The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | Mar 2020 | Volume 106 |Issue 3


The award-winning, student-produced newspaper at Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys (Los Angeles), California. Issue 3. February 2020.


FIRST DATES Couples, both

old and new, share their

stories about their first dates

with their significant other

11 16

EYES ON YOU How far is

too far? Life360 introduces

a new way for parents to

keep tabs on their children

TRIBUTE Remembering

L.A. Lakers basketball

superstar and inspiring

role model Kobe Bryant


FEBRUARY 2020 | Van Nuys High School | Van Nuys, California




PRO | CON 10






on the attackPAGE 8

Should you be worried

about getting sick?

California has confirmed six

cases of coronavirus — a contagious

respiratory illness — with

at least one in Los Angeles

County. As the disease infects

thousands worldwide, research

is being conducted on how the

virus spreads and how those

who are infected can be cured.

Getting through the

onslaught unscathed

Disease knows no borders. In our

interconnected world, infections

can spread from rural villages to

major cities in a short time, entering

a human host through the

mouth, eyes and nose and more.

Daily activities make the spread

of illness very easy. How can you

protect yourself and others?

Is hand sanitizer

enough to protect you?

Germs and disease are everywhere:

in the air, on our food. The

Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) recommends

washing hands whenever possible

to reduce germs, or to use

hand sanitizer. Also, studies show

that face masks may be effective

in helping to keep you well.




2019 school shootings

Five people were killed and 17 injured in five

school shootings last year. That averages

out to one shooting every 73 days.






I dont understand why

it’s there [the pile] but I

just try to ignore it.


Student, on the rumored pile

of manure, which is actually

compost, on the quad.


have it.

It was pretty good for

the first pep rally, but

it felt like they picked

the hottest day to


Student, on the first ever

Van Nuys pep rally.



6 PHBAO Parent Conferences:

5-7 p.m.

7 Short Day Dismissal;

Black History Concert:

7-9 p.m.

10 Teen Court: 3:15-4:15


10-14 ELA & Math Spring

Interim Assignment

14 Volleyball Alumni

Game: 6-8:30 p.m.

17 Presidents’ Day:

No classes

18 Valley Day College Fair:

11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Debate:

Trump’s Impeachment:

12:30-1 p.m.

19 Multicultural Day

20 Dance Company

Showcase Matinee:

3:30-6 p.m.

24 Teen Court: 3:15-4:45


The American Teenager

Remembering the Parkland massacre

by Rafid Alam

Editor’s note: Feb. 14 marks two

years since the mass shooting at

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

School in Parkland, Florida where

a former student opened fire

within the halls of the school, killing

17 and sparking a student movement

across the nation demanding

stricter gun laws.

It was a bright morning, with

sunlight shining over the

whole San Fernando Valley.

There were cars honking and

driving. Parents were taking their

children to school.

I brushed my teeth and

washed my face. I put on my

navy blue polo shirt, my blackpants,

and my white socks.

The date was Feb. 14, 2018. It

was your average Wednesday. I

go to school, get bored to death,

and then wait until it is time to go

back home.

I got in my dad’s car and he

was taking me to the bus stop. My

dad dropped me off and I saw my

friend, David. We got on the bus

together and my friend started

playing Fortnite, while I watched.

David and I got off the bus and



Nicholas Cruz

opened fire

at Stoneman-

Douglas High

School in

Florida, killing

17 people.

went to the area where our group

of friends always hangs out. We

talked and laughed until the bell

rang. Edgar, my other friend, Nico,

and I headed to English class.

Lunch was the best part of

the day. I was ready to finish two

more periods and then go home.

I was expecting nothing to ruin

my mood. When I sat down in

my History class, my teacher told

us the bad news: a lone gunman

killed 17 students and teachers

at Marjory Stoneman Douglas

High School. It was one of the

deadliest mass shootings in U.S.

history. The shooter was a former


“Do not be scared to come to

school,” my teacher reassured us.

“During a school shooting, this

classroom is actually a very safe

place to be in because it used to

be a computer lab. There is no

doorknob outside of the classroom,

just a keyhole. The door is

also really thick, which is going

to make it tough to get in,” he


As I sat in my seat, I thought

about the families of the victims.

It was the only thing I could

think about. In science class, my

teacher also discusses the shooting.

I just wanted to go home and

forget about all of this. No parent

ever thinks twice before sending

their children to school. No one

expects anything bad to happen

because who in their right mind

would ever want to kill students

trying to get an education.

They’re trying to make it somewhere

in life.

As David and I rode the bus

I sat there, thinking about what

I would do if there was a shooting

while I was in class. I became

absolutely terrified.

The bus arrived at my stop

and I got in my mom’s car. She

asked me about the shooting but

at that point I was so tired of everyone

mentioning the shootings

so I told her, “Let’s please not talk

about it. It makes me upset.”

After we got home, I went on

Instagram, where all I saw were

posts of teenagers talking about

the shooting in Florida. There were

videos of the sounds of the gunshots,

of the students exiting the

school with their hands on their

heads and of the families of the

victims wailing and mourning for

their murdered children.

One thing that surprised me

is that they had one thread: the

government should make stricter

gun laws.

I was completely amazed. I

felt proud of my generation. I’ve

never seen my friends so upset.

They cared about people they

don’t even know.

Exactly one month after the

shooting, there was going to be

a nationwide protest where kids

would walk out of class to honor

the Parkland victims.

On the day of the walkout my

math teacher told us “If you support

it, you can go out and participate.

If you don’t feel like you

belong there, you are welcome to

stay in the classroom.”

I asked my friend Edgar if he

was going.

“No, I support that stuff, but I

don’t feel like I would make a difference

being there,” he said.

“Let’s just stay in class and do

our math homework,” I replied.

At 10 a.m. the principal made

an announcement. “It is now time

for the walkout.”Three-fourths of

my class left. A few of my other

friends and I stayed and did our

math homework together.

After the walkout was over, I

saw David, who had participated.

I asked, “what was it like?”

“There were a ton of people,”

he answered. “They talked about

how the government needs to

pass stricter gun laws. ”

Even though I didn’t participate,

I went home proud that day.

Posts on Instagram from different

states and cities showed huge

crowds of teenagers united and

fighting for one cause. Teenagers

all with different ethnicities

and backgrounds. Teenagers

that have different skin tones.

Teenagers that practice different


People of my generation, no

matter what they look like, will

come together during terrible

situations. My generation showed

the whole country what the

future is going to look like. That is

the American way.


The Mirror makes every

effort to maintain accuracy,

however, in the Nov.

2019 issue, the article

“Girls golf team wins

league championship”

on page 16, inadvertently

omitted Kristen Vitolo

as co-captain of the girls

golf team.


School named a National Magnet

High School of Excellence

Van Nuys High School has been named a National

Magnet School of Excellence by Magnet

Schools of America.

Principal Yolanda Gardea will be recognized

and receive a National Magnet School of

Excellence Merit award on behalf of the school

on April 13 to 17 during the Magnet Schools of

America’s 38th National Conference in Clark

County, Nevada.

Magnet School of Excellence Awards are

only given to schools that demonstrate the

highest level of excellence in academic standards,

curriculum innovation, variety of classes

and activities and successful diversity efforts.


Freshman wins Gold Key in

regional writing competition

Freshman Rachel Sang received a Gold Key in

the 2019 regional Scholastic Art and Writing

competition in the category of Personal Essay

and Memoir. Gold Keys are awarded to the

“very best works” submitted to the program

are are automatically considered for nationallevel


“I was very happy when I found out I received

an award,” Sang said.

She expressed her long-existing passion for

writing, although she does not plan on pursuing

a career in writing.

“[W]riting is a necessary skill that you need

to have, no matter what your career is.”


History Bowl will host Spring

Competition on campus

The History Bowl team will be hosting the annual

Southern California History Bee and Bowl

Saturday, Feb. 8 on campus.

High school students demonstrate their

knowledge on various topics with an emphasis

on history in the buzzer-based competition

over various rounds.

“[W]hen the coordinator of History Bowl

emailed me, I was really happy to be able to organize

a competition here and give our school

such much deserved love in terms of attention

from all these prestigious competitions,” said

team President Anthony Oliveira.

The team is hoping to place in the playoffs

and qualify for nationals. • PAMELA SERRANO


ROTC program accredited

with near-perfect score

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

(JROTC) program has been accredited with a

score of 99.75 out of 100.

The accreditation took place on Wednesday,

Jan. 22 in the ROTC room, involving presentations

given by the program’s Battalion staff.

The Director of LAUSD Army Instruction

inspects JROTC programs every four years and

accredits those that demonstrate a commitment

to student performance and improvement

to education.

“All the students who participated in the

inspection gave their 100 percent,” said SFC

(R) Jorge Martinez, the Army Instructor for the




Opiod crisis

Opiods account for more than half of all

drug overdose deaths and is he leading

cause of death in the U.S. for adults under

the age of 50.




Doctor Burnout: A syndrome

with a very large price tag




The concept of doctor

burnout is scary but I

do believe if there is a

strong determination

and a sense of purpose

then it can be evaded.”


Is your doctor about to call it

quits because of too much


According to a recent study,

that is the case for an increasing

number of physicians.

Doctor burnout is costing the

U.S. healthcare system roughly

$4.6 billion a year, according to a

study published in Annals of Internal


The medical profession now

burdened with an increased

paperwork load, adding stress to

doctors’ lives, the study finds.

