An Open Letter From OCSA’s Invisible Population

by Anonymous

Whether it’s a riot at the Thanksgiving dinner table over grandma’s Jim Crow beliefs, or a class discussion that lets you know exactly which classmates aren’t invited to the cookout, race is a topic that makes many uncomfortable. For those privileged enough to usually avoid a conversation about the existence of others, the following might make you upset. The point of this letter, however, is not to make people feel attacked. It is a long overdue call out of behavior at OCSA that is as unacceptable as it is harmful. While it is impossible to speak for every single student of color, the following issues come up for many of us way too often. In light of Black History Month and the conversation that has opened up regarding Gala’s theme this year, it is time we finally talk about the reality of what it’s like being Black and Latinx at OCSA.

“My first week here someone told me that being Mexican at OCSA wasn’t allowed. For a little 7th grader going to a completely new school, that was really hard to understand,” says an anonymous student. Many others have vocalized similar experiences. It often feels as though culture and identity need to be suppressed in order to make it through the school day. All around us people seem to partake in aspects of brown and black culture, yet the students wearing hoop earrings and speaking in slang that stems from our communities are the same ones who call us ghetto. Everyone loves getting down to rap songs on 10th Street, but when discussions about Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter come up they are condemned and called unnecessary.

Speaking of 10th street music, it seems that every time a song is being played the n-word is heard at a much louder rate than the number of black students in the audience. The answer to the problem isn’t banning this music (although administration does seem to have a vendetta against black music, specifically Pulitzer Prize winner, Kendrick Lamar), it is teaching nonblack people that under no scenario is saying the n-word acceptable.

This doesn’t merely extend to students. Teachers— this is at you. Stop saying the n-word in the classroom. Period. As an educator, you are responsible for creating a safe space for every single student, saying the n-word when a simple pause will do, serves only to create shock value out of our trauma. A teaching credential is not a free pass, and feminism posters are hypocritical when joined with a curriculum that focuses solely on white men. We are thrown an MLK speech and maybe a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story once a year, but believe it or not there is a whole world of writers of color that are just as acclaimed as Faulkner or Golding. Give us Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, and Langston Hughes. Give us anything that acknowledges our great contributions to art and literature.

This is not just valuable to those of us with melanin; this is a necessary step in combating the idea that students of color aren’t as talented or artistically inclined. “There aren’t [black and latino] students here because they aren’t good at arts,” ”you don’t look like an actress because of your braids,” “aren’t all of you just in international dance.” These are all things that have been said to us. Comments that are deeply rooted in racism but are never called out by other students or administration.

So please stop touching our hair, stop asking us where we’re “really from.” Stop disguising bigotry as being “devil’s advocate” in class debates. Stop condensing us into stereotypes and burying us in microaggressions. Students of color not only deserve but demand better treatment. It’s time to acknowledge that we exist here. It’s time to acknowledge that we matter.

Chicken Soup for the College-Crazed Soul

Sage Skaar - News Editor

I’d like to begin by reassuring any of you with knots in your stomachs over test-prepping, letter-requesting, campus-trotting, and admissions-officer-schmoozing, that you’re going to be fine.

This was initially going to be an advice column à la Ask Evelyn, with questions from students and cute, quippy answers that balanced reassurance with sensible encouragement about being proactive. But, while writing it, I realized that by giving hackneyed advice about handling stress and wheedling your way onto an admission officer’s radar, I would only be feeding into the mania around selective admissions that our school is all too good at cultivating. And that was when I knew I’d gone wrong. I can’t in good conscience tell you exactly when to study for the SAT, or which schools to apply to for your GPA and score range. As the kids say; this ain’t it, chief. If you have questions like these, please go ask your counselor!

With that said, what struck me most about the questions I was asked for the beta version of this article was that looking down the barrel at application season has students anxious, overwhelmed, but more than anything else, distracted by comparison.

And I can’t blame you.

