Teacher Appreciation Week

By: Amy Morrison

PLACENTIA, CA (May 10-14, 2021) – For Valencia High School the week of May 10 was Teacher Appreciation Week. Throughout the week Valencia’s Associated Student Body (ASB) put together small gifts of gratitude to give to teachers as well as posters to hang up all over the school. 

Throughout the week, teachers got small tokens of appreciation delivered to them in their classrooms. One day it was their favorite soda. Another day it was their favorite candy bar. On the last day of the week, each teacher got a poster with their name and an encouraging message on it as a last show of appreciation. Students were also encouraged to show their gratitude to their teachers in their own way. 

ASB put a lot of effort into making the whole week great for teachers. When asked about how Teacher Appreciation Week went from the organization side of things, ASB President Jackson Hartman stated “With Teacher Appreciation Week, ASB aimed to recognize the valuable contributions teachers have made this year to our learning and the school. Some of the ways we showed our thanks were through candy and drinks deliveries, personalized teachers signs, emails, and department recognition posters around campus. Overall it went well and we hope we showed our gratitude to the teachers who have adapted to teaching such difficult circumstances!”

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) also released a statement on their website acknowledging the difficulties of this year and stating their appreciation for all the teachers of the district. In this statement PYLUSD stated directly to teachers “A sincere ‘thank you’ goes out to each and every one of you during this unique Teacher Appreciation Week. Your commitment to the success of the district’s students is truly what gives us the PYLUSD advantage.”

Editorial: How to Avoid Zoom Fatigue

By: Vivian Wang

PLACENTIA, CA – Penn State University’s Alyssa Cimino states that the average American spends approximately 10 hours and 39 minutes a day using screens. Screen time on devices encompasses TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers, and other devices with screens. After spending countless hours using technology, an individual might experience Zoom fatigue. Zoom fatigue refers to the experience in which an individual feels exhausted from having several online video meetings on Zoom.

Researchers from Stanford University have investigated why individuals experience Zoom fatigue, with some of the underlying issues including excessive eye contact and constant video reflections. During Zoom meetings, an individual feels inclined to constantly make eye contact with their camera since everyone is looking at the screen at the same time. Additionally, Zoom users may find themselves constantly staring at their own video reflection and becoming self-conscious of how they appear on camera.

To mitigate Zoom fatigue, it is important to allocate a designated daily off-screen time, whether it be in the morning or night. Huffington Post’s Chloe Tejada explains that checking one’s smartphone at the beginning of the day can lead to a “all the things I’ve missed since yesterday” mentality. Taking time away from technology in the beginning of the day can lead to increased mindfulness and self-awareness, Tejada iterates.

Since one of the largest factors of Zoom fatigue originates from the ability to view one’s video, another way to address Zoom fatigue is to use the “hide self view” function on Zoom. Hiding self view will prevent oneself from viewing how they appear on camera so that they do not constantly stare at their video appearance. To switch on the “hide self view” option on Zoom, the user should right click on their profile and then select the option to hide their view. LIbby Sander and Oliver Bauman from TED assert that being able to constantly view one’s own face can increase one’s self-consciousness and anxiety. Utilizing the “hide self view” function will allow a Zoom user to focus on the meeting rather than how they appear on camera.

Sitting for extended periods of time with a camera pointed at an individual can become extremely uncomfortable and exhausting. Vignesh Ramachandran from Stanford University outlines a solution; taking a short stretch break with a camera off time will help with the fatigue. When compared to an audio call, video conferencing becomes much more rigid for a caller as they cannot multitask, whether it be with sorting laundry or cleaning a room. Video calls require the caller to be present and constantly viewed by other meeting participants. As such, Ramachandran encourages all video conferencing participants to frequently turn away from their devices so that their bodies can reset. Ramachandran also recommends that individuals using video calling platforms should try to minimize the window so that their face does not fill up their entire computer screen.

