Should We Schedule?

By: Woohyun (Joshua) Song

The quarantine has destroyed any semblance of structure to the lives of many people as many businesses, public facilities, and social interaction shut down. This has made it quite difficult for many to keep track of time, causing a fair amount of people to spend hours, days, or even weeks in a minimally productive state. Even when one mentally recognizes that this is an issue and desires to remedy these issues, it is often quite challenging to take the first step into becoming more productive. People often fail to realize that one of the easiest solutions is to begin scheduling out their day. One of the easiest and most effective ways to take this first step is to start scheduling out one’s life. 

Scheduling is something that many people are aware of but don’t utilize to its fullest potential. A schedule can great;y increase efficiency and clarity to those who feel overwhelmed with their busy schedules. Many businesses and organizations have extensive uses of schedules because of this as well. 

I would say that the main benefit of scheduling comes from the incredible amount of clarity that one can obtain from writing things down and seeing what is coming up. The fact that one has to write things down in a certain order also forces one to set up priorities and  clearly work out what their goal is. By setting up these clear priorities and goals, one could get the more important tasks accomplished first, and then the less important tasks later. A list would also help the user minimize missing important deadlines or checkpoints during their work, especially for longer projects. This also allows for one to distribute tasks in a way to best conserve one’s energy and to produce the most effective end results. By choosing the tasks that most closely align with one’s objectives, it becomes significantly easier to manage one’s time and stress levels, and eventually free up significant chunks of time in one’s schedule. 

Within the modern era, more options for scheduling have become available to the general public such as the standard calendar, a planner, or even digital services such as Google Calendar. Personally, I like to use Google Calendar to plan out my week as it  easily synchronizes with my different devices, making it easy for me to see what is next on my agenda without too much hassle. Some people, however, prefer the tangible nature of physical pen and paper in the form of a planner or even a basic calendar, even if it is less versatile. The school also offers planners every year to students so that they can effectively plan out their school lives and academics. A fair amount of students at school can often be seen using either these planners or their own personal ones to write things such as school assignments or even personal plans within their planners. 

The effectiveness of planners combined with their versatility makes planners a great option for anyone looking to boost their productivity and perhaps put their life back into a more structured form.

Dumplin’ Movie Review

By: Inso Park 

Dumplin’, a Netflix original movie, touches on issues that many teenage girls struggle with. The story follows Willowdean Dickson, nicknamed Dumplin, and her journey in performing in a pageant in order to prove to her mother that her size does not dictate her beauty. Willowdean’s mom, a former pageant queen, is so focused on running the pageant that she fails to fulfill her duties as a mother.

The movie is set in a small town in Texas called Clover City. The film begins by showing clips of Willowdean with her aunt who similarly to Willowdean is plus-sized. Willowdean’s aunt served as her inspiration and a mother figure. The two of them go on countless adventures together and when Willowdean’s aunt passes, she feels alone and lonely. She feels as if she can’t turn to her mom because her  mom is the one who came up with the nickname “dumplin’” because of her plus size figure. To add on to her problems, Willowdean begins to develop a crush on the popular guy at school and when he begins to like her back, her insecurities start to show. After losing herself a little and a cameo from Dolly Parton, Willowdean regains her confidence.

The movie preaches the overarching theme of appreciating all body sizes and places an emphasis on helping developing girls love their bodies. It also sheds light on the underrepresentation of the plus-size community in the pageant world. 

This PG-13 rated movie addresses the issues that many teenage girls face with the insecurities of their body in a lighthearted way.   Although the script of the movie is cheesy and predictable, I would recommend watching it if you are looking for a fun rom-com movie that sheds light on some serious issues. Overall, I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

Sports During Social Distancing

By: Amy Morrison

For the past 6 months, the coronavirus has made our lives and regular activities unrecognizable. Wearing masks has become the norm, online school has started for almost everyone, almost all of our events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. This list is not limited to the sports and tournaments. While many professional sports leagues have begun practicing and playing again, high school sports are a different story with Valencia as no exception. 

Our athletics department has taken a hit in this new world that we live in. The district has been updating the parents and coaches about the new policies that they’ve put in place concerning sports. The biggest general change has been the new timing for all the seasons. Since the spread of COVID had not started to diminish when school was about to start, the district decided that fall sports could not start when they normally would have. Instead, they have been pushed back with the “fall” season starting in December. . While the new policies are district wide, they are generalized because sports have a wide range of environments. The new qualifications are pretty limiting since most of our sports require contact to play or in an enclosed environment. 

The district has deemed that any sport that can social distance and be outside is allowed to practice. If, when playing the sport, the athletes can not social distance the teams are allowed to condition or train but only if they can social distance and be outside during that activity. On top of these restrictions, any events that promote congregation or would require close contact are also not allowed, which means  tournaments can not be played. 

While all of these new policies make sense with the way things are in our world, that doesn’t mean athletes and coaches aren’t disappointed they won’t get their regular season. Coach Marganian, who coaches boys water polo, has expressed that his team is “. . . pretty bummed about not being able to practice/play and are eager to get started.” Although, ways to practice are pretty limited some teams are still figuring out ways to do so. Coach Thorne, who coaches volleyball, is working on at-home conditioning through Zoom in order to maintain the athletes’ physiques with a focus on injury prevention. 

While it is very disappointing for the athletes to not be able to spend time with teammates, train, or play competitively in front of audiences it is more important to instill the proper protocols to protect everyone. 