OCSA’s unique, creative, competitive culture fosters what often feels like a mad dash for college acceptances- after all, in a place that breeds talent, admission to a top-tier college is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. At OCSA, we place a lot of emphasis on our tradition of sending kids to prestigious schools- and we reap plenty from advertising that. When visitors see a suspicious number of ivy-bound seniors paraded onstage at season finale, they assume we’re doing something right and continue funneling money into our school (hey, no complaints here). But when we’re looking at the statistics-touting slideshow on the giant screens in the Webb, hearing our teachers’ gooey reminders to congratulate so-and-so on their acceptance, or watching the caravan of evening-attired Yalies and Cornelians onstage at season finale, it gets hard not to feel like a yes or no from Stanford or Dartmouth or Duke determines your worth in OCSA’s eyes.

That said, it’s impossible to tout the real things that make our school exemplary. We can’t gauge students’ ambition, their work ethic, their commitment to service, their compassion towards others. Because of that, the easiest way for the school to showcase our academic exceptionality is by flinging out the admission rates of its alumni’s alma maters.

What all of this should tell you is that an Ivy or other prestigious college is not the solution to your problems, nor the key to your happiness.

This isn’t to say you Ivy-bound seniors aren’t bright or talented. Your hard work has paid off, and you’re in the club- congratulations! What I’m saying is that every one of you reading this are worthy of, and bound towards, devastatingly bright futures regardless of which college hands you a diploma someday. You’re all capable, you’re all talented, and you’re all loved.

Here’s my hot take, folks: your alma mater is the least interesting thing about you.

So don’t drink the OCSA college kool-aid. You’re more than your common application, more than your ACT score, more than the name of the place you end up. You’re enough as you are.

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The Favourite: Sadly Not Paddington

Chelsea Schack - Staff Writer

It’s Oscar season, baby! It's time to get out the gray stuff, pour the champagne, roll out the gross red carpet that you keep on the top shelf of the hallway closet, and get ready to watch your favorite nomination for Best Picture, and I’ve done just that. Not only did I just watch the movie “The Favourite,” I created a scale to review it and rate it, as well.

The Paddington Scale is a way of rating films that pits the movie in question against the two greatest movies of all time: “Paddington” and “Paddington 2.” The scale is simple; it is broken down into Paddington Points and then overall stars. There are a base twenty possible points a movie can get, and each point translates to ¼ of a star, with a total of five possible stars. The points are awarded based on the following criteria:

  • The presence of one or more bears in the movie (1 pt)

  • The presence of heartfelt narration that adds to the overall experience (2 pts)

  • The presence of fun, harmless accidents and blunders (1 pt)

  • Overall clumsiness of the protagonist (3 possible pts)

  • The number of marmalade sandwiches present (1 pt, with extra points for each subsequent sandwich)

    • Half points may be awarded for non-marmalade sandwiches.

  • Presence of a stern but loving father figure (1 pt)

  • Presence of cute, floppy, explorer hat. (1 pt)

  • Presence of a wholly loving mother figure (1 pt)

    • Movies can actively lose points for abusive parents, as Paddington would never want children to suffer.

  • Did it have a happy ending? (3 pts)

  • Did the movie provide a nostalgic sense of home? (1 pt)

  • Does the movie take place in London? (1 pt)

  • Did the reviewer walk out of the theater exclaiming “Wonderful,” “Charming,” or “Wow, I daresay Paddington 2 was better than the first!” (3 pts)

And so, without further ado, I present to you review of “The Favourite” on The Paddington Scale. Spoilers ahead.

“The Favourite” (2018), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

★ ½, six points

“The Favourite” is a wonderful movie, don’t get me wrong, but is it Paddington? Not quite. What it is, though, is a crazy romp through Buckingham Palace that follows the escapades of two violently jealous lesbians and one ambitious bisexual. In the film, Queen Anne and her lover, Lady Sarah, govern England in tandem, during wartime, as Anne’s health slowly but surely deteriorates. Suddenly, Lady Sarah’s plucky peasant cousin, Abagail, comes calling, and impresses the Queen with her charm and her crazy great [REDACTED FOR CONTENT].

