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Arrow 100 Lakeview Canyon Rd. Westlake Village, CA 91362 Volume XLII | Issue 2 | November 8, 2019

Page 3 Pictured:Thousand Oaks Borderline memorial, “The Healing Garden”

What’s on your Vaping pandemic Thanksgiving plate? across America Page 7

Pages 8–9

New surf club at WHS Page 15



Arrow staff

medicine business

editors-in-chief prarthana kaygee & avery pak

managing editor & featured columnist angel lee

web masters-in-chief






writing 99


songhee lee & faith yellin





news section editor quinn moss

news editor tommy kackert

feature section editors

kyra berg & lindsey romano

feature editors angela ling, souyma monga, margaret teegarden & allan tieu

arts & entertainment section editor abigail thompson

opinion section editor sophie robson

opinion editor aly brook

sports section editor bob xia

sports editors sophia haines & owen kobett

graphics editor lauren pak

photo editor jeff mendoza

business manager amber parrish

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. @westlakearrow 100 N. Lakeview Canyon Road Westlake Village, CA 91362 (805) 497-6711 ext. 4225 Cover photo by Avery Pak

To get a better understanding of the fields students are pursuing, each member of the editor team conducted an Instagram poll asking people about the field of study they are pursuing in college or graduate school. All participants were students, but not necessarily high school students. by prarthana kaygee, angel lee & avery pak the editor team All high schoolers at some point in their lives have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As children, most of us didn’t immediately say “computer engineer” or “cardiologist,” but instead something like “chef ” or “actress.” Now, as the demand for degrees in STEM fields and business is high, fewer students are pursuing careers in the humanities or entertainment. On your first day of school at UCLA, for example, the basic biology class will likely contain several hundreds of students as opposed to a significantly smaller number of students in a creative writing class. “A recent study by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, through its Humanities Indicators project, found that the number of bachelor’s degrees in the humanities that were earned in 2015, the last year for which there is data, was down nearly 10% from three years earlier,” according to The Washington Post. However, there is hope! While STEM and business will probably remain a dominant field for a while, a number of students are actually venturing into more creative and “less secure” fields of study, whether it is becoming a writer for Saturday Night Live or working as a chef for a Michelin star restaurant. Because us high school editors have such grand and famous social media platforms, we conducted a poll, asking our followers to select which career/major they are currently pursuing or plan to pursue. The clear majority was medicine, with business arriving in second, proving our point that STEM and business will never go out of style. However, writing and communications ended up having a similar number to engineering, and politics and entertainment were only about 20 short of business. Internet usage and technology are growing, which consequently means the demand for certain professions are also changing. There has been a rise in the number of cases of depression or anxiety, causing a need for more psychiatrists or therapists. Students often shy away from engineering; however, with the world becoming more digital, it is very easy for software engineers to find a job (we don’t understand why Cody Ko decided to become a YouTuber). Through the Internet alone, a social media influencer can become very successful. Just look at Lilly Singh, David Dobrik and Pewdiepie. Singh is truly living the American dream as the daughter of two immigrants. Her success goes to show that no matter where you come from, passion and personality outweigh stereotypes. With a diverse background, people in pursuit of a job have greater opportunities and are more likely to receive offers. It does help to be a biology major or a neuroscience major if you

want to go into medicine. However, it’s just as possible to be an anthropology major—if you follow the pre–med requirements— and get into med school. It’s similar in graduate school. If you maintain your GPA, you can be a philosophy major and still apply for a PhD or an MBA following undergraduate college. Furthermore, those who follow their passions and find a profession better suited to them tend to be happier later in their lives. With the old saying that money can’t buy happiness, it’s safe to say it applies in the cases where people become doctors mainly for the income, but are not completely happy with their jobs. We urge you to simply do what you want to do for a future of success and happiness. According to a report by Forbes, 52.3% of Americans are dissatisfied in a field they are not truly passionate about, whether it be because of the atmosphere, people or work itself. In the same report, it was found that 59% of people are satisfied with their jobs due to their interest in the work they are doing. Now, we get to the cheesy, cliché part of it all. As a group of three ambitious women, we’re here to advise you to follow your dreams and pursue something that you genuinely enjoy. To get even more specific, all three of us are Asian, and with the stereotypes about Asians becoming doctors or engineers, it is with full confidence that we deny this is true because we are following our hearts in choosing a career path. “If you are overly narrow and committed to one area, that could prevent you from developing interests and expertise that you need to do that bridging work,” according to CNBC. “If you look at something and think, ‘that seems interesting, that could be an area I could make a contribution in,’ you then invest yourself in it. You take some time to do it, you encounter challenges, over time you build that commitment.” As much as we advocate for following your passion, it’s best to be cautious and not expect to be successful in the immediate pursuit of it. In a Stanford study, it was found that people who focus on pursuing their one passion fail to be open to other areas that offer success. Try to keep your options open and remain aware of other opportunities that can fulfill your other interests. Although it could be difficult to sustain a future of selling art or making music, it’s worth a shot if you’re truly determined and excited. Nothing is more important than being who you are here to be—it is your only true obligation to yourself and to the world. After all, doing what you love reaps success, even if it’s not financial. If you approach your passion with commitment and an open heart, the rewards will appear.



Healing with Thousand Oaks Remembers In brief by quinn moss & lindsey romano news & feature section editors In response to last year’s shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill, Thousand Oaks resident Shannon Savage–Howie founded Thousand Oaks Remembers, a four–part storytelling initiative. Coincidentally, Savage–Howie signed up for a seven– month certification course on coping through storytelling just a month before the tragedy in November. “The training started in March [2019],” said Savage–Howie. “I went in March, and while I was at the training, I was just thinking the whole time, ‘Oh my gosh! We need this so badly — to be able to share our stories and hear our stories and be ... a community in that way.’” In addition to the Borderline tragedy, the efforts of Thousand Oaks Remembers also target the Woolsey fire due to the time it occurred: a day after the shooting. Savage–Howie feels that the Woolsey fire is a major component of the grieving and healing that began last November. “Thousand Oaks Remembers really is about the shooting and the fires ... because so many people can’t really separate those out,

because they were kind of one experience altogether,” said Savage– Howie. “Some of our stories are really fire–specific that we’ve been receiving and some are very much Borderline– specific, but even those, often, there’s some weaving in of everything because they were just on top of each other; there was no separating out.” Now, Thousand Oaks Remembers is working on a project based on the healing power of storytelling. These four parts include a podcast, different support groups, story writing and an event on Nov. 8. The podcast is still in the works and will soon be available for listening. Support groups are currently available all over the community, and more information about them can be found through “We trained over 25 facilitators in the community to go out and facilitate these groups where people can be invited into sharing their stories and also hearing the stories of other people,” said Savage–Howie. “Those are happening and they’re getting really positive feedback.” All of these projects will come together for an event at the Civic Arts Plaza on Nov. 8. The event will feature five speakers, including a Borderline survivor, the mother of a Borderline victim, a police officer and two additional speakers. The event will also feature a local dance group, local musicians and stories on display in the lobby beforehand. “When you have these storytelling events, you start to see

everyone with a different lens, that Manager. “[If] you just want a place everyone does have a story that you to sit and think about life, this could haven’t heard or an experience that be a good location for that. We want you can connect with, and I think everyone to be able to use it and find this world could use a little bit more meaning in it [for] the time [in] their humanity,” said Savage–Howie. life when they need it.” As a part of the event on Nov. 8, With the wishes of Mayor Rob members of the contemporary dance McCoy, the Borderline memorial class at California Dance Theatre was dedicated on Nov. 7 at 3:15 will perform a piece honoring p.m. on the one year anniversary of the 12 victims of Borderline. The Borderline. McCoy intended to make dance will be performed to Celine the dedication very simple and leave Dion’s “Ashes,” alluding to the fires ample time for community members to that ravaged “grieve together.” Thousand T h e Oaks in here’s some kind m e m o r i a l the weeks idea first of power in being came about surrounding able to speak your when officials the Borderline shooting. story, to feel like maybe you’re from the city E a c h of Thousand not carrying it by yourself.” Oaks, Ventura dancer will –Shannon Savage–Howie C o u n t y portray one of the Borderline Sheriff ’s Office 12, and two and CRPD additional dancers will represent decided that a memorial would be angels raising them “from the ashes,” the best way to remember the events according to Tylar Strom ‘23, who will and victims of last November. They portray Borderline victim Sean Adler. chose Conejo Creek Park North for “I’m trying my best to portray its central location and popularity what it feels like to be in that type within the community. of situation and show how much we CRPD, working with licensed care about everybody,” said Strom. landscape architect Andrew The dance, choreographed by Mooney, came up with the design CDT Instructor Melissa Cassidy, was and location of the memorial within originally performed for the class’ the park and later presented it to the year–end project, but the dancers will group of officials. perform the routine again with the “We wanted it to be a place Thousand Oaks Remembers event as for people to come and heal — [to] a form of storytelling. reflect [and] think about recovery,” “Bad things might happen,” said said Friedl. “When we started Strom. “But [this performance is] to researching that, we actually found show that we can get through this that ... natural elements are what together as a community.” virtually all [healing gardens] have. Thousand Oaks Remembers Real natural elements are what a is founded upon the power of lot of people find rejuvenating or storytelling, and all of its work is healing, so that’s why we went with geared toward helping the community a lot of [them].” heal through the stories of others. Besides the memorial, many “There’s some kind of power events are happening in the in being able to speak your community to honor the one year story, to feel like maybe you’re not anniversary. Borderline Bar and carrying it by yourself,” said Savage– Grill joined with CRPD to host a Howie. “It helps us process it a celebration of the lives lost, named little bit, but it’s also powerful the Borderline Party in the Park. to hear people’s stories. There’s “The great thing about young something in that that makes us people is that they are so full of life, and feel like we’re not alone and we’re they enjoy just being alive and having in things together and [that] there’s a great time,” said Friedl. “That’s really common experiences and emotions what Borderline and the young adults that we all share.” that went to Borderline ... were all In addition to Thousand Oaks about. Borderline is basically going to Remembers, the city’s memorial to have a big party in the park, and that is honor the Borderline victims and to remind us all that there’s a whole lot survivors has been titled “The Healing about life we’re celebrating.” Garden.” It features 12 water jets, 12 The event will be hosted on granite benches and 12 boulders to Nov. 9 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at Conejo represent the 12 victims and 248 Creek Park North, the location of the pavers for the 248 survivors. The memorial. Entry will cost $5 and will memorial is surrounded by include line dancing, live music by colorful flowers and a plaque Highway Starr, food trucks and a beer to identify its significance. garden. Tickets and more information “For ... everyone are available at in the community, “I think of it as sort of Borderline the Healing Garden without walls,” said Friedl. “It will is a place that anyone be encouraging [people] that have can come [to] for any a connection to Borderline to come big, traumatic emotional injury in out and actually celebrate ... enjoy their life,” said Jim Friedl, Conejo the day, and hopefully it will be a Recreation and Park District General lovely afternoon.”


