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Cal students get ready for the AP Art portfolio

review in May. Read more about it on page B7.

Graphic by Judy Luo

B2 Sports

Read The Californian online at www.thecalifornianpaper.com Friday, March 18, 2022

Cal athletes spring back into action


Cal’s baseball team has a lot

of potential, as five members of

the team are already committed

to play in college, including

three at Division 1 schools.

Seniors Nic Bronzini and

Raoul Fabian are going to play

for Louisiana State University

and Cal State Long Beach,

respectively, and junior Aidan

Camberg has already committed

to be a member of UC Santa

Barbara’s 2023 roster.

“LSU is definitely exciting,”

Bronzini said. “A dream come

true for me. But that’s next fall.

I’m locked into this season.”

Aside from that trio, seniors

Steven Verespey, Zach Robman,

and Dylan Fanelli have also

committed to play in Division 3

at Willamette University, Puget

Sound, and Allegheny College,


Bronzini is very confident

that with all of this talent, Cal

will be able to be quite competitive

this season.

“We will definitely make

NCS,” Bronzini said. “We can

make a deep run. I definitely

think we are a top 5 team in


– Eli Mayerson


Coach Tony Bari and his

favorite assistant Tim Ford

returns this season with hopes

of putting Cal High’s softball

team back on the map.

“I’m really optimistic about

these guys, they work really

hard, I’m proud of them,” Bari


Team captain Alyssa Villarde

is also optimistic about the

potential of the 17-girl squad.

“Our team is looking pretty

good,” Villarde said. “We have

a great defense and hitters. We

picked up a freshman who’s

really good.”

Bari and Ford seem to be quite

the dynamic duo and have hopes

of winning NCS.

Villarde said that she has

confidence and is excited with

this year’s new coaching staff,

believing that they are just what

this team needs.

“I love this school, I love

these girls,” Bari said. “My kids

went here. This is a part of my

life. I’m not going anywhere.”

– Lili Loney

Men’s Lacrosse

Despite pre-season losses to

Redwood and Marin Catholic,

senior captain Matthew Hanson

is confident in his team.

Head coach Andrew Ertola

shares Hanson’s optimism. Ertola

is looking forward to league

and hoping for a strong season.

“We had a couple of tough

losses against some really good

teams,” Ertola said. “We still

have a lot of work to do, but

looking good.”

Ertola said the game against

San Ramon Valley will be the

biggest of the season. Hanson

has confidence that Cal will

come out on top, as they beat

the Wolves last year.

“Our defense is really good,

and we have great leadership,”

Ertola said.

In addition to Hanson, the

other captains are seniors

Hunter Holmes and Marcus

Lemmon, both of whom continue

to show their leadership

and dedication to the program.

This lacrosse team doesn’t

seem to just be a bunch of “lax

bros”. They are here to win.

– Lili Loney

Women’s Lacrosse

This will be head coach Shannon

Geary’s first full season as

she took over the program last

year. The team is led by four

captains, including seniors Evie

McMahon, Catherine Casserly,

Kadence MacPherson, and

sophomore Abbey Kunz.

Another key contributor

to the team will be freshman

Photo by Lili Loney

Junior Alyssa Villarde swings during a recent softball game.

Chase Weaver, who plays for

the national team on her club

outside of Cal lacrosse.

“We have a pretty strong team

this year,” senior Diya Madhok

said. “We just need to get our

chemistry down, which will take

some time, and then focus on

sticking to our defensive plan.”

The team is pretty balanced

overall, as they have a mix of

veteran leadership and young

talent, including a dozen underclassmen.

“As a team, we want to keep

the intensity very high without

letting it get in the way of our

chemistry,” Casserly said. “We

really just want to represent our

school and students as best as

we can.”

– Dylan Allen

Men’s Golf

The men’s varsity golf team

has high hopes to make NCS

this year behind the leadership

of five seniors, including captains

Ben Ragland and Ishaan


“We are pretty set this year,”

Ragland said. “Last year we did

okay. And the year before that,

it got cut short due to COVID.

So, I’m hoping we can come

together and make the playoffs

this year and then go on a run.”

Cal works together to set themselves up to score one of their many goals against Piedmont in a 14-2 victory on March 4.

Ragland recently committed

to Seattle University, which has

a Division 1 golf program.

“I’m excited for the competition

to pick up, and to be able

to play a lot of new courses,”

Ragland said. “But I’m also

just really focused on this year

because I think we can do well.”

Rounding out the rest of the

12 members on the team are four

juniors and three sophomores.

Sen’s brother, Ahan Sen, is a

sophomore that made the team

and should be an important

contributor. Along with both

Sen’s, junior Andrew James

should also be a big contributor

to the team. They are led by

head coaches Mike Pottinger

and Brian Barr.

“One goal we have for the

season is to try and take down

De La Salle and win EBAL,”

senior Riley Hicks said.

The team got off to a good

start by placing fourth out of

26 schools on March 2 at the

Cowboy Classic at Wente Golf

Course. Ragland and Dylan

Hilliard placed in the top 10

with 2-over rounds of 73.

The golf team has a long road

ahead of them, but they have

high hopes that the adversity

they go through now will help

them come playoff time.

– Dylan Allen

Men’s Volleyball

The men’s volleyball team

started practicing a week later

than all the other sports this

spring season because new

coach Mariah Cardenas hadn’t

been hired yet.

Despite this late start, the

team is rolling early on.

“Yesterday we had our first

game and [the athletes] said

that it was the highest points

they’ve scored [in a game],”

Cardenas said.

“[The new coach is] better

than [others have] been the past

two years I’ve been playing,”

said junior Tyler Cheung,who is

a varsity setter and team captain.

