WILDCAT UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL
11800 Texas Avenue XCII Issue 5 Instagram: @wildcatpaper Los Angeles, CA 90025 Friday, April 13, 2018 wildcatpaper.com NEWS | PAGE 2
- Twitter Tragedy - The Russian Investigation
OPINION | PAGE 3
- Earth Day matters! - You don’t need a date to make prom great
FEATURES | PAGE 6 - Meet Uni’s Valedictorian - Bird Scooters - Celebrate Earth Day
ENTERTAINMENT | PAGE 7 Go behind the scenes of Uni’s orches tra ensemble and the game-changing film, Black Panther. SPORTS | PAGE 8 Keep up with the sports teams’ recent achievements and goals for the future.
Never Again: Students Speak Out Take a look into how students are reacting to what seems like an endless string of school shootings. PAGE 4
Protestors raised their voices at the March For Our Lives in Downtown Los Angeles on March 24th.
Photo by Samantha Morales | The Wildcat
Gun Threat Quelled at Culver City High School By: Sebastian Orozco On Wed., Feb. News Editor 28, Culver City Police received a call from a student who allegedly overheard another student making potential “criminal threats” on Culver City High School’s campus. The Culver City Police Department (CCPD) stated that “the school resource officer immediately responded along with patrol officers and and detectives.” The suspected student was identified as a 17-year-old male, whose name was withheld. According to the police, the student had left school grounds before officers arrived.
Police officers then went to the student’s home, where he was found. A firearm was located at the student’s residence, and police said that it was voluntarily turned over to them. According to police, “after a thorough investigation, the student was arrested and later booked at the Culver City Police Department for criminal threats.” The CCPD also stated in a press release that “the student was later released to the custody of Eastlake Juvenile Hall.” This incident is being presented to the Culver City District Attorney’s Office for criminal filing considerations. Police
also stressed that “unsafe storage of firearms is a crime.” In a statement released by Culver City Unified School District’s Superintendent Leslie Lockhart, the superintendent said that she would “like to thank the high school students for their bravery in coming forward and making the necessary and possibly life-saving report to the high school administration.” Lockhart continued, “We are part of an involved and vibrant community who are highly invested and protective of our students and our schools.” Find the SkaterCat within the newspaper!
By Heidi Laubach Staff Writer
Tweeting Tragedy: School shootings in the social media age
Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday this year, as did a horrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida. According to Florida Today, around 2:20 p.m. on February 14th, Nikolas Cruz arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in an Uber, made his way into the “1200 building” and began his murderous rampage. He pulled a fire alarm, took out an AR-15 rifle, and opened fire on students and teachers flooding the hallway. After killing 17 people and wounding many more, Cruz ditched his gun and fled with students, seamlessly blending in with the terrified crowds. During the shooting, students fearing for their lives utilized their cellphones and social media to process their emotions and connect with the outside world. Some took to Twitter, one student tweeting: “My school is being shot up and I am locked inside. I’m f---ing scared right now.” Others posted content on Snapchat and contacted family members and friends. According to NPR, these posts may be used as evidence in the trial against Cruz. But they’ve also sparked a debate about youth technology and social media use in school emergency situations.
By Maxwell Obeng Staff Writer
April 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY HIGH WILDCAT
On the one hand, there are those opposed to Additionally, the sound of the phone, wheththe use of phones during a school shooting, like er ringing or on vibrate, could alert an assailant Ken Trump, a school security consultant from to someone’s hiding place. The shooter could the National School Safety and Security Services. also be monitoring the event themselves on social media and find more victims, or elude capture that way. Finally, victims and family members trying to get through can jam communications, interfering with first responders. On the other hand, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Association of School Administrators, argues to NPR that cellphones are a safety and security tool for students and parents. They allow both parties to communicate about getting to and from places safely, and allow peace of mind. The assurance of safety is also not limited to families, and is prevalent in friendships and other These perspectives must be taken – Parkland Shooting Victim relationships. into account in school board and administrative decision-making processes for years to come. Whatever decision there is to be made about In an article published by NPR, Trump phone usage during school emergency situstates that using phones can distract peo- ations – such as whether social media and cell ple from the actions they need to be taking in phone usage should be banned or not – the safety the moment, such as running, hiding, and lis- and security of students, parents, staff, and the tening to directions from first responders. community should be taken into consideration.
“My school is being shot up and I am locked inside. I’m f---ing scared right now.”
