Fast Food

Fast Food

Over the past 70+ years, the average American has maintained the philosophy “cheaper, faster, and better” when it comes to their food choices. But in today’s society “better” is starting to be questioned, as most fast-foods are actually not good for you. This includes, not just meals from fast food-chains, but TV dinners or any preferred frozen entree that can be easily placed into a microwave or conventional oven, preheated at 350 degrees, then consumed. So are all of these easy meals good for you? Without a doubt these dinners qualify for faster and cheaper, which is important in today’s economy, but grabbing a banana and some almonds is just as easy and filling. In regard to fast-food chains, they are pretty much bad for you all together. Supposedly, the cheese at some fast-food establishments is not real cheese; those who are fast-food restaurant veterans just say, “Well, if it’s not cheese its playing the part; its cheese’s stunt double, I don’t care.” Even Subway has unhealthy selections for their “$5 foot-long.” Just because someone ordered a meatball sub or a chicken Parmesan with extra cheese and marinara sauce at a Subway does not mean he or she is eating healthy. KFC, on the other hand, is trying to go healthier with their “Grilled” chicken, despite some very contradicting seasoning, the most confusing being KFC’s beef powder seasoning . Is KFC cooking Houdini Drumsticks? It’s like all the turkey substitutes for pork. Mitch Hedberg once said, “There’s turkey-ham, turkey bacon, turkey baloney; it’s like come on turkey, just be yourself for once.” Even worse, the grilled chicken contains an additive called maltodextrin (a fancy name for sugar), often used in potato chips; it is safe but not healthy for you. The worst is mono sodium glutamate (a.k.a MSG), which can be extremely unhealthy if eaten excessively. The bottom line is to just be cautious of what you choose to eat and and at least try to keep eat fast-food in moderation.

Awful, Jaded Dating

Awful, Jaded Dating

Have you found yourself striking out lately? Do you think you might be developing an allergy to dating- or maybe even just people in general? I don’t blame you, people kind of suck. A lot. Alas have no fear, I am here to give you the lowdown on how to escape the hells of high school dating. Trust me, there are many levels.

First and foremost, we encounter the awkward stage. Assuming you’ve moved past your st-st-stuttering first ask out, hand holding is your first awkward-as-all-get-out hurdle. Look, hand holding is sweaty. And awkward. I do not recommend it personally. People have cooties. Touching in general allows cooties to proliferate. Hence, no touching.

Moving right along, we come to the first kiss. I know what you’re wondering: lefty? Righty? Cheek? Lips? Forehead? Well I wouldn’t recommend the forehead; that’s putting you right back in the awkward phase. Just try not to miss. And try to avoid any unfortunate collisions betweens noses, chins, teeth or any combination of the above.

So that’s it, you got your perfect love story, perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/hopefully humanoid being, right? Think again. There are a multitude of complexities dating someone heralds. According to senior Julia Dwyer, “One of the worst things about dating is being known as a duo instead of just yourself.” Beware of combined name sy
ndrome. Not everyone’s name blends quite so well as the infamous Brangelina. We all rue the day Bobby and Dianne become Dobby. House elves just aren’t that cute.

Well as much as I hate to burst bubbles, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re still in high school. That means you don’t get a happy ending. It means you guys are going to break up. Sorry. It’s not the end of the world you know. Sophomore Chris Highland would like to remember you, “Dating means not being able to maekout with other people.” There are ways to survive the nuclear fallout mostly intact- with no strange new appendages at least.

Remember, there is a delicate balance to be preserved here. You neither want to be the clingy, crazy one nor the heartbreaking tool. So first off, never ask for gifts back. Do I really need to say this? It’s just not classy. Try to refrain from calling them every waking minute of the day. It’s just not cute. Never, ever pen a pathetically sappy love poem for the object of your affections. Look, chances are you suck at it anyway; but even if it is good a love poem is no guarantee your sorry but won’t get dumped and you’re going to end up thinking about what an idiot you are at sporadic intervals throughout your day. Trust me, you don’t want to do that to yourself.

