OC in Flames
Hannah Enriquez - Arts Editor
6:00 pm on Monday night the orange flames swallowed the hill by my house as we hurried to remember all of our things. The wind carried thin clouds of smoke and the distant sound of sirens. With an aura of mystery, we did not yet know the severity of the burgeoning monster clothed in pure red malice and enmity. It was my mom who grabbed all of the photo frames, my brother who filled his suitcase with stuffed animals, and me, who grabbed my journals and favorite dresses.
I felt like a character ripped straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, the smoke and light from the fire creating a filter in front of my eyes, like highly saturated glasses. With little time to think or act, we were thrown into chaos, grabbing anything we could physically move. The ear-deafening sirens once miles away, now rang loudly in our ears from down the street. The words "This is a mandatory evacuation, you need to leave immediately" echoed throughout our once quiet neighborhood.
This was the case for hundreds of Corona families on that Monday night in September. Not long after, another fire, this time in Anaheim, began during school hours and affected many OCSA students. Senior Hannah Campbell (IA) recalls the moment she learned about the gravity of the fire. “I found out about the fire from my little sister at school. She came up to me at lunch and told me that my mom was evacuating our house, but she didn’t know anything else. I tried to get a hold of my parents while I was still at school, and when I eventually did, my mom told me that the hiking trail right next to our house had gone up in flames.”
Since most of the students were in school when the evacuation orders were set into place, there was no way to get information on where the fire was spreading or if their houses were being threatened. Sophomore Kassidy Aslay (IA) remembers the phone call with her mom when she heard the news. “My mom answered the phone when I called her, but she sounded rushed. She said there was a helicopter over our neighborhood yelling down at everyone that they had to evacuate. She then hung up on me. That was the first day of Homecoming spirit week, and everyone was celebrating with the DJ at lunch, but I didn't feel like dancing. I felt like crying. I have never lived in another house. I was brought to that house from the hospital when I was born, and I was so scared that I was going to lose it and all the memories it held.”
Although there were some who refused to leave their houses, the ones that did had their eyes glued to the TV screen, watching for updates or looking for any reassurance about their property. Aslay, who was evacuated twice, once from her house, and then again from her grandparents’, commented “It was completely devastating to see people that I've known for so long, lose everything so fast. One of my good friends showed up on the screen of the TV with his house completely burnt down behind him.”
When the evacuations were lifted, the aftermath was revealed to be quite apocalyptic. The rolling hills once green, were transformed into a charred stretch of lifeless land. Senior Olivia Castillo (IA) expressed her thoughts with much gratitude, thankful that her house was safe. “When I finally got home I was so relieved that nothing was destroyed. It made me realize that I shouldn’t take anything for granted because it could all be gone in a couple of seconds.”
A Night Under the Lights
Morgan Hohenester - Staff Writer
Homecoming was a night filled with strobe lights, dancing, memories, and blisters. School dances only come three times a year, and students look forward to dressing up with their friends and letting loose for a night free of stress. For freshmen, homecoming was the first opportunity to experience a high school dance. For seniors, it was their last homecoming.
People also expressed concern for the rule that you were not allowed to take your shoes off during the dance. Even though there was an email sent out informing the students about this rule, most students were unaware of it, and had to endure their aching feet. After talking to Chris Dion about the shoe rule, it has been clarified that this rule has been enforced at every school dance in the past. The House of Blues has its own rules about wearing shoes, and these rules were enforced heavily throughout the night, and was out of OCSA’s control.
Some students, such as this anonymous creative writing junior, were even kicked out of the dance. As the night was coming to a close, she decided to jump up onto the stage with the DJ and dance. She said, “It was honestly the most fun I had all night. I seriously could have stayed up there the whole night.” She explained that she had the DJ’s permission to jump on stage, and there was some misunderstanding from the people who escorted her off of the stage.
The most important part of any dance is the DJ. “At homecoming, I spent the majority of the time on the dance floor,” said senior Jackie Porter (CM). Dancing is the main activity at a school dance, so a bad DJ can ruin the entire experience. The DJ did a good job at incorporating different types of music to get everyone up and dancing.