The study defines burnout

as a syndrome characterized by

“emotional exhaustion, feelings of

cynicism and detachment from

work, and a sense of low personal


To measure its economic effects,

the study authors took data

from recent research findings and

reports and ran a mathematical

model to estimate the costs associated

with burnout, focusing

on the costs of physician


A previous study by the

Mayo Clinic Proceedings

found that 54 percent of

doctors reported experiencing

at least one symptom of

burnout, almost twice the

rate of the general U.S. working

population. Burnout is a

problem that extends beyond

physicians to nurses

and other health care staff

as well.

Although Dr. Ulf Lando

does not experience burnout,

he believes that the paperwork

involved with the job is added


“I used to work much more

than I do now. I didn’t experience

burnout, but I experienced

a lot of stress,” said Dr. Lando. “All

the forms and all the regulations

involved add a great burden to

the job.”

The study calculates that the

cost of burnout comes out to

$7,600 per physician per year for

healthcare organizations. The

study notes that their cost estimate

was conservative, only taking

into account lost work hours

and physician turnover.

Other research referenced

in the study finds that burnedout

doctors have higher rates of

self-reported medical errors, less

satisfied patients and more malpractice

lawsuits, all of which have

indirect costs.

Doctors also have higher

absenteeism rates and are more

likely to report an intention to

reduce their work hours or leave

medical practice all together.

“The concept of doctor burnout

is scary but I do believe if there is a

strong determination and a sense

of purpose then it

can be evaded,”

said Shayra

Nawsheen, a senior who plans

to pursue a career in the medical

field. “During my internship, when

the patients thanked me dssfor

my work, it gave me a sense of

achievement that washed all the

tiredness away. The ability to save

a life and the opportunity to be

able to learn science at the same

time is a big driving force.”

The current study is accompanied

by an editorial also published

in the Annals of Internal Medicine

by the executive medical director

of Southern California Permanente

Medical Group Edward

Ellison. The healthcare provider,

a division of the HMO Kaiser

Permanente, employs over 8,500


Ellison writes that burnout is associated

with “anxiety, depression,

insomnia, emotional and physical

exhaustion, and loss of cognitive

focus.” He also notes that the physician

suicide rate is much higher

than the general publics’ and even

exceeds that of combat veterans.

The study authors found that

putting a cost on doctor burnout

and using the language of policymakers

and CEOs can compel

organizations to act.

“This is good news. It shows

that burnout is being addressed

nationally and

programs are having some

impact,” Lotte Dyrbye, a

physician and professor

of medicine at the Mayo

Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

and co-author of

the study, said in a press


UP IN SMOKE: The burnout

some doctors have been

experiencing adds to rising

healthcare costs.


The widely accessible overthe-counter

drug, Kratom, may

be more dangerous helpful.


Kratom: Is the herb

healing or harmful?



Over 10.3 million Americans misused

opioid prescriptions in 2018, and now

a new substance has come on scene

which may have the same addictive effects

but is legal in most states without

a prescription.

Kratom, a widely-available herb, is the subject of

ongoing debate over its risks and benefits.

Usually chewed, brewed or crushed into a fine

green powder, the herb comes from a tropical Southeast

Asian tree.

Chemicals in Kratom can have effects similar

to both opioids and stimulants by interacting with

different receptors in the brain. A small amount of

Kratom can perk you up, while a large dose has a

sedative effect like opioids.

Some people who struggled with opioid addiction

have switched to Kratom and swear by the substance’s

positive effects on their lives.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worry

that Kratom carries the risk of physical and psychological

dependency and, in some cases, addiction. The FDA

warns consumers not to use the substance, and the

DEA classifies Kratom in the same category as heroin

and LSD.

Some users credit Kratom with turning around their

mental health or preventing opioid relapse.

However, finding a high-quality supply of Kratom,

often sold as pills, capsules or extracts, is difficult. The

FDA has recalled dozens of salmonella-tainted products

sold online or in convenience stores. Toxic heavy

metals have also been found in Kratom supplements.

Not all reviews of the supplement are positive.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on a

young patient who got hooked on painkillers after his

dentist pulled his wisdom teeth. He used bitcoin to also

buy Vicodin and fentanyl on the dark web.

Eventually he wanted to kick his opioid addiction

and saw testimonials on YouTube and Reddit swearing

that Kratom could be the way out. Soon he was

popping multiple Kratom capsules a day, believing

that the natural herb supplement could provide the

same benefits of an opioid without the risks.

During his freshman year at UC Davis, the young

man started hyperventilating regularly. The incidents

worsened ending in several trips to the emergency

room. No doctor thought to test for Kratom.

He eventually died. The toxicology report listed

“acute mitragynine intoxication” — one of the chemicals

making up Kratom — as the cause of death.

“Kratom is a promising but not proven treatment

for opioid addiction and acute pain management but

it is not risk free,” said C. Michael White, head of the

Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University

of Connecticut.

White says that the collection of human data has

only just begun. He says scientists need to conduct

more research before the effectiveness of the drug is


Instead, he recommends trying methadone or

suboxone before trying Kratom. Both methadone and

suboxone are FDA approved.

White says the safest place for Kratom is behind

pharmacy counters, for people over age 18, but with

no prescription required.





Peanut wizard

Born a slave, George Washington Carver became

a prominent scientist and inventor, best

known for devising over 100 peanut products

and popularizing peanut butter.




House of Blues

music foundation

partners with

Technical Arts




Lights, sound, action.

These are just some of the backstage

components needed to stage a performance.

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation,

a Los Angeles-based organization that focuses on

accelerating career skills for youth through music,

will be emphasizing the technical arts in its collaboration

with the school, the only school selected to

participate in the partnership in the San Fernando


House of Blues is an American chain of live music

concert halls and restaurants founded in 1992

by Isaac Tigrett, the co-founder of Hard Rock Cafe,

and Dan Aykroyd, co-star of the 1980 film The Blues


In 1993, House of Blues established the International

House of Blues Foundation, the initial name

of Music Forward, to provide services for the youth

through arts programs.

The partnership’s goal is to promote and enhance

the school’s technical theater department,

lighting design, stage design, film and business


BACKSTAGE House of Blues Music Forward Foundation

has impacted over one million kids, as well as invested

$25 million in providing workshops and showcases,

kickstarting careers in the industry for over 25 years.

aspects of the industry.

“What the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation

wants to do is mentor and teach our kids

the behind the scenes aspects of performing arts,

and the ins and outs of the music industry from

the backstage component,” said Performing Arts

Magnet Coordinator Ms. Fanny Arana.

The semester will kick off with numerous

workshops beginning in February introducing

students to various career pathways in the music

industry including participation on artistic teams,

venue teams and production careers through live

performances, panel discussions, and hands-on


Ms. Arana stresses the importance of students’

awareness of these different career pathways.

“Realistically, you’ve got people on stage and

that’s great, but

without sound

and lights, you’ve

got nothing,” she

said. “You’ve just

got a bunch of

people standing around in the dark yelling at each

other. Without documentation and the business

aspect of it, you’re not going to have an audience.

Who markets it? Who gets the word out? How do

you get the word out? There is so much that goes

into planning a show.”

Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity

to job-shadow, create a personal brand

and craft a resume.

“Networking will be a key component to getting

our students jobs in the industry,” said Ms. Arana.

Students involved in the Technical Theater

Department will be most involved in the partnership.

“The program teaches responsibility and accountability,”

Jude Struble, a technical arts student,

said. “You have to know what you’re doing with

other people. I’m excited to involve myself and learn

more about the industry.”

Palforzia: A “game changer” for Americans with a peanut allergy



For nearly 2.5 percent of children

and teenagers, one

of their biggest

fears is accidentally

eating something

that contains

traces of peanuts.

Those with peanut

allergies can experience

severe reactions and even


But help may be on the way.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(FDA) has approved the first treatment for

peanut allergy in children ages 4 to 17.

The drug, sold under the brand name

Polfarzia, is a peanut protein in powder

form which is given to children in increasing,

controlled doses. Every two weeks, the

dose is ramped up until it hits a target of

300 milligrams, which is the equivalent of

about one peanut.

Polfarzia does not cure the allergy, but

rather reduces the severity and number

of allergic reactions. Users will still have to

carry an EpiPen and avoid peanuts.

The medicine is similar to oral therapies

offered by some allergists, but it is the first

to be approved by U.S. health regulators.

“Not only is Palforzia the first approved

therapy for peanut allergy, but it is the first

approved therapy for any food allergy,”

Daniel Adelman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

of Aimmune Therapeutics, the company

that developed the drug, said in a press


Dr. Alan O. Khadavi, an allergy and

asthma physician, believes that the drug

could be very helpful for hypersensitive

patients who may accidentally consume

something with traces of peanuts.

“It would be very good for patients who

are hypersensitive who sometimes have

accidental exposures that can cause reactions,”

said Dr. Khadavi. “This is something

we can offer patients who are very scared

of accidentally eating a peanut. It gives

another treatment for them.”


It would be very good for

patients who are hypersensitive

who sometimes have

accidental exposures that

can cause reactions.”