Girl’s Tennis: Empire League to CIF

By Snehal Shinh

PLACENTIA, CA – From May 6th and May 7th, the members of Valencia’s Girls Tennis team participated in Empire League Preliminaries and Finals respectively. Both events took place at the Seal Beach Tennis Center hosting competitors from Cypress High School, Pacifica High School, Crean Lutheran High School, and Kennedy High School. Each school sent three singles players and three doubles teams to compete in the tournament. Participating for Valencia were Grace Lee (12), Inso Park(11), and Eileen Kwon (10) for the singles games and Averi Chen (11) and Erin Yi (12), Camille Ives (10) and Halie Sung (12), and Allison Chan (11) and Fernanda Mata (11) for doubles. 

To qualify for the League Finals, the members on each team would have to be a varsity starter. For those unfamiliar, League Finals, like many tennis tournaments, consists of eight seeds. A seed, also referred to as seeding, is the arrangement of players based on their wins for the League season, as defined by TennisPredict in “How Does Seeding Work in Tennis”. 

The Valencia’s Girls Tennis Team was able to make it through Empire League Preliminaries (May 6th), to continue onto Empire League Finals. Inso Park (11) place third, Grace Le (12) followed in fourth place for singles, and Camille Ives (10) and Halie Sung (12) placed fourth for doubles. 

“During individual league finals, though I somewhat expected at least one of us to win because we’d taken the first seed for both singles and doubles, the other team ended up playing much better than we expected, so we took third and fourth place in the end.” Halie Sung comments, sharing,“I was extremely proud of all of us since that meant we were league champions, but I was also proud because it showed that all the hours we’d spent practicing really paid off.” 

This sense of pride was equally matched by Albert Lai, the Girls Tennis coach, “The girls have exceeded all expectations that we had this year.  It was a complete success as we were finally able to beat Cypress, our arch-rival in our league.” Lai also shares how hard the team had been practicing since the return to school, having two sessions a week. It is clear to see that their hard work was not in vain.

While Valencia was not able to qualify for California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) individuals which consists of singles and doubles, the team was able to qualify for CIF as a team. The first match was a clutch match, a nine to nine tie that resulted in a tie-breaker to determine the winner. The next two games allowed the team to make it to the semi finals, where eventually they would drop out, thus concluding the five month season for Girls Tennis.

Classified School Employee Week

By Woohyun Song

PLACENTIA, CA – According to the California School Employees Association (CSEA), ever since the California Senate Bill 1552 was passed in 1986, every year on the third week of May, the state of California celebrates Classified School Employee Week (CSEW). According to the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), classified employee positions are defined to be “every position not defined by the Education Code as requiring a certificate or credential and not specifically exempted”. This includes maintenance and construction workers, clerical staff, and technicians. 

This week is significant because of the many important contributions that classified employees make for the many faculty and students in public education facilities. From providing meals and transportation to enabling them to have a functioning and smooth experience during their stay at school, classified employees are integral to a functioning learning environment. 

These normal challenges that classified employees face have been furthered during the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. The many different classified employees within the district, such as custodial staff, food service workers, bus drivers, office staff, technical staff, paraeducators, school safety officers, and many more have been keeping up with the state’s standards in efforts to both keep the virus at bay and provide the necessary support to students, faculty, and their families as needed. 

An Introduction to Assistant Principal Truong

By: Young Kim

PLACENTIA, CA – In light of recent changes within Valencia High School’s administration, the formerly interim Assistant Principal Will Truong was officially appointed the role of Assistant Principal on May 13, 2021. As a former Tiger, having taught biology and chemistry for eight years, Assistant Principal Truong announced his return to Valencia as, “truly a return home for me.”

Prior to working in Valencia’s administration, Assistant Principal Truong worked as the district’s instructional coach for grades 6-12 for two and a half years. Within this role, he would assist teachers and students in incorporating “more phenomena and sensemaking into science classes to create a common experience that all students can build their understanding of science concepts from” through the Next Generation Science Standards program. Assistant Principal Truong also stated the role of educators as having the honor of “being part of the growth and development of young and creative minds.” 

Assistant Principal Truong’s hobbies include spending time with his fiance and five year old dog, Ollie. He states that they would visit parks to chase squirrels with an emphasis on “never hurting them of course.” Other hobbies include staying active to attend new restaurants. 