There were tons of positive things to be said about the venue. Above the dance floor was a large space available for students to sit down and take a break from dancing. This area was perfect for the students who preferred to socialize with friends and avoid the crowds. At previous dances, there were places for students to sit, but seats were usually very limited. This upstairs addition was just what they needed!
All in all, aching feet and crowded dance floors can be easily overlooked when you can dance the night away with friends. “A night spent with the people I care about was just what I needed to take my mind off of college apps. I’m already looking forward to the last two dances of the year” said Han.
OCSA's Homecoming Game
Emilia Angotti - Photo Editor
The scene is set with techno music blaring and the announcer calling out every pun known to man. The cheering crowd anxiously watches, stomping their feet and screaming in excitement. As we pan down to the players we see various teams sporting sweatbands, customized shirts, or simple white tees with black sharpie scribbled on. Red orbs line up awaiting their first victim, glistening in the sun. This isn't just any ordinary sports game… this is the annual OCSA dodgeball tournament.
Who needs a school football team when we have dozens of teams ready to beat each other senseless with a foam ball? This tradition has been practiced at OCSA for many years, the alumni still recalling their glory days of competing in the tournament.
Friday the 13th was the perfect day for the fall dodgeball tournament: inviting a no-mercy mentality. “After school every day we'd practice,” said sophomore Brady Mullins (IA), describing the tactics his team the defending champions, the Dodgefathers, put forth in preparing for the battlefield. “We'd just come out, throw the ball around, play three vs three little scrimmages, that kind of thing.” Mullins is one of the newest and youngest members added to the team recruited by junior Devon Smith (IM Jazz).
A new team on the field, the Underwater Squad, stood cluttered in a circle blasting music and bobbing up and down. Their strategy was different than other teams, but helped them get through the first few rounds. “We listened to our hype song on repeat to get us really hyped and motivated out there,” said sophomore Aaron Anderson (VA). The team continued to reference the song “It G Ma” by Keith Ape, and dedicated their team name to the artist.
The key to winning dodgeball? Getting pumped. Senior David Pulido (ACT), member of the Nebraskan Armadillos, reminisced on past years with his teammates: “We've gone to my house and had a huge practice where we all just got hyped up and threw balls at each other.” Pulido seems to reference a beginning case of senioritis as he reflects on how times have changed since their first tournament: “When we were 9th graders we had a reason to play that included beating the seniors, and now we don't have those seniors to beat.”
A motive is clearly needed to keep a team energized in order to reach the finals. With just the right amount of hope and spirit, teams can sometimes push forward to keep on playing. “Everyone said we were gonna lose but we ended up coming in third,” said sophomore Meredith Foley (CMD). Foley represents Mondodge, a team of students who are also part of OCSA’s performance group Montage.The team radiated spirit from their personal cheerleaders/fellow montagers.
When it comes down to the final game, it doesn't matter how many kids were pelted in the head, how many lone sweatbands were strewn on the synthetic grass, and how many pale thighs were exposed. Dodgeball team Dragon took home the trophy, gleaming with happiness as they knocked down the last Nebraskan Armadillo.
Operation Menstruation: This Time It's Personal
Katrina Hung - Staff Writer
Tables line up along 10th Street as people make their way to different booths for the annual Fall Club Rush. Soon, a crowd of excited students begins to form at a booth, eagerly awaiting their turn to sign their name onto this club’s roster. Who’s getting the spotlight this year? Operation Menstruation. With over a hundred sign ups during the fall club rush, Operation Menstruation has kicked off the year with two major goals achieved: implementing free and accessible pads around the school, and expanding their presence in the local community.
But first, a little clarification. When most people hear of Operation Menstruation, it’s immediately assumed that their sole purpose is getting pads to the school bathrooms. Yet, that’s only the beginning. According to co-president of Operation Menstruation, senior Natalia Ramirez (VA), “we hope to break away from the stigma around periods by raising awareness and acceptance. This is so critical-- especially in schools like OCSA that have such young students.”