Dr. Alan O. Khadavi


Although the drug does not cure

patients or work for everyone, Aimmune

says the benefits can be life-changing to

parents and children who worry about

the potentially fatal effects of accidental


allergy is the second most

common allergy in children,

occuring in about 1 in 50 children

and 1 in 200 adults.

exposure to peanuts.

“This is a defining moment for the peanut

allergy community and for Aimmune

Therapeutics,” Jayson Dallas, CEO of Aimmune

Therapeutics, said in a press release.

The company is also studying the

medicine in children ages 1 to 4, allowing

a larger number of the roughly 3 million

Americans with peanut allergies to undergo

the treatment.

“Having an allergic reaction is not a very

fun experience at all,” said Ryan Limpasurat,

a student with a moderate peanut

allergy. “Having this treatment will make

day-to-day life more simple since I will be

less stressed about reading each and every

ingredient list.”


Trailblazing Black Anchorman

The first African-American network television achor,

Max Robinson, co-anchored ABC’s “World News

Tonight” from 1978-1983. He died of AIDS in 1988.





Media outlets are pursuing a “sugar coated”

version of the news, according to students

PRESSED Reporters and

camera crews cover a big

news event. Our survey

suggests that students

distrust the news media.


The Mirror survey suggests students view

news as biased and containing inaccuracies.



Social media, television and

news media sites are among

the most popular sources for

students to receive news from,

but these sources have an overwhelmingly

biased nature.

In a survey asking students how

they receive and perceive news, 73.1

percent indicated that news contains

inaccuracies and distortions.

“News seems to be radically in favor

of the extremities,” said senior Anthony

Oliveira, an avid news follower. “Outlets

like CNN and Fox are horrendously

biased and are almost never willing to

concede any points or cover any stories

that favor the opposing side.”

Over 65 percent of students responded

that they prefer receiving

news that is as neutral and objective

as possible, even if that means the

story is not as interesting.

“Media needs to pursue a less sugar

coated reporting path rather than focusing

on keeping the public eyes and

ears at bay from what really is happening

around the world,” said senior

Jan Martinez.

The most popular connotations

associated with news, based on the

survey, are “depressing” and “negative,”

but despite that students still

consider news useful. Many students

also believe news is sensationalized.

“[Most] mainstream news outlets

sensationalize stories [to generate]

clicks which produce revenue and for

their own political agenda,” said Alvaro

Gutierrez, a junior who checks the

news regularly.

80.8 percent of students receive

news from social media, with Instagram

and Twitter being among the

most popular.

With such a large population of

students accessing news from social

media, the accuracy of these sources

come into question.

Since sophomore Nicole Gasparian

often receives most of her news from

social media outlets, she believes that

media sites should enforce stricter

regulation to prevent the general

public from being fed biased and inaccurate


Surprisingly, almost 56 percent

of respondents agreed, indicating

that the “government should restrict

what the news media publishes.” In

other words, they seem to support

increased censorship.

“When dealing with news on

social media, I believe that information

by sources should be regulated.

This is due to the significant amount

of fake news that has been going

around within the media,” Gasparian

said. “In order to provide the people

with the most accurate, unbiased

news, there needs to be certain regulations

even if it interferes with the

right to freedom of speech on some


When hearing

conflicting versions

of a story, students

trust CNN for the

most accurate

reporting of news

while Fox News is the least trusted.

“We the people should push back

and refuse to watch and consume

news from sources that repeatedly lie,”

added Gutierrez.

Social Media




Contain inaccuracies and distortions


How do you get most

of your news?

Social Media 80.8%

Radio 1.9%

Television 1.9%

News Media Outlets 11.5%

Print Newspapers 0%

News Apps 1.9%

All of the Above 1.9%

Which social media

site do you receive

news from most?

Twitter 38.5%

Facebook 1.9%

Instagram 51.9%

Snapchat 0%

Youtube 1.9%

Youtube & Reddit 1.9%

Apple News 1.9%

Reddit 1.9%

I think news

stories usually....

Get facts straight 26.9%

Contain inaccuracies

and distortions 73.1%





Five First Dates

There’s a first time for everything.

Most firsts are unforgettable and stay with you

your whole life. But whether they’re good experiences

or bad ones, they are significant.

First dates are a pivotal moment that often determine

where a relationship goes. It’s a moment where two individuals

get to know one another and see if anything sparks

between them.

Relationships aren’t easy. They involve multiple pressures

like how to keep the conversation going and who’s going to


We spoke to five couples who agreed to share their first

date experiences for Valentine’s Day.


Nathan Soto & April Casillas


Our first date was when we were one

month into our relationship. It was

after school and we went to Carl’s Jr.

because that was all we could afford.

My mom saw us kiss for the first time

and it was memorable because it was

just him and I. We just laughed so

much. What made me realize Nathan

was the one was showing me what

true love is really like and showing

me how a man is supposed to treat

me. He has always been kind and

when he was my best friend before

we dated we would always laugh

together and could never stay mad

at each other.

Angie Hernandez & Oscar Machado


Our first date was kinda funny. It was at school

after multicultural day and we hung out at the

church in front of the school. I first snapped at

him thinking he wouldn’t come but he actually

came. It was really awkward and we just talked

about random things but it was a little flirty so

that’s what I liked from the start. What made it

memorable was when he threw a fake spider at

me, I really hate spiders. But I realized that he

was the one when I started getting attached to

him and his family and realized how comfortable

I am with him.

Cesar Martinez & Venus Ancheta


We’ve known each other since summer. Our first

date was a very simple one. We went to eat and

then we spent the whole day talking about life. I

think every day is memorable with her but to be

honest it’s just the way we both are so similar but

yet different enough to like each other. That day she

was as she’s always been, a humble person with a

caring personality. I realized that she was the one

when we clicked during this conversation we’ve had.

She came unexpectedly to my life and that’s the

reason I knew she was the one.

Jaymee Domenden & Anthony Asis


My first date with Anthony was such a good time.

We went to the summer movie festival at CSUN for

the first time to watch “The Parent Trap.” The most

interesting thing that happened was trying yakiniku

(Japanese grilled meat) fries with him from the food

truck. The first date for me was memorable because it

was the first time we held hands. I was nervous to do

that, even with him. Being able to be myself around

him comfortably made me realize that he’s the one

for me. He accepts me for who I am and loves me

no matter what. He makes me laugh at the dumbest

things and reassures me when things go wrong.

Alexa Abrego & Ashley Bonilla


On our first date we went roller skating.

We didn’t think it was our first date until

the next day when we hung out again.

Someone asked if we were dating and

we weren’t too sure. We asked ourselves

“are we?” and decided we were, so we

made it official. What made it memorable

was that I had liked her for a while

and I was so confused whether it was a

date or not but regardless it was amazing

and I laughed a lot.



Perspective7 FEBRUARY 2020

Why Black pride

is important

Black History: Moving

forward by looking back


such beauty in Black people and

it really saddens me when we’re not


allowed to express that pride in being

Black and if you do, then it’s considered antiwhite,”

said Tina Knowles on black pride in “Tina

Taught Me” by Solange Knowles.

“I’ve always been proud to be Black. Never

wanted to be nothing else. Loved everything

about it.”

For countless years Black people have been

suppressed and shamed, for merely being black.

As a direct response to white racism and

ideologies, especially during the height of the

civil rights movement, Black pride rose within the

communities to empower those and encourage

the celebration of Black people and their


However, the idea of Black pride is intimidating

to those who don’t understand the idea or don’t

try to understand, for they deem the movement

as “anti-white” or “reverse racism.” Embracing and

lifting up Black pride has nothing to do with hating

white people.

Pro-Black doesn’t mean anti-white.

In the United States as of today, racism is still

very present.

Though the country has removed some of

its institutional, legalized racial discrimination

— slavery, Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal”

schools and prohibitions on voting or owning

land — there’s still huge inequality in education,

housing, employment, wealth, representation in

leadership positions, government surveillance,

incarceration and drug arrests.

The unification of the Black communities

helps combat the current system, allowing for

alternative ways for Black people to flourish in a

society that benefits them little or none.

From a young age, Black youth are exposed to

anti-Black microaggressions, which are damaging

to their mental health.

In a study conducted by the Journal of Applied

Developmental Psychology, 101 Black youth

between ages 13 and 17 from predominantly

Black neighborhoods in Washington

D.C. were surveyed each day

for two weeks about any racial

discrimination they had faced,

while changes in their mental

health were measured.

Over that period, the teens

reported over 5,600 individual

instances of experiencing racism,

leading to short-term

symptoms of depression.

The racism they




Almost 60 years ago, Martin

Luther King Jr. stood in

front of the Lincoln Memorial

on the March on Washington

for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“I have a dream,” he started, forever

changing the course of Black history.

The role of MLK in the advancement

of civil rights and other Black

activists have been annually celebrated

the whole month of February as Black

History Month.

To recognize Black culture and history,

Morgan Agee and Jazzmyn Ward

decided to start the “Black Student

Union” or BSU earlier this school year.

Ward believes the month is a

chance to celebrate and recognize the

strengths and accomplishments of

Black men and women. BSU hopes to

unite the campus community of all

ethnicities to commemorate Black history

and help each other embrace their

culture and color.

Although their culture arose from a

dark past of colonization, segregation,

and discrimination, African-Americans

have overcome that obstacle. Yet, issues

of racial discrimination still persist.

“I love being Black,” Agee said, “but

so many people don’t understand the

issues we go through.”