Power outages On Sat., Oct. 26, millions of California residents in Northern and Central areas were struck with one of the largest power outages by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)in an effort to prevent wildfires. PG&E announced their decision to cut power on Oct. 23 after the rise in wildfires during the dry and windy season, in which high–voltage live transmission wires are seen as a major cause of the fires. Other companies, such as Southern California Edison, are also following suit in shutting off power to over 15,000 customers. On Sun., Oct 27, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency after multiple wildfire breakouts, including the Kincade Fire and the Tick Fire. Electric companies believe that deactivating the wires will prevent electric sparks that could lead to the massive spread of wildfires.

Tedx auditions TEDxYouth is returning to the Conejo Valley for students to share their ideas and to spark conversations throughout the community. Auditions will be held at WHS, Newbury Park High School and Thousand Oaks High School on Nov. 14, 19 and 21 and Dec. 3 and 5. Students can contact for more information.

WHS regiment WHS Regiment is going into its last few weeks of competition in the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Field Tournaments. The show is titled “The Forbidden City.” Championships are held on Sat., Nov. 16 at Colony High School in Ontario.

Pre–register to vote Students 16 years or older are eligible to pre–register to vote. Students can visit registertovote. or go to WHS’s front office for physical copies of the forms. After the physical form is submitted, a postcard confirmation will arrive in the mail to notify that the application has been received and processed. Once students turn 18, another confirmation postcard will be sent stating that the registration is active. Those who have pre–registered might be able to either vote in the 2020 California primaries or in the Nov. 3 presidential election if they are at the eligible voting age of 18 years old at the time of the election.

Compiled by Faith Yellin



Changes made to standardized testing by allan tieu feature editor In 2020, UC schools are considering dropping their SAT score requirement, and the ACT is undergoing many new changes. The consideration comes due to overemphasis on having to get a “good score” to be able to get into a decent college. “Anyone involved in education should be concerned about how [an] overemphasis on the SAT is distorting educational priorities and practices, how the test is perceived by many as unfair and how it can have a devastating impact on the self–esteem and aspirations of young students,” said UC President Richard Atkinson in a speech he gave to the American Council on Education. However, some students view standardized tests as a way to show colleges their intelligence instead of being purely based on grades, because the rigor of each class differs between schools. “I honestly don’t like the removal of the SAT, because having it puts a standard on people’s intelligence,” said Caitlyn San ‘21. “Having a standardized test puts everyone in the same playing field because the test cannot differ from school to school.” Other students see the removal of the SAT as a way to better connect to other aspects of high school life. “I think that [dropping the test score requirement] might benefit future students in high school because it would reduce the stress factor,” said Ryan Hariri ‘20. “I think it would drop major pressure off of students so they can focus more on their academics and extracurriculars.” With regards to the ACT, starting in the fall of 2020, students will be able to retake individual sections of the ACT after taking the entire test once. Retaking an individual section

Registration deadline: -math up to pre-calculus Nov. 8 -scoring on a scale of 400-1600 Late registration -no science section deadline: Nov. 19 -five reading passages -evidence-based, complex questions Test date: Dec. 7

VS Registration deadline: -emphasis on geometry Nov. 19 -scoring on a scale of 1-36 Late registration -science section included deadline: Nov. 22 -four reading passages -straightforward, simple questions Test date: Dec. 14 GRAPHIC BY AMBER PARRISH

Sources:, &

will be cheaper as opposed to retaking the entire test ($52 to retake without the writing section or $68 to retake with the writing section). However, the new cost has not been confirmed yet. “I think this is great because sometimes you mess up on a section and it totally ruins your score,” said San. “Being able to choose the section you are struggling in to hone in on your abilities [and] to improve your score will just overall be beneficial to everyone.” Students will also be given the option to take the ACT online at a test–taking center rather than taking the test on paper. Taking

the test online will allow students to receive their results within a few days of taking the test instead of waiting a few weeks. By allowing students to retake each section, the ACT will permit colleges to include these sections in the composite “superscore.” A student’s ACT superscore is made up of their best scores from each individual section across all the tests they took. According to, “Superscoring allows students to submit their highest scores for college admissions and scholarship purposes. It reflects the average of the four best subject scores from each of the student’s ACT test attempts.”

These changes assist students who cannot afford ACT test prep classes and allow all students to get the best score possible. “Students come first at ACT, and these groundbreaking new options will directly benefit them, providing more choices, an improved testing experience and a better opportunity to showcase their readiness and reach their maximum potential,” said Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe on the ACT website. “With these changes, ACT is evolving to meet students in the digital world in which they live. We want to do a better job of helping them succeed.”

Law passes to postpone school start times by sophia haines sports editor California Governor Gavin Newsom passed a new law on Oct. 13 that enforces a mandatory start time of 8:30 a.m. for high schools across California. The policy will be instituted slowly, with schools expected to meet guidelines by the beginning of the 2022 school year. It is in question whether the start time is in effect for a “zero period,” known as first period at WHS. However, because second period falls eight minutes short of the 8:30 a.m. mandatory start time, the WHS schedule will change slightly in the next three years. “What we’re working with the district ... and legislation [on] is [fitting period one] into this,” said Principal Jason Branham. “When they say school can’t start, is that all of our classes including period one? Because, if so, that can have a bigger impact.” Since an early start time may still be an option, students believe that starting at 8:30 a.m. will have minimal impact on them. “A lot of students are very diligent and ambitious, so given the choice, I believe that they will always want to start earlier,” said Mathew Zilberman ’21.

The law is still up for interpretation. CVUSD is currently weighing the impact it could have district–wide. “[The district] is trying to figure out and interpret the law that was signed into place,” said Branham. CVUSD is still somewhat unsure of when exactly the new schedule will go into place. “It depends on when we get answers from the state legislature ... [and] how quickly we may work with that,” said Branham. However, not all schools in California agree with the decision to implement a statewide mandatory start time. According to the California School Boards Association in an interview with, a website that spreads information about the U.S. education system, the mandate “fails to respect parental decisions or consider the needs of local communities … [and] will disproportionately affect low–income families.” It added that it could increase the need for childcare in “already cash–strapped families.” The law was passed due to concerns regarding the effects of sleep deprivation on middle school and high school students. Many consequences rise from a lack of sleep. “The science shows that teenage students

who start their day later increase their academic Considering that the new law would performance, attendance and overall health,” only move back WHS start times by eight said Newsom in a written statement. minutes or a little more, many students feel It is also projected that the later start times that the change will not be effective to WHS will help improve students’ grades and test students in terms of sleep. scores. The American “Eight minutes is Medical Association not that much time in recommends that middle he science shows the grand scheme of and high school students able to get more that teenage being start school no earlier sleep,” said Charlotte students who Barnett ‘21. than 8:30 a.m., as sleep promotes mental health Moreover, the start their day later inscrease and brain function. earlier start times their academic performance.” currently used by schools “Governor Newsom –CA Governor Gavin Newsom allow some students to displayed a heartwarming and discerning escape heavy traffic on understanding of the their way to school. importance of objective research,” said Senator “Traffic patterns are different based on Anthony Portantino in a written statement. when you leave [for school], so it may end up “[Newsom] exercised strong leadership as he in students being able to spend less time at put our children’s health and welfare ahead of home,” said Barnett. institutional bureaucracy resistant to change.” Given that WHS has just adjusted to a new The new law will affect middle school start schedule, the transition may create chaos, but it times as well. Middle schools across California may also be beneficial for students, parents and will need to comply with an 8 a.m. start time. teachers across the state of California. “[The The middle school start time is different law] is going to have a lot of repercussions,” because there is typically less time–consuming said Zilberman “as opposed to just our school homework for middle school students. at Westlake.”




Volunteer opportunities to benefit homeless communities

Based on statistics from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, homelessness increased by 16% in the last year in Los Angeles. On Thanksgiving, most homeless residents do not get to spend time with family and friends or enjoy home–cooked meals. Try a different tradition this Thanksgiving and help the community. Here are a few volunteer opportunities to get involved this Thanksgiving:

Turkey Trot Los Angeles

RAIN Communities

The seventh annual Turkey Trot will take place in Downtown Los Angeles on Thanksgiving morning. The event will run from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. The race will start and end in front of City Hall. The Turkey Trot is in benefit of Midnight Mission, an organization that helps the homeless population. There is a 5k race, a 10k race and a one mile race, but the race also needs volunteers to help organize and run the event. For additional information, visit

RAIN Transitional Living Center in Camarillo provides homes to families and single adults in Ventura County to help them transition from homelessness. The center looks for volunteers to coordinate art projects, clean the kitchen and play with the children while their parents attend meetings. RAIN also encourages groups to fundraise. Almost half of the residents are children, so this is an opportunity to mentor, play and make them smile. To learn more about RAIN Communities, visit their website

Harbor House Harbor House is a Thousand Oaks social service agency dedicated to helping those who struggle with food and housing insecurity, unemployment, addiction, mental illness and abuse. A hot dinner is served every day of the week and volunteers are welcome to help from 5:45–7 p.m. The locations are the St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Calvary Community Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Thousand Oaks United Methodist Church and St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church. There is also the Adopt a Family Program, where Harbor House assigns families to be adopted for the holidays. To become more involved with Harbor House, visit

Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank Manna Food Bank addresses food insecurity and has made it their mission “to feed hungry people in the Conejo Valley.” The food bank recommends that volunteers donate packaged items such as peanut butter, pancake mix, kidney beans, Hamburger Helper, ramen noodles, tomato soup, tomato paste, canned vegetables, canned fruit and flavored rice. There are hands–on volunteer opportunities available, such as sorters and stockers. For more information, visit their website

Compiled by Prarthana Kaygee, Margaret Teegarden & Lindsey Romano

Paying respects to Native American population by margaret teegarden feature editor Native American Heritage Month, throughout the month of November, as well as Indigenous People’s Day strives to honor and celebrate the struggles and achievements of Native American people. California is home to many Native American tribes. Southern California alone hosts the Chumash, Alliklik, Kitanemuk, Serrano, Gabrielino Luiseno Cahuilla and the Kumeyaay. These tribes were the first to settle in California, living here long before the Europeans first discovered the land. Native American Heritage month began as American Indian Day, declared by the governor of New York on the second Saturday of May 1916. Other states began to follow suit, designating a specific day of the year to celebrating Native Americans. “What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose,” said the official website for Native American Heritage Month. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush pronounced November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, it has continued to be annually proclaimed by following presidents under the name of National American Heritage Month.