For the past year, Operation Menstruation has been working in the direction of being able to provide OCSA with free and accessible pads for students who needs them. Through several student fundraisers and the help of various admin, as of the 2017 fall semester, pads are available in the health office, front desk in the lobby, student services, and the 3rd and 6th floor gender neutral bathrooms. For Senior Amy Huang (VA), co-president and founder of Operation Menstruation, “accessibility to pads is something that isn’t widely addressed, yet it’s a necessity for students to thrive in a school environment.” With this major change implemented, “seeing the relief on my friends’ faces when they find out the 3rd and 6th bathrooms are stocked with pads reminds me how valuable the change we are bringing to OCSA really is,” said Ramirez.
The concept of getting accessible pads in schools has been dramatically growing as more people have begun to acknowledge the importance of implementing this change. Just recently, on October 12, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure requiring sixth-12th grade schools with low income students to provide free feminine hygiene products to all who need it. With this new bill passed, “we know that the future has lots of promise regarding sanitation rights for uterus owners” said Huang as she explained what this action’s direction could serve for the future goal of Operation Menstruation to spread their ideas to other schools statewide.
The Right Time to Pull The Plug
Kat Long - Staff Writer
Friday lunches are events all OCSA students look forward to each week. From spirit events to band performances, this day allows students to celebrate the beginning of the weekend in style. Although these student-run DJ booths have been staples of Fridays and 10th Street culture with their wide variety of music selection, not all music is considered fitting for a school setting.
There have been many issues regarding 10th street DJs, leading to many complaints and disapproval from students. This year, administration has had multiple situations resulting in pulling the plug on certain DJ events.
“In general the regulations are the same,” Chris Dion said. Although the rules have seemingly changed, Dion and Stacy Leimkuhler have focused this year on implementing the rules in a stricter and more refined way. “We need to remind students of the culture of inclusivity,” Leimkuhler said, stressing the importance of playing music that is enjoyable and appropriate for all grades.
However, as 10th Street dance sessions have noticeably been shut down throughout this year, students question the fairness and freedom of Friday DJ events.
Senior Gavin Conlon (FTV) discovered the strictness placed on DJs after being banned due to his controversial music choices last year. “I feel like allowing and giving permission to play explicit material is strange since bible verses cannot be played,” Conlon said. This rule regarding explicit music has always been present, and it has enforced recently.
“We have made an effort this year to make sure we are visible,” Dion said. While Friday lunches are meant to be a celebratory and prideful event, playing explicit music, although enjoyable for some, can be looked at as offensive by others.
This is what differentiates high school dances from Friday lunches. “Dances are not an open environment,” Leimkuhler said. In the past, such as Prom last year, DJs have strayed from the school appropriate playlists to play more modern explicit music. “We give DJs a list of clean music, however occasionally a mistake happens at the dance,” Leimkuhler said.
Dance regulations, not being on school property, are not as strict. “We are playing to different audiences,” Leimkuhler said, “at OCSA, we are on an open campus with parents and donors occasionally on property.” In order to maintain the fun of this event, some precautions have to be set.
“Friday lunches are a nice tradition that is well received by OCSA alumni and San Gabriel Valley,” Dion said. Now carried on to OCSA’s new sister school, these lunches are memorable experiences that are meant to connect and celebrate the student body of OCSA.
Man on the Street: So... What Do You Think About Thanksgiving?
Tim Park - Features Editor
It comes after Halloween, but it’s not quite Christmas. We asked OCSA students to reveal their true feelings on this awkward, middle school phase of a holiday.
Senior Ale Marsh (CW)
“My family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving because we are proud pagans. It brings us joy to go against the American system and celebrate our own version of Thanksgiving, Autumn Sacrifice. In this tradition, we sacrifice a child and put it on a rotisserie and let it make plenty of rotations around the fire. The smokey flavor is what makes the whole dish. For dessert we participate in our familial tradition of sucking the sweetness from each other’s skin. Oh, and then we have pumpkin pie!”
Senior Gabrielle Aoki (VA)
“I lost my brother to a turkey.”
