Monthly Archives: April 2018

Intriguing Psychology class helps students understand human behavior

By Maddie Artap and Skylar Peters

Staff Writers

In the Expeditions Psychology course at Summit Prep, students study the brain and learn what is happening in the brain when certain behaviors emerge. The purpose of this course is for students to learn why people act the way they do and to apply that knowledge in their daily lives. Walker Rowe, a junior at Summit Prep, said students “can learn a lot about other people.”

For their Celebration of Learning project, Psychology students picked a topic to study based on the prompt “Why do people…?” For example, “Why do people listen to music?” Students then learned all the information they could to answer the prompt and made a tri-fold to explain their topic to visitors. Students who enrolled in this course walked away with new information to better understand the thinking process and the actions of other humans in their lives.

See below for a video about this course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Sophia Nuanes, a Summit Prep sophomore, works on her poster about why people are narcissistic.

Students practice different aspects of filmmaking

By Jon Garvin and Kai Lock

Staff Editors

Acting, screenwriting, directing and many more tools are taught to students in the Intro to Video Production course, which is offered by the Summit Expeditions team. Students who take the course learn different parts of filmmaking.

Vincent Nelson, the Intro to Video Production teacher, explained: “In my class, we make short films. Every week it’s a different project, so it can be like a mockumentary, documentary. It can be animation, for clay animation stuff. It can be a drama, a comedy, a film noir, whatever you want.”

See below for a video about the course:

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Summit Prep sophomore Osmar Ortiz and freshman Vanessa Carrillo act in their mockumentary. 

Cooking Fundamentals gives kids the skills necessary to make their own meals

By Seann Brick, Oscar Burgos, Alexis Pereznegron and Marvin Varela 

Staff Writers

The purpose of the Cooking Fundamentals Expeditions course is to help out students by teaching them the basics of cooking. This is important because in the future they’re going to need to learn how to cook to survive.

Their Celebration of Learning project was to show the students’ parents the work that they have done. They showed them the dish that they made for their final project.

See below for a video about this course:

Celebration of Learning comes to Summit Prep

By Marcelo Espinoza, Raul Martinez, Nick Reed and Armando Sanchez 

Staff Writers 

In this special episode of Tangled Headphones, we are joined by Expeditions Director Lucretia Witte to talk about what Celebration of Learning is and what different Expeditions classes are doing for that event.

This year’s Celebration of Learning will be held at Summit Preparatory Charter High School on Thursday, April 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

In the second part of the podcast, we talk about last year’s Celebration of Learning, during which the Creative Writing Expeditions course held a Poetry Slam where three of our writers starred on the winning team.

This is the third podcast we have completed. Other episodes can be found here:

Mentor groups define our community

Summit Prep’s official podcast is live

Featured image (at the top of this post): Students from the Visual Arts Expeditions class will display graffiti art, and other pieces, at this year’s Celebration of Learning. 

NOTE: Use the tags “Celebration of Learning 2018” and “COL18” to search for coverage from the April 26 event at Summit Prep!

Related:

Students show their creativity through the arts

City of Caterpillar is the greatest screamo act of all-time

By Nick Reed

Staff Editor

City of Caterpillar is a Richmond, Va. post-hardcore band that formed in 2000. Coming to be later than most of their contemporaries, City of Caterpillar stood out in the post-hardcore scene for their raw, passionate, screamed vocal deliveries, but at the same time they craft a clean-cut, well-produced overall sound.

The group recorded their only release with Level Plane Records in Maryland in 2001-02. It was mixed and mastered by Mark Smoot. The band said the mixing was influenced by The Cure’s “Pornography.”

Although City of Caterpillar only released one album, the record has since become a cult classic, and is considered one of the best works of the genre. It has received universal acclaim from critics and fans alike for its originality and clean sound against the backdrop of the poor-quality recordings of their contemporaries.

City of Caterpillar was one of the first bands to be pigeonholed into the genre of screamo, a form of extreme post-hardcore with screamed vocals. Their playing style also stood out, as they took influence from post-rock giants such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai. Their songs were dissonant, depressing, emotional. The album featured genius instrumentation that seemed to separate it completely from punk, until the thundering climax was reached after a long buildup.

The album opens with the epic “And You’re Wondering How a Top Floor Could Replace Heaven.” The track features a constant slow buildup, although still starting off thunderous and fast. The wailing, almost screamed vocals are the first feature you notice. Harsh punk guitars thrash, backed by the constant rumbling and crash of the drums.