“The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, similar actions. These other states currently have Columbus Day as an traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important official holiday and continue to celebrate it. contributions of Native people,” according to the National “Since Columbus wasn’t actually the first to ‘discover’ Congress of American Indians. America, I feel like there’s something more that we should A variety of activities in Los Angeles and the surrounding be celebrating,” said Shanlin Qian ‘22. “But the idea that the communities are available throughout discovery of this land led to the creation of November to celebrate and learn about he month is a America is still really important.” Native American culture. The L.A. County Some believe that Columbus Day is still time to celebrate important Library is hosting many events at various to acknowledge, due to Columbus’ rich and diverse achievements and relevance in history. libraries around Los Angeles that are welcome to families and are free to the “I think Columbus Day should be cultures, traditions and public. These activities are available to view recognized as a national holiday,” said Jake histories and to acknowledge Velen ‘21. “It’s important to acknowledge on the L.A. County Library website. the important contributions of historical figures [and] keep our history In addition, Native American Heritage Month is not the only time Native People.” relevant and ... our children educated.” when Native Americans are celebrated. With theses varying opinions, controversy –National Congress of is created. Indigenous People’s Day, which is on the However, regardless of the cultural American Indians differences or controversies, Native American second Monday of October (the same day as Columbus Day), strives to “respect and Heritage Month and Indigenous People’s learn from indigenous peoples and support their struggles for Day all exist to advance one goal: to acknowledge and celebrate the social justice and religious freedom,” according to the Unitarian challenges and achievements of Native Americans around the world. Universalist Association. According to the National Congress of American Indians, “[The Many states no longer observe Columbus Day, including holiday’s purpose is] to raise a general awareness about the unique California. L.A. and neighboring cities celebrate the Monday as challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the Indigenous People’s Day instead, and other states are seeking to take present … [and how they] have worked to conquer these challenges.”




Honoring U.S. veterans by angela ling & soumya monga feature editors It’s Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Typically, there are two types of plans students will have on this day. One will use the day off to binge Netflix, and the other will visit a grandparent who served in the U.S. Navy. One watches high school drama on Riverdale, and the other hears stories from many years ago about living on a warship and fighting for America. As Veterans Day approaches, America remembers soldiers who risked their lives to protect our nation. Veterans Day is a national holiday on which people have the opportunity to thank and appreciate soldiers for their service in protecting this country. However, its original significance was to commemorate the end of World War I. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to honor those who died serving in World War I and to celebrate the agreement that ended the battle between the German and Allied nations. A bill was passed to make this day a national holiday on May 13, 1938. As significant as Armistice Day was, Veterans Day is not as well–known among students today. As society progresses away from World War I and its effects, the meaning of Veterans Day is being forgotten. Not only does Veterans Day honor retired soldiers, but it is also a time to acknowledge those who are currently serving and have made a noble sacrifice for their country. At the close of the 2018–2019 school year, nine WHS seniors joined the U.S.


Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army. Bailey Rethaber ‘20 plans on joining the U.S. Army after graduating high school. “I’ve had over four generations of family members that have served in the military, and it’s always been something that I have been wanting to do,” said Rethaber. Rethaber plans to serve for 20 years in the army; after that, he has other ideas for his career. “I’ve always been thinking about possibly joining the CIA, FBI or Secret Service,” said Rethaber about his plans after the army. @westlakearrow


Josh Budde, Algebra 1 CP A and B teacher and girls basketball coach at WHS, is a war veteran. He has spent a total of 23 years in the U.S. Navy — 12 of which were dedicated to active duty, while the remaining 11 were spent in the Army Reserves where he worked part–time. He currently holds the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer (AZCM), which means he is in charge of all Selected Reserve Sailors and maintaining flight records and inspections for aircrafts. Budde joined the U.S. Navy shortly after graduating high school and since then, has

become more aware of the meaning behind Veterans Day. “[I wanted] the chance to serve our country and travel the world, get my education [and] go through a lot of experiences that I would never get the chance to do outside of that,” said Budde. Though he himself is a veteran, Budde uses Veterans Day to appreciate others who have served their country. “[On Veterans Day] I thank [veterans] for their service and talk to as many veterans as I can, even though I’m still serving,” said Budde. “[I] also just take the day to reflect on my career.”, an organization dedicated to informing Americans with military affinity about recent updates that pertain to them, recommends showing appreciation by treating any veterans in the community to a meal or giving them a thoughtful gift. Volunteering at local veteran charities can allow individuals to see the issues that our veterans must face. At these charities, volunteers can help by building houses, handing out supplies at a veteran homeless shelter or provide coaching at a workforce center. In addition, reaching out to the families of veterans by sending a card or gift can be a small but impactful way to show appreciation for the soldiers who defend U.S. freedom. Military families often make just as big of a sacrifice as a soldier. According to, for parents of service members, the decision to put on the uniform is filled with pride and fear. Honoring the families of those who serve — through events, special gifts or recognition — builds positive feelings for veterans.

Five questions with WHS’s ASG President Jeremy Garelik ‘20




100 N. Lakeview Canyon Road Westlake Village, CA 91362 (805) 497-6711 ext. 4225







Q: What is your main responsibility as ASG president? A: “I serve as a medium between our school’s faculty and the student body by leading the ASG class each day. I mainly run meetings, lead discussions and help coordinate events that are going on in the school and the district.” Q: What do you hope to accomplish this year? A: “This year, I hope to increase participation in all school–wide events such as sporting events and spirit events like rallies and lunch time activities.” Q: Which moment were you most proud of? A: “This year, I was most proud of when I heard about all of the positive feedback from homecoming, especially due to the extensive work that ASG as a whole put into it beforehand.”



Q: Why did you decide to join ASG in the first place? A: “As an incoming freshman, I decided to join ASG because I was in ASB in middle school, and I wanted to continue to take an active role in my high school to enact change.” Q: What are your plans beyond high school? Will you be using the skills gained from ASG? A: “After high school, I hope to attend a four–year university and study psychology. I will definitely use the time management, organization and interpersonal skills that I have learned in ASG through college and the rest of my life!”

Compiled by Songhee Lee



What’s on your plate?

Mind Bobbling


Vegan Thanksgiving wraps Vegan apple spice cake

Shaved butternut and carrot salad

Pumpkin sunbutter soup up

Loaded cauliflower bake

Peanut butter squares

Compiled by Prarthana Kaygee & Bob Xia

Let’s roll to the sushi stop Both KreAsian and Sushi Planet offer extravagant foods based on Japanese classics. However, the main difference between the two is that KreAsian allows its customers to customize their meals with a vast selection of ingredients. Sushi Planet has more options and dishes to order and offers more mainstream Japanese food.

KreAsian Kitchen KreAsian Kitchen is a make–your– own creation restaurant revolving around a Japanese–Asian fusion theme. It offers a selection of sushi rolls, salad, poke bowls and the specialty sushi burrito. After choosing one of the four main dishes, the bar offers limitless combinations of rice, proteins, veggies, toppings and sauces. Prices range from $10 to $20. Location: 3845 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 Order: Grubhub, DoorDash

Food: 8.5/10 Customer Service: 9/10 Pricing: 7/10 Cleanliness:


Overall: 8/10

Sushi Planet

Location: 951 S Westlake Blvd #114, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361 Order: Grubhub, Seamless, DoorDash, Postmates



by bob xia sports section editor

What does it mean to be keto?

Sushi Planet is focused on Japanese cuisine ranging from sushi and rolls to bento boxes. The food is specialized in traditional selections from Japan and Japanese–American fusion, particularly with the assortment of rolls. Prices range from $5 to $20.


My Halloween hangover

Being vegan is not the same as being vegetarian. Vegetarians do not eat any form of meat or fish. Vegans, while they do not eat meat or fish, also do not consume animal byproducts, such as eggs, dairy and for some, even honey. There are so many alternative options if you decide to become vegan. Soy products such as tofu or tempeh can replace meat. A common substitute for dairy could be almond milk or coconut milk, and agave can be used to replace honey. Even as a vegan, you can continue to eat foods such as grains, nuts and potatoes.

A ketogenic diet incorporates a lot of proteins and fats and does not include carbohydrates and high–sugar foods such as fruit. The keto diet allows you to eat meat, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, butter, oil and fibrous vegetables. A common substitute for carbohydrates like rice or bread is cauliflower. Although those on the keto diet should not have carbohydrates or sugar, they may occasionally have it them in small quantities, like a small piece of dark chocolate or a handful of berries.



What does it mean to be vegan?


Thanksgiving has changed tremendously in the last few years. If you go on the Internet, you will find recipes for almost every type of person’ diet: vegan, gluten–free, keto. For directions to cook the meal, scan the QR code!

