The Hawk's Eye

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Head-Royce Opinions of the 2016 Presidential Election

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Since the Presidential race is rapidly approaching, Expos decided to question students about their perception of potential nominees.

Agatha Lavoie (9th): “If I could vote, I would vote for anyone but Donald Trump.”

Hind Jadallah-karraa (9th): “If Donald Trump wins, I’m moving to Canada.”

Ruth Oppenheimer (9th): “If Donald Trump wins, there’s gonna uprising like in the Hunger Games, and someone’s gonna kill him.”

Avery Lemoine (10th): “You could call it an election.”

Jasleen Gills (10th): “The campaign is getting less political and more about media attention.”

Dana Gillis (10th): “If they can bake cupcakes, that’s cool.”

Winnie Chen (10th): “Trump’s a dump, and he’s hair impaired.”

Amy Lin (11th): “Bernie all the way. I’m gonna be sad if Trump wins.”

Andrew Wan (11th): “Bernie Sanders is good, but his economic policy is out of whack.”

Nick Tintoc (12th): “Trump’s hair is fake.”

Laurel Ettinger (12th): “I feel uncomfortable that someone resembling a citrus might become President.”

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Corruption on the Coast

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Last February, the California Coastal Commission fired its executive director, Charles Lester. Although Lester had worked at the Commission for decades and served as director for the past four and a half years, Commission members decided he needed to go. In an op-ed piece, Commissioner Wendy Mitchell stated, “there were numerous management and administrative issues that commissioners deemed significant obstacles to their ability to successfully and objectively implement the Coastal Act.” Passed in 1972, the Coastal Act established the Coastal Commission and tasked it with designing and enforcing a plan to protect California’s 1,000 mile coastline from “overdevelopment” and “environmental harm” to ensure public access.

On January 14th, the Coastal Commission notified its director of their impending decision and gave him a choice to either help them hire his replacement or go to a public hearing regarding his dismissal. Lester chose the hearing, to which hundreds of supporters flocked in his support.

Despite the issues cited by the Commission, many are labelling Lester’s firing as part of a larger battle over development. Largely thanks to former Commission director Peter Douglas, California’s coast has been kept so untouched that it is now considered the holy grail by developers, triggering a near-constant clash with the Commission. Nonetheless, environmental groups and former Coastal Commission workers alike have sensed that Commissioners have become more aligned with developers’ interests and even compromised with them during public meetings. They believe that the Commission is seeking to hire a more pro-development director, which has caused nationwide alarm, for according to the LA Times, California’s Coastal Commission “is regarded as the most powerful land-use agency in the nation and a model for other states trying to preserve natural beauty.”

My mother, Catherine Cutler, worked with Lester at the Coastal Commission as Deputy Chief Counsel for ten years. She describes Lester as a “coastal preservationist” who “managed by consensus as opposed to just being dictatorial.” As director, Cutler claims that Lester “empowered his staff at all different levels to take responsibility and to have a lot of say in things-not a top down management style. His staff were passionate and committed to environmental preservation. He set that example as the leader.”

Cutler is calling the trial “a clash between an independent staff and the commissioners.” Comprised of a staff and a commission, this organization has a system of checks and balances, for “the staff would make a recommendation and the commissioners would go in a different direction, which is supposed to happen.” Cutler fears that “if staff is cut out and yes-man is put in who agrees with everything the Commission wants, you get a lopsided view. It becomes too slick of an operation, too well-oiled. There need to be differences of opinion along the way.” Cutler notes that “Charles was an independent thinker who led the independent staff, and some of the commissioners were more pro-development than the preservationist staff is. They wanted to make it easier for developers to deal with the staff. The best way to do that was to take out the person at the top.”

 

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Karen Lara: Changing the Game

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Every year, seniors take advantage of their last year at the School by giving optional Senior Moments, Morning Meeting performances of all kinds. On Monday, February 8th, Senior Karen Lara gave the most heartfelt and moving Senior Moment I can remember, in which she spoke of her transition to the School in sixth grade and the solace she found often in the maintenance staff over her classmates. After poignantly thanking these people who are now family to her, she finished with a plea to the audience: treat everyone with respect, especially those whom you are most likely to neglect. The Hawk’s Eye reached out to her to gain further insight into her touching presentation.

 

When did you decide on and create your Senior Moment?

I had the idea for a Senior Moment in November. It really was just an idea; I didn’t really think I’d go through with it. It wasn’t until I talked to Ms. Feidelman and Naoko that I decided I was going to do it. I told them my idea for a Senior Moment and they loved it; they backed me up on it and helped me find the courage in myself to do it. I didn’t actually write anything until after Winter Break. I pulled things I wrote in my college essays, personal essays from my 1968 class, and my thoughts.

