Monthly Archives: February 2019

Rainier English teachers express the importance of English literature

By Keith Dinh

Rainier Editor-in-Chief

Every day, people speak it; it is read; it is lived. Every day, people around the world live the English language and read its literary works of the present and past. Even today, everyone reads books, stories and even poetry of writers who existed in the time of the Renaissance and writers who are still writing today.

English literature is everywhere, and it is influencing the lives of the current and next generation of writers, as well as the general public. Though there are so many great works of art, English literary writers at Rainier believe that many people are passive readers who might miss key details that make different texts meaningful.

Sunli Kim, the freshman English teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier, tells of her thoughts on the influence of English literature on society today. She tells of the importance of critical analysis and urges others to pay more attention to details in what people read, not just read passively.

I think people think that reading just automatically happens because we speak the language, right? We talk it; we say it every day. I would argue that reading and writing is a practice that requires a lot of work, a lot of critical thinking and practice. It’s not something that just naturally comes to you. You have to work hard at it, and I hope that this addresses what people may see as a pointless course. I think that the more that people grow, they realize how important these issues are because those are the issues that never leave human society,” Ms. Kim said.

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Rainier English teacher Sunli Kim

Ms. Kim, a graduate of Stanford University in 2015, is a constant reader and writer who teaches her students to be the same. When writing creatively, Ms. Kim reads texts, from books to blogs, to form the foundation for her inspiration and ideas.

“I might look to different writing samples, go on blogs or poetry foundations, or just read through some of my favorite books or poems for inspiration. I feel like the most helpful times have been in a workshop, and there is a particular activity where we read first lines or famous first lines, and we try to copy that sort of structure and come up with a first line ourselves. And then, that usually makes me think of why it was impactful, how it made me feel, and how I could replicate that, but not using that exact same style,” Ms. Kim said.

Overall, Ms. Kim believes that reading should be practiced, despite the fading of the older arts of literature. She finds literature of all cultures are valuable to everyone because even though they are not in English or translated, the thoughts and ideas that are expressed make the texts no less valuable.

“I think that reading as an activity in the traditional sense that people associated with is not what it was because of our very easy access to different types of information, and that then affects the way we interact with things we read … I think that sort of structure is fading out a bit. I think there are also trends based on your age group. I know that in high school and in college, my friends usually looked at me weirdly for constantly reading; but at this point in time, they have the audacity to recommend the activity to me. The activity itself is valuable … So I think there are different structures and places in our society that present what people think are similar outcomes, but I would argue otherwise,” Ms. Kim said.  

Christina Bell-Robinson, the sophomore English teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier, has been in love with English literature, specifically poetry, since her high school years. As she teaches today, she feels as though students are afraid to show their true colors and are stopping themselves from getting to know themselves more and understanding their emotions. It is her goal for the school year to bring forth the best and most pure versions of her students so that the ones who fear expressing themselves are no longer afraid to show who they are.


Rainier English teacher Christina Bell-Robinson

“I love reading and writing myself, and I feel like it’s not only important, but I feel like some people are scared to do it because maybe they’re scared to share how they really think and feel, and I see that a lot with students who either don’t want to write something or don’t want to share their idea, or kind of just follow the crowd- like, they’re really scared to kind of figure out how they really feel about something, and I feel like that’s important, and I hope that by the end of this school year, I can get kids to truly look into themselves and see what they are passionate about, and not be scared to be different or to share their own beliefs,” Ms. Bell-Robinson said.

A graduate of Northwest University, with a bachelors in English, and Western Governor’s University, with a masters in teaching English, Ms. Bell-Robinson played on the women’s tackle football team for the Seattle Majestics. She loves English literature, and she believes that the communication skills that are obtained through learning about it are a necessary skill to be able to effectively express ideas to other people.

“The thing with English is that you need to be able to communicate with people effectively, and so knowing how to write, even though people don’t love writing, but knowing how to get your ideas across and be super concise, and to the point, and write for a purpose is probably one of the most important things because you need to communicate on all levels no matter what you do in your life,” Ms. Bell-Robinson said.

Doe Myers, the junior English teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier, says that English literature, reading, and writing, can help students embrace a side to life that she believes is being neglected. In what she has heard in what students are reading nowadays, Ms. Myers is happy that students are reading. She hopes that students will be able to realize that they are capable of making differences in society and that they can find pleasure in reading.


