Category Archives: Multimedia

Tahoma community members share opinions on the 2020 election

By Yasmeen Ali, Kainoa Garo and Ian Vu

Staff Writers

Many people from Summit Tahoma, a charter school in San Jose, show strong opinions on the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Many teachers and students have knowledge about the candidates; Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris appear to be inspiring the most interest so far. 

As of Oct. 9, a total of 19 Democrats and four Republicans are running in the 2020 presidential election. Opinion on campus seems to lean toward a Democratic view; all the teachers and students interviewed at Summit Tahoma for this story expressed the most interest in Democratic candidates. 

For example, Tahoma math teacher Douglas Wills said, “I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren. Every time she talks I’m, like, in love with her … she’s a little to the left of me with some economic things, but, in general, she lines up pretty well with me.”

See below for political perspective from the Tahoma community:

Opinions of the Tahoma community on presidential politics

Some interviewees explained that the presidential campaign is currently focused on whether or not President Donald Trump should stay in office. Tahoma history teacher Kevin Franey said, “A lot of focus is on the Republican side keeping Trump in office, and on the Democratic side it’s mostly about beating Trump.”

Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart explained how extreme views are becoming more common. “The political center ground in the U.S. has eroded a little bit, so people are more on the political extremes, either on the right or the left.”

Particular community members expressed their wants for more variety in the candidates who are running for president. Tahoma senior Ethan Nguyen said, “One change I would love to see is that I’m hoping that the establishment — in both the DNC and RNC which is Democratic and Republic national committees — I’m hoping that they allow more candidates this time … people were forced to pick a side.”

A few of the individuals interviewed said presidential elections in the United States require improvement. “There’s a lot of problems in our system. I think the fact that it depends on so much money is a big problem. It puts a lot of pressure on candidates to bend to people that are able to supply that money,” Tahoma Assistant Director Megan Toyama said. “I think that the electoral college — and not being based purely on the popular vote and it being based on the electoral college — gives some states more power than others.”

Expeditions Dean Monica Hanson, who runs the electives team at Summit Tahoma, also identified multiple problems in which how voters chose certain candidates. “I think we get too caught up in cult of personality … but I wonder at what point we’re actually looking at the plans — and their track record of being a politician and getting stuff taken care of and actually doing what they say — rather than this is someone I’d want to hang out with.” 

The presidential election of 2020 is important as it determines how our future regarding the government might become. Tahoma biology teacher Alexis Lorenz said, “I think as up-and-coming voters, our students need to always take that opportunity to vote. As my dad always says: You can’t bitch if you don’t vote. And we all dearly like to complain, and so, if you’re gonna complain, you have to have done your part in making your voice heard.”

The lack of women in administration at Rainier affects the community

By Deandra Han, Jennifer Rico, Charlie Stattion, Karla Tran and Jasmine Villegas 

Staff Editors 

Changes have occurred in Rainier’s culture and community compared to the previous school year. More specifically, due to the changes in staff, the school has now has a predominantly male administration; as a result, issues have arisen regarding the current amount of female representation. 

In the 2018-19 school year, Rainier’s administration hired Aileen George to work as the Dean of Instruction and Culture. Ms. George contributed to the amount of female representation in the Rainier community and administration. She worked closely with various students, many of which were female.

Having Ms. George along with Lupe Trujillo, Dean of Operations, as administrators gave many female students the opportunity to come to someone who they can relate to for support when needed. Ms. George announced her departure from Rainier’s administration that the end of the 2018-19 school year. Many students, especially female students, were saddened by the news. With Ms. George’s absence came an absence in the amount of representation women of Rainier’s community would receive. 

In a tribute video made at the end of the 2018-19 school year after Ms. George announced her departure, Rainier junior Lam To said, “One of my favorite memories was probably the time that we went to our first debate tournament, because even though I was really on the fence about that and I was really insecure about my own abilities, Ms. George really believed in me and she was always there to support me. That made me feel a lot more empowered and a lot more secure in a place I don’t normally feel safe.”


Rainier Dean of Operations Lupe Trujillo PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Dinh

Mrs. Trujillo, the only current female administrator at Rainier, feels the need for more female representation in administration and community here at Rainier. When asked about whether there should be more female representation she said, “Yes: there’s definitely a need, I think again there’s just sensitive situations that come up and administrators have to deal with. There are subjects that get brought up that I think would be very hard for a lady to share certain details with a male.” 