 

Why did you feel compelled to give this Senior Moment?

I felt compelled to have my Senior Moment because of my relationship with the staff; I had Maria, who is like my second mom, and Antonio and Bulmaro who have known me since sixth grade, and the rest of our staff. I did it for them and for Latinos Unidos. I’ve always felt like Latinos were invisible to our community because we’re very small in numbers. I didn’t want to graduate without expressing how I felt.

 

Were you nervous about presenting?

I was very nervous presenting. I’d scheduled that Morning Meeting two weeks in advance with Mr. Barankin, and I was nervous. That day I didn’t eat breakfast because I was afraid of feeling sick. I literally felt like my heart was a drum; my stomach and heart were not happy with me that day.

 

How did you feel after giving your speech?

I felt… a lot of things. I’d rehearsed my speech so many times and tried to prepare myself for the reaction, but it wasn’t anything I thought it would be. I didn’t want to cry, but when I got up there I knew it was going to happen. I cried because after seven years I finally had the courage to say everything I felt; I had the courage to be the voice for my friends who were invisible to our community, and I got to experience a taste of what it’s like to be a social advocate. I felt so happy I did something for all the Latinos in Head-Royce. The reaction I got from the community just made everything even more unreal. It’s hard to explain what I was feeling because I’d never experienced it before. I was grateful, overwhelmed, happy and shocked in a good way.

 

How did your staff friends whom for whom you showed appreciation in your speech react?

They were really surprised. They weren’t really sure about my Senior Moment when I first told them about it, and making sure they were present at Morning Meeting was difficult. I don’t think anyone had shown them that much appreciation for what they do for the School. They were emotional when I finished my speech, and they said they didn’t expect my Senior Moment to be like that. But they appreciated what I did for them; they knew it came from a place of love, and it meant a lot to them.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The fact that I impacted students and faculty with my speech is incredible. The love and support I got in return meant so much to me, and I will never forget it. I hope Head-Royce will continue to grow and discuss these topics so future and current students won’t feel alone.

 

Thank you again, Karen, for your impactful contribution to the School!

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The Sailing Instagram

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It’s been several months since the sailing team was created and in the time since then some changes have occurred. Mainly, the team now has an instagram (@chaboi_sails) which offers great advice for sailing and life. Follow the account to get team updates and announcements.

 

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Tips for College Visits over February Break

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It’s the time of year when several juniors (and hopefully no sophomores) journey near and far to visit various universities. Some stay close to home, while others venture as far as the frigid East Coast. Wherever you go, here are some tips to help you maintain your sanity as you travel:

1. Dress appropriately. Don’t go to Los Angeles wearing your heaviest North Face jacket. Likewise, don’t go to Boston in shorts and flip-flops. Check the weather first!

2. Attend an info session. They can be quite boring and repetitive, but if you pay close attention, you might hear a cool fact or tradition that you can later put in your college essays. Take notes on anything you want to remember that you probably can’t find on the school website.

3. Take a guided tour. Student-led tours are usually more informative about student culture than are info sessions. You can get a good sense of the campus atmosphere and ask your tour guide any questions you might have.

4. Observe the students. Your goal during the college process should be to find “your people,” so make sure you pay attention to the students and how they behave. Are they nice? Do they all seem incredibly stressed? Look out for that stuff! That said, don’t make a snap judgment about a school if one student doesn’t open the door for you.

5. Ask questions. Whether you’re talking to an admissions officer or a Head-Royce alum, it’s important to ask from a reliable source any questions you might have. And what better source than people who work for or attend the school?

6. Explore alone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important that your parents learn about your potential colleges with you, but sometimes their commentary can distract you from your own opinions. If you’re comfortable, ask for half an hour alone so that you can explore by yourself. After all, they won’t attend college with you!

7. Attend a class. Most admission offices provide opportunities for potential students to sit in on a class (parents might not be allowed). You can really get an idea of what it would be like to be a student at that college. Plus, you might learn something cool!

8. Try the food. Sometimes, potential students can eat in the dining halls themselves, but many colleges have small cafés from which anyone can purchase food. Just make sure that you can survive on the food at that college for four years without losing your mind (unfortunately, not every place has food as good as the Bay Area does).

9. Contact adults with whom you might interact. If you’re interested in playing tennis, try to set up a meeting with the tennis coach. If you’re interested in majoring in math, find a math professor and ask them questions. Find out as much information as you can about programs in which you’re interested.

10. Stay with a student. Many parents may not agree to let you travel alone and sleep over in the dorms, but that is an excellent way to really embrace the role of a student at that college. It also helps you practice independence!