So in combat of their dark past and

current struggles, Ward says that BSU

gives “a chance to educate the ignorant

and uninformed people, so that we, as

a nation, can grow and learn from past

omissions and harm directed towards

the African-American community.”

The community has taken immense

steps to break free from past social oppression.

Many influencers and artists


Notable African American

leaders, (clockwise)

Martin Luther King Jr.,

Barack Obama, Rosa

Parks, Harriet Tubman,

Jackie Robinson and

Oprah Winfrey, who

have impacted Black


embrace their heritage and empower

other African-Americans through their


“There are so many amazing influencers

today like Kendrick Lamar,

J. Cole, Kobe Bryant, Nipsey Hussle,

Beyonce, Rihanna,” says Andrea Derrington,

a sophomore.

“What makes me proud to be Black

is everything in our culture from our

hair to our clothes and music,” said

Jimmy Curtis, a junior.

“African-American culture is what

makes me proud to be Black,” said

Junior Zainab Jamoh. “Our culture is

so rich and has so many different elements

to it.”

To share a part of African culture to

students on campus, the club representatives

and members will be participating

in “Multicultural Day” on Feb.

19. They will be bringing their culture’s

food and drinks to sell to students.

Although one month is dedicated to

appreciating African-American culture

and history, U.S. History teacher Mr.

Jacob Ferrin believes we should take a

step back and recognize if a month is

really enough to recognize a deep, complicated

and important part of history.

“All American history is Black history,”

said Mr. Ferrin. “African-Americans

have been a part of the American

story for a very long time.”

Black History Month stemmed

from just a week-long commemoration

known as “Negro History Week.”

In 1976, President Gerald Ford established

Black History month to further

recognize the accomplishments and

the history of Black Americans.

The theme of the month is “African-

Americans and the Vote.” It pays homage

to the 19th amendment that granted

women the right to vote in 1920 and to

the 15th amendment that granted Black

men the right to vote in 1870.

This year, the National Park Service

decided to commemorate the landing

of the first enslaved Africans in North

America in Aug. 1619 at Virginia’s Point

Comfort, which is now a part of Fort

Monroe National Monument.

The Library of Congress also has

established the first major exhibition

to showcase the Rosa Parks Collection

in 2014 recognizing Parks who rose to

prominence in the 1960s civil rights

scene after refusing to give up her seat

to a white passenger in a segregated

bus. The collection chronicles her life

and her public activism.

“Growing up Black and living in this

world has shaped me into the type of

person I am,” Jamoh expressed. “When

you are Black there is a resilience that

is ingrained in you.”

“I’m strong, beautiful, and bold because

I’m Black,” she said.


which occurred

primarily online, went

from getting teased

about physical appearance

to digs about culture.

No wonder a Black person feels

inferior when they are bombarded by

nonstop critiques of their hair, their skin and their


Added to this is a lack of positive Black representation

in the media as Blacks are portrayed

stereotypically and negatively. Being black is not

a good thing; racism is internalized.

Throughout the years however, Black people

have been resilient, despite the challenges they

have faced and continue to face.

In a white-dominated society empowering,

valuing, loving yourself and Black people collectively

is powerful and important.

Black is beautiful. There’s a reason to be proud.












but public health offi



Six cases of coronavirus, a new virus that

first appeared in Wuhan, China last

month, have been confirmed in California.

One case each in Los Angeles and

Orange County and four in Northern California

have been reported.

These reports follow after the first cases in the

United States were confirmed in Boston, Washington,

Arizona and Chicago. There are a total of 11

cases nationwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared

the coronavirus a global health emergency,

as the virus has spread to 23 countries worldwide.

Globally, at least 14,557 cases have been confirmed.

This number, however, continues to

increase over a thousand each day. It has killed at

least 304 people. Only one death has been reported

outside of China so far — a man in the Philippines.

The total number of people infected with coronavirus

in mainland China surpassed those infected

with the SARS during the 2002-2003 epidemic.

The virus is thought to have originated in Wuhan,

China, a city almost three times the population

of Los Angeles.

Coronavirus is considered a zoonotic disease —

initially transmitted from animals to humans. Most

of the people who initially got sick in Wuhan had a

link to large seafood and live animal markets.

As of now, the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) has confirmed two person-toperson

transmissions in the U.S.

It was spread from a woman who recently traveled

to China to her husband upon returning to

Chicago. The other case followed a similar pattern.

The first U.S. case was detected in an unnamed

man who spent time in Wuhan. Four days after his

arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, he

felt ill and sought medical care and doctors were

able to confirm the virus on Jan. 21.

INFLUENZA: Vaccine m



The United States may be headed into a

bad flu season, as the Centers for Disease

and Prevention (CDC) figures show “widespread”

flu activity in Puerto Rico and 48

states with the season beginning unusually early.

A total of 140,000 to 250,000 flu hospitalizations

and between 8,200 and 20,000 deaths have been

estimated between Oct. 1, 2019 and Jan. 18, 2020 by

the CDC, with the highest rates of hospitalization

and death rates among children ages zero to four

and adults ages 65 and over.

These statistics shot up almost to the peak




Pertussis, more commonly known as

whooping cough, is a highly-contagious

respiratory disease that induces violent

coughs that sound like a “whoop.”

Caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, it

can only be found in humans, although it can infect

anyone, infants aged one-year-old or younger are

most susceptible to the disease.

Even though 5,066 cases of pertussis were

reported to the Centers for Disease and Prevention

(CDC) in 2019, only one person died. In Los Angeles

alone accounted for almost 40 percent of the


Helping hens

The most common way to make flu vaccines is

using an egg-based process. Live virus is injected

into fertilized hen’s eggs to replicate, then

harvested, killed and purified to make the vaccine.


a major threat yet in the U.S.,

cials take precautions anyway

ay not offer much protection

reached at the height of the 2017-18 flu season,

which was the most severe in the decade. About

61,000 Americans died of the flu that season according

to the CDC.

This year’s vaccine may not be particularly effective

against the B/Victoria strain of the virus now

widespread in the U.S., the CDC said. However, it is

worth getting the shot since people who are vaccinated

are better off if they get the flu than those

who are not.

“Even if you do get the flu vaccine and still get sick,

you are hopefully preventing yourself from getting

the worst strain,” said school Nurse Ashley Smith.

The current season did begin unusually early this

reported cases.

Last semester, an outbreak occurred at Van Nuys

High School when a number of students tested positive

for the disease. The students were sent home

and letters were sent to parents of all students in

their classes informing them of the situation. The

students could only return to class with a doctor’s


In February a year ago, Harvard Westlake School,

an exclusive private school near Van Nuys in Studio

City, experienced a pertussis outbreak in which 30

students were diagnosed with the disease.

According to the CDC, early symptoms include

runny nose, mild cough and fever. As the disease

The Los Angeles County Department of Public

Health confirmed that the first case in L.A., reported

on Jan. 22, followed a similar pattern. In the most

updated news release, the department stated that

the first case in L.A. was a returning traveler from

Wuhan, China.

The patient is currently being treated at an unnamed

local hospital to protect the patient’s privacy.

Officials are identifying people the infected patient

came into contact with and are monitoring them

for symptoms of coronavirus-related illnesses.

After news of the spread of coronavirus to the

US, five airports implementing extended screenings

of passengers who have recently been to Wuhan,

including Los Angeles International Airport. All major

U.S. airlines have cancelled all flights to China.

Arriving passengers will answer questions about

respiratory-related symptoms and have their temperature

taken. They are screened for any symptoms

indicating the presence of the virus. Those whose

symptoms match that of the virus will be detained.

According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus-induced

illnesses include runny nose, fever, sore

throat and headache. It can be transmitted through

direct contact and through the air by coughing and


“The virus is not as infectious as the flu and the

symptoms less severe but it is spread by coughing

and sneezing,” said C. Michael White, a pharmacist

at the University of Connecticut.

The virus can be contagious for up to 14 days before

symptoms show. This means that people who

seem to be healthy can spread the disease.

White, however, noted that the elderly and the

very young are “at greatest risk of dying.”

The risk of the virus rapidly spreading across

the United States is still considered low, according

to the CDC and the L.A. County Department of

Public Health, even though WHO has classified the

outbreak as a potential pandemic.

“There is no immediate threat to the general public,

no special precautions are required, and people

should not be excluded from activities based on

their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they

do not have symptoms of respiratory illness,” a press

release from LA Public Health Department stated.

As of now, there are no known treatments for

coronavirus infections. The CDC assures that it is

working with the WHO in monitoring the situation

and finding ways to prevent the further spread of

the virus.

Scientists and health officials are rushing to create

a vaccine against the virus, which at a minimum

could take six months. Any distribution of a vaccine

to the public, however, will take even longer, considering

the need for trials and approval from the Food

and Drug Administration.

The Director of Public Health in L.A. County, Dr.

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, stated that the department

is working closely with federal, state, and

local partners to take precautionary measures and

to continuously update the public of news about

the virus.

“L.A. County is well prepared to manage cases

and suspected cases of novel coronavirus,” Dr. Ferrer

stated in a news release statement.

For now, the CDC recommends people to regularly

wash their hands to protect from the virus.

