OCSA’s Got Talent
Louis Tonkovich - Staff Writer
The echoes of feel-good pop music often create a positive feedback loop in the halls of OCSA, and it may feel to some like the masses of students belting lyrics about positivity and self-love are preaching to (and from) the choir.
However, a certain Orange County choir has found an audience outside the OCSA campus, who was eager to be swept away with inspirational lyrics and well executed seven-part harmonies. Voices of Hope is a non-profit youth choir that competed on “America’s Got Talent” this year.
The choir features more than a dozen OCSA students from various grades and conservatories with 72 kids in total. They have been living the “America’s Got Talent” life for over six months ever since the production company reached out to them and asked them to audition. “They found us” said Junior Emily Frazier (MT 11), a performer in Voices of Hope. “Usually you have to go and audition, but they contacted us. We sent them some videos... and then we went to the judges audition”
Comprising of kids aged 5 to 17, the choir has a pursuit as ambitious as their soaring vocals. Fostered by the Hour of Power, a Christian TV program based in Irvine, Voices of Hope exists to “awaken a love of music in our youngest generations… and to teach them to embrace their unique God-given abilities.”
Possible “America’s Got Talent” performers from all over the U.S. audition to charismatic celebrity judges and over the course of a few weeks they perform to impress them, and the judges eventually choose a winning performer or group.
But a choir has never walked away with the million dollar reward. Despite these odds, all four judges seemed consistently impressed and charmed by the OC choir.
During the semi-finals in early September, the judges had to make a tough choice, deciding between Voices of Hope or the competing act Duo Transcend. As it turned out, they were torn between the acts, with two judges voting for Voices of Hope, and the other two voting for Duo Transcend.
And so the decision was left up to the audience, and Voices of Hope was, unfortunately, eliminated, while Duo Transcend moved on toward the finals.
Frazier affirmed that even after they were eliminated, the atmosphere was always one of kindness and love. “Everyone was so supportive. The producers came to us and gave us hugs, and our fellow contestants were amazing as well.”
Even though Voices of Hope will not be continuing to the finals, they left their mark on the judges and on the live audience who always gave them an overwhelming and enthusiastic reception. “It was a lot of our parents, and they really got the audience going,” Frazier fondly recalled.
It is no wonder the audience felt the need to stand up and cheer, because Voices of Hope has perfected the formula for inducing good vibes within their audience.
They are equipped with an arsenal of uplifting songs, and their performance is enhanced on the show by multitudes of light and sound effects. Recently, to jolt more of a response out of the audience, the choir ended their last performance with massive confetti cannons blasting colorful ribbon across the stage. It had the desired effect.
Grabbing a Bite Before Rehearsal? These Are the Places You Need To Go!
Jayna Bosse - Editor-in-Chief
Santa Ana is chock-full of fine eateries, from the beloved Pop’s Cafe to 7-Eleven and its chaotic energy. In pursuit of all the best foods within walking distance, OCSA students have made countless restaurant pilgrimages.
Crave, a cafe and brunch spot, has earned its stars on Yelp. The cozy, modern interior and friendly staff make for a great dining experience, but the Creme Brulee French Toast is what wins customers over. “Crave has everything I want: coffee, pastries, sandwiches, bottomless mimosas. I’m kidding-- about the mimosas, I mean,” said sophomore Kathrine Habibi (CW). Crave’s duality makes it great for both lunch with the grandparents and coffee stops with the pals.
Another cafe, The Gypsy Den, is smack in the middle of Artist’s Village and features stunning art and decor wall-to-wall. On Monday and Thursday, Open Mic Nights are accompanied by a full espresso bar, but this is no coffee house. Their vegan/vegetarian menu has such gems as the Guacamole Croissant, Cauliflower and Avocado Buffalo “Wangs” and the Elote Mac N Cheese. Stop by on the first Saturday of every month to grab a bite and enjoy local art at the Santa Ana Art Walk.
Down on 4th street, Wursthaus has made a business selling gourmet hot dogs and bratwurst. With a variety of exotic sausages and fresh pretzel bread, it’s no wonder they’re a favorite of sophomore Gaby Mikhail (CW). She shared her order: “I get a smoked polish on a pretzel roll with a side of chipotle aioli. The french fries are to DIE for.” Overall, Wursthaus is a vendor of good vibes and good meats, a must-try for any hot dog enthusiast.
