Photo by Ryan Porter
Orange Is the New White: OCSA Renovations
Photo by Ryan Porter
Photo by Ryan Porter
Photo by Ryan Porter
The new year comes bearing not only a slew of new teachers, but also four new elective classes: Comparative Government and International Affairs with Stacy Leimkuhler, Medical Applications of Anatomy with Christopher Weitzel, Introduction to Computer Science with Jake Read, and the Art of Mathematics with Jeremy Hansuvadha.
These new classes are meant to provide students with real-world skills on a wide range of topics.
In Leimkuhler’s Comparative Government and International Affairs class, students are encouraged to look past the U.S. government and investigate different governments around the world, focusing on how they function, their strengths and weaknesses and which governments are actually able to sustain themselves.
The 11th-12th grade course appeals to students who are thinking about majoring in political science or history, and allows them to get a feel for what kind of content might be covered in those college courses.
Senior Sehee Park (CV) enjoys the class because it spends more time covering “what’s happening now and what’s more relevant” than general history classes.
The science elective, colloquially called Med App, uses knowledge learned in the prerequisite anatomy course and goes even more in-depth in order to give students a basic understanding of medical diagnoses.
Weitzel states that he hopes to teach students “that health care professions vary greatly in how they operate” and that each profession requires a certain personality type. In Weitzel’s words, success in the field of health care requires “a great understanding and creative mind to achieve,” but in the end “can be a very rewarding career choice.”
Perhaps the most strikingly new class being offered this year is Read’s Intro to Computer Science class, which teaches students basic computer coding. The intention of the class is to introduce students to a career field where workers are in high demand.
Read’s hope for his students is that “the earlier you start [coding], the more [they] might be likely to do it in college.” With an understanding of and passion for coding, students will be able to enter the world with a highly marketable skill, taking advantage of the countless opportunities within the continually growing field of computer science.
The final new course, the Art of Math, focuses on the real-life applications of math. It is open to students from all math backgrounds, providing a safe environment for students to learn about areas of math that are not typically taught in high school, such as game theory and topology.
Junior Maggie Hudson (MT) says that if you are a student who “enjoys problem solving, group work and mostly a challenge, this is the class for you.”
Throughout the year, Hansuvadha plans to cover a vast array of topics. Students will be able to choose a particular area of interest to conduct their own projects and experiment with ways in which math is applicable to everyday situations in a college.
While each class may not be the right fit for everyone, there is praise to be heard for all of them. This year OCSA elective additions continue to provide students with classes that are very promising toward their future studies and creative paths.
Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Walsh @alt-senior.com
OCSA’s exclusive Season Premiere event gave Montage students a chance to work with and perform alongside notable OCSA alumnus, Matthew Morrison (MT ‘97) of “Glee” fame. Students sang and danced on the beach at the event, held Sept. 17 at Newport Beach’s Balboa Bay Resort, in front of an audience of hundreds.
Students performed a “Finding Neverland” medley, a “Hairspray” medley, “Singin’ in the Rain”, and much more, to celebrate the beginning of OCSA’s 30th year.
Season Premiere is Montage’s first big event this year. The Montage cast has been gathering to rehearse for weeks. The cast got to work with different instructors to look its best.
Junior R.J. Higton (CMD) said, “It’s really fun to dance with everybody and meet the new Montage cast.”
Junior McKenna Wells (MT) explained that during auditions, Montage was “really looking for the genuine understanding and emotion involved with what we were singing.” Wells clearly conveyed these traits as she was selected to be the only student to sing a duet with Morrison, his own rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
After the event, a few students spoke about what they learned from this experience and Morrison himself. “The most important thing I learned from him, in my opinion, is that it’s about the music. You can spend your life striving for perfection and putting all your time into creating your ideal performance or you can invest your efforts into creating your aesthetic,” said Wells.
Senior Justice Mirabal (CM) said, “In all performances you have to be professional, no matter if it's random people on the street that you are performing for or a celebrity, and you should take your art seriously... your art is your foremost and the most important thing.”
