The Path Into the Air Force Kamea Bailen January 17, 2020 In serving the United States, there are several branches one can join to protect the country, including the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force. According to the Air Force Department, their role includes defending the U.S. by the “control and exploitation of air and space.” They also “take care of technical ground work, defend the air bases around the world, combat arms, and handling military working dogs.” Requirements may vary upon the path you take in your Air Force career, but each holds high standards. The Air Force offers over 200 careers, including pilot, cyberspace operations officer, space operations officer, behavioral sciences/human factors scientist, air battle manager and more. A former Kimball High student currently serving in the Air Force, Isaiah Bailen, was interviewed for an insight into the military branch.
What is your experience in the Air Force? “I’ve been in the Air Force for nearly three years, and it’s been good so far. My occupation is Security Forces, and we’re the guards and police of Air Force and Joint bases. I have been deployed only once in my career, and it was when I was in for less than a year. Deployment, re-basing, it’s all what you make of it honestly.”
How long do you work (hours wise)? “Right now I work eight hours, nine pending. I have worked twelve hours before which include arming up and debriefing can take up to twelve to fourteen hours, fifteen if someone is travelling from home to base and vice versa. Scheduling varies depending on unit schedules for the flights but the hours remain the same.”
How did you start your path into this career? “I wasn’t sure if college was right for me, so I just signed up and hoped I chose the right way and I did. However, you can still go to college in the military and they recommend and encourage Airmen to pursue education. Not everyone who joined will stay the full twenty years and they know that.”
What advice can you give to people who plan to join the same military branch and what could they expect during training? “Just give it your best, honestly. Be mentally and physically prepared. If you know your job is going to demand mental toughness, be ready. If your job is going to demand physical toughness, be ready. “Whether someone is serving for part time or serving for full twenty year career, the military will create future opportunities for you if you’re willing to give it a chance and take it.”
Life Through Anxiety and Panic By Kamea Bailen January 9, 2020
“ I know what it’s like to be afraid of your own mind.” - Dr. Reid, a character on the show Criminal Minds. Anxiety is a jumble of persistent thoughts that keep you awake.
Anxiety is a feeling of discomfort, excessive uneasiness, tension, worry and fear. It is a feeling of being trapped in your own mind where it seems like an eternity has passed when in reality, it was only a couple of minutes. There is a sense of pressure on your chest like an anchor weighing down a large ship. Anxiety affects millions of people in the United States including both adults and adolescents. The human mind can be a powerful thing. The brain stores many things such as memories, feelings, thoughts, reactions to certain situations, basically how we live our day-to-day lives. When you have anxiety, there is a certain controlling factor it has on your body. The overwhelming feeling shakes up both your mentality and physicality. At that moment, you are no longer aware of your surroundings and focus solely on the pressure you have along with the reason as to why the anxiety started in the first place.
Every time my anxiety sparks, a panic attack occurs and eventually I’m lost in time.
Anxiety keeps you trapped in your own thoughts and always on the look for a way out.
Memories surround you constantly as worries settle in again.
The feeling of being trapped in your mind causes you to lose track of time. It is like a constant replay of thoughts that is hard to stop. Once you start thinking about a memory or feeling, you lose a sense of consciousness in a way. The repetition leaves you feeling stuck in that moment. The trapped sensation overloads your mentality and it becomes hard for you to come back into reality.
A face is covered by a cloth to represent the suffocation anxiety can do to someone.
The pressure of anxiety and panic attacks weigh heavily on you like carrying a pile of boxes.
Anxiety can cause the body to go very tense. There is a strong sense of uneasiness and heavy pressure applied to the chest that affects your breathing. In situations like this, it becomes very difficult to breathe in a normal manner. Your heartbeat would start to rise while at the same time the lungs are trying to grasp for oxygen. People begin to tell you to “just breathe” and “calm down,” but it is easier said than done. Your vision slowly becomes darker. Like a cloud covering the sun, the light is still there, just a bit dimmer. At first, it will be tense, the adrenaline kicking in and your mind going haywire. Your chest will tighten, the feeling of being nauseous starts and the body will begin to shake. It becomes hard to pay attention to the outside world. Mumbles are heard, but your brain cannot seem to translate it into English. In the end, you are drained and exhausted. The systems in your body feel weak. Being asked by a therapist, “How do you feel? What do you remember?” At that moment, all I can say is, “I remember the intense fear and having to remind myself to breathe over and over again.”
No matter where you are, what time it is, anxiety will spark in you even at the most unexpected moments.
“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety; after all, it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” - Ali Ibn Abi Talib
The Thanksgiving Experience By Emma Gore January 9, 2020
The classic American Thanksgiving experience revolves around food, family, and coming together to appreciate what we have.
On the last Thursday of November, since 1621, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends. The national holiday celebrates family and the closest people in our lives. Typically, the day brings us together with gigantic amounts of food and crazy Black Friday shopping. With families of all shapes and sizes around the Thanksgiving table, people are brought together and take time to appreciate each other when sometimes we take people for granted.
My family sets our dining room table a week early to get into the Thanksgiving spirit with candles, flowers, and our fancy china.
As my small family and I sit around the Thanksgiving table, we turn on Christmas music and light up our Christmas tree.
Most families have their extended family travel to their homes or vice versa, but my family is so small we only have a few guests per year. Our own traditions include using my parents’ china from their wedding or my late grandmother’s china. We also decorate our house with poinsettias and red candles every year.
Even though I’m a vegetarian, my family roasts a turkey every year since the rest of my family eats meat.
I help make the mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and stuffing.
Stereotypical American Thanksgiving dinners include turkey, ham, stuffing, and potatoes. This year I made desserts from scratch which included pumpkin pie and double-layered cheesecake. Most Thanksgiving dinners start in the morning. Ours starts with watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While the TV is on, my mom starts to prepare the huge feast around 11 and works relentlessly for hours to make the perfect meal. No matter how big or small the family, Thanksgiving is always a day to celebrate, even the smallest things in our life that we take for granted. With copious amounts of food, love, family, and friends, everyone has something or someone to be grateful for in one way or another.
My dining room table turns into a Thanksgiving ready table once I get on break.
My best friend since preschool practices her toast before Thanksgiving night.
Great America’s Winterfest 2019 By Camila Saenz January 9, 2020
The beginning of a joyful holiday festival.
As you enter the amusement park, you can already feel the Christmas spirit. Waiting in several lines to get checked by security and purchase your ticket was all worth what was coming up next. Christmas songs played the entire time, keeping the spirit alive. All the trees had either silver or colorful lights, making the experience much more joyful.
The gates right before the fun.
Traditional Christmas songs were performed to boost up the spirit.
Enter for a picture with Santa Claus!
What’s a festival without some entertainment? Live performances in Snoopy Land and by the entrance were full of Christmas music and dancing. There was not only singing, but there were ice skating shows as well. Nearby, you could find a room with beautiful lights and other traditional holiday decorations for a picture with Santa Claus.
Welcome to Gingers Land!
No tree left behind; even the ones outside of the park were decorated.
What’s better than ice skating with friends?
Hungry? Get a funnel cake!
Let it snow!
Whether you were watching live performances, taking pictures with Santa, or simply walking around the park, the spirit was always alive. Every single tree was decorated with lights. All the beautiful lights were vivid and added much more excitement to the experience. Bubbles fell from machines every few minutes, making it look like it was snowing. Hot chocolate, cotton candy, and funnel cake stands were all around the park in case anyone was hungry. Around 9:30 on our visit, it began to slightly rain, but that didn’t stop the fun. No matter how old you are, there is something for you to do.
A little rain didn’t stop children from going on rides.
Ongoing Trials Raise Hopes for an HIV Vaccine By Emma Gore December 6, 2019
There are three new clinical drug trials on the rise named HVTN 702, Imbokodo, and Mosaico to find a cure for HIV. HVTN 702 is the oldest of the three trials, while Imbokodo and Mosaico are newer and almost identical. Scientists are specifically testing Imbokodo on women in Africa who have a high chance of getting HIV. Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Bridge HIV research program, told NBC News that the trio of trials marks “one of the most optimistic moments” in the history of HIV/AIDS research. Mosaico is similar to Imbokodo in the sense it’s based on “mosaic” immunogens. These immunogens are injected molecules that help create a stronger immune response. Updates on the ongoing vaccine trials were initially revealed on World AIDS Day, which is on December 1st every year. If all goes well, a cure for HIV/AIDS could be on the rise as soon as 2021. Even though this may be years away, ongoing trials and research are being conducted every day by medical professionals in search of a cure.
A Day In The Life of A Soccer Player By Emma Gore December 11, 2019
Dublin Premier U19 team and I before our tournament in Davis, CA.
Being a soccer player is always fun, but there are continuous aspects of extreme competition, stress, and multi-tasking. Athletes not only compete with competitive club teamss but also their high school teams. My teammates and I all agree that club soccer is much more thrilling not only because of the higher levels of competition but also the distances we travel to compete.
You can never expect to sleep in when you have soccer games and practice seven days a week.
Even if a practice or a game starts at ten, the team has to have their gear on and ready to warm up an hour before.
Although I have the luxury of playing on turf fields for both club and high school soccer, some days you might have to train on near dirt fields with gopher holes.