Immediately, it was off putting to not see a single bear in the film. However, there were seventeen rabbits, and, upon careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that one bear is equal to nearly thirty-four rabbits, and so, though hesitantly, I awarded Lanthimos’ movie half of a Paddington Point.

Abagail, played by a stellar Emma Stone, narrates portions of the movie with such spunk and vigor that, while the subject of the narration is rather grim, it’s hard not to describe it as heartfelt. For this, “The Favourite” has been awarded two Paddington Points.

Throughout the movie, there is a motif of violence and killing that plays hand in hand with the actual violence and killing. This motif is carried, primarily, with recurring scenes of Abigail and Lady Sarah shooting quail on the palace lawn. Lanthimos uses these scenes to illustrate the shift of the girls’ power and influence throughout the movie, and it's wonderful. In addition, at one point, a quail pops, getting blood everywhere. This counts as a harmless blunder. Not for the quail, obviously, but for the ladies. Another Paddington Point to Lanthimos.

For a while, after this point in the movie, I was not able to give it any Paddington Points. In fact, the whole of both the second and third acts were wildly inappropriate and not at all family friendly. However, I can award it a few points.

Buckingham Palace is in London. Point there. And, while walking out of the theater, I most certainly did describe the movie as ‘wonderful.” That’s another Paddington Point. Then, I suppose, if you consider Jacob Bernoulli’s Rule of Large Numbers, somebody must have walked seen “The Favourite” and shouted “Wow! I daresay Paddington 2 was better than the first,” so I suppose it gets another half of a point.

So should you see “The Favourite?” Sure, it’s great… if you can stomach it's lack of cute, British bears, floppy hats, loving parents, marmalade sandwiches, and a happy ending.

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Throw On Some PJs and Grab A Pancake: The Frida Block Party

Frankie Fanelli - Production Sidekick, Online Editor, & Staff Writer

 The old-fashioned marquee listing showtimes that crowns the entrance to the theater, the clear double doors that lead into an eye-catchingly decorated lobby (the walls of which are plastered with iconic movie actors ranging from Marilyn Monroe to David Bowie), and sensibly-priced snacks and drinks are just a few details that make going to see movies at the Frida Cinema a unique experience. As someone who regularly sees movies and shows there (monthly Rocky Horror Picture Show viewings with a shadow cast anyone?), I was ecstatic to hear that they were introducing a new monthly show to their lineup. The Cartoon Block Party invited the young-at-heart to gather at the Frida for a night of binge-watching cartoons while dressed in your favorite PJs and feasting on pancakes and sugary breakfast cereal. So naturally, a few of OCSA Evolution’s staff writers decided that this was a can’t-miss opportunity.

Not sure what to expect, we arrived at the Frida Cinema at 7:45pm clad in our comfiest PJs with our $5 tickets in hand. We decided to bypass the full bar of breakfast cereal at first and went straight to our seats, where the screen was already flashing the bright colors and funky animations featured in most 90s ads. For the first 15 minutes of the show we watched commercials advertising products of yester-year such as Dunkaroos, Poptarts, and Ninja Turtle figurines. Since the cartoon we would be watching that night was a surprise, they played a number of decoy show intros ranging from classics like Care Bears and He-Man to more recent favorites such as Sailor Moon and Codename: Kid Next Door. After a series of announcements and a brief best pajama contest (where a six-year-old in footy pajamas stole the show), the lights dimmed, the theater grew quiet and the show was revealed: we’d be spending the next 2 ½ hours watching the final four episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

So it turns out that, as promised, Frida’s newest show, The Cartoon Block Party, did in fact satisfy all of our cravings for nostalgic 80s, 90s, and early 2000s cartoons, sugary breakfast cereal, and late night movie marathons in our PJs. It was a chance to shed responsibility and all reminders of adulthood and revert back to your golden years of carefree fun waking up early to watch all of your favorite cartoons. The Cartoon Block Party is a new Frida Cinema tradition that we’re excited to experience for months to come, and since they never announce, merely hint at, the next show’s cartoon lineup ahead of time, each and every showing will be an exciting surprise that you won’t want to miss out on.