Although this was OCSA’s first Season Premiere, it was a success. Montage did a wonderful job representing the entire student body.
Peca said, “It was a smashing success, it was a lot of fun. It was really great having Matthew Morrison back on campus, back at home, to work with our kids.”
Morrison inspired some of the students to appreciate their art and brought a sense of attainability to their dreams.
Wells said, “I felt extremely lucky to have received this opportunity to sing with [Morrison] and it was a day that would be extremely hard to forget... singing with him was a surreal experience that enriched me with so much thankfulness, and so much new knowledge and appreciation for music.”
Poll by Ryan Porter
One of the hallmarks of the OCSA experience is the vibrant club culture. Nowhere is this more clear than at Club Rush, a biannual two-day festival celebrating the diverse selection of clubs the school has to offer.
The festival, and the clubs displayed at it, has long been a staple of OCSA culture. Senior Soorim Lee (FTV) and founder of LIME Train, a club based around artistic collaboration, explained, “OCSA students are so creative and not shameful about what they love. From fandom clubs, cosplay clubs, to service organizations... there’s so much variety.”
Senior Alicia Swanson (IM), the leader of the Harry Potter Alliance, a club in which charity and fandom overlap, said “it's pretty entertaining even if [people] don't sign up.”
Diversity in clubs is represented by the two political debate clubs, JSA and Political Debate. JSA focuses on the spectrum of American politics; Political Debate engages in more extreme debate. Alvaro Guillen (PD), the junior co-founder of Political Debate, said his club will cover topics that JSA doesn’t.
“I wanted to talk about international politics and ideology.”
OCSA’s clubs offer a massive array of experiences for people of all walks of life; whether it’s Pokemon Go or traditional Irish dance, there’s something for everyone.
Photo by Ryan Porter
Many students are familiar with the renowned taco truck, La Chonita, that’s parked on the corner of Civic Center and Sycamore, but how many know anything about the brilliant man who runs it?
Let me introduce you all to the world of Juan, a delightful man who specializes in selling the best Mexican food in town, alongside his co-worker who does the majority of the cooking.
Juan bought the truck in 2006 and started his business immediately. He drove around, serving food to hundreds of people in Santa Ana, before finally finding his place on Sycamore St. a year later.
Right away, OCSA students of all ages began ordering food from the taco truck because it is “very convenient and their food is amazing” as Junior Emi Meronk (CM) says. The truck provides an affordable after-school meal and a quick dinner before rehearsals.
Juan loves working the taco truck at this location, stating he “appreciates having the opportunity to meet and learn more about all the OCSA students that come and go.”
For many students, the taco truck is the best place to go when staying after school for long periods of time, because they can still get a wonderful meal without straying too far from the school premises.
Junior Megan Coughlin (MT), who stays after school because of her parents work schedule, also enjoys how easy it is to get dinner from La Chonita,“the taco truck is always a good time.”
When Juan was asked about his craziest experiences while working the taco truck, he recalls a few, but one story stands out among the rest. He told the story of a rebellious kid who tried to pay for his meal with a fake $100 bill.
“It was a very scary situation for both of us,” said Juan. The culprit’s identity remains a mystery, as Juan did not disclose whether or not an OCSA student was involved.
For future customers for students who have not yet been to the taco truck, Juan recommends an item off the menu, “the barbacoa and carnitas, it’s definitely my favorite.” While Juan works, he also likes listening to music, specifically smooth jazz,
So, if you ever find yourself hungry for amazing Mexican cuisine, take a quick walk down Sycamore and try out some food from La Chonita! Be sure to say “hello” to Juan.
Photos by Justin Johnson
OCSA is welcoming not one, not two, but 10 new academic teachers onto its staff this year! Evolution sat down with Courtney Harper (Lit. and Comp. II/II Honors), Kyle Devlin (Chemistry, 8th Grade Physical Science), and Josh Stump (APUSH, 8th Grade U.S. History) to ask them a few quirky, fun questions and get to know them better.
She also attended UCI for her graduate degree, a master’s in teaching with a single subject teaching credential in English and language arts.
