In This Issue
Online Exclusive: Nick Charles’s Sports Column
Online Exclusive: Nick Charles’s Sports Column
“Where do we not do it,” says an anonymous student here at OCSA, in regards to a highly polarized issue on campus: drug use. “If I’m wearing long sleeves I could literally be sitting right here [and vaping] and no one would know,” they add, referencing the ease with which many OCSA students are able to consume narcotics on campus.
And it is, according to the anonymous interviewee, fairly easy. Nicotine and marijuana are the two most popular drugs on campus, and thanks to new devices like the Suorin and wax pens, drug use has become highly common at OCSA. Even so, students who do drugs at OCSA need to be strategic about their habit. Getting caught with a vape or weed pen can have serious consequences, so drug users have to be vigilant.
“Usually we’re pretty smart about this stuff,” says the anonymous student, “But there’s the occasion where you slip up and leave a pen in your moms car or you leave eye drops out.” But for many students, the risk they run is not one of getting caught, but of getting addicted.
Because of the strong concentration of nicotine in vape pens, it's no wonder that students rapidly develop an addictive dependence on their vapes. “I actually tried to quit on Friday” said the student. “I sold it, and then today I bought another.” It's an addictive habit, and also an expensive one to maintain, which has students spending 30-plus dollars a week on their pens, resupplying pods and juice. Considering the commitment required, one might ask what makes using worth it. And the apparent answer to this question is the constant high you can achieve when substances are readily available and intensely effective.
What starts out as getting high once a week in a boring class becomes a daily ritual. “On a scale of one to ten, eleven” admits the student on the subject of how high they and their friends get on a daily basis. They get used to operating on a level that doesn’t include sobriety. And maybe the drug use starts out as a coping mechanism for the stressful atmosphere of high school, or a way to lose weight. Another anonymous interviewee says, “I’ve had conversations with my friends where they will say things like ‘juuling makes me lose my appetite so I can get skinnier.’A lot of girls like smoking because it helps them lose weight, which is scary, because it’s an onset to eating disorders.” The interviewee expanded, saying that “it’s mainly girls that are affected by this, because girls are always held to high beauty standards… I can understand why girls get the idea of using a juul to stay skinny, because there’s content models like Bella Hadid posing with her juul in her pictures.”
“I definitely get even more high outside of school,” says the original student. They explain that even the highs they experience at school don’t compare with the freedom they have when at home or at parties, where they don’t have to worry about administration or being caught. “You have to limit yourself here because you don’t want to be to the point where you can’t function.” explains the student. “On the weekends, you’re just laying in bed, not doing anything,” they continue, and it becomes clear that the drug habit of most student's extends outside of school, and out of their control.
Drug users agree that of the two, nicotine is a bigger problem for high schoolers than marijuana because of it’s addictive and harmful nature. Vapes may be marketed as healthier than cigarettes, but taking hits off a Suorin or Juul leads to a quicker, stronger addiction than other tobacco products. “There are more people who do nicotine and it’s more of a problem.” says the anonymous student, addressing their personal qualms with nicotine and addiction. The strength of the high that a vape can deliver is often stronger and more preferable to traditional cigarettes and even marijuana.
It seems that other OCSA students feel the same way about their nicotine habit. In an anonymous survey, sources described how they have tried to quit, with the knowledge that nicotine is an addictive substance. Prompted by a survey question about whether or not they have attempted quitting, one respondent says “I have, many times, but I always come back to it,” while another says “I’m currently quitting.” The consequences of nicotine addiction are prescient in drug users mind, which, in the minds of most people, is a good thing.
Smoking marijuana on campus is more risky, as it is more stigmatized by teachers and administration. “It’s 100% more serious.” says the student, regarding what happens to people when they are caught with weed or wax pens. Nicotine can get you suspended, but marijuana can potentially get you expelled.
“Weed isn’t addictive.” says the student, but when it comes to vapes, they say “If you have a strong enough [vape] you’ll just get, like, completely demolished.” So why is it that getting caught with weed is a more serious offense than getting caught with nicotine? If the nicotine habit is more destructive, the administrative crackdown on marijuana use might be misdirected.
In addition, the majority of nicotine users who participated in the survey seem to want someone to reach out to them. They want help. One respondent went so far as to ask administration to “provide resources for students struggling with drug and/or substance abuse. [They should] provide more in-depth educational resources for young students not only on drug/substance abuse, but the consequences of mental health on physical health and healthy coping mechanisms.”