“She’s more focused on getting

more playing time and less on


Although Cardenas has just

arrived at Cal, she is already

looking to make an imprint on

the culture of the volleyball


“[I want to] build fundamental

skills and build support with

the kids,” Cardenas said.

–Ylin Zhu


Although COVID has shortened

their last two seasons, the

stunt team is looking forward to

an exciting spring season.

“The past two years, we’ve

been completely undefeated.

That’s definitely a goal this

year,” said coach Bianca Lucatero,

who has coached Cal’s

stunt team since 2015. “We’ve

also gotten NCS champs second

and third in the past years.”

The plan for the season is

simple for Lucatero, who said,

“We haven’t been NCS champs

yet. It’s a goal of ours.”

Junior Brooklyn Gantt, one of

the team captains, also hopes the

team is able to make it to NCS

championships this year.

“Our team has been close

every year but we’ve been cut

off by COVID, so I hope this

year’s better.” Gantt said.

In terms of competition,

Amador and Monte Vista are

Cal’s main rivals.

The team consists of 13 new

and 15 returning members.

“I definitely feel this team

already feels way more bonded

than the other years,” said Gantt.

“We have in the past had older,

more skillful girls but…we’re

starting to grow this year.”

Lucatero said the team’s

strengths are strong bases with

good technique.

“One thing that would be a

weakness this year would be our

jumps,” Lucatero said.

But the team is looking

forward to a successful season.

“We’re all kind of learning

right now,” said Gantt. “We

can all build each other up

very well.”

– Kira Sidhu

Men’s Tennis

This season will be the10th

for coach Manuel Vasquez, who

hopes his team will reach the

NCS championships.

“That’s like the biggest goal

that we have because we haven’t

done it for, like, five, six years,

and this year’s team is pretty

strong,” Vasquez said. “We have

a very good chance to come in

second place this season.”

Senior Dylan Hoang, one of

the team captains, is also confident

that they’ll be able to make

it to the NCS championships.

“I would say that we are

substantially better than we

used to be,” said Hoang, who is

most looking forward to playing

against Monte Vista.

Vasquez said Dougherty Valley

is thought of as Cal’s rivals

because of how close they are,

and it is a game most players

are excited about.

“That’s the one that everybody

puts on their calendar.”

Vasquez said.

Hoang said most of the top

players on the team are returning

from previous years, but there

are multiple new players that

are also quite good.

“We have a lot of tournament

players,” Vasquez said. “So

with more practice, more team

bonding, I think we’re going to

be a complete team.”

– Kira Sidhu

Track and Field

The track team is back to

having around 275 athletes,

which is how large the roster

used to be pre-COVID, head

coach and varsity sprinters

coach Mark Karbo said.

Photo by Erica Dembrowicz

Despite it being early, Karbo

said there have been a lot of good

marks so far.

“[The season] has been pretty

good,” junior sprinter and

jumper Ava Olguin said. “[The]

team dynamic is really good, the

meets are pretty smooth.”

Karbo said seniors Mara

Lampsus and Hannah Richardson

were the MVPs of last

year’s track and field. Lampsus,

a sprinter and jumper, is on her

way to run at UC Berkeley.

Richardson, a thrower, is going

to Azusa Pacific.

Senior distance runner Jenny

Lin is also going to be running

at New York University.

– Ylin Zhu


The swim team is making

a splash after COVID with a

new, optimistic outlook for the


“I have high hopes,” junior

Paul Symank said. “Last season

we had to go to SRV’s pool, and

the season before that it was cut

short. It sucked.”

The swim team did not have

a coach last year, but this year

the team is excited to be under

new guidance.

“I think it’s going to go

splendidly,” senior Miranda

Duarte said. “We finally have

our pool back and we have new

coaching staff.”

“I really like the coaches,”

freshman Sienna Trento said.

“They just both seem really

nice and fun.”

Duarte agreed with Trento’s


“They’re very supportive

and considerate and open,”

Duarte said.

– Daphne So

Photo by Daphne So

Members of the track team turn the corner in the midst of an all-out sprint during practice.

Friday, March 18, 2022 Read The Californian online at www.thecalifornianpaper.com Sports


Women’s soccer makes historic run

Team reaches

regional tourney

for first time

Eli Mayerson

Sports Editor

By far the most surprising

team from the winter sports

season was women’s soccer,

which entered the NCS playoffs

as an unassuming 12th seed.

After all, Cal ended the

regular season with a 9-10-4

record, 4-7-2 in league play,

and finished in seventh place

out of 10 schools in the EBAL.

But the Grizzlies went on a

magical run to reach the NCS

title game and advanced all the

way to the NorCal Regional

semifinals before their season

came to an end.

“I am so proud of the entire

team,” first-year head coach

Ramiro Rodriguez said.

Entering NCS, the overwhelming

favorites were topseeded

Monte Vista and No.

2 Carondelet, ranked 25th and

sixth in California, respectively.

But hope emerged after Monte

Vista was upset 1-0 by No. 16

seed Granada in the first round.

“We were mind blown when

Monte Vista lost,” senior team

captain Naya Pollack said.

Cal opened with a first-round

matchup against fifth-seeded

Dublin. Cal’s team had lost their

previous matchup to the Gales.

“We were eager to beat

Dublin after they defeated us

during the league season off a

last minute goal,” Pollack said.

The game ended 2-1 in favor

of Cal after an amazing 35-yard

indirect kick from junior Lili

Loney late in the game. The win

moved Cal into the quarterfinals

against No. 13 Foothill, which

had pulled off an upset against

No. 4 Tamalpais.

