The Pen The official website of the PVPHS newspaper Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:08:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OUR RIGHT, PRIVILEGE AND RESPONSIBILITY Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:08:38 +0000 Upon graduation, the class of 2016 will embark on the worn path of adulthood. For those reaching legal age this year, turning
18 will add more weight to our responsibilities as graduates; we will not only have legal
permission to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes, but also to vote in the November elections.

Though we are consumed by other life-decisions like commitments to colleges and summer jobs, which play a critical role in our own individual lives, the person who will be deemed president of the United States for the next four to
eight years, could have a significant impact on our lives.

Though some classes educate us on the state of the nation and the policies of the politicians running for offices, involvement
in the political process is less of a curriculum requirement and more of an expectation. The news oftentimes seems boring, repetitive and didactic, but the gravity of this presidential election, as Peninsula seniors merge into the world of working
adults and parents, should grip our attention as it directly affects our futures.

Whether or not we feel our vote has as much consequence as that of a mature adult, our civil  responsibility is upon us. But it is not something we should fear or avoid; rather, we should  embrace the power we have to vote. We are the generation that can take strides to initiate change concerning issues that directly affect us, such as mental health on school campuses and freedom of speech on media platforms. The media focuses on national issues like immigration and healthcare, both areas that the federal government manages. However, the size  of local politics allows us to have a greater impact on esoteric policies and ordinances. In March  2017, adults can vote to extend a tax that supports paramedic and fire service in Palos Verdes. As
possible future Palos Verdes homeowners, this sort of proposition has a direct consequence on our  future checkbooks.

Rather than viewing this responsibility to vote as a burden, we should utilize this opportunity to
actively assert our rights as students, and, most importantly, as citizens of the United States.
Regardless of your views, you should cast
your ballot in November for the politicians you support.

Immigrant grant given to three groups Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:09:21 +0000 On Feb. 24, Los Angeles (LA) Councilman Curren Price announced that over $1 million in grants will be split between three immigrant advocacy groups. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) will each receive $500,000, while the Black Alliance for Just Immigration will receive $25,000. Each group aims to help immigrants facing legal matters and deportation and plans to use the proceeds to support these issues.

According to the Daily News, Price will be taking the money from his South LA school district’s funds, which are usually used to fix simple needs such as trimming trees or purchasing new trash cans. The groups will use the grant to help with their immigration legal services, naturalization study classes and to pay for legalization application fees, which can reach as much as $700.

The grant also aims to satisfy those who are not in favor of immigrants who enter the United States through illegal ways. Many argue that a system needs to be established to ensure that immigrants who illegitimately come to this country are not provided with the same benefits that legal citizens are, and problems similar to these are trying to be reduced by the organizations. Some also believe that those who break the immigration laws encourage future immigrants to enter the country illegally; however, with the grant aiding in the payment of application fees, these problems may be solved.

Freshman Judy Dominguez immigrated from Puerto Rico in 2013. Dominguez is thankful for CARECEN since the group will be helping immigrants coming from around her home country. When she came to America, she had to learn a new language and culture, which was not an easy transition for her. She thinks that the funds will make the immigrants feel more welcome and let them know there are people who support them.

“If I were in those immigrant’s situation, I would feel super grateful that [Price’s funds] are supporting me since there were not as many people who supported immigrants when I came,” Dominguez said.

Sophomore Nikita de Vleeschouwer, who recently came from Belgium, thinks that this grant will improve issues regarding illegal immigrants, such as immigrants coming out from hiding or not being questioned at the airport. She believes the constant threat of deportation will make the immigrants afraid to live life in public.

“People’s lives are more important than materials,” de Vleeschouwer said. “The grant should help the immigrants [who are scared to come out], and hopefully make them start working again and overall live more productive lives.”

Geometry and pre-calculus teacher Henry Chou came to America from Taiwan in 1998. Chou thinks that immigrants now are lucky to be getting support like this and he thinks that people should be inspired by Price’s actions of fighting for immigrants’ rights.