Many people have the misconception of sports teams having easy practices, which may be true for some, but with soccer, you must be ready to leave the house ideally two hours before training or a game. The sport can be played on artificial turf which is most players’ preferred field but it can also be played on grass. A small downside of the sport is games rarely get canceled, even in pouring rain, wind storms, thunderstorms, blazing heat, and in some cases snow. In my opinion, drastic weather is the most fun way to play.
My friends and I sit in the stands to watch a Stanford v. Berkeley soccer game at Stanford University.
Once training is over, I leave in a hurry to get home before 10:30 when I’m playing during the club season.
Even though training, games, and tournaments typically start early, the life of a soccer player isn’t over until late at night. Traditions grow throughout your soccer family such as going to professional or college soccer games on Friday or Saturday nights after our own games. My team and I went to the Stanford v. Berkeley game on November 8 to support Kimball High School graduate, Sam Tran. When playing high school season, nights don’t end too late, and I can be home around eight, but when I have to commute three nights and two days a week to Dublin, I’m lucky to be home by 10. Even though it’s emotionally and physically draining to sustain great grades with Advanced Placement classes and go to soccer every day, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you ask any passionate soccer player, they will reply with the same response.
When traveling for competitive tournaments, hotel rooms are needed for early games such as this one taken in Santa Cruz, CA.
Playing soccer not only develops lasting bonds between teammates, but it also creates an unbreakable family.
Five, Six, Seven, Eight- It’s Performance Time! By Kamea Bailen December 11, 2109
Aaron Buan, a junior at Kimball High, teaching choreography to members of the Asian Pacific Islander club.
Kimball High School will have its annual multicultural rally that will occur next semester. Clubs that have different backgrounds will be able to present their cultural traditions to the school. The Asian Pacific Islander club performs a dance in each rally and has been preparing their dance piece since mid-October. The performance will include a traditional piece and a mix of hip-hop dance originally created by the students.
Members of API gather to discuss the plans for that day and which choreographers will teach their dance.
Hannah Le, a senior at Kimball High, mid-dance as she works on her choreography.
API sets up the formation for Aaron Buan’s dance piece.
API meets every Monday and Wednesday after school at the outdoor stage by the performing arts building. The club starts after school at 3:30 and will end at 5 p.m. Student choreographers of API instruct the members of the club on different dances. The schedule of the week starts out with Aaron Buan’s dance on Wednesday. Afterward, Hannah Le will instruct her choreography on Friday for 45 minutes. Then Aaliyah Nhok will guide the members of her dance piece for the rest of the meeting on the same day.
Hannah Le preparing her work to show the students as they start setting up their places.
Aaron Buan and his group rehearsing.
API working together as a group. Some students teach their friends how to work on a certain step as a few others await instructions.
Performances created by the three students are different and use different songs. However, the music choice is chosen not only by the students but also the president of the club, Mark Sigua. As president, Mark creates an environment for the club where the students can connect and be able to express themselves through dance. He has a part in constructing choreography with the students as well as holding meetings with other schools in the Tracy Unified School District to set up fundraisers. By joining the club it will give you the feeling of belonging as the environment consists of everyone getting along together and greeting new people that come along the journey. Everyone shows that they are willing to work on the pieces created. Students come together and learn many things based on the Pacific Islander backgrounds and share their own traditions as well.
Students in API take a five-minute break during the middle of practice.
API at the University of Pacific for the Kilusan competition in teamwork with Tracy and West High school students.
Long Form Feature of the Month #5: The History of Music Streaming By Neo Mongeau November 15, 2019
Music streaming platforms such as Spotify have completely changed how we listen to music. These platforms redefined how people listen to music. If you knew someone who grew up in the ‘90s and you asked them how they listen to music, they would probably answer with a line similar to “an mp3 player” or “a sony device”. How did we go from such ancient technology to an instant source of music? Well, it started in the 2000s when artists in the music industry were tired of record labels. Record labels at this time wanted more control over the artists and their work. This lead to a major lack of cooperation and collaboration between the two. This issue caused the music streaming industry to boom. However, there were earlier attempts that were not as successful as attempts in the 2000s. In 1993 the Internet Underground Music Archive launched. The IUMA archived MP3 files and allowed people to download those files. The IUMA was, unfortunately, a failed attempt as no one wanted to wait through the slow upload and download times. This archive was in the early ‘90s after all, upload speeds and download speeds were nowhere near as fast as they are today. It was a good attempt as a few groups such as the punk band Sublime got record deals from it. But in the end, it disappeared as nobody wanted to invest in it.
Early Music Streaming Platforms The first successful attempt at a proper music streaming platform was Last.fm. Last.fm launched in January of 2002 and established the future of other music streaming platforms. It did this by using algorithms that recommended music based on what you listen to. This is now a formula that most platforms use. After Last.fm established the basis for streaming platforms, Pandora came around and established the “freemium model”. This model established another basis for most streaming platforms. This model being the service is free to use, unless the user wants to pay in order to remove ads and access other features. The music streaming industry had another company that came in and changed the system after Pandora. This company that changed the system was Soundcloud, Soundcloud changed the game as it launched as an online audio distribution system. This system was designed for artists. Artists themselves were the ones who distributed their tracks to people for free. Soundcloud’s system changed the industry due to a social aspect that was added to the application. This social aspect is similar to MySpace. This system essentially allowed artists and fans to communicate with each other. Fans could leave feedback to the artist and this allowed much smaller artists to get their work seen. Feedback also allowed artists to fix issues in their music, bettering themselves and allowing more people to enjoy their music. As artists could look at their feedback and use their own listeners’ advice. Then in October of 2008, the infamous Spotify application launched in Europe. Spotify launched to deal with music piracy issues. At the time music piracy was a major issue since other streaming sites failed to deliver to their customers’ needs. Music piracy back in the day was also an easy process. A person could download a torrent which allowed them to download music onto anything they wanted. Spotify sought to fix this. Spotify, like Soundcloud, completely changed the streaming system. Instead of artists being paid by download, artists are paid per stream. This means every time a person listens to that song they are paid a small amount of money. However, part of Spotify’s business model is the same as the last system. This being to pull revenue from advertisements and establish a premium service. Spotify truly offers an endless amount of music to the people who use their application. The version that's available for download for computers allows the user to play any song of their choosing. Previous applications failed to do this, because of this, the application became pretty popular very quickly. However, this feature was only for premium subscription users on mobile devices. This allowed Spotify to gain a lot of revenue as people bought subscriptions for this feature alone. More people listen on mobile devices, causing revenue to pour in. By the year 2011, Spotify had already gained 10 million users in Europe. The company went through the complicated process of international licensing and launched in North America. It became an immediate hit just like it did in Europe. At the time, Spotify was the best quality product since it added features that people actually wanted, like choosing the songs they listen to.
Newer Streaming Services Business Model’s
Spotify’s premium subscription allows a person to remove ads, choose any song they want for mobile devices and download music so they can listen to music whenever and wherever they want. Downloading music also allows a person to listen to the music they want with no service on their mobile device. This service is 10 dollars a month, with this and ad revenue combined together, the company is making plenty of money. The amount adding up to a staggering 422 million a year.
How Music Streaming Services Pay Artist
Older streaming services differed in how they paid the artist. Instead of paying an artist per stream like Spotify does, services paid per download. Every service did this, then Spotify came in and changed the system. Primarily for the better, as paying an artist per stream maximizes how much an artist is paid. An artist on Spotify is paid roughly around $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. The payment depends on numerous things, such as monthly listeners that the artist has and if they have deals with the company itself. This system allowed smaller independent artists to be paid. Independent artists being paid was a hard thing to accomplish until Spotify launched. Every artist has an equal chance to be paid.
How Newer Streaming Services Handle Copyright: Spotify also changed how streaming services handled copyright, mainly for the better as Spotify’s systems allow a lot more music to be added onto the app. Spotify has two types of licenses for copyright. These licenses being sound recording license agreements and musical composition license agreements. These licenses cover the artists themselves. The only issue that can be found with this system is the overall money spent, as Spotify has paid 9.76 billion since its launch. However, ad revenue and subscription fees help make this money back. Because of this it is not even looked at as a major issue. The streaming platform of Spotify also has deals with certain record companies. This helps with their copyright system. These record companies are the big three that most people and companies deal with, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment Group, and Warner Music Group. Each of these companies holds more than 5% of the company as well. All these lead to more revenue and copyright protection. The record companies help deal with the process of overall music rights licensing. This means they work with other labels to help solve copyright issues. This massive system establishes firm copyright protections. Essentially the whole process has benefited the company and allowed for more artists to join the system. More artists mean more money and the entire process continues. Spotify also has a second copyright system, this being composition licenses. Composition licenses have two subcategories or licenses that Spotify secures. These being performance rights and mechanical royalties. Performance rights are paid to the publishers of songs and mechanical royalties are paid to the songwriters or artists themselves. This process helps secure the artists, publishers and the company of Spotify itself. Mechanical licenses and Composition licenses have more processes that go into them. It gets much more complicated. But overall, the easy summary is that they deal with payments. The list of people who need to be compensated is extensive. However, the three big record companies that Spotify deals with should help with this entire process. Due to music streaming, the music industry has changed, majorly. Overall it’s not a bad thing as the music industry has changed for the better. Music streaming has halted online music piracy. People can now choose the music they want to listen to. Audiences can enjoy all the music they want without anything stopping them. Maybe an ad or two stops their music for a few seconds, but they still get to choose what they want to listen to and when they want to listen to it. Listeners also have gained a universe size of music. This has helped the industry have plenty of new music. This new music is being found by plenty of people, allowing smaller artists to gain traction in the industry. Smaller artists help the music industry, as more and more people listen to music and the industry gains more money from those smaller artists. The entire process of streaming music has changed over the years. This process has been redefined, made better for the listeners and the companies. The industry is better off with this system continuing. People are better off with this system continuing, as we can now be brought together with music even more than in the past. Music is anywhere and whenever a person wants.