Food: 9/10 Customer Service:


Pricing: 8/10 Cleanliness:


Overall: 8.5/10

Compiled by Amber Parrish & Bob Xia

Now I know what you might be thinking. “Wow, Bob, you’re so irresponsible, completely losing it the day after Halloween.” Well, it was a perfectly fine option this year. Because we had the day off after Halloween, I planned to have the biggest Halloween hangover ever. But don’t get it wrong. I didn’t plan to go off at some lame Halloween party or watch a classic horror movie to shroud my nightmares with clowns. I had a plan to achieve the best Halloween Hangover by consuming the most sugar possible. But to achieve it, an elaborate trick–or–treating plan had to be laid out. First, I planned the route that would be most efficient in getting the most candy in the shortest amount of time. Halloween is the one day where you can trespass on property and freely take things from the homeowners. Next, picking a costume is always the hard part. I wanted to be unique this year and stand out from all the other people who threw on last–minute costumes. So, naturally, I taped a sponge on my shirt so I could be SpongeBob. Afterward, I had to find the largest pillowcase to haul my goods around town and flex to other trick–or–treaters how much candy I had in comparison to them. The secret to picking the right pillowcase is all about the size and durability of the case. It needs to be just the right size to carry a large load, but not too heavy to slow down the pace of your adventure and strong enough to hold all the candy. Finally, I strategically traded my candy by the standard of quality vs. quantity. In my case, I planned to find some doofus willing to trade his Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for my despicable Hot Tamales and Milk Duds. After all these steps were fulfilled, I was ready to experience that Halloween hangover. Once safe in my home, away from any candy thieves, I spilled my glorious booty on the table and categorized each piece. Soon enough, my grubby hands were tearing away the wrappers and piece by piece, my Halloween booty was slowly ransacked by my hunger. I achieved that sugar high and time flew by in a blur. The sugar high is an unexplainable feeling. Imagine achieving cloud nine from an exhilaration of a night running around collecting FREE candy. Even better, there were no parent restrictions or dietary limits. However, I woke up the next morning feeling groggy and light–headed as ever. My memory of the prior night was hazy, except with the lingering memory of the wonderful sugar high. Regardless, all the consequences were worth it.




Big tobacco’s bait & switch

commentary by jeff mendoza photo editor

For parents, or really anyone who was a teenager in the 1990s, something about the current vaping pandemic feels oddly familiar. There are the same constants: companies targeting teens and a product that is marketed as having little consequences turning out to be a Trojan horse of health complications. This situation occurred with Big Tobacco in the 1990s. As early as 1930, companies like Marlboro, Camel and other tobacco producers invested in advertising and products aimed at the youth in order to secure new generations of addicts.  Joe the Camel, the Marlboro Man, candy cigarettes, comics and animated series were intended to make smoking seem cool. Billions of dollars were invested in denying research about carcinogens as well as long–term health complications, according to the World Health Organization.  In more recent years, companies like Juul use teens in their ads, produce kid–friendly flavors like mango, cucumber and mint and market the product as having little to no health complications.  The effects of these two events are very similar. Seemingly harmless characters like Joe the Camel — much like this generation’s social media influencers — allow companies to build the perception of a positive or non–harmful association with its products. Before, long–term health threats were completely hidden, whereas in this generation, companies pitch vapes as a healthy alternative to smoking with little to no health risks. The end result is the same: a new generation addicted to nicotine.  According to the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, one in four high school students has vaped in the last 30 days. For a generation that had seen a significant decline in smoking

among teens, the rise of vaping has allowed companies like Big Tobacco to make a comeback. Altria, the company behind Marlboro, has invested 1.2 billion dollars in JuulLabs. Other tobacco manufacturers have followed this trend as well. But despite being investors, there could be an ulterior motive lurking underneath.  Since major investment started from companies like Altria in 2018, not only did Juul stop producing kid–friendly flavors, but there was a stronger push for regulation of vapes, the stores that sell them and the push for a total ban on flavored vapes culminating in action being proposed by the White House.  This action should not necessarily be restricted to vapes. Of 540,000 deaths per year due to tobacco related products, vaping has killed 37 thus far. It costs more to manufacture an e–cigarette than a regular cigarette. This factor, combined with the consumption rate of a pack of cigarettes being faster than a Juul pod and the price per cigarette pack being significantly higher than those of Juul pods, greatly enhances the profit margin for tabacco companies. Therefore, the surge against vaping is the ultimate win for the tobacco industry. It cultivated a brand new generation of nicotine–addicted youth without being directly at fault, and after a push against vaping, its products may soon have a brand new market.  With a vape ban proposal, millions of teenagers addicted to nicotine could suddenly be without their main fix. This could lead them to cigarettes to fulfill their needs and the tobacco industry reaping billions in profits. This was Big Tobacco’s ultimate bait and switch. 

Vaping causes deaths, illnesses, bans across United States by avery pak co editor-in-chief Following the first vaping–related death in August 2019, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and other health departments have begun conducting thorough investigations about the lung injury outbreak due to e–cigarettes. E–cigarettes, more commonly known as vapes, work by heating liquid — which can contain nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinoid oils (CBD) and other substances — to produce an inhalable aerosol. When the products were first introduced, many believed they would be a beneficial alternative to traditional smoking and tobacco. “Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic,” according to Michael Blaha, director of clinical research at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center. However, as of Oct. 29, the CDC reported 1,888 vaping–induced lung injuries from 49 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and 37 deaths from 24 states. “All patients have reported a history of using e–cigarette or vaping products,” according to the CDC. Most patients have reported using THC–based vaping products, and many report exclusive use of nicotine–based products. On Oct. 14 2019, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb proposed a ban on vape products with THC due to the link between THC–based vapes and fatalities and illnesses. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. “Hardware marketed explicitly for vaping THC oils helped popularize consumption through vaping,” wrote Gottlieb on Twitter. “This vaping has dangerous consequences and should be prohibited.” However, there is currently insufficient evidence to state that THC is the direct cause of the deaths and illnesses. Public health officials have correlated the two and are conducting further inquiries and investigations regarding the issue. Dank Vapes, along with brands like Moon Rocks, Off–White and TKO, distribute THC–containing products, most commonly on the street and through personal connections. “Dank Vapes appears to be the most prominent in a class of largely counterfeit brands, with common packaging that is easily available online and that is used by distributors to market THC– containing cartridges,” according to the CDC.

The use of e–cigarettes has grown exponentially since 2009, when it was first beginning to emerge as a new form of technology. Companies have been targeting consumers, particularly younger generations, with e–juice flavors (which causes the vaporizer to generate vapor) like strawberry and vanilla. “E–cigarettes and vaping devices, with $7 billion in annual sales, have become a part of daily life for millions of Americans,” according to The New York Times. “Youth use has skyrocketed with the proliferation of flavors targeting teenagers.” According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration will announce a plan for banning all flavored vaping products, except for tobacco and menthol flavors. Another extremely popular flavor — mint, which comprises 70% of Juul’s U.S. sales — will be banned. Mint was initially planned on remaining with tobacco and menthol flavors, as these three are popular among adults. “Excluding menthol would be huge — it means that kids will buy menthol,” said public health attorney Desmond Jenson, according to The Washington Post. “If you give them one flavor, that’s what they will buy. It doesn’t solve the problem.” While THC is a possible cause of the vaping–related illnesses and deaths, many overlook nicotine, the ingredient in vapes that is most addictive. Nicotine is commonly associated with smoking, which has led many to seek vaping as a substitute. However, finding refills for e–cigarettes without nicotine can be challenging, and most vapes contain it. “Adolescents don’t think they will get addicted to nicotine, but when they do want to stop, they find it’s very difficult,” said Yale neuroscientist Marina Picciotto, who has studied nicotine addiction for decades, according to Yale Medicine. “The adolescent brain is more sensitive to rewards.” As the human brain is not fully developed until roughly 25 years of age, the mesolimbic dopamine system, “the reward system,” is harder to resist for children, teenagers and young adults. Once the nicotine–containing vapors reach the brain, the nicotine particles bind to a receptor, releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes people feel good and wanting more of the factor that stimulates it — in this case, nicotine. While Juul — the country’s most dominant e–cigarette company — labels itself “The Smoking Alternative” on its website, according to Truth Initiative, a platform prompting tobacco–free lives, the Juul website also states that “one standard Juul cartridge is roughly equal to the amount of nicotine in a



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pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs.” Therefore, many people who use Juuls are misguided about the fact that these e–cigarettes contain significant amounts of nicotine, not just fruit–flavoring and other chemicals. According to a 2018 study by Truth Initiative, 63% of Juul consumers ages 15–24 were unaware that the vapes contain nicotine. Due to the recent outbreak of vaping–related deaths and illnesses, Juul CEO Kevin Burns stepped down in September. However, it is important to note that Juul does not sell products containing THC, the chemical related to most of the nation’s deaths and illnesses. Juul has also agreed to remove advertising in the U.S. Another popular and more recently introduced device called a “pod mod” allows its users to insert disposable and refillable pods into the device. Similar to Juul, however, these cartridge–like pods contain a concentration of 2–10 times more nicotine than other vape liquids, according to Yale Medicine. Despite the addictive nature of vaping due to the devices’ high nicotine levels and the evident popularity of vapes, the federal government has done little in the past decade to strictly regulate the vaping, which is partially why so little is known about the current outbreak of lung–related illnesses and deaths. “Federal officials and public health experts described a lost decade of inaction, blaming an intense lobbying effort by the e–cigarette and tobacco industries, fears of a political backlash in tobacco–friendly states … ,” according to The New York Times. The CDC is currently working with the FDA and other health experts to identify the source of the lung diseases associated with vape products and establish lab procedures that can aid public health investigations.

Compiled by Jeff Mendoza & Avery Pak



The Westlake hills are alive!