You may have seen her around OCSA before, as she co-taught last year with Stacie Cruz and was a long-term substitute for Amy Gallagher. This is Harper’s first year teaching her own class.
What Hogwarts house would you want to be in, and what Hogwarts house would you really be in?
As you can see, my whole room is sort of themed “Harry Potter”, and I literally sort students that come in. I’m a Hufflepuff through and through.
That’s where I’d want to be, and that’s where I think I’d end up. Plus, you’re near the kitchen, so you get all the food. Let’s be real here.
I think my patronus would be an elephant. Elephants are...a matriarchal society? They’re all about nurturing, love, they’re fiercely protective, and they’re beautiful.
If we were to look into your fridge or pantry right now, what would we find?
La Croix Sparkling Water. I think it’s called La Croix, this stuff [has] “lime” and “pample-mousse.”
What was your dream job when you were younger?
When I was younger, my best friend and I, always used to say when we were three maybe... [we’d] live in Orange County. This is back when Orange County actually had the orange tree groves and everything.
We said that [when] we were going to grow up, we were going to get married, and we were going to be orange pickers. So I guess my very first dream job was to be an orange picker.
Kyle Devlin is also new to OCSA. Originally from Long Beach and Cypress, Devlin earned his associate’s degree in liberal arts from Cypress College. He received his B.S. and teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach (CSULB). This is also Devlin's first year teaching.
What song would you sing at karaoke/ What is the theme song of your life?
The theme song of my life? That’s a really deep question. Because it can be different for different life stage - current life stage[s]. “Highway to the Danger Zone”? Just because, I have it stuck in my head right now. But I would sing that one at karaoke for sure.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
There’s a lot. I would say as a teacher... it would be explaining a direction right after the direction was just explained. I explain it and because someone wasn’t paying attention, they ask right after I just finished explaining it. So, I have to explain it again. So, at that point, I kind of just stare at them and make things really awkward, and I don’t answer them.
I’d say that in normal life though, it’s when someone hovers over you when you’re trying to do stuff on the computer. You know what I’m saying, just right over your shoulder?
What was the last show on Netflix that you binge-watched?
The last one I binge-watched was “The Walking Dead.” But I’m currently watching an anime, which I’m not going to be proud of saying that, called “Hunter x Hunter.”
What are your thoughts on “Hamilton: An American Musical”?
I wish that I knew more about “Hamilton” because I feel like it would be useful in class, and so many of the students are interested in it. But I haven’t had the time to really put the time into it. I like musicals, I would like to go to this one, but you have to be a billionaire, or on somebody’s list.
If you could be best friends with one historical figure, who would it be and why?
I feel like I’m just going to be cliche by saying it, but probably Abraham Lincoln. I think that he would be a pretty interesting per- son to be friends with. You know, up until he’s assassinated. I would not have wanted to be next to him when that... happened. That would be very traumatizing.
What was the last book you read?
“Bomb Power” by John Gaddis. It’s all about the military industrial complex and the militarized state that the United States became after we developed and used the atomic bomb, and all the secrecy that comes along with that.
If you were president for a day, what would you do?
I would abolish the privatized prison system. I would have the IRS check up on all of the Tea Party pacts. That’s a joke, I wouldn’t actually do that. The administration is actually in trouble for that. What else would I do?
I would go bowling in the White House. Fly in Air Force One to some exotic destination and stay in really nice places and claim it’s for presidential purposes. Yeah, “state secrets.” Sorry, can’t tell you. But I’d just do that once, where I just wasted tax payer money. I’d probably go on and on, but that’s another one, if you’re president, you could do anything.
Illustration by Emma Lu
The academic year has just begun, and conservatory events are already under way: auditions, shows and soon, Film and Television’s 9th Annual Back to School Film Festival. The FTV event, however, stands out as the only film festival of the year open to all conservatories. Aaron Orullian, director of the FTV Conservatory, recently spoke about the unique experience the festival has to offer.