Twenty-One Pilots In Concert By Emma Gore November 19, 2019
From Sacramento, California on October 3, twenty-one pilots perform with a multitude of special effects including fireworks, fire, and smoke.
With millions of followers and fans, the up-and-coming band performed at the Golden One Center and sold out the show. The two-man band provides a unique experience from the use of pyrotechnics and multiple fires and smoke guns. Although the band has only two members, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the group is able to keep the audience energized and interested in the music from the use of these effects.
Joseph and Dun perform the song “Heathens”, which was featured in the famous film “Suicide Squad”, on elevated platforms.
After about 45 minutes, the group moves to the B stage to perform both old and new hits.
The band puts on their skeleton jackets and cover their faces completely during part of their performance.
With the constant use of colored lights and pre-planned design sets, the small band is able to keep their audience involved in the two-hour-long concert. While most bands open with four or five members, which can keep everyone involved from all parts of the stage, Twenty-One Pilots need some support for extra effects.
Joseph performs “Car Radio” on the B stage while the drummer of the band continues to play on the main stage.
The band uses various light fixtures in order to make a “house” out of colored lights. In interviews, the duo has explained the meaning of the “house” made of lights has to do with protection and to remind fans they are only human.
Fans make a circle in the pit to show there’s a place for everyone and also not to crowd too many people.
As the concert comes to a close, fans still remain civil and joyous until the very last minute. Everyone who attends the event is there for the same reason: to have a good time and enjoy themselves. The concert ends with smoke, fireworks, confetti, and playing drums on top of the crowd. At the end of every performance, the band bows while saying, “We are Twenty-One Pilots and so are you.”
One of the many features the band uses for special effects is smoke.
The end of the show results in crowd surfing with drums for each band member, fireworks, yellow confetti, and more smoke.
First Day of JV Basketball Tryouts By Camila Saenz November 19, 2019
Here our Kimball JV girls are ready to show their coach what they’ve got.
After some time of heavy conditioning, these girls are ready to prove to their coach that they’ve got what it takes. From warm-ups to balance practice, these girls are ready to practice for their game victories. Since there aren’t enough girls to cut, this is more like a practice. One thing is for sure, they mean business. Ready to give it their all, the running and passes practices give these girls a chance to succeed.
Several warm-ups happen. From jumping to stretching, they all do it together.
Running is key. They run 12 laps across the width of the basketball courts twice.
Balance is important to them. Running backward provides practice for the games, hoping to ensure they won’t fall.
Kimball’s Junior Varsity Basketball coach, Kevin Cherry prepares these girls for their upcoming games. Since there aren’t enough girls on the team to be able to cut any, all of them know what’s coming, and that’s more practice. After the girls ran what they call “17,” Coach Cherry states, “everything is gaining speed.” All this running is hoping to prepare these young ladies to not get as tired during the high speed and tiring games.
Coach Cherry stops the girls from their practicing and begins coaching the girls.
Thought the running was over? Think again.
1, 2, 3 think fast! Being able to catch the ball is key.
They begin active and end active. Interactions with each other are important as well. From supporting their teammate who is on her last lap to counting their laps together, they are a cooperative team. At the end of their hour-long practice, Coach Cherry considered it a “light practice” even after all the running, drills and passes. They ended with the whole team gathering and sitting together and finalizing their practice by stretching. Coach Cherry gives his last direction of the day, and they end by huddling together and chanting their team chant, “Kimball on three 1, 2, 3 family!”
The girls finish their stretching ready to go home.
A quick chant before they end off their practice.
The Tracy Hills Homes By Bella Vilao November 19, 2019
This image showcases the view of the freeway from a model’s bedroom window.
Houses are defined as purely shelter, or a place to live in. But a home is defined as a safe place where people can go to feel comfort and a sense of joy or happiness. One of the things that can go hand-in-hand with the concept and idea of a “home” is a well-built community. If you don’t live somewhere where you can make memories and grow, then it’s safe to say it wouldn’t be considered a home. The Tracy Hills Homes are described as the Bay Area’s newest resort-style master-planned community in Tracy. These homes truly have taken some time to plan out in order to assure that everything about the community feels welcoming and like a home. The Tracy Hills Homes neighborhoods are referred to as Villages because “they’re where your life will unfold.”
The backyard view of the Residence 1 model home at Topaz at Tracy Hills. The builder is Lennar.
The view of the freeway and hills behind the backyard, as well as building land.
An upstairs bedroom, with a walk-in closet and a view of the hills.
There are expected to be approximately 4,700 new homes in the future. This community will have community parks, trails, dog parks, a community pool and more. There are currently 26 models open for visiting, with builders including Lennar, Meritage Homes and Shea Homes. According to the Tracy Hills website, there are many big plans for what’s to come in the future. There are 45 acres designated for three different neighborhood parks, as well as 30 acres of community park and a pool and clubhouse. Another promised future add-on is the K-8 Corral Hollow Elementary School. This school would be walking distance and just really wrap up that community-feel.
The backyard of a single-story model home through large windows that allow light to brighten the living room.
A picture of one of the signs you see upon entering the community.
One of the more skeptical points originally brought up over these homes is the element of the freeway. Many people were confused as to why someone thought it would be a good idea to put 4,700 homes near this freeway. Some of these homes, including the models pictured here, are placed directly next to the freeway. This brings up the main concern of noise. Many people are probably not very likely to purchase a home if it’s placed next to a noisy, large freeway. In reality, placing this community near the freeway was meant to make people’s commute to the Bay Area easier. The I-580 freeway is easy to get onto, and the ACE train is within three miles. The website describes how quick and easy these features make it for commuters to make it to their jobs in counties such as Alameda and Santa Clara. This would most likely relieve a lot of stress of getting to work on time, which in itself proves how amazing the location is. Finding that perfect home is something that many people are striving for, and with all the amenities and conveniences, the Tracy Hills Homes prove that they are a community worth looking into.
The view from a loft of a master bedroom on the second floor.
A view of the hills behind the Lennar Topaz at Tracy Hills model homes, taken from the street.
Behind the Drawing By Kamea Bailen November 19, 2019
“Accepting the Challenge” - drawn by Kamea Bailen. The drawing expresses a form of accepting what is given to you in life.
From the mind to the hand, the artist expresses their feelings through their drawings. The way it can be perceived differs from what someone else may feel or think at that moment. Art can be seen as “beautiful” and “inspiring” or on the contrary, what some might say as “blobs of paint” or “messy lines.” Meanings can be found in certain places. As for the artist, their purpose is to put meaning on canvas or on paper. The way we express our emotions can come across in multiple ways. There are people who can show theirs through writing, talking and acting out whereas some may do it in an entertaining way such as music, dance or art. As a toddler, we each had to express our feelings through crying or making subtle actions in order for our parents to understand that something was wrong at that moment. As a couple of years passed by, we presented our state of mind by drawing.
Drawn by a five-year-old girl who felt happy and excitement during a break between lessons.
Mark Sigua, a senior at Kimball High school, drawing in art class.
Drawn by Hannah Le, a senior student at Kimball High, for her art class on negative and positive shading.
Edward Hopper, an American and realist painter who was known for his oil paintings, once said, “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life of the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.” Many artists could claim that if everyone could say how they feel through words, then there might not be a reason to paint at all. The way a painting may look, the messy lines or the fast strokes of paint with the brush, each detail of how it came out was based on their tempo. The swiftness of their hand and the mind leads them to express what they are thinking, whether it be in anger with messy lines or calmness and its precise details.
Different decorations and objects found in an art class and set up for inspiration to the students.
Pictures, messages and objects hung on the walls to inspire one’s life and their lifestyle. Each plays a part as an experience or an aspiration to draw.
More objects are found as a way to influence art pieces.
Our surroundings influence our emotional state of mind. For example, people, architecture, nature, weather or any kind of experience in our day-to-day lives has an impact on the way we think and feel. Through the eyes of an artist who would rather draw than talk to express, we become more creative and passionate in finding multiple ways to show how we feel. Inspiration can come from experiences, allowing us to show how we can get messages across to others by what we learned in our past. In drawings, the artists share a piece of information about themselves by setting a certain theme or mood. Colors could be used in paintings to bring more attraction, interest and meaning for the audience who will either skim or analyze.
A student is drawing a self-portrait in his art class about how one perceives themselves.
