The Lingual Thing

by Brianne  O’Donoghue

The technology of today has greatly impacted human interaction in unfathomable ways.  Cell phones, social networking sites and the internet are all efficient ways to communicate with people all over the world.  With the dawn of these technologies and the move toward a more global economy, we have created a deft web of communication.  This fact poses both unprecedented opportunities as well as platforms for conflict, the main one being, can we communicate effectively?
The key to masterful communication is understanding the languages and cultures of the world.  Without connection, communication is inane and without communication, we are powerless.  How can we prepare students to become the ambassadors of tomorrow?  How can we ensure that students will be invaluable to society?  The answer is language.  Spanish teacher Srta. Zeiher stresses, “Language and culture are interwoven; culture is expressed through language, so knowing another language provides the opportunity to understand different cultural perspectives.”  But what with the bombardment of budget cuts, El Segundo has been forced to abandon many of its extracurriculars and electives, including French.  While El Segundo High has never offered a myriad of lingual options, the elimination of the French program reduces the selections to Spanish only.  And while Spanish is a widely-spoken and valuable language, students should have a choice as to which language they want to take.  Senior Cheyenne Gerber agrees, “I believe it limits students from finding a culture they admire. Sure, Spanish is used all over southern California and it has to be available. However, we should be able to expand their horizons about cultures by offering other languages such as Japanese or German. We should not be so limited.”  If students are enthusiastic about their language, they are more compelled to pursue their language.  Not to mention, other languages, like Mandarin Chinese, are on the rise with over 1 billion speakers reported in 2005.  As a result of the limited lingual options, students who recognize the importance of language like Gerber have looked to other ways to pursue their passion.
Though many people see little import in knowing another language, knowing two or more languages can create lucrative and exciting opportunities.  Gerber confirms, “I have heard many cases of employees being hired and promoted because of their language abilities, which is a huge plus for those in the business world.”  Zeiher adds, “The more students become familiar with foreign languages and develop cultural awareness the better equipped they’ll be to impact intercultural communication and understanding in the world.”  In addition, travel and cultural interactions can be enhanced by the knowledge of language.  Gerber adds, “For me, my knowledge of a foreign language has given me opportunities to travel, understand music and movies, and communicate with new and exciting people. Languages have led me to opportunities that have taught me a lot about cultures and given me a more positive perspective of the world.”

But more than anything, learning a language can be rewarding.  Whether you plan to use your linguistic skills competitively or not, the satisfaction that comes from being able to understand other cultures is an astounding skill in itself.  Zeiher concludes, “Immersion is the best way to learn a language and gain invaluable cultural insight. Put your second language to use in the real world, learn how another culture sees and experiences life, and have an amazing time.”

Hallways:High School War Zones

by Tiana Austel
With hundreds of students smashed into a tiny corridor in a small seven minute time slot the hallways are a war-zone. Filled with laughter, chatter, screams, and odd noises, the hallways are the 405 highway for any high schooler. People are divided into crowds of seemingly different species while walking through the halls. Here are some of the groups of students native to the hallways across the globe:

1. The Move-out-of-the-way-before-I-crush-you crowd
Many people in this crowd tend to be more academically successful. Quick and agile in the hallways they zig-zag like a snake through the crowd as if it is apple pie. If someone in front of them is blocking their path the person in question should fully expect a hand on their back pushing them forward or a few nips on the heels.
If you meet them: DO NOT get in their way. If you do get in their way let them pass before they ruin the heels of your shoes.

2. The I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-going-even-though-I’ve-been-in-school-for-over-a-few-months crowd
Their specific moves include meandering across the hallways and looking up in a daze. They get repeatedly pushed by the move-out-of-the-way-before-I-crush-you crowd but do not seem to care much. Or just don’t care enough to get out of their school inflicted daze.
If you meet them: Just walk around them. They don’t even notice.

3. The How-have-I-lived-without-seeing-you-for-a-period crowd
Screaming and yelling is common with this crowd as they always try to reenact touching reunions in the middle of passing periods. Mainly composed of females this crowd loves to cut across the hallways on a whim shoving obstacles, mainly students, aside. After the seemingly life-long adventure is finished, hugging is mandatory as they squeeze the life out of each other promising to walk to the next class together.
If you meet them: Cover your eardrums before you are rendered deaf for the rest of your life.

