Category Archives: Arts

Summit Shasta clubs enrich the student experience

By Melissa Domingo

Arts Editor

Chaos. Standing in front of tables by the blacktop, club leaders are yelling, trying to promote their clubs and looking for eager students who want to join. Snacks and trinkets are handed out for students, on one condition: sign up for a club. Students haphazardly circulate during the lunch period, looking for clubs that pique their interest.

On Aug. 30, Summit Shasta held its annual club fair and students were able to pick from the multitude of clubs offered. This year, over 30 clubs were in the roster. The clubs are separated into five different categories: volunteering and community support, media and arts, learning and practicing new skills, gaming, and affinity organizations.

Serena Spada and Lizzy Hyunh promote Ambassadors Club. PHOTO CREDIT: Adelaide Giornelli

Serena Spada, senior and club leader of Shasta’s Ambassadors Club, said that she organizes their booth for the Club Fair, and she also works with the administration for Shadow Days and Recruitment Nights.

Club members host Shadow Days: “When there’s incoming eighth graders, who want to experience what half a day of what being in Shasta is like, we do that,” Spada explained. Ambassador Club also takes responsibility for Recruitment Nights and Open House. Spada said, “Usually a hundred plus parents and a hundred students come and they just listen to what information Ms. Maletsky and Ms. Petrash have to say about our school … at the end we spread out and ask the parents if they have any follow-up questions.”

After joining Ambassadors Club, Spada said that students should be able to “become a more engaging part in our community, or have a more involved role, so that they know what’s going on and know what it takes to have an active effort to get people to join our school. I want them to become welcoming people.”

She also said, “A lot of people who join the club don’t have good social skills, and so, through Shadow Days and through talking with parents, and like asking questions, they’re able to develop them, so I hope it’ll help them; it’s a skill that’ll help them in the future.”

Spada said she loves being a leader and getting to meet new people. “I think it’s a cool club; and there’s a lot of members; and if you wanna get to meet new people and build connections, and, like, become a more involved part of our community, everyone should join it!”

Spada is also the club leader for Film Club. In this club, members pick a genre they’re interested in and “watch a movie or a short film with that genre and analyze what parts we liked about it.”

Film Club is a straightforward club: “We create a plot, then a script, and then film, act in it and then edit it.” All of their work is uploaded onto the Shasta Film Club channel!

Spada said she hopes that students who join Film Club are able to experience possible future careers they could be interested in or are able to relax and enjoy a hobby that school normally doesn’t offer.

Spada said, “Filming is fun! It’s something they can do to relax, rather than having constant work.” Students “come and make films and have fun!”

Michael Mac Callum, senior and co-leader of D&D Club, describes the club as a place where they play the tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons: “Essentially, D&D is a game, where you make a character; everybody makes a character … Then the players then describe how they interact with the environment, like a game of sorts where you can do, really, anything you want; it’s all the making of the character, the rolling of the dice and your imagination, really.”

He said that D&D “made sense in the club formula, you know, it helps build community.”

Mac Callum really enjoys having the time to play, at least once a week, especially when there’s a specific time and location everyone can meet up in. Sometimes, it’s difficult trying to play with everyone due to the times and locations not working.

People who partake in this club enjoy the time that they’re able to wind down from a day of work, especially during Wednesdays when Shasta students attend all of their classes.

The LGBTQ+ flag flies in one of the classrooms in Shasta. PHOTO CREDIT: Melissa Domingo

Chelsea Watts, senior mentor and AP Literature teacher, is also the adviser for GSA Club (Gender and Sexuality Club). Shasta’s GSA “is in line with GSA groups around the country in making sure we are promoting a safe space for all students, regardless of gender, sexuality presentation of identity. We also want to make sure that we are bringing awareness to issues in the LGBTQ community and just making sure Shasta is a place where students can be themselves.”

The students who have joined GSA have either seen or dealt with challenges that surround LGBTQ issues; they also find support in the club: “I think that the students we have in the club right now have all expressed that their values are in line with making a safe space for everyone,” Ms. Watts explained.

Ms. Watts’ big goals are to eliminate discriminatory language on campus and to bring awareness to LGBTQ issues to both students and faculty. 

As a club adviser, Ms. Watts said she enjoys “giving students a space to discuss sensitive topics in a format where they feel safe.”

“I really enjoy seeing students take ownership of pieces of the club and, like I said, we’re in the beginning parts of that process, and seeing students take those leadership roles, I think is really important, as something that they can use beyond just this one club, right? Because those are skills you can apply anywhere.”