The overwhelming response to “Is there anywhere you like to eat around OCSA?” was “Burger King.” This particular Burger King on Main Street and Civic Center Drive is best described by sophomore Kai Matias-Bell (CW). “It’s really hit or miss with this bad boy, but you still eat there because sometimes they’ll give you two ranch packets. And hey, it’s cheap.” While the allure of the fast-food joint eludes many, the key to a good meal at Burger King is chicken fries and good friends. Then again, with good friends, dining out is a treat no matter the location.
Sun Stripes: A Bright Future
Chelsea Schack - Staff Writer
In most people’s lives, there are moments you share with your friends that seem movie-like. For resident OCSA band Sun Stripes, every moment they’re together is like that.
At the end of last school year, Sun Stripes, consisting of junior Alix Page and seniors Samuel Victoria and Ellie Williams (CM), won the Emerging Artists award, a contest held by the Commercial Music conservatory for discovering young musicians. In the competition,five bands compete and perform with original songs at the Webb Theatre over the course of one night. Along with the honor of winning the award, they also received studio time to record new music in a professional environment.
The night they won the award, the general consensus among band members was that it was a very formative experience, with Victoria, the guitarist, calling it a “wake up call.” Page, who sings, went on to clarify that it was in fact their “very first real show.”
“We’re music that your mom would like,” said Williams, also a vocalist, when prompted to describe the band’s genre and sound. The rest of the band lauded this statement, going on to describe their music with such adjectives as “sunny, and chill vibes.” According to Page, these descriptors came across inter-personally between them during practice time. She said, “Our songs are hook-based. Sam starts with chords, and then Ellie and I rapid-fire come up with lyrics. It’s all very spontaneous.”
This spontaneity came through heavily during the interview, with all the bandmates erupting into raucous laughter at questions, answers, inside jokes and happenings around them on the Seal Beach Pier. Their connection as friends and as a group was tangible in the sea-side air, hence why it’s no wonder that the formation of the Sun Stripes was completely by happy chance.
“We originally started as just helping Alix record her songs over spring break, and we just started jamming,” explained Page and Williams in unison, when asked how the band came to fruition. Sun Stripes then went on to assert that what really brought them together as a band was the Emerging Artists competition.
“It was this performance that was the game changer,” said Victoria. From that point on, they felt confident as a group, started playing a few gigs and the chemistry between them only grew.
What really makes the Sun Stripes shine are the original songs that have the audience fervently clapping along. This makes perfect sense when you consider Page’s advice: “You get good energy back if you have good energy going into it.”
According to Victoria, they’ve had good luck with their performances, as he said “We’ve never had a bad gig.”
Some of their other shows include coffee houses, lunch on 10th street and, notably, the reunion of the 1999 class of Los Alamitos High School, which the band described as “tons of fun” because “those middle-aged classmates danced to whatever we played. We would play One Direction and they would cheer us on.”
Sun Stripes, with all their spontaneous fun, good energy, and music that your mother would like, are on a clear path with a broad, hopeful horizon ahead of them. In the near future, they will be using the studio time they won to record some new tunes, and as Page so earnestly requested be mentioned, “We have stickers coming!” So look out for those, as well as other Sun Stripes merchandise coming in the next year.
You can follow their Instagram @sunstripesmusic for updates, as well as enjoy their personal projects on @alixxpage, @ellie1williams, and @samuel.victoria.
Quiz - Which Teacher Are You?
Frankie Fanelli and Jayna Bosse - Staff Writers
Question #1: Which bathroom do you tend to use the most?
Whichever bathroom is closest
None. Pee at home
Any bathroom in the tower
The same as my goats
Third floor ONLY
Question #2: Which OCSA vending machine snack is the worst?
Twix, too sweet.
Everything is disgusting, I pack a banana.
Takis, too spicy!
The Doritos... If my goats can’t eat them, I won’t either
Those dry cookies
Question #3: When do you do your homework?
I finish it in class as soon as it’s assigned
Before it’s assigned- CHECK AERIES PEOPLE
The block 7 after it’s assigned
As soon as I get home!
After I feed my goats
The morning before it’s due
Question #4: What is your favorite class?
All of them. This is school. We’re here to learn
Math? Did? Someone? Say? Math?