4. The Look-at-me-with-all-this-”swag” crowd
While many are part of the I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-going-even-though-I’ve-been-in-school-for-over-a-few-months crowd the Look-at-me-with-all-this-”swag” crowd have many distinct features that differentiate them for group number two. This crowd is mainly composed of males trying to dominate other males for the “coolest guy in the hallway”. Many times this involves them walking like a penguin-orangutan hybrid with their hands on their pants at a speed slow enough that even turtles would wonder why they are walking so slow.
If you meet them: Walk around them before you’re late to your next period. If you’re stuck with them in front of you, try every means to get around them before you turn 100.

5. The extreme-P.D.A-couple
Unfortunately, in the hallways there is a certain fear that while rounding a corner one’s eyes may be scarred for the rest of their lives. P.D.A, or public displays of affection, often are the most killer of all the crowds as one’s eyes may be ruined for the rest of the day. While many people feel happy (or bitter depending on the person) for the couple, they definitely do not want to see the PDA iin the hallways. If you feel this group pertains to you please for the sake of others keep it out of the hallways.
If you meet them: Do not stare and look away. Try to go to your happy place if forgetting the image is not an option.

If in doubt the best method of getting through the hallways is the dodge and weave method. Here’s some advice from Senior Micheal Palese, “1. Don’t stop 2. If people stop suddenly, push them 4. Learn how to walk 5. Don’t stop.” Another Senior Ashely Snyder advises to “avoid Freshmen Hall at ALL COSTS!” Here’s a quick geography/life lesson, if walking North watch the movement of the traffic going from East to West or visa-versa.  Look for holes between groups of people and go for it. Looking for these holes greatly decreases the time spent in the hallways being smashed in a sea of never-ending people.

Bottom Line: When walking through the hallways try to remember and be courteous to other people. If you shove anyone apologize and always remember to try to open the door for other people to avoid people’s faces from being smashed. Remember other people have feelings too!

Tips from upperclassmen:
“Avoid Freshmen Hall AT ALL COSTS!” – Senior Ashely Snyder

1. Don’t stop
2. If people stop suddenly, push them
3. Learn how to walk
4. Don’t stop” – Senior Micheal Palese


by Jack Li

Summer is fast approaching, and for most of the student body, that can only be good. Summer is a relaxing time filled with trips to the beach, parties, and hanging out with friends. However, for the El Segundo graduating class of 2011, it will mark an unprecedented change in their lives.

Seniors: this message is for you. As you approach the cusp between childhood and adulthood, your life is about to change drastically. To put it succinctly, you are leaving the nest. No longer will mommy and daddy be around to make you dinner, tell you to clean up your room, or get you out of trouble. Now just like real baby birds leaving their nests, some of them may fly gracefully on their first try, some may stumble along and get it after some furious flapping, and some may plummet and break their necks on the cold concrete below.

As you venture forth, you may find that you are shedding the constraining shackles of childhood as well. Up until this point, your life has been an utterly boring series of restrictions limiting every single aspect of how you live. Go to school in the morning, come back in the afternoon, rinse, dry, repeat x 180 days x 14 years. YAWN.  Brush your teeth, do your homework, don’t stay out too late, eat your vegetables, yadda yadda yadda.

Guess what? You don’t have to listen to ANY of that anymore. Stay out late. Be a couch potato. Eat unhealthily. Drop out of college. Get hooked on drugs. As an adult, there will be no more handholding. As you can see, losing the strict guidelines of childhood is a mix of the potentially good and the potentially bad. This is the essence of adult life. No one else is going to be around to tell you what to do. If you want to define your own success in this world, it’s time to step it up. Those that succeed are those who can transition from being regulated by others to being regulated by the self. If you don’t care, then go ahead and do that too. Nobody’s going to tell you how to live your life because no one else is responsible if you succeed or fail. It’s all up to you.

Harry Potter vs. Twilight

by Kristy Lee

The long-lasting rivalry between the two franchises has been brewing ever since the beginning of their phenomenal success. In 1997, the world was introduced to the riveting world of wizards when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released. While sitting in a train back to London, J.K. Rowling’s creatively inclined senses were working at its best when she came up with the idea of a young boy who discovers he’s a wizard. Little did she know the fame, fortune, and worldwide acclaim the little black-haired boy with spectacles would bring. From there, we have followed the adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione for 14 years. The word “muggle” was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003. Not only do the books capture the attention of readers of all ages, but reveals the true meaning of friendship, love, enduring hope, and will power.