Rainier English teacher Doe Myers

I don’t think students are not reading enough. I just think they are missing a lovely joy in life. What they are reading, it sounds like a lot of kids are reading dystopian literature, and if they’re reading, I’m very happy. If they’re taking from it that there are problems to be solved and they’re getting ideas on how to solve them, that’s great. What I don’t like about dystopian literature is that often, it is one person, one hero, or one heroine who is solving the problem, which I don’t think is a realistic solution to any problem. We are a community, we are a democracy, we are a republic, and one lone hero at high noon, solving the problems, that would be my concern that they might take that …. What I hope they’re taking is the pleasure of reading- that’s what I hope they’re taking,” Ms. Myers said.

Ms. Myers, originally from New England, graduated from Merrimack College, in North Andover, Massachusetts. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Later, she received her masters in Library Science from San Jose State University. Ms. Myers has two grown children of her own, Zoe and Cory, both of whom graduated from Summit. She has had much experience with English literature, and she stresses critical thinking when teaching her students, as good evidence and strong reasoning is what results in clarity in a conversation. These skills are the ones that Ms. Myers values the most when teaching her English class.

“Since my class is all about nonfiction writing, I would say what I want my students to do is use good evidence, check to see that your gut thinking matches some relevant evidence that is available in the world today. I’d love to see them really consider the other side, so that counter-argument is not just another exercise, that it is actually a chance to critically look at the other side and actually see they probably have a good point. It doesn’t mean that you change your mind- it could, but that you recognize that things are more complex than one way of thinking. I would like them to ought to realize that no matter what they care about, if they’re not clear in their writing, they might not be clear, themselves, and other people may not be clear about it is they want to say, so clarity is so important,” Ms. Myers said. 

Karren Windsor, the senior English teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier, is someone who has loved reading for as long as she can remember. Ms. Windsor says that the more one practices, the better their communication skills become. She strongly believes that English literature can embody what we seek, from the purpose in life, to our origins. It is her understanding that there are some who believe reading and writing is outdated, but she thinks of English as a means to better understand ourselves, the world, and the happenings in society.

“I think the more a person reads, the more eloquent they become, both in their writing and their speaking, and the better they can understand others’ communication … English class is all about communication … Some people think that reading is passé, something we did in the past before things became all visual now, but I think it is really the human endeavor of trying to communicate clearly and trying to understand one another. That, and especially for teenagers, but for everybody, we’re always trying to figure out meaning- the purpose of life, our origins, our morals, our destinies, all of those things, we are trying to figure out, and literature, especially fiction, deals with those, and it deals with all the choices that people make, as well as the consequence of all those choices,” Ms. Windsor said.


Rainier English teacher Karren Windsor

Ms. Windsor completed her undergraduate work at Wellesley College, took several courses at MIT and then finished her graduate work, studying clinical counseling and receiving the MSW degree from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a therapist for some time, which has given her much insight to how humans think, react, and change. Ms. Windsor has realized that the human culture is transforming, and she has come to recognize that the time that is taken to find answers to life through stories has drastically changed from the many hours it took to finish a book to the near hour or so it takes to watch a TV show.

“I’ve just found it really interesting that we used to be a reading culture and we have become a watching culture. I think that makes it harder for us to have patience with one another. I think that in our watching culture, the answers to problems are given to us quickly, like at the end of the half-hour TV show, or at the end of the two-hour movie, whereas when you read, you spend maybe ten or fifteen hours with a book or with a person’s growth and development, and so I think that gives us more time to grow with them,” Ms. Windsor said. 

With so much more available to society with technology, it is easy for people to get their hands on texts and literary works. Poetry and short stories are even becoming more abundant in the cyber world. It gives readers a chance to better understand literature and open their knowledge to different kinds of writings from classics, to sonnets, to free verse, to modern fiction. In the end, it is all up to perhaps the most important part: the reader’s analysis of the story.

Something that is read, spoken and lived every day, English literature has greatly influenced our society, according to Sunli Kim, Christina Bell-Robinson, Doe Myers and Karren Windsor. All of the English teachers of Summit Public School: Rainier believe that English literature, reading and writing, has been under-practiced in recent years. The art is slowly dissipating, changing from reading and writing to texting and watching. It is their message to society, and the youth within in it, that this art should be practiced so that they can be better individuals who can make bigger differences and allow English literature to strive for as long as possible. It is lived every day, and even though there are some that overlook key details through overly passive reading, there are still some parts of literature that influence society, the world and the everyday lives of the people.