Cal and Foothill ended regulation

scoreless, leading to a

penalty shootout. It was a tight

shootout, but Cal emerged on

top 5-4. Sophomore Goalie

Layla Armas won the game with

a clutch save and Loney made

the decisive penalty.

The team then moved on

to the semifinals and faced

No. 8 Maria Carillo. For the

second game in a row, it ended

in a Cal victory in a penalty

shootout after a scoreless tie.

This shootout wasn’t even close

as Cal won 4-1.

This put Cal against Carondelet

for the Division I NCS


The string of victories ended

here, though, as Cal fell 3-0. But

because of their Cinderella story

performance in the playoffs,

Cal qualified for the NorCal

Division IV regional finals for

the first time in school history.

The Grizzlies were seeded

seventh, meaning they had a

first-round matchup with No. 2

Pioneer High from Woodland.

Once again, Cal was able to

pull off an impressive upset,

winning 1-0. Their run ended

in the regional semifinals, when

they lost 3-1 to No. 3 Pioneer

High from San Jose.

The culture that the team had

built throughout the season was

key in making history.

“It was the support that went

around for each other,” Pollack

said. “We were always lifting

each other up and helping each

other out and overall had a really

positive and fun environment.”


All four members of the

women’s team made NCS, as

Photo by Leilani Houlihan

The women’s soccer team celebrates. They were able to do that a lot this season on the way to the NCS championship game.

well as seven total from the

men’s team, including senior

Josh Peralta and junior Kevin


Three Grizzlies ended up

placing top 12 in NCS and two

reached the podium

Peralta was the best performer,

ending the season in

sixth at NCS in the 120-pound

weight class. Senior Ella Hofer

placed seventh in the 189-pound

weight class to medal as well.

She became only the second

woman in Cal history to do so.

Goodman was the other team

member who placed top 12 at the

145 pound weight class.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team

finished the season 14-12, 4-5

in-league, which was good

enough for eighth in the EBAL.

This allowed Cal to earn the

6th seed going into Division I

NCS playoffs, as three EBAL

teams were good enough to

make Open Division.

They were matched up

against Monte Vista in the first

round. They did not see any further

action than this, however,

as Monte Vista pulled out the

upset over Cal, 65-62.

Women’s Basketball

Despite a young and inexperienced

roster with many

underclassmen, the women’s

basketball team did well, finishing

with a 14-15 record, 5-5

in-league, which landed them in

fourth place in EBAL.

The team was seeded 11th in

Division I and had a first-round

matchup against American.

The game was close, but Cal

couldn’t quite pull it out, as the

team lost 50-49.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team was

the most successful regular

season team this year. They

ended the season with a record

of 14-6-5, 8-3-2 in-league,

placing them 3rd in EBAL,

right behind powerhouses in

De la Salle and Dublin High. In

fact, Cal was able to hand De la

Salle their only league loss of

the entire season.

The team was seeded 7th in

the playoffs, matched up with

Berkeley in the first round. Cal

came out on top with a final

score of 2-1.

In the second round, Cal was

to face 2nd seed Montgomery,

who they had tied with much

earlier in the season. This time,

the second round was the end of

the road for Cal, as they fell 2-1.

Song team places 9th

Grizzly dancers earn national

recognition in pom competition

Tanvi Pandya

Staff Writer

Year-long seasons. Twenty-plus

hours of practice per

week. A personal role for each


These are all characteristics

of Cal High song, a nationally

competitive dance team which

performs different styles of

dance, such as pop/hip hop,

and showcases their routines

at different sports games during

fall and winter sports seasons.

Cal High’s song team has

always been passionate and

hardworking, but this year they

reached a whole new level with

their performance at nationals.

The song team placed ninth

in the pom category last month

at the National Dance Team

Championship, which is sponsored

by the Universal Dance

Association and is considered

one of the most grueling high

school dance competitions.

The competition is televised

on ESPN and includes teams

from mostly Northern California

but also some other states.

“We cried when we found out

we placed ninth,” junior Isabella

Chimenti said. “We’d worked so

hard for nationals and finding

that out-it was just amazing.”

Sophomore Caroline Kontaxis,

who is experiencing her first

year in-person at Cal and on the

team, was also overjoyed by the


“It was really emotional,”

Kontaxis said. “I almost

couldn’t believe it. Everyone

was so happy the whole rest of

the trip.”

It wasn’t easy getting there

though. The national championships

have a whole process

of qualifications, requiring prior

successes in smaller scale competitions.

It also accounts for

months of dedicated practices

perfecting the same routines for

hours on end until they’re ready

to perform on the major stage.

On top of that, the girls have

to maintain proper grades as is

required of Cal athletes.

Toneka Webb, who has been

the song team coach since the

late 1990s, had a lot to say about

the work the team members put

in this season.

“They practice for hours on

end,” Webb said. “They’re training

for nationals year round and

each of them play a unique role

and can’t be easily replaced.”

And that’s only the training

that goes into it. Reaching

nationals and performing on a

public stage before a nationally

televised audience is a whole

other battle.

“For most of them, it [was]

the most pressure [they’ve felt]

in their lives,” Webb said.

Among all the stress and hard

work, though, they find time to

build strong bonds.

“We’re like sisters,” said

Chimenti, who has been a song

team member for three years.

“We get really close with each

other because of all the time

we end up spending together.”

The sisterhood formed between

the song girls was never

as apparent as when they

achieved their goals together.

And ninth place is only the

beginning. As amazing as the

placement was for the team and

their coach, they say this year

is only motivating them further.

“Those girls work hard for

their success,” Webb said.

“They deserve it.”

