Author Archives: ryleestorms

Dr. Ford’s testimony cultivates both support and backlash

By Rylee Storms

Everest Staff Editor

There are many interpretations of what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony means, but it undoubtedly brought awareness to sexual assault survivors and what problems regarding sexual assault are still prominent in America.

On Sept. 27, psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. Dr. Ford testified during hearings for the now confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh regarding her claims that he sexually assaulted her in high school.

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Since the testimony, Dr. Ford has gained support from many women and men, including celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, who made a post on Instagram saying, “Dr. Ford, I am in awe of your bravery.”

At Everest Public High School in Redwood City, the testimony affected many students who watch the news. Everest sophomore Nikola Self gave her opinion on Dr. Ford’s testimony, saying, “I believe that she is telling the truth, but in order to take down Brett Kavanaugh she needs more evidence.”

Another student who voiced their opinion is Everest sophomore Isabel Cline, who said, “I think it was powerful, and it displays how much women have been through and how much power men have over women. I think it represents sexual assault survivors coming forward and having their truth known.” She later added, “I think she’s telling the truth.”

Everest senior Juan Espido gave a short, but honest, statement: “I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but it sounded genuine. I believe her.”

Teachers were also affected by Dr. Ford’s allegations. Bea Daily is an Expeditions teacher at Everest who teaches Human Sexuality. She said, “I think that she’s completely telling the truth. It’s completely loyal and credible that she came forward 30 years later. She decided to share an event that has obviously shaped her into the person she is. She’s standing up for women and smashing the patriarchy. Sexual assault is alive and well.”

Emmalee Austin is the teacher of A.P. US History at Everest. Ms. Austin, while having not watched much of the testimony, said, “I think we should always believe survivors. I don’t think someone would come forward if they weren’t telling the truth.”

Aside from voiced support, Dr. Ford’s testimony inspired many women to come forward about their own experiences with sexual assault. RAINN, an organization that helps survivors of sexual assault, put out an article saying, “Between Thursday, the day of the hearing, and Sunday, RAINN saw a 338 percent increase in hotline traffic.”

The increase in calls made it possible for RAINN to help a record number of survivors. Compared to September 2017, their hotline saw an increase of about 10,000 this September.

Women are often doubted when they come forward about sexual assault. Many people assume that they are doing it for money, to sabotage someone, etc. Dr. Ford faced a vicious backlash after coming forward; death threats and harassment forced her out of her home. 

The Democratic and Republican parties have very different opinions regarding both testimonies. The Republican Party supports Justice Kavanaugh and they wanted him to be confirmed. Many Republicans stated that they did not believe Dr. Ford’s testimony, and they disregarded her credibility. 

The differing opinions Dr. Ford has received show that the country is still politically divided. They also show that the United States has a lot of progress to make with our reaction to sexual assault.

While Dr. Ford’s testimony is mostly backed by Democrats, there are Republicans who believe her. This is talked about in an article by The New York Times that says, “Emily McLaughlin, a sophomore at the University of Maine who was a treasurer for the College Republicans, said she believed Dr. Blasey, but wanted to hear from Judge Kavanaugh.”

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Chuck Grassley listens as Dr. Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr

Justice Kavanaugh testified the same day and received support from Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham who said, “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”

The differing opinions Dr. Ford has received show that the country is still politically divided.

Every year in the U.S. around 321,500 people over the age of 12 are victims of sexual assault or rape. Female victims are much more common than men.

According to RAINN, “82 percent of all juvenile victims are female. 90 percent of adult rape victims are female.”

Many survivors of sexual assault do not report what happened out of embarrassment and fear. Victims also frequently suffer from PTSD and might even contemplate suicide.

As for why Dr. Ford didn’t come forward, she testified that she was scared of getting in trouble for attending a party underage. She said she was also scared due to there being alcohol at the party.

Dr. Ford’s actions of coming forward and accusing someone so powerful encouraged others to stand up for themselves. She helped women realize that sexual assault isn’t their fault.

Others, such as President Trump, do not believe Dr. Ford, and say her story is inconsistent. Many have responded to him, reminding him that it has been 36 years since the assault.

During the testimony, there were definitely a few details Dr. Ford couldn’t remember. However, what she did remember is something much more important than who took her home.