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A FAD(E)ing Preview

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FADE, or the Fine Arts Dance Ensemble, is a dance company at the School. Students of all ages and levels of dance experience are welcome to join the troupe, and it is an excellent way to meet people you might not encounter in your friend group. Students spend most of the year training for their show. This year, the show is entitled Grounded and is centered around identity. Each dance represents one aspect of a person’s self, such as their past, friendships, and the people who shaped their lives. The title Grounded helps viewers contextualize the show’s theme. We all attempt to be grounded in our lives. The FADE show is a physical representation of the struggle to be your best self and allow life’s complications to shape who you are.

The school’s new dance teacher, Katie Kruger, directed the show with student choreographers, Ben Anderson, Maddy Bank, Julia Milani, and Mazvita Nyamuzuwe. Musical accompaniment for the show is provided by the members of Jazz I. The show’s directors have included a myriad of styles and cultures to the dances.

Come see the FADE show on February 7th at 2pm, or on the 11th and 12th at 8pm to support the hard work the dancers have put into this amazing production.

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Teacher Couples

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A Review of 2015

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With 2015 over, there is a lot of excitement for the new year. Before we get carried away celebrating and fulfilling New Year’s resolutions, it is important we reflect on all the School’s greatest moments of 2015.

Firstly, the School ran yet another successful game of Assassin last spring. Assassin has become an Upper School tradition, and last year, Senior Samit Lamba took first prize.

Samit was the last man standing and thus won two free Prom tickets to the School’s important event: Prom. Prom 2015 was the first for some Juniors and the last for the Seniors.

The next big event occurred when the Golden State Warriors won the 2015 NBA Championship, filling the School with excitement. Students and faculty alike were ecstatic to witness their favorite and local basketball team win it all.

At the end of last school year, the class of 2015 graduated. The memory is bittersweet, happy, as we are to see them go to college, we are sad to see them go.

We also had to say goodbye to a few faculty members: Art History teacher Ms. Metz, Chemistry teacher Ms. Lehman, and Computer Science teacher Mr. Gregg. All three had worked for the Upper School for what seemed like ages and were cherished by their students.

Head-of-School, Mr. Lake, unexpectedly left at the end of last year. Middle School Principal Linda Hoopes agreed to act as temporary Head until the School found an interim Head-of-School. The School decided on Ms. Land, and a wise choice it was. She had previously worked at the School and truly cares about the students and faculty.

The end of the 2014-2015 School year led to the start of this one. After one semester, we have made some great memories, one being the Fall Play Distracted, put on by Drama teacher Ms. Ray. Contradictory to its name, it held audiences’ interest night after night, and was a huge success.

Another monumental event in 2015 ocurred when the School went to court against its neighbors over an enrollment dispute. The debate lasted hours, but in the end, the School came prevailed, and was able to raise its enrollment by agreeing to a list of concessions.

Along with the annual Assassin game, there is also a Turkey Huntin November. This year, the lucky winner was Senior Olivia Lum, who found the most pictures of turkeys around campus. Her first place prize was a turkey, provided by Upper School Dean of Students and English teacher, Barry Barankin.

2015 saw one of the most successful volleyball teams in the School’s history. Not only did the team win BCL East, but it was the first year they were awarded the one seed in the NCS tournament. Being the one seed, they hosted the championship, but unfortunately lost in the finals. Nonetheless, the team had an extremely impressive season.

Last, but certainly not least, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens premiered at the end of 2015. Like the Warriors winning the championship, the movie resulted in a buzz around campus. Almost all the students and faculty were talking about its premiere, even weeks in advance. The film received a lot of hype prior to its release, and having attended its premiere, I can say it was well-deserved.

2015 was a great year, and hopefully, 2016 will be even better. As we look to the new year and attempt to keep our resolutions, it is always important to reflect on our great memories from 2015.

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Head-Royce Now vs. Then

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Anna Head School for girls founded in 1887.

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Head-Royce School 2016.

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The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

© 1965 United Features Syndicate

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The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

  1. “Merry Christmas, Darling” by the Carpenters
  2. “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson
  3. “Christmas Don’t be Late” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
  4. “This Christmas” by Chris Brown
  5. Any Michael Buble Christmas song ever
  6. “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Elvis Presley
  7. “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Pentatonix ft. Tori Kelly
  8. “Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters
  9. “Christmas Time is Here” by the Peanuts Gang
  10. “Last Christmas” by Wham!
  11. “The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra
  12. “All I Need is Love” by CeeLo Green ft. the Muppets
  13. “The Little Drummer Boy” by Johnny Cash
  14. “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano
  15. “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
  16. “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber
  17. “Jingle Bells” by Steviie Wonder X Keanu (trap remix)
  18. “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms
  19. “12 Days of Christmas” by Straight no Chaser

 

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Is Head-Royce Elitist?