Long Form Feature of the Month #4: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Military Veterans By Shakeeba Sajadi November 15, 2019 Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of trauma that occurs in most if not all military veterans. Some wonder why PTSD is so common among military veterans. The rate of PTSD throughout veterans is increasing, and we need to know why and how it’s been occurring. Post-traumatic stress disorder of serving military veterans has increased in the last 10 years. At least 12 percent of Gulf war veterans have experienced PTSD every year. 15 percent of Vietnam veterans are currently diagnosed with PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder has unfortunately affected the lives of many serving this country. Many of our serving military soldiers have experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event, such as combat, natural disasters or interpersonal experiences like sexual assault. In fact, military soldiers are exposed to all of the causes for having PTSD. The term came out in the ‘70s due to the fact that many Vietnam veterans were diagnosed with trauma after returning home. When PTSD happens, it affects two parts of the brain, the Amygdala and Prefrontal Cortex. The Amygdala detects the sympathetic nervous systems which trigger the amount of threat you see in the environment. The Prefrontal Cortex actually lets you make decisions and regulates attention and awareness. The percentage of military veterans suffering from PTSD is escalating, starting from 12 in every 100 Gulf War veterans. Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom both have an estimated 11 to 20 out of 100 veterans experiencing PTSD. It gets even worse with Vietnam veterans. The amount of combat that a soldier or veteran has seen is immeasurable. About 50 percent of the veterans with PTSD have served in the Army. 25 percent of veterans have served the Navy, 20 percent in the Air Force, and 10 percent in the Marine Corps. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are all exposed to combat and life-threatening events. This is the reason why military veterans with PTSD percentages are increasing, (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs). The statistics on PTSD in military veterans tell us a lot about the conflicts they come from. The numbers are rising because the nature of warfare has changed so much since the mid 20th century and now there are new pressures and more challenges. The new technology and the strategies that are being used are crueler. Throughout history, many have recognized that being exposed to combat negatively affects your mental health. The diagnoses actually originate from the observations of combat. The symptoms that refer to PTSD have been described in the past as “combat fatigue,” and “shell shock.” Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs in military veterans when they are put in a very sensitive situation. Many military veterans have PTSD because of military or combat exposure, child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attacks, sexual or physical assault, natural disasters, and serious accidents. After an event, someone can be very confused, sad and angry. They won’t be able to cope with everyday activities and their normal routines. The symptoms will get worse and affect them tremendously. Some soldiers suffering from PTSD may have limited symptoms initially upon returning from war, but will worsen as time passes. Some may develop PTSD and others will just move on from the events. The most common triggers for developing PTSD is when the trauma that they experienced lasted long, if someone dear to them passed away, how much the veteran felt in control of the situation, and how they were treated with care after (We Honor Veterans). In fact, most veterans with PTSD will actually improve while 1 out of 3 will continue to have symptoms of PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD will generally occur shortly after the traumatic event, but they may not occur until months or years later. If the veteran has their symptoms for more than 4 weeks, then they most likely have PTSD. There are 4 types of symptoms. The first symptom is “reliving the event.” This can let the bad memory return and cause the veteran to feel scared, sad, angry or it may make them act up and be confused. This type of symptom can trigger and give the veteran a flashback of what they may have experienced. The second type of symptom is “avoiding the situation.” This is completely normal for any other individual, not just a military veteran. This symptom will have the veteran want to ignore or avoid any situation or act that may trigger or flashback a memory. The third symptom is “feeling numb.” This is when the veteran finds it hard to express his or her feelings, also trying to avoid any circumstance of triggering a memory of the event. The final symptom is “hyperarousal.” This is when the veteran feels jittery and always alert in every situation. Hyperarousal also affects the veteran’s sleep. There are also common problems that include excessive drinking and drugs, feeling hopeless, having employment, relationship, and physical problems. Many veterans struggling with PTSD have problems keeping a job. Despite their share in keeping our country’s civilians safe, many military veterans have a hard time finding a job and being employed. Unemployed veterans with PTSD suffer more with the symptoms they have. The time spent not being occupied allows the veteran to get into their thoughts and trace back to their life-threatening situation. As we know, PTSD in military veterans can be caused by combat, but actually, PTSD can occur when a soldier has never seen the field of action. For instance, women are at high risk of military sexual trauma (MST). We also need to understand what a veteran’s family is going through. Being a part of a veteran’s family is difficult and surely they see war and service as something else. Not only was war difficult on a military veteran, but their family suffers too. A veteran’s family is their support system, so imagine some veterans not even having a family. There is no guaranteed system to help these struggling soldiers. There are steps to recovery before getting treatment. First, a military veteran should start by moving and getting up. They should run and exercise to release their mood and feel lighter than before. The amount of thought they will have will decrease and they will be able to focus on themselves. This will also help burn off adrenaline and help with sleeping at night. Second, the veteran must self regulate his/her nervous system. PTSD can leave a veteran feeling hopeless and this step will help them have control over their nervous system. This can happen through therapy and other tools that help soldiers reintegrate into society. Third, is connecting with others. When a military veteran has PTSD they feel like every civilian in their life does not understand them. They feel that a civilian that hasn’t been in service or hasn’t gone through what a military veteran might have gone through might not understand them. It’s hard for a military veteran to open up about what they have experienced, especially if it’s traumatizing. A veteran will have a hard time asking someone for help and it’s something they need. In reality, there are people out there that want to help a service member out. Fourth, military vertebrae must learn to take care of their bodies. Anything that has to do with PTSD mentally will have a toll on the veteran and it is very difficult to make sure their health is okay. Fifth, dealing with nightmares, flashbacks and thoughts that involve their tragic event is very hard to cope with. When a military veteran sees the event happening again they have to remind themselves that it is dual awareness and that what they see is not happening in the present. There is a huge difference between a veteran experiencing it themselves and observing it. A veteran must learn to tell themselves that it is not in the present. Sixth is the feeling of guilt and getting rid of it. When a veteran has seen someone die in front of them or get injured so badly it’s permanent damage to their body, they can wonder why it hadn’t happened to them. They need to understand that it’s a blessing that they didn’t die and the feeling of guilt will always be there. They have to learn to accept. In order for them to understand what they are going through, they need to seek professional help and get all the help they need. The steps for recovery are very important because a veteran must prepare themselves for treatment. Treatment for a military veteran is crucial, especially when they have PTSD. Treatment will also help PTSD before it escalates in a military veteran after a traumatic event. The main treatment for people with PTSD is talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy. A veteran can also be on medication, but there is a risk for addiction if they are not careful. There are so many other treatments but how a veteran responds to the treatment varies. Therapy options range from Prolonged Exposure therapy to cognitive therapy and training. There is also counseling on top of therapy treatment. In group therapy, a veteran can talk and learn from their fellow peers. Group therapy will give them a chance to tell their stories and express how they feel. They can connect and bond with the people in their group. A veteran can get the help they need just by interacting with people that have also gone through something traumatic. They can learn how to adjust coming back from combat and service. Treatment is very important for someone who is going through PTSD. Military veterans continue to experience a traumatic event and it affects them deeply. PTSD is very common, unfortunately, and many veterans do not know how to cope with it. This leads to a high rate of suicide amongst military veterans. PTSD is one of the main causes for those attempting suicide here in the U.S. Therefore we have to help those in need, especially our service members. Our military veterans aren't getting the amount of attention they need. The ones in trouble should receive the help they need. We can help them and create a change in the lives of our service members. It is important to take into consideration the lives of those who have sacrificed a lot for our freedom and safety. If we try to help a military veteran or soldier that has returned from combat that is struggling, maybe we can help them restart after experience the traumas of war.