Also, never expect to get back together with your ex. If you expect it then your heart’s going to get broken every day that you don’t. If you don’t expect it and it does happen, then hey, what a happy little surprise for you. In the end, keeping the breakup as amicable and cool as possible is imperative. You want to seem like you’re having the time of your life now that you’re finally free of their reign of terror.

The New Standard of Achievement

“There is a lot more pressure to excel at everything at once and at times it’s unfair to us. We forget we are young and consequently, we don’t get to enjoy our youth as much” -Senior Armando Clemente

As spring begins, many senior friends of mine have been receiving responses from the colleges and universities they applied to. These are students who have achieved high marks in their many advanced classes, with schedules consisting of honors courses and even a few Advanced Placement courses during sophomore year. They have maintained a high GPA for the majority of their high school careers, keeping the average at nearly 4.5, and yet these seniors have been rejected from many top schools such as UC Berkeley, Princeton and Stanford.

How could these students be rejected when they have accomplished so much? The candid answer: standards have been raised and a new bar of academic excellence has been brought forth. Consequently, students have had to adopt new lifestyles, sacrificing much of their adolescent freedom in order to engage in endless hours of preparatory class. Not only must these students take on astronomical hours of studying, but they also have to spend countless hours outside of school, devoting their responsibilities to extracurricular activities.

Years ago, before the norm was exponentially raised, students of older generations could pass their high school career with more lenient requirements. Most of the time success in education was dictated by success in work; that is, the harder one worked to learn, the more future opportunities would exist for them. Remnants of this system still exist now, but many more additions have come forth to test students of the new millennium.

The advent of new requirements has truly elevated the competitive level of the college admissions process. Colleges are looking for “well-balanced” students, a misnomer that shrouds the true intention of the admission process. Students are now expected to balance all these high level classes with excessive amounts of sports and extracurricular activities, such as community service, all for the sake of showing colleges that they are capable of this type of superhuman juggling. The level of competition has been raised to near inhuman levels as these . Regarding the entire affair about excessive hours of extracurricular activities, senior Jonathan Lin questions “What is the point of piling on extracurricular if you won’t be applying them in your life after high school?”

With AP exams and other standardized tests looming just around the corner, some students may begin to reconsider their current educational plans. No longer are the usual two honors courses coupled with a transcript replete with a motley of A’s and B’s, a decent 1900 on the SAT, plus a few club memberships enough for colleges to consider students. Nowadays, with much of the nationwide student body aiming at prestigious universities such as UCLA, Duke, Brown, and Yale, students must not only maintain these absurdly high grades and score near perfect on standardized tests, but must also adjust their schedules to compensate for an assortment of extracurricular activities. Even with these higher standards, the ultimate goal is still very far away; students are competing with not only their fellow classmates for these coveted college openings, but also against thousands of other students from across the nation and even the world.

This new level of achievement is truly outrageous, insane and unrealistic. Although some very rare individuals manage to successfully create a precariously balanced tower of this motley package for colleges, many more students cannot keep up with this raging surge of academic pressure. The college admissions process has developed too many variables that have negatively skewed the decision process, rejecting many potential applicants.

AP Testing and Prom

AP Testing and Prom by Cora Chong
Millions of students across the nation have spent nearly nine months reading, completing practice exams, and stressing over the notorious Advanced Placement tests. These tests demand an enormous amount of energy from the students, who may or may not spend many sleepless nights worrying about the upcoming tests. The tests are administered during the first two weeks of May, which for many years have been the accepted “AP weeks.” During these weeks, an AP students’ adrenaline levels run the highest; it is highly recommended that students aren’t bothered too much during these times.
Coincidentally, El Segundo High School’s prom planning committee has decided to push that adrenaline rush a bit past the limit the last two years. What fun it would be to sandwich prom in between the two most stressful weeks of high school life! Prom is ideally a romantic night to remember, one of the keystone moments of high school that should be celebrated fondly. To dance away with friends or sweethearts under the stars, to ride in a limousine for the first time, or to eat a fancy dinner certainly sounds wonderful. But the reality is this: how can a student, especially a senior, fully enjoy that key moment when they are plagued by upcoming AP tests? That Saturday, May 8, could have been that one last review session the student needed to feel comfortable and to pass the AP Biology, AP Spanish Literature, AP Physics test or AP English Language and Comp exams. Although most students will choose to go to prom rather than stay at home to study, all the students enrolled in an AP class would benefit from having prom set for a later date. It is understandable that the prom location is chosen and reserved during sophomore year for the prom planning committee, and that the location does not always have dates open to be reserved, but having prom after the AP’s would surely be beneficial to the scholars of ESHS. As Senior Alicia Maples states: “I think it is difficult to focus after the biggest event of the year, and I do not understand how they can expect the best from the students, especially from the seniors at this time.” Luckily for the Juniors, prom is likely to be planned at a later date for next year. For now the seniors will have to study earlier so as not to ruin the highly anticipated night.

