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.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month -Editorial

By Woohyun Song

PLACENTIA, CA – May is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (formerly Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in 2009), which celebrates and recognizes the cultural and historical effects and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. According to a recent study by CSUSB (California State University, San Bernardino), anti-Asian hate crime has increased by 150%. With this rise in Asian American crimes in the United States, various media outlets have increased their focus this month on celebrating the heritage of these peoples this month because of this. 

According to AsianPacificHeritage.gov, although a period of time designated for these ethnic groups was initially proposed by former congressional staffer Jeanie Jew in the 1970s, this action was later introduced as a bill into the United States House of Representatives by Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta. In this bill, the first ten days of May were to be designated as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. On October 5th, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for this event.

This was proposed to be in May as the first documented Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States on May 7th, 1843; as well as due to May 10th,1869 when the golden spike was driven into the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was a project that heavily relied on Chinese labor. 

Besides this, Asian Americans have been in deep involvement with not only the United States as a country but also the physical land and continent that the United States borders include even before its independence. From the first arrival of the Filipinos in 1587, the Indians in 1635, the Chinese in 1778, Native Hawaiians in 1788, the Japanese in 1806, the Koreans in 1884, the Vietnamese in 1912, among many other ethnicities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been closely involved in the growth and development of the land that we call the United States today. 

Many aspects of Asian American and Pacific Islander Culture are embedded into the collective culture of the United States, from the food, to cities, and even close-by neighborhoods all across the country. During this time of both global domestic unrest, a collective effort must be made to not only stand with your friends and family, but also to the millions who are struggling globally right now. 

How to Make Dali Hui Moong and Toor Dal

By Snehal Shinh

Craving for some Indian food, but are not able to get a fix? Here is one recipe that anyone can make at home! 

Ingredients:

  1. Half a cup of moong dal (petite yellow lentils)
  2. Half a cup of toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  3. Four cups of water
  4. Two spoons of oil (or ghee)
  5. Salt as needed
  6. One tablespoon of turmeric powder
  7. One tablespoon of red chili powder
  8. One tablespoon of garam masala 
  9. One spoon of coriander powder
  10. Green chili (optional and as much as wanted)
  11. Half an onion
  12. Two tomatoes
  13. Four cloves of garlic
  14. A slice of ginger
  15. Fresh coriander leaves for garnish 

How to Make the Dal (total cook time: 20 minutes):

This dish consists of only two major steps. The second step is where most of the ingredients go, so multitasking is a great ally in speeding up the process. 

Step one: the Dal

Begin by rinsing the dal well before putting it in a pot. Then add the four cups of water and let it boil. Once the water begins to boil, set the stove to a simmer (or a low setting), allowing the dal to cook. While it is cooking, add one tablespoon of turmeric powder and salt to adjust seasoning as needed. A tell-tale sign of the dal being finished is its softness. 

Step two: the Tadka 

Tadka, in English, is known as “tempering”. This is a technique that takes whole or ground spices and is briefly roasted in oil or ghee (clarified butter). While traditionally ghee is used, oil can be used in its place. The purpose of tadka is to release essential oils-which makes the dish more aromatic. Adding tadka to an Indian dish is very common, usually with dals and sambar, which is a lentil stew with tamarind broth, though it can also be added to curries. Typically, this is added to the dish either before or after; in this case it is done after as a finishing touch. 

Continue by putting two spoons of oil or ghee in a pan. Add chopped garlic and onion to oil and begin sauteing it until it turns a light golden brown. Once that is achieved, add one spoon of coriander powder, one tablespoon of red chili, and garam masala. For those that enjoy more of a spicy flavor, add some green chilies. Mix well for two minutes on low heat, then add chopped tomatoes and ginger. After mixing this, let the tadka cook on low heat for five to ten minutes, at that point the oil should begin to start separating and the tomatoes will be cooked. It is also important to mix every so often to prevent the tadka from burning and sticking onto the pan. 

