Author Archives: Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Tahoma displays their fondness for compassionate Operations Manager

By C.M. Bateman and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Staff Editors

Lupe Talamantes-Escobedo, known as Ms. Lupe to students and fellow staff members, is the Operations Manager for Summit Public School: Tahoma. For nearly four years, Ms. Lupe has shaped Summit Tahoma through her valuable guidance and positive impact. Students and teachers alike appreciate Ms. Lupe’s continuous assistance and will miss her comforting presence when she leaves her current role at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

See below for a video tribute to Ms. Lupe:

Advanced journalists look back at a school year of noteworthy experiences

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Staff Editors

Between traveling to Redwood City to visit Summit Everest and Prep and visiting the Spartan Daily (San Jose State’s school newspaper), the journalism program at Summit Tahoma has had a profound influence on the students and teachers at the school. This year in Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism the students have written about an array of topics and have developed as self-guided reporters.

See below for the student editors’ perspective on the AMPJ course:

Colleen Bateman, a senior at Summit Tahoma, served as the Tahoma Editor-in-Chief of Summit News. She and her fellow AMPJ peers answered a few questions regarding their experiences from this Expeditions class. Bateman talked about the highlight of the past year: “My highlight has been the story that my team and I did on how well Summit prepares you for college. And the reason that was the highlight was because we came up with the idea within a 20-minute meeting pitch and then we just ran with it.” Bateman has written about: Students advocating for acting class, A drama teacher defends her craft, The impact of losing the arts, Public schools and their relationship with religion, The school volleyball team, The arts at the Celebration of Learning, Sociology of Law, Photography, Zoe Lofgren visiting Summit, How Summit prepares students for college and Google’s downtown campus proposal.

Justin Butera is one of the Tahoma Webmasters who has worked with the AMPJ students. One example would be when he collaborated with them to help create the interactive design for the aforementioned story about How Summit prepares students for college.

William Butler, the Tahoma Sports Editor for Summit News, responded to the questions posed to him about AMPJ. Butler talked about the influence Liz DeOrnellas, the journalism adviser, has had on him as a reporter: “She’s an amazing person; she’s helped me since my freshman year … She helped guide me; she’s like, ‘Maybe this could be better, you could do this to get a better angle.’ She’s been very helpful through the process of my three years in journalism, and she’s been a big influence.” Butler has written about: Wellness and Movement’s impact on Summit, Senior night, How Summit prepares students for college and Google’s downtown campus proposal.

Although he was not mentioned in the video, Jacob Kahn-Samuelson has improved a lot as a reporter in the role of Tahoma City Editor for Summit News. Kahn-Samuelson has written about: Advanced Acting, DACA, San Jose housing, How Summit prepares students for college and The Trump Russia investigation.

Matthew Michelsen, another Webmaster at Tahoma, has supported Tahoma students throughout the year. Like Butera, Michelsen helped the AMPJ students create the interactive design for How Summit prepares students for college.

Nethan Sivarapu, also not mentioned in the video, is the Tahoma Multimedia Editor for Summit News. Sivarapu has learned more about journalism through AMPJ and has written about: Citizen views on street art, Summit’s learning platform, Advanced drama at rainier, How Summit prepares students for college and Students’ roles in midterm elections.

As Tahoma Multimedia Editor for Summit News, Maxwell Taniguchi-King talked about his experience and growth this past year in AMPJ. When asked about his growth, he said, “I think I’ve grown through understanding the story better; it is not just how good a video looks and how many big words you use in an article.” Taniguchi-King has written about: Refugees’ sense of community, Citizens’ views on street art, How Summit prepares students for college and An art teacher’s passion for Visual Arts,

Ms. DeOrnellas is proud of her students’ growth as reporters and their development as writers. She spoke about what she has enjoyed the most in this past year in AMPJ: “I think I was impressed with the complexity of what we’ve been able to accomplish and the speed at which we’ve been able to accomplish those stories. I think my students have become much more efficient at interviewing and writing and video editing on deadlines, which is great.”

Students explore their newfound interest in robotics

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Staff Editors

In room P4, there are robots on bookshelves, legos on tables and specialized sensors all around. Working in groups of two or three, the students build their robots one piece at a time and program them with one line of code at a time.