Students own their truth about overcoming barriers at conference

By Judy Ly

Rainier Editor-in-Chief

Imagine being afraid to come to school every day because a male student is stalking and harassing you on a daily basis. Imagine being too scared to reach out for help from your mom because she has been diagnosed with stage four cancer and your father is absent.

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One of the student speakers presents in the workshop Respect Lab: Tell Your Truth! at UCSC’s Communities of Color Career Conference. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

This was the reality for a student speaker, who asked to be referred to as Bella, in the workshop Respect Lab: Tell Your Truth! at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Communities of Color Career Conference on Feb. 9. She shared a story of her own interaction with the school administration in her freshman year at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, when her stalker was also assaulting her.

When Bella reached out to her mentor about her stalker, her mentor responded by saying the male student simply had a crush on her. The mentor system is where every student at a Summit school is assigned, in their freshman year, a mentor group and a mentor. Summit faculty, usually teachers, aim to act as a guidance and emotional support system for mentees.

Out of fear of causing her mom stress and negatively affecting her mom’s health, Bella felt like she couldn’t reach out to her mom. To avoid her reality of having a stalker, she became dependent on alcohol.

Eventually when her mom was in remission, they both had a meeting with the school’s principal in an attempt to resolve the conflict. The following day, Bella was placed into a room with her stalker and one other teacher, where the teacher then asked, “What can you both do to fix this situation?”  

“I don’t know. What can I do? What can I do to make him leave me alone? I will do it, just tell me,” Bella remembered saying. The stalker denied everything, claiming that he didn’t know who she was and that he never done anything to her.

Bella continued to explain how the stalker would physically assault her and leave bruises all over her body: “He would hit me; he would punch me; he would slap me. At one point, I had a bruise on my leg the size of a baseball, and he denied everything.”

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Student speaker Bella talks about how much she has grown and changed over her high school career. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

Alongside her mom, Bella filed a lawsuit against the principal because no proper actions were being taken about her situation, and she then transferred to Summit Everest. On her new campus, she noted that she stopped drinking because she felt like there was no reason to do so anymore.

She concluded by claiming that the school administration had failed to effectively help female victims: “Through this entire thing, I learned that school administration is not necessarily the way it should be. They victimize a lot more female students than they do male. Male students, who are perpetrators, tend to not be punished for what they did.”

She added that this kind of behavior has been seen in other cases: “We saw this in the Brock Turner case; we’ve seen this consistently with so many other cases, and nothing really happens to them. So the next thing we need to do is we need to figure out how we can help the victims and stop blaming them for what happens.”

The Brock Turner case got so much negative attention that the judge, who sentenced Turner to jail for six months after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near a dumpster, got recalled.

While it is difficult to find statistics for gender bias and victimization within school administration, gender bias and victim blaming are very prevalent in sexual violence cases. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports gender bias can unfairly and negatively affect victims in court such as “holding battered mothers to higher standards of parenting and behavior than fathers” and “stereotyping women as hysterical and unreasonable.” They also state, “Research tells us that the majority of domestic violence victims are female, therefore, gender is a pertinent issue when talking about how systems handle domestic violence cases.”

In a report done by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, they stated, “Across 50 states, estimates of lifetime rape victimization of women ranged from 12.2% to 26.3%.”

The workshop was the first time Bella was telling her story out loud to an audience. By doing so, she was practicing one of the Respect Basics: Telling Your Truth. The terminology of Respect Basics was coined by the Respect Institute, a national nonprofit that focuses on creating resources for youth to evolve their self-respect and have respect be the status quo. The resources are then spread to the youth through the Respect Labs.

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Lissa Thiele, a juvenile justice commissioner in Santa Clara County and an instructor at Summit Public Schools, watches a video being shown at their workshop. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

Lissa Thiele, a juvenile justice commissioner in Santa Clara County and an instructor at Summit Public Schools, said, “The point of the Respect Labs then is to practice taking things that really are called barriers to thrive and to be able to take some of the invisible barriers and make turn them into something that is visible.” Ms. Thiele added that turning invisible barriers visible will not get rid of them yet; however, for the students who plan to pursue postsecondary education and employment, the barriers need to be taken in consideration because “chances are, those barriers were not put there by [the students].”