Once everything has been cooked, add the tadka to the dal and mix well. As a finishing touch, chop up some coriander leaves and garnish the dish. 

Food Review

Paired with basmati rice, roti, or naan, dali hui moong and toor dal is a classic Indian dish. Without the addition of green chilies, this dish would be perfect for those who prefer a less spicy taste. Conversely, for the spice lovers out there, add as much as wanted for that kick. Another way to boost flavors is with atchar, which is a spicy (sometimes sweet) pickle or relish of sliced vegetables or fruit. 

Texture-wise, the dish is quite soft. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, for those that love a harder or crunchier dish, this may not be a favorite. As a way to get that crunch, try some slices of raw onions on the side; not only do they add that crunchy texture, but they also bring a bit of bite. 

Overall, the dish is simple and quick to make, taking up only twenty minutes of cook time. Dali hui moong and toor dal with either rice or roti make for a perfect light lunch or dinner. 

Covid Crisis in India

If you love Indian food, please do not turn a blind eye to the coronavirus situation that has undoubtedly overwhelmed the country. As reported by NBC New in Covid-19: How India’s Crisis is Inflaming Global Vaccine Inequality, updated on April 30, 2021, at 7:48 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, India’s hospitals are overwhelmed and oxygen supply is running low. Additionally, the official death toll has passed 200,000, though experts believe that these numbers can be much larger. Due to overwhelming Covid cases,and a lack of both medical oxygen and vaccines, cities have been forced to hold mass cremations in public spaces.

For more information: https://www.nytimes.com/article/india-coronavirus-cases-deaths.html 

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/india-passes-200-000-covid-19-deaths-new-cases-spike-n1265598

If you can donate money, here are some of the many organizations that directly help India during this crisis: 

https://covid.giveindia.org/healthcare-heroes/

https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/india-faces-brutal-covid-19-crisis-unicef-there-help/38520https://my.care.org/site/Donation2?df_id=29863&mfc_pref=T&29863.donation=form1&s_src=172120CVBHM0&s_subsrc=FY21ERIndiaCOVIDMediaOutlets

How Graduation Will Work During Covid

By Woohyun Song

PLACENTIA, CA – Although many students, teachers, and family members are or will be fully vaccinated by the time of graduation, the rise in cases in the United States is still a significant potential risk factor, with the school needing to take necessary precautions as government restrictions on large public gatherings are still in place. 

According to the COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, as of May 3rd, 2021, total cases in the United States are currently at 32,610,374, with around 3,745,021 of them from California alone. 

Because of the risks that are carried along with having such a large event during a pandemic, many additional precautionary measures have been taken this year. In a notice sent out by the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) on March 24th, 2021, it was stated that the district was exploring various methods of hosting the graduation ceremonies in high schools in the district. 

As of now, the proposed measures are mostly relating to minimizing the people present at the ceremony in order to maintain social distancing measures. The measures include a maximum number of two spectators per student present at the ceremony (this may change based on updates to public health guidance and for each school), with each party socially distanced; a high quality live stream provided by the school; or an alternative, smaller graduation ceremony option for students and families who feel that the safety measures here are somewhat inadequate or unsafe based on individual circumstances. Further decisions about the graduation ceremonies are said to come from the district at the end of April.

In addition to having an abnormal graduation ceremony, high school students graduating this year are also missing out on many events and perks that often come with being a graduating senior, such as prom, parties with friends, or even having a close conversation with teachers about their future and college lives. According to Mr. Jeffery Louie, to make up for this fact, the school has implemented several actions, such as putting the senior pictures of every graduating senior in front of the school, ordering personalized lawn signs that celebrate graduation, as well as ASB planning celebration events for seniors in the final months of high school. 

The 2021 graduation schedule is now uploaded to www.pylusd.org/graduation, with information such as various updates about ceremonies or links for live streams uploaded to here. Information about spectator tickets should be released by the individual schools. Only one type of event – traditional stadium or drive up/walkthrough – may be chosen for each student. Participating students and families must fill out this survey by Friday, May 28th.

