Category Archives: Expeditions

Multimedia students venture out into the community

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Summit News Staff Writers at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City created these community journalism multimedia packages to highlight stories that are important to their school and relevant to their local community.


Students internalize human rights

By Jovani Contreras

At Summit Prep there are two human rights Expeditions courses: U.S Human Rights and International Human Rights. Through all the differences in teaching, class behavior, and subject, a similar, vital message has gotten through to students of each class: Human rights are rights that all humans have to protect us.

Here is the link to the full story!

Immigrants come for a better life

By Hannah Murrieta and Giselle Maldonado

Mexican immigrants in the Bay Area feel happy to start a new life. They also reported missing their home country and feeling the struggles of learning a new language in the United States.

Here is the link to the full story!

Smash Bros has rich history in the Bay Area

By Joseph Dieckmann

This piece provides a brief history of Smash Bros with a focus on the game’s development in the Bay Area and the rivalry between the West Coast and East Coast. Despite the lack of top players in the Bay Area, the Bay Area Smash Bros scene has a great community and a deep, rich and vibrant history. 

Here is the link to the full story!

K-pop brings students together

By Yoeli Romero

In this article, students were interviewed and asked what they thought about the music genre of K-pop. Students that were either fans and non-fans were interviewed; they gave their own viewpoints on the fans and the music itself. Additionally, this piece explains how K-pop has made the students of Summit Prep become closer to each other because of their similar interest.

Here is the link to the full story!

Redwood City car community feels like family

By Jorge Zamora

This article shows the perspective of the car community through a car enthusiast lens and explains how the car community is more than just a group of people. The car community is sometimes looked down upon and seen as something bad to other people, but to others it is a lifestyle and is the most impactful aspect of their lives.

Here is the link to the full story!

Student Senate creates community

By Rosie Esteverena

Student Senate is bringing a sense of community at Summit Prep. It gives students a safe place where they can meet people and share their ideas and help the school.

Here is the link to the full story!

Gentrification is causing community members to leave

By Nina Gonzalez, Cristina Ramirez, Salette Vazquez and Eli Zelaya

Gentrification is affecting the community members in Redwood City because of rising rent. Students and teachers at Summit Prep have observed many changes, including new construction.

Here is the link to the full story!

Art can be expressive or calming to a person

By Fabiana Munoz

Students at Summit Prep often feel that art can be calming and can help with self-expression, as well as their creativity. Art is used as a gateway for self-expression by some students; others reported using it as a catharsis.

Here is the link to the full story!


Mental heath is overriding human minds

By Carlos Moreno

Improving mental health takes time and patience. Engagement between family members is one of the most effective ways to do so. It is also important that schools provide the space and resources to support their community members.

Here is the link to the full story!

Is the food supplied to Summit suitable for students?

By Joseph Deaser, Nirvaan Nair and Fabrizio Olivares

Summit Prep students don’t really like the food served at lunch. The company who caters the food is called LunchMaster. While they say their food is homemade, it doesn’t seem that way.

Here is the link to the full story!

Summit students see a downward spiral in the news

By Sam Gurdus and John Pache

After President Trump’s election, political opinions have become polarized. Faith in the government is very low. Summit Prep students’ opinions on the future vary greatly, but many agree that the present is very bad.

Here is the link to the full story!

Denali increases support in the arts

By Mark Haiko

Denali Multimedia Editor

Art is the use of skills in pursuit of creative productions, with examples being drawing, written literature and video creation. This definition is quite broad, and, in concept, most things people use their imagination on can be considered art. Even with such a loose definition, Summit Public Schools: Denali has had problems with promoting art.

As highlighted by the article “Denali needs more art opportunities,” Denali had a large gap in arts representation. In the 2018-19 school year, there were only four art-based Expeditions (electives), while most core classes did not feature artistic projects. Whenever students walked through the hallways, there wasn’t anything promoting art clubs and there weren’t any pieces of art on the walls.

When asked if he believes art belongs in the school environment, Expeditions teacher Vincent Nelson answered, “I for sure do. I think that a lot of our passions revolve around art.” Mr. Nelson, who teaches Video Production and Screenwriting, also talked about how, through our passion, we can learn more things about ourselves and how art is a great pathway for this.

Art is a way for students to express their passions and creativity. At most schools, students who are passionate about art are given the chance to showcase their passion through electives and clubs. Denali does not always have the same types of programs.  Even so, through the years they have been expanding their arts programs, and many people believe that Denali is on the right track.

Through the 2019-20 school year, Denali has increased its promotion of art in many different ways. The main ways were including more visual and performing arts Expeditions courses, giving more freedom with independent study and allowing more art-based clubs to pop up.

Students are given directions in Intro to Video Production. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Expeditions increases art choices

Last year, Expeditions courses at Denali were far more limited, and getting a Visual and Performing Art credit was more difficult. Some arts classes, like Stage Combat (now known as Experimental Theater), were pending in their VPA certification. (Courses must be approved by the UC system to receive this designation; all California high school students need at least one VPA credit to graduate).

