Tag Archives: arts

Trading card games teach valuable life skills

By Michael Mac Callum

Staff Editor

Imagine walking into your favorite card shop for a local trading card game tournament. You see some of the same people as usual, your typical play group. Wow, there’s a large turnout today; usually there are around eight people, but this time there are 14. 

This was the scene at Lefty’s Sport Cards in Millbrae, California on Sept. 22, starting at 10 a.m. and ranging until 1 p.m.

You play a few games against your first opponent. Narrowly, you lose the first one, and then you win by a large amount on the second game. The set is best of three; you have one game left. You again very narrowly lose, and you go on to your second opponent

You do this two more times; most games are very close, and, at the end, the shop owner asks who won and what the score was. You earn three packs, but the event isn’t over yet; people begin to pull out binders and show each other their cards for trade. You trade a few low value cards for a high value and fairly rare card, a solid trade. 

Players chat and trade cards after the tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Mac Callum

Now, imagine you are at a Magic the Gathering World Championship; thousands of dollars are at stake. The game is going slow, and the odds are tipping into the opponent’s favor until you draw just the right card to land the last fatal blow. 

This is what happens every year at Trading Card Game tournaments around the globe. Trading Card Games (also known as TCGs) are games where two players duel using decks of collectable cards which all have unique effects. Some popular trading card games you might have heard of would be Magic the Gathering Yu-Gi-Oh or Cardfight Vanguard.

Trading card games are based on luck, deckbuilding, memory and timing, but a lot of the fun is in the community surrounding it, which has been described positively by many. Magic the Gathering Grand Prix competitor Collin Mo said that he feels the TCG community is a “warm and welcoming environment” and that it is “easy to just join in.”

For many people, TCGs are just a hobby. For instance: Shasta senior Luke Kyi, a six-year Cardfight Vanguard player, said he only really plays for fun, not tournaments. But playing as just a hobby isn’t all that is offered; quite a few people play trading card games at a competitive level, or at least want to pursue a competitive level. One of those people include Shasta senior Pius Loo.

When asked whether Loo would consider playing trading card games on a competitive level, he responded, “I would, but I feel like my decks, in all games, are kind of inferior to the meta.” The meta is defined as what decks are currently “tournament viable” and, while you could technically play whatever deck you had at the moment, certain decks are significantly better than others due to either being good against a lot of the other strong decks or just good synergies between powerful cards. This is a problem that some TCG players face because most of the game isn’t just playing — it is the outside planning of deck construction, the consideration of other decks your opponents may bring and knowing how your decks fares against those.

However, those who invest the time have often found themselves a lot of success. One example would be Shasta senior Jason Agbunag, who has been playing Yu-Gi-Oh since second grade. Agbunag once made it to the Yu-Gi-Oh World Tournament, the largest tournament that Yu-Gi-Oh offers. 

But trading card games can often have even more of an impact than just competitive play. As described by Mo, who has participated in the Magic the Gathering Grand Prix event, one of the largest Magic the Gathering tournaments there is, explains that trading card games taught him quite a bit of math and language skills as well as how to take things slowly. He explained, “There’s not too much pressure to make a decision, so it teaches you how to consider your decision and consider the process in which you want to navigate — let’s say — a complicated board state or determine how you want to build your deck.”

In the end, according to Loo and Moyrong, all TCGs are about: collecting cards, dueling others and making “big brain plays.”

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Two players mid-match at a Magic the Gathering tournament. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Mac Callum

Filling the gap of representation through art

 By Judy Ly 

Rainier Editor-in-Chief

For this Expeditions round of Ethnic Studies, students studied the portrayal of people of non-dominant backgrounds in media. From music video to films to even personal poetry, Expeditions teacher Angel Barragan showcased the representation and misrepresentation of Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and African Americans.

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 10.41.14 PM

Expeditions teacher Angel Barragan shares his struggle with how he was represented in the media when he was growing up.