 OCSA Teachers Find Their Chakras

Cas Kesig - Staff Writer

Yoga, an ancient Hindu practice, has never been more globalized. It’s now being taken up by suburban mothers, business-people looking to reduce stress, professional and amateur athletes trying to improve their core strength, individuals in physical therapy. Friends are becoming students and instructors, studios are appearing in every strip mall. In the past several years, although yoga has become highly commodified, it has proven itself an effective and accessible tool for stress relief and strength training, and OCSA is no stranger to these benefits. Yoga is a popular elective course, taught by Ms. Shannon Zimmerman, and now, this course is available to teachers and staff.

You may not realize that it’s happening, but on alternating Mondays, Zimmerman and math/yoga teacher Ms. Maria Stern have been organizing staff yoga sessions, a holistic relief from the high stakes of the second semester and their work environment as a whole. Zimmerman and Stern have been hosting staff yoga for a combined four years. On Jan. 28, some familiar faces appeared to wind down after the school day: Mr. Jason Berry, Ms. Renee Petersen, Ms. Jordan Bartlett, and Ms. Jennifer Remolif.

“[Stern and I] both know, as yoga teachers, how much benefit and stress release yoga is. If we can offer it for free to the teachers that work here, it makes for a better workplace,” said Zimmerman. “We have a lot of repeat students, and we give them pretty hard classes. When we first started, we did beginner classes, but a lot of teachers also take yoga outside of school.”

The participating teachers were warming up on their mats. “Yoga is accessible, free, and consistent. I’ve created a pattern of wanting and needing exercise,” said Berry. Instead of workout clothes, he was in his shorts and button down from the day, a testament to his previous statement.

“I like the connection with the teachers in a nonacademic setting,” said Petersen, and Zimmerman affirmed it, saying “I would never know these people without staff yoga. The teachers are pretty segregated.”

“I wanted to practice what I’d learned in yoga teacher training, but I love the community we’ve built,” said Stern.

Zimmerman directed them into Warrior Two. Petersen planted her feet firmly and leaned into the pose. “The way it makes you feel is unmatched. And even if it’s a hard class, afterwards, you always feel better,” she said. The sense of camaraderie between the teachers livened up A18-- they all had the air of old friends, and joked and talked as such.

“It’s not a rigorous, intimidating class. It’s not a crazy workout. It’s doable not matter what frame of mind I’m in,” asserted Berry, and that seemed to be the general consensus. Now that finals, AP tests, and end of the year festivities are upon us, teachers are treasuring this time to relax. Having a built-in resource in their workplace, it’s all too easy to take care of yourself.

They commenced the class, stretching easily.

Gone, But Never Forgotten: Tennis With Tom 

Jayna Bosse - Editor-in-Chief

UPDATE: Since the writing of this article, the OCSA legend is no longer a part of our staff. In light of the dismissal of Mr. Brennan shortly after the initial production of this article, we have decided to commemorate and respect his legacy by going forward with the publishing of this article. He was a man and inspiration looked up to by many, and will be drastically missed on our OCSA campus.

The man, the myth, the legend- Tom Brennan is known across the OCSA campus as on of the most admired, friendly, and understanding teachers. Through his class students learn how to not only to play tennis, but create bonds with each other and prepare themselves in ways that they may not even recognize.


Brennan explained new information and insight on his class and teaching methods in regards to the students’ futures that may shock some. When asked what his main goal in teaching the class was, he stated, “I don't have a goal for myself, I have a goal for the students. I want to teach them the skills and techniques that come with tennis so this can be a tool for their future”. He goes into further detail about how tennis as a sport can be used as a way to connect with future people in the business world. After all, who doesn’t like a good game of tennis? In the business world, many people play tennis or golf while discussing everything from marketing techniques to new opportunities for growth, and this skill set that Brennan offers these students allows for these doors to be open. Though his students don't now realize it, OCSA tennis is not only home to the champions of the 2018 year, but is home to hundreds of youth that will be prepared to approach the business world with an interactive activity.