Senior Rahul Alexander (FTV)
“We throw ourselves over for idols of greatness and what can only be described as figures of god and power. But the mistake we make as humans is thinking that only our fellow beings have that kind of position. No. Turkeys, if you think about it closely, really do embody these idols of divinity. More than 45 million years of evolution separate turkeys from chickens. The ancestors of these great creatures have watched the cycles of life and the universe take place, they’ve seen us grow and mature, they’ve watched us taking their lives for whim and festivities. But the day of reckoning will come when they pardon us. They’ve been around a long time and there are secrets we should be afraid of.”
Life's A Peach
Maya Maharaj - Editor in Chief
On the night of October 21, Roald Dahl’s popular novel “James and the Giant Peach” was brought to Symphony Hall by Integrated Arts’ middle schoolers and freshmen. Being the youngest of OCSA’s students, one would expect the grit of the story to have to be watered down in order for underclassmen to pull it off. That said, the performance was anything but diluted. The show began with the actors cutting right to the pith of the story. They sang out the lines “right before your eyes” as a curtain was pulled, revealing the giant wooden peach sitting in the center of the stage.
In the play version, five giant insects and a young boy, all of who are detached from their families, live inside a giant peach. During this time they search for a sense of belonging while navigating dangerous encounters from starvation, to sharks, to greedy aunts.
Though the script of the play is slightly different than the novel, it still maintained a sentiment that is common in many of Roald Dahl’s books: Don’t underestimate the abilities of a child.
The students in and behind the scenes of the performance honored this concept through the quality of their work. Sure, the adults in their lives weren’t necessarily cruel villains like Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda” or The Grand High Witch in “The Witches.” That said, all of the students working the show were heroic in the skill and diligence they used to navigate complications as they came up. In putting on such a great show, they rose above the expectations placed on their age group.
Eighth grader Ian Escalante (IA) describes one of the back-stage mishaps they were able to work around. “I remember backstage that we would do crazy fast mic changes that would be really stressful to do. During one show I almost did not make it to places due to mic changes, but me and the amazing PD crew working backstage pulled through and did it successfully.” After this, everything was peaches and cream. Ian was still able to give a compelling performance as the earthworm, singing and dancing to a samba number in order to entice some seagulls the Spider needed to catch.
The role of the students behind the curtain was just as essential as that of the students in front of it. Junior Ruby Singer (PD & CW) worked lighting for the show while she shadowed some other PD students. Singer had worked other shows outside of OCSA before, but this performance, “seemed a lot more professional-not just with the space and equipment but with the attitudes of the cast and crew as well. Everyone had a job that they knew how to do well, and we knew how to balance getting work done in the limits of tech week and taking breaks to avoid completely frying ourselves out.”
The key to their success was maintaining and evenness between executing actions on cue and approaching the mishaps with a positive attitude. Sophomore Kyle Kim (PD) said, “My favorite part was during the last show when James was supposed to fake trip and fall but instead just slowly laid down.”
Roald Dahl’s novel has a reputation for being controversial among school boards nationwide. Virginia banned it from being read in school for encouraging children to disobey authority. Ohio banned it for its communist undertones. Wisconsin banned it for the use of the word “ass.”
If there’s anything OCSA’s production of “James and the Giant Peach” showed us, it is that young students are more than capable of handling subject matter maturely. They showed their full capacity of teamwork, showmanship, and acting range, their collaborative youth effort adding to the richness of the story’s main message.
Fall Recipe: Smashed Up Mash
A modern twist on a holiday classic, Evolution and chef Chaka teamed up to create a smashing hit dish Smashed Potatoes. This will definitely help you make it through the Thanksgiving break in shape.
Pesto Potato cake with tomato-zucchini sauce
Sauce: 2 ½ T. olive oil; 1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 large clove garlic chopped
1 14-oz. can of Italian style stewed tomatoes
Cake: 3 cups of mashed potatoes
(1 ½ lbs. Russet potatoes mashed with ¼ cups of milk)
1 t. Butter, salt, pepper)
1 egg; 3 tbsp Prepared pesto sauce
Heat 2 T. oil in heavy skillet over med. Heat. Add zucchini and saute until it begins to brown, about 5 min. Add garlic, cook 1 min. Mix in tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 8 min. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 475° F. Brush 8 inch cake pan of potato mixture in cake pan. Spread half of pesto over that. Repeat. End with potato layer on top.