Sherri Taylor, the Robotics teacher, aims to fuel her students’ interests in robotics through these materials and to provide a program to promote self-directed learning. Ms. Taylor has enjoyed her first year of teaching at Summit and has been impressed that her students have grown more comfortable with the Robotics class.

Ms. Taylor talked about the highlight of the year in Robotics class: “The coolest thing for me was when I could find their on switch that made them go from ‘I don’t really want to be here’ to ‘Oh, I get to do that, awesome!’ and then they would be a totally different person.”

Tahoma sophomore Gabriel Benyamin felt that this experience in Robotics has helped him to better understand and recognize his passion for robotics.

See below for a video about the Robotics course:

Evan Low addresses student journalists during Summit Tahoma press conference

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sept. 27, student journalists from Summit Public School: Tahoma held a press conference to meet State Assemblymember Evan Low. See below for a compilation of their stories. More information about Rep. Low can be found on his website

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Staff photographers Justice White, Jannaya Garcia, Jasmine Lewis, Vianey Gonzaga, Amanda Ahn and Nick Inman  contributed photos to this slideshow.


Rep. Evan Low speaks about California’s environmental advancements

By Aakash Baliga, Noel Cintron, Parker Leifson and Damian Pimentel

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low has a passion for the environment, and he believes the future of the country is headed on a downward slope if steps aren’t taken to shift the nation’s energy system toward more renewable forms of energy.

On Sept. 27, California State Assemblymember Evan Low came to visit Summit Tahoma to answer questions at a student-led press conference held by the journalists of Summit News. He spoke about the state’s environment and about his belief that the nation’s current energy system is not sustainable enough to support our overall health.

Rep. Low explained in the interview: “If California was its own country, we would be the fifth largest” in global environmental health and economy. The Sacramento Bee shared some statistics that support his claim. According to Rep. Low, other states that don’t have sustainable systems are now asking California for strategies on how to make their states into clean ones.

Even though California has one of the cleanest environments, it still has its flaws, which is why Rep. Low advocates solutions to greater environmental issues. 

Rep. Low’s website states, “Clean air and clean water should be a fundamental human right, not a privilege.” Fossil fuels have been dominant in the country’s energy system for decades, and USA Today estimated the country only has 53.3 years of oil left to use, pushing the country to take action fast.

Rep. Low believes communities should work together to form a solution, rather than making the energy industry a war between non-renewable fuel companies and renewable energy companies. “I am focused on partnership over partisanship,” Rep. Low said in a statement after being appointed to the State Assembly.

On Rep. Low’s website, he explains how “as a freshman member of the Assembly, I hope to bring new energy, innovative leadership and a renewed commitment to core values of creating good-paying jobs, keeping government accountable and protecting our environment to the State Assembly.”

Rep. Low strives to protect the state’s environment and to make sure the environment is safe. To this day, he continues to uphold his beliefs and to ensure that California’s environment remains stable and its resources renewable.


Assemblymember Evan Low discusses challenges of being an LGBTQ+ politician

By Sam Leger, Josh Rivera, Polina Runova and Justice White

Staff Writers

State Assemblymember Evan Low has overcome discrimination because of his identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and he is now working to improve the lives of others who face similar challenges. He attended a press conference held at Summit Tahoma on Sept. 27.

“How have I faced discrimination? You name it,” Rep. Low stated during the press conference. Rep. Low began his career in politics with the intention of getting better representation and protection for minority groups.

Rep. Low has lived through the approval of Proposition 8, a statewide ballot proposition that made same-sex marriage illegal in California. “They eliminated my rights,” Rep. Low said. The proposition was declared invalid two years after its approval, and Rep. Low plans to prevent any repetition of it in the future.

Rep. Low further explained how members of the LGBTQ+ community are discriminated against. He brought up a few examples, such as biased healthcare, unfair business and the fact that blood drives won’t accept blood from gay men.

As a state assemblymember, Rep. Low aims to restrict conversion therapy that has been offered to members of the LGBTQ+ community. He explained that there has been no satisfactory data provided that proves the conversion therapy is beneficial. Instead, Rep. Low said that he intends to make healthcare accepting and that he is prepared to assist people of all genders.

An example can be found in Assembly Bill 2943, a bill Rep. Low helped pass. His website overview of the bill states that “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) is a prohibited practice under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”

While still having many plans to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, Rep. Low has already taken many steps toward equality. On his website, he lists AJR 22 as one of his legislative accomplishments for 2017. This bill “urges Secretary of Defense James Mattis to continue to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military” and states that the National Guard may not take any discriminatory actions against them.