Can Anyone Afford College?

Can Anyone Afford College?

As May 1st approaches, the hallways seem full of seniors spouting a litany of acceptances, future plans and scholarship essay topics. While freshmen and sophomores can exist solely in the high school bubble, juniors and seniors are quickly becoming painfully aware of the reality of college on the horizon. For juniors, this means investigating colleges and taking another look at next year’s class options. For seniors, it means a veritable flurry of housing forms, last-minute campus visits, and a merciless comparison of financial aid and scholarship offers. For many, this last element will be the deciding factor in picking a college. Being accepted to an institution that is a match academically, socially and geographically is fantastic, but the price tag can make or break the offer. This is especially true in California, where UC schools and CSUs are being forced to increase annual tuition costs while reducing access to classes. The impacted state of many programs may prevent many students from completing their education in the expected 4 years; they are simply not able to take all their required classes. Avoiding this means attending an even more expensive private school (with the hope of increased aid) or heading to another state (with out-of-state tuition). It is a truth universally acknowledged that the financial aid formulas grossly over-estimate the ability of the family to support a child in college. Without a serious overhaul of the system, parents (and students) should start eyeing their surplus kidneys.

Larry King

Larry King has officially busted the age-old belief that old people aren’t supportive of the new waves of technology that emerge with each generation. Instead of joining the familiar, frustrated voices of grannies all across America who can’t seem to turn on a computer, the King is getting down and now urges viewers to visit his Facebook page and to ‘Tweet’ him. King rocks the social networks, wide rimmed glasses, celebrity connections, suspenders and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was sporting a fresh pair of Nike SBs under that desk. It is not only amusing and bizarre to watch CNN and hear Larry King say, “Tweet me,” but actually a serious modern business strategy. As with all crazes, there is significant money to be made, and the business tycoons aren’t missing an opportunity to whack Americans over the head like a piñata full of money. They’re eagerly sticking their greedy little mitts right into the system of social networking like children fighting for candy that spilled from a cardboard character onto the concrete. Twitter accounts are set up and facebook statuses are posted in order to advertize and gain publicity. Perhaps inspiration for this new method was obtained from observing the average high school student try to gain fame by prostituting themselves off through the posting of numerous face book statuses a night. While Larry King and other business moguls may not be making albums dedicated to the ‘sick weekend’ they had, they do recognize the importance of the social networking community, and once again a cultural movement has occurred.

Sierra Sparling

El Segundo High School is honored to have our very own representative as one of the ten winners in California who have submitted moving essays about the school budget cuts: junior Sierra Sparling. The topic was “The Future of Education in California,” and the essay had to be two pages maximum in length. A very proud Mrs. Stucken says, “It is so impressive that out of all the entries throughout the State of California, Sierra represents El Segundo High School as one of the ten recipients of this honor. Her articulate essay reveals that students do care about their educations.” In her essay, Sierra states, “The future of the California education system will not be salvaged unless the initiative is taken by the government as well as the public. The people’s awareness of the problems facing education today is a key component to the success of the reform.” Sierra will now travel to Sacramento with Mrs. Stucken to participate in LegiSchool’s annual Student Legislature Summit in Sacramento on April 8th. There, they will tour the governor’s office, meet state legislatures, and participate in a student-run press conference where Sierra will be able to ask questions about the education reform: “I feel proud and privileged that I have the opportunity to articulate my thoughts and opinions about the future of education, a topic that directly affects me and my society.” Well done Sierra!