In 2005, thousands of young girls were pulled into the fascinating world of vampires, werewolves, and more. Stephenie Meyer writes about Bella, a teenage girl who falls deeply in love with Edward, a vampire. When things become shaky, Bella turns to the werewolf, Jacob, creating a love triangle. The frenzy was pushed over the top when the adapted film was released in 2008, producing screaming fans that could deafen one’s ears. No doubt, the books and movies garnished huge achievement and recognition.
Both franchises are at their quintessence of fame and success, but which one is truly better? Beginning with plot, the stories of the series are remarkably interesting and will have one zipping through the books in no time. However, it’s the way the books are written that gives Harry Potter the upper hand. A fifth grader can reach the same meaning and concept of Twilight as oppose to a teenager or young adult who has read the book. In contrast, Harry Potter is easy enough for children to read but has much meaning, depth, and references that a more mature reader can extract, appealing to a broad audience. Twilight mostly appeals to young teenage girls; you can hardly find a boy who reads Twilight, let alone admit he does. Meyer also repeatedly uses words like “glorious”, “pale”, and “dazzling” to describe Edward – anything that has to do with him automatically becomes “glorious.” J.K. Rowling uses a variety of adjectives that truly pinpoint the characters and help the readers relate to their personalities. Stephen King stated, “The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.” Additionally, J.K. Rowling grants Hermione, the female heroine, a strong, girl-powered, and independent personality. In the books, we see her as being the brightest of her class and constantly coming in to rescue her friends, Harry and Ron. On the other hand, Bella is seen as a damsel in distress whose life revolves around Edward. In the second book, when Edward leaves, Bella becomes lonely, reserved, and stressed, revealing her dependence on her boyfriend. She cannot live without Edward being there to protect her and relies heavily on him. Overall, the intriguing plot line to Harry Potter is exceedingly written much better than Twilight’s “glorious” depiction of Edward and the story itself.
Now we move onto the film series of the books. The acting in both is decent, however the cast of Harry Potter does a better job in portraying the emotions of their characters. Kristen Stewart is quite bland in the Twilight movies, but surprisingly, she does a much better job acting in her other films. Stars from Harry Potter and Twilight are known everywhere in the world today. Daniel Radcliffe was named one of the richest actors in the world with his fellow cast-mates not far behind. The Twilight stars are also one of the highest paid actors and actresses of their age. British actor, Robert Pattinson, actually played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2004. Through its years, both film series received numerous awards for its success in the movie industry. Each year, Twilight wins many awards and beats out Harry Potter in award shows like MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards. Yet again, this year’s 2011 MTV Movie Awards rewarded Twilight with a total of five awards while Harry Potter took home one: Tom Felton for Best Villain. Unlike the Oscars, these awards are driven by popularity and are voted by the general public, not by experts inside the industry. Thousands of fan-girls will sit in front of their computers and vote for Twilight in order for them to win. Those who win awards like the MTV ones are popular but winning the award does not necessarily mean they’re acting was done well. It is merely for entertainment purposes and does not properly reward those in the movie industry who does good quality work. For instance, Harry Potter was nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards since the 2011 Oscars while Twilight was nominated for none. Instead, Twilight received a few Razzie nominations, which is an award presented in recognition of the worst in film. Out of all the movies so far, Harry Potter holds an average rating of 83% and Twilight with an average of 43% according to Rotten Tomatoes, each with similar statistics from other film critics. In the list of highest-grossing film series of all time, Harry Potter reaches number one with Twilight behind at number 14. The books, of course, are unequivocally superior to the movies in both franchises but Harry Potter’s film series surpasses Twilight’s with far more favorable ratings and worthy accolades.
All in all, Harry Potter and Twilight are franchises that are one of the most successful and highest-grossing films in the world with equally devoted fans. Their captivating stories have created a whole other world that readers are able to fill with their imagination. The debate of which one is better will never end, but in this case, Harry Potter wins by a long shot. It will be a bittersweet ending when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes out on July 15th. Harry Potter has been a big part of many people’s childhood and has lasted brilliantly till this day. It will be a naked feeling when one realizes there are no more movies to be released. The extensive long lines at book stores, the crazed screaming fans at premieres, and all the publicity from this enormous franchise will all be missed heavily. However, on the bright side, there is still the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida, and there is rumored to be a Harry Potter hotel to be constructed on the outskirts of London near Leavesden Studios. The books will always be around in every bookstore and will continue to leave its mind-blowing legacy on the younger generations, failing to completely end. Harry Potter will never be forgotten as we genuinely say our final, magnificent goodbye in the summer.