Another bill that Rep. Low lists as one of his accomplishments is ARJ 16, a bill asking the president to express support for the members of the LGBTQ+ community located in the Chechen Republic and to denounce the government for allowing the severe discriminations to continue.

State Assemblymember Rep. Low spoke of many issues during his press conference and of his plans to help solve them. He admits that our country is not perfect, and he said, “There’s a reason why we have a Women’s March. There’s a reason why we have Gay Pride. There’s a reason why we have a March for our Lives. There’s a reason why we have Black Lives Matter. There’s a reason why we see other communities marching for immigration reform … These issues are still going on right as we speak.”


Assemblymember Evan Low fights for students’ education

By Jannaya Garcia, Priya Kaur, Keith Ng and Cyrus Shakeri

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low, representative of the 28th district in California, believes in improving higher education because he wants to improve employment prospects for young people in his community.

Rep. Low feels a higher level of education should be available to every individual. According to Rep. Low, “We aren’t spending enough on higher education.” He believes that in the present-day it is very hard to sufficiently live without a proper education.

“One needs to earn $275,000 to afford an average single-family home in this community,” Rep. Low said. “Teachers don’t make that much money; principals don’t make that much money. So what kind of community are we living in?”

Rep. Low visited Summit Public School: Tahoma on Sept. 27 and gave a press conference. He discussed steps he would like to see the state take toward better educational opportunities for individuals.

When asked about the state of the education system, Rep. Low declared, “We’ve starved our educational institutions.” Some argue that California has given up admission seats to out-of-state students, instead of prioritizing in-state students because out-of-state students pay more.

Rep. Low firmly believes California needs to allot more funding to education programs. “State budget reflects our state values.” If we put our focus on education, it shows California’s priority is its students, he explained. 

“[It costs] over $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone,” Rep. Low said. “Then we are educating someone for a year, which is about $20,000. We are building more prisons than we are universities.” He believes our state spends more money on things such as funding prisons, rather than investing it in education for the next generation.

As of right now, Rep. Low is working with his colleagues on the Committee on Higher Education. He explained, “We need to look at revenue restructuring and reform.” He believes the committee should put aside more money for education, which would be beneficial to future scholars.

“We need to build more universities and institutions for higher education and help financially fund.” Rep. Low’s ultimate goal for the future is that as many adolescents as possible in California have access to higher education, and he hopes to allow more opportunities to students.


Rep. Low strives to help others who face discrimination

By Omar El-bandrawy, Jasmine Lewis, Jesse San Miguel and Caden Vu

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low’s personal experience with discrimination motivates him to strive to help others who are different. He is a proud advocate for minority rights.

On Sept. 27, Rep. Low conducted a press conference at Summit Tahoma. When asked about immigration and the separation of families at the Mexican-American border, he answered, “Children should not be separated. Period. Full stop. There is no humanity in that.”

He believes that America is a “land of immigrants,” therefore we have an obligation to make sure we are “building bridges, not walls.” He stated that these immigrants are seeking asylum. For this reason, he does not support voter ID laws.

“Even if you get yourself educated and get a job, you won’t be able to live in these communities still.” Stating that a salary of $275,000 was necessary to afford a single family home, he remarked that even the governor doesn’t make that much money.

He also said that it was hard to get an education at an in-state college, due to significantly increased tuition and the lack of spending to lower those costs. In contrast, “We spend $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone,” he noted, adding that he feels that the state isn’t spending enough money on education. “Fundamentally, we need to fund education at a greater amount.”

Rep. Low brought up the fact that LGBTQ+ individuals in our community face discrimination. In his own experiences as a politician, he’s faced discrimination for being openly LGBT. As a citizen he faces discrimination, alongside other gay people who are not able to donate blood and not able to join the Boy Scouts. Rep. Low stated, “We should make a society where everyone has the same rights, regardless of identification.”

He also faced discrimination with the passing of Prop 8, the elimination of gay marriage by state law, which he said infringed upon his rights as a citizen. This has driven him to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, talking about the issues of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a program that attempts to force LGBTQ+ children into a heterosexual orientation. When asked about the high rates of teen suicide among the transgender community, he stated that we should be “creating opportunities for all people.”