A closer look into the “Russia Investigation”
On Tues., Nov. 8, 2016, the political landscape of the United States took a drastic turn, as Republican candidate Donald Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win the presidential election. His victory was met with disdainful grimaces from Clinton supporters, while his own supporters danced merrily with their “Make American Great Again” hats cocked in a victorious fashion. President Trump won the election despite speculations that he may have used his relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin to sway the democratic process. It has not yet been proven that our president is, in fact, guilty of colluding with Russia in this capacity, but what is known is that Russia tried to breach election data in several states, tampering with the polls to assist Trump in winning the presidency. Russian involvement in the most recent U.S. presidential election, along with suspicions about Trump and his campaign advocates, have led to a federal investigation dubbed by many as the “Russia Investigation.” However, there seems to be more than meets the eye when it comes to what exactly went on behind the scenes during the campaign and election. The American public has been left with many questions: How did Russia become involved in the presidential election? Who else was involved besides Russia? And what did Russia stand to gain by helping Trump win? Prior to election day, the FBI had already launched an investigation into Russian interference and cooperation of Trump’s various campaign advocates. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, Russia had been looming on the prowl for years. In 2015, a year before the election, Russian hackers
who were believed to be working for the Russian Federal Security Service gained access to the Democratic National Committee Network (DNC). In 2016, more hackers believed to be associated with the Russian government hacked the DNC once again. By hacking their servers, Russia was able to gain controversial information regarding candidate Hillary Clinton and Senator John Podesta. They found suspenseful emails shared between the two and amongst other parties. On Jul. 22, 2016, three days before the Democratic National Convention, the international non-profit publication WikiLeaks released secret emails from the DNC. Controversy ensued, and with negative information about Clinton floating about on the web and social media, her campaign suffered. Through social media, Russia was also able to establish a disinformation campaign, in which they created and shared inaccurate news stories. People who once supported Clinton were indeed disappointed by the information they came to learn through the leaked emails. And Russia took advantage of a weak spot, as they were able to divide the Democratic Party, partly because while at the convention, Clinton was unable to unify with opposing candidate Bernie Sanders on certain issues. U.S. intelligence agencies’ answer to Russian meddling was to first establish certain facts to make sure they had reasonable evidence to indict people who were involved. At that time, around winter 2016, the Obama administration had already retaliated by initiating sanctions to punish Russia. Once Trump took office, on Jan. 20, 2017, he tweeted that the “Russia Investigation” is the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Vladimir Putin & Donald Trump at APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov. 10, 2017.
history!” Known for his erratic behavior, Trump continually tried to disregard the investigation and deny Russia’s tactics in meddling with the election. In the spring of 2017, Trump attempted to dissolve the investigation by instructing then former FBI director, James Comey, to clear his name from the investigation. Comey failed to adhere to these instructions and was eventually fired for his failure to side with the president by publicly clearing him of colluding with Russia. There is still much to be solved in this investigation. Did Trump actually collaborate with Russia? He claims he did no wrongdoing, but his associates who have been indicted have accepted plea deals and might reveal otherwise. Russia greatly contributed to Trump’s victory; that is indisputable. Russia was able to influence voters through many methods, even
going so far as to hack DNC servers. But what did they stand to gain? It seems as though Trump, a fairly unexpected choice for president seeing as he has never held public office before, does the work for Putin when it comes to putting the U.S. in a less than positive light and straining relations with other world powers, with his erratic behavior and questionable policies, that end up making Russia look like its in control. Now that Mueller has been Special Counsel for almost a year, he has been making great progress, tallying 19 indictments, including: 13 Russians, a British lawyer, a Californian male, and several former Trump campaign advocates. Mueller looks to indict Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. If Mueller is successful in indicting either of the two, he may be closer to indicting the president.
April 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY HIGH WILDCAT
Earth Day MATTERS!
By Amir Mehraban Staff writer
You’re walking down Santa Monica Blvd. on your way to school and you approach a freeway underpass. It’s your daily route, and nothing else matters but getting to school on time. Well, that wouldn’t be the case if you were an environmentalist. The massive amounts of trash the homeless suffer with on a daily basis never attracts an ordinary person because, what’s it to them? They wouldn’t spend a minute trying to beautify the small patches alongside the interstate … as if they are ever cleaned. Litter is not just found at freeway underpasses; it’s everywhere. From beaches to our food, poisonous hazards and litter can be found just about anywhere you can name, including here at Uni. In school cafeterias, “a single student produces 45 to 90 pounds of garbage a year in disposable lunches,” according to the New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Earth Day was created on April 22nd, 1970, after millions of people protested against industrial development which released toxins into the atmosphere. The global awareness of the planet’s environment was rapidly increasing, and President Nixon diligently responded. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created along with laws like the Clean Water Act. Today, it feels like no one pays attention to the environment. Disregard for the environment is not only affecting human life, but marine life as well. For instance, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the North Pacific Ocean, is a collection of marine debris (mostly plastics) that has accumulated over time. The funny thing is, this isn’t the
only trash vortex. Other bodies of water such as the Indian and Atlantic Ocean have their own trash vortexes, which to fish seem like food but result in their own death. Data from National Geographic states that “80% of the debris comes from land-based activities in North America and Asia, and 20% comes from boaters and rigs that drop debris.” This plastic trash is not biodegradable, meaning it cannot disintegrate. These issues delay the offspring of marine life, and humans are yet to realize the aftermath. In today’s society, carbon dioxide is considered a huge factor in “global warming,” which is a constant and broad controversial topic. Skeptics say that global warming is real, while scientists and experts claim otherwise, resulting in a perpetual war of data and opinions. As a high school student, you may not believe it’s important to think about topics such as global warming, since it may not be your area of knowledge. But students should practice key habits for the sake of environmental protection. Recycle biodegradable products like water bottles, lower your electricity usage, and pick up trash even if it is not yours. CARTOON BY AMIR MEHRABAN Ask an administrator when the next beautification day is, and seek out for service projects. Don’t litter just because you don’t see a trash can, but have the decency to find one. The more that people pitch in to clean, the greener the Earth will be. That is the true meaning of Earth Day. It’s not a day for corporations to gain money off of “organic” materials, but a day to teach humans of all ages to respect our home – the Earth.