Why Not Republican?

by Bel Jacob

Young people and adults seem to groan at the word: politics.  However, neglecting the problems that a country faces never removes them. It has become apparent that the younger generations are often swayed by what the media portrays as popular, but can this also be true in political opinion? It would seem as though that high school students tend follow more liberal ideals and agree more with the Democratic Party; only on a smaller scale can conservative Republican students be found. But why is it that the majority of adolescents seem more lenient toward liberal ideas?

Several factors may come into play with this majority. In a historical context, going back to the baby boom generation, liberal ideologies were pervasive throughout the youth population–some would call them hippies, based on the then-current politics; that generation passed on their ideologies to their later generations. Another possible factor is that the choice to support a liberal party could be a form of rebellion against parents, government, etc. Liberal media may also have played a dynamic role in that it is more commonly viewed as a source of news and information.

Opinions regarding liberal ideology differ, but many attribute it as a part of being young: for example, in his youth, Frank Sinatra was registered as a Democrat from 1944-1968, but then  changed and became a Republican starting from 1970.  His response to the change was simply “The older you get, the more conservative you get.” Nevertheless, regardless of age, it seems as though in today’s society, teens begin adopting the liberal democratic appearance just for the sake of its popularity.
What is truly unsettling is how frequent people will represent a political party and/or its leaders, while at the same time blatantly expressing absolutely no knowledge as to why they support them. For instance, during the election of 2008, T-shirts and memorabilia imprinted with Obama’s symbolic “HOPE” image flooded the hallways of El Segundo High. Curiosities rose as to why so many people suddenly became interested in politics. The majority of which were seniors of the 2009 graduating class, so they were asked simple questions like,

“Why do you support Obama?”

“Which of his policies do you most agree with?”
The majority of the seniors replied with a vague, “I don’t know.” And to think that these seniors were going to vote for something they knew nothing about.

With high hopes, all throughout the past 2 years, a search began for individuals who have been well-versed in politics, and the results were most pleasing. Last year in APUSH, it was exemplified how well senior Colin Elder is knowledgeable about politics. Though he does not formally pick a party side, he is well versed in current and past politics and is always open to speak his mind regarding political situations. Elder explains that ”There is no way a citizen can be uninformed and, at the same time, be helpful to their country at the same time. I’ve never liked politics but it’s necessary to understand the events in our nation.” And this year in Political Behavior, senior Robin Richardson and senior Sara Pandhiani expressed exemplary knowledge of conservative Republican views and over all political savvy. And recently many conservative Republicans find themselves arguing with senior Chenin Matthews because of her liberal Democrat background, and many respect her for the very fact that she is actually knowledgeable about the side she supports. So as a message to all teenagers out there, take an interest in politics, find out what’s happening, be a part of history, and never be kept in the dark.

Movies of 2010-2011

by Shakeel Madhav

1. The Commendable- True Grit: True Grit is a story that is truly as memorable as the original John Wayne classic of years past. True Grit’s strengths rely on that element in itself; the grit, or realism. Hailee Steinfeld, the primary protagonist who is on a mission to kill her father’s murderer, brings a surprisingly in depth and believable performance, pulling off the self-taught maiden archetype without going overboard to the point where she becomes unlikable. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon’s characters serve as ideal foils of one another, as a lawless official drunk and aged past his time in contrast to a young, disciplined ranger who wishes to fulfill the best wishes of the law. Speaking of realism, the story manages to waver away from common clichés and in turn places the protagonists in situations that are suspenseful as they are believable. The Coen Brothers, makers of action films like No Country for Old Men and comedic films such as Burn After Reading manage to bring all that they’ve learned to the table, and in the end, we get a rich, satisfying film that leaves us begging for more.