History (but I miss recess)
Goat studies. It’s not a class yet… but you just wait.
Question #5: What kind of shoes do you wear?
OCSA anniversary shoes! Closed-toed, obviously.
Black dress shoes. Freshly polished.
Maybe a brightly colored shoe, spice the day up!
Tennis shoes so you can comfortably run around while making friends!!1!
Don’t need shoes if you ride a goat.
A fun pair of pumps to keep it interesting!
Now go look back at all of your responses, and see which letter you answered the most times. Below is a key to see which teacher you are!
A: Haywood — B: Ciecek — C: Petersen — D: Browne — E: Grant — F: Gorman
The Day The Music Died
Emilia Angotti and Abby Johnson - Staff Writers
OCSA has always prided itself on being a nurturing learning environment for students of all talents. Not only that, but OCSA has always believed in treating all students and talents as equal, giving all conservatories and artists the same amount of dedication, opportunities and respect. However, this year, the former guitar program’s students have claimed to have experienced otherwise.
As of this year, to the confusion and dismay of many, the guitar program has ceased to exist. This left students of all conservatories with a few unanswered questions to say the least. Where did the Guitar Program go? Have they fallen off the face of the Earth? What is happening with the students and where did they go?
For the sake of the conservatory and its students, the guitar program has been adopted into the Instrumental Music conservatory. According to Dean of Arts Maria Lazarova, lack of sufficient funding and effort, as well as a gradual decline in the quality of teachers, classes, and performances, has led to the desperate need for a change in the program. The change the program decided to make was demoting Mr. De Arakal, from head of guitar program to a teacher, and replaced him with Mr. St. Marseille, head director of Instrumental Music along with guitar program. Lazarova said, “Current students who have been accepted years prior are going to be in a guitar program and graduate in the guitar program. Future students will not have the option to be in the guitar program- they’ll choose either Jazz Studies or Commercial Music”. Despite the administration’s good intentions, the decision to exterminate guitar as an individual program has left many students lost, confused, and unhappy.
Junior Mario Oviedo, who has been a part of the program since 7th grade, claims that a lack of organization, responsibility, and accountability are to blame for the program’s removal. Oviedo explained, “There is no organization and no attempt to better the status of the conservatory and its students. Everytime there is an issue and students ask questions, blame is passed around through the staff.” Due to this disorganization, the program is no longer the creative and diverse conservatory it used to be, leaving students feeling neglected, and thrown into random classes that do not match their talent, passion, or interests. Students are assigned to classes based on age rather than skill. They receive no input on what they would like to study and feel that as a result, the conservatory is limiting their potential. Even if students dissatisfaction isn’t directly staff’s fault, that doesn't mean they can't try to assist the remaining 52 students who feel like they are not progressing within the program.
Another guitar program student, junior Marlin Bradley, shares that he, too, is unhappy with class assignment and the lack of attention paid to the program. However, he acknowledges that the blame does not lie solely with the OCSA administration, adding, “I understand it’s not completely the staff’s fault, as half the kids in guitar stopped trying a couple years ago.” Majority of the program’s staff were fired several years ago, according to the students causing an unhappiness among students that may have resulted in a lack of effort. The erosion of the conservatory and the widespread discontent caused staff to feel that the removal of the individual program the best solution possible. Dean Lazarova says that they are trying their best to appeal to every student’s individual needs and are doing what is best for the conservatory. She encourages all students to come to her or Mr. St. Marseille with concerns or questions. It is difficult to please every single student as they all want to focus and work on different things, given that it is such a diverse conservatory. However, the staff is working to ensure that all students are happy and that the program is able to reach its full potential.
Due to a variety of problems, the conservatory directors and staff felt that the removal of the individual program was necessary. They want to create a new learning environment that gives its students the opportunities that had been lost in the past program. Unfortunately, the reality now is that the former guitar students feel disregarded, unimportant, and limited within their new conservatory. Oviedo expresses, “I have lost my motivation to enjoy my time in the conservatory. The only thing keeping me going is my actual love for music and the brief moments where I am able to connect with other students through playing music.”
Behind the Mask: Inside the Acting Conservatory
Amy Basile - Staff Writer
It’s a new school year at OCSA, which means another year of exciting conservatory classes. Students in the Acting Conservatory were approached on the inner workings of their conservatory and the new rules that have been changed over the summer.
