A Time to Love: Remembering Blaze Bernstein
Hannah Enriquez & Kat Long - Staff Wirters
Blaze Bernstein. A brown haired, blue eyed boy with a witty sense of humor that has filled the hearts of many. He fed the world with his smile and exuded compassion onto everyone he met. Through countless art forms such as writing, music, and photography, Bernstein followed his passions as one of the members of the members of our family here at OCSA in the creative writing conservatory. His kind spirit shone through to all of his close friends and teachers.
Many within the OCSA community had the pleasure of knowing Blaze Bernstein, as he touched many hearts and brought constant laughter and smiles to those around him. A few OCSA students spent their childhood at Bernstein’s side, including former OCSA student Julia Wolfe (MT) who now attends Tarbut V’Torah. “One of my favorite memories of Blaze was going to a UC Santa Barbara family camp with him when we were kids. We raced pinewood derby cars,” Wolfe recalled. Having known Bernstein from childhood, to OCSA, and after, this was just one of the numerous memories Wolfe has collected over the years. She has also participated in furthering the “Do Good for Blaze” movement, created by Blaze’s parents, by helping those in need and spreading positivity within the Orange County community. “He was always a happy and outgoing kid, he had the ability to make jokes and make people smile even during the toughest of times,” Wolfe said.
Graduating in 2016, he continued his journey of success at the University of Pennsylvania. Inspired by the art of cooking and writing, he became involved with multiple literary magazines through the school known as Penn Review, Penn Appetit, and Whisk. He was surrounded with all of the love and light his family gave him as well as the Jewish community and the LGBTQ+ community. With an inquisitive, adventuring mind, he enjoyed the beauty of nature through the vast deserts of Utah to the glaciers and mountains of Iceland. The essence that defined Blaze was his love, his curiosity and his quiet affection. Anyone who encountered Blaze saw the endless attributes that were admired by so many.
Despite the fact that Bernstein graduated two years ago, many current OCSA students remember his presence and feel lucky to have known him throughout their OCSA careers. Junior Joey Sable (MT 19’) says, “I was really close with Blaze when I was 10, and we had started doing theater together. I remember him being super inclusive which made me feel super cool, because he hung out with me even though I was three years younger.” When talking to Sable about his memories with Bernstein, his face seemed to light up, revealing that his memories of Bernstein left a positive mark on his life. “I remember him coming to rehearsals and I saw what a high intellect he possessed, and how wise and open-minded he was at that young of an age.” Despite the tragedy of Bernstein’s passing, his friends and family have continued to show positivity and hopefulness in their lives. “I think he would want people to be happy during this difficult time,” Wolfe said, “and I hope he knew how much he was loved.”
The luminous support for Blaze and his family can be seen from communities all over Southern California manifesting most brightly in Borrego Park. Melted wax covers the park tables from candles burned to their end, along with cards, stuffed animals and prayers, all in a tremendous effort to bring comfort to family and friends visiting. But in addition to all of those kind gestures, there is one that lies especially close the Bernstein family: placing a stone. Truly exquisite artistry is displayed at the foot of each tree as colorful painted rocks bring support and love to the many people who visit. The act of placing a stone for a loved one is close to the hearts of the Bernstein family, as it is a Jewish tradition to show visitation, and to represent the permanence of a loved one’s memory.
Blaze, with his inspiring words, intelligence, and compassion will truly be missed. The memory of Blaze Bernstein will live for eternity in the minds of friends and family. If you knew Blaze, this is for you. If you simply heard his story, this is still for you. Keep remembering his compassionate soul by doing good. As the Bernstein family simply states, “Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance, and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”
New Security Company
Katrina Hung - Staff Writer
Is campus security even that important? Currently, it seems as if the bigger picture is missing. On the outside, the main job of the security guard is just to walk around campus, but there’s so much more. It’s time to put the spotlight on campus security, the ones who work behind the scenes to keep us all safe.
With the turn of the new semester, the familiar OCSA security t-shirts have transformed into white polos and badges. George, the only remaining security guard from the previous team, has been seen these past few weeks, mentoring the new staff, PacWest Security Services, on the ways the OCSA security runs. Though the transition into a new security company hasn’t resulted in any major outward changes so far, they share a common unspoken goal: to protect the campus and those on it. According to senior Angela Choi (CV), “I’m not quite sure what to expect with the turn in companies but I hope that we will continue to have a safe and fun learning environment at OCSA through their services.” As they walk around greeting students and letting them into the buildings, they continue to be on the lookout, scouting for potential threats. Whether it be keeping watch for unwanted visitors or simply guiding traffic in the morning, the security guards will always be the first sight at the scene.