2. The Generic- Skyline: Surely there must have been some meeting of directors that I wasn’t informed of where they saw reruns of Independence Day, because it feels like every director and his brother is making an invasion film; Invasion Los Angeles, Monsters, Transformers 3, it’s just a wave of popcorn films that is creating a blurred effect of generic films, each as forgettable as the next, with Skyline being the threshold of forgettable films. Skyline is an independent film shot in the big-budgeted Hollywood style, primarily about your typical run-of-the-mill protagonists that spend their time opening and closing blinds for a living. However, when If it wasn’t obvious by my tone, the good guys offer no stance of morality or anything of that manner to draw the audience in and I felt indifference to whether or not they got out alive or not, a trait absolutely essential to any effect-heavy alien invasion film. You know you dun’ goofed when a giant alien behemoth crushes the protagonist’s car flat, and you are more concerned about the stunt car’s condition than the actual characters.

3. The Unexpected- The Green Hornet: It was inevitable that many of the fans of the original that featured Bruce Lee would be antagonized when the archetypal neck beard Seth Rogen behind Superbad and Knocked Up would be chosen to attempt to mimic possibly the greatest fight choreography of all time. However, with famed Taiwanese musician and actor Jay Chou at his side, Seth manages to pull off the ambitious task in a likable manner with little fault. Speaking of the characters, both compliment each other quite well and the plot is built firmly around this relationship; a risky yet successful move. We can connect to the struggle of Britt Reid, a slacker that earnestly wants to impress the world but is patronized in the process. He finds himself in situations outside of his understanding or influence, similar to a child that wants to help out without the tools to do so. On the other hand, Kato is quite capable, being well versed in the best qualities of life; Muscle Cars, heavy weaponry, Kung Fu and tea. He feels just as imprisoned, but more along the lines of lack of place, rather than ability. Thus, each companion helps elevate the other, pr
oviding a diverse partnership rarely seen in cinematography. If only some of the other characters were as refined, then this film would have been truly great, but for what it is, The Green Hornet packs quite a sting.

4. Get this thing off me please it’s tearing at my flesh why did I even- Little Fockers: I never really did understand how the “Fock” the series has flourished as much as it has today; the entire series lies on the fact that Ben Stiller’s character is named Gaylord Focker. The films are entirely reliant on the hope that some immature kid in the audience will laugh at one of the films’ “hilarious jokes” and that will cause a chain reaction of laughter, consequently resulting in the trilogy becoming a listing of unfunny jokes. However, with Little Fockers, nobody laughed. There was no joy, no care, and with that the audience saw the true rotten core of the series, with a vapid plot that was parasitic in thought. Oh, and as soon as the inevitable next mutilation of Murphey’s Law that is the Fockers comes out, my suggestion: Stay the “fock” away, before I have to use that line again.

Academic Stress

by Avery Bass

Have you noticed that you are sleeping and eating less? Are your finger nails down to the nub and do you have frequent headaches? This may be sign of your body telling you you’re stressed out. Stress is a huge problem among teenagers and many who are stressed often don’t know about the problem. How do you know when you’re stressed? And what should you do once you find out that you are a stressed teen?

One of the biggest causes of teenage stress is school.The end of the semester is the most stressful time for high school students.  At the end of the semester students face a heavy load of finals. These can cause major stress on teacher but even more on students.  Many students are given large loads of homework and projects and then choose to put off these assignments till the last minute. Then on the day before the assignments are due, they rush to finish them. You can avoid this by planning ahead on what you are going to work on. Avoiding procrastination is a great way to reduce stress. Taking classes that are too difficult can also stress a person out. Many people find themselves in advanced courses that are just too difficult for them to pass and switch out by talking to their counselor.
Finding a unique activity that you enjoy can greatly reduce stress. Everyone has a different activity that they enjoy doing. Senior Kaitlyn Woodsmall says, “I enjoy Hanging with my friends and watching movies.” Junior Kenneth Hudson says, “ My stress is relieved through music; the more notes I play, the less stressed I am.” There are many different ways to deal with stress. For example, you can create a space to organize your thoughts and calm your mind. Yoga is also a very calming activity. The most common way that teens deal with stress is simply hanging out with friends or family. Stress is a huge problem in high schools, but it can be overcome with time management and de-stressing activities.