Rep. Low believes in equality for all people. “We need to be inclusive, not exclusive,” he said, explaining that he uses his position as an assemblymember to advocate for equal rights.


Rep. Evan Low shares his personal experience and views on immigration

By Yasmeen Ali, Vianey Gonzaga, Kaitlyn Kelley and Avi Mehra

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low’s personal experience with prejudice affects his views on immigration. He believes that discrimination based upon prior nationality is unjustified.

In the past, he was asked, “For the Olympics, do you root for the United States or Japan?” His response was, “I’m a fourth generation Chinese-American, not Japanese.”

On Sept. 27, Rep. Low visited Summit Tahoma to participate in a press conference with Summit News journalists. He shared stories about how he was racially profiled in the past and how this bias affects his stance on immigration.

“I’m perpetually seen as a foreigner,” Rep. Low said. “We have all been immigrants at some point in time.”

Despite his family being American for four generations, he still feels prejudice, as if he just immigrated. He believes that no one should be discriminated against, especially those who have just immigrated.

When he tells people, “Both [of my] grandparents served in World War II,” Rep. Low is often asked, “Well, what country did they serve for?”

Rep. Low also gave information about prejudice based upon geography in U.S. history, citing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the California Alien Land Law. Although this discrimination happened more than 100 years ago, he explained that “in 2018 we are doing the same to those from Muslim majority countries.”

“We do not support voter ID laws,” Rep. Low said. “Just because I have U.S citizenship, does not mean I don’t have compassion. We need to start being more inclusive rather than exclusive.”

Because of the prejudice he has faced, Rep. Low believes that America needs “an equal opportunity for people to get the same quality of life.”


Assemblymember Evan Low works to improve the lives of immigrants and residents in the Bay Area

By Nick Inman, Aurylina Nguyen and Anthony Terkelsen

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low was born and raised in the Bay Area, and he has devoted his life to serving the community. He is trying to improve the lives of both immigrants and residents and to help them overcome the challenges they face.

Rep. Low wants to improve the lives of immigrants coming to the United States. During a press conference at Summit Tahoma on Sept. 27, he said “We build bridges, not walls.”

Rep. Low believes that our country is made up of immigrants. Rep. Low said, “We’ve all been immigrants a time before” and stated that he believes in the positive impact immigrants can have on the community.

Rep. Low also acknowledged the United States’ dark past with immigration by talking about the Alien Land Law that prevented immigration from Asian countries and other “undesirable immigrants.”

Rep. Low has faced discrimination throughout his life and political career. Rep. Low said “you name it,” when asked about the discrimination he has faced. He wants to help immigrants overcome discrimination themselves.

Rep. Low gave an example of the discrimination immigrants face today. He talked about President Trump’s Muslim Ban as an obvious case of discrimination based on religion.

Rep. Low also talked about wanting to include more young people in politics. He intends to do this by lowering the voting age to 17 with ACA 10. He states on his website: “An engaged electorate is crucial for a healthy democracy. We want to encourage everyone to vote early and often.”

Rep. Low began his political career by being elected to Campbell City Council in 2006. He was the first Asian American City Councilperson in Campbell history and was voted the mayor in 2010.

Assemblymember Evan Low was the youngest openly LGBTQ+ mayor in the country at the age of 26. During his time as Mayor, Rep. Low worked to improve local government as described by his website: “While serving on Campbell’s City Council, he helped balance the city budget without eliminating vital services and increase government transparency by streaming City Council meetings online.”

In 2014 Rep. Low was elected to State Representative and became the youngest Asian American representative in state history. He represents Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, West San Jose, Cambrian and Almaden.

Rep. Low talked about why he wanted to be a part of the state legislature representing San Jose, explaining that he got involved because he felt like the government wasn’t working for younger people, also identifying himself as a millennial.


Representative Low talks about community at Summit Tahoma press conference

By Amanda Ahn, William Butler, Erick Godinez, Andrea Martinez and Jacob Silva

Staff Writers

Assemblymember Evan Low, a native of the San Jose area, understands the struggles of locals and works to improve them. Rep. Low was born and raised in San Jose and has lived in the community for 35 years.

On Sept. 27, Rep. Evan Low visited Summit Public School: Tahoma for a press conference with journalism students.