Courtney Macavinta, the co-founder and CEO of the Respect Institute, was referenced in the presentation to explain why Telling Your Truth is important: “Sometimes telling your truth is a quiet act. It’s about being true to yourself and not being fake. Telling your truth helps you learn from your experiences, accept yourself more and recover from disrespect. So be honest about who you are and where you’ve been. If you’ve been hurt, tell your story to someone who can help. When you’re stronger, tell your story to others to help them. When you’ve learned something powerful that can benefit us all, Tell Your Truth far and wide to help the world.”

Student speaker Taylor Amper presented about the gender bias in victim blaming and the barriers students with a conviction history will face when applying for employment.

One story that was shared was of a high school student in Santa Clara County who sent vulnerable pictures of herself to an older guy she was dating at the time. The man then leaked the photos, and the images spread around campus. Soon, police got involved.

The high school student was charged with committing a crime because she was a minor when she took the pictures of herself and sent it to her boyfriend. At the time, she did not know yet, but she would later be charged with child porn distribution. The story ended with the man not getting in trouble with school administration.

In the high school student’s case, she pondered if she was a victim or perpetrator. Amper said that is the issue with the justice system: the high school student was the one who was exposed and seen throughout her school: “The issue here is that the justice system likes to blame the victim for something that they didn’t know what they were doing or something that is out of their control. The justice system, most of the time, wants to defend the men that commit these crimes.”

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Student speaker Taylor Amper presented about barriers students with a conviction history will face when applying for employment. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

Amper commented that stories like these do not define the individual as a whole; however, when employers are looking at the applications, they don’t get to see or hear the whole story.

On job applications, there is a box asking applicants if they have a criminal history. This box is the first thing the employer sees when reviewing applications. The applicants are then judged based on their conviction history and not on their qualifications as an applicant; the label of a conviction automatically disqualifies the applicant during the selection process. This creates a barrier for people with the label of a criminal history to be employed.

In the case of the high school student, the first thing employers see is her record for distribution of child porn. The applicant doesn’t get an opportunity to explain the conviction was during her freshman year, when she sent vulnerable pictures of herself to her boyfriend at the time, who then leaked it to their peers.

According to the Sentencing Project, by the age of 23, one-third of adults in the United States have been arrested. They also stated, “More than 60 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed one year after being released; those who do find jobs take home 40 percent less pay annually.”

Starting in 2004, The Ban the Box Campaign was started to advocate for employers to choose their applicants based on their past job experiences first. A chain of Peace and Justice Community Summits recognized that people coming back from incarnation faced discrimination when trying to find employment in addition to housing, due to their record.

The Society of Human Resources reported that some states have since then took the initiative to ban the box on the application completely, while some states refine their policy to have a more fair hiring process. For example, some states’ law makes it so employers can only request a background check after a conditional job offer is made.

Ms. Thiele added, “This is not something in which we are saying, ‘Get rid of a criminal background check.’ That’s absolutely 100 percent not what we are saying, but rather that the first step of this should not be that, and we do talk about changing the narrative.

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Lissa Thiele, a juvenile justice commissioner in Santa Clara County and an instructor at Summit Public Schools, talks about the Ban the Box Movement. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

When you have women who are incarcerated, and we say, ‘This woman is incarcerated; she’s incarcerated; she’s a prisoner.’ Why don’t we start by saying, ‘This woman is a daughter. This woman is — she’s incarcerated but that’s not the first thing. She’s a mom, she’s a daughter, she’s a cousin.’ Why don’t we start that way?”

There were also three videos briefly shown during the workshop. The first one was The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking, where the video explores the barriers young girls living in poverty can encounter and empowers them to rise up through those barriers. The other two videos focused on “two different women of colors’ journey in telling their truths and finding success with navigating a path through education and careers,” as stated in the slideshow used for the workshop.


UCSC Career Coach Christina Hall attended the workshop. PHOTO CREDIT: Judy Ly

When asked what her favorite part of the workshop was, UCSC Career Coach Christina Hall said hearing the student stories: “It’s so inspiring to be there when somebody is in this moment of courage and they’re really sort of like willing to put themselves out there, because if these things happen to them, something similar has happened to other people, and, I think the more you hear stories about these things, the more it’s normalized.” She also said she hopes that as more of these stories get told, more people realize they are not alone and can ask for help.