Bake potato cake until heated through and light brown, about 15-20 min. Let stand 5 min. Cut into wedges. Spoon tomato-zucchini sauce alongside.
Creative Writers Get Spooky
I knew walking into Scarefest that I would be expecting the unexpected, and by the truest standpoint I was able to experience that. I began walking into Symphony Hall.
Scarefest is a 48-hour event involving a group of creative writers that are given a set of three categories- character, prop or line of dialogue- in which they are then prompted to use these categories to create a scene. Teams from different conservatories are then given these scenes and a 48 hour span to rehearse and perform these scenes to the audience.
Based on the circumstances given, I wanted to know if the writers sensed any form of competition between the creative writing teams. I interviewed senior Matt Matusiewicz to get a deeper insight regarding competition. He explained that the creative writing teams are pretty fair and they ultimately want to deliver. The team’s overwhelming sense of drive allows for passion and dismisses any sense of competition. One thing Matt said that stuck with me was his reference towards the people involved in this event,”They were ultimately challenging people to have fun which creates a communal vibe for the teams. It is all about having fun with friends.”
I sat in the audience, both anxious and curious. Three mics stood alone on an open stage as quiet conversations accumulated the room upon the beginning of the show. The energy seemed very relaxed and the audience was more than ready. The first play was titled “Kitchen Table,” written by senior Emma Kuli (CW). Her scene had to involve a prop (Book of the Dead), and dialogue (“She whipped and nay-nayed all over the place”). She incorporated this in a story about a troublesome teenage girl who cannot tell her father she crashed the car coming home from a Halloween party. The energy from the creative writing teams as well as the audience were authentically supportive. Throughout all of varying plays, the actors were delivering the content of the scripts and were interactive with the crowd. One actress, senior Arianna Linder (CW), explained the factors that make Scarefest so intriguing,”The director of my play gave me and fellow actors a lot of freedom.” The freedom that she was given created a sense of casualty and enjoyment within the event.
During intermission, I witnessed interactions among the teams. Creative writers, among other participants, were authentically cheering each other on, in addition to giving genuine compliments. The generosity that all the teams presented gave a sense of love and care. Watching this shifted my expectations completely, for at first, I believed the event was naturally going to be competitive, due to the teams want to have the best play. Rather it was the complete opposite, people from other teams were helping and supporting their upcoming plays. As the last play performed their last scene, all of the teams and actors came together for a collective bow.
I experienced many things from this event. I was able to witness love and passion the conservatories shared with one another. Matt was right when he said the event was very communal- seeing the integration of many conservatories come together to perform was very humbling. Any form of competition was completely eliminated and it became solely based upon the conservatories support, care, and love for one another’s art. The event was unlike any other; it gave the audience the love and passion of what these conservatories do.
Creative Writers Get Spooky
The Commercial Music Conservatory rallied in yet another excited crowd as they experimented with Generations of Rock. From the birth of rock n roll in the 60’s to the popular rock hits of today the students showed their abilities to adapt not only their vocals, but their stage performance. However, taking on the beast that is rock, this was no easy task. This genre is filled with strong personalities and vocals the highschool students have learned to master.
Senior Trinity Milosek was given the song “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by rock powerhouse Joan Jett. Milosek speaks about her process with the song:
“Not gonna lie, this song was not something I’d imagine myself on, but as time progressed I was able to really begin appreciating the song and how much it relied on its performance in order to enhance the message.”
Along with its messages there are many other important aspects of rock music that vary over decades. “Barracuda” by Heart differs strongly from “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, but they are both considered rock songs.
Senior Emi Meronk talks about the topic of rock’s evolution: “I think older rock has a very specific vibe. It is very raw and real whereas newer rock music is much more clean. I think both styles are great in their own ways. I got to sing “Trampled Underfoot” by Led Zeppelin; I definitely developed an affinity for 70’s music.”
Exposing its students to different music styles has always been a goal of the conservatory, as it is shown by their wide variety of shows. Last years shows included “UK Invasion” as well as a Prince tribute show.