The 2018-19 Expeditions course catalog at Denali was quite limited in its offerings of VPAs, and, due to that, students had to participate in a VPA Expeditions course in a later year.

Last year there were only three teachers who taught arts classes, and, due to this, the types of art offered were really limited. The only multimedia-based art was Multimedia Political Journalism, while Creative Writing and Visual Arts focused on writing-based and drawn art, respectively. Stage Combat was the only performing art, which was retro-actively given a VPA credit at the start of this year.

This year Denali added a senior class, and, due to this increase in the total number of students at the high school, more Expeditions classes were added to the roster. Six new Expeditions courses have been added, with four of them being arts-based courses. This almost doubled the amount of arts Expeditions the school has.

Denali senior James Begole, was “very disappointed in the lack of choice in arts” last year, and was “pleased by the amount of Expeditions we have this year.” He said that “Denali didn’t have enough art opportunities, though this year you have more choices in terms of art Expeditions.” He believes that art at Denali is heading in a good direction, and he hopes that it keeps expanding. 

“I think that Summit is doing well in offering art, since they have drama, physical, and written art in Expeditions,” Denali sophomore Steven Johnson said. He is referencing the nine art Expeditions courses Denali now has, with four of them being visual art; four being written art; and one being performing art.

With the landscape of courses that Expeditions provides, Denali has improved in its art capabilities. Expeditions is a good way for students to express themselves and showcase their own ideas through art, instead of outright saying it.

Students learn stage fighting in Experimental Theater. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Independent Study gives students more choices

Independent Study was originally planned as a make-your-own Expeditions option designed for personal research projects. It was sometimes also used for working on AP course preparation, so that students would be ready for the AP tests that come near the end of the school year.

Many students have found new possibilities for their Independent Studies.  For example, Denali seniors James Begole, Leopold Chen and John Duroyan joined together to work on their art project “Dance of the Three Kingdoms.”

“Dance of the Three Kingdoms is a collaborative writing project based around three settings and different writing styles coming together to form an engaging narrative,” Duroyan said. Their project heavily revolves around being given the chance to use Independent Study time to work on their passion and flesh out their world.

Through Independent Study their group can work on their project the way they want to. “We outline our general settings, work out our characters and their backstories, at our own pace,” Duroyan said. What he is referring to is how, in Independent Study, students set their own pace and work as much as they need, without being on teacher-set deadlines.

Denali seniors John Duroyan, Leopold Chen and James Begole work on their Independent Studies PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

This is a project that they were working on in their free time, and it involves aspects of both creative writing and painting. With Independent Study, they were given an avenue to work on their art projects as their own Expeditions course.

“I especially like Independent Study and the structure of Expeditions, where you get to work on a lot of art-based projects where you can collect your arts and focus down on what you want to work on,” Chen said.

Independent Study helps students like Duroyan and Begole to work on their own art projects that they are passionate about without the restriction of a teacher setting the curriculum and agenda. Instead of forming their imagination into a mold that is given to them by the teacher, students get to make your their own passion-based project in the Independent Study.

Art-based clubs have increased in number

Clubs is an area where Denali has struggled the most to provide arts-based opportunities. In the 2018-19 school year, the arts made up only three of around 28 clubs. This was an extremely small amount, especially with the school providing very little art in core classes. The school was divided into volunteering clubs and technology clubs, with almost no representation for the arts of the school. 

This year, 11 of the 28 clubs are art-based, a large jump from the previous year’s three art clubs. These arts classes range from movie clubs to journalism and writing clubs. This year has seen a large increase in arts-based clubs.

Many different arts are represented in various clubs, such as Writer’s Club, which “strives to provide a relaxed and helpful environment for people who want to express their creativity through writing,” according to club co-founder Chen. Writer’s Club is an example of one of the clubs that popped up this year. It is also one of the clubs that adds diversity to the arts-based clubs.

Denali makes progress in art offerings for students

This year, Denali has improved its arts landscape and increased the amount of art that is being supported. Due to these changes, Denali has added more choices to the students’ pursuits in expanding their creativity.

FEATURED IMAGE (at top of post): This wall showcases a “temporary graffiti” art project in the Denali hallway. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Student panelists share college experience with Rainier

By Karla Tran

Staff Editor

The college students who came to Rainier asked and answered questions about what college life is like after high school. Questions such as “What’s college life like?” and “Is college fun?” gave Rainier students enrolled in the Expeditions course College Readiness a sense of what college looks like.

On Sept. 19, a group of college students had a panel about College Readiness which took place in Expeditions teacher Melissa Thiriez’s room.

Four current college students, three of whom graduated from Rainier, came back to share their own personal experience applying to colleges and their day-to-day life on a college campus. They also shared things such as what they would do differently in high school and gave the Rainier students advice about college. 