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You may have heard from outsiders and insiders of the School that “HRS” stands for “Hella Rich School.” You may have heard someone scoff at you when you said you go to Head-Royce. You may have even refrained from saying where you go to school because you were afraid that people would mock you. All these situations are possible because many perceive the School as elitist. Is it true? Are we elitist?

The School prides itself on having provided excellent education to young people in the Bay Area since 1887. Because of its long history, it has attained a prestigious reputation and accrued a substantial endowment. Consequently, people claim the School is arrogant and obsessed with money, characteristics that are also attributed to its students.

Such claims are not completely unfounded, but I don’t think that they’re true. People say the School’s students are arrogant because we supposedly think we’re smarter than everyone else. I’m sure that some students feel that way, but it’s rare to find a student who outwardly acts as if they are better than others. In my experience, the majority of the School’s students behave humbly around each other and in the larger community.

Furthermore, both the School and its students work hard to better the surrounding community. We acknowledge that many of us are very privileged, and rather than boast about it, we try to help others. The School does its part through programs such as the Heads Up Program, which offers students of public middle schools the opportunity to take academic courses during the summer. This program has been especially helpful for students from lower-income families. The students do their part through community service, which can have wonderful effects on the community.

As for the claim that we’re all obsessed with money, this generalization likely stems from the facts that many families at the School earn a fairly high income and we have a large endowment. It’s important to note that around four and a half million dollars was given in grants to approximately 225 students, which is a substantial achievement. One could argue that we should give out more financial aid, but the School also needs money to maintain its daily operations. The School is also a non-profit, so the profits go back to its students. That said, I’ve definitely heard classist comments throughout the halls, and our incredibly high tuition price makes a Head-Royce education inaccessible to most. But I wouldn’t say we’re obsessed with money.

It’s worth discussing further how our high tuition could make us elitist. Currently, it costs $37,230 to attend the Upper School. Most people in Oakland cannot afford that, so this education is only available to an elite few (yes, there’s financial aid, but the majority of students are from that small elite of wealthy families). Also, beyond the Lower School, the School only admits students perceived to be the smartest, so one could argue that makes it intellectually elitist. Furthermore, the School accepts students from many places outside of Oakland, which allows it to be even more selective during the admissions process. One could argue that the School is thus prioritizing selectivity over serving the city of Oakland. In my opinion, these are more valid arguments than accusations about haughtiness or greed, which I don’t think are true for the majority of students.

There is no obvious answer to the question of elitism. I also cannot ignore my inherent bias as a student of the School. But if I had to answer the question, I would say yes and no. The School primarily serves a small elite in the Bay Area: those who have proven themselves academically and those who can afford it. In this sense, the School is elitist. However, I don’t believe that the School or its students act as if they’re better than everyone else. In this sense, the School is not elitist. Of course, this is my opinion, and I’m certain others have more polarized answers. I don’t know how to dispel the School’s reputation as an elitist institution. Honestly, I believe people will continue to call the School elitist for as long as it exists as a private institution with a tuition.

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Are Interims Important?

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Coinciding with the end of the first quarter, Interims, were sent out to the students on Tuesday. Some believe that Interims are unimportant and simply exist to notify students about their grades. Most think they are essential in understanding how to improve as a student. According to freshman Sydney Stewart, “Interims are fine if your teachers check in with you. I think that a lot of times, when a teacher tells you their reasoning behind a grade, it helps. But sometimes, if you just see the grade, it can be stressful.” It seems that communication is key when teachers give constructive criticism. Some students, if they do not check in with their teachers prior to receiving interims, can be shocked and disgruntled by their grades. These students will fail to read the comments written by their teachers, defeating the purpose of Interims. Teacher and Student Dean Barry Barankin, love Interims. Although he acknowledges they are a challenge to write, he believes they are helpful to students and their parents: “Interims are one of the tangible things that parents pay a lot of money for. What they are really paying for is a great education. By knowing that every teacher is going to write something about your kid in his or her class, it supports parents.” Parents may love Interims, but they can still be stressful for some students. For first semester seniors who are applying to college as early action or early decision applicants those grades matter. The grades are sent to colleges as if they were first semester grades for regular decision applicants. This fact can be shocking to seniors who are still getting into the rhythm of a new year. Senior Kristina Randrup echos this sentiment: “Interims are helpful to track your grades, but if you are a senior they are super important, it can be really stressful.” Whether they seem unimportant or are an essential part of your college application, Interims have a role in all students’ lives.

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