She also said that “a lot of students hear GSA and they think like, ‘Oh, that’s the gay club.’ Right? Only gay kids go to that, and I want kids to understand that that’s not at all the case; it’s very much a space for students who are within the LGBTQ community, but also allies, who, you know, are aiming to make Shasta a more welcoming place. So, that’s what I’m hoping, Shasta at large, would understand.” 

Ms. Watts closed by saying, “It’s open to everyone.”

Featured image above: Club leaders take a group photo after the Club Fair. PHOTO CREDIT: Adelaide Giornelli

Why “Metro 2033” is such an important development in the world of video games

By Nick Reed

Arts Editor

The idea of video games being an artistic medium to be taken seriously by major news outlets has not always been widely accepted. Since the days of “Pong” and Italian plumbers jumping, video games have more often than not been seen as unimportant brain candy, a filler to keep you entertained but not to be taken seriously.

Over the decades, this began to change. With some video games pushing the envelope of storytelling and visual effects, opinions began to change. Today video games are often widely regarded by news outlets as a medium to be taken seriously.

Some games, such as “Red Dead Redemption 2,” received accolades for its fantastic visuals and incredible storytelling, with the New York Times going as far as to call it “true art” and saying, “The season’s best blockbuster isn’t a TV show or movie. It’s a video game.”

However, much like in the worlds of music or film, the perspectives explored in art are usually similar to my own: western and white. It’s not often that a non-English speaking artist rises to the top of the world charts or a movie reaches audiences outside of its own country. 

This obviously has no impact on the validity of non-western artists; there are many important pieces of art from every corner of the world, and I think it is important for people to explore these on their own. It is important to shift our perspectives from those comfortable to use to see the world through another lens.

While names like Haru Nemuri or BTS come to mind in the world of foreign music, I myself can’t name many video games I enjoy that didn’t come from a western (or Japan by extension) source. Although not well-versed in the world of video games, I thought I could at least come up with something.

Many gamers have heard of Bethesda Studios famed “Fallout” series, a game set in America after the events of a nuclear armageddon. With this, many have wondered what is going on across the pond.

That’s where “Metro 2033” comes in. Produced by Kiev and Malta based studio 4A Games, Metro examines exactly that perspective from a uniquely Russian viewpoint.

Set 20 years after a nuclear apocalypse, “Metro” follows protagonist Artyom, and his fight to save his home. What makes this game unique, however, is its setting. “Metro” is, unsurprisingly, set in the ruins of the Moscow metro system, the only place safe from the radiation and hellfire.


A map of the Moscow metro PHOTO CREDIT: Sameboat

Within the winding metro system come several factions. The factions of the communist Red Line and the Nazi Fourth Reich, which are both explored more in depth in the following game “Last Light,” are pitted in a constant war for seemingly no reason, an allegory all to familiar to us and especially impactful for the people of Russia whose country experienced this first hand.

This is one of my favorite elements of “Metro.” The futility of the conflict and the constant fighting for no end goal. Although showcased before, coming from a Russian perspective this has a different impact. It is important to realize that Russia lived through this exactly, and the political allegory that 4A is trying to tell is heart wrenching to say the least.

As well as this comes the Hanseatic league, the de facto America of the metros. A giant in both size and might, Hanza often treads over its own people to accomplish its goals.

One of the most fascinating parts of “Metro” is its unique gameplay. Artyom often finds himself sneaking through winding tunnel systems, fighting his way along the tracks and narrowly surviving the mutant hoards. Along with these segments come the above ground segments as Artyom navigates across the surface of Moscow, donning a gas mask with a finite amount of oxygen, which severely accentuates the anxiety that comes with the game.

This anxiety cannot be downplayed; this is a horror game after all. The dark winding passages often have monsters, and even humans, lurking around every corner. Every bullet and gas mask filter seems to count as they dwindle from your inventory, and the oppressive darkness of the tunnels only drive home the loneliness and isolation you feel as you navigate toward your end goal. 

Above all these elements is the narratives 4A tries to tell with “Metro.” As Artyom had wished his entire life to see the outside world, even plastering his wall with postcards, he often finds reality confounding his dreams. Flashback segments play throughout the game, such as in an above ground apartment as you watch people living and breathing within their homes, all before it fades back to an empty, long abandoned wreck.

Artyom has never known a life outside of his tiny station on the frontiers of the metro. He dreams of leaving, of experiencing something else. The game showcases just how much more he got then he had bargained for. 

He sees his friends and allies torn to shreds, entire stations massacred, an endless war being waged for seemingly no reason, and he begins to question every decision that is made. Artyom begins to way his decisions, who he saves and who must be left behind. He learns truly of what mortality and sacrifices for the greater good really mean.