Of course the nuts and bolts of the class are exponentially important and essential to the tennis, but Brennan’s class is one of the most highly revered among the student population. The tennis instructor prides being able to take these students outside, as for most of the day, we’re stuck in classrooms. It offers a new way to learn and a more physically demanding one at that. Good sportsmanship and camaraderie are both things that are taught in the same volume that tennis skills are.

Many look at the class as a much more simplistic block than it is. The skills that are learned while playing with a racket and ball are not all physically evident as they are in academic classes, but they are just as important and helpful for the future. When asking Brennan what he would say to prospective tennis students for the next coming years, he emphasized that “[tennis students] should want to come to learn. They should be happy to be here and ready to have a good attitude and play a good game. I’m here to help them learn skills that they may not in an indoor setting”.

From the outside Brennan’s class looks like a fun way to get outside when it’s not lunch or block seven, and that it is, but what students should recognize for years to come is that this class is so much more important than they would anticipate at first glance.

 Well, This Is Goodbye

Emilia Angotti - Managing Editor

Going to OSCA for the past five years you notice some things. Like the slight decline in your class every year due to students leaving and being replaced by new students. It is safe to say that at least a handful of attending students drop out every year for various reasons, here at Evolution we wanted to ask the question...why?

Former student Callie Bixby (MT 20) left a few months into her junior year at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Bixby expressed,“I left OCSA because I was burnt out on it. I had been going there since 7th grade and just wasn’t into musical theatre anymore” (Bixby 20). As her interests evolved attending OCSA wasn’t the easiest option for her, especially with the lengthy forty minute commute. During our conversation Bixby stressed that she was purely drained by the school, which is deeply felt by fellow OSCA veterans.

Senior Ollie Tarango (IA) has been at OCSA since 7th grade and addresses the drainingness of the school and what the benefits are. “ I often find myself exhausted and pushing myself to the max especially as I’ve kept a steady job on top of all of this since sophomore year. However, as ‘draining’ as OCSA can be at times nothing has better prepared me to form my own work routine and learn how to become a determined student.” (Tarango 19)

OCSA strives to prepare its students for the reality of the world, but with the extreme time commitment it often inhibits students from pursuing their career. Kenzie Spooner left OCSA at the end of her sopohmore year in 2019, “ (she) left OCSA because my outside work was interfering with my education. I have to travel a lot and go to New York for three weeks at a time pretty consistently so I really couldn’t miss that much school” (Spooner 19). Spooner now works as a model signed to The Wihelmina Models LA and NYC, with the back and forth of traveling her modeling career wouldn’t have been able to excel as much as it has now that she continues online schooling.

All the students I interviewed could agree on one thing. Overall leaving OCSA was the best choice for each of their situations. Of course the students will agree that they regret leaving because they no longer see their friends, but leaving OCSA allowed these students to pursue things that the time constraint of OCSA didn’t allow them to do.

Man on the Street: Did You Feel the Love on V-Day? 

Alina Iwanski (PD ‘21)

“I had no Valentines because nobody loves me, but that’s okay because love comes and goes and you might fall in love with someone, but love is not real. ”

Jolie Fitch (IM ‘20)

“No, I did not have a Valentine because it’s not that important to have a valentine.”

Jude Palsma (IM ‘22)

“Yes, and I gave her a rose.”

Monica Johnson (MT ‘21)

“No, I stayed home and watched, ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off,’ and I ate chicken noodle soup.”

Nick Charles Favorite Super Bowl Commercials 

Nick Charles - Production Sidekick, Online Editor, & Staff Writer

The Super Bowl: A game steeped in American tradition that’s given us many memorable moments. From the Jets upsetting the Colts in Super Bowl III to the Philly Special last year in Super Bowl LII. However, what might be the most memorable moment of any Super Bowl didn’t come from the game, but from the ads. There may be no more iconic moment in American sports than Coca Cola’s ad featuring a small child and Steelers’ Defensive Tackle, Mean Joe Green.