Long Form Feature of the Month #3: Teen Life Comparison: Media Worsens Mental Health From Then to Now By Kamea Bailen November 15, 2019 How we are able to form relationships and express ourselves depends on our mindset and our mental health. Mental health is associated with our emotional well-being as well as other factors including how we socialize and our thought processes. This affects our lives greatly in communication to others and how we treat ourselves. Our thoughts have an effect on the behaviors we display to either cope or adjust in different situations. This subject matter is important and plays a key role in the ways we live and is becoming a recent focus in the past decade. If you were born from 1981 to 1996, you are considered as a Millennial. Those that are born from 1997 to present time are known as Generation Z’s or “iGens.” Millennials are now expected to be in young adulthood by now. Teenagers from the 90s are shaped differently than the teenagers at this moment. In the 90s, technology and social media rarely existed. More people settled with going to the mall with their friends and playing video games in the arcade. Whereas in present time, teenagers have the ability to shop online and play games on their phones wherever they go. The world began to shift as the internet started to rise along with the entertainment in television where some of the popular culture was influenced by politics and the worldwide spread of news across media. Due to Generation Z growing up with phones, communication may seem easier through text rather than face to face. They are exposed to more social media and the internet. Social platforms give all users the ability to share themselves and their experiences through a profile. As more tools and improvements are continuously being created, users are attracted to the platform that gives them an insight to one’s life. Media like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat allow people to show off beauty products, themselves, and vacations. Apps that edit photos, such as Photoshop and Facetune, can transform pictures from their natural state to an unrealistic expectation. Young adults are exposed to the photos on these platforms, setting up an assumption of how their life should look like as more influencers and users share their lives. Through the media, businesses are able to sell and expose their products and their brands worldwide. Businesses attempt to gather as many customers as they can in order for more attraction to their product. If you were to go on Instagram or Facebook, there will be people showing their admiration for products and sharing their results. This may also be expressed through magazines where it shows models, giving teenage boys and girls, a desire to have that “perfect” look and lowers their self-esteem. This can lead people to change and better their looks drastically based on how they want others to perceive them. There are two ways of targeting audiences: traditional and new media. They both allow businesses to grow and broaden their products as well as giving influencers the power to share themselves and promote brand messages. The relationship between traditional and new media is similar to the act of promotion, although they go about it in different ways. Traditional media targets a broader and more general audience. It can be shown through billboard signs, printed ads and paid commercials on television. New media targets a specific group of people. Social networks have improved for businesses to narrow their audience based on what the user has searched and computerized the content that they have liked and disliked. This type of media can be branched out through social platforms and online ads that you view when visiting a website. Social networks are commonly used among many people around the world. These platforms have the capability to connect millions together and create social circles. Social networks are more “immediate” due to our mobile devices and take up about a couple of seconds to come across a product or someone they admire appearing on their timeline. Social media did not start appearing until 1997 when the first site was uploaded to the internet and was known as “SixDegrees.” After it gained attention and gave people the connection to others online rather than in real life, more sites were created to expand associations from a specific friend group to people around the world. During the early 2000s, more famous or well-known platforms came out. Myspace was launched in 2003 and went viral as the most visited social networking site. Three years later, YouTube came out and is still effective today where new videos and music are uploaded and shared around by people internationally. In the same year, Facebook and Twitter were introduced. All three platforms continue to be relevant today. Out of curiosity for the teenage mindset, Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychologist, wrote a book called iGen and analyzed four nationally representative surveys. She conducted research on 11 million teenagers over the years. The psychologist concluded in her book that it seemed to her that “iGens have poorer emotional health because of new media.” Currently, youth is constantly being surrounded by new media, whether it be from their peers or from themselves logging in to social media. Dr. Twenge explains that the content being presented on the social platforms create unrealistic expectations. Through the self-reported surveys that were given, some exclaimed how the idealistic assumptions being presented were about happiness and body image. Differing from the present, in the past, there was no photoshop for your personal photos as you had to take the camera to the store and get it developed. This can show the naturalistic side of a photo without being manipulated. Millennials were able to do more activities without being distracted of who liked their photo or who followed them. During their teenage years, Millennials were more likely to go out and do physical activities such as playing sports, riding bikes, shopping at the mall or simply walked around. They also did not have their phones everywhere with them as we do now. In the present, wherever we go, our phones can be a constant reminder for us that social media exists affecting how we may feel from time to time. Mental health is a huge factor in how we live. It affects our moods and how we may feel about ourselves. Mental health may become toxic at any time of our lives. Therapy is one way that helps fix our mindsets. Many reasons apply to why teens go into therapy. The top ten reasons may include depression, anxiety disorders, behavior problems, substance abuse issues, stress, school and social-related issues, legal problems, low self-esteem, trauma and grief. Experiences lead us to certain situations in life that then greatly impact our future. Our mentality affects our decision making and how we perceive things. Throughout many decades, idealized looks have been passed down and changed in many ways. However, a new “perfection” look would be promoted or shown constantly to remind society of what being counted as “attractive” looks like. Social media contributes to that factor of expressing impractical looks and happiness. This generation is constantly surrounded by entertainment including pictures and videos that are found online and can easily be manipulated or edited. Self-esteem may be one of the main factors that are influenced by social platforms as well as the appearances shown in magazines. Generation Zs are more exposed to how they should obtain a certain look. It is a constant reminder as they click on the icon of the app and are automatically sent into a world full of perfection. This leads to them subconsciously feeling that they might have to reach up to that level. The Stress in America survey by the APA stated in their recent report on people aged between 15 to 21 that 45 percent of social media users affirmed the idea of “feeling judged on social platforms” and 38 percent reported “feeling bad about themselves.” New media can be freely expressed by people as long as it stays within community guidelines. Millennials were also surveyed on their health. According to the report, 37 percent of them told the researchers at APA they had received or are currently receiving help through treatment and therapy for their mental health. As attested by the Western Governors University, it is said that “experts believed that pressures associated with social media made Generation Z additionally stressed and that these pressures directly tie into mental health issues.” In addition to this, technology continues to advance and plays a direct factor in our main causes of stress. The young generation is more dependent on technology than ever. New media is closely tied around us as we grew up with it throughout the 2000s. Currently, Millennials are around their early 20s to their late 30s. Those in that age range are more likely to seek help in therapy for their mental health. This can be seen as an advantage as they are the first generation to be more open minded to new things. Media exposure sets up unrealistic expectations upon society. This causes more self esteem issues and how we subconsciously create double standards upon both genders. Mental health should be taken with great care and be brought up as the main attention to a society that wants nothing but perfection. Bringing awareness will help millions of others especially Millennials and Generation Zs and will make an impact for our future generations as technology will continue to advance and media exposure will continue to spread in our daily lives.
Long Form Feature of the Month #1: What Happens to Your Body on a Vegan Diet? By Mariya Hussain October 11, 2019
The history of humans eating meat dates back to about 2 million years ago when plants became more scarce and our ancestors relied on meat as an energy source. This shrunk the human gut to decrease digestion, so our bodies could put more energy into other activities. In today’s society, when meat-eaters are not fighting for survival, a question is posed: is meat truly an integral part of our diets? The standard American diet today, also known as the Western diet, is known to increase risks of heart disease and obesity. Many of the foods Americans eat today are far too high in cholesterol, salt, sugar, and fats, with little dietary fiber, according to HealthDay.com. Large amounts of red meats, dairy, and eggs are some of the main contributors to dangerously high-fat diets. Dieticians advise those at risk to limit these foods and trade them for whole grains, greens, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. While limiting the intake of animal products is more often than not a healthy decision, some choose to remove them from their diets altogether. This is known as a vegan diet, where one does not eat any animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, or anything made with them. Many are disgusted or confused about this way of eating, but there are plenty of reasons that drive people to make the switch to veganism, or at least a more vegan-based diet. Eating vegan is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and therefore be more eco-friendly, as written by VeganSociety.com, because the meat and dairy industries require vast amounts of water and grains to raise the animals- grains grown on large areas of land cleared by deforestation. There is also the ethical reasons to go vegan, as many people are turned away from eating meat due to the fear animals face before getting slaughtered. If done right, and not eating a diet made up of Oreos and french fries, a vegan diet is also known for having many great health benefits. Some research indicates it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, risks for heart disease, and some forms of cancer. When cutting out foods like meat and eggs, there is more room in your diet for grains and vegetables that are packed with the nutrients and fibers that so many Americans are lacking. Once one has switched over to a vegan diet, a few changes often take place within the body. One easily noticeable change is in the quality of skin. Research shows it is very common for people to see a decrease in acne once they cut out or limit dairy. Dairy products are full of hormones from the animals they came from. These hormones can lead to inflammation, which can then lead to acne. Additionally, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into one’s diet, which is quite common in vegans, often leads to a brighter complexion with less texture. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier you will appear on the outside. It is often assumed that going vegan will immediately clear one’s skin, but that is not always the case. Veganism is primarily a high-carbohydrate diet, so it is quite easy to fall into the trap of over-indulging in carbs. While carbs are a great source of energy, our bodies turn carbs into sugar, and too much sugar has been linked to acne and other skin issues. Eating a smaller variety of foods can sometimes lead to deficiencies. The most common deficiencies in vegans include vitamin B12 and iron, which often creates dark circles under the eyes and less brightness in the skin. Though it is not always the case, it is quite common for vegans, especially in the beginning, to consume less calories than before and therefore lose weight. This is because meat is typically replaced with less calorie-dense foods, or foods with more fiber which prevents your body from hanging on to food. Vegans tend to cut out a lot of unhealthy and processed foods, as many of these tend to be made with milk or eggs. When cutting out junk food, our bodies adapt to no longer crave those foods, according to Dr. Ravella on Veestro.com, so the longer you go without eating brownies, the less you will crave brownies. On the other hand, it is quite common to experience bloating when first switching to veganism, as your body has not quite yet adjusted to such a high fiber intake, but this generally dies down after the first few weeks. Sometimes, eating lighter foods on a vegan diet leads to eating larger portions and therefore consuming more calories than before, which creates a weight gain. Weight gain can be a positive or a negative thing, depending on the individual’s own needs, but it all goes back to how one approaches veganism. Overeating pasta and potato chips is more likely to lead to weight gain than would satisfying oneself from a mainly whole foods diet. Solely eating vegan will not necessarily lead you to lose or gain weight, if that is what you are looking for. There are other critical factors that play a part in weight maintenance, including exercise, sleep, stress, and other health conditions. A common question vegans regularly get asked is “How do you get protein?” as there is a widely believed myth that one cannot get all the necessary nutrients on a vegan diet and that meat is the only sufficient source of protein. There are a plethora of plant-based proteins found in legumes, beans, spinach, tofu, nut butters, and more that allow vegans to not fall short of protein if they pay attention to it. However, if you do not put in a little bit of extra effort into your diet, it is not unlikely for vegans to develop deficiencies, One of the most common deficiencies among vegans according to NaturesPath.com is vitamin B12, as this vitamin is only present in animal products or B12-fortified products. It is very easy to take B12 supplements, as is advised for vegans, but many begin following a vegan diet without knowing they are missing such a crucial vitamin, which is needed to prevent anemia. Iron is also a very common deficiency, especially among women. Iron from plants is not as easily absorbed by the body as iron-rich meat, but eating plenty of whole foods such as fruit, lentils, and green vegetables should ensure proper iron intake. Incorporating more Vitamin C, which can be found in oranges among other foods, can aid with iron absorption. Cutting out dairy can also decrease the amount of calcium and Vitamin D one consumes, which can lead to poor bone health and depression. However, the typical “one or two glasses of milk per day” is not the only means of obtaining Vitamin D and calcium. Many plant-based milks, cereals, and tofu are fortified with these nutrients among other fruits and vegetables in which they are naturally occurring. Proper and safe exposure to sunlight should ensure a healthy dose of Vitamin D. These deficiencies that are more likely among vegans than non-vegans should not scare anyone from eating a vegan diet. If done with care, eating a variety of whole plant-based foods, and supplementing when needed and checked with a doctor, vegans should in fact be getting more nutrients than they were before. As many “junk foods” are often replaced with healthier alternatives when switching to a plant-based diet, vegan diets tend to be more nutrient-dense, including more vitamins and minerals from the increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.. There is almost always significantly higher fiber levels in vegan diets than non-vegan diets as well. This is due to the high fiber content of most fruits and vegetables, along with other foods typically eaten by vegans such as oats and lentils. Veestro.com says that in eating a vegan diet, the diversity of bacteria in one’s colon is increased, which is part of better gut health. This is in comparison to the meat and dairy heavy diets of average Americans that often do not supply enough fiber, leading to issues such as constipation. Many people, whether or not they are full-fledged vegan, are beginning to realize the negative impacts of dairy and are cutting it out of their diets. One of the more well-known problems with dairy is the link to acne, as previously mentioned. It is known to increase oil production in the skin and inflammation in the body, leading to clogged pores and raised bumps on the skin. Additionally, dairy contains a great amount of lactose, a natural sugar which our bodies cannot always digest easily. Too much lactose can lead to bloating and diarrhea according to healthline.com. Along with the extra sugar placed into many milks, yogurts, cream cheese, and other dairy products, this can make it difficult to lose stubborn fat. The site also mentions that the consumption of dairy has been shown to produce inflammation in the digestive tract and the thyroid gland, among other areas. The thyroid gland is linked to metabolism and energy levels, and people have found that eliminating dairy has led to increased energy levels and better metabolism as well. Due to the inflammation that dairy foods bring about, dairy can also promote the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria. This especially comes from the artificial additives in our dairy products which are linked to Candida overgrowth, an excess of the Candida fungi that can lead to health issues such as digestive disruption and fatigue. . A huge factor that inhibits people from going vegan, even if they know all of its benefits, is not wanting to give up so many of their favorite foods. While there are some restrictions, especially in social or public settings, many vegans claim to have much more fun with food as going vegan opens a door to a whole new world of recipes to try. It encourages you to branch out with your options so that you do not get stuck in the rut of only eating salads and bananas everyday. In the age we live in where veganism is continuously growing in popularity, there are vegan substitutes for nearly everything- cheddar cheese, endless options of plant-based milks, chicken strips. If you can think of it there’s a vegan replacement for it. While a vegan diet should not be primarily composed of these substitutes as they are often processed, they are great for people transitioning into veganism or vegetarianism, or even for vegans nostalgic for the taste of some of their old favorite foods. Becoming vegan does not have to be an overnight change, though it can be for some people. It often helps to slowly transition into it. Maybe start with eating vegetarian one day out of the week, and then slowly limiting and cutting out one food per week or month. Maybe you motivate yourself to cook vegan meals every now and then, and trade the cream in your coffee for coconut milk. However you reach a place where you are comfortable and inspired to be vegan is entirely personal, but it is important to understand that this diet or lifestyle is not for everyone. Changing the way you have eaten for years, or even decades, is not always easy, and some people’s dietary restrictions and health issues may not allow for it. Many people go vegan because it is one of the best ways to help out the environment, which is amazing, but remember that nobody has to go vegan to do their part for the environment. We should not feel guilty for not being absolutely perfect, but proud of what we are doing. If you care about the environment and are vegetarian or eat vegan sometimes, that’s still doing something. If you gave up dairy to clear your skin but you ate a slice of pizza two weeks later, that’s still a difference. It is so important to focus on the benefits you did reap from all that you have done, and not put yourself or others down for food choices. If you do choose to go vegan, or just more plant-based, know you are, if done correctly, doing something amazing for your body and for the world around you.
Long Form Feature of the Month #2: The Media’s Impact on Body Image By Alexia Myers October 25, 2019 Body image affects us all in some way, but especially within teens and young adults is where there's more of a problem. With the use of phones and social media, younger generations have much easier access to images that are bound to affect the way they see themselves. I spoke to one student from Kimball High School, Samantha Holcomb, about what she thinks about body image, and she said, “Everything affects the way we look at our bodies. People making comments, being surrounded by people that look a certain way, being told what the ideal body type is, and just personal things that we don’t like about our bodies.” Every person has different backgrounds and though some are more confident and secure with themselves and their appearances, it’s safe to say the vast majority of people start to feel insecure at some point in their life. I also asked Holcomb about the importance of body image today, she said, “I think because we define ourselves by how we look and the way we are perceived at first glance by our appearance, so we want to look like what society deems normal even if it may be hazardous to our health, mental and physical.” Body image is also very likely to become a negative problem within teens because of a significant event that occurred when they were children. An example of this would be a little girl being told by her dance instructor that she needs to lose a few pounds so she can look as good as the other girls in their costumes. Even smaller events could stick in a child’s memory for their whole life, causing them to constantly feel insecure about their appearance. Another uncommonly talked about topic is body image within teen boys. Even though girls are three times more likely to struggle with body image, boys face struggles from a young age as well. A study done by The Journal Pediatrics came out with the information that 40 percent of boys in middle and high school exercise regularly and 90 percent at least work out occasionally, all with the goal of bulking up and building muscle. Old gender stereotypes are the cause of this. Boys feeling from a young age they have to have a certain type of body and persona to be “manly” and “macho” is one of the main reasons why boys feel they need to act aggressive. However, now the question is “Why are girls more likely to struggle with their appearance?” I asked students Erica Ochoa and Samantha Holcomb this question, their responses were very similar, “I believe the media targets young girls more than young boys, because there are products that are pushed towards women, such as makeup. But I think that men and young boys are targeted more in a societal way, for example being told to bottle up your emotions and to be masculine and repress any femininity in them.” and “The media targets younger girls because they tend to care more...” Who or what is most responsible for this problem? The main source of these issues within teens is caused by social media. One of the biggest platforms that impacts the way we all feel about our own bodies is Instagram. Starting in October of 2010, Instagram the platform for photo and video sharing. However, it quickly became much more than that. When apps such as Instagram grew, other businesses (clothing stores, fast food chains, and people wishing to get their big break) tend to overflood these apps and websites with unnecessary content that is likely to make us feel like we need to act differently and idolize people because we aspire to be like them. Many of these so-called “influencers” taking over social media post their own content. The most popular content is pictures of themselves and their bodies. Although, most of the time these photos aren’t one hundred percent real and authentic. With tools like photoshop becoming more and more popular, influencer and high status celebrities use these apps to achieve what is perceived as a “better” and “more attractive” look. Photoshop has been used for many years, especially for professional photoshoots to enhance one’s look. But in today’s world, with apps such as YouCam and FaceTune it’s easy for anyone to access and edit their pictures dramatically. With this tool women have been tricked into thinking flawless beauty is the norm. Clothing stores and brands also become involved with Instagram by promoting clothing that appeals to young teenage girls and guys, but these clothes do not fit a typical teen’s body type. Every successful clothing brand runs an instagram account. It’s a great way to gain a bigger audience and to get more people interested in what you are selling. However, these companies geared towards teens almost never include sizes above XL in these campaigns. Although, most of these companies include a plus size section for their websites, there are many clothing sites that only include things in “One Size” or don’t go above a size medium. It’s these sites too that teens want to look at and be able to buy items from. They set many of today’s trends at lower prices which appeals to any audience. One brand that is very popular among teens today, Brandy Melville, has every item in their store for sale at “one size.” Reportedly, their clothes are all between sizes 0-2 in standard clothing. Smaller sizes like these don’t even fit the majority of teens in today’s world. People have stated their concerns, not only with Brandy Melville but any brand that markets their clothing on only one type of body. Consumers have complained about these companies sending a negative message to anyone over a size 2. The high-fashion industry is definitely not innocent when it comes to doing a disservice to women everywhere. Runway fashion is about design and art, and this is why designers prefer to have a blank canvas to work with. However, using models who have unrealistic body types still affects how women see themselves. By looking at skinny supermodels, women compare themselves to somebody who they deem as more desirable. Images of thin models with perfect hair and makeup can send the wrong message to women and can cause them to always believe they must become thinner to reach these standards of beauty. The fashion and beauty industry go hand