Photo courtesy of Cal High song team’s Instagram

The song team poses in front of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando during

their trip to the national championships. The team placed ninth in the pom category.

B4 Features Read

The Californian online at

Photo by Ryan Syms

Students playing Wordle huddle around with their phones, hoping to get today’s word right.

Wordle pops off

Word game has become newest

daily addiction for Cal students

Shravya Salem Sathish

Online Editor

Not too long ago, sudoku

and crossword puzzles

seemed like the only representatives

for the long

exhausted grid games.

Then came Wordle: an

unadorned, quick word

game that planted itself into

everyone’s mornings.

Designed in 2020 by Josh

Wardle, who created the

game for his wife, Wordle

involves guessing a fiveletter

word in six tries.

For each attempt, correctly

placed letters are highlighted

in green, letters in the word

but the wrong position are in

yellow, and incorrect letters

stay gray.

According to The New

York Times, when Wordle

was released in October

2021, it had a measly 90

players the following month.

Today, the number of users

is more than 2 million.

Much of its popularity is

attributed to its minimalist

approach to challenge a

person’s brain.

“I think the really big thing

is when the letters start turning

over, and you see that

they’re green [and] it just

sparks a different [type of]

serotonin inside of you,” senior

Aine Keenan said. “It’s

like when you eat really good

food, and it has that special

taste that gets you addicted.”

Wordle has also increased

in the terms of popularity

because of how quick it is

to compare results with other

players. Its built-in share

function doesn’t spoil the

answers, and instead shows

a player’s grid of colored

squares and the number of

tries it took a player to figure

out the word.

In fact, most players are

dragged in by hopefuls striving

to compete against them.

“A lot of my friends were

playing it, and I thought it

was kind of interesting too,

so I started,” junior Srinidhi

Kanchi Krishnamachari


Wordle limits players to

one word daily, so a missed

chance to surpass someone

has to wait until the next

day. Failing in six tries or

skipping also means losing

an ever-important streak, and

it’s disappointing if a player

can hardly commit to even a

five-letter word.

“It doesn’t take too much

time but allows you to get

your brain going,” sophomore

Yutong Zhen said.

“You don’t get tired of its

length and look forward to

it every day.”

But simple rules don’t

equate to little strategy. Popular

first-try words include

“crane” to eliminate the most

prevalent consonants and

“audio” for vowels.

“I usually use ‘adieu’,

and then my second word

is ‘snort’,” senior Leah

Keswani said.

Once a few letters are

on the board, checking a

specific pair seems to be

the move.

“Sometimes, I’ll underline

letters on paper and think,

‘What could be here?’ and

list them,” Keenan said.

The game’s appeal also

stems from being easy

enough for a wide audience

to enjoy, but long-time players

of the game have argued

that rarer words are being

chosen after the game was

purchased from Wardle by

The New York Times in January

for more than $1 million,

according to a Times story.

Hotly discussed words

include “cynic”, “rupee”,

and “brine”.

“I felt like the words were

very odd. ‘Bloke’ was unfair

because it was informal,”

Keswani said. “But I think

it’s fine now. They’ve taken

the criticism.”

Though a few days have

stood out, The New York

Times hasn’t been testing

people’s vocabulary to a

dictionary level.

“The Times said the only

change it made was removing

a few words that were

thought to be too obscure,

thereby actually making

Wordle a bit easier,” according

to a Mashable story.

Some players say they’ve

barely noticed a difference in

difficulty of the words.

“I don’t think we can

blame The New York Times,”

Zhen said. “Even if [Wordle]

is harder, it will make the

game more interesting.

There’s only so many common

words they can use.”

Wardle, the game creator,

said in a story by The New

York Times that the paper partially

inspired the creation of

Wordle even before hosting

it through its Spelling Bee


But most people aren’t

looking forward to it following

the footsteps of the

Times’ other games in terms

of requiring a subscription.

“Now that more people

are playing it, [Wordle] definitely

might turn into an app

if they think it’ll keep going,”

Krishnamachari said. “I hope

it stays free though.”

Whether Wordle’s reign

without a paywall is shortlived,

it has made an impact,

and not only in daily routines.

Wordle has also linked

families together.

“My aunt told my dad that

she likes to play Wordle, and

she lives in Ireland and she’s

60,” Keenan said. “She plays

Wordle, so I play Wordle. I

started to get more into it,

and I play every day.”

Wordle continues to hold

an iron-tight grip on Cal, and

the popularity of the game

doesn’t seem to be letting

up any time soon.

“Once you start doing it,

you want more and more

and more and more,” said


Wordle is a word puzzle game where players guess a five letter word in only six attempts. Letter

and letters that aren’t in the word of the day remain gray. The game resets daily, which fosters h


Features B5

Hey NY Times,

is this a word?

Sydney Cicchitto

Staff Writer

Illustrations by Carol Chen

s in the correct space are shown in green, while letters in the wrong space are shown in yellow

ealthy competition and occasionally anguish among its players.

Dear The New York


We need to talk. We both

know that on Jan. 31 you

made a purchase, one that

affected the lives of many

people – mine included.

You may not realize it, but

allow me to explain what

your acquisition of Wordle

means to me.

In order for you to understand

the relationship I have

with Wordle, you must know

the story of how I found love.

The lifestyle of Wordle

includes being a part of

Wordle group chats, discussing

the word of the day with

friends and strangers alike,

and solving the word of the

day as soon as it is released

at the stroke of midnight. I

will admit I am new to this

lifestyle, but I still remember

what it was like before you

got a hold of Wordle.

My very first Wordle word

was knoll. In case you are

unfamiliar with the term, it

means a small hill or mound,

according to Oxford Languages.