This past Super Bowl game may not have been exactly what football fans wanted, but that doesn’t mean the advertisements were similarly bad.

This year, the most iconic ad may have been from the NFL itself. By bringing current greats and former legends in to a dinner party that goes wrong, they entertained non-football fans with comedy and action and led football fans to reminisce about various moments in NFL history, most notably, the Immaculate Reception/Deception, a play in the 1972 AFC Championship that was controversially ruled a catch by fullback Franco Harris.

Another notable moment is when 15 year old football phenom Sam Gordon had the ball opposite 49ers corner Richard Sherman and told him “You want this? Come get it”. Gordon was the inaugural winner of the NFL Game Changers Award in 2017. She and one-handed Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin are the only winners. The advertisement showed a lighthearted image that the beleaguered league needs right now.

The ad that our staff decided was the best was the ad for Bubly, a sparkling water company that brought similarly named Michael Bublé to a shop where he pronounced everything incorrectly, rhyming it with his name. It was a funny ad that made Bubly a more memorable name and was thus very effective.

Another popular ad among the staff was the ad for Avocados from Mexico, which featured Kristin Chenoweth as a commentator of the human version of a dog show. Its humor and focus on guacamole as an enviable prize made it an entertaining and successful advertisement.

Other successful ads were Amazon’s ad showing unsuccessful uses of Alexa. It showed off Alexa’s capabilities while still entertaining viewers. Because of the ad, Harrison Ford might never need to buy dog food again, so that’s good too.

The Twilight Zone, being revived for the fourth time, had another successful ad. Starting the ad by making it seem like the game had returned was a brilliant attention grab was an aggressive move that certainly worked. The ad seemed like the introduction to an episode, which gave curious audiences an inkling of what to expect from the show. Its success was easily measured by hearing how many people in our staff was excited to see the new reboot.

Despite all of these successful ads, not all were as successful. Mint Mobile’s ad, while funny, was a horrific super bowl ad because no one wants to think about chunky milk while gorging themselves on nachos. Kia’s ad for the Telluride was meant to celebrate the working class families that help make its cars, but that doesn’t work when everyone featured seems sad rather than serious.

While not every ad was a success, many were, and a common theme among those seemed to be comedy.. These comedic ads are likely here to stay, so hopefully they follow the Bubly route rather than the Mint Mobile one.

QUIZ: Which OCSA Teacher Is Your BFF?

 Man, Valentine’s Day Sure Is A Holiday

F(ake)OCSA Evolution Writer

Valentine’s Day has recently passed and according to student testimonies, OCSA was the place to be! Just ask anyone on campus.

“People talk a lot about singles’ awareness day, but what about couples’ awareness day. My boyfriend and I always feel so attacked on this holiday. Anyways, we would have plans, but we had rehearsal on Valentine’s Day. But we were able to share a special meal in the DMS hall before rehearsal. It was really special,” says a student before walking away unannounced.

“My friends and I had a Galentine’s Day. There’s really only one guy in our group… but it was still fun to get together with just the girls.” “Or at least that was the intent, the guy showed up anyway.” “I think it was kinda awkward for him.”

However, not all students were thrilled about the holiday.

“I had the flu all of last week. I was too weak and barfy to do any homework so I used Valentine’s Day to do all of my makeup work.” “Or at least I thought I would, until I got the flu again and barfed all over my math book.”

“Absolutely not. Face it, the goal of Valentine’s Day has, and always will be, to promote capitalism. I don’t celebrate it, because I’m not just another pretty face who endorses far-right ideas,” says one student with a sinister smirk. “I think it’s fair to say that I did not participate whatsoever... I mean, I didn’t really have anyone to celebrate with… but even if I did, I wouldn’t celebrate.”

Students can only wait until next Valentine’s Day, with even more love, action and heartbreak.

By Anya Ernst

Styled by Anya Ernst and Emilia Angotti

Photography by Erin Kim

NYFW Street Style