Another student, present at the in-person interview, piped up, saying, “We’re all so f*****g addicted.” This, sadly, is the harsh reality for many OCSA students.
It was sometime around 7:45 when the dread began to take hold. I remember thinking something like “the proctor should be here by now.” Suddenly there was a terrible roar all around me and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats. They were holding scientific calculators and #2 pencils in their leathery wings, and to my horror they swooped down upon me and came to roost in the hallway of this strangely empty high school, apparently also awaiting this missing proctor. Were these monsters to be my peers, my companions on this long trip?
The one nearest to me turned in my direction. I saw its razor-sharp fangs, dripping bat saliva as it opened its mouth and growled, “Do you know what time this thing ends?” “Uh, one o’clock I think.” I muttered, trying my best to avoid looking directly into its bloodshot and strained pupils. The proctor finally arrived, looking strangely familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on who she might be.
She led us single file into the vacant APUSH classroom where we were to be imprisoned for hours, possibly days, on end. After a series of DNA tests, retina scans and blood oaths, we were identified to be the people we said we were. The classroom was huge, teeming with the bats, and with freakish reptilian looking things creeping around the floor. The proctor, a small figure in the middle of the room, was brandishing a rusted WWII artillery rifle she was using to fend off the bats. Behind her was a large picture of Bernie Sanders being engulfed in flames. “Feel the Bern”, a speech bubble was saying, “Because you’re Fired!” On the opposite wall was a life-size cardboard cutout of Donald Trump standing up next to the door. He was giving me two thumbs up but he wasn’t smiling.
“Put your calculators on the floor by your desk,” the proctor was saying to me as she walked by. I knew I recognized her. She was much older than she was in pictures, but by some freak coincidence, Nancy Reagan was our proctor. By this time most of the bats were in their seats, and only a few fistfights between the lizard freaks were still going.
“You may now begin the reading comprehension portion of the test,” the cardboard Trump said, still giving me the encouraging thumbs up. We all opened our test packets and began reading the first passage.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light...”
Khan Academy hadn’t prepared me for this. I flipped through the rest of the test. Nearly 90 percent of the packet was the King James translation of the Book Of Genesis. There was only one question at the very end of the reading portion.
Why was the Flood justified?
a.Because humanity was unworthy
b.Because humanity was unworthy
c.Because humanity was unworthy
d.Because humanity was unworthy
I looked around the room in desperation. The bats around me had long since given up and flown out the skylight, leaving a layer of broken glass that covered every surface. I was the only participant left, the only one who hadn’t taken the hint. The cardboard Donald Trump had shuffled closer to me, and was looking over my shoulder at my test. Nancy Reagan had taken off her high heels and was carefully making her way toward us from the front of the room. Behind her, Bernie Sanders was still on fire.
“Times Up Sweetie!” Nancy Reagan yelled at me through a megaphone. I looked at the clock. It had only been fifteen minutes. I gave my test to the cardboard Trump, who shuffled up to the desk and tossed it into the fire where Bernie was smoldering. While he was looking at the bible pages going up in smoke, Nancy Reagan came up behind him and gently pushed him in. The fire was spreading, and If I wanted to get out of this mess without impressive skin burns I needed to leave now.
I collected my things and moved towards the door. “Wait” Nancy Reagan said. She put her flip flops back on and walked out with me. As we passed a notice board outside the school I saw a flyer with someone familiar on it. In the parking lot I found another one on the ground. The flyer had my face on it. MISSING it said. NOT SEEN SINCE MAY 4TH.
I called out to Nancy Reagan, who was walking away across the lot. “How long was that test?” I asked. She looked back at me, and checked her watch. ”Today is June 21st.” she said, “So you were with us for about forty days and forty nights.”
“Nancy Reagan,” I said, “I hope I don’t have to take this test again.” I had barely survived the terrible fear and loathing of this SAT, and taking one in Octobor would probably be critically detrimental to my pychological and physical well being.
“You don’t have to do anything, sweetheart,” Nancy Reagan said as she walked away. “If they ask you to do it again, Just Say No.”
Sadly, it wasn’t that simple.
We live in a brink-of-collapse capitalist hellscape. We are seeing the bourgeoisie work their employees to death with little pay while at the same time making plans to live on the moon. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and so on, until the planet crumbles. Yet, wonderfully in spite of this, working-class communities across America and the Western world have found ways to flourish within themselves, crafting a culture ultimately threatening and inaccessible to the likes of power hungry Wall Street demons.