Say what you will

about this word, but I found

it rather cute. I fell head over

hills for this daily word game

and embarked on my Wordle

way of living.

I would stay up late waiting

for the next word to come

out and immediately try to

solve it. I would play while

in class, then after finishing,

have a discussion about it

with Ms. E or Ms. Saiki, Cal

teachers who are also Wordle


In my Medical Interventions

class, I would play

Hello Wordl, another variation

of Wordle with words

that range from four to

eleven letters. I appreciated

the challenge because I knew

what I was getting myself

into. I would never fail to

impress myself when I managed

to guess the right word.

But those glory days with

Wordle did not last forever,

and I have reason to believe

it is because of you.

I must ask you, why? Why

did you feel the need to make

the words of the day “ulcer”,

“swill”, and “tacit”?

I will never forget the

day when the person who

inspired me to play lost his

streak because of you. He

was loyal and had a 35-day


The saddest part is he

blames himself for losing.

But I know it was you. You

were his undoing.

Ever since you took

possession of Wordle, my

Wordle group chat has been

filled with comments such

as, “All these words have

been made up I swear”,

“Freaking NYT’’, “I refuse

to believe it’s a real word”,

“That felt rigged”, and “I

didn’t even know that was

a word.”

Look at what you have

done to this precious community.

But I’ll admit it,

you haven’t been all bad. I

remember once, the word of

the day was “robin”. Now

that was cool. My mom’s

name is Robin. You can

imagine the flood of messages

she received telling

her to play Wordle that day.

She slayed and guessed the

word in three attempts.

But that moment of bliss

didn’t last long.

I know for some, the word

that resulted in their downfall

was “caulk” or “vivid”, but

“cynic” left an impact on me.

Cynic is defined as “a person

who believes that people are

motivated purely by selfinterest

rather than acting

for honorable or unselfish


Dare I say that this word

made me believe that The

New York Times Wordle

has no honor? The game was

fun, but now I am not so sure

what it has become.

I will keep on playing, using

my Wordle group chats

as support during these nasty


My story ends with the

word mourn. When I got this

word, I realized you made me

go through all five stages of

grief. I no longer mourn the

loss of the former Wordle.

I have accepted the game’s

future, but I have hope that

my Wordle group chat will

soon be filled with the comments

“ez”, “Bow down to

me”, “This one wasn’t so

bad”, “YOOO”, and “Let’s

go!” after we complete the

daily Wordle again. I will

keep playing and overcome

these vivid words and not

become a cynic.

A wounded but resilient

Wordle player,

– Sydney Cicchitto

B6 A&E Read

The Californian Online at www.thecalifornianpaper.com Friday March 18, 2022

Area string festival’s triumphant return

Musicians from

5th-12th grades

perform at show

Hallie Chong

Staff Writer

For music lovers of all grades,

the area string festival returned

to Cal High after a two-year


The festival, which had been

canceled the past two years

because of the COVID-19

pandemic, made its triumphant

comeback on Mar. 9 as students

from a variety of elementary

and middle schools came to Cal

High to watch and play with the

high school chamber and string


The festival began with the

fifth graders and moved to the

middle schoolers before ending

with the high school musicians.

All grades prepared two pieces,

and as an encore all schools

arranged to play “Ode to Joy”.

The high school chamber

and string orchestra prepared

a special performance of “The

Incredibles 2” soundtrack

which was a fun piece that

everyone, regardless of their

music knowledge, could enjoy.

The event hopes to encourage

younger students to continue

participating in orchestra until

the end of their high school years

and keep the music program

alive and thriving.

“I’m so glad that we have

the opportunity to do this again

because these kinds of festivals

help us to keep the music program

alive,” chamber orchestra

director Lori Willis said before

the show. “I’m looking forward

Cal High strings and chamber orchestra performs at the district’s Area String Festival, hosted on March 9 in the Cal High Event Center.

to [seeing the younger students]

thinking ‘Wow, I wanna do

that!’ That’s what I’m looking

forward to.”

Some high school students

that have been participating in

the music program since they

were in elementary school

find the festival enjoyable

every year.

“I think this event is really

fun ‘cause I’ve been doing it

since like fourth grade,” senior

first chair violinist Eunice Oh

said. “It’s always really fun to

see what the other grades are


For most freshman and

sophomore orchestra students,

this year’s festival is their first

time attending and playing as a

high school student.

“Since last year was online, I

couldn’t really go to the district

festival, so I think it would

be nice to hear [other groups

play],” sophomore Rachel Choi

said before last week’s concert.

Despite the long wait, the

two orchestra groups and other

schools were able to bring the

festival to life thanks to students

vigorous preparation.

“To get everybody back,

especially after the past few

years of not being able to do

it [the festival], will be really

special and it’s gonna be exciting,”

first year string orchestra

director Javier Cerna said before

the show.

As the festival comes to

an end, band directors from

all schools hope that younger

Photo by Carol Chen

students will be inspired to

continue participating in future

music programs.

“The fifth graders get to see

where they’ll end up if they stay

in music,” Iron Horse Middle

School music director Jeanette

Brown said after the performance.

“The high school kids

kinda can reflect as to where

they came from.”

AP Art students paint their way to the end of the year

Student artists prepare their portfolios

Sophia DiGiovanni

Staff Writer

Pablo Picasso once said,

“Every child is an artist. The

problem is how to remain an

artist once he grows up.”