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Brett Kavanaugh, now confirmed as Supreme Court Justice, smiles for photographers. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Ford, in response to a question asked by Senator Dianne Feinstein, made it clear that she is sure Justice Kavanaugh is the one who assaulted her. She explained that there is no possibility of it having been someone else.

Now confirmed, Justice Kavanaugh still denies all allegations made by Dr. Ford. Regardless of whether he is or isn’t guilty, the allegations have brought light to the standards Americans hold for who they think should be serving in the country’s highest offices.

Related:

Sexual assault allegations complicate Kavanaugh confirmation

Kavanaugh hearing stirs controversy

Screenwriting takes students a step further into video production

 By Rylee Storms

Staff Writer

Screenwriting at Everest Public High School teaches students how to write scripts for videos and films they would like to produce in the future.

“I wanted to teach what I know, and what I know is how to write screenplays and how to write scripts,” Screenwriting teacher Vincent Nelson said.

The detailed Expeditions course also provides students with knowledge on how to start off in the movie industry. Students even got hands-on time with cameras and lights, creating their own set and shooting a short film.

The short film, however, is not just practice for the students; it was also their Celebration of Learning project. They presented this film to family and friends to show them how much they have gained from the class.

Mr. Nelson said, “The sweet thing about being a writer is you’re never done; you’re just finished.”

See below for a video about this course:

New course seeks to teach adulting skills

By Rylee Storms

Staff Writer

“My mom’s an accountant, but I don’t want to rely on her to do my taxes forever.” This is what Shawn Wilson responded with after being asked why he participates in Adulting 101 at Everest Public High School in Redwood City, CA. The senior student is just one example of the many who take this helpful class.

Wilson explained his motive for signing up saying, “I thought it would give me useful information that would be applicable to my life after Everest.” The class is a new offer this year at Everest, created after being requested by students.

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Everest senior Shawn Wilson

A second student taking Adulting, Anayely Magana, responded when asked if information given in Adulting was new to her, saying, “I already know some of the steps to get a job. The part that is adding to it is it’s helping me do interviews.”

The mock interviews take place at Everest and involve local resources in order to provide a realistic experience to learn how interviews work. Resumes will also be checked and read to provide help. Interview topics discussed in the class included typos in a resume, interests, effort, background and illegal questions.

In addition to the realistic questions and analysis, students are also required to dress formal in order to impress whoever is interviewing. This is useful as it gives them a sense of professional visual appearance and its impact.

Magana explained that her real interview was on the same day as the mock interview, saying, “I applied for a job, so I’m hoping that the mock interview will help me. I hope that the resume will help me too.” The mock interview involves volunteers coming to the school and acting out very realistic interviews.

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Everest senior Anayely Magana

The teacher of this class, Zoe Marinkovich, said the class was designed after “students asked for help with getting driver’s licenses, jobs and paying taxes, so I tried to build a course that would cover as much of that as possible.” The teacher added that the course was originally just an idea that she believed couldn’t happen due to the diversity of requests.

Ms. Marinkovich explained her hopes for the students, saying, “I hope they vote and read the news. I hope they make smart choices about money. I hope they know their rights as employees. I hope they have some confidence that they can figure out adult problems and make good choices.” The course is designed to provide real experiences with volunteers and guest speakers.

In response to a question about the age range of students and what students are most interested in Adulting, Ms. Marinkovich speculated, “At first I thought ninth graders wouldn’t be interested, but some of my best, most curious students are ninth graders.” As mentioned previously, freshmen are the second most abundant group in her class next to seniors, Ms. Marinkovich having only a one person difference between the two grades.

When asked about who she would recommend the class to, Magana said, “I would to anyone who just wants to learn any skills that are important.” Magana concluded that the class was useful to students from any grade level.

A recommendation of grade level was also given by Wilson, stating,  “I would recommend this class to people who are worried about knowing what to do after high school, or people who don’t have a lot of support at home learning about the real world.” The class includes nine freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and 10 seniors this year.

When asked about the first round of Expeditions, Wilson said, “The first round was all about well-being, and I think I’ll hopefully be applying that throughout my life in order to be a happier person.” This provided insight on how this class originally started off.

Well-being was prioritized, centering on making yourself happy and being proud of who you are. It also focused on mental health, being brave and overall fulfillment. Ms. Marinkovich taught her students “power poses,” in which students pose in a way that helps them feel brave and ready before interviews and projects.