However, in recent years, the great lumbering beast of capitalism has come to crush this small spark of hope, and the name of this particular beast is gentrification. Defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, gentrification is:
“the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents.”
This is, for lack of space and better words, not a good thing. The culture and kinship that working-class communities have fostered over time falters when faced with an influx of out-of-town trust-fund babies and plucky entrepreneurs.
And is it a coincidence that the communities gentrification destroys are almost always communities of color? Or course it isn’t! Missing from the Merriam-Webster definition is the fact that the gentrifying force is almost always made up of primarily white moguls, developing new housing and businesses in neighborhoods populated primarily by people of color. Take for instance Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, a majority Latinx area currently being barraged with the creation of bourgeois art galleries or overpriced coffee shops, or, also in LA, Chinatown, which has become a sandbox for wealthy white real estate developers aiming to ‘clean up the town.’
Or, if you want to skip the hour-long drive, you could look at Santa Ana, where swathes of out-of-towners have opened up coffee shops, lifestyle stores, and, ahem... eateries that cater solely to the middle-class, and are inaccessible to most long-term Santa Ana residents. In the past three years, as the strip of gentrified business along 4th Street grows, rent in the downtown area has risen 11.67%, which has forced many residents to leave the neighborhoods they grew up in, and has choked out the business of quinceñera shops, forcing many to close down. Not only this, but many of the aforementioned lifestyle stores have managed to commodify Santa Ana’s Latinx culture and slap a hefty price tag on it, in order for the middle-class to come and experience ‘the Santa Ana culture,’ so long as it’s prepackaged and contained.
While this is obviously an outrage, it is also disheartening and sad. I myself am not Latinx, and have no claim to the same oppression this gentrification brings, however, I have lived in or around Santa Ana my whole life, and have seen this process wreak havoc in the community. It tears me apart to see so much culture displaced. But what can we do? We can’t go up against the rich as they gentrify, right? WRONG! If we boycott gentrified businesses, we hurt the bottom line of their profits. In addition, attending City Council meetings and expressing your concerns about the issue is a great way to let your voice be heard as a citizen on the local level. The fact of the matter is that the bourgeoisie won’t stop pumping the lever on the gentrification machine-- it is up to us to unscrew its panels and rip it apart from the inside out.
Commercials Music concerts have become infamous at OCSA with their original themes incorporating different genres of music into one spectacular performance, selling out the Webb consecutively. Earlier this year, it was announced that the final show of the semester would be a tribute to Michael Jackson. Days after the announcement, the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland was released. The almost four hour documentary about the legendary singer detailed Jackson’s pedophilic relationships during the prime of his career. The documentary was a collection of interviews of the boys who were assaulted by Jackson, their families, and people close to Jackson at the time. The documentary was widely popular and got global attention. People were outraged at the newfound evidence and testimony that proved the unbelievable rumours to be true. Radio stations began boycotting Jackson’s songs and it was decided by the Commercial Music faculty to change the theme of the show from a tribute to Jackson to “Songwriters Circle”. On what was supposed to be audition day for the CM students turned into a meeting announcing the changing of the theme.
“Before the documentary had come out I was definitely happy when I heard [about the Michael Jackson theme]. I totally consider him the ‘King of Pop’ despite the controversial things that surround him” said senior Nick Estes. After the documentary came out, sophomore Michelle Lu admitted “it began feeling weird singing some of the songs, they felt tainted”. Despite the allegations, Estes said “I fully believe that the art is separate from the artist… However I think it’s obviously inappropriate to base a show around [Jackson]”. The CM students agreed that it was a little disappointing but an overall good decision to cancel the show. When asked if they still wished to be doing the Michael Jackson show, Estes said “I wish there was a little more of a theme, the new set feels like a mashup of random songs”. Lu added that she felt for the seniors who had to have a sort of last minute and thrown together final show. Despite any setbacks, Lu stated that the conservatory was still going to perform to the best of their abilities and put on a great show. “I think we can still add value through [controversial] music and make it our own, we just have to tear ourselves away from the performer and their past” Estes said. “Music is music and the reputation is completely different than the art, and we need to take care of the public opinion to not offend anyone”.