On a Thursday block nine class, “Mask” with Mr. Amerson, students were given the freedom to improvise based off of prompts centered around the class theme: the witches of “Macbeth.” Amerson expressed that the goal of the class is to create “a way to study character, a different way to analyze a character.” This class is a only a small piece of what the conservatory does Monday through Thursday every week, as spontaneous as it sounds. Mask gives the actors a platform to engage with their art; allowing them to become the characters, and even the props, settings and sounds themselves.
Acting Conservatory students anonymously spoke about their relationship with their teachers over the past few years and said, “I have a lot of really cool teachers that I respect really deeply and I think that they give a lot of good feedback… [We are] somewhat casual for a student-teacher relationship, but I think that's what you want in an acting environment.”
A junior agreed, saying, “Our conservatory has some really great teachers and a lot of them just have so much training, and they all have like these amazing different techniques. So, every year you get something- someone new, and you learn so much more in something else and that's something we try to do in the Acting Conservatory. I love that.”
Students’ enthusiasm about their teachers and classes, however, is overshadowed by a new code of rules governing the conservatory- a list known as the Six Commandments. “Technically last year they started handing out referrals for blacks… but this year they’re really enforcing it,” said one student, supplying the timeline for the new rule requiring the students to wear all black clothing.
The referral situation was explained as “a three strike policy” meaning the students could risk three write-ups before administration is contacted. They expressed that many students are particularly unhappy about dress code and the new bathroom policy.
“I think the rules, as annoying as they might be, they’re not that hard to follow. They add a certain level of like yeah, we’re all doing this thing! But the bathroom ones I do think are crazy. Not being able to go to the bathroom during class. Its like if you have an emergency, you have an emergency and even if it's not an emergency they should be able to use the bathroom.” Another student said.
“They’re a bit ridiculous. I don't see the necessity of making things punishable with a referral, and making things punishable by a referral twice.” A senior supplied, “That, I think, is extreme. I can understand where they’re coming from… but I think it's overly punished.”
Whether or not this subject will be addressed in the conservatory as a whole has yet to be seen, though it has caused discussion among students hoping for a solution. In the end, a student simplified the issue by saying, “I love my conservatory. I love acting. I love the people. I think sometimes different things about it are weird or like difficult but like, it's not that hard to wear black everyday.”
Officer Rojo: Campus Defender
Hannah Franklin - Staff Writer
In early May of last year, emails were sent to the entire student body about a new resource officer coming to the school. After asking other students about this, it became clear that many students know very little about the new resource officer.
Her name is Officer Rojo, and she remains a mystery to most students. She’s not here everyday, but when she is, she’s patrolling and protecting OCSA.
Rojo explained her background and how she graduated from the police academy in 2010, and worked as a patrol officer at the Santa Ana Police Station for some time. She then moved up into a detective role for 2 years doing undercover work, and eventually transferred to OCSA.
The Santa Ana police office had informed the officers that there was a space open for work at OCSA, and Rojo jumped at the opportunity. She says that as a mom, she felt that this would be a fulfilling opportunity for her, and that with the recent incidents of gun violence in schools, she felt particularly passionate about working at one. It wasn’t easy getting here though, as she had to do an internal and an external interview to qualify. Eventually, she was chosen as the best officer for the job.
Before Rojo became a police officer, she played softball in school and wanted to be an EMT. But when she stumbled upon police work, she clearly had both talent and passion. Rojo noted that she, “Would love to make an impact”, and spoke about wanting to help in any way she could. She even said that her office door was always open for if anyone ever needed somebody to talk to.
She then spoke about her experience as a woman in the police force, a historically male-dominated field. Rojo said that she personally has never experienced any discrimination as a female officer, however there is a discrepancy in the gender ratio of officers at the Santa Ana station. But she says, “If you work hard and do the right thing you’ll be respected.” The mostly female to male ratio here at OCSA is refreshing according to Rojo, as she gets to experience both sides of the spectrum.
Rojo mentioned again that she wanted to be there for the students, and that the student body should feel free to say hi and talk to her sometime. So, for any students that are interested in getting to know one of the newest faculty members for yourself, feel free to stop by and talk to Officer Rojo.