Further news of these events will be posted on the ASB Instagram page, @valenciyuhh.

Valencia FBLA Competes at State Level

By: Young Kim

PLACENTIA, CA – From April 20th to April 30th, the members of Valencia’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) performed at the California FBLA State Leadership competition in an attempt to qualify for the national competition.  FBLA centers around students who want to become involved in competitions surrounding topics of leadership and business education. According to the FBLA website, it is the largest student business organization in the world with over 230,000 members. Students who compete at states look towards entering the national competition in which they compete against other students from the 50 states. 

Tests were conducted with the TechFluency testing browser in order to minimize the possibility of cheating. Competitors had to sign in through Zoom to their testing advisors with cameras on and microphones unmuted to prevent further collaboration. Like all FBLA competitions, competitors had to wear formal business clothing. 

The FBLA members performed in over 19 events with over 12 events resulting in top ten placements. These students placed, respectively: Kyle Pinto; seventh in Advertising and ninth in Agribusiness, Mary Catipay;  fifth in Digital Video Production, Lauren Kim; ninth in Economics, Alicia Mai; ninth in Introduction to Business and tenth in Introduction to Financial Math, Ryan Lee; tenth in Introduction to Business, Daeun Lee; seventh in Introduction to Business Communication and ninth in Introduction to Business Presentation, Tanya Vidhum; sixth in Introduction to Business Communication and ninth in in Introduction to Business Presentation, Erica Tobing; ninth in Introduction to Business Presentation, Steven Segawa; fifth in Introduction to Public Speaking, and Young Kim; eighth in Journalism. 

Joy Millam, the FBLA advisor for Valencia, noted how “Despite the pandemic, our chapter had a very strong showing at our Southern Section Leadership Conference which allowed many of our active members to qualify for state.” Millam views the future of FBLA positively, stating, “We are very proud to see so many of our members place in the top 10. Several were freshmen, that bodes well for the future of Valencia FBLA. “ 

At the end of the two week competition, the closing ceremony was held on April 30th at 7p.m. Viewing parties were set up through Zoom in which members congratulated one another in their results. Audrey Leung, the President  of Valencia’s FBLA stated, “This year, SLC [State Leadership Conference] was a completely unique experience due to the virtual format. The state leadership team did an outstanding job creating an online event complete with competition and career development as well as opportunities for social networking!”

Blessings Boxes

By: Amy Morrison

Placentia, CA (April 30, 2021) – According to the US Census Bureau website, as of 2019 8.1% of Placentia’s population are in poverty. This means there are 4,149 people in Placentia who struggle to make ends meet. Marilyn Anderson, an assistant leader at a community service group called Love Placentia, found and implemented an idea called Blessings Boxes to help aid those in the city that can not always afford to buy more than they need.

Blessings Boxes are an easy way to distribute food or supplies to those in need. Blessings Boxes are cupboards left in well-traveled, public places such as parks where those that have spare non-perishable food and supplies can donate them; those who need such things but do not have the means to get them can take them from the Blessings Box for free. 

The exact beginning of the ideas for Blessings Boxes is difficult to track, however the earliest it was reported was July of 2017 according to a CNN article titled, “Man Builds a Food Pantry on his lawn so the hungry can eat.”. A man named Roman Espinoza in Watertown, New York had the idea to create a food pantry available to all those who need it after learning about how a local community college had one for the students. Espinoza said in the interview with CNN that he hopes the presence of the boxes in his community will “. . .create an atmosphere of support and generosity.”

In Placentia, the Blessings Boxes work much the same as they do in Watertown. There are five different boxes set up around town where people can leave food and supplies. One of the boxes is at a local homeless shelter, HIS House and the other four are located at parks: Kock Park, McFadden Park, Parque de los Ninos, and Kraemer Park.

Valencia students and faculty have easy access to the last of those locations, Kraemer Park, which is just a short walk down to the road from campus. The Blessing Box provides an opportunity for students to donate and receive supplies in need.