It feels like everyday, a new actor or musician is being accused of racism or sexual assault. To many, it may feel like the world is becoming too sensitive, picking apart celebrities just to see what might happen next. But these “scandals” mean more than a TMZ clickbait headline, and it’s important to recognize that movies we watch, influencers we follow, and music we listen to all comes from a human being. A human being who has opinions and makes choices, that define them. People make ignorant mistakes, and they most certainly can learn from them and change. However, before glorifying or defending someone, it’s important to take a step back and understand the severity of their words/actions. These controversies are affecting people, for a reason and they need to be recognized. In a world full of “cancel culture” the debate on where to draw the line is never ending.
It happens to the best of us. June rolls around, and Co-Star claims that you’re having trouble with “work” and “self.” After stunting tirelessly for ten continuous months, a vacuous summer vacation spans before you. What will you use your Zebra Mildliners for if not your immaculate class notes? How will you generate the euphoria of productivity without nine hour work days? Sure, you’ll have the free time to read the most recent Pulitzer Prize winner and take bike rides on the beach and picnic with friends, but you have classically conditioned yourself to enjoy the ephemeral rewards of studentship. The school year is over; what now?
One of the most common traps you will fall into is convincing yourself you deserve rest, which, of course, you do, and it is perfectly healthy to sleep in until noon that first weekend. However, if you expect to begin every morning with three hours of Netflix in bed because “you deserve it,” you’re setting yourself up for feelings of worthlessness later. School, if nothing else, provides routine, and when that routine is suddenly stripped away you may be prone to spiraling. If not for school, there’s nothing to prevent you from spending each day drifting hopelessly from bed, to computer, to kitchen and back again. In that spirit, keeping yourself busy is priority #1!
As workaholics, what we most deeply desire is progress, and so we must supplement our summers with personal, perhaps less-strenuous projects. Consider the interests which you did not have time for during the year, be it soccer, painting, cycling or running a blog where you review milk teas. Keeping yourself busy can be as basic as making to-do lists and portioning your summer homework over a long period, or designating parts of your day for walking around the block, cleaning up around the house, eating meals. Creating and sticking to a self-made schedule can be difficult, but even some semblance of structure may keep you afloat.
Arguably the most important thing is striking a fine balance between self-care and labor. You are working in preparation for the following school year, whether that be another year at OCSA or your freshman year of college, but it is also the first substantial downtime you’ve had in months. Consider some activities:
Teach yourself to cook your favorite dish
Write a letter to one of your friends, with a wax seal and all that jazz
Learn the joys of painting with Bob Ross
Make a summer playlist
Prepare to start a club for the next school year
Visit your local nature reserve or regional park
Clean out your closet
Research public facilities to volunteer at (i.e. homeless shelters, libraries)
Visit the beach and look for shells/sea glass
In reality, there’s no way to entirely avoid the existentialism. You want to do work that you can’t bring yourself to do; you end up sleeping half the day. Have grace for yourself, above all, because when the id takes precedence over your usually diligent rationale, it’s your body telling you to stop. No one and nothing can guarantee your mental health, but you can surely take measures to improve it. And that’s what summer vacation is all about, right?
Looking for something to do this summer? Well, you’ve come to the right place. For two and half months, OCSA students will be free from the confines of campus and during our freedom, it’s time to give back to our communities.
Volunteer options exist in every city of Orange County. Right here in Santa Ana you can help out at the WISEPlace housing center for homeless women; teenagers under the age of 18 can assist with a parent’s permission and donating to clothing drives are always a good way to give back. Habitat for Humanity is another nonprofit organization that students can volunteer at this summer, helping build affordable housing for the community of Santa Ana.
Huntington, Long Beach, Newport: Our beach cities have plenty of opportunities for beach clean ups, any of which you can volunteer at to help clean our environment!
Not squeamish? Try donating blood at the Red Cross or helping in their many programs as they assist the people of Orange County, such as veterans and disaster victims or even at the blood drives themselves.
Maybe teaching is more in the cards for you, there are multiple programs spanning the entire county that are committed to teaching younger children arts and academics. Find the learning center near you and see what you can do to help!
Students 18 and older can volunteer at the city of Irvine’s animal care center, helping staff with a variety of tasks, including “Cleaning kennels, doing laundry, feeding, assisting the public, and socializing adoptable animals,” according to the shelter’s website. Playing with adorable shelter pets all day? Sign us up! The catch? You have to commit to one full year of service in advance, so those of you looking to make a quick buck before going out of state for college would be better off looking elsewhere. Don’t worry, though: those of you who can’t commit to a full year can still be ‘event volunteers,’ helping place those cute, fuzzy puppies in forever homes.Those interested should join the shelter mailing list by emailing IACCInterestList@cityofirvine.org.