“Metro” is a truly unique game. It cannot be stressed just how important it is to pay attention to non-western developers in the world of entertainment. So many fascinating stories can be explored, and many of them simply could not be told by a British or American or even Japanese developer. “Metro” is a story that can only be told by this group of Russian developers. 

Russia is a country we think about a lot, as it is in our news constantly. However, I would ask you how often you look at Russia with a sympathetic eye and not with contempt or judgment. Russia is full of people, just like you or me who live their lives day-to-day.

people on metro

People on the Moscow metro PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Michel

“Metro” is not the story of any government, of any faction of any group. It is the story of people, of the Russian people. A people who are often not showcased in art. No American story would feature vodka so heavily; no British studio could so accurately depict the stations and life of the Red Line; and no Japanese person could so thoughtfully engineer the boxy Soviet architecture of Moscow.

It is too easy to ignore other countries in the world of art. This is a trope you can’t fall into. Explore other countries, look into the film, drama, music, and especially the games of other countries. You’ll learn something new a documentary could never have told you.

I advise anyone who feels tired of the meta with first person shooters to go out and experience “Metro” for themselves. This truly unique and fascinating take on the world of video games is simply not one to be ignored.

Featured image:  Metro 2033 Redux Review PHOTO CREDIT: BagoGames


Everest closes the year with its Celebration of Learning

By Molly Pigot and Karla Santana

Staff Editors 

As the school year is coming to a close, Everest Public High School is in the full swing of Expeditions and has just held the Celebration of Learning. This is an annual event held to demonstrate what students have done in their Expeditions courses and to award students who have proved that they are upstanding community members.

Students presented final products to teachers, faculty, parents and other students to show off what they accomplished over the year in their Expeditions courses. Classes like Cooking Fundamentals and Introduction to Visual Art had work displayed for attendees to observe what they could produce as a result of taking these courses.

Everest has a unique Celebration of Learning in that the presentation of student awards for core classes also occurs during this event. The combination of class presentations and awards reflects the celebration’s  spirit of celebrating student achievements in learning.

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Students of the Psychology course presented their “why do people…” projects during the Celebration of Learning. In this project, students seek out the answer to a question about why people do certain things. Topics ranged from “why do people murder” to “why do people sleep.” Students explore the science behind these human behaviors in this research-based project.

Students enrolled in the Independent Learning program shared what they have been working on all year in their courses. They prepared visual presentations to share their projects with other students, parents and faculty. The Independent Learning program allows students to explore their passions through Internships or self-directed projects.

“I really love the idea that students get to present their work at the end of the year,” one sophomore parent said. “Seeing what they spent the year working on is super rewarding.”

The awards ceremony that took place during the event is a tradition at the Everest Celebration of Learning. Core teachers present six Core Characteristic awards to their students to recognize the efforts students have made over the year. The Core Characteristic Awards each represent one of Summit’s core characteristics: respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, curiosity and courage.

Other awards like the Expeditions Griffin Award and the Community Impact Award were presented to students who showed upstanding involvement in the Everest Community. Everest senior Jennifer Valencia received the Griffin award for her passion for journalism and how effectively she ran the course. Everest senior Ignatius Hayer’s engagement in the community and his influence at Everest earned him the Community Impact Award.

See below for a video about the Celebration of Learning at Everest:

Everest Photo Editor Karla Santana put together this video. Everest Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Valencia won the Expeditions award shown at the end of the video due to her leadership in the Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism course, which functioned as an Independent Study.

Denali students showcase Expeditions work at annual Celebration of Learning

By Charlie Cassel, Angela Hwang, Jacob Jasper and Evangeline Si

Staff Writers

Students and families gathered on June 5 at Denali High School to commemorate the learning the students have done during the last weeks in Expeditions. People streamed from classroom to classroom, viewing the various projects.

Celebration of Learning is an annual Summit event that occurs at the end of the school year. Each class holds an exhibit to showcase the students’ best work, and students show off their knowledge to parents and friends.

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“I liked how they did the big group meeting at the beginning….[and] how each student has presentations. They seem to be knowledgeable about what they’re talking about,” Denali parent Heather Chen said.  “I’ve been to these for about six years now, and this one is really nice because there are so many people. It feels very celebratory.”

The Multimedia Political Journalism class was tasked with covering the Celebration of Learning. Students floated around the event, covering the event and interviewing attendees while parents read and viewed their previous work.

Students in the Intro to Programming course showed off their eight week long projects and programming skills to parents and students. Video Game Programming created games and held an arcade for the celebration.