Personal belongings must also be cleaned and


Those infected with the virus are asked to avoid

direct contact with others and to wear face masks

to preclude further infection. The CDC advises

those infected to take pain, fever, cough and sore

throat medicine. Resting, drinking fluids and

anything to alleviate sore throat and fever are also


“Los Angeles residents, students, workers, and

visitors should continue to engage in their regular

activities and practice good public health hygiene

as this is the height of flu season across the County,”

the LA County Public Health news release stated.

year. By late November, the virus broke out from Texas

to Georgia and made its way to California.

It is still too early to know how severe this flu

season will be, the CDC reports.

Thus far, almost none of the samples tested

by the CDC have been resistant to Tamiflu or any

other common antiflu drug. Those medications do

not cure the flu, but reduce the severity of an infection

and its symptoms if taken early.

“The number one thing everyone can do to

prevent getting the flu is washing their hands frequently,”

said Smith.

“Vaccinate, wash your hands, cover your cough,

and stay at home if you have a fever.”

utbreaks still threaten L.A. schools

progresses, symptoms are more extreme and

noticeable, particularly successive, heavy coughing

may cause vomiting and exhaustion. Antibiotics are

used to treat the disease.

There are currently two vaccines to prevent transmission,

although a resistant strain can still be contracted,

even though a person has been vaccinated.

“Whooping cough remains a threat,” said school

Nurse Ashley Smith R.N. “The best way to combat

this is to be vaccinated.”

In 2014, L.A. Unified School District required that

all incoming seventh grade students be vaccinated.

LAUSD offers free vaccines at select clinics throughout

the district.


The [coronavirus]

is not as infectious

as the flu and the

symptoms less

severe but it is

spread by coughing

and sneezing.”


Pharmacist at the University

of Connecticut


L.A. County is well

prepared to manage

cases and

suspected cases of

novel coronavirus.”


L.A. County Director of

Public Health



Wash your hands often or

use an alcohol-based hand

sanitizer with at least 60%


Avoid touching your eyes,

nose and mouth with unwashed


Avoid close contact with

people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze

with a tissue, then throw the

tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently

touched objects and surfaces

using a regular household

cleaning spray or wipe.



Even if you do get

the flu vaccine and

still get sick, you are

hopefully preventing

yourself from

getting the worst







With the Wuhan coronavirus spreading rapidly to

different regions of the world, individuals are scurrying

to protect themselves and their loved ones

from the infectious virus.

Because of the lack of information on the virus,

many in infected areas are wearing surgical masks

to prevent becoming infected, resulting in a shortage

of masks in cities in China. Many Amazon.

com merchants are sold out.

However, even with the popularity of masks,

questions remain about their effectiveness.

Some viruses, including coronavirus and influenza,

can be spread through coughing or sneezing.

According to at least one study, when masks are

used the correct way, they lower risks of catching

the flu by up to 80 percent.

Masks do curb the spread of airborne viruses,

but if those infected touch their eyes or nose, then

another person or surface, whoever they came in

contact with and those who touched the contaminated

surface are at risk of falling sick as well.

So even though masks do help keep the virus

from spreading, they are not as effective in protecting

the wearer from being infected.

There are two different types of masks available:

surgical masks and respirators.

Surgical masks are typically used by doctors,

nurses and dentists while treating patients to protect

from splashes and sprays, such as sneezes,

coughs and other hazardous fluids.

While they create a temporary barrier, tiny particles

nonetheless can easily seep through the mask

because of its fairly thin material and loose fit.

Respirators, commonly used by construction

workers, use denser materials to filter out about

95 percent of airborne particles, including viruses

and bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC).

While the CDC hasn’t issued an advisory for the

general public to wear masks, health experts do recommend

taking the same precautions you would take

for a regular cold or flu: wash your hands often, avoid

touching your eyes and mouth, stay away from others

who are sick and stay home if you are sick.





Marketed as the hand sanitizer that “kills more

than 99.99% of most common germs that may

cause illness,” the maker of Purell hand sanitizers

have been given a warning by the Food and Drug

Administration (FDA) to stop making unproven

claims of being able to prevent Ebola, MRSA or

the flu.

In a warning letter sent last month, the FDA

told Purell’s makers, Gojo Industries, that its claims

that their hand sanitizers could reduce the potential

for infection or prevent illnesses violated the

Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Within the “Frequently Asked Questions” section

of the Gojo website, statements suggest that

Purell hand sanitizers may be effective against

contracting viruses, ranging from

Ebola to the flu.

The FDA said that it was “unaware

of any adequately regulated studies

demonstrating that killing or decreasing

the number of bacteria or viruses on the skin

by a certain degree produced a corresponding

reduction in infection or disease

caused by such bacteria or virus.”

The agency’s letter outlined

further claims from the company’s

websites and social media accounts

that it had issues with, such as the

statement that said “Purell products

are proven to reduce absenteeism,”

the practice of regularly staying away

from an obligation without good


The FDA has given Gojo Industries

two options: stop making false

claims or file to designate Purell as a

drug. Until then, the agency said that

Purell will be reclassified as an unapproved

drug, rather than an over-thecounter

product, which means the

company must correct the violations

or face legal action. • KAYLA LEE





Why are we only respected

when we use our

“white people” voice?

The first thing people notice about you when you speak is

your accent, pronunciation or vocabulary. Dialect is an

important part of a first impression.

Having a Southern accent is possible. Having a British

accent is possible.

However, speaking “white” is impossible. Using this term to

describe the way someone speaks is insulting.

“Speaking white” or “sounding white” is used to describe the

way someone speaks when using

complex words or when being articulate

with their speech. These

terms only normalize the notion

that the capability of speaking

proper English is limited to white



people, which is not and never

will be the case.

Linguistic profiling, the practice

of using one’s accent and dialect to identify a person’s characteristics,

is blatantly discriminatory.

From a young age, I learned to change the way I spoke depending

on the person I spoke to. I was taught to never converse with

an adult the way I would with a close friend in order to show my

respect for them. Later, it became apparent that showing respect

hardly played a role in the need to speak “like a white person.”

It wasn’t about showing respect. It was about receiving it. It

was about seeming approachable, respectful and even educated.

The sad truth is that society upholds the belief that intelligence is

measured by the way you speak. You’re labeled “uneducated” or

“inferior” if you don’t follow the rules of standard English. It’s more

common than you think. The reason someone might find this

hard to believe is because society has done an outstanding job

normalizing such beliefs.

Tenth grade was the peak of altering my speech and using my

“white person” voice. I had a teacher who spoke elegant English

and who drilled us heavily about grammar and its importance.

My fear of being perceived as uneducated or unworthy of respect

was heightened every time we were required to speak in class. I

refused to use my usual vocabulary and never allowed my normal

tone of voice to slip out.

Teachers never tell you what they truly think of you, but linguistic

profiling can be subtle. AP English teacher Ms. Nancy Navarrete

believes that

speech altering is

directly linked to the

preservation of culture.

“I do think that some


minority groups want to avoid

‘speaking white’ in fear of selling out their own cultures,” she said.

“However, when under pressure, some people will try to sound

white so that they don’t feel out of place.”

“The assumption is that any other language that does not ‘sound

white’ is not good enough and therefore not legitimate,” she said. She

also thinks that when subgroups try not to sound white, they are

really rebelling against the conformity of the English language.

Ms. Navarrete feels that we need to do a better job in school

to value subgroups and their variations of English and to include

“sounding white” as just another variation and not the norm.

“Scholarly English is just that—standard—and it should not be associated

with being white,” she finished.

As a young black male, Anthony Turner, is familiar with the

switch to white mannerisms especially when voicing his opinions.

“I’m perceived as the stereotypical angry black person. I have

to use white mannerisms to get my point across and I shouldn’t

have to. My opinions and emotions are valid regardless of how

I speak or act. I shouldn’t have to water them down with white

mannerisms to be heard and respected,” he said.

Turner describes it as “rude and intimidating” when he’s told

he speaks white. “I’m around other people of color and they tell

me I speak white, I think ‘should I change how I talk?.’ Growing up

around a majority of white people helped communicating with

them go smoother but that doesn’t make up for having to change

myself to be understood.”

It’s our responsibility to make use of our language to bring us

together instead of as a barrier. Refraining from using the term

“white” to describe someone’s mannerisms is the first step.

Appropriating “hood culture” to make a buck


Hip-hop and rap music has been

around since the 1970s.

Urban youth and people of

color were treated as a marginalized

community, so they used their

unique sound as their form of expression.

Little did they know their musical form

of protest would give birth to a genre that

brings people together 50 years later.

It seems that there’s a new up-and-coming

hip-hop or rap artist every week. We

barely get the chance to experience a new

rapper long enough before a different artist

makes a hit record and claims their fame.

Experiencing struggles in everyday

life is a common theme in the rap genre,

which is not much different than the

musical message of New York in the 70s.

Growing up in poverty and gang violence

are recurring themes.

The drive and ambition

these artists present

is inspiring, but the stories

they tell through their

music have less meaning

if the stories are fake. I

prefer to listen to rappers

who are sincere about

their past and their upbringing.

Nowadays, there

are rappers who claim

to have come from the

“hood” or the “streets”, but

have never experienced

the harsh reality of coming

from such unfortunate backgrounds.

Lying about experiencing real struggles

only diminishes the meaning of rap culture.

Hip-hop was created to give the marginalized

community a voice, not a platform

for privileged individuals to lie their way

into a music career. Such misrepresentation

is a form of disrespect.