Or maybe you’re interested in giving back to the community! In that case, volunteering at the Irvine senior center would be perfect for you! Students 14 and up can apply to volunteer 3 hours per week for at least 3 months, helping Irvine senior centers serve citizens in their golden years. Choose from a range of city services to help out with, including Meals on Wheels, the Rose Garden Cafe, and Senior Support Services. Those interested should email a statement of interest to Connie Larr at email@example.com.
A list of lovely summer jams curated especially for YOU by the Evolution Staff <3 (on both Apple Music AND Spotify, because we care)
Khala Quail - Driving to Hawaii by Summer Salt
“It just feels like you’re in a car with a group of friends driving. FUN.”
Frankie Fanelli - Love Forever by The Babe Rainbow
“This song is so groovy and fun and perfect for adventuring and having dance parties with your friends during summer break!”
Amanda Mendoza - Good As Hell by Lizzo
“The song is catchy and empowering!”
Abby Johnson - Feels Like Summer by Childish Gambino
“Fun vibe, upbeat and talks about summer. Fun and chill song.”
Lauren Willard - Wham Bam Shang-a-Lang by Silver
“Wham bam shang a lang and a yayayaya y ayayaya.”
Chelsea Schack - Eternity Leave by Cheekface
“This song kills it! The instrumentals are fun and bouncy, the lyrics are fantastic- the sound of it really encapsulates walking to the parking lot on the last day. That said, the song is about feeling awful on social media and in life, which is also a summer mood.”
Nick Charles - One Magic Moment by Bad Suns
“The first reason I chose this song is because it's a fantastic song that just makes me feel good whenever it comes on. It's a very positive song that has some lines about California being on fire, which is always a good thing. The other reason I want this song in there is because Bad Suns is a fantastic band that should get more recognition, so with this, I hope I can provide a few more fans.”
Louis Tonkovich - Country Death Song by Violet Femmes
“This chilling ballad about a starving husband who murders his daughter out of boredom and despair and then takes his own life is the perfect tune to pump you up over vacation.”
Cas Kesig - Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks
“Besides Ray Davies's repressed British glamour, this song is just a jam. It's what you listen to while stuck in traffic on your way to LA, and your 2003 Honda Civic is trapping in the 90 degree heat. After 40 years, it remains timeless.”
Hannah Franklin - Make It Better by Anderson .Paak
“It's a funky, chill bop that you'll be vibing to all summer :)”
Emilia Angotti - You Don’t Have to Walk a Begonia by Mort Garson
“The perfect tune to jaunt to as you stroll besides a botanical garden. This song can also double as an excellent rhythm to play hide and go seek with.”
Aubree Mead - Live Wire by Motley Crue
“Because Motley Crue.”
Maddy Ernst - South by Hippo Campus
“The beat and feel of the song is very summer-y and it makes me happy just listening to it :-))))”
Kyle Urbaniak - Papaya by Urzula Dudziak
“This song is so fun and the world should know it.”
Anya Ernst - Right As Rain by Adele
“It’s cute and jazzy and perfect to bop along to in the car !! It makes me feel happy and I think it will make you too :-)”
Amy Basile - Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
“An oldie, but a goodie! There's something about this song that always puts a smile on my face and makes me think of early morning sunshine, and by early morning I mean ten o'clock and no earlier. Perfect for sleeping in and making some pancakes.”
Mikayla Chua - Forever Dumb by Surf Curse
“Summa in a song, baby. Don't listen to Claire's. Read this first. Boycott Crab Rave.”
Claire Jones - Crab Rave by Noisestorm
“This song really brings you to the beach. Listen, imagine yourself as a crab, and rave. Let the music take you away. When the beat drops, claws up baby. Here is my favorite lyric: do do do dodo do do dooodo! Listen to mine before Mikayla's. Read this one before Mikayla's. Don't be Forever Dumb and listen to Crab Rave.”
Katherine Baugio - Karma by AJR
“AJR's my favorite band and this is my favorite song off of their new album, Neotheater. This album is amazing, they integrated bits of pieces of songs into others, like the cowbell from 100 Bad Days into this one. If you like this, please go check out their other albums- The Click, and Living Room!”
Brianna Roesler - Dance, Baby! by Boy Pablo
“It has a catchy tune and such a fun beat that just makes you want to dance! It’s an awesome song to play during a pool party or a summer road trip!”