Creative Writing held a poetry slam for the Celebration of Learning. Students read their poems in front of a classroom full of students and parents. There was a three way tie for second place. The first place winner, Evangeline Si, spoke about the experiences of being Asian-American.

Stage Combat presented several mime fight scenes in the opening ceremony. Due to the shortage of time, most of the stage combat material was cut.

Visual Arts put up tri-folds filled with their art. Students brought their parents in, providing background information as needed. “She likes this class because she has been doing art since she was a little kid, and she is a good artist.…She really enjoys painting and that’s why she’s doing this,” said Sandeep Khanna, a Denali parent. Mr. Khanna’s thoughts were common among the various Denali parents at the event.  

The Psychology course set up tri-folds that explored the reasoning behind various topics, including falling in love and procrastinating. “It’s so awesome! The students are putting together such fabulous presentations, so I’m learning a lot of things that I didn’t know before. Like, I just got explained why people become serial killers,” Denali core teacher Evelyn DeFelice said.

The Adulting course, which was covered by the news channel ABC7 in mid-January, presented trifold presentations on self-care.

College Readiness had computer powerpoint presentations on their college plans. Students explained their work and their future plan choices to parents and friends while also answering questions.

Human Sexuality’s instructor was not present, but the students presented a powerpoint on the effects of porn and sexting.

Students in the Entrepreneurship course practiced their crafts by creating trinkets and snacks. The students traveled around campus and sold their items to others. One student, Renata Duarte, sold bottle caps with pictures of Pokemon on them while another student, Caroline Notaro, sold snacks called “Magic Bars.”

The Wilderness Expeditions course made a campfire and spoke about what they learned. Later, they made s’mores, offering them to various passerbys.

Students who participated in Independent Studies or Internships made posters and presentations about their accomplishments and what they learned.

“I’m really really impressed! I like knowing a lot of really weird stuff, and there’s a lot of really weird stuff in there [Psychology]….But sometimes when you’re as old as I am, you think you don’t have much left to learn,” Denali parent Thomas Berry said. “I’ve only stopped at two places so far and I’ve learned a bunch of different things. I think it’s great.”

Click this link to see Denali’s newsletter for more information about the Celebration of Learning showcase. 

See below for a video of the event:

Creative Writing gives students a space to explore themselves

By Andrea Castilleros

Staff Writer

In their freshman year, students read creative novels in their English class. Now, the Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions course gives them the chance to write their own stories. The course gives students the chance to express themselves through their writing.

“I was able to express my emotions about a certain circumstance that happened in my life. It was my favorite because I was able to incorporate my feelings into it and really show who I was and the person I had become during that time,” Denali junior Andrea Atayde said.

Creative Writing instructor Liz DeOrnellas explained that teaching the course also helps push her to further develop her own craft. “It gives me more motivation to actually continue writing my own stuff and to publish my own stuff,” she explained.

See below for a video about the Creative Writing course:

Intro to Visual Arts allows students to explore artistic techniques

By Jamil Abed and Joseph Gutierrez

Staff Writers

When you walk into the Intro to Visual Arts classroom, pieces around the class provide an energetic atmosphere. The Intro to Visual Arts Expeditions course helps students learn different techniques and tactics in regards to art.

“I chose this class because I love drawing, and I want art to be a part of my career,” Denali sophomore Sara Ditto said.

“I chose to become an art teacher because I am an artist by trait, and I like being able to go over the skills that I learned throughout my art career and giving students a chance to express themselves in different formats is very important to me,” Visual Arts teacher Mathew Scicluna said.

See below for a video about the Intro to Visual Arts course:

Students learn self-confidence in Stage Combat

By Mark Haiko and Soren Ryan-Jensen

Staff Writers

From fighting ghosts to dueling with longswords, Stage Combat is an Expeditions class that delves into the art of fighting on stage. In the class, students design skits to play out for different projects.

Stage Combat teacher Keith Brown said finding new ways of expressing yourself and experimenting are the backbone of this class.


Stage Combat students practice a fight scene skit. PHOTO CREDIT: Soren Ryan-Jensen

“I learned a lot about Shakespeare and staged choreography, and I do a lot of, like, productions,” Denali sophomore Kyle Kobetsky said. This class focuses on building basic acting techniques and getting used to performing on a stage.

“It’s a resume builder — knowing stage combat is a way that is something that not everyone learns and it’s a way to make yourself stand out,” Mr. Brown said. He believes performing more roles gives students more flexibility and makes it easier to get a career in theater.

See below for a video about the Stage Combat course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Students practice their longsword skills. PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

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