before the top four teams advance to two weeks of playoffs to determine the league winner. “[It’s fun] having a bunch of different players on a bunch of different teams, waking up on Sundays and watching all the different games,” said Jacob Poley ‘23. “When a player does well or scores, you get happy and excited.” Fantasy Football players are often very invested in watching the week’s games, hoping to win their matchup. “I like watching football, and [Fantasy Football] makes watching it more engaging because you’re getting points,” said Mia Lesser ‘24. “When I watch the RedZone, I care about certain players because they’re getting me points, and I want to win.” Parents can often influence an interest in a sport. Some players have grown up around Fantasy Football, making the activity an appealing way to enjoy NFL games. “I learned Fantasy Football from my dad. I watched my dad pick players when I was younger, and that made me want to play,” said

Record: 9W–11L

Next game: Season over


sports editor

Fall Sports Stats Box

Elements of a Fantasy Football profile


by kalia bell


Record: 4W–6L

Next game: Season over For the latest sports updates, stories and scores, visit the WHS athletics website at

Compiled by Shane Douglas







indigenous traditions, history, language, lifestyles and community bonds.








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Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center and natural area is located in the Santa Monica Mountain Range at Rancho Sierra Vista in Newbury Park. This site is both a fascinating place to visit as well as a great place to learn more about Native American history and culture. Satwiwa, which means “The Bluffs”, was the name of the nearby Chumash village. The site was established by the national park service as way to reflect the Chumash tribe’s heritage and culture. On Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. there is a Native American guest host or park ranger on hand to answer questions. The cultural center hosts a variety of Native American workshops, programs and art shows through the year. For more information regarding these cultural events and presentations, call 805–370–2301. The center is surrounded by picturesque mountains and gentle slopes with trails perfect for Peretti hiking, picnicking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Outside the cultural center is a botanical garden with regional native



Sydney With a wide array of products on its online site, including clothing, jewelry, adornments, home goods and self–care goods, shoppers are sure to find something they love. All products sold are either indigenous made and designed, hand–dyed and hand–woven, or unique, upcycled and vintage finds. 4Kinship has a mission to raise money and provide necessities to fellow indigenous Diné communities. Currently, 4Kinship is raising proceeds for the Diné Skate Garden Project which aims to build a safe, inclusive skatepark for the nearby Navajo community. This brand also aims to serve the Children of Nááts’íilid heart project by delivering care kits to Diné children, as well as to support domestic abuse shelters on Dinétah, including the Amá Dóó Áłchíní Bíghan shelter in Chinle, Arizona. To find more information on 4Kinship and to shop the current inventory, visit


Angeline Boulley’s debut novel Firekeeper’s Daughter is a young adult thriller that centers around 18–year–old Daunis Fontaine, a biracial, Native American teen. Her dreams of going to college are put on hold when she has to care for her ill mother. While she stays in her hometown, Fontaine becomes entangled in a criminal investigation after witnessing a murder. In this journey, she learns how to be strong and realizes what she is willing to do for her community. Boulley, the author, is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, an Indian educator and the former director of the Office of Indian Education in the Department of Education. Boulley was inspired by her own experiences, and to wrote this book to talk about complex issues such as identity and allow teenagers to connect with it. Not only does the novel represent people of complex descent, but it also introduces the reader to

Boy praises indigenous culture by including traditional Maori dances and the Te Reo Maori language. From childhood friendships to the struggles of identity and absent fatherhood, Waititi’s Boy is an excellent film to gain a better understanding of Maori culture.







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With each magical and elegant pluck and strum of guitar strings, listeners are plunged into a whole new world that could be likened to a meditative trance. An immersive, instrumentally focused and energetic soundscape surrounds the listener and becomes a diving board for a cohesive and unique experience. This is the soundscape of Mdou Moctar’s latest album, Afrique Victime. The album’s soundscape evokes an image of the deserts of upper Africa, taking heavy influence from the Tuareg, Moctar’s indigenous tribe of origin. The album’s first song, “Chismiten,” launches listeners into an expressive environment of guitar tunes and repetitive chanting, both illustrating pictures of Saharan scenery. The record consistently keeps these energetic tones. As the album progresses, each song portrays increasingly psychedelic sounds. This all culminates in Afrique Victime’s title track with explosive guitar, magical vocals and phenomenal


A perfect way to support indigenous communities during this Native American Heritage Month is through shopping. 4Kinship is a trendy brand owned and operated by Diné (Navajo) Amy Denet Deal.




Polynesian and Jewish New Zealand director Taika Waititi is renowned for his heartfelt comedies that represent his Maori heritage and fight against the underrepresentation of indigenous people in the media. His 2010 release Boy follows the life of 11–year–old Boy, played by James Rolleston, whose father returns home after being released from prison. This heartbreaking story follows the struggles and hardships of life through a childlike perspective. Rather than understanding his father’s manipulation and alcoholism, Boy envisions him as his celebrity obsession, Michael Jackson, and transforms all of his dad’s life failures into famous accomplishments. Bar fights transform into breakdancing music videos, and Boy’s young brother Rocky, played by Te Aho Aho Eketone– Whitu, is convinced he has superpowers and can blow up or control things with his mind. Boy also points out the mistreatment indigenous people face, including the lack of financial aid from the government and poor schooling provided on Maori reservations.


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backing percussion. The album proceeds to drop to a less mystical and more mellow sound at the end. Moctar’s talent on the guitar is put on full display as he produces one amazing melody after another. Moctar’s Van Halen influences come to fruition during each solo, and sometimes they even mimic Eddie Van Halen’s most highly regarded solo, “Eruption.” Moctar truly manages to achieve something unique with his work on Afrique Victime. He creates an immersive and rich experience through the album’s nine tracks, making the seemingly lengthy album more than worth the 41–minute long listen.




Arrow’s staff picks

In honor of Native American Indian Heritage Month, The Arrow highlights a wide variety of indigenous–owned businesses, media and literature from North America and across the globe.




plants. Throughout the paths in the garden, there are informational cards explaining how each plant was used by the tribe and its medicinal values. Each plant’s card also includes a fun fact. National Native American history month is the perfect time of year to visit the gardens and center to witness the changing leaves of majestic valley oaks and sycamore trees. Enjoying a hike and picnic with family and friends at the Satwiwa Cultural Center is the ideal way to spend the weekend.

Compiled by Allison Tieu