YOU DON’T NEED A DATE TO MAKE YOUR PROM GREAT By Julie Han and Julie Yoo Bin Lee Opinion Editor & Editor-in-Chief As prom season approaches, many students frantically search for the perfect dress, perfect suit, and the perfect date. Although the first two are deemed necessary for the occasion, you can make the best of your night without a date in hand. Going with a date may seem like the dream, but it can be awkward, stiff, and far from magical if you are not close with your date prior to the event. When deciding to go with a date, make sure it is someone who you are comfortable with in order to ensure that you will have a positively memorable night. Our advice is to go with a group of good friends, as it will certainly guarantee you comfort, freedom, and an enjoyable night. Prior to the event, grab your group of friends for a grand photography session. You can capture your moment of elegance and fun with not just one person, but with a couple of your
closest friends. Downtown LA holds many of the city’s most scenic areas, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Union Station, and atop the observation deck of Los Angeles City Hall, so definitely take the opportunity to visit at least one of these locations to capture the excitement for years to come! During prom, you will not feel inclined to be tied down to your date. Dance the night away while executing the quirkiest moves with your circle of friends. Don’t leave any room for pressure and judgment. After prom, you won’t feel obligated to follow your date. If you used up all your energy at prom and want to call it a night, there is no shame in heading home to sleep in the comfort of your home. If you and your friends feel like you were underfed at prom, Downtown LA boasts many late night restaurants, including IHOP, which offers warm meals and is open 24 hours a day. If you decide to cut out
University High School
11800 Texas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025 The Wildcat student newspaper is published by the Journalism class at University High School. Letters should be directed to room 127, Wildcatpaper@gmail.com or the Journalism mailbox in the main office. Please include full name and grade. Letters are subject to editorial discretion. Call (310) 914-3551, ext. 504 or email Wildcatpaper@gmail.com to place an advertisement.
of prom early, you might even be able to catch a movie at the Regal Theaters. Whether you are going with a group of people or a date, remem-
ber to keep these few tips in mind, as well as your own situational judgment, to ensure that you have the best and most brilliant night that you deserve!
A group of friends pose for pictures before Uni’s 2017 Prom.
Editor-in-Chief ...............................................................Julie Yoo Bin Lee News Editor...................................................................Sebastian Orozco Opinion Editor.........................................................................Julie Han Feature Editor.......................................................Amy Oh and Nicole Kim Entertainment Editor...................................................... Jasmine Mentzer Sports Editor......................................... Ammy Alvarado and Mayra Lopez Photo Editor.......................................Paola Laris and Keyond Brown Cartoonist....................................................................Samantha Morales Video Editor.................................................Jonathan Becerra Writing Coach....................................................................... Journalism Advisor......................................................Zoe Byers
Courtesy of Sarah Short
Wildcat Staff: Jaylen Deadmon-Hughes, Keily Giron, Sameen Hadiya, Donna Hakimbaba, Taylor Itagaki, Edina Kanshige, Kinsey Kanshige, Heidi Laubach, Briana Lee, Yolanda Martinez, Celeste Matthews-Farfan, Akila Mckenzie, Seyedamir Mehraban, Gregory Mendoza, Omar Middleton, Samantha Morales, Jafarri Nocentelli, Maxwell Obeng, Justin Reece, and Samuel Glover. . ************************************************ The Wildcat is a student-run, student-operated student-produced newspaper, which does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the administration or the school at large. Staff editorials represent the collectively agreed upon opinions of the Wildcat editors. All writers published in the Wildcat are protected under Calfiornia Education Code 48907.