“It is important to stick up for other people because deportation and even traveling has become a really big issue,” Chou said. “Since America has so many different cultures, we need to keep our immigrants here to save the [eclectic] culture.”


panthers say farewell to two administrators Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:06:58 +0000 On March 1, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD) announced leadership transitions that will be occurring at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Among the list of retirees is Peninsula’s current principal, Mitzi Cress. Cress described the rewards of being principal and how it has impacted her outlook of not only the school, but of students in it as well.

“Every single day that I have been given the privilege to come to this school to humbly serve as the principal [is my favorite memory],” Cress said. “[I am able to] watch the things you do, talk to a new student, help somebody or learn something. Every day has been a great day, so all the moments are all equal right up to June 30, 2017. It is going to be as grand of a day as the first day that I became principal.”

Cress described how she always comes to school excited for a new challenge to face. She continued to say that the students have taught her so much during the time she has been principal. Cress also understands that the students’ opinions should be considered when making changes to Peninsula’s campus.

In addition, Associate Principal Micah Farrell will return to Rancho del Mar High School this time as principal. Farrell shared what he will miss most about his job at Peninsula throughout the past four years he has worked here.

“I enjoyed daily interactions with students the most,” Farrell said. “[I was able to] see students achieve unbelievable feats and accomplishments athletically, academically, personally and socially.”

Farrell will be transitioning from working with a large student body to a smaller group. When he transfers to Rancho Del Mar, he wants to help students with their academic load and hopes that all students attending will be proud to go there.

Former Ridgecrest Intermediate School principal and current principal of Miraleste Intermediate School Brent Kuykendall will be taking over Cress’s position starting in the 2017-18 school year. He looks forward to his transition from the principal of a middle school to high school in PVPUSD.

“I have some [experience] at the high school level and I think it is important to say I am looking forward to reconnecting with the students I have known from past jobs,” Kuykendall said. “There are also a number of staff [members] at Peninsula whom I have worked with or known over the years whom I am looking forward to be working closely with to continue to support a school that is already amazing.”

The reign of rain Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:05:44 +0000 The three-year drought in California was partially uplifted by weeks of severe rainstorms and snowstorms. Most of California was hit the hardest on Feb. 17 by rain and powerful winds that reached up to 49 mph in the Torrance. According to United Press International, the rain brought disastrous aftermaths, including the deaths of five people due to drowning, electrocution from a collapsed power line and a traffic accident from the flooding of Interstate 15.

According to Ryan Mau, meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics, during the week of Feb. 15 to Feb. 22, 10 trillion gallons of rain were dispersed among every inch of Californian terrain, averaging 3.3 inches of rain.

Biology teacher Chris Mullen thinks that other measures must also be taken in order to sustain California’s water supply.

“We cannot simply rely on the fortunate events of severe rain to be able to replenish our water system,” Mullen said. “We need to figure out a more sustainable organization method and it is going to include conservation, how we deal with runoff [water], how to hold onto and gather water—whether it is large industries, agriculture, or cities—and see what [the state] needs.”

One of the biggest impacts from the series of rainstorms was the Oroville Dam crisis in Oroville, California. The Oroville Dam is the nation’s tallest dam and is connected to Lake Oroville, California’s second largest reservoir. The reservoir, which was dry for over two years, was quickly restored by the pouring rain. On Feb. 7, the main spillway suffered severe erosion. The California Department of Water Resources identified a hole and immediately stopped the flow of the water. Four days later, for the first time in its history, the emergency spillway was utilized so the water would not overflow the dam. Through this process, approximately 200,000 people living near the Oroville area were forced to evacuate their homes from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14.

In addition, approximately 50,000 Los Angeles county residents suffered power outages throughout the week, with some lasting for hours. According to Mercury News, residents in Rolling Hills and Rancho Palos Verdes suffered power outages as well.

On Peninsula’s campus, the aftermath of the rainstorm affected many of the athletes who were unable to use their practice grounds to its full extent. On Peninsula’s tennis courts, player’s practice time was limited because the damage left the courts in a unusable condition.