The lies some rappers tell through their

music is a deprivation of opportunities for

authentic artists, according to 17-year-old

rapper Layla Williams.

“If you gotta lie about what you do,

where you’re from or what you’re going


POSER More rappers are restorting

to lying for sales.

through then you don’t need

to rap,” Williams said.

“It’s unfair to the people

who are living the life they

preach about or the ones

who are actually speaking

the truth about the pain

they are enduring. That’s

called “Rap Cap,” a big no in

the music industry. Nobody

wants to hear somebody

capping—lying—in their raps.

The media wants to hear all

facts,” she explains.

Nobody wants to listen to

music about growing up wealthy or being

born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Even if they can’t relate, people would

much rather listen to music about working

hard to overcome their life obstacles

and working their way to success by any

means necessary.

One reason the exploitation of urban

culture and community has been normalized

is that it boosts sales. Consumers are

drawn to the music they find most relatable.

Some artists find it easier to capitalize

off of urban culture when they know

exactly what their audience is looking for.


Kayla Lee, Pilar Sims


Mhar Tenorio


Seungyoun Kim


Ani Tutunjyan


Kaitlyn Jung


Gwen Langi


Kasey Kim


Andre Rodas


Julia Pfau


Ivan Delgado


Aaron Mejia


Plapol “PJ” Rattapitak


Stephanie Caceres

Eduardo Camarena

Ciena Carlos

Ruben Cocilion

Adriana Contreras

Noelle Copeland

Arsh Dole

Dennis Galin

Saahil Gaur

Dhamara Gomez

Anzhela Harutyunyan

Andrea Hernandez

Oscar Jimenez

Estefania Lopez

Jimena Martinez

Monica Mazariegos

Milton Najarro

Caroline Ortiz

Maisha Rahman

Josselyn Ramos

Beverly Regino

Sandra Sanchez

Pamela Serrano

Anahit Sharmatyan

Angelica Valenzuela

Layla Williams


Mr. Ron Goins

ABOUT US The Mirror is the student newspaper

of Van Nuys Senior High School in Van

Nuys, California, a district of Los Angeles. It

is published six times per year. The opinions

expressed in bylined commentary articles

and columns represent the views of the individual

writer and do not necessarily reflect

the views of The Mirror or the Editorial Board.

DISTRIBUTION Copies are free to students,

faculty and staff and are available in

Room 112, Second Floor, Main Building.

READER PARTICIPATION Unsigned editorials

represent the majority opinion of the

Editorial Board. Letters to the Editor may

be delivered to Room 112 or mailed to The

Mirror, 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411.

Letters must be signed and may be edited

for space to conform to The Mirror style

and format.

ADVERTISING Questions may be directed

to Aaron Mejia at amejia0208@mymail., or by telephoning (818) 788-6800.

Publication of an advertisement does not

imply endorsement of the product or service

by the newspaper or the school.

MEMBERSHIPS National Scholastic Press

Association (NSPA), Columbia Scholastic

Press Association (CSPA) and Southern

California Journalism Educators Association




An app made for parents to track and check on

their kids has hit the App Store: Life360. It’s being

marketed as a “safe app,” created for concerned

parents. “Feel free, together,” is the app’s slogan.

Life360 allows parents to track their child’s every

move, including seeing the

speed of the vehicle they’re in,

its location and when a target

leaves a location.

The intentions of the app may be innocent but it has



allowed many parents to make their children miserable.

Mistrust between parents and kids can only grow

with the use of the Life360 app. Obsessive

parents now have the ability

to constantly check their child’s

location. Strict parents create

sneaky children. The

growing wariness between

a child and their

parents will only cause

the child to rebel even

more. As young adults,

teenagers should have

the freedom to go out

on their own and not be

spied on.

Also, apps can experience

bugs or glitches, which

could lead to more misunderstandings


parents and their children.

More often than

not, children are

shut down when

trying to explain

their side of the


Apps like Life360

enable obsessive behaviors.

Instead of creating trust in parent and

child relationships, they often destroy it. It is

much healthier to teach a teen to communicate

with their parents rather than to control every

aspect of their lives.

Tracking your child’s every move is not progressive

but rather strains a healthy relationship.

By constantly keeping tabs on your child it can

result in more reckless behavior, such as not carrying

your phone around to avoid being tracked.

It is understandable for parents to want to

Your parents are


know what is going on in their kid’s life, however there are more healthier

approaches, like building a relationship with trust so they are comfortable

confiding in you.

But this behavior doesn’t necessarily end when these teens go off to college.

Some parents continue to use these apps to track their kids in college.

A parent’s job is to raise their children to be

independent and successful members of society.

Trying to protect them at all costs and interfering

with their ability to learn from their mistakes does

not achieve this. It only allows smarter people to

easily manipulate them.

This has become such an issue that it’s now a

TikTok meme. Teens are posting their

videos using the hashtag #Life360

sharing the strict punishments

they face, like having

their cell phones confiscated,

being grounded

for months and being

monitored by security

cameras in their own

home. Threatening

kids with these kinds

of punishments make

them resent their

parents and instead of

complying with certain

rules and limitations they


These videos may

seem funny to some

but to others they

are reality—a reality

that can result

in negative

impacts on

their mental


A study conducted by

ABC News showed that “teens who felt

more alienated and, therefore, lost trust in their

[parents] were more likely to have high levels of

anxiety by 12th grade. This held true for depression

as well.”

By using apps such as Life360, parents

teach their kids that they can’t be trusted, and

shouldn’t be surprised when their relationship

with their kid is tainted.


Minor’s health choices are protected by confidentiality laws


In California a 12-year-old girl can get

an abortion without parental consent.

Under the California Minor Consent

and Confidentiality laws, minors have

the authority to consent to medical services

without their parents knowing. They

are eligible for other medical services that

would otherwise require parental approval.

Abortions are common with teen girls

who are enrolled in school. Raising a child

is a big responsibility, and having a baby

means learning to balance taking care of

yourself while also attending to the needs

of your child. Financial stability and a

strong support system are crucial to raising

a child.

But the sad reality is that not every teen

would have these things if they brought a

child into this world.

It’s common for teenage girls to be fearful

and hesitant to reveal their pregnancy

to their parents, especially when they have

strict parents with personal beliefs that

conflict with those of their pregnant child.

A pro-life parent probably would not

allow their daughter to terminate a pregnancy—even

if she wanted. Such a parent

would make her keep the baby. Other parents

might be unsupportive, reacting in an

abusive way by kicking the daughter out. A

teen in this situation is lucky to find a place

to stay after her parents turned her away.

In California, such unfortunate situations

are being prevented by the confidentiality

law. If a minor is sure that carrying

out a pregnancy could place themselves

or their child in a position of danger, they

have every right to terminate the pregnancy

without parental consent.

When a teen gets pregnant, she needs

support. She is often confused and frustrated.

She fears how others will react. She

may have just made a mistake.

The new law is also important because

sexual education for teens is often lacking.

A former LAUSD health teacher said that

most of his students didn’t understand

how their own bodies worked and were

unable to even label their sex organs.

Out of all 50 states, only 13 states

require sexual education to be medically

accurate. However, the definition of the

term varies and depends on the school

district’s curriculum. Teens are miseducated–and

even completely uneducated–

about sexual activity but in California the

law gives them some protection.

Laws around the country should be

redefined so schools can accurately teach

sex education.

And no, telling a child to remain abstinent

forever does not count as “the talk” or sex-ed.

When parents have an accurate, nonjudgmental

“talk” with their children, it signals

that a child confronted with these situations

can be comfortable talking to their parents

instead of seeking their own answers.

Educating their own children about the

outcomes of being sexually active instead

of using the “stay abstinent” fear tactic

might persuade a teenager to be safe and

make responsible choices.





Best Picture... really

In the biggest Oscar snafu ever, 2017 presenters

announced the wrong Best Picture Winner. It

was really “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins.




2020 Oscars:

New year, still

no diversity




LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Joaquin Phoenix’s

portrayal of the Joker earns him an Oscar’s


With the announcement of the

2020 Oscars nominees came

another controversy. “White

male nostalgia” is a term that is

being used to address the over-representation

of white males in the Oscars nominations.

This year’s white male bias can be seen

in many categories, including “Best Director.”

Many amazing female filmmakers were

left out, like Lulu Wang for “The Farewell,” or

Lorene Scarfaria for “The Hustlers.” This year,

no women will be offered a chance to win this

award. The majority of the nominees fit into

the maxim of “white male nostalgia.”

Only one non-white performer was nominated

for the “Best Actress” category: Cynthia

Erivo, who played the main role in the movie

“Harriet.” Many fan-favorite actresses like Jennifer

Lopez, in “Hustlers,” were left out of this

category, outraging some observers. “The Oscars

nominate whoever they feel was the best,

whether they factor race or gender is beyond

me,” said Arman Badikyan, a junior who is in

film class.

“I think that it is unfair that women and

colored actors didn’t receive the same amount

of attention as white men this year during the

Oscars nominations,” said Natalie Veniaminova,

a student who has closely followed the controversy

and plans to watch the Oscars. “I think

there were several colored actors and women

that deserved the position just as much as

their white male counterparts.”

In 2015, a similar controversy erupted because

the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and

Sciences did not include Hispanic or African

American actors in the nominee list. Only a few

movies with diverse casts were nominated for

“Best Picture”, but not for any acting awards.