School ShootingS Fire Up Outrage By Mae Wang Cover Story Editor
Sam Glover ‘18 I think that at the very
least bump stocks and assault rifles should be banned, they offer no more protection to a household over any other weapons that one can possess. I think more research and funding should be provided to the Centers for Disease Control on mass shootings so they can offer ideas on how to best prevent gun violence in our country. The rate of gun violence in our country would make it appear that we are in constant war, when we are far from it.
n the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting on Wed., Feb 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the nation once again unites to pay respects to the victims of this tragedy, support the community through fundraising, and stress the need for gun reform. The list of school shootings in the United States continues to lengthen as the country has already faced eight this year, and schools and families fear another massacre each passing day. The controversies surrounding gun control have rapidly become a prominent topic on
Jade Crawford ‘18 With the route that school shootings and
gun control are heading, I am honestly scared to live in this country. It feels like there are more shootings and less people caring.
campuses as concerne faculty, and parents un heard in Washington. President Donald Tr supporting gun control age to buy long guns to initial support of the N tion and some controv tain teachers (with sugg who carry) to deter futu tain where he formally regards to the procedur School District is und
Omid Rahimdel ‘20 While
firearms on campus may be able ing, teachers, just like students, c Instead of offering teachers bonu should get money to buy their st
Interviews by: Chloe Rochmes, Jafarri Nocentelli, and Keily Giron-Montenegro Staff writers
Just a Normal Tuesday
A personal essay about the threat of gun violence in public schools
grew up in a small desert town, where everybody knew everybody and nothing interesting ever happened. I remember wishing for some excitement, praying that anything out of the ordinary would happen and lift us out of the our day-to-day boredom. Then, in 2016, I moved to Los Angeles and started attending Uni. When I left my hometown, my wish had still not been fulfilled. But transferring to a school in L.A. came with the excitement I craved. I thought that my academic world would be completely different. Sure, maybe the distance between classes would be longer and I would have a harder time memorizing my classmates’ names, but everything else would be pretty much the same.
Fast forward to today, two years later, as I wake up every morning praying that nothing out of the ordinary happens. What changed? Within that two year span, 25 school shootings have taken place. That is an average of one shooting every 29 days. Everyday, kids all over America wake up in fear because they have to go to school and risk their lives to get an education. From the age of four years old, we are taught that school is a safe place where we go to learn and make friends. But today, schools are war zones. We all walk to class a little faster, spend less time in the bathroom, and reevaluate where we meet our friends at lunch. This outbreak of hatred and violence has become our responsibility as
students, because n will admit that this The other day restroom during classroom is one a few feet away room, and as I sta I saw the possib I wondered who if I was killed alo mates because som to do a backgroun ent forgot to lock Lockdown dril enough. Being nic never be enough. I at school, or the the mall until our something about th
April 13, 2018
ed and furious students, nite to have their voices
rump has shown signs of by raising the minimum o 21. However, with his National Rifle Associaversial plans to arm cergested bonuses for those ure shootings, it is uncery stands on the topic. In res Los Angeles Unified dertaking in response to
the recent Parkland shooting, the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) is taking extra precautions by “immediately responding to safety threats received, including those from social media,” Chief of the LASPD Steven K. Zipperman said in a press release. However, LASPD finds concerns over the rise in satirical social media posts depicting firearms and false threatening statements to school safety, which hinders law enforcement procedures. “Please know that our school police department and our law enforcement partners take these threats seriously. Investigators and
the idea of teachers carrying e to slow down or stop a shootcan get out of control at times. uses for carrying firearms, they tudents supplies.
no one in Congress s is a gun problem. y, I had to use the fifth period. My set of stairs and y from the bathared ahead of me, bility of disaster. would tell my aunt ongside my classmeone didn’t think nd check or a park up their weapon. lls will never be ce to someone will I will not feel safe movie theater, or r government does hese acts of terror.
school police officers immediately respond to and investigate all such threats received,” Zipperman continued. “These threats are unlawful regardless of intention.” Furthermore, despite the statistically infrequent nature of school shooting incidents, students in our community continue to face threats of future gun violence. Only one week after Parkland, a Culver City High School student was arrested when he was overheard making “criminal threats” on campus and a gun was found in his home. Another threat occurred on Feb 23, as a former student and ex-NFL line-
Francesca Cojuangco ‘18 Gun control is needed so future
generations do not grow up desensitized to anymore heinous acts of violence. Shootings are becoming normalized in American culture and people follow normal trends. We just can’t have that.
man, Jonathan Martin, posted a threat on Instagram against Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Martin was detained by the Los Angeles Police Department and checked into a mental health facility. Although the gun control debate currently continues among political interest groups, states, and Washington, news coverage on the topic is slowly dying down. But now, more than ever, is the time to raise your voice about where you stand, as the victims who have fallen from gun violence cannot.
Joseph Baylis ‘18 I believe we should adopt
systems of gun control common in other first world countries, such as Japan, England, and Canada, where it is as difficult or more difficult to acquire a gun than it is to acquire a car. This would be implemented through stricter background checks, the banning of certain weapons, a waitlist of 30 days or more to attain the weapon, laws that specifically state how a gun should be stored, bans on certain weapons as determined by a committee of specialists, and those who wish to buy a gun need to have a legitimate reason, such as hunting. I believe guns should not be viewed as an inherent right but a privilege.