Cal High AP Art students

are trying to do just that. The

course, which is offered for

sophomores, juniors, and seniors,

allows students to create

their own 15-piece portfolios to

submit in May for the College

Board Advanced Placement


These portfolios are a combination

of different pieces that

fit under students’ self-chosen


“My [theme] is exploring

curiosity,” senior Ramya Kaja


Before taking AP Art as a

senior, Kaja took Art I and Art II.

She explained that she decided

to enroll in AP Art to explore

new kinds of art and improve

her skills.

Kaja’s favorite piece that

she’s created for her portfolio

depicts a girl staring from Earth

into space.

“I’ve always been curious if

there’s life on other planets,”

Kaja explained about the idea

behind this piece.

Another senior taking AP Art

this year is Bella Tom, who is

actually in her first art class at

Cal. Tom has been taking lessons

at an art studio for a year

and a half but said AP Art has

given an opportunity to see her

peers’ art come together under

their themes.

Tom’s chosen theme was

growing up, inspired by her

own childhood.

“I like to think about my

childhood a lot because it was a

big part of me,” Tom explained.

Tom said her favorite piece is

a pastel drawing of her grandma.

After taking this one class, Tom

plans to continue art into college

and major in design.

Karina Spunde is an AP Art

student but decided not to submit

a portfolio this year. Spunde

previously took Arts I-III and

also practices outside of school.

“Doing it outside [of school]

for fun allowed just for more

creative ideas and freedom,”

Spunde said.

Although Spunde is not

submitting a portfolio this year,

they are still working on pieces

in class.

“I’d say my favorite piece

I’ve created within AP Art

would be one of my more recent

pieces,” Spunde said. “It’s

more of a Renaissance type of

painting style and it was just

me having fun with lighting and

really enjoying what AP Art has

to offer. Just having fun with

art and not really having any

Photo by Daanika Shah

Senior Ramya Kaja’s piece from her AP Art portfolio depicts a girl on Earth staring up into space and follows her theme of

exploring curiosity. All AP Art students need to create 15 pieces based on a single theme for their portfolio.


Spunde said that although

the course is very fast paced

(one new piece is due every

two weeks), it’s very rewarding

to see classmates’ pieces and

themes come together, as well as

seeing everyone’s style develop

and change.

Senior Mina Do joined AP

Art as her first art class at Cal

because she wanted to improve

her skills and find her own

style. She has been doing art

her whole life and said that she

is inspired by both her family

and other artists.

Do’s theme for her portfolio

is comedy and its history.

“I’m really into comedy

shows and movies,” Do said.

“I wanted to do a theme about

that since I’m interested in it.”

Do said that sticking to her

theme can be difficult, but her

favorite piece for her portfolio is

one that she entitled “Homesickness”,

which is a play on words

because the painting depicts a

house that is actually sick.

Her favorite part about AP

Art is seeing her own art evolve

and grow throughout the year.

“AP Art gives you the opportunity

to try all different kinds of

art and experiment,” Kaja said.

Friday March 18, 2022

Read The Californian Online at www.thecalifornianpaper.com

A&E B7

Cal High graduate shines on social media

Audrey Atienza’s YouTube videos

amasses over 9 million views

Aarna Prashanth

Staff Writer

What started out as a creative

outlet is turning into quite a successful

venture for one former

Cal High student.

Cal alumna Audrey Atienza

has collected a huge amount

of followers online, with her

self-named YouTube channel

boasting more than 106,000

subscribers and more than 9

million total views.

A 2020 Cal graduate who

was ASB president her senior

year, Atienza now attends the

University of Texas at Austin

and spends much of her free

time making YouTube vlog

style videos mostly about her

college life.

Her most popular video,

which has more than 3.2 million

views, is called “DAY IN

MY LIFE: unusual public high

school schedule”. In the video,

Atienza explains the unusual

block schedule that Cal follows

as opposed to many other

schools nationwide.

Many of her viewers found

this schedule interesting.

“I had sixth period off my

junior year and both fifth and

sixth period off my senior

year, so getting out at 12:30

was unusual to so many of my

viewers,” Atienza said.

She believed her school

schedule added to the intrigue

and appeal of her videos. Atienza’s

social media fame started

to grow after this video.

Atienza’s videos are watched

and enjoyed by many people,

including some Cal students.

“I love her YouTube channel,”

current ASB President

Riley Hughes said. “It’s been

great to see her grow and watch

all the success that has come

her way.”

Added fellow senior leadership

student Jack Heinz, “I

personally love her YouTube

channel. My favorite videos

would have to be her day in

the life video and her assassins


During her time at Cal, Atienza

made a lot of videos about

her life in school. In several of

her videos, she refers to being in

leadership and being a member

of Cal’s swim team.

“A lot of my content revolved

around me being in high school

and involved in leadership, the

swim team, and other social

traditions we had,” Atienza said.

In addition to creating content

based on her experience in Cal’s

leadership program, Atienza

feels she has benefited greatly

from the experience.

“I also learned so many

leadership skills by being in

the leadership program all four

years and being leadership

President senior year,” she said.

Atienza feels that her You-

Tube channel wouldn’t be the

success that it is today without

her experience at Cal and the

leadership program.

“It was also where my

YouTube channel started and

without the ability to film the

things I did in high school my

channel wouldn’t be where it is

today,” Atienza said.

pretty excellent.

Truth be told, the Oscars

simply don’t cater to people

who fail to keep up with every

critically-acclaimed film being

released. This year’s Best

Picture nominations did have

a few recognizable titles for

teens, however.

Films such as “Dune”, “West

Side Story”, “King Richard”,

and “Don’t Look Up” comprise

four of the 10 total nominees

for Best Picture. It’s no surprise

that these popular films have at

least one notable celebrity that

is popular in this generation, or

close to 10 in the case of “Don’t

Look Up”.