“Selma” and “Martin Luther King Jr.,” fan

favorites with diverse casts, were completely

ignored. After this affair the Academy took

further steps to ensure more variety.

When this year’s nominees were announced,

pundits immediately pointed out that

nominees were pretty much the opposite of

what had been promised five years ago.

The Academy had a goal of doubling the

number of women and minorities that were

being nominated by 2020. They reached one

of these goals in 2020 by being more racially

inclusive and going from having only eight

percent of women and minorites nominated

in former years to 16 percent. Unfortunately,

they didn’t reach the goal of doubling the number

of women this year, with numbers slightly

increasing from 25 percent to 32 percent.

TikTok to the top: Student celebs

find fame online 15 seconds at a time




TikTok: the modern app

that struck the Internet

and took social media by


Released in 2017 after merging

with a similar lip-syncing app

called, TikTok counts

about 500 million users worldwide.

Despite being released

in the latter half of last decade,

TikTok became the seventh most

downloaded app of the 2010s,

surpassing both Twitter and


The app consists of user-created

content of people lip-syncing

and dancing to various songs.

TikTok also includes comedy

sketches. Videos span three seconds

to a minute.

TikTok has become a creative

outlet for many high school


Senior Kaitlyn Martinez,

@kaateastrophe on TikTok, has

amassed more than 57,000 followers

on the platform by posting

comedy videos and content

related to the famous Koreanpop

group, BTS.

“I decided to start making

videos as a content creator on

TikTok because lots of people

seemed to enjoy my jokes,” said


Martinez has gained enough

popularity on the app that BTS

themselves liked her video. A fan

even recognized her at a mall.

“That inspired me to keep going

and going,” she said.

Anahit Chamichyan, a junior,

also @aka.tina on TikTok, creates

similar comedic content. She focuses

on producing point-of-view

videos where the user roleplays

different characters for a scene.

“I downloaded the app as a

joke but, then I saw really creative

content and it inspired me to create

my own comedy and pointof-view

videos,” Chamichyan said.

She initially gained a following

after a video of her pretending

to be a British girl garnered over


During Homecoming Spirit

Week’s TikTok Day, Chamichyan

decided to dress up as a British

girl wearing stereotypical British

makeup. With her costume, she

decided to create a video similar

to the “British gir,l” a girl who

dresses up as a stereotypical British

girl as well.

“I felt like I had to do something

different from the others

who were dressing as e-girls

or -boys so I decided to do my

makeup like ‘the British girl’,” she


“At first, I was kind of scared to

do it but after I actually felt confident,”

Chamichyan said. “Lots of

students were either staring at

me or secretly taking videos or

pictures of me but I was honestly

okay with it.”

TikTok can also be a place for

artists to express their creativity.

Jackie Mote, @jackiemote on

TikTok, has used the platform to

post makeup videos.

In one of her first videos, she

did her makeup based on randomly

chosen colors. She would

use a random number generator

and use the corresponding color

to the number. She ended up getting

2.3 million views.

“I decided to make my own

version without expecting it to

blow up like it did,” she said.

She uses the views and the encouraging

comments as inspiration

to continue producing more


“It felt really good to get recognition

and a bunch of positive

feedback,” Mote expressed.

Mote used to think posting

videos can be “intense” but she

uses the positive comments as

motivation. However, sometimes

she is fearful of negative comments.

“I haven’t gotten hate comments

but I have mixed feelings

about people seeing me. I sometimes

think people aren’t going to

like my videos,” she said.

While the app has raised the

online profiles of several students,

Math teacher Ms. Milagro

Medrano has noticed her students

using it and thinks the app

is a distraction.

“I just think it’s students trying

to get more views and trying

to become more popular,” she

said. “I think they should spend

more time doing their homework

and studying instead of trying

to be TikTok famous,” Medrano



CONTENT CREATORS: (L to R) Anahit Chamichiyan, Kaitlyn Martinez and Jackie Mote make TikToks that rack in views.












Cozy up with your remote and dive into a uniquely Japanese artform

anime picks




Anime (Japanese animation)

has been increasing in

popularity among the youth

worldwide. It has become

some sort of “fad” in the young generation

of America, with popular titles such

as Naruto, One Piece and Fairy tail, at its

peak. Yet, there are some others — while

not as popular — that are definitely

worth watching.


The romantic comedy Nodame Cantabile

is about musicians Shinichi Chiaki and

Megumi Noda. Shinichi’s upset to discover

Megumi, his neighbor, has fallen

for him. Nodame Cantabile’s clever

use of comedy makes the relationship

between Shinichi and Megumi relatable

and amusing. The light drama adds

realism and is worth a watch. Available

on Crunchyroll.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is a

slice-of-life comedy depicting a high

schooler with overwhelming psychic

powers, Saiki Kusuo, who is in search of

a quiet life. The characters have hilarious

chemistry with Saiki and stick to a

certain cliché, which is the meat of the

show. With ridiculous plot-points, it’s

remarkably interesting. Available on



After losing her beloved Major Gilbert

Bougainvillea, Violet Evergarden, a wartrained

emotionless killer, begins to

transcribe people’s emotions on paper,

hoping for self-discovery.

This fantasy drama features beautiful

character development of a war-ridden

girl undergoing a loss. With a heavy,

emotional plot adorning its visual

magnificence, it is definitely one of the

few shows worth sobbing for. Available

on Netflix.

The science-fiction drama, Girl’s Last

Tour, depicts friends travelling through

a post-apocalyptic world in search of

happiness in the desolate, depressing

land around them. Chito and Yuuri are

a huge contrast to their surroundings:

two cheery friends in an unforgiving

world, making the audience feel bubbly.

The anime is perfect for unwinding after

a stressful day. Available on HIDIVE.


Bungo Stray Dogs revolves around members

of the Detective Armed Agency

who deal with cases including humans

with supernatural powers known as

the “Gifted.” Featuring a vast number of

characters — each different from the

last — the story entertains through a

mix of comedy and drama. With three

seasons, it’s an ideal show to binge.

Available on Crunchyroll.

Aspiring manga artist Satoru Fujinuma

can travel several minutes into

the past, where he saves numerous

lives from tragedy. His ability to time

travel allows him to uncover what truly

transpired 18 years ago. Erased has a

well thought-out plot and its use of

mystery enhances the curiosity of the

audience. Available on Anime Planet.


Three orphans, Emma, Norman and

Ray, all try to escape destiny as they

discover that their orphanage is a farm

where demons feed on the orphans. The

Promised Neverland shines in storytelling

and building atmosphere. Easily one of

the best horror anime, it excels in the

unsettling unknown. The show’s second

season is set to release in October 2020.

Available on Funimation.

In Dororo, an action thriller, the young

man Hyakkimaru journeys to retrieve his

organs, bartered away by his father, from

48 demons. On his journey, he meets

Dororo, who claims to be the greatest

thief in Japan. Enhanced by unique

monsters and bloodshed, the plot keeps

viewers anticipated on what will happen

next. Available on Amazon Prime.


Apothecary Shirayuki escapes one

prince to be saved by another, Prince

Zen Wistaria, who she someday hopes

to repay. Snow White With The Red Hair is

interesting with its clever use of clichés

and romance. Zen and Shirayuki’s maturing

relationship is perfect for a light,

pleasant story. Available on Anime Planet.

The romantic comedy Wotakoi: Love

Is Hard for Otaku follows Narumi Mamose,

an office worker dealing with the

side effect of finding love and hiding her

otaku, a person obsessed with computers

and pop culture, status from her

coworkers. However a middle school

friend, Hirotaka Nifuji, quickly blows

her cover. The light-hearted humor and

cute romance makes it a classical fluffy

romance. Available on Amazon Prime.


Chihayafuru is centered around

Chihaya Ayase, who is content with

living under the shadow of her sister.

She meets Arata Wataya who teaches

her competitive karuta, a Japanese card

game, where she hopes to someday become

Japan’s best karuta prodigy. Considered

to be one of Crunchyroll’s top

sports animes, Chihayafuru is perfect

for those fascinated by thrilling competitiveness.

Available on Crunchyroll.

In the sports comedy, Baby Steps,

Eiichiro Maruo isn’t captivated by anything

other than studying. Enrolling in a

tennis school, he uncovers his fascination

for the sport but his shortcoming

is that he is unathletic. The two-season

series lightheartedly shows how he

overcomes his weakness. Available on







PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT Ready to bat, co-team captain

Anthony Islas steps up to the plate.

Baseball: 2020 season preview



Will this year’s baseball

team make it to

the playoffs?

Last year’s team

won 12 games and lost 10 for a pretty

solid overall winning season. They

made it to the playoffs but unfortunately

lost with the score of 9-2

against South East (South Gate, CA).

Both the team and Coach Alfredo

Avila are really confident about their

chances this season. Thirteen players

are returning that have played

together before, so they know each

other really well, and they’ve been in

back-to-back playoffs together.

A more mature and more experienced

lineup is ready to take the field.

Ricardo Sankago, a twelfth grader,

is playing right field, left field and

catcher. Eleventh grade Co-Captain

Daniel Reyes plays as a shortstop

and eleventh grader Anthony Hernandez

is pitching and also plays

third base.