At lunch and block 7, they seem to just be standing around, observing the passing students. So is campus security really not necessary? In reality, it’s the little things that matter. In Choi’s opinion, “having security on campus means that I can come to school and focus on my education without having to worry about my safety. Not only that but security also helps us in many other ways like notifying us if we left our headlights on and directing traffic before and after school” For parents, just knowing there is trained help every hour on campus, alleviates some of the worry they have when sending their children off to school. Judy Tsai, the mother of a current OCSA student, Emily Muramoto, explains that “seeing the faces of the security walking around campus makes me satisfied knowing that the safety of our children is a top priority. I am truly thankful for the amount of effort the guards do in order to ensure a safe campus.”
Culinary Arts Heats Up the Competition
Jayna Bosse - Photo Editor
Many conservatories have tech week and stay after school for rehearsal, but what most students don’t know is that a select group of Culinary Arts & Hospitality students stay after school as well for a program that will not only aid them in their future culinary careers, but will also allow them to receive a $1000 minimum scholarship to select culinary colleges. The ProStart program was created to help these students get early access to the culinary field in a realistic and proactive environment.
After interviewing junior Mckenna Voisin (CAH), we learned that Chef Mattos is the leader of this group. After 250 hours of rigorous training, these students will go to compete against other schools. They have high hopes of making it to nationals. Voisin explained that these determined students “have 55 minutes to complete the dish and only have access to two portable burners - there’s no electricity involved in whole competition,” which is quite the challenge! If they pass the first round of competition, they will then proceed to nationals and compete against the top culinary youth in the nation. They spend their Fridays working on these dishes to prepare for the stiff competition that lies ahead. Currently, the team wishes to keep these select items under wraps, but at their competition in March we will be able to see them in all of their glory.
Not only does this program offer great chances to advance cooking skills, but they have a separate hospitality team that focuses on the management aspect of a professional culinary future. In this secret, they learn about the skills they will need to successfully run a restaurant, cafe, etc. There are five students in the culinary section of this team and only a select two involved in hospitality. These two departments work together but each hold separate responsibilities to ensure that they work smoothly as a whole and are accurately prepared for the future. Voisin said that her experience has been nothing but positive. She suggests that all culinary students look into this program and at the very least, it will allow them to gain a more tight-knit group of friends who are as motivated as they are to pursue a future in the field.
A Real-Life Disney Princess Party
Thalia Atallah - Staff Writer
It’s every little theater girl’s dream to play a princess, whether it’s on Disneyland sidewalks or even a Broadway stage. For one very lucky OCSA student that dream became a reality. Trinity Milosek is a senior in the Commercial Music conservatory and was asked to perform in the “Broadway Princess Party” December 14-16 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Haugh Performing Arts Center, alongside the likes of Broadway stars Laura Osnes, who played Cinderella in Broadway’s “Cinderella”, Susan Egan, an OCSA alum who played Belle in Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and Courtney Reed, who played Jasmine in Broadway’s “Aladdin.” “When coming to the West Coast for their first show, they were looking for a local performer to sing as Tiana from Disney’s ‘The Princess and the Frog’,” explained Milosek. “They contacted [MT Director] Mr. Barnhardt in search for someone to sing with them and he asked for [Creative Director] Mrs. Peca’s reference. After sending them a video of me singing, they asked if I could perform with them!”
Milosek was the youngest member of the cast, as she was the only high school student there. “I tried to soak up as much information as possible. I took every moment as a learning experience and I quickly grew close to everyone,” Milosek said. “Even though they’re adults, they’re still kids at heart. We even spent a day at Disneyland together!”
Other OCSA students attended the event to watch the magic unfold. “The thing about Trinity is that aside from being an insanely talented singer and artist, she is probably the most humble and down to earth person I know,” said senior Seena Poormehr (MT). “She is an inspiration and a beautiful person on the inside and out, and having the opportunity to hear her sing her heart out with top professionals was something I’ll never forget!”