In an interview with Mr. Barragan, he said he came from a community with no college graduates few high school graduates. In addition to not seeing himself represented in the faculty, it made it hard for him to believe he could succeed academically in college: “I did eventually, but I think that goes beyond just school, right. That goes through the media, that goes through the way they’re showing people.”

Mr. Barragan added that the representation of people of non-dominant backgrounds is getting better; however, when he was in high school, representation included a lot of stereotypes. He explained that created a certain impression: “All you can amount to be, at some point, is to be like a gardener or a maid or some type of service worker. I think if I saw Latinos that were doing other successful things, it would’ve made me feel I could’ve been successful myself.” These are the reasons why Mr. Barragan thinks everyone needs to be aware of how society portrays others and why everyone should have a positive representation in the media.

See below for a video about this project:

See below for the reporter’s personal take on this project:

For more information about Expeditions Ethnic Studies course, check out this blog

Performing Arts teach us humanity

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

“The most important thing any kind of arts can teach,” Stage Combat and College Readiness instructor Keith Brown says, “is what teaches us humanity.”

Stage Combat, an acting class focusing on combat and physical communication on stage, is the only performing arts class currently offered at Summit Shasta, but maybe that should change.

While, as Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times writes about, teaching the arts does not by association improve scores or grades in other subjects, that’s not all that’s important. “Science without humanity is just experimentation, in my opinion. Math without humanity is just numbers with nothing behind it,” Mr. Brown says.


Stage Combat students stage a fight scene. PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“We’re learning about humankind. […] you’re seeing emotions, you’re seeing situations.”

Summit schools like Shasta try to build community advocates and leaders with skills like compassion, self and social awareness, resilience and identity. Performing fosters these skills intensely: learning to know and be comfortable in your own body, looking inside yourself and your emotions, working with others as one unit, taking constructive feedback, advocating for yourself and being confident in your talents.

“I think more than anything else, seeing the willingness to put themselves in uncomfortable conversations, […] talking about ways that you can feel like something is holding you back or putting you down, it can be really hard to have that kind of conversation and be honest,” Mr. Brown said on the growth he’s witnessed in his students. “It can be really hard to be in front of a crowd and speak with any kind of confidence or authority. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is seeing that confidence come out of people, and the joy that can come from finding your voice.”


Stage Combat teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

Benefits of the arts in education have been studied and witnessed many times, even finding motivation to stay in school might be linked to art and music classes. But how easy is it to just add curriculum?

Lucretia Witte, dean of Expeditions for Summit Schools, explains how the Expeditions process works: “To sum it up, there are about six departments: STEM, Arts and Design, Business and Media, Health and Fitness, Future Planning and Leadership and Society. We try to have at least two options for each of those departments, and we survey students to find out what they would be interested in.” She went on to explain the staffing process: “To find staff, we don’t hire for a specific course title, just someone who is passionate about working with us, and who would be doing what they love. We also try to keep staff in a local job; so, for example, if someone lives in San Francisco and wants to teach in Health and Fitness, we would try to put them in one of our Northern schools.”


Dean of Expeditions Lucretia Witte PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It can be harder to find folks who are very talented and also passionate about the job,” Ms. Witte said about performing arts teachers, and that makes sense. With arts classes commonly being the first to get cut when budgets are tight, and as only 10 percent of art graduates become working artists, and only 16.8 percent of working artists are educators, it’s not a surprise that passionate drama or music teachers can be hard to find. Especially when you want local teachers in the community, like Summit schools strive to hire. However, Ms. Witte said the Expeditions team is trying to hire teachers for classes like Dance or Music in the Northern schools like Shasta, which could open up many opportunities for Shasta students to pursue the performing arts.

Another matter to consider is after-school programs, such as a play or musical, a dance company, chorus or marching band, choir, and others. Lots of schools offer these types of programs, but at Shasta, the way these get started is a little different.