As an avid film watcher and

actress, I often find myself

conversing about critically-acclaimed

movies with other

actors and film lovers. For Cal

High students who don’t watch

many films, it may be the exact


This is where we ask the big

question: Are the Oscars really

nominating the wrong films, and

should they be giving attention

to movies that teens actually


“I think they need fresher faces

nominated for Oscars,” said

Cal senior actor Adrian Casiano

with no hesitation. “The Oscars

aren’t necessarily outdated, but

the movies they pick should be

ones that a majority of us see.

The lens on criticizing movies

needs to be switched because

it’s not the 1980s anymore.”

Avid film watcher or not, it’s

safe to say that there are other

teens who agree that the Oscars

have created the standard for

movies deemed to be “nominee


“I don’t really watch the

Oscars, so I don’t care much,

but I feel like they nominate

the same kinds of movies over

and over again with the same

kinds of people,” senior Simi

Saini said. “It’s always the

weird movies that nobody really

knows. There’s never really a

chance for other people because

they’re so set in their ways and

the same people keep winning.”

Saini said the film “Passing

with Ruth Negga” and “Tessa

Thompson” definitely should

have received an Oscar nomination,

The 2021 film is an adaptation

of the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen,

which follows two Black

women in the 1920s.

Despite the actresses and film

being nominated for a Golden

Globe, BAFTA, and NAACP

Award, “Passing with Ruth

Negga” was not recognized by

the Academy.

Other films such as “House

While Atienza was a student

at Cal, many leadership students

thought she was very hardworking

and dedicated.

“She had strong leadership

qualities, was very driven and

always knew how to best accomplish

her goals,” Hughes


Added fellow senior leadership

student Lisette Green,

“Audrey was a very driven

person and loved to use her

platform on and off campus.”

Some students who know

Atienza, however, think that

although her YouTube channel

is great, it doesn’t show her

true self.

“I think her YouTube channel

is a great source to show the

influencer side of her,” Green

said, “but not necessarily her

true character.”

Atienza said she decided to

start her YouTube channel her

junior year because she needed

some freedom in her creative


“At the time, I was in an art

Oscars are an annual snoozefest for teens

Award shows nomination

choices leave students skeptical

Melody Mulugeta

Staff Writer

Musical award shows like the

Grammys, Billboard Awards,

and the AMAs make it pretty

easy for anyone to provide their

two cents on which musical artist

or song did or didn’t deserve

an award.

Shows like the Oscars, not

so much.

With time, it’s become evident

that award shows like the

Oscars have included a wide

array of films and actors on

their nominees list, including

extremely niche or underground


It seems like the most popular

movies amongst teens are

usually the ones that aren’t

acknowledged by the Academy

of Motion Picture Arts

and Sciences – which votes

on the nominees and the winners

in each category. This is

understandable because teens’

expectations are very, very low.

After all, it’s not common to

see documentaries such as “The

Tinder Swindler” nominated for

Best Documentary Feature or

movies like “Lemonade Mouth”

as the top contenders for Best

Picture, although they were

of Gucci” and “Respect” were

also listed among the films

supposedly snubbed from the

Oscars nomination this year.

With the rise of successful

television shows, it’s safe to say

that the Emmys may give the

public the nominations they’ve

been looking for. The reason for

teens not finding interest in Oscar

nominations may simply be

because they are more invested

in TV shows such as “Euphoria”

and “Love is Blind”.

Photo courtesy of Audrey Atienza

This Instagram post pulled from AudreyAtienza’s account gained more than 2,500 likes.

“Since the Emmys nominate

more TV shows that teenagers

watch, like ‘Bridgerton’ and

‘The Queen’s Gambit’, it

attracts us to the show so we

can see if our favorite actors

win,” senior TV fanatic Dhriti

Avala said.

Luckily, the six-month gap

between the Emmys and Oscars

gives actors a few more opportunities

to get an award for their

work, and that’s if they don’t

get snubbed.

elective and was co-publicity

chair in leadership, so I was doing

a lot creatively but it was all

very structured,” Atienza said.

“I decided to upload them as I

made them and now it has turned

into something bigger than I had

originally imagined and still is

a great creative outlet for me.”

As for her inspirations, Atienza

says she is influenced by a lot

of content creators, especially

Hannah Meloche, a lifestyle You


“Watching other people’s

YouTube videos inspire new

editing and filming styles that

I use for mine,” she said.

Atienza loves to make You-

Tube videos and wants it to be an

important part of her future, but

she is also working to prepare

for another job in the future. She

still sees YouTube as a major

creative outlet for herself, and

although she still plans to make

more videos, she wants to do

something else in the future.

“I am a corporate communications

major with a media

and entertainment industries

minor, so I am still preparing

for a career other than YouTube

as well,” Atienza said. “I don’t

know exactly what I want to do,

but I am still interested in doing

something in the entertainment


Atienza wants students to

know that high school wasn’t

the best time for her and that she

is doing better now, at college.

“As much as I learned and am

grateful for, high school wasn’t

the best four years of my life so

I don’t want people who aren’t

having a great experience to feel

down,” she said. “I am enjoying

college so much more and am

really happy here”.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Twenty four Oscar statue awards are handed out at each year at the Academy Awards.

In reality, televised award

shows will never please all of

the public, especially ones that

choose which critically-acclaimed

film deserves a grand

award over another. Honestly

speaking, Twitter is a never-ending

cat fight on these specific

days of the year.

All in all, this year’s Oscar

nominations have been a miss

for many, but there’s always

next year for better nominations.

Knock on wood.