Kenson Nguyen explained, “I was choosing between two or three schools. I guess as soon as I visited UCLA, I knew that UCLA was for me. It was one of the best schools I got in to.”

Jesus Lopez added, “I was expecting to be a little bit out of me comfort zone because I know that college is going to be challenging for myself. But it’s honestly, no matter what, you’ll never be alone. If you think that you’re suffering in college, everyone going through college is too.”

Lopez continued, “I guess that I would just say that time really does fly by. Once you’re a junior, the next thing you know you’ll be graduating high school. So I would say that it’s important to be in the moment and use your time wisely because if you choose to work hard, you can do anything you please.”

At the student panel, Rainier students got a little bit more insight of what they can expect in college. Some students learned that college can be difficult; but if they choose to work hard, they can accomplish anything. The college students that came to the panel taught the students to not be scared to take risks both in school and in life overall.

Featured image (at the top of this post): Student panelists come in to Rainier’s College Readiness course to share and answer questions about their own college experiences with the students. PHOTO CREDIT: Karla Tran

Seniors use final Expeditions to explore future careers

By Jon Garvin and Eliza Insley


Expeditions gives students a chance to explore areas of interest to help students find their true passions. During Summit Prep seniors’ final year, they are taking this opportunity to begin pursuing possible future careers through internship and independent study. 

According to Melissa Thiriez, the supervisor of internships and independent studies, 96 students from Summit Prep are enrolled in an independent study or internship. 

An internship or independent study is a path offered within Summit Expeditions. It allows students to choose a possible passion and explore it further. 

An independent study course is an opportunity where a student, or group of students, chooses something they are interested in. They then make a contract with a plan and complete projects to learn more about their subject. They also have a supervisor to oversee that they are on-task. 

Summit Prep senior Will Hill knows exactly what he wants to do: work on cars. As an intern at European Motors, he says he works on anything “from a basic oil change to rebuilding your entire engine if you need.”


Summit Prep senior Will Hill

When asked why he chose to intern there, Hill responded, “It’s my passion. It’s probably what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, just working on cars and making them go faster, making people happy.”

Another Summit Prep senior took a similar interest in working with cars: Jorge Zamora took an internship at a hot rod fabrication shop. 


Summit Prep senior Jorge Zamora

Zamora said, “I chose this internship because I am interested in fabrication and anything mechanical to do with cars … I work there, so I decided to, might as well, make my own little projects as I work there.”

Zamora explained his internship ranges from cleaning up around the shop to changing oil to pulling motors out of cars. When asked why he chose this, he explained, “I chose internships over Expedition classes just because internships let me get out into the world and actually let me see how jobs are and what I want to do later on.”

Summit Prep senior Lily Yuriar decided to partake in designing and producing this year’s yearbook as her independent study. She collaborates with four other seniors to reach their goal of publishing and selling the yearbook.


Summit Prep senior Lily Yuriar

Yuriar said, “We’ve seen kind of similarities between the different themes in past years and want to make it different and bring more of the feedback from students who have been here for more than a year and get what they want to see more in the yearbook.” 

Yuriar explained that she is interested in multimedia and thought it would be a fun project to work on. She can see herself using skills she’s been learning in her future education and career paths.

Some seniors chose internships not specifically because those jobs are their desired career, but because they are interested in developing the skills associated with the job. 


Summit Prep senior Marvin Vasquez

Marvin Vasquez, a Summit Prep senior, interns at the gym Obstacouse Fitness. He described his role as organizing and supervising classes, creating workout plans and helping people with their form. 

Vasquez chose to intern there because he felt it would be a good opportunity to grow his people skills. Vasquez wants to pursue a career in medicine and thinks building his people skills will help him with patients in the future. 

Another Summit Prep senior working on real-world skills is Alana King. She is interning for Expeditions Director Lucretia Witte.


Summit Prep senior Alana King

King has her own interns as well, supervising another senior and a junior, helping Ms. Witte out with organizing paperwork and making her role as Expeditions Director easier by doing some of the more tedious work. 

King said, “When I actually do get a real job, it’ll be good to have these leadership skills under my belt.”

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:

All-day Wilderness teaches students to find enjoyment in nature

By Hazel Rothrock and Justin Casillas

Staff Writers

Not many students get to explore Death Valley, but the All-day Wilderness class does. Wilderness teacher Melissa Bernstein and Expeditions Executive Director Lucretia Witte decided to take the All-day Wilderness class on a four-day trip to Death Valley to close the school year.

The All-day Wilderness course features a variety of outdoor activities in many different unique locations, along with a chance to experience overnight camping trips. “We designed a whole trip, created an itinerary and then executed the trip,” Denali freshman Andrew Larkins said. 

“Being able to go on trips and getting to know others better is pretty cool,” Denali freshman Daniel Gandi said.

See below for a video about the All-day Wilderness course:

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