The Westlake hills are alive with the sound of music! The WHS theatre department presents The Sound of Music, a classic, golden–age musical that will make its debut in the Carpenter Family Theatre this November. The show will play the weekends of Nov. 14, 15, 16 and 20, 21 and 22 in the Carpenter Family Theatre. Students can use the code “Theatre50” to receive half–off ticket prices online and at the door. Although the performance has a short run, the rehearsal process starts weeks before opening night, beginning with the audition. “This year I repeated what we did last spring for Into the Woods as I felt it was successful,” said director Elisa Griffin. “So we began with musical boot camp where I taught a bit of choreography and the song that everyone would need for the audition.” The students then chose an audition group and a ten–minute slot in which they could perform for Griffin. If Griffin wanted to hear more, she invited them to a callback, which is a second audition with a more select group of individuals. “[For the callback], we prepared a song to sing alone for the choir director, Mrs. Rolniak,” said Claudia Bertagna ’21, who plays Maria von Trapp, the female lead. “Then, we read different scenes as different characters for Mrs. Griffin. The reading was mostly on–the–spot, which is pretty nerve–wracking.” Because The Sound of Music is a highly praised musical masterpiece, it is difficult to cast because of youth involvement in the show. Smaller kids are needed to play the younger children of the von Trapp family. “I needed smaller humans to play the


by abigail thompson a&e section editor

GOOD GOING (left): Emma Meckfessel ‘20 and Tyler Marquis ‘20 rehearse “16 Going on 17.” PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT (top right): Claudia Bertagna ‘21 and the Von Trapp kids practice “Do–Re–Mi.” SING AWAY YOUR PROBLEMS (bottom right): Chiara Caravetta ‘22, Elizabeth Kastner ‘21 and Molly Kreitman ‘21 perform “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?”

five and seven year olds at the very least,” said Griffin. “High school students are playing ages nine, 11, 13, 14 and 16. The children are double–casted to relieve pressure from the many rehearsals and shows. “I get to watch [my little sister, Hadley, who is playing Gretl, the youngest in the show,] practicing lines, singing in the shower and going over her dances constantly,” said Riley Mays ’22, who plays von Trapp daughter Brigitta. Griffin also teaches at Colina Middle School, so she was able to introduce the boot camp to the choir and drama students there. To audition, the children went through the same process as the older cast members. “I’ve enjoyed making mature connections

with my show siblings, some of them four years younger than me,” said Riley Mays. “I think having younger castmates really provides a great and exceptional experience for the whole process and the cast in general.” Along with the addition of youth in the performance, the WHS theatre department has taken another large step for the production, making the musical all the more memorable. “We discussed a collaboration [with the WHS orchestra] as a performing arts department last spring,” said Griffin. “[Live music during the performance] was done several years ago, but we wanted to try again. It’s a wonderful opportunity to allow more students to perform and for us to work together as a department.” Orchestra rehearses Monday nights

from 7–9 p.m., and it began practicing with the cast members on Oct. 22. “It feels extra special and easier to sing and dance along with [the orchestra],” said Luca de la Peña ’23, who plays Kurt Von Trapp in his first production at WHS. De la Peña, just three months into his freshman year of high school, has already conquered the stage, being cast as a lead in the show. Despite being one of the youngest students at WHS in the performance, de la Peña is already friends with most of his castmates. “Although I know most of the cast, I attempt to focus on my directions and character [during rehearsal], since I know I have a lot of time to interact with them somewhere else,” said de la Peña. Therefore, rehearsal periods are used effectively and only take place outside of class. “I am not in theatre, but I’m in choir and we don’t ever rehearse [material specifically for the show] in class,” said Bertagna. “The musical is really an outside thing that joins all of us together. I’m super excited to be a part of it.” WHS theatre’s first performace is typically a Shakespearian play, but this year Griffin and Rolniak decided that with the collaboration of the music department, fall would be a better time to put the musical on. Because of this, the cast is composed of mainly underclassmen, some juniors and very few seniors, due to college applications. “The seniors will have two more opportunities to get onstage this year, one with Shakespeare in the winter, and those in Theatre 4 [will be able to participate in] the TBD spring production.” The cast and creative team of The Sound of Music are ready to bring this classic story to life that is complete with a live orchestra, youth ensemble and WHS’s very own actors and actresses. WHS students will experience the magic of The Sound of Music and all of their “favorite things” this month at this timeless musical.

Q: What instrument do you play and how long have you played it? A: I’ve been playing violin for eight and a half years. Q: How is playing for a live musical different from an ordinary concert? A: There’s a lot of pressure. It’s the first time I’ve ever played in a pit orchestra, so this is a new experience for me. There are only two first violins, so you’ve got to stay in time with all the acting that’s going on. It’s definitely a different experience because when you’re in an orchestra you’ve got your conductor, who you can just look to for a constant tempo, but in a pit orchestra the tempo could change. It’s pretty intense. Q: What is the most challenging part of playing for a live musical? A: Definitely the key signatures. They’re pretty crazy, because a lot of the singers have to hit certain notes that can only be in a certain key, and it’s pretty insane what we have to play, ... and I’ve got to also carry my own, so it’s tough. It takes a lot of practice. I practice probably four to five days a week.




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Griffin Kessler: Orchestra



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Get to know the stars of The Sound of Music Emma Meckfessel: Theater

Q: Who do you play in The Sound of Music? A: [I play] Liesl Von Trapp. Q: What’s been your favorite part of preparing for this show? A: For this show, we’re using actual little kids from Colina and surrounding elementary schools to play the younger siblings, so it’s been a lot of fun to work with kids as young as nine [years old] and see how they prepare for a role and kind of have fun with it. Q: What are you most excited for? A: To finish out high school in a musical. I haven’t acted in a school show or in any show for that matter since freshman year. I’ve been doing all the backstage makeup stuff, so I’m just really excited to get back into the acting part of it and really get to have fun being on stage and creating a character for my friends and family and people to see. Q: Why should people see The Sound of Music? A: I think that the arts are very important for students in general, and The Sound of Music specifically has a very historical storyline.


ys dley Ma

Hadley Mays: Theater

Q: How old are you? A: I’m nine years old. Q: Who do you play in The Sound of Music? A: I play Gretl Von Trapp. Q: Why are you interested in theater? A: My sister [Riley Mays ‘22, who plays Brigitta von Trapp] has always been doing shows, and I just got really interested in doing it because of her. Q: Now that you’ve become involved in acting at WHS, what do you enjoy about it? A: There are a lot of nice people in it and you get to do a lot of cool things, and there’s a lot of blocking, which is really nice. Q: Have you enjoyed working with the high school students? A: Yeah, because they’re older and they’re just really nice, and they just like younger ones. They do a lot of things because you’re younger and they just treat you nice. Q: What are you hoping to gain from this experience? A: I kind of want to learn how to act [better] and be in different shows more.

WHS Theatre Presents...

The Sound of Music Nov. 14,15,16 & 20,21,22 @7 p.m. in The Carpenter Family Theatre Ticket Prices: $10– Student/Senior $15– General Admission

Use this QR code for a link to the ticketing website! Compiled by Quinn Moss


Let’s have a chat


Gideon because ... through him carrying the effortless, they admit that they face many time– result for everyone involved in the podcast. editing, we managed to do [the podcast] and consuming components involved in making it. “It’s just fun,” said Fang. “[We] don’t get news editor here we are now,” said Fang. “We have a film day,” said to see a lot of them because they go to different ‘ Bethany Tong. “A couple of us schools and we all have varying schedules, but The initial purpose of their Recently, podcasts have become a popular on g 2 2 T just sit around a couch and we [on] the days we ... get to meet, it’s honestly a form of sharing perspectives around the world. podcast was to have fun, but as they y have a camera. We film and lot of fun.” Podcasts’ ability to provide a voice to those continued to create the podcast, around a week later, Gideon Altogether, the thing Bethany Tong and with a microphone has allowed a spread of they also realized that they could goes to the film, edits it Fang cherish most about the podcast is simply various ideas and concepts for those who listen. put it to good use. and puts it on ... a bunch of having a conversation with each other. “We wanted it to spread the Podcasts help contribute ideas to the general podcast[ing] platforms.” “In the end, it’s just us hanging out,” public, but despite their popularity, most people Christian faith among our youth There are times when the said Fang. “If the camera wasn’t there, we because we noticed here [that there don’t actually run a podcast. podcast can become frustrating. probably would have been doing the same This is not the case, however, for Bethany are] not a lot of Christian facilities,” With so many moving parts thing anyways.” Tong ‘22 and Eric Fang ‘21, co–hosts of the said Bethany Tong. involved, lining up everything perfectly As members of the Chinese Christian In terms of the future, both Bethany weekly podcast SMH Our Heads. Tong and Fang agree that they want to Created in July 2019, the podcast is run Church of Thousand Oaks (CCCTO), they also comes with its own complications. Often, Bethany Tong and Fang find continue the podcast for as long as they by Tong, Fang and their friends, covering wanted to utilize this podcast as a method of themselves having to prerecord episodes of the possibly can, regardless of obstacles that may topics ranging anywhere from politics to sharing their own beliefs with their listeners. “Many of our listeners [are not] Christian, podcast to manage the time deficit it creates. come their way. daily life. In fact, their idea for the podcast “We usually “We hope to go as sprouted from a casual conversation between so [the podcast is] basically just to talk about [prerecord] here and there what we believe,” said Bethany Tong. long as we’re not busy,” their group while at a McDonald’s. n the end, it’s just us said Fang. “But, once we’re While they often utilize the podcast so we can lighten our “We were sitting there, just talking 1 to talk about their faith, they also workload as the school ... and then we thought, what if we hanging out. If the busy, we [will still try to] g ‘2 discuss many casual topics, such year continues and many recorded this and made it [into] a an camera wasn’t there, release as [many] as we as “their favorite snacks” or if of us are busy,” said Fang. possibly can.” podcast?” said Bethany Tong. “We we probably would have They even water is considered wet. For now, they thought it was a good idea.” According to Bethany acknowledge that the Inspired by this concept, been doing the same thing are excited to have an Tong and Fang, the central podcast sometimes feels they ventured ahead and began anyways.” opportunity to share their initiative of their podcast is more like a burden than voices with the world one the podcast led by WHS alumnus –Eric Fang podcast at a time. simply to have an “interesting an enjoyable experience. Gideon Tong ‘19. B “After a while, [it] conversation” that others will SMH Our Heads can The mastermind behind the S TO P HO sometimes felt like more of an obligation ... but be streamed through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, enjoy listening to. project, Gideon Tong, is responsible In fact, most of their topics come we mostly persevered with a pretty substantial Podbean, RadioPublic, PlayerFM, Stitcher for setting up and organizing the and other various podcasting platforms. majority of the podcast, including the editing up in the informal, off–camera conversations amount of complaining,” said Fang. That perseverance, while difficult to They also have an Instagram account, where they have with their friends. process and distribution. However, while managing a podcast seems accomplish, has come with an overall positive group photos and regular updates regarding “Honestly, I give most of the props to


by tommy kackert








Like, try, why: student-written songs If your playlist is looking a little empty right, try listening to these songs written by WHS ‘s very own students.