“When the courts are wet, the lines get wet, which makes it dangerous for us to play on the court,” varsity tennis player and sophomore Serena Ko said.

Track and field members, especially pole vault members, continually stress the importance of practicing in a safe environment. Wet conditions are never ideal for pole vaulters or other runners to practice in because of the many dangerous hazards.

“The rain made the ground very slippery and muddy so it was a bit difficult to run as fast as we normally do without risking injury,” pole vaulter and sophomore Sara Fang said. “[Because of the rain] we did not vault that day.”

Mullen believes water rationing is still a major issue that the state faces. He believes that it will be years until water usage does not become a continuous problem.

“I do not think we will ever be at a level of comfort,” Mullen said. “Water is still a premium, so we can never be comfortable unless we address some of the major issues of water usage, how we use water, where that water is coming from and how we are conserving it and replenishing it.”


Health: Senator proposes to adjust school start times Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:04:10 +0000 Sleep deprivation has become an increasingly prevalent problem for students. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep to function best, but only 15 percent are getting 8.5 hours of sleep on school nights. This leaves 85 percent of teens not getting adequate sleep, impacting their ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. To counteract these negative effects, California Sen. Anthony Portantino proposed a new bill, Senate Bill 328, which prevents schools from starting any earlier than 8:30 a.m in the 2017-2018 school year. Advanced Placement Psychology teacher John Wheeler, senior Jasper Kim and junior Kenji Matsuda support this proposal and believe that its implementation will have positive impacts on students’ successes in school.

“I feel that this proposal is very reasonable and beneficial to both students and teachers,” Kim said. “It can really assist those who lack sleep and help them focus and function more properly.”

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, too little sleep causes loss of concentration and can lead to memory impairment and compromised physical performance. Chronic sleep deprivation can also cause mood swings and hallucinations. Both Kim and Matsuda experienced a lack of focus in zero period as well as in later periods in the day. They believe that a lack of sleep negatively impacted their  in-class performance and attention span.

“I definitely prefer not having a zero period because I had a zero period freshman year and always felt very  sleep-deprived. Every day in class, I would feel tired and it harmed my academic success in that class,” Matsuda said. “If I barely get any sleep I will get drowsy and moody throughout the day, so sleep has a really big impact on how I am feeling.”

Wheeler has been able to see a clear contrast among students in his zero and first period classes and students in his other classes. Due to the early time at which the first few periods begin, the performance levels differ greatly.

“[The students] are really unresponsive in terms of answering questions. They seem as if they are not awake yet,” Wheeler said. “Generally, they do not participate as much and I think a main part of the problem is that it is 7 [a.m.].”

As a psychology teacher, Wheeler acknowledges the many benefits this proposal will bring about and how sufficient sleep can positively impact students’ performance in school and other activities.

“There have been places [across the country] where this sort of rule has been implemented and has been highly successful,” Wheeler said. “There have been positive results in terms of test scores and students were more involved and invigorated.”

Along with more sleep, an adjusted start to the day would also give students more time to eat breakfast, a meal commonly skipped among students with zero periods. When Matsuda had a zero period, he never ate breakfast because it was too early in the morning and he felt he did not have enough time. However, without a zero period, Matsuda clearly feels the benefits of a later start to the day. He now feels more rested and energetic with an extra hour of sleep and has more time in the morning to complete homework and eat breakfast.

If this bill is implemented statewide, the proposal is expected to help many students suffering from lack of sleep develop healthier habits and improve their well-beings.

“Overall, I think this proposal is an excellent idea and I would love to see it become a reality in middle schools and high schools,” Matsuda said. “Sleep has a huge role in students’ success and productivity, and the impact zero periods have on students needs to be recognized. This proposal accurately addresses the problem and offers a very viable solution. I believe if it passes, it will be very successful.”