After the workshop, Maria Viveros, a second-year UCSC transfer student who is majoring in neuroscience said, “I just felt that like being a woman of color also connected — I was also connected to that part of it because I felt that we, as woman in this society, face many barriers in that aspect and even though we have different stories, many of those barriers that we do face are very similar. If you’re a woman of color, if you are an unrepresented person or just undocumented and just living in poverty all those are very — aspects that many, many people could connect to, and I feel like that’s what makes us connected to one another.”

Featured image (at the top of this post): The reporter (far right) is pictured with Lissa Thiele and her Respect Lab interns: (left to right) Prep senior Robert Wilds, Everest alumni Emily Hallamasek, Rainier senior Taylor Amper, Commissioner Lissa Thiele, Everest senior Bella and Rainier senior Allison Alpuerto.

Click this link for the Google slides used in the workshop.  

Performing Arts teach us humanity

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

“The most important thing any kind of arts can teach,” Stage Combat and College Readiness instructor Keith Brown says, “is what teaches us humanity.”

Stage Combat, an acting class focusing on combat and physical communication on stage, is the only performing arts class currently offered at Summit Shasta, but maybe that should change.

While, as Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times writes about, teaching the arts does not by association improve scores or grades in other subjects, that’s not all that’s important. “Science without humanity is just experimentation, in my opinion. Math without humanity is just numbers with nothing behind it,” Mr. Brown says.


Stage Combat students stage a fight scene. PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“We’re learning about humankind. […] you’re seeing emotions, you’re seeing situations.”

Summit schools like Shasta try to build community advocates and leaders with skills like compassion, self and social awareness, resilience and identity. Performing fosters these skills intensely: learning to know and be comfortable in your own body, looking inside yourself and your emotions, working with others as one unit, taking constructive feedback, advocating for yourself and being confident in your talents.

“I think more than anything else, seeing the willingness to put themselves in uncomfortable conversations, […] talking about ways that you can feel like something is holding you back or putting you down, it can be really hard to have that kind of conversation and be honest,” Mr. Brown said on the growth he’s witnessed in his students. “It can be really hard to be in front of a crowd and speak with any kind of confidence or authority. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is seeing that confidence come out of people, and the joy that can come from finding your voice.”


Stage Combat teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

Benefits of the arts in education have been studied and witnessed many times, even finding motivation to stay in school might be linked to art and music classes. But how easy is it to just add curriculum?

Lucretia Witte, dean of Expeditions for Summit Schools, explains how the Expeditions process works: “To sum it up, there are about six departments: STEM, Arts and Design, Business and Media, Health and Fitness, Future Planning and Leadership and Society. We try to have at least two options for each of those departments, and we survey students to find out what they would be interested in.” She went on to explain the staffing process: “To find staff, we don’t hire for a specific course title, just someone who is passionate about working with us, and who would be doing what they love. We also try to keep staff in a local job; so, for example, if someone lives in San Francisco and wants to teach in Health and Fitness, we would try to put them in one of our Northern schools.”


Dean of Expeditions Lucretia Witte PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It can be harder to find folks who are very talented and also passionate about the job,” Ms. Witte said about performing arts teachers, and that makes sense. With arts classes commonly being the first to get cut when budgets are tight, and as only 10 percent of art graduates become working artists, and only 16.8 percent of working artists are educators, it’s not a surprise that passionate drama or music teachers can be hard to find. Especially when you want local teachers in the community, like Summit schools strive to hire. However, Ms. Witte said the Expeditions team is trying to hire teachers for classes like Dance or Music in the Northern schools like Shasta, which could open up many opportunities for Shasta students to pursue the performing arts.

Another matter to consider is after-school programs, such as a play or musical, a dance company, chorus or marching band, choir, and others. Lots of schools offer these types of programs, but at Shasta, the way these get started is a little different.


Dean of Culture and Instruction at Summit Shasta Adelaide Giornelli PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It’s a question of budget, and it’s also a question of who would run it,” Adelaide Giornelli, Shasta dean of culture and instruction, said. “Right now, all of our clubs are student-organized, student-advocated-for, and student-led. So if a student wanted to start a musical theater company or a choir, or an a capella group – which we actually have had in the past – the student would then have to fill out a proposal for a club, get approval, and then we would be able to provide supports as we could.”