Amanda Mendoza - Staff Writer
A new rule banning delivery services has created a controversy on campus. It states that unless the order arrives after 4:30 pm, the meal will be thrown away.
Services like Postmates, GrubHub, UberEats and DoorDash are among the popular apps students use to order food that typically wouldn’t be an option in a school cafeteria.
Some students argue that the rule fails to consider students like Pua Tanielu (MT’19) who doesn't bring food with them to school. Tanielu said, “I use food delivery services during school hours: for lunch or block 7. I never have food on me and I don’t want to eat school lunch so I just use postmates and DoorDash. I wasn’t even aware of the rule.”
Some students like Tanielu think the rule is unjust because they aren’t allowed to leave campus to buy food.
While students have complained about this rule, the school staff have opposing outlook on the matter. When delivered to the school, meals are dropped off to the front desk to Becky Hall, the school receptionist. She arrives around 12:30 pm, when meals begin to arrive.
“I would support Postmates, but after 4:30. But it’s not fair to the school cafeteria during lunch and block 7. Also, kids were leaving the classroom to get their food, which isn’t good!” Becky said. She also stated that the reason for prohibiting orders until 4:30 was so students can still receive dinner for after-school rehearsals, when the school cafeteria closes.
Mr. Ciecek, Dean of Facilities and Supervision, also thinks that it’s not necessary to have food delivered to the school. He states, “We have [food] services on campus, so there is no need to have it delivered prior… When students signed the rules and regulations handbook and turned it in, they agreed to follow it. We implemented this rule in the handbook in June prior to the school year by the OCSA Board of Trustees.”
Though OCSA students now have a time restriction when ordering food, they can still pick it up in the evening, after conservatory and before rehearsals.
Man on the Street: What’s Scarier than a Hydroflask Dropping?
Claire Jones - Features Editor
Senior Mark Fitch (IA)
“When you’re on the stairway alone and you hear the sound of a roller backpack”
Senior Alex Murphy (FTV)
“The splash back from the toilet bowl”
Senior Zoe McCuen (VA)
“Everyone show your elevator pass”
Senior Sonya Kiskaschi(CW)
Fashion Feature: The Art of Perfecting the Classic Ensemble of Black and Denim
By: Emilia Angotti and Erin Kim Managing Editor and Photo Editor/Production Assistant
As the back-to-school season has commenced, new back-to-school styles are emerging through the unique expression of students all around campus. Students make it their own as they add their own flare to street style, turning it into higher fashion.
Sophomore Tasha Zentil (ACT)
Tasha is featured here in a chic, low cut long sleeve tee with a ruffled neckline, matched with clean wide cut denim pants. Her earrings and scrunchies add a subtle pop of color the ensemble. Her chunky black sandals finish off the outfit and tie the look together
Junior Jacob Aguilar (FTV)
Seen here mixing sophistication with street style as he transforms his cut-off denim shorts and plain black T-shirt with a black blazer.
Zentil and Aguilar sporting their respective ensembles.
I sit right between this couple in one of my classes, and while they’re both really nice people, they’ve been having some relationship problems lately and hashing it out during class time. They bicker so much that I know everything about their relationship now... everything. It never gets heated enough to warrant intervention or loud enough to get the teacher’s attention, but it’s unpleasant nonetheless. I’m just so sick of their arguing.
Stuck in the middle
Stuck In The Middle,
First off - that sucks! Sitting in between a couple is a struggle on its own, but the fact that they’re fighting makes it so much harder to concentrate in class. Try jumping in their conversation; make them uncomfortable. Maybe make a weird amount of eye contact and eat some sort of smelly food like sardines and they’ll shut right up to avoid the awkwardness! You don’t have to be a relationship counselor and definitely don’t need to be in the middle of that, so just do something drastic enough to shut them up! If this doesn’t work, tell your teacher you “can't see the board” and they should change your seat. XOXO
I have a very serious question that FTV Sophomores need to know the answer to. Do you like Wendy’s?
Hello! Ah.. That’s a complicated question, yet one I recieve on a frequent basis. Wendy is a wonderful lady, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Wendy herself. As for her home, I am not a particular fan. Her walls are painted horrendous neon colors and her decorum is ill fitting. If she were to redecorate and repaint, there would be no issue, but the fact is her home is atrocious. So no, I personally do not enjoy Wendy’s.