Rep. Low shared how his father was able to hold one job in San Jose and still send his four children to college. Now, with the inflated housing price in San Jose, Rep. Low said, “Even if you get an education you will not be able to live in this community.” A 2018 study from Zillow states “the median home value in San Jose is $1,089,500.”

Rep. Low’s website states, “Assemblymember Low is a lifelong resident of Silicon Valley and has been a regional community leader. His work within the community and deep knowledge of issues local residents faced led him to run for Campbell City Council in 2006.”

Identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Rep. Low works to make improvements by fighting for rights for those individuals. Rep. Low said, “We should not convert the LGBT, appreciate who they are, and create greater opportunities.”

As part of his efforts to make a better San Jose community, Rep. Low wants to have better education for students. “We need to fully fund on higher education.” He also talked about how much it costs to incarcerate people versus sending a student to school. He explained how it costs “over $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone.” He compared that to educating someone for a year, which costs “about $20,000.”

Rep. Low pushed to create a welcoming environment for immigrants when he stated, “We’re a land of immigrants.” Instead of prohibiting immigration into the country, he said that he wants to “build bridges, not walls.”

Students debate their role in the upcoming midterm elections

By Nethan Sivarapu and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Tahoma Multimedia Editors

While much of the world’s attention has been drawn toward the approaching midterm elections in November, a vast body of individuals seems to have been overlooked: students. We began exploring this set of voices as the midterms neared.

To investigate said student views, we set out to question various students at Summit Public School: Tahoma. As the individuals were questioned, many admitted to being uninformed about the elections.

The midterm elections on Nov. 6 will play a large role in politics for years to come. reports all 435 seats of the house, one-third of all senators, 36 state governors, three U.S. territory governors and many mayoral elections are on the line. With this amount of potential change, significant adjustments are expected.

Two major elections taking place during the midterms have grabbed attention: the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Senators hold six-year terms, with two senators being elected for every state. Currently, the Senate holds 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and two Independents.

The House of Representatives consists of 435 positions, with each state assigned a specific amount of seats based on population. The current House consists of 238 Republicans, 193 Democrats and six vacant seats.

Evident through these numbers, Republicans hold the 115th Congress. This might change, though, as the midterms advance and bring the 116th Congress. According to FiveThirtyEight, although the Senate is predicted to remain under Republican control, House predictions favor Democrats with a four in five likelihood. This amount of potential change generated curiosity in what students think of the elections.

Approaching students at Summit Tahoma with different questions regarding the elections created a chance to understand the beliefs that students hold. Following these interviews, attention was brought to what other people think of students and their role in the midterms. To address this, we began locating an alternate, non-student, point of view.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a politician raised in the Bay Area, represents Silicon Valley. During a press conference at Summit Tahoma, Rep. Lofgren answered a few questions relating to our student interviews. These questions reflected our previous interviews and introduced a new angle on the topic.

This video documents our interviews as we investigate students’ influence on politics and their opinions regarding the midterm elections in November:

Art teacher expresses his passion for the visual arts

By Nethan Sivarapu and Maxwell Taniguchi-King 

Staff Writers

As you enter Room S-4 at Summit Public Schools: Tahoma, an anticipation of the day’s work can be felt. A hum of excitement in conversations can be heard throughout the room, accompanied by calming hip-hop music emitted from speakers seen at the head of the classroom.


Mr. Scicluna prepares for one of his art pieces. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

Behind said speakers sits Mathew Scicluna, Tahoma’s visual arts teacher. As an art instructor and freelance artist, Mr. Scicluna enjoys teaching and holds many passions regarding the arts.

He claims his passions lie within “anything movement based, or aesthetics for artistic creativity.” This passion is clearly reflected in the classroom. A certain energy and enthusiasm is held during what could be monotonous lectures.


A custom mural, designed and produced by Mr. Scicluna, is displayed on the side of a house. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

Being one of the most popular Expeditions classes at the school, the class is full, not only with students but with diligence and determination. Despite the apparent chaos of the room, with conversations and outburst of laughter frequently, it seems as if every student is productive and efficient, each possessing a folder filled with various pieces of artwork.

Mr. Scicluna’s responses display his dynamic personality as he lists his countless interests: “Obviously doing art, I am a twenty-year breakdancer; I’ve done gymnastics and martial arts, and I’m a yoga instructor.” The teacher also meditates regularly and dedicates much of his focus towards nutrition and dieting.