See below for a video about the Stage Combat class:

Music empowers adolescents

By Lyanna Cruzat

Staff Writer

Music surrounds us in our daily lives. We hear it on the radio on our way to school or work, on our phones, in restaurants; we hear music everywhere. Music holds the power to influence mood and behavior in people. Music impacts our lives in ways we don’t even realize. We all know that music is just there; we don’t realize how much music has been a part of our daily lives and how music helps shape who we are as a person.

“Music is an outlet for me to display all my inner emotions; especially now in high school, playing music is a way to just relax and take a breather; it’s something I can confide in,” said Ethaniel Reyes, a sophomore in the Music Club at Summit Shasta.

Elena Mannes, the author of “The Power of Music,” tracked the human relationship with music over the course of a life span. She says that scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. That’s why she sees so much potential in music’s power to change the brain and affect the way it works.

Brian Patel, a k-8 counselor at The Bayshore School said,  “Music was one of my most important teachers and counselors growing up. Music was a teacher and a therapist to me. For instance, I didn’t learn about what social injustice is or low-income inner-city issues for my education, I learned about these issues through the hip-hop and rap music I listen to from the music artist[s] in my community. There was no counselor at my elementary and middle school, and there was nobody accessible in high school, so that wasn’t something I had growing up, and music filled that void for me – even though I wasn’t talking to somebody, the artist I listen[ed] to spoke to me and talk[ed to] me about life and the issues I was going through, such as growing pains of adolescence poverty and other issues such as classism and racism.”

Many adolescents go to music as a way to escape reality. This is usually called music therapy, where music is used to relax the mind, energize the body and even help people better manage pain.

“The lyrics in music have deep meaning, helping me get through stuff with depression, through hard times, and my inner battles,” said Matthew Goncalves, a senior at Summit Shasta.

Teens go to an artist to help them by listening to the artist that they love. Both Mr. Patel and Goncalves agree with their favorite artist, Tupac: “Tupac influence[d] me through the lyrics of his music, emotions, and the messages he preached about; I grew up in a low-income poverty community when I was young; I had nothing. Growing up in life is hard, but through the lyrics of his music I was able to get through my childhood and his music still gets me through my day-to-day life. His music was relevant when they came out in the 90s with the issues going on, and it’s still relevant to this day with many issues of modern times.”

The purpose of music is a very broad question, whether it is from the artist’s perspective or from a fan of music. Music is simply therapy and an outlet for people to connect with their emotions and feelings; no matter how you’re feeling there is always a song that people will be able to relate to. Through music, everyone is able to have an escape from reality, a way to express their feelings through a healthy way by using music.

See below for a video about how music impacts youth:

Community debates the role of physical fitness at Summit Shasta

By Melissa Domingo and Mytrisha Sarmiento

Staff Writers

Summit Shasta is known for its self-directed curriculum and its lack of a physical education system. A few students and faculty feel as if this should be fixed.

The only physical fitness requirement for Shasta students is to pass a physical fitness test in freshman year. Students are required to perform push-ups, situps and a shuttle run.

In other traditional high schools, it is a requirement to complete at least two years of a P.E. class. In these two years, students must grasp “knowledge and competency in motor skills,” “achieve a level of physical fitness,” and “demonstrate knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts,” according to the California Department of Education.

For example, Westmoor High School requires students to take two years of a P.E. course and take a swimming course.

Students and faculty alike agree that although Summit Shasta has a multitude of sports teams, only around half of the student body participate.

The Athletic Director, Mike Lofberg, did mention that, in the past three years, student participation has “tremendously grown.”

“We are now seeing record numbers every year,” Mr. Lofberg said. He said that we can attribute these record numbers to the students’ high demand for sports.

Many perspectives were heard, and most people agreed that adding P.E. as a flex time course would be the best strategy, although there were a few who suggested adding a morning class for P.E.

Rachel Baumgold, the ninth grade math teacher, said she believes that if students had a P.E. class it would be easier for them to “let out energy.”

Emily Ryan, an Education Specialist, asked if it was feasible to “take a class on physical fitness outside of just the Expeditions period.”

This year, Health and Fitness was added to the list of available Expeditions classes at Shasta. The course is held by instructor Rebecca Breuer, and it focuses on workouts, although the class is only held every six to eight weeks, in two-week sessions (Ms. Breuer and her students are featured in the photo at the top of this post.)