]]> Health: Students discover new ways to cope with stress Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:00:24 +0000 Many Peninsula students can probably recall a time of stress and anxiety due to school, sports and other activities. One study conducted by New York University in 2015 found that stress levels of high school students have increased rapidly in recent years and persist through college. Prolonged stress can lead to mental health problems, social issues and inability to succeed academically for students; excessive stress can also cause heart problems, high blood pressure and strokes due to abnormal heart rhythms.

Sophomore Natalie Wong experiences daily stress as she struggles to balance being Sophomore Class President, playing on a sports team, working a part-time job and maintaining high grades in challenging classes. Wong copes with her stress by finding time to relax and put her thoughts together.

“I found this Google Chrome [application] called Momentum that gives you a different screensaver everyday with an option to make a to-do list appear on your screen,” Wong said. “I always feel so much better when all my thoughts are visually organized in front of me instead of floating around in my head.”

Wong also copes with her stress by spending time with her friends and other classmates at school.

“When I am at home at night cramming for a test or trying to write a paper, sometimes I feel like I am the only one who is struggling,” Wong said. “It makes me feel less stressed when I come to school and see supportive people who are most likely going through the same thing I am.”

Although students from all grade levels are stressed, seniors are especially stressed during their first semester as they apply to colleges while also maintaining a difficult course load. They can also experience pressure in February and March when colleges send out acceptance letters.

“The [college application] process itself was pretty stressful and I worked on it for a good two months or so,” senior Sasha Sudo said. “However, I think getting enough sleep is much more important than having to stress over classes [and other obligations].”

Counselor Patricia Colin sees many students struggling with anxiety and pressure to succeed in school.

“It can be overwhelming to kids,” Colin said. “We see kids who end up missing school because they are feeling sick because they are so overwhelmed.”

Colin believes that the most important way for students to cope with their stress is through balancing their busy schedule with enough time for sleep, family and friends while also focusing on school and extracurriculars.

“We encourage [students] to eat well, exercise every day, sleep and keep up their other health factors,” Colin said. “We also encourage talking to people and seeking help from the school or a professional outside of school if [students] need it.”

In the upcoming school year, Peninsula plans to open a new wellness center, which will aim to lower the stress and anxiety levels of students. The school hopes to have a full-time counselor at the center to whom students can go for help, support and education about mental health. There will also be various health programs and guest speakers. Colin hopes that the wellness center will assist Peninsula students in learning to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“The hope is to help lower the stress levels and improve the mental health of the students,” Colin said.


Health: Edibles Invade Peninsula Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:59:26 +0000 Marijuana edibles, food items infused with cannabis, are rapidly becoming popular in high schools throughout the United States. They are especially dangerous because of their high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, which causes hallucinations, distorts sensations and impairs memory. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2015 also found a link between the use of THC in adolescents and increased risk for a form of testicular cancer in males. Marijuana can be found in many different food and beverage types including brownies, cookies and candies. Prepackaged edibles are easier to distribute among students compared to other drugs because they are disguised as food and drinks. However, they contain more concentrated doses of THC and can take longer to affect the user than through smoking marijuana.

“The marijuana industry as a whole is subjected to minimal regulation, with no guarantee of accuracy in the THC levels published on dispensary product packaging,” school nurse Wendy Keller said. “Students ingest the edible and they can suddenly be at a toxic level [of THC].”

Recently, there have been multiple incidents involving marijuana edibles at Peninsula. Two students were hospitalized after eating THC-laced edibles at school or during school events. Keller believes that it is important for high school students to learn coping skills for stress rather than turning to drugs, and that they should have a plan to decline any offers of drugs from other teens.

“It is a matter of having a ‘script’ ready for such an occasion [when a student is offered drugs],” Keller said. “It really does not matter what is said [from one student to another who is offering drugs], whether it is the truth or a lie, as a long as the message of ‘I do not do that’ is communicated.”

Principal Mitzi Cress is deeply concerned about the use of edibles throughout the school and held two assemblies to confront the incidents involving marijuana.

“We almost lost a student because of [edibles], because they were passed out and laying in such a way that the oxygen was cut off,” Cress said. “Fortunately, we were able to find the student and take them to the paramedics.”