“This [festival] is a lot more casual,” Orullian said. “Our first official event, Winter Cineplex, isn’t until Jan. 20, so this provides us a chance to have an event earlier. Also, I was realizing that students were making work on their own, just for fun. We wanted to find a venue and a place where we could showcase that. So this gives them a chance to do something earlier in the year and kind of meet [and] hang out.”
Orullian also described the differences he sees in the Back-to-School Film Festival submissions compared with those of the FTV-exclusive Cineplex festivals. “It’s a real, real broad array of filmmakers. We’ll get new and emerging filmmakers, students that are just trying out filmmaking,” said Orullian. “We’ll get, usually, more music videos...We’ll get a lot of comedy, students just wanting to get together with their friends and make something funny over the summer.”
This year, the selections are even more varied, Orullian said, because of some special films FTV students made over the sum- mer. “We’re actually going to be showing some work done during a documentary film camp that we did, as well as a trip to Alaska that we took. So it’s going to be a little bit more focused in that sense.”
The FTV trip to Alaska covered a wide range of locations and topics, including the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and Denali National Park and Preserve. Back in California, the documentary camp held at OCSA, Doc Squad, was a collaboration with Girls Inc. and the BLITS Foundation covering different nonprofit organizations in Orange County.
When asked how Symphony Hall compares as a viewing space to the Folino Theater at Chapman University where FTV has its annual Cineplex festivals, Orullian expressed his appreciation for the smaller venue. “I’ve really liked the fact that it’s just
a nice cozy place to meet very casually,” Orullian said. “We can also have refreshments in the lobby...At Chapman, we can’t have any food or drink in the theater or in the lobby, so it’s much more formal.”
Orullian also acknowledged how the renovations to the theater space may enhance the event. “It’s interesting because this year, with the upgrades to Symphony Hall,” he said, “I’ve been told that they’re putting in a new screen and projector. There’s new seating, new flooring, so it may feel kind of fancy.”
When asked what we can look forward to in the coming film festival, Orullian smiled and responded, “You’ll have to come and see.”
Film submissions are open until Oct. 7. The Back to School Film Festival is free and will be held Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Symphony Hall.
Calling all wallflowers! The third annual Creative Writing Read-A-Thon fundraiser was on Friday, Sept. 30 from 2 to 9 p.m. Everyone willing to be part of Stephen Chbosky’s novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” packed the Webb Theatre’s Event Center to marathon the book by reading it out loud, followed by a screening of the film adaptation.
Past read-a-thons have collectively brought about $4,000 to the conservatory through the sale of book-related snacks, as well student pledges depending on the amount of pages they read. The fundraiser not only raises money for the entire conservatory, but students are given the option to set aside half of the money they individually raise for field trips like Literary Summer, a program that has previously taken Creative Writing students on a literary tour through London.
After hours of dramatic readings, students watched the 2012 film adaption starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. While students always choose read-a-thon books by a conservatory-wide vote, this year’s selection has much darker and more adult themes and content than what has been seen in previous years’ selections including “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman and “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman.
When asked what he would have voted for if given the option, Josh Wood, director of the Creative Writing Conservatory, he said he would have chosen “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, the “Harry Potter” series or “On Stranger Tides” by beloved Creative Writ- ing teacher Tim Powers. Powers’ novel actually won third place in the voting this year and many students hope that it will be the chosen book for next year’s read-a-thon.
Wood, explaining how he thinks the fund- raiser benefits his students more than just financially, said, “It just keeps Creative Writing current, it’s one of those big events that brings people together... it’s everybody coming together and having a good time.”
Hey OCSA. Welcome back.
We’ve got big plans for the Evolution this year. We say this every year, but now that my coup against the former co-editors-in-chief has been successful, I’m in charge. And I will be using my power (which is solely vested in my title and can be taken away from me at any time) to try to make Evolution more accessible to the school. That means an online edition, which doesn’t just exist on Facebook, but on a beautiful website. We want to hear the opinions of the students, and create a newspaper that reflects them. I’m not kidding, you guys. Welcome to the new Evolution.
All the best,