See below for a video discussing this topic in-depth:

Sports form community

By Matthew Goncalves, Ethaniel Reyes and Jordan Singh

Staff Writers

Sports are physical activities that involve individual teams competing against each other in order to appeal to certain fans, and they are also used to entertain people. Some of these sports include soccer, basketball, baseball and football. Although these sports are used for entertainment, they are also able to create an opportunity for people to bond with others, which creates a sense of community at school, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or if you’re a player. We at Summit News decided to ask people in our community our essential question: How has sports impacted society and the way people work together in society? This is a question that needed to be answered.

Milagros Morris, a Spanish teacher at Summit Shasta, is also a fan of the New York Giants and Golden State Warriors. During her interview, she said that she is an avid supporter of the New York Giants, and she said things such as “Eli Manning is the greatest quarterback ever!” and “I don’t like Tom Brady; he’s a cheater.”

Ms. Morris also said, “It helps me a lot with my students; I start a discussion with them about sports, like I have a fight with Jordan saying who is better: Curry or Durant.” Ms. Morris was also very supportive of sports, as she said that sports help her make new friends and they help her understand her students’ views on sports.

Several Summit Shasta students were also interviewed. These students were interviewed because of their involvement in sports at Summit Shasta; they are also fans of professional sports teams.

The first student who was interviewed was Shasta sophomore Vincent Chu, who plays on the Summit Shasta JV basketball team. During his interview he said, “What makes basketball exciting is to like form close relationships with teammates and the joy of winning a game.” He also said that he can watch “any NBA” game because “you can see your favorite players play and score” and that you can form relationships with your friends while playing or watching basketball.

Several freshman, such as Tyler Reyes, were interviewed. An athlete for the Shasta JV basketball team, Reyes is originally from Los Angeles; this ultimately led to a liking for the Los Angeles Lakers at a very young age. He said that, back then, he found interest in other teams as well, explaining that “some other teams played differently” and he liked watching how they played. Reyes believes that the Lakers’ franchise is “one of the best franchises in the NBA,” which is one of the factors that sticks out to him as a fan. Nowadays, he also finds the Golden State Warriors appealing to watch.

As an athlete for a basketball team, Reyes expressed how bonds naturally form within his team: “You have to practice with them every day, and you play games with them. So you build chemistry with them, and you build bonds.” He also said that he “has to make a lot of new friends” as a result of the chemistry in basketball.

Another student we decided to interview was Shasta freshman Alison Blair. Blair is an athlete on both the Shasta Varsity basketball and volleyball teams. Growing up, Blair was a big supporter of the Golden State Warriors; she said, “I really like Steph Curry and his work ethic that he had.” Although Blair is a big Warriors fan, she also mentions that she likes to watch other teams like the Celtics, explaining that “they have great up-and-coming players like Jayson Tatum but also have like players that everybody knows that is good like Kyrie Irving and stuff.”

Blair added, “Especially ‘cause we are in high school now, we’re not like playing with our same age / grade like we are playing with different age / grades and it like creates a bond between all age groups, I guess, because I’m friends with senior, juniors, and sophomores now.”

Shasta freshman Owen Laxa was also interviewed. Laxa is an athlete for the Shasta freshman and JV basketball teams. Growing up he also played baseball and watched football occasionally. Growing up, Laxa was a fan of the Lakers and Heat because they had a lot of good players on their team and they were always winning championships. Nowadays Laxa finds himself watching the Celtics and Warriors, because they are some of the best teams in the NBA. Laxa also stated that playing and watching sports also help create a “bonding experience” with others.

Lyanna Cruzat is a freshman at Summit Shasta. Cruzat doesn’t play any sports at Summit, but she enjoys playing badminton. Growing up she said she used to play soccer, volleyball and basketball. She said that she watches the 49ers and Warriors with her step-dad. She said they were exciting to watch because she said it was fun to see them “work for things as a team and as a group, and that was really something nice, and it brings my family closer together.”

Cruzat mentioned that these teams influence other people now because you can see them work hard, which inspires young people to work harder and fulfill their dreams that they have in the future. She also said, “Through sports, whenever I am going through stuff or something like that, it’s like another world I can put myself in and forget about things that are going on.”

 Dylan Hadden, another athlete for the Shasta JV basketball team, was interviewed about his experience. He said he only started playing in eighth grade, but he had been a fan of the sport for most of his life. Growing up, he watched the Golden State Warriors “until they started getting too good.” He also expressed his liking for the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Another student who was interviewed was Shasta senior Billy White. White was a former member of the Shasta freshman and JV basketball teams. Growing up, White was a 49ers fanatic and also a huge Golden State Warriors fan. When it comes to daily life, White says that it helps him live a more “healthy life and to be able to exercise helps establish a healthy lifestyle.”