Reyes feels like he’s going to get

a lot out of his talent this year. He

knows being team captain can be a

tough job but he’s willing and ready

to accept the challenge. His mantra

for the team is “if you stay ready you

don’t have to get ready.” He sticks by

his words by always going making it

to practice “even if that means waking

up early while his teammates are

still asleep” He’s the first person at

practice and the last one to leave.

Anthony Islas, who has been on

the team since his freshman year, is

moving up. It’s his senior year and

he is also a team captain along with

Reyes. He has three positions on the

team: first base, third base and catcher.

“Everyday is a new opportunity.

You can build your success or put

your failures behind you and start


over again. That’s the way of life.”

Freshman Steven Tostado is a

very much appreciated addition to

the group. According to Reyes, he

“has a pitch like no other.” He brings

a hard pitch and good batting skills to

the team. He can hit the ball over the

fence — which is rare for a freshman,

and according to Reyes, he’s willing to

work as hard as he needs to to make

it to playoffs.

Keep an eye out for eleventh

grader Justin Villanueva, the ace

pitcher this season. He has a great

cutter, about two inches of break, a

really good curveball, a nice two sink

fast ball and a really good splitter.

He plays first base, pitcher and right


The person with the best instincts

goes to eleventh grader Holden

Daddario, who plays center field

and pitcher. He’s really smart, calm,

knows what he’s going to do before

he gets the ball and really great

at planning things out in a short

amount of time. He also has the best

baseball IQ.

Joshua Son is an eleventh grader

with jaw-dropping batting skills.

Every time he steps into the batting

box he’s hitting the ball very hard and

hitting it over the fence with ease.

Practice makes perfect and the

team has been practicing since the

summer every Monday through

Friday during sixth period and after

school. Most players also attend a

Saturday practice.

Along with practice, teamwork

is the key to a strong season.

“No matter how bad things get,

as long as we stay together and be

one unit anything can happen,” said

Coach Avila.

He’s plans on sticking to that.




Girls volleyball team

brings home a

winning record



Captain Aileen Flores described

the beginning of the girls volleyball

season as “pretty shaky.”

Although the team got off to

a rocky start, they were able to pick up the

pace and finish with a league record of 7-5,

while also making it to the semifinals in

the playoffs.

“Coming into the new season, I already

knew it was going to be a rebuild season,

which was going to be a different experience,”

Flores said.

The girls were able to finish the season,

but not without hardships. They started

off with a loss against San Fernando but

bounced back with a win against Panorama.

Players Catalina Rodriquez and Mariah

Martinez both agree that Kennedy High

School was their toughest competition. “As

a team, they were able to push back just

as hard as we were pushing throughout

each of our games against them and they

always managed to create a challenging

game setting at a quick pace.” Rodriquez


The team lost both of their matchups

against Kennedy, which finished at the top

of the league with a 10-1 record.

In addition to their league games, the

girls also participated in tournaments so

they could stay in shape and be prepared

for any challenges thrown at them this

season. At the peak point of the season,

the girls went on a three-game winning

streak, getting their revenge against San


As a team, Martinez believes the girls

met their goals and expectations as well

as meeting her own personal goals. “I wish

that I had contributed more in terms of

playing and in terms of spirit and positivity,”

she said. “Overall though it was a fulfilling

season and I’m happy with the way

things went.”

The girls took home a win against

Phineas Banning Senior High School for

their first playoff match. It was an intense

battle that ended in bad blood. Some players

took to Twitter to insult the opposing

team after the 3-1 victory.

They advanced to the next round

against Venice High School, but were

handily eliminated in a shutout, ending

their championship quest.


Aileen Flores gets ready

to bump the ball from

the opposing team.


Overall though it

was a fulfilling

season and I’m

happy with the

way things went.”



THREE CAPTAINS (L to R) Karen Linares, Eric Martinez and Christine

Rohm all the share the title of varsity team captains.

Cheer squad: On to Nationals in Anaheim

It all begins with practice.

The members of the cheer

team practice two to three

times a week for three hours.

The team stays persistent with

their practices. Whether it’s in

the small gym or in the quad, they

make sure to leave the practice with

some sort of improvement.

Practice starts with stretching

before the cheer team members

begin working on their routines.

Their routines are packed with

two and three person stunts and

tumbling. They use gymnastics

and dance skills throughout their


All of the team’s hard work has

paid off with a trip to the USA Spirit

Nationals in Anaheim on Feb. 14 and

15, where they will face over 7,500 of

the best teams in the nation.

“We make it a habit of focusing

on ourselves and on bettering our

team”, says one of three captains,

Eric Martinez. The other two

captains are Christene Rohm and

Karen Linares.

Thanks to their three first place

wins at the World Class Cheers

competition, the USA cheer team

is off to Anaheim in an attempt to

take home the nationals trophy. At

the moment the USA cheer team

remains undefeated.

The cheer team consists of two

varsity teams and one JV team.

While all of varsity competes at

CIF, only half of the team competes

in USA competitions, hence

the titles of the CIF and USA team.

The USA cheer team is comprised

of a selected group of

various varsity team members.

These members cheer on a more

advanced level with flexible flyers,

advanced tumbling, and boy

partner stunts.

“I’d have to say, don’t knock

it till you try it. I’ve played other

sports before and I think cheer is

just as difficult”, says Rohm to anyone

who has doubts about cheer.

“I feel extremely proud of the

students and new coaches for

qualifying for nationals”, says cheer

coach Maria Renard. • JULIA PFAU



Most meaningful title

Kobe Bryant’s fifth and final championship

meant the most to him. “When we beat Boston

in 2010, for me, that’s number one with a bullet,”

Bryant told TNT’s Ernie Johnson.





Hearing the news of Kobe Bryant’s death

made me freeze in my tracks.

A person whom I and many others

looked up to, Bryant’s work ethic and

mamba mentality inspired a generation of people

on and off the court.

As Bryant once said himself, “The biggest key, I

think, is inspiring the next generation of athletes

and how to do that and I think content is an extremely

powerful tool of inspiring the next generation

of athletes,”

Bryant is one of the most accomplished athletes

of all time with 17 NBA All-Star appearances,

two scoring titles, four NBA All-Star MVPs, 12 All-

Defensive Team Selections, two NBA Finals MVPs,

five NBA Championships, two Olympic Gold

Medals, the 1997 Slam Dunk Championship,

the 2007-08 NBA MVP and even an Oscar for

his animated short film “Dear Basketball.”

His loyalty was one of his greatest qualities.

He stayed with the Los Angeles Lakers

for his entire career, 20 long seasons that

seemed to never come to an end. Not only

that but the man was a great father to his four

daughters. Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter who

was also killed in the crash, was following in his

basketball footsteps.

Although he was a basketball legend, he wanted

to be remembered for so much more. He wanted

to affect change worldwide with his book series,

“The Wizernards”, the story about a Fairwood

Community Center basketball team that is in

desperate need of a coach to help them reach their

full potential.

On top of creating his book series he was also

creating podcasts and producing his own show

on ESPN titled “Detail”.

Bryant made it very clear that he had no interest

in becoming a coach in the NBA, but it was a

different story when it came to his daughter. She

wanted to continue her father’s legacy.

On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2018 he talked

about how fans were always telling him he needed

a son for his legacy to be continued. “...they’ll be

like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V (Vanessa)

gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to

carry on your tradition — the legacy.’”

Gianna’s reply to those comments were “‘Oy I

got this.’” The father and daughter shared a special

bond that was bigger than basketball.

Superstar LeBron James remembers the joy

Bryant had when he was around his family. “These

last three years were the happiest I’ve ever seen

him… being able to just be with his daughters,”

James said in a tribute at Staples Center before

the Lakers game with the Portland Trailblazers.

Kobe Bryant’s passing reminded me of the

importance of having a hero and someone to look

up to. It also showed me how quickly life can be

taken away. I had just woken up when I heard the

news it hit me hard. In the blink of an eye, nine

people were killed on that tragic morning.

This sudden tragedy showed me that you

shouldn’t hold a grudge with someone over

something silly and to make sure you tell

your loved ones how much they mean to

you. You never know when your last day

on earth may be.

Kobe Bryant represented what it

meant to be an athlete and so much more.

May the Black Mamba rest in peace.


How did Kobe Bryant

inspire you?

Kobe is the reason why I picked up a basketball in

the first place and started playing. I would watch

him play every game growing up and it was truly

amazing and inspiring. He has inspired millions of

lives and his legacy will always be with us and will

never be forgotten. JASON TAMAYO


My favorite thing about Kobe was the way he

used to think. That will continue to blow my

mind because he was striving for nothing less

than the best. I always try and carry myself with

his mentality when it comes to what I want

for my future. Thank you Kobe and I love you

for everything you did! See you soon Mamba.


He inspired me to have a better ethic and to

never give up on what I love to do. He also

inspired me to make better choices in not

just the sport of basketball but in general. Putting

in the work for something you want to accomplish

in life and not giving up is what Kobe

Bryant taught me. SHAY DE GUZMAN

I’ve played basketball since I was five years old

and whenever I would think about basketball I’d

think about the Lakers and Kobe Bryant because

he was a very special athlete. I just want to be

the best at the sport I love just like he was. I’d

like to be the same warmhearted, friendly, and

humble person that he was. KALI COLEMAN




daughter Gianna and seven others died in a

helicopter crash in Calabasas on Jan. 26.


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