During the show, Milosek sang a beautiful rendition of “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog,” along with several group numbers. To calm her nerves, Milosek has a pre-show ritual: “Usually before a show, I try to relax as much as possible and clear my mind. I remind myself that each time I have a show I grow and that every moment is a blessing. I take time for reflection and remind myself of how lucky I am to be able to do what I love. Usually by that time, I’m ready to go.”
Not only does Milosek have the stellar talent, she also possess the positive mindset that it takes to drive her to more success in the future. When Milosek hits the stage she has the beauty and grace of a real live princess. She’s going places, and as Princess Tiana would say, she’s “almost there!”
Observing the Observatory
Emilia Angotti, Chloe Enriquez, and Tim Park - Staff Writers
Being a resident in Orange County and trying to attend shows in Los Angeles can be one of the most bittersweet situations. From parking to traffic, L.A. venues throw hardships to any who dare to make the trip. While hundreds of big-named musicians perform in Los Angeles every night, their visit to Orange County is a rarity. But if there is one place that brings in artists of all genres and degrees of popularity, it’s the Observatory. This live music venue has been a Santa Ana staple for quite some time now, and is loved by the music fans of OCSA. Whether it’s the annual Beach Goth festival weekend or a $5 midnight show, the Observatory is a frequent spot for those who wish to get fully immersed in live music.
Whether it's your first or 100th show at the Observatory, you are guaranteed for a fun night. Sophomores Callie Bixby (MT) and Jai Castro (ID) are frequent concert-goers and share the most memorable shows they have attended.
One of the biggest reasons to attend an Observatory concert is to get the intimacy from the closed area rather than being crammed in a huge arena and seeing a tiny ant perform onstage for 100 or more dollars. Bixby herself experienced one of these special moments with rapper Ugly God. “At one point a fan crowd surfed and he made it to the stage, Ugly God then high fived him. After that he was like ‘let’s get some girls on stage’ so my friend and I ran to the front and climbed the rails to get on stage. He was dancing with us on stage, it was so fun. After that he got off the stage and moshed with his fans in the pit,” said Bixby.
While it wasn’t one of their bigger annual events like Day n Night and Beach Goth, the recent Tyler, the Creator concert had a turnout of over 8,000 people. One of the openers for Tyler was the boy band Brockhampton, known for rousing up crowds, “You could visibly see the steam coming from the bodies of the individuals in it. The visuals prompted on the backdrop brought the nostalgia of an alien scene that you’d see in your typical sci-fi film, and it felt as if you were the last group of people alive in the apocalypse struggling. It was pretty intense,” said Castro.
The Observatory has accumulated a great representation for itself, due to its gratifying performances and experiences that the audience has come to enjoy over time. This particular venue acquires valuable experiences. It’s a place to fully immerse yourself in the artists that most inspire you. One experience that has become pretty popular is when people accidentally immerse themselves in chaotic situations - when a person’s calm experience can turn into something dangerous at any time. Senior Danny Rico (VA), a frequent event participant at the Observatory, describes his first show, which consisted of a harsh mosh pit: “My first show ever at the Observatory was seeing the White Fangs; I got in the mosh pit and was kneed in the face.” Even though Rico got a bloody nose, he added,“it was exhilarating and the best time.”
Some concert-loving students even gave us tips on how to get the most out of the experience. “The most important thing is to know your limits, don’t go into a big pit if you know you can’t handle it,” said senior Leslie Sosa (CW). “One time I almost passed out at a show and had to be pulled out of the crowd, and security had to take me outside to get some air.” Sosa also recommended going to shows with trustworthy people, and to speak up when someone is making you uncomfortable. “Be cautious of people you meet and talk to, and don’t take (food and drinks) from strangers.” Another tip involves the importance of attire. Senior Becca King (IM) recommends, “Dress as comfortably as you can. Also wear shoes that you don’t mind wearing for a long period of time, preferably closed toes because otherwise your feet are going to be crushed.” King also suggested bringing cash for artist merchandise and concert food, which can be pricey.
At the end of the day, going to a live performance is a privilege. Being respectful of the performers and others is a must for any concert experience. “Don’t hurt people intentionally in pits. And if someone falls, help them up,” King added. Going to concerts is an experience not just for you, but for everyone at the venue. So before you start grooving or moshing, just remember to be aware of your actions. This venue has allowed for communities of people to come together and bond over the connection music has rooted within us. Whenever you're looking for a night filled with spontaneity, The Observatory is the one place to go.