In his return to the Valencia campus, Assistant Principal Truong recognizes the similarities and changes that occurred over his period of absence. He noted how “Some things are just as I remembered, and some are even better, like the AC in the New Gym!” He also enjoyed seeing familiar faces of students he had once taught now become seniors who are graduating soon, and could not wait for the return of the student body as a whole. 

With his return to the Valencia Campus, Assistant Principal Truong has already adapted into his new role, such as with his role in the organization of the AP (Advanced Placement) testing. In a closing statement, Assistant Principal Truong stated how “It’s a privilege to be back home at Valencia. Congrats to the Class of 2021 for persevering through the year and making the most of the bright spots.”

Artist of The Year Semi-Finalist: Christian P. Perez

By: Chloe Bruno

PLACENTIA,CA – Christian P. Perez, a senior from Valencia High School, was one of the sixteen students out of 107 nominees to be picked as the Artist of the Year for 2021. Perez was selected by a panel of teachers based on artistic resume, written statements, and performance videos. Perez specializes in Jazz and his primary instrument is an alto saxophone.

Instrumental musicians were selected all over the Orange County area with the specialties of piano and strings, winds and percussion, jazz music, and commercial and world/ cultural music. 

Due to COVID-19 the interview process was differentiated this year as it was held virtually due to COVID restrictions. Nominees also have video recordings of themselves answering questions and performing. The judges are an accumulation of artistic professionals, faculty members from Southern California Universities, and other representatives of high school teachers. 

An article was published by the Orange County Register featuring all 16 semi finalists. Perez’s statement to the Orange County Register was “What is an Artist? This seems like a very deep question at first glance, but I believe that it has a very simple answer: To express yourself in the most personal and intimate way that you possibly can. Some people do that through acting, art, or dance, but I knew from a very young age that music was going to be my purpose in life.” Perez’s performance video was also included with him playing a piece from the Green Dolphin Street with his alto saxophone. 

What is Link Crew?

By: Young Kim

PLACENTIA,  CA – Every year a new class of freshmen enter into a new campus to begin their highschool.  At Valencia High School, Link Crew, a student leadership program made up of juniors and seniors, is enlisted to help these incoming freshmen adjust to the Valencia community and high school life. 

Link crew members first meet freshmen during the freshmen seminar day, held a week before the first day of school. From here on, Link Crew leaders are tasked with assisting freshmen throughout the year to experience events held at school such as a football game tailgate, movie nights, and cram sessions before finals according to the Valencia High School website. The upperclassmen leaders are also tasked with writing a letter a month to their paired freshmen. Katelyn Chang, a current 11th grade Link Crew member, quoted, “Link crew has been an amazing experience to connect with freshmen. Especially when we can’t meet face to face.” 

Valencia Link Crew applications are open once again and can be found on Valencia High School’s front page. The website states the ideal fit for Link Crew are students who are “outgoing and highly motivated students who will support and connect with younger students at VHSand students who can not make it to events or write letters monthly are discouraged from applying. 

With next Fall looking towards a full return on campus, Link Crew Leaders will be around campus ready to help students adjust to the campus. To those looking to apply to become a Link Crew member that have questions, Mrs. Bonet, Mrs. Seibert, and Ms. Kapetanos are able to answer through the school email. 

The Differences between the “Shadow and Bone” Adaptations – Op/Ed

By: Amy Morrison

PLACENTIA, CA – The “Shadow and Bone” trilogy, published in 2010 and written by young adult fantasy novelist Leigh Bardugo, has become a much more widespread phenomenon due to its new adaptation as a Netflix TV show. Bardugo and Eric Heisserer, the show’s creator and executive producer, worked together to bring the world of Shadow and Bone to the big screen. However, fans of the original book series may be either slightly disappointed or even more enthralled with the series because of changes made in the adaptation, according to USA Today’s article “Review: Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ is a good fantasy adaptation that could have been so much better.”

One of the biggest changes made in the TV show is the inclusion of five characters, Kaz Brekker, Jasper Fahey, Inej Ghafa, Nina Zenik, and Matthias Helvar, who are not originally part of the “Shadow and Bone” series, but are originally introduced in the sequel series called “Six of Crows.” The addition of these characters to the original plotline of “Shadow and Bone” caused a long list of differences between the book and the show; however, Bardugo and Heisserer stood by their decision to include them. The “Six of Crows” duology is more loved by fans than the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy with a rating 0.46 higher on GoodReads, leading to Heisserer and Bardugo Ultimately adding them to the show. Despite the plethora of discrepancies this new plotline caused, the story as a whole remained consistent.