Jayna Bosse - HEARTBROKEN by Blackbear
“It just came out and saying it goes hard would be an understatement. Kind of the move for a night out with the buds, not gonna lie.”
Estelle Vaughn - Blue Bird by Zachary Knowles
“This song is very calm and has a sweet tone to it. It is perfect for those late night summer drives or to play while you're sunbathing at the beach.”
Sage Skaar - Fallingwater by Maggie Rogers
“Maggie Rogers is summer incarnate. Her voice makes me think of palm trees and red sunsets and thunderstorms, and perfectly embodies the wild, glorious spirit of a summer that brims with adventure.”
Erin Kim - Pilot Jones by Frank Ocean
“Nice lil throwback to 2012 .”
So here we are! It’s the end of the year seniors, and let’s admit it- we are all either exhausted, elated, or oh so terribly nostalgic for the good ol’ days. But no matter how we feel, we all have an opinion about our experience at OCSA, because our years here have become a part of us. I asked some seniors about their time at school, what they loved, hated, and how they would change their high school experience. Elise Ton (VA), Liz Swingler (CAH), and Bryson Taylor (MT) shared their insights.
First off, let’s start with the positive. What did these seniors love about OCSA, and how did those experiences at OCSA shape them. Swingler said, “OCSA has a great student body, and everyone is themselves because there isn’t a reason to hide who you truly are. It really helped me become who I am by having me interact with different people and learn from different teaching styles.”
“The expressiveness of the students. I can’t thank my friends and classmates enough for being who they are. As it’s caused me to come out of my shell and become more comfortable with who I am,” Ton said.
Taylor shared the same sentiment. “OCSA puts you with a unique group of students that you wouldn’t see together at a normal high school. This creates an ‘artsy’ culture… it’s shaped me as a person.”
Yet not all OCSA experiences are a walk in the park. With every rose comes its thorns. With the prestige of OCSA does unfortunately, come with its downsides. These students were asked to reflect about what they would change about their school.
Swingler hesitantly admitted that she feels that OCSA is “using the money we get from Gala and other big events to help renovate or improve the school, for example, the bathroom.”
Taylor on the other hand thinks the school could have improved its lack of communication during his tenure.
“Emails about important things can be inconsistent and it feels like every year they keep changing how they communicate with us” he said.
And lastly, while their years in high school come to a close, they all had something they wanted to improve in regarding their experience.
Ton said she would have joined clubs “dedicated to saving the environment, like ‘Save the Bees’” and that she would have “participated in Camp OCSA, since it would have been a great chance to teach others about drawing or painting.”
“I would talk to more people. Generally, I am a more shy person, and when it comes to meeting new people, I have a hard time coming out of my shell,” Swingler said.
“I would put myself out there more: Join more clubs early on, go to dances, and go to more shows/events of conservatories that aren’t MT,” Taylor said.
But alas, seniors can’t change their high school experience. However, in this last month of our high-school career, I urge all of you to make the most of the little time we have left here!
Seniors! Graduation is just around the corner. Now go look in one of the full-length mirrors in those nasty tower bathrooms you never became nose-blind to. The person standing there is the product of living and dying for approximately four to six years straight.
For the majority of us, the first day of OCSA seems like its very own tall tale: whether you were the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hi-my-name-is-and-I’m-happy-to-be-here student or running for the hills to tell mother about transferring to a public school, you stayed. Either way, it’s been a rollercoaster ride for all and has undoubtedly shaped not only the artist but the human being since first stepping foot on campus. With only a few days left of their journey here, seniors reminisce how their expectations and experiences at OCSA have grown and changed.
There are some last things to do for the seniors around campus who are living out their last few days of high school. “I want to go to more senior parties and actually go and socialize. I’m gonna go to Prom this year, which I never planned on doing in the beginning of the year,” Jamie Finn (CW) said. While making memories is on the top of the priority list for seniors, for others, senioritis is kicking into full gear: “In the best way possible, I don’t want to worry about school.” Remi Frogo (VA) said.
There are still some things to be said about graduation though. With June on its way here, students are starting graduation countdowns on social media. To sum up the senior experience in its entirety in one word, Ellie Williams (CM) said it’s “unreal.” She also said that something she hopes to do before she graduates is to try out one of the OCSA cookies.
With so little time left, maybe it’s time to cross off the last few checkmarks on their high school bucket list and spend these last couple of months with no ragrets.