Nearly all of these passions have been sparked from an initial event in his past. Mr. Scicluna described his memory of this event “as crisp as a snowy day.” “There used to be a rollerskating rink, right down the street called Golden Street Roller Palace; but at the time it was called Roxy, and [my class] went there for a school event; and in the back there was a little tiny practice area for little kids, but no one used it; so the breakdancers would go every Friday night, and they would battle each other,” he explained.


A painting produced by Mr. Scicluna PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

He continued: “I remember very specifically seeing feet flying through the air and people going ‘OHHHH’ and just this culture I had never seen, and on the sidelines were people drawing in black books doing graffiti and all kinds of street art in their books and I was just so into what this culture was that I had never seen before and that’s what sparked the whole curiosity of art.”

Like a spark for a fire, the experiences Mr. Scicluna obtained via the roller skating rink initiated an immense cascade of passions over the following years. His devotions have not ceased growing and are continuously developing.

These devotions are currently propelled by Mr. Scicluna “never feeling like you’re going to be the best and that there’s always something to work on. You can never be the best … and as you get better, you grow as a person, too.”


Mr. Scicluna created this landscape piece. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

Mr. Scicluna also believes society plays a role in his art. “Society fueled my passion for art by not always being understood by authorities or adults and not always having someone who is older and wiser than me giving the ability to teach me something and having to go to peers,” he explained.

“And even if peers didn’t have it, the answer I was looking for, finding it myself and then expressing it, whether it was on a two-dimensional drawing or whether it was in a three-dimensional form of dance,” Mr. Scicluna continued. Many pieces of art produced by the artist represent these expressions.


Mr. Scicluna expresses his passions on paper. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

Similarly, Mr. Scicluna holds a strong opinion on social media and its impact on his art. “I feel that social media is a double-edged sword, because you can see things that we would never see 15 or 20 years ago. For example, breakdancing video or art videos on YouTube didn’t exist, so everything you were inspired by was local, but now you can see things that are happening all over the world at real time. And it’s awesome because we can learn so much faster.”

“But the double-edged side is that there’s so much competition, and it’s so easy to get down upon yourself thinking that you need to be as good or better than other people in comparison. So learning how to balance that inspiration at the same time of realizing you can only be yourself and do your best and you have your own ability to offer it really tricky,” he added.

Social media’s influence on current art is vast and will continue to grow. In agreement with Mr. Scicluna and according to Artwork Archive, “In the past year, over 80 percent of all Generation Y art buyers bought fine art online, with almost half of online buyers using Instagram for art-related purposes.” Social media is also changing art in other ways, such as street art.


A combination of seven abstract pieces by Mr. Scicluna are showcased on a wall. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

As an artist who has generated assorted murals and pieces of street art, Mr. Scicluna deems street art as “one of the single most important things that people who have opinions can do without having some type of support system on why they’re doing it.”

“What I mean is that you’re not being paid by a corporation, you’re not being paid by a commission, you’re doing it strictly because it’s something you believe in and it’s powerful enough to risk your freedom to go out and produce your street art.” While driving downtown, that power for which people risk their freedom for can be clearly seen on San Jose’s walls and buildings.


A painting by Mr. Scicluna is being completed. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

“Now that’s like the illegal side of street art,” Mr. Scicluna said. “There’s also like the paid murals and stuff which is still so important, because … we’re very visual beings and as we’re moving through the world any little thing you see, whether it’s something you’ve seen 100 times, or whether it’s something you’ve seen one time, affects us. And a big mural on the street or a big sculpture, or even like a live performance can affect someone’s emotions and their balance so dramatically that it can send someone off into a whole new direction of the way they live their life.”

According to the Huffington Post, originating in Philadephia, then New York during the 1960s, street art has long been a way for individuals to express themselves. In contrast to graffiti, street art assists people in sharing their opinions whether it be political, social, etc.

Art, street art, dancing and graffiti foster a vastly unique environment. Said cultures invite participation from people encompassing the world, creating a place of shared emotions and opinions.


Mr. Scicluna prepares for a public mural. PHOTO CREDIT: Mathew Scicluna

The following video, recorded and edited by Tahoma freshman Nethan Sivarapu, showcases Mr. Scicluna’s remarkable personality as an artist and teacher:


Citizens express their views on street art

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

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.


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.


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.”


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