Don’t let the bands hardcore roots fool you, though. Melody is found all throughout this album. Once the song dies down a bit, it falls into this quiet lull of jangling guitars. This quiet instrumental dynamic is where the album’s post-rock comes into play.

Further on “F****** hero” features more of the band’s punk song, being one of the shorter tracks at just under four minutes. The same thrashing guitars thunder, however uninterrupted by any quietness. The track is unrelentless: loud and angry. There is still a rhythm and melody to it, however. The dual guitars flow in and out, somewhat reminiscent of post-hardcore greats such as Fugazi.

“When Was the Last Time We Painted Over the Blood On the Walls?” starts with a similar slow dynamic, grows loud and fast, and returns again to the lull. However, it again shifts into this waving, swaying thunder, yet again crashing with noise and passion. The song fades out among a distorted drum break.

City of Caterpillar’s self-titled isn’t the first album to feature loud/soft dynamics, a concept explored early on by bands such as the Pixies and popularized by Nirvana. However, it was a concept never really brought to a music style as extreme as screamo. Screamo is a style of music widely believed to be an evolution beyond post-hardcore.

The album bridged this extreme variation of hardcore punk, with all of its anger and walls of noise, with the soft ambience and melody of post-rock. The ability to make something so extreme yet also so beautiful is nearly unheard of. It wouldn’t do City of Caterpillar justice to say they were ahead of the curb; they built the curb.

Some say that contemporaries like Circle Takes the Square or Envy took what City of Caterpillar did and made it better, but no band has been able to master loud/soft dynamics in as unique a way as they have. If you separated the harder parts of the tracks from the softer ones, you’d have to separate songs, one a dissonant post-rock drawl and one a jagged hardcore wall of noise.

Many artists have attempted what they did and failed, spawning copycat bands the world over. Not only did they revolutionize the screamo scene, they helped to show that screamo was more than just an offshoot of punk and actually had a lot to offer artistically.

The lyrics bleed together: very upfront punk lyrical styles with more cryptic metal lyrical styles to make a new kind of screamo lyric. Although not the first to do this, they perfected the style. Lyrics in songs like ‘When Was the Last Time We Painted Over the Blood on the Walls?” detail an abstract situation (Locked in a room like a tom / To fall from bed to sickness), much like metal, but bring a straightforward realism to it as well (And no one to witness this mess I’m left with), much like punk.

The last important thing to mention about the album is the singing. It ranges from almost whispering, emotive singing to massive shrieks that border on throat-splitting screaming. Although rarely venturing to actual screaming, the album’s style has become enigmatic of screamo as a genre.

There are some problems I have with the album. At times it doesn’t know whether it wants to be a noisy hardcore band or a spacey post rock band. Although it usually works out for them, at times the sound can fall short, like it doesn’t match up.

After the release of their self-titled debut, they disappeared briefly after a short tour around small punk venues on the East Coast. They did not receive much attention during their short existence.

Over the course of the next few years they began seeing attention, from underground fanbases to coverage from large music-related sites like Noisey covering them.

In 2016 City of Caterpillar reunited. Although before playing only small venues and house shows, they were now playing sold-out shows in front of hundreds of people. Although the crowds were filled with nostalgic people from City of Caterpillars heyday, there were also a lot of younger faces in the crowd.

The same time that they reunited to start touring again, they released previously unheard material. The single “Driving Spain Up a Wall” was written for the self-titled album but never recorded. Now, among other similar tracks, they are being released again now, and sound right out of City of Caterpillars golden era.

City of Caterpillar is a legendary band that will go down in history for revolutionizing the genre of screamo and punk music as a whole, and their album will be remembered as one of the best punk albums of all time.

 

Citizens express their views on street art

By Kainoa Garo, Nethan Sivarapu, Maxwell Taniguchi-King and Ian Vu

Staff Writers

Functioning as a foundation and reinforcing the network of cultures, art is the crucial factor that enables us to express our passions. While walking the streets of downtown San Jose, said art is found on virtually every corner.

In many cases, this art appears in the form of visual art, in which pieces are produced and displayed in public locations. This is recognized as street art, where, oftentimes, positions regarding specific ideologies are demonstrated.

Pieces of art, seen while driving through the streets of countless cities, have influenced a considerably large amount of the world’s opinions. Whatever the effects of street art are, they have occurred for centuries.

IMG_5189

This portrait is one of downtown San Jose’s many examples of street art.