Discussing the importance of music exploration, Meronk said “I think it’s important to make connections between eras and it opens up your mind to a whole new side of music. Each era is unique in it’s own way and each genre can help you understand a new side of music. Different eras and genres of music can also inspire your personal compositions or songwriting.
Fashion Theme || Spooktacular Special
This edition of Fashion Theme features outfits students have been preparing for weeks and months. Costumes worthy enough to walk down the steps of symphony hall, striking a pose to better emulate the persona they've adopted for the day. Here are some of the highlights from Halloween 2017.
A tradition that all OCSA students abide to. A religion that we practice, OCSA halloween is something we will never forget, a memorable event that all students and faculty participate in. Whether you like it or not, it's a must to dress up for Halloween, as can be seen from blanket of ghosts, bratz dolls, and clowns heaped on 10th street. Even students that seemingly did not have a costume came up with an alibi to avoid the abrasive comments from advocates of the sp00ky season.
The trending costumes of the season was unanimously voted as Bratz Dolls, Stephen King’s It, and recurring characters from Stranger things as their new season recently aired. Our pop culture continuing to influence our brainstorming ideas for the most celebrated holiday here at OCSA. With internet influencers taking inspiration through Bratz Dolls, the costume allows the students to express their inner glam without having too many eyes follow them down the halls. “It” was a hit, having handfuls of interpreted Pennywise and Eddies with their “Lover” casts. Overall Halloween 2017 served the purpose and allowed students to express their hidden identity, whether it's a towering Bratz doll, or a murderous clown, OCSA Halloween is the place to express, as always. Until next year. Stay Spooky!
Photo Contest Winner
Photo Taken by René Tetter (FTV)
You know what makes me so angry? When people get to the front of the lunch line and don't have their card out. It makes getting your lunch a whole lot longer, because they hold up the line trying to find their card. It makes me super annoyed, as I'm a super impatient person. Any tips on how to deal with this?
Dear Impatient Student,
I feel your pain. There is nothing worse than salivating over a warm pepperoni pizza stick and being held up by a boob who has decided to rummage through their backpack to find their ID card RIGHT as they approach the cashier. However, I recommend getting used to this truly repugnant behavior now. At least OCSA students know (for the most part) what they want to order; the buffoons of the real world approach the register without preparing their money OR their order. This behavior is unjustifiable, but inescapable. Keep on truckin’, Impatient Student. Keep on truckin’.
I'm scared of the Opacic statue. I try to enter the DMS but I'm always caught in his golden gaze. I haven't been to Chemistry in weeks. My peers are worried about me. Please help.
Your fear is completely valid. I myself often have nightmares of the Opacic torso jumping off his skateboard-looking piano and chasing me around the wet, wet floors of the DMS bathroom. However, these fears are (likely) all in our heads. Ralph Opacic is a jolly Matthew Morrison fan, not an evil statue with a craving for the blood of successful OCSA alumni. Now get to Chemistry, stoichiometry won’t learn about itself!
It has come to my attention that you have attempted to spread hurtful disinformation to the OCSA student body. Specifically, you stated "I too have felt the urge to drop kick rolling backpacks and their humans off the roof of the Tower. Then, I stop and think, would that relieve OCSA of its rolling backpack traffic? No. No it would not." This statement is undeniably harmful and false. Drop-kicking students who use roller backpacks off of tall buildings will reduce the amount of children who do use roller backpacks more efficiently than any other method. Please issue a revision to your response immediately.
Students Against Roller Backpacks
Dear Students Against Roller Backpacks,
Your close reading of my previous column is admirable. It is heartwarming to know that I have a legion of devoted readers who are prepared to question my advice, no matter how spot-on it is (speaking of, email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org! Please. PLEASE). Therefore, I shan’t issue a revision of my roller-backpack advice. While I understand the urge to rid OCSA of its rolling backpacks at any cost, we must acknowledge that we were those kids once. I outgrew my Juicy velour tracksuits just as they will outgrow their glorified wagons, and it would be a shame to throw these students off the roof of the tower just as they are beginning to glow-up.