Photos by: Paola Laris, Keyond Brown, and Amy Oh Photo and Features Editors
By Amy Oh and Zoe Byers Features Editor and Wildcat Advisor
I am 17 years old. Prom and college should be at the forefront of my mind, not hiding places and escape routes. At home, I spend time saying goodbye to my family when I should be copying down literary terms. In class, I plan my escape strategy instead of doing my warm up. A knock on the classroom door gains my intense attention and the sound of rowdy teenagers screaming outside makes me freeze. The amount of terror that runs through my body when a door slams behind me is generally reserved for horror movies; but for me, and millions of other students, it is just a normal Tuesday. By Jasmine Mentzer Entertainment Editor
University High School
National School Walkout Friday, April 20th Santa Monica City Hall | 10 AM
A walkout for the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two students opened fire in 1999, killing 12 of their fellow students and a teacher.
April 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY HIGH WILDCAT
Meet Uni’s Valedictorian: Vineeta Singh
By Nicole Kim Features Editor
Vineeta Singh is a senior at University High School and valedictorian of the Class of 2018. Currently, her top school choices are USC and UCLA. Singh is interested in pursuing a major in Computational Biology or Quantitative Biology. We talked to Singh about what it takes to achieve the title of valedictorian, and asked her to share advice for future graduates. Wildcat: How does it feel to be recognized as class valedictorian? Singh: It’s such an honor because its rewarding to see all my hard work pay off. How exciting! What’s your trick to balancing a rigorous course schedule with extra-curricular activities? Singh: Being organized has been essential in maintaining my workload, extracurricular activities, and my social life. It is really important to manage your time and prioritize the things you have to do. Valedictorian Vineeta Singh will pursue a degree in Biology at her college of choice.
Speaking of...which extracurricular activities have you been involved in at Uni? At Uni, I have been involved in volleyball, Acadeca, MESA, and Build-On.
What’s the biggest influence behind your strong work ethic? My brother has been a really driving force in everything that I do because he is always pushing me to do more and be the best that I can be. His continuously strong work ethic inspires me to dream big and work hard. Photo by Nicole Kim
Do you have any advice for future upperclassmen? Take advantage of every opportunity that Uni offers and savor every moment. These four years of high school will pass before you know it, and you don’t want to reach the end of your senior year and have regrets about what you wish you had done. Thanks, Vineeta! And congratulations on this accomplishment. You make the Uni family proud!
Keily Giron Staff Writer
New YMCA is the place to find community
Over winter break, the Collins & Katz Family YMCA concluded its project, opening a branch on Ohio Ave. and Westgate Ave. near Uni’s gym. With centers designed to encourage health and wellness, the YMCA has promoted the importance of community over many decades, welcoming various groups of people with diverse backgrounds and abilities. The community aspects found within the YMCA and their emphasis on providing a firm academic and social support for children, teens, and adults in urban Los An
geles is a vital resource available for all Uni students to experience. “I would definitely recommend friends and family to join the Y because of the fun and clean environment it provides,” says Uni student Natalie Velasquez, a member and frequent visitor of the Collins & Katz Family YMCA. While student Waddah Gorashi lives in Koreatown, Los Angeles, his walk to the Y during the week and his commute to the facility during the weekend have established a positive impact on his life. “The Y is like home away from home,” says Gorashi. In the future, a multitude of Uni stu-
Newly developed Collins & Katz YMCA has emphasized the real meaning behind community involvement amongst Uni
dents should be able to experience the importance of wellness and health encouraged by the Y and ultimately, create a healthier lifestyle for themselves, surrounded by a supportive community.
3 ways to celebrate Earth Day on campus By Donna Hakimbaba Staff Writer
Earth Day is coming up next week on April 22nd, and it’s time to raise awareness about issues of pollution and global warming. Here are three fun ways to contribute by taking care of Uni’s campus: 1. Go to the Health and Fitness Fair On Wed. Apr. 25, Ms. Eich will be hosting booths in the East Gym that focus on ways to be eco-friendly. One booth will give away sets of metal utensils that students can reuse to reduce waste. Ms. Eich will also be handing out step-by-step guides on how to make organic household cleaners that reduce pollution and harmful chemicals in the atmosphere. The fair will last from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. 2. Join the Environmental Club This club meets every Thursday in Room 285, and focuses on fun and innovative ways to take care of the campus. Members organize campus cleanups and also partner with Heal the Bay to participate in beach cleanups. They are currently raising money to take a club trip to Yosemite National Park. For more information, contact club leader Ms. Randick at healthieruni@ gmail.com. 3. Be mindful! If you see trash on the ground, throw it away; there’s a good chance that there’s a trash can near you. Pay attention to what can be recycled, and what should be thrown in the trash. There are many recycling bins around campus, and it’s important to make good use of them so that we can be good citizens of not only Uni, but the Earth.
Scoot over: It’s not a car, it’s not a bike... it’s a Bird!