B8 A&E

Read The Californian online at www.thecalifornianpaper.com Friday, March 18, 2022

Lego announces new Star Wars video game

Fans should

look forward

to playing the

new release

Evan Heinz

Staff Writer

When the game “Lego Star

Wars the Complete Saga” was

released Nov. 6, 2007, it was

highly influential and featured

levels from multiple movies.

The game had substance, and

who doesn’t like that? The more

players that can get into a game,

the more it’s worth the purchase.

Now “Star Wars the Skywalker

Saga” has upgraded the

game for the new generation,

featuring the new films and

adding new mechanics to it.

Lego games are well known

for its huge roster of collectible

characters. In this large open

world players can complete

side missions and play through

levels to collect characters from

a wide array of films. The new

Saga game is changing Legos’

usual style with a full blown

world with a lot of events and

many things to discover.

Lego has been a huge toy

company for years and have

allowed millions of people to

express themselves, calm themselves,

and create a WWII death

camp and sell it to a museum.

Then there are those who just

play the games.

“The Skywalker Saga” will

be released April. 5, and no

doubt kids are excited for the

game. The graphics look great

with huge improvements from

the original 2007 version.

But when it comes to Lego

games there are going to be a

lot of bugs. Players will have to

redo an entire level or get stuck

at one part forcing a restart or a

full on crash.

The humor of Lego games

has changed throughout the

Like Kanye himself, ‘Donda 2’ creates controversy

Fans must buy $200 Stem Player to

listen to singer’s newest album

From left to right, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Yoda, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and Darth Vader are characters from the Star Wars cinematic universe and will be

featured in Lego’s new action video game, “Star Wars the Skywalker Saga”, which will be released in April.

years, like a character’s hand

being cut off and becoming a

pet. Part of the earlier games

charm is the characters only

using various sounds in place of

words. In this new game, characters

are fully voiced which

takes some of the charm away.

The combat has drastically

changed as well. Third person

shooting has been introduced

with more advanced lightsaber

combat. Enemies are more

advanced with dodging and

blocking. Players can also roll

out of the way in combat.

Looking at the information

section of the game, it appears

full completion will take a

long time.

Another positive with the

new game is ship combat. There

will be custom options for a

player’s ship, many from the

franchise, to use in space.

Some of the levels will be

remakes of the Saga, as well as

new ones for the sequel trilogy.

With new technology it will be

interesting to see what the game

creators have done transforming

these classic levels with the

upgraded graphics.

The game will reportedly

have an open world with all nine

films being portrayed. Many

planets, such as the classic Tatooine,

will hold hidden secrets

and enemies to defeat. There

will be some explorable areas of

space, allowing players to immerse

themselves completely.

Lego games have had a

linear design for years, but this

game could spell more complex

games for the future. There is

much dislike for open worlds

due to their emptiness. People

are under the impression that

small polished areas are superior

to a shell of an open landscape.

But given just enough polish,

an open world can improve the

quality depending on the type of

game you are making.

Star Wars is a genre perfect

for open worlds because of

its many planets and iconic

buildings. The many interesting

planets and life spells make for

a fine amount of variety for an

open world game in the Star

Wars setting. Star Wars has

many creatures not included

Illustration by Cynthia Li

in the films to offer to a video

game setting and many more

planets as well.

Smaller Star Wars characters,

such as the female yoda seen

briefly in the prequels, will be

in the game as well. Characters

in the Disney + show “The

Mandalorian” could feature as

open world unlockables in the

game as well.

This will be a great game for

fans who enjoy Lego games and

Star Wars.There is no doubt that

any fan of these Lego games will

want to check it out.

Michael Zarich

Staff Writer

Kanye West has been a hot

topic as of late.

West hosted a listening party

on Feb. 22 for “Donda 2”, the

follow up album from his 2021

release “Donda”. The listening

party was held at LoanDepot

Park in Miami, and the livestream

happened at an IMAX

theater as well as his YouTube

channel and Stem Player.

West first announced in

January that “Donda 2” would

only be available exclusively

through his Stem Player, which

was developed by Yeezy Tech

and Kano computing.

The audio device costs $200

and allows listeners to manipulate

the bass, sound, drums and

music for a unique experience.

He said he turned down a $100

million deal with Apple to instead

release his music on his

own platform.

West explained on Instagram

why he decided to use the Stem

Player saying, “Today artists

get just 12% of the money the

industry makes. It’s time to

free music from this oppressive

system. It’s time to take control

and build our own.”

This has caused a lot of

frustration from die hard West

fans who can’t afford or won’t

pay $200 for the Stem Player.

Some fans have decided to

make it available by pirating

the music through file sharing

sites on Reddit.

“If I weren’t broke, I would

pay the money to get the Stem

Player,” freshman Ben Seo said.

“It’s like an investment. You

never know if he will become

the next big deal.”

But West’s decision to release

the album this way has lead

to it being deemed ineligible

for Billboard charts because

of policy.

West has been very active

on Instagram as well, using his

page to post about controversial

topics, such as his soon-to-be

ex-wife Kim Kardashian and

Donda 2 is exclusively available to listen on the Stem Player created by Kanye West. It was released without label affiliation.

her rumored boyfriend Pete


West has been using Instagram

to diss and mock Davidson.

After Davidson deleted

his Instagram account, West

claimed he “ran Skete off the

gram.” Other sources close to

the couple say that Davidson

deleted his Instagram account

in support of Kardashian, so

he can stay out of their drama.

With his new album coming

out, a never seen before

listening device, the Billboard

Photo courtesy of NRK P3 on Flickr

ineligibilities, and Instagram

controversies, it’s been a wild

few months for West, who

continues to be an interesting

topic with media.

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