If you like...


Why... “Margslark” is characterized by instrumental sounds that are manipulated throughout. The artists additionally emphasize specific notes to bring character to the song. Similarly, Niall Horan’s “Nice to Meet Ya” has a a familiar drum beat, and Horan adjusts his voice based on various words (like a French accent for a French word), similar to “Margslark.”

“Nice to Meet Ya” by Niall Horan

“Margslark” by Noah Eubanks ‘21 and Evan Johnson Harrison has a similar tone to Trainor that brings an upbeat feeling to her songs. Both songs base their lyrics on the theme of living carefree and going with the flow. “Wave” puts a focus on the singing rather than the background music, similar to “Red Dress.”

“Wave” (feat. Mike Sabath) by Meghan Trainor

“Red Dress” by Treya Harrison ‘22 Compiled by Lindsey Romano



All eyes on Chinese government by aly brook opinion editor 1984, Brave New World, The Giver and The Hunger Games are just a few literary examples of distopian societies where governments control their citizens and destroy citizens’ rights to freedom, individuality and religion. Imagine if these fictional stories became reality. In some places around the world, they already have. Due to their religious beliefs, Uighur Muslims are being detained and arrested in Xinjiang, China, and Chinese governmental officials are justifying it, claiming that it prevents the threat of terrorism. According to NBC News writer Keir Simmons, Chinese officials say that Uighur Muslims have been responsible for violent outbreaks in China since 1990, such as bombings and shootings in Beijing. In reality, the government is controlling all Uighur Muslims’ ability to practice religion and speak their language (Arabic). Placed in “education camps,” Uighur Muslims are required to learn about China’s customs, beliefs and language (Mandarin) inside of the centers. The Chinese government is forcing human beings to change their identities, practices, thoughts and lives. Similar to North Korea’s communist government, China demands total devotion and loyalty from its citizens. Officials have no problem separating families once inside the camps, and many escapees have not seen their family members in years. The root of the problem is technology. Chinese officials track down Uighur Muslims through facial recognition


software, voice recording technology and phone checkpoints. Abusing its power, the Chinese government takes advantage of technology and invades the personal lives of its citizens. Although it is crucial for governments to have some powers over its citizens, such as collecting taxes, establishing laws and maintaining an army, citizens should have the right to practice religion and speak freely anywhere in the world. Imagine being told what to believe, think, say and how to act. Especially in America today,

more people are embracing their individuality. The government should not have control over citizens because society thrives on diversity and opportunity, and a controlling government destroys both. In many history classes, teachers refer to America as a salad, having many different elements but somehow working together. With diversity comes knowledge of different cultures, beliefs and seeing different opinions about world issues. People grow and become knowledgeable when immersed in different cultures. Without cultural awareness,

societies would remain stagnant. No one would challenge each other’s beliefs. Conflict inspires discussion of topics, such as debating who the better candidate is for president. China believes that conflict and challenges are threats to society, but not all conflict is bad. More people are letting their voices be heard concerning women’s rights, gender equality, gun violence, climate change and religious freedom. At WHS, students hold forums, peaceful walkouts and protests to spread awareness on important issues that matter to them. Imagine the government telling us that

our voices and opinions do not matter. Picture not being allowed to practice the religion of our choice and being forced to solely believe in the government and its leaders. In a poll of 78 WHS students, only 38% said that they had heard of Uighur Muslims being detained for their religious beliefs, with 62% saying that they had not heard about the issue on the news. This proves that many Americans, including teenagers, are not aware of what is going on in China. Unfortunately, as with many conflicts, especially since there are many going on in the world today, people tend to think about a conflict for one day, and then life goes on. People need to remember these issues and motivate themselves to act now. Unless it affects them personally, many Americans are complacent and do not take a stand. It is very important to encourage others to watch the weekly news, as well as to spread the word — on social media, to friends, family, classmates and state representatives — about your opinion on the inhumane treatment of Uighur Muslims. Wanting total control over its citizens, the communist party is creating a world where everyone has the same beliefs and people are detained or killed for challenging the government. There is no difference between China’s controlling government and the ones from the fictional novels we read in English class. The once fictional tales have become disturbing realizations in our world. It is time to turn the eyes of Big Brother away from the Uighur Muslims and, instead, place them on the Chinese government and all other countries who oppress their people.

Lack of school spirit must come to an end by angel lee managing editor What do Tropical Tuesday, Jersey Thursday and Black–Out Friday all have in common? Answer: Barely anyone dresses up for them. Although there are a few WHS students who consistently participate in spirit days, a majority of students don’t bother dressing up. Participating in spirit days would increase excitement for the school day and ultimately make school somewhat fun to attend. In this day and age, we generally never see the positives of school and only anticipate a bad day ahead. We see school as a stoic, lifeless event that could never bring excitement or happiness. As little as it seems to do, dressing up in something completely unrelated to school could bring the slightest bit of life into an ordinary school day. Getting up in the morning to throw on a Hawaiian shirt and

tacky hat puts you in a more positive mood to start the day. According to the Connecticut Association of Schools, a majority of principals — 92% — feel that high school spirit is tied to high student achievement. Students who perform better academically are more socially and civically engaged and are happier in general than their less–spirited peers. School spirit includes dressing up to fit the theme for Friday night football games. As they go hand– in–hand, tailgate is the pre–game kickback that gets the student body hyped up and ready to cheer on the football team. With the student audience dressing in cowboy attire or all black, it shows unity and support for the team. According to the Missouri State Student Government Association Blog, school spirit translates into higher expectations of one’s self and surroundings, pushing for positive changes. It is important because it sets the tone


for various aspects of the school and its students. Engaging in simple spirit activities is great for schools because it encourages a common

bond between fellow students and staff members. The concept of students attending WHS’ sporting events is

rare, emphasizing the lack of support between students in our school. Westlake High School Fan Club gives students points when they attend more sporting events, increasing their chance to win prize money. Although WHS Fan Club, created and funded by the Shahidi family, gives an incentive for students to attend games and matches, it still isn’t enough to motivate many students to spend time watching sports events. Some other ways to get students to attend games include student discounts on food at the concession stands and giving out free spirit wear. Free admission for students at sporting events may increase the amount of peer support for WHS’ athletes. Cheap and free stuff is always the way to a student’s heart. By participating in spirit week dress–ups and attending at least some games, high school memories are formed, positive energy is created and you get the chance to be a bit wild. After all, you’ve got to make the four years of high school count!


OPINION by lauren pak graphics editor Imagine this: your mom is seasoning a juicy turkey and the doorbell rings. You open the door and all 24 of your relatives look at you with wide smiles, each carrying a fragrant, mouth–watering dish. Everyone greets each other and gathers at the dinner table, stuffing their faces full of mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and creamed corn. For many, Thanksgiving is the one time of the year to connect with extended family, express gratitude and, most importantly, eat a surplus of food. Yes, the history of Thanksgiving is not what most your elementary school teachers might’ve taught you: a peaceful congregation between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It was actually quite the opposite. According to The Huffington Post, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by John Winthrop, a leading founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, after he and several other Puritans massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Despite the origins and theories of the first Thanksgiving, this extremely popular holiday has evolved ever since it became nationally recognized, creating a new meaning for itself.

OPPOSING OPINIONS AGAINST by sophie robson opinion section editor When you think about Thanksgiving, the typical story we have all heard throughout our lives probably comes to your mind; the story of the Pilgrims sitting down and peacefully feasting for three days with the local Wampanoag Native Americans in celebration of the plentiful fall harvest. However, this seemingly harmonious feast was followed by the often–omitted rapid colonization of ancestral lands and the genocide of 130 million Native Americans. Because of the violent situations that actually surrounded the first Thanksgiving feast, Americans should not ignorantly celebrate the holiday. Therefore, instead of completely discontinuing the celebration, Thanksgiving should be rebranded as a holiday to honor all those involved in the feast. Firstly, people need to understand the actual events that took place. According to Indian Country Today, the largest news source that covers Native Americans, there is no indication that the Native Americans were explicitly invited

one group of people wrote about reasons to be thankful based on their week, and the second group wrote about things that irritated them. “After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives… they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.” In addition to uniting with family and reflecting on blessings, eating is a great pleasure that most look forward to. While overeating three meals a day for 365 days is not beneficial, indulging once in a while can increase overall wellness. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Several neurotransmitters, including dopamine … involved in homeostatic regulation of food intake, such as orexin, leptin and ghrelin, are implicated in the rewarding effects of food … In humans, ingestion of palatable food has been shown to release DA [dopamine] in the dorsal striatum in proportion to the self–reported level of pleasure derived from eating the food.” In today’s world, it can be difficult to look past our extravagant and complicated lives, making Thanksgiving all the more important to humble ourselves. So this Thanksgiving, tell your friends and family just how much you love them, pay tribute to the Native Americans lives’ lost and taste all 50 different fall pie flavors… and happy turkey eating! (sorry vegans — you guys can see page 7)

Should Thanksgiving be celebrated? While Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as the peaceful gathering of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, some criticize the holiday as promoting the Pilgrims’ exploitation of Native Americans.

to the feast. Members of the Plymouth colony began shooting guns and cannons in celebration of their harvest, causing some Native Americans to go over and see what all of the fuss was about. After arriving and realizing that it seemed to be a celebratory feast, the Native Americans stayed and feasted with the colonists to make sure it wouldn’t turn into a war. After this feast, according to PBS, the Americas were swiftly colonized by Europeans, whose diseases alone killed 90% of Native Americans. Colonists stole land and belongings from decimated tribes and the ones that fought back were often massacred by the Europeans. According to the United to End Genocide organization, “By the time Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean in 1492, historians estimate that there were 10 million indigenous peoples living in U.S. territory. But by 1900, the number had reduced to less than 300,000.” While Americans sit around their dinner tables sharing what they are thankful for, they simultaneously ignore the hardships that the Native Americans experienced at the hands of the people that they shared the first Thanksgiving dinner with. However, the benefits of giving thanks should not be ignored. Many other cultures also celebrate thanksgivings, sometimes more

than once a year, which brings unity to both communities and families. According to Forbes, leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons discovered in multiple studies that “gratitude effectively increased happiness and reduces depression.” Because of the positive effect brought by Thanksgiving, this holiday should not be completely abandoned; additionally, feeling gratitude for the good in life should not just simply be confined to one day out of 365. But the issue is that the rewriting and whitewashing of historical events around Thanksgiving is insensitive to the Native Americans who experienced this suffering and to their descendants alive today. Therefore, Americans must not forget the brutal beginnings of this holiday while feasting on their Thanksgiving dinner. Education is key to resolving this issue. People need to learn both sides of the story in school and not just be taught a biased version of history. If people are educated on all historical events in a balanced way, they are able to draw their own conclusions without the influence of cultural bias. With this unbiased opinion in mind, they can then make informed decisions about how they choose to celebrate Thanksgiving while still honoring everyone involved in the story of the first feast.