Vegetarian Cooking: Veggie Burrito

By: Snehal Shinh 

Being vegetarian can be a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to turn popular meals that aren’t very vegetarian friendly into something that is. So, for this week here’s something both easy and delicious to make: burritos. 

Ingredients:

  1. Flour tortillas or corn tortillas
  2. Vegetarian refried beans  
  3. 1 Packet of taco spices & seasoning mix (I use LAWRY’S)
  4. Shredded cheddar jack cheese  
  5. ½ an onion
  6. Green bell peppers
  7. Tomatoes 
  8. Shredded lettuce 

Preparation (5 to 10 minutes): 

Preparation is quick and simple.

After washing your fresh vegetables, chop and dice the onion, green bell peppers, and tomatoes. The onion and bell peppers will add to the texture of the burritos as they have a flavorful crunch. The tomatoes can create either a sweet or tangy splash that makes the burritos so savory. 

To prepare the beans, use a small pan and set the stove on medium to high heat. Before mixing the seasoning with the beans, use a little water to soften the texture of the beans. Not only does the water thin the beans, it makes it easier for the seasoning to be mixed thoroughly. 

The tortillas are incredibly fast to get ready as all you need to do heat up the tortillas with the stove on low heat. By heating it up slightly, the tortilla becomes softer, making folding the burrito will be much easier.

Once you’ve finished this, you’re ready to assemble your burritos. 

Assembling (5 minutes)

Assembling the burrito is easy, and the fun part (or at least it is for me). Lay the tortilla flat and  spread the beans onto the bottom half of the tortilla, you can spread as much as you like, I normally use a little more than a spoon. Now you can spread the vegetables and shredded lettuce over the beans, this can be as little as a sprinkle or as much as a handful. Finally, you can throw your cheese on top. Again, with all ingredients, you can put as much or as little as you want. 

Now the fun part, folding the burrito. Simply make two folds on one of the sides, then the top and bottom and roll the other side. This ensures that nothing can spill out when eating. Place the burrito back into the pan used to heat the tortilla, you can use a small amount of cooking oil to grill the burrito but you don’t need to. Occasionally flip the burrito to ensure that the cheese is melted. And just like that, you’ve crafted a vegetarian burrito.

Food Review

The seasoned beans create a savory flavor that contrasts with the tortilla in just the right ways. When grilled, the tortilla contrasts beyond flavor through texture.  Similarly, the crunchy vegetables and lettuce stand out against the smooth texture of the beans. The tomatoes are juicy and join the beans to create the perfect harmony   of texture. You can fully enjoy your creation with a side of tortilla chips and guacamole and/or salsa. To make your burrito a little more fun and messy with textures you can crunch up tortilla chips and put them into your burrito. It’s as if you’re eating a crunch wrap!  Dousing your burrito in hot sauce gives you a roundhouse kick to your taste buds or if you are not able to handle a large amount of hot sauce, even a small amount is enjoyable and elevates their taste. 

Personally I believe that the seasoning along with the vegetables creates such a savory flavor that just thinking about it makes my mouth water. The flavors truly rival that of Taco Bell’s or any other burrito chain.

Returning to School

By: Young Kim

It seemed like only yesterday when the whole world shut down. Students were cheering all across the world at the thought of being able to attend class in bed. To others, they were anxiously waiting to return to attend physical classes. As the months slowly passed during quarantine, students slowly began to realize that maybe classes with social interaction weren’t such a bad thing after all. Everyone suddenly became anxious waiting for the announcement that school would reopen and they could step onto the campus and return to a normal world. 

Unfortunately, the awaited announcement at the end of summer never came. Instead PYLUSD made the calculated decision to hold off on in class teaching until the pandemic was contained enough that it was safe for students to return to campus. The district also announced that when schools did return to in person teaching they would start the transition through smaller hybrid classes in order to uphold social distancing as much as possible. So that begs the question: what would school look like if we returned? 

As of now, the district revealed that there have been extensive efforts to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spreading throughout the school. A few changes include: additional hand sanitizing stations throughout campus, desk shields, air purifiers for classrooms, and accessible masks for students and faculty. There will also be directional arrows to guide students through the campus to minimize traffic within the halls. Fortunately, busses will run with a spaced out format. Families have also been tasked with the responsibility of reacting to symptoms of COVID-19 with care. While these are preliminary plans, a full report detailing the full extent of changes is reportedly going to be announced as soon as the district is cleared to reopen. 

Social interactions between students will also most likely be different. While people are used to the close social environments of lunch and break, students must remember to keep their distance as they mitigate physical interactions. As abnormal as this may be for many students, we all play a role in maintaining our families’ safety. 

So far all school events have been postponed, which means that the annual Bell Game and school dances have been canceled until further notice. While this is devastating news, it reminds us the importance of social distancing so that we can return to our normal lives. 

With both students and faculty eager to return to a “physical” learning environment, it is important that the reopening be handled with extreme caution.  The health and wellness of families should be the main concern before deciding to open up social interactions. In order for the transition back to a normal school setting to be possible, we must all play our roles in minimizing the risk involved by social distancing and getting tests periodically. 

To conclude, here are a few encouraging words from Ms. Yaung, our school principal, “While we cannot be together in person, please know that your teachers have dedicated their summer to creating effective learning environments for you. We are all working diligently behind the scenes to create a safe and healthy environment for you to return to and we cannot wait to welcome you back. Though the landscape of school has changed, our care for you has never wavered. We will navigate these times together and we will come out of it stronger and better than before due to the empathy and resilience built. Stay strong, Tigers.”