The vast majority of these grades were written during the draft. All picks after the Redskins’ trade for Montez Sweat were done after the draft because I was cohosting a draft analysis show. Only one pick was edited and that will be clearly marked with my explanation for the change.
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I’m a fan of Kyler Murray. He’s a very good quarterback who should be incredibly successful in Kliff Kingsbury’s system. Because of how good he is, I’m not too upset about this pick. That said, Josh Rosen is a decent quarterback and they shouldn’t be dumping him one year after trading up to select him. They also have yet to find a trade partner for him, so they aren’t getting anything back.
San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, OSU
I’m not a huge fan of Bosa because he has a lot of trouble against offensive tackles with long arms. That said, he fits the scheme and is the safest player in the class. He’s a talented player who does very well against tackles with lesser reach. Long tackles will give him trouble, but there are enough mediocre/short tackles that Bosa will have a very good career.
New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Quinnen Williams is the best player in the draft by a long way. He’s just amazing and will be a ton of fun to watch right next to Leonard Williams. Great pick. He’s and athletic tackle who dominates everyone in his path but is soft spoken off the field. He seems like a decent human being and may already be the second best defensive tackle in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
I honestly don’t know how to feel about this pick. I think I like it but I had him going much later. I think they could’ve traded down and still gotten him. He’s a great player, so I don’t hate the pick. He’s one of the premier technicians at the position in this draft, so he’s not likely to bust. That said, they could have gotten him for much cheaper.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Devin White is a high potential player, but he’s very raw. He still has trouble tackling and fulfilling his assignment. They weren’t good at teaching Kwon Alexander, I don’t know that this will be any different.
New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
He’s a high floor, low ceiling player. I hate this pick so much. He’s accurate, but not that accurate. He’s almost mobile, but not quite. This pick is one that I detest because he’s not someone who has a chance to be a top ten player in the league, but he was taken at six. He’s been drafted to sit and develop, but he doesn’t have much room to develop.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
I like the player and like that he has amazing company to learn from. I don’t like that they ignored their offensive line, but I like that he has the chance to realize his potential.
Winning moment so far was Allen trying to put the hat on his kid. That was adorable
Detroit Lions: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Hockenson is a very good player who can block and receive. He’s a very good TE and he should be very successful for Detroit. I think that they should’ve gone with the defensive side of the ball, but he’s a good player and I can’t really fault them. That said, it does reek of Eric Ebron/Aaron Donald. He’s a better rounded prospect than Ebron, but it’s still somewhat questionable
Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Ed Oliver is a fantastic player whose stats were diminished by the fact that he played over the center for his entire career. He should be a great producer at the NFL level and I think that he will be a fantastic addition to the team. I wish they got Josh Allen some help, but I still can’t dislike the pick. They need to get Juwaan Taylor or Dalton Risner in the next round though (that last sentence was written after the draft)
Denver Broncos: TRADE to Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
This would be an A+ if not for his outfit. He’s an amazing player who fills a massive hole on the Steelers roster. This is my favorite pick so far. Bush is almost as athletic as Devin White, but he’s a more polished player. it wouldn’t shock me if some teams had higher grades on Bush than they did on White.
Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
They had a massive need at tackle. This gives new coach Zac Taylor a year to work with Dalton and see what he thinks and it helps the Bengals prepare for the future as well. Great selection.
Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Eww. This is a terrible pick. He’s not much of a scheme fit, he’s not a great player, and he isn’t a need. This is my least favorite pick so far. He’s not a football player, he’s just an athlete.
Miami Dolphins: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Honestly, anything other than a QB is a good pick here. They want a QB next year, so they are fine with losing this year. Wilkins won’t singlehandedly give you more wins, but he makes your team better. This is a great player. He’s also a great person who moonlights as a substitute teacher and had his teammate who was suspended for drug usage move in with him to help the guy kick the habit. Miami should be very happy that they got one of the best people in the draft.
Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
I really like this pick. Lindstrom is a great player and they needed help at guard. It was so widely accepted that they’d take a DT that I went with it as well, but it filled a need and he’s the best OG in the draft.
Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins is a very solid quarterback who needs a good supporting cast. He may not have the receivers he’d like, but he’s got the offensive line. This is a good pick that lets them play win now.
Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, EDGE, FSU
This was a pick most people expected and it was the right pick. They needed young help along the line and they got it with Burns. I’m personally a bit lower on him than most, but he’s got the potential to be very good, and even I had him going higher than this
New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Why can the Giants not draft? That was bad. They still don’t have a capable right tackle and they had one who fell into their hands. I hate this so much. I recognize that they need a guy to replace Damon Harrison, who they traded for a fifth round pick, but they could’ve gotten someone like that next round and helped their offense now. This is a terrible draft for the Giants already and I don’t know if it can be salvaged.
Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
I like Bradbury a lot. He’s a good player. That said, they have Pat Elflein, who is decent, and Juwaan Taylor is a better player who is still available
EDIT: Grade: B+
I was informed that Pat Elflein was actually PFF’s worst center in the league and that he’ll be kicked outside to guard, where he’s a better fit. This is a very good pick with that knowledge.
Tennessee Titans: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons is an amazing player, but they lost two edge rushers and Montez Sweat was available. Sweat could’ve turned them into a playoff team. Instead, they went with a guy who might not even play next year. He’s one of the best players in the draft but they should try for more of an instant impact who also has high potential. Sweat would’ve given them that. It’s also hard to get over Simmons’ character concerns. Not my favorite pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: TRADE to Denver Broncos: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Broncos have not had a good tight end for many years. This gives them a great weapon in the pass game. This was a fantastic pick that should have a higher grade, but I’m a Chargers fan.
Seattle Seahawks: TRADE to Green Bay Packers: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland
He’s one of my favorite safeties and he’s mostly a centerfielder. That’s an amazing pick for what the Packers needed. Dropped to an A- because they probably didn’t need to trade up to get Savage.
Baltimore Ravens: TRADE to Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Dillard, OT, WSU
Dillard is an amazing pass blocker who the Texans needed. This was a smart trade and it prepares them for when Peters retires. Great pick.
Houston Texans: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
I am not a big fan of this pick. He was dominant against lesser competition, but I’m not sure how he’ll be against NFL players. There are many better offensive tackles available and Tytus Howard is just too much of a question mark when we haven’t seen him play against quality competition. This should have been Risner or Taylor.
Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
He would’ve been available at their next pick or even at thirty five. He’s a good player and he fills a huge need, but I don’t think it’s what they needed to do here. They could’ve had Tillery or Sweat and either would’ve been better.
Philadelphia Eagles: TRADE: Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
I don’t like this. Lamar Jackson was not accurate last year and Marquise Brown is tiny. I loved the idea of him reuniting with Kyler Murray because he’s accurate. Jackson is not an accurate enough quarterback at this point to warrant the selection of Marquise Brown
Indianapolis Colts: TRADE to Washington Redskins: Montez Sweat
I like Montez Sweat, but Dwayne Haskins needs more help than he has. They should’ve gotten someone like AJ Brown who can get separation and create easy throws. They already have a great defense; this should’ve improved their offense.
Oakland Raiders: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
I don’t like this pick. They have Karl Joseph, who, while not great, is not bad and he’s still young. There were much bigger needs that had better players available. Abram is good, but not as good as Tillery or someone of that calliber
Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
As a Chargers fan, this was the pick I’d been hoping for throughout the entire draft process. He’s a fantastic player, being a threat both against the run and as a pass rusher. He’ll make life even more difficult for opposing quarterbacks and it helps stop the run. This is an amazing pick that I love. It’s one of my favorites in the draft.
Seattle Seahawks: L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
Why did they do this? Sure, they need a defensive end, but it’s not that likely that Collier goes before the Seahawks’ next pick. They could’ve taken Nasir Adderley or Cody Ford, but they didn’t for some puzzling reason. This was an awful pick and shouldn't have happened. This gets even lower than an F because they traded their next pick as well, which they should’ve used for either of the aforementioned players.
Seattle Seahawks: TRADE to New York Giants: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
It’s only not an F because he’s a good player who kind of fills a need. However, they had two great RTs available: Dalton Risner and Juwaan Taylor. Neither should have fallen out of the first round and both would have fit for the Giants. I don’t hate this pick as much as the last one or the next one, but I still hate it
Los Angeles Rams: TRADE to Atlanta Falcons: Kaleb McGary, RT, Washington
He’s not the best RT available and he’s not even worthy of a first round pick. He certainly wasn’t worth getting rid of your second and third round picks for. Terrible pick with both Dalton Risner and Juwaan Taylor on the board
New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR, ASU
N’Keal Harry is a very good player who fills a need. He does not, however, fill their biggest need: tight end. I don’t think they’ll wind up with Irv Smith now and I don’t know if they’ll be able to get Jace Sternberger either. That is a major loss for a team that just lost one of the best tight ends of all time