By Taylor Itagaki Staff Writer
A “Bird Scooter,” that is. This new vehicle, a scooter that can reach speeds of 15 mph, has taken over streets of Santa Monica. These scooters are sitting around every corner, waiting for you to hop on. Ready to go for the ride of your life? There are a few requirements you must meet first. You have to be 18 or older to ride, which the company verifies by having you take a picture of the barcode on back of your ID or driver’s license. It does cost money to ride the Bird, so you must set up a payment method through the Bird Scooter app. However, it only costs 15 cents per minute, and an initial one dollar to rent. Pretty reasonable, if you ask me.. At the end of your ride, there’s no need to find a dock station for your scooter – you can just leave it at your destination. It’s a simple alternative to walking, so why not Bird everywhere? Curious about the Birding experience, I downloaded the Bird app and tried it out for myself. I was planning on riding from Santa Monica to Venice, but ended up all the way in Marina Del Rey because it was so fun! I also discovered that on your first Bird ride, you receive a $5 credit. So my total ride of about six dollars was almost free! The scooters are pretty easy to navigate and control, so people of all ages would be able ride. Although Bird is very convenient for residents of Santa Monica, the city council ultimately views them as a possible danger to the public. According to a story on ABC 7 Eyewitness News, Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta claims, “We need to ultimately protect public safety and make sure our sidewalks and streets are safe for all people,” referring to Bird Scooters being dangerous to others on the streets. Another problem is that most people don’t follow the
Bird Scooters can be found everywhere around Santa Monica for convenient means of transportation.
Photo courtesy of Bird
rule of wearing a helmet while scootering on a Bird, which also puts the rider in danger. Since this system is still relatively new, there are obviously tweaks to be made. But overall, the scooters seem like a helpful addition to the community. They have already spread to the area of San Diego, CA, so who knows where you will be seeing these Birds next!
April 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY HIGH WILDCAT
ENTERTAINMENT Behind the scenes: University High Orchestra performs score of Trafficked in the U.S. live-to-picture Ensemble nominated for LAUSD Human Relations Award
By Zoë Byers
In University High’s Macgruder Music Complex, a multi-million dollar facility fitted with the latest recording arts technology, new music teacher, Micah Byers, prepares his classroom for rehearsal. Video and microphone cables of various sizes and colors tangle together and converge into a massive 16-channel mixer, somehow syncing the images of a film projected on-screen above with a click track. The clicks, meant to keep musicians in time with the film, are then transmitted through a headphone amplifier to sets of headphones to be worn by orchestra students on Thursday, April 12, when they will perform the score of the short documentary Trafficked in the U.S. live-to-picture for an assembly of around 800 students. The gripping film features two women from Los Angeles who were
trafficked and now work to rescue others who are being trafficked, as well as a score composed by Byers himself. Following the concert, advocate Benjamin Grasmeyer from A21, a global non-profit working to end modern day slavery and human trafficking, will speak about ways to make a difference. The performance is part of Byers’s initiative to have his classes serve the community through music, and has earned the orchestra a nomination for the LAUSD Human Relations Award. The prestigious award recognizes “exemplary LAUSD student-led efforts in high schools that enhance the culture and climate to promote positive human relations,” according to the LAUSD Commission on Human Relations, Diversity and Equity. Last semester, Byers took orchestra students on a field trip to attend a screening of Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. with a live score performed by the American Youth Symphony at UCLA’s Royce Hall. It was many students’ first time attending such a performance. “They really enjoyed it,” says Byers, who has a background in writing music for film and holds a Bachelor of Music in Film & Me-
Photo by Jonathan Becerra
Music teacher, Micah Byers, conducts Uni’s orchestra in a live-to-picture concert educating students about human trafficking at Stivelman Theater on April 12.
dia Composition from CSUN, “so I thought, why don’t we do that?” Byers scored Trafficked in the U.S. in 2015, and felt that it was a perfect fit to serve the community and for the orchestra’s capabilities. The concert was also made possible by generous grants from the United Talent Agency. “None of this would have been possible without the money they gave us to buy this equipment,” says Byers, referring to
microphones, mic stands, mic cables, headphone junction boxes and more. The experience is having a positive impact on students, as well. “It’s exciting to have the chance to play to film,” says Uni senior and first violinist Sarai Benitez. “I feel more of a need to practice because the film’s got an important message, and we have to make sure we play well so we can get it through to everyone.”