Come Along With Mr. Chong
Spencer Riley - Online Editor
Environmental Science teacher Mr. Chong is arranging a trip over the summer for students to explore ecology in two of the most interesting locations in the world: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Mr. Chong, along with Ms. Steiner, who teaches Zoology and Health, are chaperoning a trip for 15 students to explore the ecocultures of Ecuador and the Galapagos. “For the two week environmental expedition we are spending one week in the forests of Ecuador about seven hours out from the closest city, and for the second week students will be learning about marine ecology in the Galapagos through diving and snorkeling,” said Chong, describing the activities students will be doing during the trip. “In Ecuador we’ll be living in little tents and going out every day with different teams of researchers to do ecological research. We’ll be doing various activities: studying small mammals, herpetology, reptiles, learning about carbon captures of the various trees. Then in the Galapagos students will attend a school in the evening where they will learn about live reefs and sea life, and then every day, they’ll go on two dives where they’ll get to see what they learned about firsthand.”
Chong is excited about the prospect of this trip and is hoping for its success. “I’ve always wanted to do this trip. I’ve never been to Ecuador or the Galapagos and I think that the students will be really interested. There’s a great deal of biodiversity there so it makes it a really interesting place to look at ecology.” The Galapagos islands are well known from Charles Darwin’s visit to them. He used his observations of the unique evolutions of the many species there to support his theory of evolution showing how creatures of the same species can evolve based on situational circumstances
The trip will take place this summer from June 11 to June 25 and is shaping up to be a very interesting and informative trip and who knows? Maybe being placed into a new environment and new circumstances will help the students evolve in their comprehension of an ecosystem.
Galentine's Day Guide
Jayna Bosse, Carolina Meredith, and Emma Ong - Staff Writer
Calling all the single ladies! Did this Valentine’s Day pass by slowly and painfully? Fear not! If we can learn anything from Queen Leslie Knope, it is that there is nothing better than spending a lovely day with your closest friends. We’ve compiled an itinerary of the best places to spend a romantic day in Orange County for Galentine’s Day 2019!
If you wake up in a pool of your own tears caused by your crippling fear of perpetual loneliness, don’t fret! We’ve got the perfect pick-me-up for you! Put on your sunnies, grab your best gal pals, and enjoy breakfast on the glorious California coast. Shirley’s Bagels in Laguna Beach offers a variety of delicious options and is just steps away from Orange County’s famous shoreline. Who needs a significant other when they could have a parmesan bagel with extra cream cheese?
While you’re still riding that high, why not stop for some sushi? Carbs cause your brain to release our favorite feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, so all that rice is completely justified. Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Diamond Jamboree has a unique take on the traditional sushi restaurant approach - every plate you clean off, you can put into a slot for an automatic prize dispenser. Finish 15 plates of sushi with your pals, and you’ll win a prize! There’s nothing quite like cheap but sentimental trinkets to fill the still-healing void in your heart.
Got no boo but still want an excuse to eat a borderline toxic amount of chocolate? Now is your time to shine! Pick up one (or more) of your best homeslices and make your way to the nearest grocery store! Starting February 15th all those heart shaped chocolates and lovely sweets are 70% off and a prime candidate for your next meal! Get you and your buds to stock up on some treats and make your way back to your house where you can all bundle up in your coziest PJ’s and watch Netflix until you drop! (One rule! “The Notebook” is NOT an option… you don’t need no S.O.!) For added fun, stop by Lush Cosmetics and snatch a few facemasks so while you’re having pillow fights with the squad, you can make that skin glow.
Less Cash in for Your Fashion
Emilia Angotti - Photo Editor
With the birth of the internet generation came throwbacks of recreating previous styles that your mother and father wore in their previous years. But where are you supposed to find such stylish clothing? In following the trends of 2017 and now adapting into 2018, it’s clear thrifting is the way to go. As thrifting culture becomes more mainstream, where do you draw the line drawn between bougie shopping and groveling on your hands for the finest pair of Levi’s?
For starters, the art of thrift shopping can be distinguished on tiers. The highest level is when one thrifter has perfected the art and is able to walk into a Savers, spot the one pair of corduroy overalls in the store and walk out not smelling like the stale cheetos in between your couch cushions. But alas, not all of us shoppers can have the eye of an eagle.