Angel’s angle



According to Britannica, “While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid–19th century, popular magazine [editor]… Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On Oct. 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thurs., Nov. 26.” In the modern world, people continue to promote unity within their families and communities, whether it be volunteering for the homeless or bringing distant relatives from across the country together. Not only is Thanksgiving recognized for strengthening familial and community relationships, it is also a time to reflect on one’s blessings. You probably remember tracing your hand in elementary school, writing down your most important blessings on all five of your hand turkey feathers in spirit of Thanksgiving. Obviously, teens’ lives are not as carefree as they were in elementary school; we have to worry about maintaining stellar grades, attending numerous club meetings and finding the time to participate in extracurricular activities. Stressful lives and environments are correlated with anxiety and depression, but you may be wondering how this plays into why Thanksgiving should continue to be a celebrated holiday. In a study conducted by two psychologists and published by Harvard Health Publishing,




AP marching band by angel lee featured columnist If there’s something that taught me time management and stress, it’s five consecutive days of marching band. When I came into marching band freshman year, everyone told me that it would provide many opportunities, so ignorant 13–year–old me wanted to give it a try. Little did I know that my body would slowly deteriorate from the hours spent learning music, exercising and bathing underneath the oppressive sun (shoutout to my seniors who read The Stranger). I guess what I’m trying to say through all of this is that marching band, as funny and lame as it may seem, is indeed a sport and not for the weak–minded. I started off in the drumline my freshman year. I got rejected from the volleyball team and didn’t give regular P.E. a second thought, so I jumped right into marching band during the first week of Band Camp III. Drumline was quite easy because I had percussion experience. Once I actually had to play while carrying the bass drum on my poor shoulders, I realized that marching band was not a joke. I felt like my legs were going to give out at any given moment during every single practice. Sophomore year came around and I carried quad/tenor drums, which weigh 45 pounds. Being my ignorant self, I overestimated my buffness and ended up with sciatica (nerve damage) running down the left side of my body. I ended up marching that year’s show with a pair of sticks in hand to air-drum to the music. Obviously, the activity was not as physically demanding as the previous year, but I still got the wind knocked out of me after each runthrough of the show. In my junior year, I told myself to maybe not air–drum like a fool for another year, so I switched to trumpet. I had never touched an instrument that required the use of air until then. The trumpet was absolutely foreign to me and I was more lost than freshmen on their first day of school. Marching a show on trumpet definitely made my arms sore for four months straight, but it was worth the experience. To this day, I still do not know how to properly play the trumpet, but I somehow get by. As I enter my last year of marching band, all the physical and mental pains of the sport give me one final slap in the face. My sciatica continues to wreak havoc on my life. Marching for three minutes at 172 beats per minute (VERY FAST) decreases my ability to function and breathe properly. As I approach the end of my marching band career, I realize that I’ve made the weirdest memories and most unlikely friends. There is nothing I would trade for my marching band experience, as it has undeniably been the highlight of my high school career. I pay all my respects to four unforgettable seasons of the best sport: marching band.



Varsity football triumphs over adversity by owen kobett

AIR FORCE (top): Meshach Tili ‘21, wide receiver, linebacker and safety, defends a pass from Sierra Canyon on Aug. 23. Sierra Canyon took the ultimate win with a final score of 26–7.

sports editor

LAST CHANCE (bottom left): WHS offense lines up on the 1–yard line on fourth down against Mission Hills on Aug. 30. Mission Hills won the game with a final score of 25–21. FRESHMAN PHENOM (bottom right): Running back and cornerback Dane Reed is lifted into the air by his teammate following his first touchdown during WHS’s game on Aug. 30 against Mission Hills. Averaging three points a game, Reed is a crucial team member of WHS’s varsity football team.


The WHS varsity football team has encountered adversity this year with an exodus of highly skilled seniors, but it may have found a way to turn over a new leaf. The Warriors have a very young and inexperienced varsity squad with a total of fifteen underclassmen. Running back and cornerback Dane Reed ‘23 ran for 103 yards in WHS’s football game against St. Bonaventure on Oct. 11. “We are a whole bunch of new people on the team,” said Reed. “A lot of people have left; we are going to grow a lot. I feel like we are going to get better, and I feel like we are going to win the CIF championship.” Returning players have also emphasized that rising underclassmen possess a lot of talent, which will lead to future success. “We have had a lot of young players that have had to step up and take a lot of big role positions [like] Dane Reed who is a phenomenal freshman this year,” said Kyle Huemme ‘20. “[It] is a pretty large jump from youth football to high school football, but the freshmen have definitely stepped up, learned and evolved a lot that way.” Varsity football coach Tim Kirksey is in his 19th year coaching for WHS football. For the last three years, Kirksey has been the head coach and directs the team by pushing them to work hard and play to the best of their ability. “I think the team is capable of anything they put their minds to because they work pretty hard together,” said Kirksey. “They are looking forward [to] getting into the playoffs, winning the CIF championship [and] to trying to get into the state championship game which in my mind is all possible

through hard work ... and staying committed to the task at hand.” Currently, WHS varsity football is 2–8 according to However, it has competed against high caliber teams such as Calabasas and Grace Brethren who have a combined record of 17–3.

Hampered by what is considered the sixth hardest schedule in the state with young, inexperienced talent among the mix, the varsity football team realized that they must overcome stringent adversity. However, they have decided to stick to their mantra of FOE (family over everything)

and managed to qualify for the playoffs. Their playoff game is against Grace Brethren High School on Nov. 8 at home. “There is this FOE thing ... all around the stadium,” said Kirksey. “It’s our mantra ... family over everything. That one thing is what keeps us all connected.”

Day in the life of varsity athlete Caroline Oates

by angela ling

feature editor It comes as no surprise that student athletes have to deal with busy schedules due to all the practice, homework and social life that takes up an athlete’s time. Regardless of the sport, games, practices and practicing outside school occupy a large chunk of an athlete’s day. Varsity girls water polo player Caroline Oates ‘21 has been playing water polo for seven years and has spent three years on the varsity team at WHS. She explains her day as a student athlete and breaks down the specifics of game days and regular practice days as well as how her schedule changes once the season starts. After finishing up her classes and ending sixth period, Oates has practice during seventh period and then goes home. Currently, during off–season, practices are on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, during season, practice is every weekday from 2–5 p.m. “[After] I get home, I do homework for quite a few hours, then I usually have club practice at night,” said Oates. Oates has club workouts three times a week in addition to the 7.5 hours of club practice she has per week. After club practice is over, Oates goes home, eats dinner and does homework until her bedtime around 11 p.m. Once season starts in the winter, Oates’

schedule becomes “a lot more hectic,” and her days get flipped around. “My days switch from doing school in the morning and afternoon to doing it [in the] morning and night because of everything that happens for high school [polo] right after school,” said Oates. In addition to her schedule changing, Oates’ meals must undergo change as well in order to accomodate all the physical activity. It’s important for her to have enough energy, and to do that, she needs to eat more when season starts. “[During season] ... I have to eat more with the games and practices in mind [so] that I’ll be able to get all the protein and carbs that I need so I can perform well during the games,” said Oates. “During off–season it’s a little more loose.” On a game day, a few things differ from a regular practice day. For example, Oates might pack some extra snacks, and everyone on the team will wear their team shirts to school. “[On a game day,] I’ll wake up, and I’ll pack my lunch with some extra food [like] maybe a bar to eat before the game because you can’t eat anything too heavy,” said Oates. After school, the team has to set up the pool during seventh period, which takes some time, and some preparations need to be done in the water. After that, they will stretch, change, have a talk and do warm ups. These include practicing passes, shooting and drills to prepare for their match, as well as occasional sprints or swim sets.

Tour through Caroline Oates’ water polo bag “My WHS polo bag fits all of the things I could possibly need for practice.” “I love the Sun Bum sunscreen because most of my practices are in the afternoon and I usually get sunburned, but this stuff is good and stays on in the water.” “Sweatshirts are a must after practice because even if it’s hot before, it always ends up freezing at the end, especially during the high school season.”


“My favorite kind of suit to wear is the turbo. It’s super durable and I can wear it to games and practice.”

“I use my towel to dry off ... It’s usually pretty cold, so I need to dry off quicky.”

Oates also has some of her own preparations on a game day. “I always make a pregame playlist that I like to listen to before the game to get pumped up,” said Oates. “And I always like to do a team talk to make sure everyone’s on the same page and we’re all really excited to get into the game.” In the end, the busy and hectic schedule

is worth it for Oates because “it helps a lot with [her] time management,” and she gets the opportunity to play a sport she loves with people she loves. “I love the sport so much and all the people I get to play with,” said Oates. “They are ... my family and we are able to connect in a really cool way in the pool and outside of practice.”