Another large difference between the books and the TV show was the characterization of one of the love interests and childhood best friend of the protagonist, Mal Oretsev. As stated in a Bazaar article “Netflix’s Shadow and Bone Gives Leigh Bardugo’s Books a Glittering Upgrade” Mal was not a very likable character and was not very well received by the fans of the book. The same article mentions that in the adaptation, Bardugo and Heisserer wanted to give more of Mal’s story and motivations and were able to do so when they found Archie Renaux, the actor who landed the role of Mal. Heisserer even goes so far as to say in a Nerdist’s article “How Shadow and Bone Built a Romance You Can Root For” that the character was reinvented into the perfect boyfriend.

One of the last large discrepancies between the “Shadow and Bone” books and the new series is one character, known to book readers as the Darkling and to show watchers as General Kirigan. Aside from the obvious name change, which Bardugo told the Los Angeles Times was for convenience on screen, the characterization of the Darkling was greatly changed in the adaptation. In the books, the Darkling is characterized as a revered and feared general as well as a master manipulator. He is very clearly the villain. In the show, General Kirigan is characterized as a regular man and someone who was merely seeking the love of the protagonist. While Kirigan may turn into the show’s antagonist, he is by no means characterized as a villain and instead portrayed as a misunderstood soul. In an interview with Collider Bardugo and Ben Barnes, the actor who plays General Kirigan, were quoted in the article “‘Shadow and Bone’ Author Breaks Down the Darkling and His Complicated Feelings Toward Alina” saying that part of the goal in characterizing both Kirigan and the Darkling was to make the viewers sympathize with him while still being able to see that he was abusing his power, and ultimately in the wrong.

In Vanity Fair’s article “Shadow and Bone Creators Break Down Those Big Book Changes”, Bardugo and Heisserer are mentioned as having to tweak many different aspects of the book, including the Darkling’s name, to make the storyline make sense in a TV show. As mentioned in multiple of the aforementioned articles including Bazaar’s and Vanity Fair’s, Leigh Bardugo had control over the changes made to her world of characters and even endorsed a majority of the changes.

Valencia National Honor Society’s Tiger Tutoring Program

By: Vivian Wang

PLACENTIA, CA – The National Honor Society (NHS) at Valencia High School is responsible for representing the four pillars of NHS: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Each week, Valencia High School’s NHS hosts the Tiger Tutoring Program to support students in their school work through tutoring and mentorship. In a student’s junior year, select students receive an invite from the Valencia High School NHS advisors which includes an application to join NHS. Scholars who are admitted to NHS automatically become volunteer tutors for the Tiger Tutoring program. NHS scholars must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA, pursue a rigorous course load, and volunteer at least six hours at Tiger Tutoring. At Valencia, Ms. Lauren Bakunas and Mr. Calen Rau oversee all of the National Honor Society activities.

In previous years, Tiger Tutoring was hosted in Valencia’s library. Tutors were dispersed throughout the library and placed at different tables. Each table emphasized a different subject, ranging from biology to calculus. Students could bring their textbook to a tutor so that a tutor could guide the student through the question. 

This school year, Valencia NHS’s Tiger Tutoring transitioned to an online format such that all tutoring sessions have been hosted on Zoom. This free tutoring program is offered every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday afterschool, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. In stark contrast from the traditional format of Tiger Tutoring, this year’s online format for Tiger Tutoring has allowed the tutoring program to expand; elementary school students can also join the sessions for school work help. An article posted on Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s Good News Report explains that the Tiger Tutoring program has expanded to elementary schools including Melrose, Ruby, Morse, and Van Buren. Elementary students and current Valencia High School students do not have a limit for the number of tutoring sessions that they may attend.