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Ms. Marinkovich shows her power pose to the students before their mock interviews.

Wilson explained, “This round I’m learning more about the path I want to take in college and after college.” The students at this time were designing a resume that would be reviewed by volunteers, along with searching for job opportunities. The resume lessons include learning about appropriate times to use color on resumes, fonts, formatting, unique styles, and the overall process of creating and updating a resume.

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Students work quietly as they prepare for a mock interview.

 

Another lesson in the current round  involved Erin L. McDermit, a volunteer speaker who came to Everest Public High School to discuss legal matters at work. She mentioned many factors that involve young adults just starting in the work field. Dating in work was mentioned and so was sexual harassment.

Legal protection was a large part of the speech, including the factors that protect new workers in open employment. It was stated that you can’t be fired for illegal reasons such as race, opinion, etc.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing were two organizations that were discussed in order to raise awareness about writing complaints in a workplace. McDermit discussed situations of harassment that she experienced at work. She discussed preventative methods in order to not harass people or be harassed.  After the speech ended, students went back to work on their resumes.

Ms. Marinkovich explained that some of her students face unique obstacles: “The world is not a fair place we live in; for my undocumented students, a lot of things we do don’t apply to them. They’re not eligible for Social Security.” The class, however, still teaches every student these skills, no matter if they can or can’t use them.

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Adulting teacher Zoe Marinkovich

After being questioned if she was prepared when it came to jobs, Ms. Marinkovich said, “For my field – yes. I’ve been working with young people and schools forever. I recently became a classroom teacher, but it was an easy enough transition since I had worked in schools for years. I think how I have managed money, debt and student loans is another story. I hope my students learn from my mistakes.” 

Everest students initiate teacher’s joy

By Rylee Storms

Staff Writer

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Allison Mears, AP Government teacher at Everest

Allison Mears shows her love for the freedom students gain from attending Everest Public High School. The AP Government teacher expressed her admiration of the students having to take responsibility for their own work and future success.

1. When did you first become interested in being a teacher and/or working at a school? Did you have any role models that influenced you? If so, who and how?

I became interested in teaching when I was in high school,” Ms. Mears stated. “I had great teachers who influenced me. They told me that I would be a great teacher and encouraged me to think about the profession.”

 

2. How many schools have you worked at in your life? What was it like working as an educator in another country?

“I have worked at four different schools,” Ms. Mears said. “Working in Ecuador was the most difficult because I wasn’t able to fully communicate with my students. I had to work really hard to help my students succeed.”

3. Is working at Everest different from working in other school districts? If so, how is it different?

“Yes, because you have more roles than just being a teacher,” Ms. Mears said. “Working at Everest is definitely different. This school gives students a lot of academic freedom. It also requires teachers to take on a variety of roles.”

4. What do you enjoy about Everest and the way the school works? What makes you think this?

“I like how this school allows students to work ahead or catch up on missed work,” Ms. Mears said. “Because students work at different paces, it is helpful that students have the ability to take time with concepts they are confused about. That is my favorite part of this school.”

5. Is there anything you would like to see change at Everest? Why?

“I wouldn’t change anything here,” Ms. Mears exclaimed.

6. Is there anything you would like the students of Everest to know about you?

“I want my students to know that I care about their success,” Ms. Mears stated.

7. What would you want to see more in the students in your class? Why would you like to see more of this?

“I would like to see more focus from my students,” Ms. Mears stated. “Many students struggle to get their work done on time or pay attention in class. These are skills they need to develop throughout the year.”

8. What has been your biggest goal these four years as a teacher?

“I hope my students get to explore different career paths and passions,” Ms. Mears said. “I hope that my students leave high school with sense of purpose and a plan for college. I will feel like I have been successful as a teacher if my students have that.”

9. How do you feel about the student body at Everest?  What makes you think that?

“The student body at Everest is very diverse, and they bring a diversity of skills into the classroom,” Ms. Mears added. “Different students excel at different things, and it is great to see that play out in the classroom.”

10. What was being a student like when you were younger? Did you enjoy being a student at that time?

I enjoyed being a student. I enjoy learning, and I always had good relationships with other students. These factors made me enjoy high school and college,” Ms. Mears said.