Additionally, there was a situation on Feb. 4 at formal where students ingested marijuana and were rushed to the hospital after they lost consciousness in the bathroom. Cress hopes that the informational assemblies and emails helped to bring attention to the serious issue.

“I think [the incidents] started a discussion, and that is important,” Cress said. “If we all know [about edibles], then maybe next time a student has them there will be a friend to say ‘Hey, I really do not think you should do that’ or to call the paramedics if they see someone go down.”

Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology and AP Statistics teacher Vararat Chaiyont believes that education is the most important factor in preventing the future use of edibles among high school students. She hopes that through education, students and parents will better understand the consequences of drugs, which include the possibility of death.

“The problem is that marijuana is legal in many states now, and people think it is safe, so students are more likely to do it,” Chaiyont said. “We need to educate the students who are not realizing how dangerous edibles [and other drugs] are.”


Winter sports update Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:24:42 +0000 BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Peninsula varsity boys’ basketball placed fourth in preseason, but the team rebounded in time for the main season.
“When we actually started to put our head in the game and play like a team, we actually won games,” sophomore Dominic Blanco said.
The team ended their season with an overall score of 7-3 and will move on to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).
Peninsula varsity girls’ basketball went into their main season after placing third in their preseason game, the Redondo Battle at the Beach.
“At our first tournament the entire team did not know each other that well, but once we started to build a team chemistry our passing average and possession improve,” junior Katie Hsu said.
The girls’ basketball team season ended with a 12-14 record.
The surfing season started in early December. Although Peninsula lost against PVHS on Feb. 20 in the overall competition, the Peninsula girls placed first and third in the longboarding competition.
“We may not always win our contests, but I think we have the most fun together,” freshman Colin Macleod said.
The Peninsula surfing season will end in spring.
The varsity wrestling season started with the Warrior Invite tournament, in which the Panthers placed 7th with 144 points. A large amount of freshman students were divided equally throughout their weight divisions.
“We all try to help each other to progress forward,” freshman Shingo Saido said.
The team will compete in the Varsity Open after their offseason.
Girls’ varsity water polo had a strong season with a six-game win streak. Senior goalkeeper Kiersten Hazard caught twenty saves, and senior Lily Hopkins netted the winning goal with a minute left to play to give Peninsula a 5-4 victory in a Bay League game at Santa Monica High School (SMHS) on Dec. 3.
 “It was a total team effort. I knew we had the potential, we just had to execute,” said Hazard.
The varsity boys’ soccer season started off with a six-game win streak.
“We are proud of our wins, and none of them came without hard work and effort,” senior Hunter Walsh said.
The Panthers ended their final season with six wins in Bay League and 14 wins throughout their entire season. The boys will also be advancing to play through CIF.
The varsity girls’ soccer team ended their season with a 4-8 record. The team fought against PVHS on Jan. 24.
“The team shows so much spirit and heart, which was present throughout the game against PVHS, especially in our double overtime against them,” senior Mackenzie Christie said. “Even though we lost 2-1, we worked hard, never gave up and never gave up on each other.”
Lost and Found: Students find new lives at pen Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:22:27 +0000 Many students who attend Peninsula have moved from different areas around the country and around the world. They had to adjust to a new school environment, including new friends and new teachers. Senior Himari Shimizu, sophomore Brianna Li and sophomore Gia Morelli moved to Palos Verdes during high school and acclimated smoothly to Peninsula.

Shimizu moved to California from Saitama Prefecture, a district in Japan, when she was 13 years old. She had to learn English, which was overwhelming for her at times.

“At first I was really confused in a new environment and did not understand [anything],” Shimizu said. “Gradually, I started catching some easy words from class discussions or people’s conversations.”

Shimizu also struggled to adapt to the cultural differences between Japan and the United States. She was confused by certain slang terms and phrases that she heard high school students use. However, she eventually adjusted to the differences in society after spending time with other teens her age at school.