Black Panther sets standard for “Black Excellence” in Hollywood and breaks away from the status quo
By Akila Mckenzie & Justin Reece Staff Writers
In 2014, Marvel held an event for fans and reporters alike to announce their new slate of upcoming films. As usual, there was a new Thor, Captain America and Avengers movie set to come out in the coming years. But this time, the lineup included a film that could be considered an anomaly: Black Panther. Finally, a Marvel Studios film that would be led by a black protagonist, after a majority of Marvel superhero movies starring white protagonists and their black sidekicks. Black Panther eventually debuted as a supporting character in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. T’Challa’s journey was to continue in his own movie, introducing his homeland of Wakanda, later on. At the time, the promise of an African American helmed superhero film seemed too good to be true. But Marvel managed to deliver and gave audiences what is possibly the grandest showcase of black excellence on screen to date. Black Panther centers around T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who is to be crowned king, as he returns home after the death of his father. After his coronation, T’Challa is confronted with the fact that Wakanda may not be doing enough to help the world, and struggles between protecting his homeland and making a global impact. The film boasts an all-star cast with Chadwick Boseman in the titular role, along with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya as the supporting cast. Michael B. Jordan plays the film’s antagonist, Killmonger, a U.S. operative turned revolutionary who seeks to use Wakanda’s resources to help black people around the globe retaliate against their oppressors. Black Panther combats stereotypes by presenting black people in positive roles; not as an exception to the rule,
but as individuals. Throughout American history, black people have been portrayed in a less than flattering (or accurate) light. In the early nineteenth century, white people wore blackface in order to mimic black people and reinforce stereotypes. Even as society advanced, black people were still portrayed in negative ways through media. But with the debut of Black Panther, for one of the first times in history, African Americans are being shown not only in a positive light, but in positions of power in a blockbuster movie produced by a major studio. People of color have long been told the lie that they are unintelligent, weak, and inferior by the media. But Black Panther shows an opposite and empowering view. T’Challa, the protagonist, is not a criminal or a thug, but a strong king. His sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright) is not an “angry black woman,” but intelligent and playful. The film also truly shines in its representation of black women. In Wakanda, T’Challa is protected by an all female security team. His council is made up of both men and women who are leaders of the different tribes that make up Wakanda. T’Challa values the advice of the women around him, such as Okoye and Shuri, and women are shown as equal to men throughout the film. The culture of Wakanda is crucial in creating the foundation for T’Challa’s motives throughout the film, and director Ryan Coogler was met with the task of creating a new culture for Black Panther that authentically celebrated African traditions. Though Coogler was able to use the original comic books as a guide for some of Wakandan culture, in order to fully establish this new world, he combines different practices from variety of African cultures. He does so in a way that beautifully represents Pan-
Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios
T’challa (Chadwick Boseman), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) return to Wakanda after a heroic rescue in a nearby country.
African cultures through the character’s outfits and hairstyles, elevating these cultures in an empowering way. Wakanda is not only a country that is rich culturally, but technologically as well. The country’s technological advancements surpass those of the rest of the world, combatting the stereotype of “primitive” African countries. Every cast member gets their moment to shine, whether it be through a cool action scene or a gut-busting joke. For this we must thank the direction of Coogler and the amazingly talented cast. Coogler’s ability to highlight the importance of black culture and the complexities within it while
telling an engaging superhero tale says something about the progression of the superhero genre. It can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but the fact that an attempt was made to touch on more socially relevant themes is something that directors should take note of. Black Panther signifies the beginning of a new era for both the superhero genre and the film industry. The film is the first effective blow in the uphill battle that is Hollywood’s diversity issue. If you want to support the cause (or just see a damn good film), go see this movie; it is definitely worth your money. Rating: 5/5 stars
April 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY HIGH WILDCAT
SPORTS Track sprints ahead into the new season Girls softball team is in it to win it By Mayra Lopez Sports Editor
Senior Noah Nathan takes the lead against Hamilton high school during the 100 meter run on April 5.
Photo By Ammy Alvarado
By Sam Glover Staff Writer
One of the largest teams at Uni prepares for another season. The track team trains for a new year filled with incoming players and incumbent veterans, each wanting to make a positive impact on the team. This year however the track team does not have the same number of runners it has had in years past. This forces each individual to commit more to the team. “We want to make sure that each player takes the team seriously, shows up to practice and really works to improve each day,” says senior captain Claire Hafteck. “Though it may seem serious, a smaller team actually creates a more familiar environment. We are more like a family this year than in years past,” continues Hafteck. The team emphasizes encouraging and bonding with teammates, so as to build a constructive team.
While a few players went to city finals last year, none went to state. This year, the team wants to change that, concentrating on individual improvement. “I want to do well, and focus on breaking my personal record,” says senior shot putter Francesca Cojuangco. Though the team is emphasizing personal improvement, they also have rigorous training that helps prepare them for the upcoming season as a team. To become better overall players, every athete regardless of the event they participate in, practices the mile run and a wide variety of drills. That aspect of the track team has become beneficial for many athletes who participate in other sports during the fall semester. “I want to improve on my speed, stamina, strength and mobility so I can play football in college,” says senior Trevor King. For
many players, track is a way to improve on their conditioning when they play in the fall. In the first meet of the season against LACES and West Adams, Uni performed very well, finishing 1st in multiple events. Since it was the first meet, it allowed players to get the nerves out of their systems, and apply what they have been practicing and training for the past few months. This excellent start motivates them in practice as they face more formidable opponents such as Hamilton and Palisades. Each meet provides an opportunity to showcase a runner’s skill and rehearse performing in front of a crowd, which will come in handy as they hope to make it to state. Uni has its next track meet April 19th, against Palisades and Fairfax. With such a dedicated team, they’re sure to perform well and place in many events.