Dean of Culture and Instruction at Summit Shasta Adelaide Giornelli PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It’s a question of budget, and it’s also a question of who would run it,” Adelaide Giornelli, Shasta dean of culture and instruction, said. “Right now, all of our clubs are student-organized, student-advocated-for, and student-led. So if a student wanted to start a musical theater company or a choir, or an a capella group – which we actually have had in the past – the student would then have to fill out a proposal for a club, get approval, and then we would be able to provide supports as we could.”

See below for a video about the Stage Combat class:

Shasta Art Expeditions impacts the lives of students

By Kalysta Frost and Sophia Woehl

Staff Writers

Here at Summit Public Schools: Shasta, the Intermediate Visual Arts and the Intro to Visual Arts teacher is Meridith Burchiel, and the Intro to Video Production teacher is Vincent Nelson. In these classes, students work on making videos, scripts, drawings, paintings and being creative.

Summit Public Schools has six different art and design Expeditions this year, and students are required to take at least one in their four years at a Summit school. Many students who take art and design classes find themselves enjoying the projects, the teachers and the ability to express themselves.

During this round, students in the Intro to Video Production class are making public service announcements related to sexual health. In Intermediate Visual Arts, students are creating their own logo and learning how to print them onto tote bags. In Intro to Visual Arts, students are making portable murals and learning about street art.

Some students have experience before taking their art classes and take these Expeditions to improve their skills, like Shasta sophomore Alexa Huaman.

Huaman said, “I’ve been interested in art ever since I was really little.”

Some students take these classes with no prior experience, but they learn how anyone can produce something inspiring. Kathryn Currier-Herzallah is a Shasta junior and an Intermediate Visual Arts student who gained a greater understanding of what she was capable of after taking an art Expedition.

Art has always been something I’ve been interested in, but I didn’t always feel like like I was super good at it,” Currier-Herzallah said.

Learning and creating art also impacts the everyday lives of students, sometimes in a big way. Students have become more confident in their art skills and in themselves.

Shasta sophomore Travis Hamilton, in the Intermediate Visual Arts class, said creating and learning about art has made my life more fun.”

The art teachers also want students to take away important lessons about art and more.

Mr. Nelson said, “So, at the end of the day, what I want them to take away is the tools that they need to get a job in the real world, and hopefully have fun too.”

Ms. Burchiel also had something to say about what students learn in her class: “I want students to take away from my class knowing that they can make anything if they want to make it, and I want them to take away the feeling of having found something that really speaks to them.”

Students’ attitudes can also change when they are creating something unique. They can become more calm, focused and happy.

Aiden Regodon is a Shasta freshman taking Intro to Video Production. He said taking this class “makes me feel like I’m the best photographer in my family” and “it just inspires me to keep going in doing that Expedition.”

These classes change students, and the teachers really make an impact; after taking these classes, some students have also considered a career in the arts.

Huaman said, “In middle school, I considered being a graphic designer, like making video games and 3D models and stuff like that. In high school, I was thinking about doing animation.”

Ethan Pang, a Shasta sophomore in Intermediate Visual Arts, said, “I think that I could see myself being like a graphic designer or an illustrator.”

See below for a look at the art Expeditions at Shasta:

Course puts students through the behind the scenes magic of filming

By Judy Ly

Staff Writer

In the Video Production Expeditions course, students have the opportunity to explore the process of producing a film.  Through projects, such as creating a mockumentary and a silent film, students get to explore different roles and different perspectives on the behind the scenes magic.  Students are able to act as a director, a camera operator, a scriptwriter or an actor.

When asked what takeaway he had from this class, Rainier freshman Andrew Pescatore said, “Well, I learn how movies are made … with, like, different shots.” He followed his answer with fundamentals he learned about what goes into a film, such as different shots, good lighting and the rule of thirds.


Video Production shows the community how they film a scene at their Celebration of Learning showcase.

For the Celebration of Learning project, instructor Vincent Nelson decided to include family and friends as part of a short skit, taking place in a student council election. Members of the community acted as the audience for the shoot. Instead of just watching videos made from previous projects, this allowed them to see how students would’ve made the video.