During the Tiger Tutoring sessions, a tutor is matched with a student; they are then moved to a breakout room where they can engage in a back-and-forth conversation about the school work, whether it be a difficult math problem or a higher-level Spanish novel. Tiger Tutors complete a mandatory training program so that they could learn how to properly tutor a student. Tutors have been trained by the NHS advisors to engage with their students through Socratic Questioning, a teaching method that empowers the students to find their own answers with inquisitive thinking. Implemented by the Tiger Tutors, Socratic Questioning requires that the tutors do not explicitly share answers but rather guide the student to the answer by asking questions.

Shweta Shah, a Valencia High School senior and Tiger Tutor, comments, “Tiger Tutoring is a great place for seniors in the National Honor Society to help students not only at Valencia High School but also at nearby elementary schools. The times I attended Tiger Tutoring as a tutor, I was fortunate to tutor a fifth grader in mathematics. We began with long division and two-by-two multiplication and later began working with fractions. It was the most gratifying thing to see her understand these foundational math concepts so she can succeed not only in her current math class but also in the future.” 

Tiger Tutoring will continue throughout May as students enter the peak of AP testing season and end of year examinations.

How the Visual Arts Have Adapted to Online Learning

By Snehal Shinh

“Teaching online has presented many challenges. drawing, painting and ceramics are all very hands-on. It is difficult to demonstrate to someone how to add or change something on their piece without having the piece in front of you.” – Sherrie Olive

Sherrie Olive, one of many visual arts teachers at Valencia High School, shared how teaching art through Zoom has had many complications. Many teachers faced difficulties in adjusting their methods of teaching and engaging their students in the remote setting. As stated by Olive, art is a very hands-on process requiring the physical aspect of learning, something that was previously no longer an option.  

Initial Struggles

Many of Valencia’s visual art teachers have spoken about their endeavor to retain their students’ attention and keep them engaged. Much of this strife was due to students refusing to turn their cameras on or participate in class. Rayan Riech, the Visual Arts department chair, adds, “Also just the building of our classroom community is not the same…the interaction with teachers is also very different. We can’t show them and demonstrate techniques the same way online as we do when they are in class.”

Additionally, with the way art classes experiment with specific tools and material, the sudden shift to online had left the arts struggling to adapt. Providing materials for students was described as challenging. Before the switch to digital education, supplies were shared from class to class; however, once students were completely remote, five times the amount of the class materials needed to be purchased with the same budget, and orders could not be placed, Olive explained. Most teachers bought supplies for their students first and were later reimbursed. Normally these costs would be covered by donations, but the sudden overwhelming nature of the pandemic had affected many families so donations were not a possibility. 

Casey Riggs, a photography teacher, has had to accommodate his teaching due to the various technology and equipment that students had at home. Riggs described the teaching process had become a “multi step process” as students, in a traditional in-class setting, worked at a similar pace. “When we were all distant, it was a bit easier. We could focus on smaller tasks and then move on as a class (everyone seemed to be on the same page),” said Riggs, “things shifted and so did how we teach.” Teaching both hybrid and remote learners resulted in Riggs’s attention being split, and students were at various stages in their projects. 

Overcoming Adversary

“We have had to become flexible and adapt to the constant changes.”, as put by Riech, had made the most difference in how they have been able to teach. Part of this flexibility comes with the use of technology and becoming comfortable with these resources that may be completely new to some teachers. One of the first biggest changes Olive made to her teaching style was to do as much as she could by reaching out to her students through email and later versed herself with the various applications she now incorporates daily such as google classroom, breakout rooms, and a document camera. Additionally, Riggs views both his and his students’ flexibility as an achievement, “But again, we adjusted and made it work. As long as the students are learning and enjoying their time, I call that a win.”At the beginning of the school year, Reich provided students with the necessary tools, such as clay, during distribution days, both at the front of Valencia and the library. Since March, ceramics has been providing after school studio hours on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays allowing students to grab materials, get one on one help, and glaze or paint projects. Both Lauren Schultz, another ceramics teacher at Valencia, and Riech have been able to make home deliveries for students that could not come on campus for pickups. Schultz adds “It has been fun to see a student at their home and chat with them for a bit and actually get to see them face to face … We have students learning the potters wheel, students handbuilding and students glazing/painting. We get to fire their projects and see their happy faces when their projects are all fired and ready to take home.”