Stoked by blue skies, good vibes by kyra berg feature section editor


(as of Nov. 6)

Spikeball revolutionizes sports world by bob xia sports section editor It grew from a toy into a sport. It came out of nowhere and started booming across the globe. Inspired by the concepts of volleyball and officially called roundnet, spikeball has grown into a global sensation. Roundnet was originally created in 1989, but quickly became outdated and lost popularity. However, in 2008, it was reborn as spikeball by current Spikeball CEO Chris Ruder. It captured the interest of the American people when it appeared on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. Spikeball can most commonly be described as “that little black and yellow trampoline game with players spiking a ball down into it.” It is played 2–on–2, with a taut hula hoop sized net stood up by four legs in between teams. According to the official spikeball rule book, a player starts a point by serving the ball down on the net so it ricochets up for the opposing team. A team is given up to three hits (just like volleyball) to control the ball and bounce it back off the net. In other words, the game can be referred to as


the “love child between four–square and volleyball.” However, the game differs greatly from the two sports that initially influenced it. It takes quite a bit of strategy to account for the opponent’s ability to hit the ball anywhere around the net with no boundaries, allowing players to move or hit the ball anywhere. “Honestly, it all comes down to experience and improvisation,” said professional spikeball

player Tyler Cisek during an interview with the Spikeball Roundnet Association (SRA). “The more you play, the more you’ll get a feel for how the ball bounces off your hand, and you also get some awareness as to where the net is and where or how hard to hit the ball. When it comes to being successful at spikeball, you always need to be thinking.” The SRA was established towards the end of 2015, as spikeball has become recognized as an official sport with hundreds of events and competitions worldwide. Originating in the United States, spikeball has expanded professionally to other countries, forming recognized Roundnet Organizations all throughout North America, Europe, South America, Africa and Australia. Spikeball continues to grow in the sports industry, becoming especially prevalent in colleges, particularly at the recreational level. However, college spikeball has become official in several regions, and tournaments are consequently held all over the United States. Ultimately, spikeball is a growing sport that will attract many more players. The SRA hopes that spikeball will one day become an official Olympic sport.


Cross Country

Record: N/A Next meet: Nov. 16 at CIF Southern Section Prelims Location: Riverside

Water Polo


The surf club allows many students to feel more involved in the school and participate in an activity they enjoy. “The surf club makes me feel more involved at Westlake,” said Brendan Hamor. “Even though I play water polo, I like representing Westlake through another sport.” The team practices once or twice a week at Zuma Beach. “We will have a special practice the week before a competition at the beach where the competition is being held to get used to the conditions,” said Miller Meinhert. Each practice is about two or three hours. The team surfs and then discusses how to prepare for their next competition. “I usually feel productive after practice [since] all practices help you get a little better each time,” said Brendan Hamor. The next competition is Nov. 17 at the Tar Pits in Carpenteria.

Record: 2W–11L–1T Next game: season over

Record: 21W–20L Next game: TBD Location: TBD



“A memorable moment from [the] competition [was] seeing students from Westlake cheering each other on and congratulating others for how they did,” said Brendan Hamor. Before competitions, the coaches work together to calm down surfers before they head into the water. “We analyze the surf conditions and discuss their heat strategy which includes wave selection and positioning in the lineup,” said Kevin Hamor. “When [we] do this, [we] are preparing them for their heat and giving them the confidence to perform at their highest level.” The team has a supportive environment. Many members are close to each other outside of surf practices. “I feel like the team is unified,” said Brendan Hamor. “Everyone is always positive. I have lots of friends in the surf club from all the grade levels.

Field Hockey

Record: 12W–3L Next game: Nov. 8 vs. Palos Verdes Location: WHS



SPEEDING IN THE SEA: Caleb Blinn ‘20 catches an inside barrel by surfing on the curve of the waves during a WHS Surf Club competition at Zuma Beach on Oct. 6.


Record: 2W–8L Next game: Nov. 8 vs. Grace Brethren Location: WHS

Record: 32W–6L Next game: season over




You just paddled out across the breaking of the waves. You sit up on your board and hear the ocean roar. The salty water splashes in your hair. It’s just you and the ocean. The WHS Surf Club began this school year and was founded by Miller Meinhert ‘23 and Brendan Hamor ‘21. The head coach of the Surf Club is Kevin Hamor and the assistant coach is WHS alumnus Jeff Meinhert ‘90. The team’s advisor is Todd Irmas. This club was created for WHS students who enjoy surfing. Miller Meinhert and Brendan Hamor wanted to make surfing, traditionally an individual activity, feel more like a team activity. “Surfing is a sport that takes place off–campus and is on your own time,” said Miller Meinhert. “You do not get to know who surfs. [The addition of this club] is a good way to bring people together who like the same things.” The founders of this club were both involved in the surf club at Colina Middle School. “Surfing and the ocean bring people together in a positive way,” said Miller Meinhert. “There are lots of kids that surf and lots of kids who want to learn.” The club currently has 31 members. Students involved in the club can participate at different levels based on their strengths. “We have longboarders, short boarders and boogie boarders,” said Miller Meinhert. “Kids can compete or just go to practices for fun.” The surf club plans to participate in many surfing competitions until Jan. 26. The state final will be held at Oceanside. “Our first competition was at Zuma Beach,” said Miller Meinhert. “We did pretty [well] in our competition, but the waves were small so it [was] more challenging. Brendan made it into the third heat (a competition between two to four surfers to move to the next round) of our last competition, so we were all stoked for him.” The first competition established the club. All of the members were able to represent WHS and see what a surfing competition entails.

Fall Sports Stat Box

Record: 10W–1L Next game: Nov. 14 at WSCGA Team/Individual Finals Location: Pasedena For the latest sports updates, stories and scores, visit the WHS athletics website at

Compiled by Bob Xia





Cotton, cashmere, polyester, wool, silk. The list goes on. Fall not only means that the leaves are changing, but so are our clothes. Sweaters Am be r and hoodies are an essential part of fall P a r ri s h ‘ 2 0 fashion, and with an endless amount of ways to style and wear them, they will forever reign a fall favorite. Knit or patterned sweater for different types of people are a fall tradition. Different styles include the v–neck, turtle neck or crew–neck. There are dozens of ways to dress up and dress down different styles of sweaters and hoodies. People often pair shorts and sneakers with a hoodie to dress it down and go more casual, but also match sweaters with jeans and boots to dress up the outfit. Hoodies often serve as keepsakes from memorable events, but they can also be purchased from popular stores such as Urban Outfitters or Zumiez. One thing is for sure, they never go out of style because of their comfort and everyday usage. Suitable for any occasion, sweaters act as a protectant from the biting cold and can serve as a fashion staple or an accessory to wear over any outfit. Although many people prefer different types, colors and styles, sweaters and hoodies are a necessity during fall.

Sea Casa is an authentic Mexican restaurant located in the Ow Westlake Plaza next to East Coast Bagel. It is rated 3.5 out of five en Kobett ‘21 stars according to Yelp and serves tacos and burritos, among other Baja California cuisine. It is small in size with some outdoor seating; however, it is better known for its quick meals to go. There is a salsa bar near the door with a variety of sauces to customize a dish. The average price is $10 an item. Additionally, it is conveniently located at the intersection of Westlake Blvd. and Agoura Rd., two major roads, making the restaurant easily accessible during students’ limited 40–minute lunch time. According to its website, Sea Casa receives fresh food seven days a week from a local supplier. There is always upbeat music playing and the small restaurant does a good job emulating its Baja theme. Overall, Sea Casa’s combination of quaint size and flavorful menu makes it a must–visit restaurant. As summer weather comes to a close, Sea Casa can fulfill any of your late–night warm burrito cravings.

LISTEN I never thought my Taylor Swift obsessed, Ariana Grande loving and Camila Cabello enthusiastic self would say this, but I love Post Malone’s new album. Post Malone’s hip–hop and rap sound is typically not the genre that appeals to the type of energetic bops that I listen to, but his latest album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, has made its way to my Spotify playlist. Post Malone is a 24–year–old rapper who found his fame through the popular music app Soundcloud, where artists and musicians upload their work to the platform for free for listeners to stream. Utilizing this app, he uploaded songs that caught listeners’ attention and eventually released his first album Stoney in 2016. In his new album, Malone begins to depart from his traditional hip–hop sound to a more bright pop–centered vibe. Malone takes his listeners on an adventure opening with the title track “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” depicting his pressures from the music industry. His third album then ends with the fun party anthem titled “Wow,” which centers around his love for celebrating and acknowledging his accomplishments. This album is filled with notable collaborations from talented new artists, such as DaBaby and rock and roll icons like Ozzy Osbourne. Whether you are dealing with heartbreak, anxiety or just feeling the need to flex, every track on this album will cater to any mood you are in. And if you see me in the hallways, don’t bother saying “Hi” because I’ll probably have my airpods in on high volume with this album on shuffle.

Fa ith

0 Yellin ‘2


ph ia

1 Haines ‘2



It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is a book that follows a young, adolescent boy, Craig Giler, on his journey through depression and recovery as a high school student at a prestigious school in New York City. After a call to the national suicide prevention hotline, Craig checks himself into a local psychiatric clinic. The book discusses very serious topics but in a very humorous way that makes the book less of a heavy undertaking. Although the book does deal with serious topics such as depression and suicide, the book focuses on the recovery process, making it an uplifting read for students dealing with these issues or even trying to understand the process of recovery. It is the perfect book to read to escape the stress that comes with being a student at WHS. Moreover, reading a book by the fire accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and some mood music is the quintessential fall experience that we all search for when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.  The movie can be found on HBO, if you have a subscription, or can be rented from YouTube or Amazon Video for $3.99.

VISIT Je f f Me

Underneath the lifeguard outpost that sits on Leo Carrillo

0 State Beach is a cave that can fill your VSCO and Instagram feed with n d oz a ‘ 2 stunning silhouettes opening to a beachy outcropping. Carved out of the massive boulder that sticks out of the beach, you can enter the cave at low–tide and experience a unique picturesque environment. With the cold months of winter fast approaching, the amount of beach days are numbered, and this landmark in the Leo Carrillo cove should be a must on your list of places to visit.

Compiled by Angela Ling & Soumya Monga

Profile for The Westlake Arrow


The November Issue of the Arrow


The November Issue of the Arrow