See below for a video about this course:

High school performer discusses her dancing

By Sophia Nguyen

Staff Writer

April Chen, a freshman at Summit Tahoma, has been dancing for eight years. Earlier this year, she performed a cha-cha routine at the school talent show. Now, she discusses her background and history in dance.

  1. What type of dancing do you do? 

“I do all Latin dances, including cha-cha and many different other dances,” Chen said. “I do Chinese traditional dance and a little bit of ballet. I do mainly solo and partner dance for Latin dance and group dance for Chinese traditional dance.”

 2. Why did you choose this genre of dance? 


Tahoma freshman April Chen

Chen said her mother sent her to the dance studio at first, but she found her dance classes interesting. As for her dance genre, Chen said, “I’m already good at it, so I didn’t want to change.”

3. What made you want to become a dancer? 

“My parents decided to send me to a dance studio because I got sick really easily when I was younger. They want[ed] me to exercise more. But after I have learned many dances and went to many competitions, I like the feel of being on the stage, the feeling that everyone is looking at you,” Chen said. “I like to perform. So, I decided to keep dancing, and I love it.”

3. What external forces (i.e. media, family, role models) influenced your dancing?

“My grandma was a dancer too. My mom had great drawing skills, so I was born in a family with artistic genes. Also, I was weak when I was younger – dancing lets me exercise,” Chen said. “I did Chinese traditional dance first because many other students chose this dance too. For Latin dance, it’s because my dance teachers – they’re really good at it. I liked how they danced.”

4. How does dancing affect your everyday life? 

“I am more flexible. I can accept new things. I have an open mind. I have an appreciation of art. Dance gives me more chances, and I get people’s respect too,” Chen said.

5. What have you learned from dancing? 

“I am not afraid of performing and public speaking. I know many teachers that are great and can give me a lot of opportunities,” Chen said, adding that dancing has made her confident and willing to try new things.

6. How much do you practice in a day? A year?

“I practice three times a week, but I stretch daily,” Chen said. Chen included that practice times might change, but her stretching is consistent. “We learn many dance works, routines and we get used to costumes, music and partners.”

7. What do you hope to achieve as a dancer? 

“I want to perform on the stage. I want to go to competitions. Maybe I will become a dance teacher in the future,” Chen shared.

8. Who are your role models? Why are they your role models? 

Chen said she respects everyone because she could learn from anyone who is more skilled than her in certain areas. “I could learn knowledge from an educated person. I could learn more about how people will act in different environments and situations … so, in some ways, everyone is my role model.”

9. How do you feel about dancing now?   

“When I first started dancing, it was a pain to me. I need[ed] to stretch a lot, and I didn’t like it,” Chen said, adding that she now understands “dancing is good for me both physically and mentally, and it can bring me many chances. I love dance, and I am going to continue dancing.”

Losing the arts means losing education

By C.M. Bateman and Kaitlyn Tran

Staff Writers

Recently, schools across the country have been cutting art programs.

This affects the students by not allowing them to express themselves, and it makes it more difficult for the students to master their core subjects. Without the arts, dropout rates can increase.

Schools in the United States have been shifting their attention to Common Core and away from the arts. However, the arts are very beneficial toward the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

Estrella Esparza-Johnson, an actress who teaches Introduction to Drama and Advanced Acting for the Expeditions team at Summit Public Schools, said, “I started to see that drama and the skills that it develops are good for intrapersonal communication, development of language and vocabulary, confidence, public speaking, media literacy, critical analysis, critical thinking, and just, a place for kids to be creative.”

A report by the Arts Education Partnership shows that students exposed to drama, music and dance are more skilled in reading, writing and math.

The arts give students a way to express themselves in school, and this could develop new ideas.

Performing arts help children gain self-reliance as well as collaboration with others in order to reach a goal.

They can learn that there are many different ways to develop a skill.

Studies have shown that students who do performing arts get higher scores on their academic quizzes and tests.

A report by the Rand Corporation says that students who do performing arts are also likely to “connect with people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing.”


A drama teacher defends her craft

Students advocate for acting classes

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