According to Smithsonian magazine, the action of marking walls with art has occurred for more than 35,000 years, making street art a form of art generated from thousands of years in the making. Despite this, the appearance of this type of art in cities is quite recent.

The first signs of graffiti (not to be confused with street art and believed to have been started in 1967) were created by a young man named Darryl McCray, known by his tag name, Cornbread. In an effort to capture a girl’s attention, the Philadelphian high schooler began tagging city walls. KQED claims that only decades later, during the 1980s, did street art get the respect and attention it deserves.

According to Google Arts & Culture, as graffiti became popularized, it spread across the nation and the globe, quickly branching into various genres. From this, modern street art emerged, as it too quickly branched into various types.

Graffiti artists began using stencils for portraits and landscapes and created public murals. Specific names such as Barry McGee, Taki 183 and Keith Haring revolutionized street art, leading and growing street art into the very form it takes today.

Born and raised in San Francisco, McGee “is considered to be one of the most pivotal members of the street art movement.” Invaluable claims he utilized large, bold cartoon figures in ways that drew awareness to the homeless population in the Bay Area.

The new form of expression on the street started spreading internationally in the 1980s. According to Invaluable, Blek le Rat pioneered street art in France; for Britain, it was a man who went by Banksy.

As the years advanced, street art evolved immensely and will continue to do so. Downtown San Jose demonstrates the history of street art, in addition to the ever-changing current state of it.

As residents and visitors walk across the downtown area, they marvel at both the quality and quantity of street art. Pieces include everything from painted electrical boxes to large-scale murals covering an entire wall.   

See below for a look at the San Jose street art scene:

Art directly influences the people who experience it. Whether or not that influence is beneficial depends greatly on how different people receive the artist’s intentions. Nick, (a San Jose pedestrian who asked to be identified solely by his first name), said the positive or negative effects of street art on society depend on its origin.

“I think it depends on the street art. I think it depends on who made the street art; if it’s paid legally, if it’s hired by an artist. I think- I think if it’s hired, I think it’s good. It promotes – different viewpoints,” he explained. “There’s a – the artist has a canvas to convey their thoughts. So it’s good in that it promotes expression. Even if it’s illegal, even if someone is graffiting. So I see it as a benefit, yeah.”

The topic of public street art, especially the illegal aspect of it, has been controversial since the birth of graffiti. While paid murals are completely legal, producing street art on a property without the permission of the owner is not permitted.

IMG_5190

Downtown San Jose street art is often colorful and even whimsical.

The argument that, while this style of street art is considered vandalism it enables artists to express themselves and communicate their viewpoints, is a strong point. Disputes concerning the advantages of criminal street art occur consistently as many hold strong opinions on the issue.

Art, in turn, also affects society, changing the artist and what they are attempting to convey. Nick communicated his thoughts on that as well.

“Looking around I see a lot of street art; I see that street art is big here. So I would say that it promotes it – people seem to be OK with street art and seem to like it and seem to want to want it all over.”

This holds true in nearly every city, as society takes its toll on the surrounding art. Events and attitudes, such as political views, play substantial roles on the exact message artists carry.

Street art seems to weave itself within society, solidifying as an everlasting piece in the network. Subsequently, the society that surrounds street art affects every art piece.

Ethan, another San Jose pedestrian who asked to be identified solely by his first name, summed up the difficulty of categorizing street art: “Street art allows people to have the room to be creative and to express themselves freely … like all things, you could express a positive emotion or express a negative emotion.”

Related:

Art teacher expresses his passion for the visual arts

Expeditions course reveals itself to be more than simply a Visual Arts class

Spanish teacher proves to be a salsa star

By Jasmin Mendoza

Staff Writer

Marisa Craig is not only passionate about teaching Spanish; she is also passionate about Latin dancing. It all started in middle school, when her mother took her to watch her very first dance performance. At that moment, Ms. Craig, now a Spanish teacher at Summit Tahoma, knew that Latin dance was something she wanted to pursue. She started to try out for school dances, and more doors started opening.

Ms. Craig has been participating in salsa and bachata competitions since 2016. She stays committed to her competitions by rehearsing three to six days a week. Ms. Craig’s rehearsals consist of many tasks, such as conditioning, adding rhinestones to her performance outfits and practicing spin drills to get used to spinning at fast speeds.

To see Ms. Craig perform and to hear her discuss her experiences, watch the video below: 

« Older Entries