in hand. The fashion industry is geared more towards women and men’s bodies, while the beauty industry addresses overall appearance. The beauty industry’s obsession with youth is no secret as they have endless products to help women appear younger. It’s more as if they’re telling women younger equals beauty, telling them to not embrace their natural look and love their features. However, when it comes to younger generations, girls are constantly surrounded by advertisements telling them that would look better if they used this product or they would be seen as more desirable if they changed something about themselves. I asked Holcomb, a makeup artist herself, about beauty standards, “The beauty industry tries to put an ideal face and body to everything, and it’s seen through their marketing strategies. Often you see thinner models with perfect skin and beautiful hair that a lot of girls don’t have. This goes for men as well. They show men who are strong and handsome and very masculine. But the industry is doing better at portraying all body types and people of all different ethnicities and backgrounds, but there is still a lot of work to do. But it really affects someone by not seeing themselves being represented in a large scale media outlet.” Another student, Diana Cao says “They make you believe you will look the way you want to if you buy their products but it doesn’t really benefit you.” Ochoa answered “What they put out there is what we see and what we see is what we normalize.” With all these answers being true, it is important to remember that over these past few years body positivity and self love have become more prevalent in the media. The world has become much more accepting and done great at including all races, genders, and a variety of body types. However, there is still work to be done and problems to be solved within the media and how they handle body image, because not seeing oneself represented in the public eye can have dramatic repercussions. A question that is not always asked is if, “thin women have insecurities?” With all of the positivity surrounding body image on social media, especially encouraging women to embrace their curves and to not wish for a supermodel thin body, some may ask, “Do thin women experience struggles with their self-image?” The answer is yes, It is easy to assume skinny women don’t have issues with the way they look, especially considering they are constantly being represented in the media. However, a thin woman in today’s world is also likely to have insecurities about her body. Not everybody may see “skinny” as the ideal. Not every skinny woman may feel that she is perfect when she looks into the mirror. The impact society has on us can be brutal on how we feel about our bodies, but it is also an internal conflict for most women as well. A survey done by Glamour, a beauty and lifestyle website, asked 300 women of all body types how often they have a negative thought about their appearance. The survey found that women have approximately 13 negative thoughts about their body per day. Other women confessed to having 35, 50, or even 100 of these hateful thoughts daily. Glamourdid an experiment with their readers and challenged them to jot down every time they said something negative about themselves. The results of this were not so different from the survey. 97% of the women who participated had at least one “I hate my body” note written down. It’s more acceptable to insult yourself than it is to say you are actually okay with the way you look. If a woman is confident in how she looks, she is seen as self absorbed or attention seeking. Glamour’ssurvey takers were also asked if they were shocked at how many negative thoughts they really had throughout each day, and 63% of them said no, but after writing each of them down during the experiment, those women said they weren't aware of how malicious they were being to themselves. So, what can women do to stop this inner criticism? Many women think working out and eating healthy to attain the body they’ve always wanted will automatically change their perception of themselves, but this is not true. Even the most confident women have doubts. The only difference is that they've learned to deflect those negative thoughts and haven’t let them affect their every waking moment. Women of all shapes and sizes have all had body image problems in the past and are most likely still experiencing those negative thoughts well into adulthood. The truth is, the key to a good body image is to stop comparing yourself to others and appreciate your body. Appreciating your body for what it does and not how it looks is the first step to accepting yourself. Being more concerned with how your body looks will cause more self deprecation and only make you feel worse. But appreciating all the things your body does for you can eventually lead to you appreciating the outside of your body as well. Although it is hard, with improvements in the media and internal conflicts resolved within people all over the world, society is well on its way to accepting what’s on the outside just as much as they do with what’s on the inside of every woman and man.
The Cost of College for Student-Athletes By Shakeeba Sajadi November 8, 2019 College is expensive as we know, but luckily, star athletes are given an opportunity. College for athletes in the states starts from $9,000 a year. Public out-of-state college tuition starts from under $23,000 a year. Division I schools reward about $4.1 billion in Athletic Scholarships. Division I schools account for approximately 2 out 3 athletic scholarship dollars awarded. NCAA Division III schools, as well as others, have participating athletes, but they are not awarded scholarships based on their athletic ability. An average Athletic Scholarship is an average of all varsity sports during the 2019 school year. The accessibility of scholarships depends on the sport the athlete plays. Some athletes get full scholarships, some get only part of a scholarship, and many receive no scholarship. College is expensive but athletes have a chance to spend less with the use of their talents. Most of those athletes use the scholarships and financial aid services that are awarded to them. In a top athlete's career it's not just about sports, it's also about the education handed to them. Sports on the side, they will need to find a passion for a profession in college. Division I team sports are around a subtotal of 1,767 with over 26,461 athletes. The overall teams in Division I,II,and III subtotal to about 4,279. The overall amount of athletes in each division is estimated to about 74,239 students.
Learning to Skate By Omar Ochoa October 25, 2019 Recently, toward the beginning of September, I bought a skateboard. SInce then, I have learned to ride the board with relative ease and have begun to learn tricks to do while skating. I do these tricks for the amazing feeling of finally being able to do a trick. I have been skating with my friend Neo Mongeau for about 2 weeks. We go around town to random spots for practice or manuals and going down steep slopes. Of course, in skating, there are moments of pure joy when you finally get a trick to work perfectly, but there are also moments of pain and wanting to quit. For example, about a week ago, I was attempting to manual off of curbs. I hit a rock, flew over my board into the asphalt, and sprained my wrist and scraped my elbow pretty badly. Rocks and pebbles can be a nightmare to people who skate. Hitting a tiny rock could stop the board, but you will maintain your momentum and either jump off the board and begin slowing down, or you hit the floor and the ground slows you down. As of now I'm continuing to learn and will give an update later in the year on what I've learned.
Step Right Up at the Kimball Jags Carnival By Kamea Bailen 17 October 2019
Cheers, laughter and music filled Kimball High’s parking lot after school on October 4th. On a clear and cool day, the school’s homecoming week ended with a carnival prior to the football game against Weston Ranch High School. The carnival was made up of many booths that were set up by school’s clubs and even some sports teams. Around 1 p.m. the parking lot in front of the Performing Arts Theatre was soon filled with many students wandering around to each club’s booths. Cheers could be heard when groups of friends won a prize after playing games. Music played loudly through several speakers from the booths, and Kimball’s band could be heard as they played throughout the carnival. There was never a silent moment. Along with entertainment provided from each club, the aroma of food flooded certain areas as savory foods were being sold as well as sweets like Starbread, pumpkin pies, fruits, candies and cotton candy. Teachers, students and families had smiles on their faces and shared laughs as everyone celebrated together.
Attention All U.S. Travelers: Prepare For New Security Checks Next Year By Kamea Bailen
October 11, 2019 If you are planning to travel for vacation, businesses, or for any other purpose then be prepared for a new security check at all United States airports. In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act in response to the tragic historical event that occurred on September 11, 2001. Starting next year on October 1, 2020, all U.S. travelers who are 18 and older will be required to bring their Real ID-compliant identification with them in order to pass through security checkpoints and board flights within the country. A Real ID is a form of an identification that has more advanced security than a state-issued driver's license. In order to confirm if you have a Real ID Compliant card there will be a star marked on the top right corner. The stamp is to prove your identification here in the U.S. and is meant to prevent any duplications. However, if you do not obtain a Real ID card then you would need to provide an approved Transportation Security Administration form of identification. This includes a valid passport or a U.S. military ID. According to a recent survey conducted by the TSA, 72 percent of adults who travel often claimed they did not have a Real ID-compliant driver's license. In order to make sure you have the ability to travel, you must visit your state’s DMV with all necessary forms of identification such as a certified copy of your U.S. birth certificate, a passport, or an employment authorization document. In addition, you will need to bring your Social Security number and proof of your state’s residency through a form such as a lease agreement or a mortgage bill.
Elon Musk Reveals SpaceX’s Rocket By Emma Gore October 11, 2019
While NASA is the leading independent national space agency in America and the most well known, Elon Musk, the CEO and co-founder of Tesla, revealed his company, SpaceX’s, new rocket last week. Musk created SpaceX as a company to manufacture and launch rockets and spacecraft. The goal of the company is to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX’s newest rocket, Starship, has the main purpose to potentially be able to carry humans and cargo to Earth’s orbit and then later the moon and Mars. The latest test version of this rocket has the capability of small take-off distances while also going much faster and higher. Even though Starship is still a prototype, the spacecraft has a top of the line stainless-steel exterior and is continuously being tested. The company’s ambitious goals may not correlate with realistic timeframes in the near future, but the company and its supporters believe their mission will be worth the wait.
YouTube’s New Verification Criteria Reversed Mariya Hussain October 4, 2019 To the disappointment of many of its content creators, YouTube announced via a blog post on September 19 that they were planning on changing their verification system. These changes would include unverifying a massive amount of users who would then have to request an appeal to gain back their checkmark. The purpose of verifying specific channels is to verify identity. Some more well-known accounts are likely to have fan accounts or imposters under the same name, so a verification confirms which account is the real or original one. A major benefit of having this verification badge is that it attracts many more brands seeking deals and partnerships who are likely to take verified users more seriously. Prior to this proposed change, YouTube would take verification applications from any channel with more than 100,000 subscribers. As YouTube grows more and more, this number is not as significant as it once was. YouTube wants to make sure that the checkmark is only given to “widely recognized” users, defining this as those who have a following and influence outside of the YouTube platform, which led to their decision to unverify channels. As a majority of creators rely on YouTube as their source of income, many panicked at the idea of losing their verification, worrying it would negatively affect their careers. YouTuber Ricky Dillon, on his second twitter account, tweeted that getting the checkmark taken away would feel insulting and worried about his videos not showing up in recommendations as often if this were to happen. YouTube’s recent algorithm change has already been negatively affecting many creators. It is now much harder to get your videos out there, as the company has become very strict about what videos they recommend or monetize. Often times, videos do not even show up in subscription boxes, which significantly reduces viewership. Many creators and supporters have been angry with these changes that have made YouTube a much less inclusive space, and this change would have been another reason for people to be angry with the platform. After hearing the outcries over this announcement, YouTube decided not to unverify users, and anyone with over 100,000 will remain eligible to apply for verification.