Mrs. Trujillo continued to share the impact of a female opinion in meetings and administration decisions by saying, “There are certain things that I bring up as topics of discussion that, had I not been present, they wouldn’t even been brought up. That is absolutely not to say anything negative about our male administrators, it’s just that they have never experienced some of these things. So it would be very difficult for them to bring up things that they don’t know.” 

See below for a video with more perspective on this issue:

Mrs. Trujillo also mentioned how hard she has worked to try to include more female administrators and representation overall. She said, “I will do everything that I can to continue to do whatever I can to ensure that those conversations number one are happening and also we are going to reach out and tapping all of our networks for female leadership. Because I just know being in this role, working at this school for the last five years, there is a great need, and I know that the conversations, like I said, are definitely different when there is a female in that conversation, so yes, I am confident that we will continue to do so.”

Additionally, Rainier Executive Director Edwin Avarca is also working toward an overall more equal and diverse administration. More specifically, he wants to have a variety of races and genders. He said, “So, definitely female leadership is something I have been thinking about and in thinking about that I am thinking about current members of our faculty, for example. I’m thinking to myself, like, this person could do very well in a leadership position, this person is female, for example, who could do good in the leadership position.”  

The lack of women in administration does not only affect the administrators, it affects the students here at Rainier as well. Female students, when needed, go to female administrators for support. Having a female administrator there for students is different from having support from a male administrator. This is because, for female students, it can be more comfortable for them to go to someone who has gone through similar situations.

Rainier junior Trinity Fa’afiti shared some reasons why increasing the number of female administrators would positively affect Rainier’s community. She said, “I think that they should because I feel like women bring just like a motherly feeling that all girls and guys, that need it at school, with all the pressure; you know, the studies, the exams and everything that we have, I feel like having more females around can bring that motherly [feeling] and like, ‘I can lend you a hand,’ type of feeling that I feel like every student should have.”

One option that is aimed to support and give more representation to girls at Rainier is an organization named “Girls Group.” Mrs. Trujillo reached out to the organization and female Rainier students in hopes of bringing it to Rainier’s community. She gave details regarding the organization by saying, “Some of our ladies are missing these strong female mentors in their life, and going through being a teenager and raising a teenager, I know that there is a time and space where you just don’t, like, get along with your mom, and that’s kind of the norm, and I think for those reasons, during that time, that it is so important for young women to have other strong females in their life who they can go to for advice.”

Administrators have heard the student voices and are working toward solutions to increase the amount of diversity in gender and race in Rainier’s administration. One solution, for example, that administrators have been discussing is assessing which faculty would be great in leadership positions, more specifically, female faculty members. They believe this could increase the diversity of administration, which could help all Rainier students feel supported. 

Another possible solution Rainier administrators have worked on is the organization “Girls Group,” mentioned earlier, that aims to provide support and representation for female students, whether that be emotionally or academically. 

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:

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:

Botany will be offered as a new Expeditions course

By Molly Pigot

Everest Editor-in-Chief 

Coming to Expeditions in the 2019-20 school year will be Botany, a brand new course that will be offered at Everest and Rainier. It will be taught by current College Readiness teacher, Jane Rieder. This course offers a new type of learning experience for students interested in plants and Life Sciences.

Botany is the study of plants. Naturally, this course will feature learning about plants, their identity, structure, place of origin, etc, but it will also feature a lot of interesting off-campus learning experiences. This is a very hands-on course that is STEM-based. This class is similar to a biology course but provides a more in-depth understanding of plant life.

When explaining this course, Ms. Rieder stated, “I have been very passionate for a long time about having more STEM offerings in our Expeditions curriculum, and I’m hoping that this will be a part of that.”


Botany teacher Jane Rieder

Ms. Rieder has a lot of experience in education, having previously taught math, Education Pathways and, most recently, College Readiness; however, she has an undeniable passion for Botany. She has put a lot of care and thought into this course, which will make this class all that more enjoyable.

Ms. Rieder reaffirmed her excitement, stating: “I love teaching; I love being in front of students; I love fostering people’s curiosity … planning for Botany has been really unique in that it’s [been] fun and I don’t want to stop.”

See below for a video about the new Botany course:

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