Kevin Kuang is a junior at Summit Shasta. Kuang plays on the Shasta Varsity baseball team. Growing up, Kaung was a fan basketball and football and was not into baseball until sixth grade. He is a fanatic of the Golden Warriors and the 49ers because “everyone else was kinda into those teams, and it’s like being surrounded by someone with the same thinking of you.” Kuang watches the Giants and A’s now because they are Bay Area teams.

Kuang said that sports get him a lot closer to his friends, and baseball helps him get closer to freshmen on his team. He said that he had a “50/50” feeling about sports helping him strengthen his relationship with his teammates and fellow students. He said that in baseball “there’s always someone better than me, and I’m always working to achieve and become better than that person.”

Most, if not everyone who was interviewed, said that watching and playing sports allowed them to strengthen their relationships with their peers. Throughout the interviews, people also gave a variety of responses that really gave off more of an understanding of sports and how sports help others in their daily lives. They also mentioned that sports allow them to work harder, which means they put a lot of time and sacrifice into playing these sports.

See below for a video about the sports community at Summit Shasta:  


Music influences today’s younger generation

By Mariam Feleyeh, Sophia Lim and Alana Tutasi

Staff Writers

A teen girl had lost herself in a dark time in her life. She turned to music, which brought her joy during that time, and found herself again. She used music as an outlet for her emotions and started a club at Summit Shasta, Music Club, for teens like her to do the same.

“I remember I was going through a really depressing, hard time,” recalls Chloe Abinanti, founder of Music Club at Summit Shasta. “The only thing that seemed to get me through at the moment was music.”

Music is used as a place of escape for many people. In fact, many people claim that music has saved their life. Several musical artists have recognized that and written songs about suicide prevention in order to help even more people through that time. Twenty One Pilots, Sia and Logic have all written songs to help people deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. If you or anyone you know has suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Music Saves Lives is an organization devoted to using music to educate people about suicide prevention. Music is an outlet for people suffering; it brings people together and helps people get through tough times in their life. Without music, how knows how many people would have died?

Many people are even able to make a living out of music therapy, which is an evidence-based use of music that helps improve people’s mental health. In her article “How Music Saved My Life,” a women depicts the time her brother committed suicide. She had been seeing how music helps her patients through traumatic experiences for years, so she turned to song writing to help herself do the same. “When all I felt was numb, rhythms and chords helped me feel something again.”

Not only can music help to brighten your life, but it can also help you to brighten others. According to, music can actually make you a better person. Listening to certain types of music can make you more generous and more cooperative. It can also change your attitude toward people who are different from you. “The love of music that I share with my friends is something that’s a big impact. The love of music and the same music brought us together,” Onosa’i Tafilele, a Shasta senior, said.

Many people have a similar experience to Tafilele. Music has created bonds of people who would’ve never expected to be friends. Music can also change people’s emotions. Just reading the lyrics of their favorite song can put people in a good mood. “Music has a really big influence on me, and it makes me feel really good,” Aaliyah Aumavae, a Shasta sophomore, said.

One of the main reasons why music can help so many people through awful times is that it changes people’s perspective on life. “I know a lot of artists have made music because of certain disasters in their lives, and something that is perceived as negative could also be seen as something positive and a place of development and growth,” Abinanti said.

Another positive effect of music is that it increases your productivity. According to, “In 1972, a study published in Applied Ergonomics suggested that people doing repetitive tasks worked more efficiently when background music was played.” There are several other instances where people have performed better when listening to music.

While music can and has changed many people’s lives for the better, it can have negative effects as well. “Music can make us do a lot of things. People hear stuff in songs, and they decided that they want to do it; for example, drugs, alcohol and things like that,” Tafilele said. Moana Mau, a sophomore at Summit Shasta, also believes that songs can make people feel the need for unhealthy things. “A lot of songs nowadays are talking about money, and people want to get their money, but they’re not really focusing on the true meaning of life, which is really just happiness,” Mau said.

Music has a powerful impact on everyone, especially today’s younger generation. It can bring out the worst or the best in people, but it is always a major part of our life.

See below for a video about music’s influence on today’s younger generation:

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