Boys’ basketball team makes it to second round of state playoffs
By Omar Middleton Staff Writer
On March 2nd, the hard work and dedication that was put into the boys basketball team’s spectacular 25-4 record finally paid off, and earned the team a trip to the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I Championship game, at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The 4th-seeded Wildcats faced off against the 3rd-seeded George Washington Prep Generals, and the energy was high for senior guard/captain Daisone Hughes. “My teammates and I grinded all season to [get to] this position”, Hughes said. Both the Wildcats and the Generals entered the game with a strong determination and hungry mindset, ready to sacrifice everything to win. The Wildcats got off to a good lead, sparked by great defensive plays from senior center Kingsley Onwudiwe, and senior forward Kareem Miles. Offensively, senior guard/captain Daisone Hughes, who finished with 13 points, bullied his way to the rim and hit tough contested shots over General defenders. Senior forward Richard Wilson, and sophomore forward David Cheatom Jr. finished with 16 points and 13 points respectively, and provided tough finishes at the rim, keeping the Wildcats in the game. At halftime the Wildcats led the Generals 34-24. In the second half the Generals aggressively stormed back,producing multiple defensive stops and baskets in the paint at will. By the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats ten-point halftime lead shrunk to an uncomfortable 57-59 deficit. With under a minute left on the clock, Hughes pulled up for a three, and was fouled. Hughes made one out of three
Photo By Ammy Alvarado
Diasone Hughes, #3 attempting to break Immanuel’s defense on March 7, resulting in a win of 86-60. Allowing the Wildcats to advance to the next round of state playoffs. free throws, making the score 58-59. The Generals ran the ball down and drew a foul and also only made one shot in the final seconds of the game, bringing the score to 58-60. With 14.2 seconds left on the clock, the Hughes ran the ball down the court, and took an off-balanced but open floater over a General defender. The shot fell short, resulting in a 58-60 loss for the Wildcats. General fans, students and players went wild. The impact of the loss on the Wildcats side could be seen in players, faculty members, and students as they all hung their heads, trying to process the
heartbreaking end to what was a remarkable season for boys’ basketball. The Wildcats would move on to trounce their first opponent 86-60, in the first round of the CIF Division 3 State Playoffs against Immanuel (Reedley, CA). However, the Wildcats lost yet again to Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) 66-59. This years boys’ basketball season had many highs, but unfortunately could not ride that high all the way through season. However, the boys gave Uni students and faculty members a strong sense of Wildcat pride, making this basketball season one to remember, and all of us proud to be Wildcats.
The girls softball team came home as Division 4 champions last season and hope to do it again. So far they’ve had a tough season with a 6-5 overall record, but being 0-3 in league, the girls hope to turn this season around soon. In pre-season, the girls were on fire beating teams including West Adams, Northridge Academy, Van Nuys, St. Bernard (twice) and Sotomayor. Sadly, when season came around they lost to Laces, Hamilton, and Venice. Now they are in a bit of a slump, but are still fighting to prove themselves. “We can beat any team if we really tried because we are good. But we don’t believe in ourselves enough,” said senior catcher Bertha Lopez. “We just beat ourselves up when we make mistakes during the game and that is a problem. But I still have confidence in my team and I know we’re a team on the rise,” continued Lopez. Despite having the odds stacked against them, Coach Jason Tillet and the captains continue to push through and motivate the girls to persevere. It is obvious that many of these girls pour their hearts and souls into the game, and the losses hurt them and their teammates equally. But this hurt should only fuel their passion and determination to succeed. Frustration and mistakes are all part of the game. What matters is how you act and carry yourself after. This shows what kind of team they truly are. “We already believe in each other, we just need to believe in ourselves,” said senior captain Britney Darling. The toughest part of any sport is keeping a strong and calm mentality. When players begin to feel the pressure, their performance suffers, and building mental strength is vital to playing to your fullest potential. “Our toughest competitors were definitely Venice and Hamilton,” continued Darling. “The issue is that when one person gets down, everyone feeds off that negativity and begins to get frustrated. We need to learn to brush things off, and move on to the next play. We forget that this is for fun and we enjoy the game and the company of our teammates, we just put too much pressure on ourselves.” On the other hand the JV girls have been doing really well this season with a solid 3-1 record. The girls have gotten themselves out of numerous sticky situations. “Each game starts off a little tough, it takes us a while to find our footing,” said senior pitcher Angelica Martinez. “But after the first inning we come back with a momentum that sticks with us until the end of the game.” If they continue with the same hard work and enthusiasm they may be able to get a banner this season for the first time in Uni JV Softball history. Unfortunately this is also the season of injuries. Senior Bertha Lopez sprained her ankle during the very first game, and was out for a month. When Lopez finally returned earlier this week for a game against Fairfax, four more players sustained injuries. Luckily only one was major. The girls can really use some motivation, not just from their teammates but from their classmatesm as well. Be sure to wish them luck in next week’s games against Palisades and L.A.C.E.S.!