Amazon looks to hire 30,000 for Amazon Career Day Mariya Hussain September 27, 2019 On Tuesday, one of the most well-known companies, Amazon, hosted a day-long job fair that they called a Career Day. They were seeking to hire 30,000 new workers in six major cities- Seattle, Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Nashville. Nearly half of these job openings were located in Seattle. Amazon was looking for workers for a wide range of positions- from technology to customer service to management- part-time and full-time and from all experience levels. In hiring so many workers, they were very open to meeting people and showed great interest in their interviewees, presenting them with all of the important information about the company. Once everyone is hired, the company has reportedly made the decision to spend $700 million on training these new employees. They even had people helping with resumés and interview skills. This shows Amazon made this initiative with the Career Day for the workers’ benefit- to provide them with experience and make a difference in unemployment. Thousands of people showed up to these events, people of all ages, ethnicities, and experience levels. They were all excited for this kind of opportunity, and many of us as consumers look forward to seeing the types of innovations these new workers bring to the table.
Chick-Fil-A Still Giving Millions to Anti-LGBTQ Groups By Alexia Myers September 20, 2019
The fast-food chain has been under fire since 2012 when the company’s CEO Dan Cathy caused controversy as he publicly stated his opposition with same-sex marriage. More recently though, in 2017, Cathy stated he wanted people to “stay out of the debate and focus on the chicken.” The largest sum of money donated by the company, $1.6 million in 2017 was given to the fellowship of Christian Athletes, a religious organization that requires its members to follow a “sexual purity” policy that does not allow “homosexual acts.” The company came out with a statement on their website where they claimed that their donation to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was only used to fund sports camps and school programs for local youth in various locations. They also stated that parents of children who chose to participate were not required to sign the company’s pledge. In a statement to Think Process, Chick-Fil-A stated “since the [Chick-Fil-A] Foundation was created in 2012, our giving has always focused on youth and education,” while continuing to support their statement by summarizing how their company is filled with people of all races, genders, and sexualities. Finally, they stated how their purpose is to provide great food, hospitality, and a welcoming environment. However, those statements were not enough to satisfy everyone. In March of 2019, the city of San Antonio began to boycott the company when they heard about a planned Chick-Fil-A location inside the city’s local airport. Protesters gathered to shout their opposition to this new plan. Councilman Roberto Treviño mentioned the company’s 2017 donations to the city council. Treviño said in a statement, “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement.” Chick-Fil-A came out with a statement of their own, “we agree with Councilmember Treviño that everyone is and should feel welcome at Chick-Fil-A. We plan to reach out to the city council to gain a better understanding of this decision.” This past week, Chick-Fil-A opened their first international location in Toronto. The company’s grand opening was met by protestors outside the building chanting “shame” and “homophobia’s got to go.” CEO Dan Cathy has shown his disapproval of gay marriage but continues to say Chick-Fil-A does not have a political or social agenda. The company plans to add fifteen more restaurants in the Toronto area, the third most LGBTQ-friendly city in the world. Only time will tell if this issue causes the fast-food chain to encounter bigger consequences.
New School Year Leads to New Change For All AP Classes By Kamea Bailen
September 20, 2019 At the start of this school year at Kimball High School, all Advanced Placement classes began a new rule: you must sign up on College Board for each AP class you are enrolled in. College Board is an organization that helps students by connecting them to colleges. This organization provides programs to prepare them for success in their future. College Board set up a new section aimed specifically towards the Advanced Placement students and their educators. AP Central introduced what is known as “AP Classroom” where new tools and resources are offered to both students and teachers in order to help further expand their learning as well as ways to give preparation for exams. To join the class, each teacher supplies a specific group code that allows students to access course resources and gives them the ability to register for AP exams. By signing up, you are also notified of any assignments that are provided for you. Students can discover the majority of the topics that will be tested on during the exams. This will be able to help students on how they should prioritize their studying. If you are planning to take the AP exam this year, it is very important to sign up as soon as possible so that you will be eligible to take the test.
Kimball Begins New Home Economics Class Mariya Hussain September 13, 2019
After years of housing an unused home economics room, Kimball High has finally begun a home economics elective course this school year. There are nearly 170 students participating in this class, eager to learn skills that will benefit their futures. Though it is still a high school class with lectures and book work, Ms. Smith, the new addition to our staff who is teaching the course, believes “the best way to learn is to do it,” and has her students do mostly hands-on work. They kick-started the year with a personal development unit, which includes topics such as stress management and learning to sew. Smith states that later on in the year, skills such as cooking, child development, and personal finances will be taught as well. The purpose of this home economics course is to prepare students for their lives after high school. Yasmine Panah, a senior taking this class, says she is most looking forward to learning how to cook and do taxes, stating “I feel like it could teach me a lot for the real world.” According to Ms. Smith, this class could be very beneficial for her seniors, who make up the majority of her students, to learn the life skills that are not taught in traditional classes, especially now that home economics is not a required course like it once was. Ms. Smith hopes that her students, having taken this class, will be able to move out and manage on their own, and acquire the basic knowledge which seemingly has been lost over the years.
Climate Change and How It Affects Your Health By Alexia Myers September 13, 2019
Climate change is affecting us in many ways, but what you might not know is that it is directly affecting our health as well. Exposure to these health hazards revolving around climate change and global warming will affect everyone differently. Climate Nexus, a communications group dedicated to highlighting the impacts of climate change in the United States. Along with APHA, the American Public Health Association came out with new data stating over 200 deaths occurred due to extreme weather conditions within the last two years. Starting with the California fires, there had been a five percent increase in hospital visits, most being from citizens struggling with asthma caused by the smoke. Events such as these can be dangerous to our mental health as well. National Geographic found that trauma caused by floods, droughts, heatwaves, and many natural disasters could possibly lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. One of the most important effects of climate change people need to think about is extreme heat. With the last two fires hitting Southern California, it’s more important than ever to remember that high temperatures raise the level of ozone and other pollutants that could add to the number of people who struggle with cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Ongoing hot temperatures could cause a longer allergy season. A longer season means asthma could be severely triggered in these long-lasting heat waves. Asthma affects roughly 300 million people and longer-lasting heat is expected to increase this struggle. All populations will be affected by climate change, however, some areas and people will be affected more than others. Ways to prevent this would be taking public transportation, cycling, or walking to erase your carbon footprint, along with reducing your carbon emissions and cutting the burden of household air pollution. Household air pollution causes approximately 4.3 million deaths per year. If people want to make a change so they can keep their families and themselves safe, they need to be educated on what’s happening and find effective ways to improve their living. The effects will be irreversible if we don’t take action.
How a Normal Family Created The World’s #1 IPhone Accessory Company By Bella Vilao September 6, 2019 Nowadays, colorful and bold phone cases are very common amongst people. Websites like Amazon and stores such as Target carry fashionable cases. But they haven’t always been easy to find. This is the reason that Michelle Carlson began making her two daughters, Sydney and Devon, home-made unique phone cases in 2012. As soon as Michelle gifted these cases, Sydney and Devon were immediately obsessed with them, and so was their friend group at school. Michelle began to make extra cases and started selling them to her daughters’ friends at school. Two weeks after the first few phone cases were made, the Carlson family was out at dinner and happened to run into Miley Cyrus. Cyrus was immediately obsessed with the cases and Michelle gave her one. Cyrus then encouraged Michelle, Sydney and Devon to create a website and start selling them. The music star later tweeted a picture of the case, tagging Devon and thanking her and her mom. Devon’s mentions were immediately flooded asking where they could buy a case. The Carlson women spent the following night completely awake, working on creating a website. As soon as the website was finished, the family instantly received a ton of orders. Since then, Wildflower Cases has been extremely popular. The Carlsons constantly acknowledge and attribute their success to Miley Cyrus. Devon once stated, “I believe Miley was theres to motivate my mom to start this business with us. It was meant to be and we love Miley forever for it.” In 2019, Wildflower Cases owns retail outlets in Japan, Australia, Dubai, Europe and Singapore. Wildflower has also secured exclusive partnerships with retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Free People.. Many influencers, such as Kylie Jenner, constantly promote Wildflower by posting pictures to social media platforms with the cases on their phones, which definitely contributes to the company’s success. The company’s success has also lead to success in other areas of the family’s life. Sydney and Devon also used the following they gained from Wildflower to run Youtube channels with over 100k subscribers. Wildflower was an extremely unplanned company. It started off as a complete accident and The Carlson women were doing it all alone. Despite the success sudden success, the Carlson women took the attention and ran with it, creating the biggest Iphone accessory case company.