“For example, in Japan, we do not ask teachers questions during class because [it is a sign of disrespect] but people always talk with the teacher in class here,” Shimizu said. “I tried my best to break through my comfort zone and talk to new people at school to improve my speaking skills.”

Li was also faced with the challenges of adapting to a new school after moving across the country from Mandeville, Louisiana for her freshman year. She was initially upset about the move, but was impressed by the academics and extracurriculars offered at Peninsula, such as Advanced Placement courses and dance programs.

“The most difficult part of moving to a new state for me was leaving behind my family and friends,” Li said.

Although she misses her home in Mandeville, Li is thankful to live in Palos Verdes and attend Peninsula.

Morelli moved to Palos Verdes from Spokane, Washington in late August 2016. She was born in Los Angeles, but relocated to Spokane when she was young. She noticed that high school life in Palos Verdes was similar to Spokane, including food, clothing and other popular trends.

“There is a lot more racial diversity here than there was in Spokane, but slang and [other trends] are the same,” Morelli said.

Morelli originally felt anxious about leaving her old school behind, but she became accustomed to Peninsula quickly.

“It was super nerve-wracking to go to a new school and to not know anybody,” Morelli said. “Luckily, the Link Crew program introduced me to other transfers, which was really helpful for me.”

The Link Crew program helps introduce incoming freshmen and transfer students to the Peninsula community. Link Crew members lead tours of the school, host events for freshmen, such as Freshfest, and assist new students with any problems they experience on campus.

“[I think that] Peninsula is a great school, and the students and teachers in my classes are all very welcoming,” Morelli said.


Lost and Found: Peninsula families help save rescue animals Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:21:04 +0000 Day after day, lost animals residing in shelters search for love and companionship. With the help of people who adopt from or volunteer at shelters, these animals can finally find a family and receive the care they deserve. Animal lovers senior Ricky Negishi, junior Alisa Hathaway and sophomore Renée Yang all adopted their current pets from shelters.

“When my family first decided to get a dog, we were going to buy from a breeder,” Negishi said. “In the end, we decided to rescue a dog from a shelter and visited several shelters. We decided to adopt [my dog] Austin from the San Pedro shelter.”

Like Negishi, Hathaway also adopted from the Harbor Animal Care Center, but her family adopted two cats.

“From the beginning, my family knew we wanted to adopt cats from a shelter,” Hathaway said. “We knew that many of the animals in shelters would be euthanized if they were not chosen, so we wanted to make a difference in at least some of their lives.”

Yang’s animal adoption experience was slightly different from Negishi’s and Hathaway’s, as it was at an adoption event organized by the volunteer organization called “Home For Every Living Pet” Rescue (H.E.L.P. Rescue) at Petco.

“When I walked in the doors to adopt [my dog], there were around 15 other dogs there, but after much deliberation, [I] chose a terrier mix, whom I later named Freida,” Yang said.

Yang adopted her dog in May 2010 and her love for animals drove her to inquire about volunteering at the shelter that was holding the adoption event. She subsequently became a volunteer for H.E.L.P. Rescue at the age of nine.

“The founder told me that they always need some extra hands around,” Yang said. “I have always had a love for dogs and animals, so everything at that moment just fell into place.”

Her typical Saturday consists of going to the San Pedro Petco and assisting in adoption events by dealing with adoption-related work. Yang also walks the dogs and rescue from the isolation ward of Harbor Shelter. Without their help, these canines would have no opportunity to be seen by the public and would most likely be euthanized.

“I have spent a majority of my Saturdays volunteering from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I would not have it any other way,” Yang said. “It makes me so happy seeing dogs get adopted and find a family and home, and it brings me satisfaction knowing that my work is making a difference in these dogs’ lives.”

While adopting one animal may not save all homeless animals, it goes a long way in changing that particular animal’s life.

“I am so glad my family decided to adopt a dog from a shelter because I was able to rescue Austin and give him a home,” Negishi said. “I encourage more people to adopt dogs from shelters and give these animals the chance they deserve.”