So the question is: where do we start? Located on Broadway Street, Deelux draws products from name brands like Topshop and hand-selected vintage clothes. With an affordable price range and a wide variety of options, Deelux is a great starter for anyone who’s looking to build their wardrobe with unique items. “When we’re doing the buying we’re kind of like personal shopping for you. We’ll sift through all these things and see what the best items are, as opposed to a Goodwill, who will take all donations,” said Jen Vidaurreta, the store manager of Deelux.
For students like freshman Tasha Zentil (ACT), thrifting provides a way of expression and opens her up to be able to create from the inspiration she sees from other clothing. “I express myself through the clothes I wear, so finding something that no one else is wearing makes me unique! I also find super awesome items that I buy at a thrift store to resell and upcycle on my Depop page.”
Thrifting is a fun and economically friendly way to get clothing. It’s something everyone should be able to enjoy. People shouldn’t be shunned for shopping at selective thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange over places like Salvation Army. They all have the same idea in mind, the only difference being how lazy the shoppers are. If you’re up for an adventure and have the time to sift through rows of hangers then Savers is your store, while if you have a certain colored skirt in mind you might have a better shot at Buffalo Exchange. It's really just a game of luck, so the next time you walk in the store cross your fingers and keep imagining that desired piece.
Man on the Street: What is Love?
Tim Park - Features Editor
Valentine’s Day, either the loveliest day of the year or the loneliest day of the year depending on who you are. No matter if you decide to spend the day with your significant other, friends, family, or Netflix, what’s important is that we remember why we even bother celebrating February 14th - to appreciate and thank our loved ones. But this ‘love’ thing can get a little tricky, as it turns out, with a bunch of different definitions and emotions colliding with each other. That’s why we asked this simple question - “What is Love?” - to five freshmen, because who’s better equipped to answer that question than those currently studying Health?
Freshman Darren Camaya (FTV)
“Baby don’t hurt me… don’t hurt me… no more…”
Freshman Jude Palsma (IM)
“Shrek is love. But I wouldn’t date an ogre. Shrek is love, but he’s not my love.”
Freshman Zachary Sawdai (MT)
“Easy. Love is theater and theater is love.”
Freshman Ari Favgenov (ACT)
“Ultimately love is choice. It’s a feeling that people choose to feel. A successful relationship is choosing to love someone despite their flaws, because that’s what love is.”
Freshman Alisha Miyake (CW)
“Love is burning like Satan riding on a goat.”
Fashion Theme || Thrifting
Photo Contest Winner
This is my friend's dog, Millie, playing with her favorite toy.
Photo by Olivia Knox (IA 23)
I need your help! I have a huge problem that needs to be solved immediately! Recently the Annex reeked of rotten food and a student tried to fix the odor with perfume. Unfortunately that student used way too much perfume and now the Annex smells even worse! I don’t think that I can bear the smell any longer! What do I do?
13-year-old with a dead nose
Dear 13-year-old with a dead nose,
Did you know that people are dumb? It’s true. You’ll learn this with age, ESPECIALLY with a few more years at OCSA. People do dumb things, such as masking a foul scent with a repugnant scent. The key is to not let this stupidity get to you. You must hold your head high, take a deep breath, and then strut through the Annex like there isn’t a vile aroma soiling the air. So don’t let a bad smell ruin your mood! In the words of drag icon Bianca Del Rio, “Not today, Satan, not today!”
Yesterday, I may have accidentally used the elevator to get to my third period class after lunch. I wasn’t caught. Last night, after a series of elevator-related nightmares (getting stuck in one, being trapped in one full of seagulls, etc.), I woke up to an alarming sight—every single word I read now looks like ‘elevator.’ As I write right now, each sentence comes out ‘elevator elevator elevator.’ I’m worried that I won’t be able to get all my homework done! How am I supposed to read traffic signs? I need to know: is this a curse? How do I break it?
We all have accidents. For example, I accidentally backed my car into my sister’s car, therefore scraping both cars. My parents were not pleased with that accident. It seems as if you accidentally stepped into the elevator, pressed the button for the third floor, and rode it all the way up. An honest mistake. The only way out of this pickle, I’m afraid, is to confess to your sin. Go right down to Mr. Ciecek’s office, tell him that you illegally rode the elevator, and beg for his mercy. Just kidding! Mr. Ciecek is too scary to go up and talk to! Just don’t ride the elevator again and hopefully the nightmares will go away. And thank your lucky stars that Miss Coates didn’t catch you!