By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
Is it too hot or too cold? Or both?
During the year you’ll hear students complain about the temperature. It can be cold and someone will say, “It’s too cold, I miss summer,” but that same student may also say, “It’s too hot, I miss winter.”
Since Independence is in the Bay Area, we never experience snow or hard rain. If anything, we have great weather all year round, yet we’re still unhappy. Why is that so?
Every year the East Coast gets hit with snow storms and hurricanes, the midwest gets some hurricanes and tornadoes, and the west coast is either on fire or always having an earthquake, but we rarely experience bad weather that other regions do here in the bay.
Junior Josh Pastores said, “The weather is all over the place. I think it was too hot for too long and the fires at the end of Autumn kinda ruined a lot of things for everyone in San Jose.”
Many teachers leave their doors open during the day and some even leave the AC on. So it would seem that quite a few teachers are not as bothered by the weather as the students are.
In the end, ask yourself, are you spoiled? There are cities right now getting snow, while we get rain and sunshine.
By Lucile Gonzales
Let's be real, IHS has a littering problem. Students walk around carelessly throwing
their trash on the floor or when failing to make a shot into the garbage, they leave it wherever it lands. The campus is fairly big, thus the issue of littering is very substantial.
When asking janitor Miko Angeles if he was surprised at the amount of trash he sees around the school he responded, “Uh no I mean I've been there so, I mean, I went to highschool too and ya know it's just human nature”. Angeles also said depending on how much trash, its takes about one to one and a half hours to clean up. It’s quite baffling and saddening to think of littering as “human nature” even though its hurting our earth as well as the humans and animals that live on it.
The littering situation occurring throughout the Independence school corridors is also affecting our classrooms, as sometimes students carelessly leave food lying on classroom floor during lunch. “ When students leave food and spilled drinks lying around, it attracts ants and roaches,that could potentially cause a health hazard”, Guadalupe Alvarez, Spanish teacher at Independence says.
Picking up and cleaning up after one’s self is an easy task, there are trash cans all over the school so there really is no excuse to throw garbage on the ground. Students should be more considerate of the people who pick up their trash and the animals who are harmed by it. Not to mention when students throw their cigarette butts on the ground, which is not only harmful to animals, but to your body.
By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
The Camp Fire, which is located north, has been ablaze since November 8th. With wind currents blowing all the smoke to the Bay Area, students can only hope for schools to close early to set off Thanksgiving Break.
As the air quality continues to get worse, our wonderful Superintendent has reassured us that the air is safe for students to attend school for 8 hours a day every week, but has cancelled a football game three different times and even went as far as to relocate the game to Monterrey.
There is a common feeling between each student with regard to how the school district is failing to meet our demands. They have yet to hand out N95 masks, forcing students to wear the incorrect masks or none at all.
On the evening of November 17, the school twitter had announced school will continue until the air quality index reaches 270, ending the tweet with #sixerspride. But students did not stand silent and called out the twitter account, one comparing the school forcing students to breath smoke to the treatment in a concentration camp.
Over the break it rained, vanquishing the smoke and clearing the air. So now do Sixers still have the same opinion about school, or did we forget over the break?
Senior Bernadette Vila said she was, “upset about the situation, but felt different after the break,” saying she didn’t want to add two extra days to the end of the year.
Sixers got vocal about their frustrations, but it seemed it wasn’t too bad, as most students still showed up for the week.
By Enya Bours
TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains information about mental health issues (including suicide) which may be triggering to some.
Emotion-heavy statements are increasingly tossed around lightly and taken as jokes. Interested in what teenagers—the group that is most prominently using statements relating to mental disorders and suicide—think about this topic, I interviewed a handful of students about them.
Q: How do you feel about the frequent use of “I want to die,” “kill me,” and similar statements and how lightly they are tossed around?
Alyssa Torres, Senior: “I feel like it’s overdramatizing a situation to say ‘kill me’ or ‘I want to die.’ Some may argue that these statements should be taken seriously, and perhaps they are correct.”
Jefferson Liu, Senior: “When people say it sarcastically, I’m okay with it. But if it’s serious then I know something is up.”
Q: Do you use them? Why? Why do you think others use them?
Angeline Nguyen, Senior: “I personally do not use them, but I think others use them whenever they experience something bad. They resort to those statements to portray a sense of negativity in their life as a way feel better about themselves so they won’t have to experience whatever negative is in their life.”
Torres: “No. Whenever I hear these phrase, it’s usually when it’s expressing exhaustion or annoyance. It doesn’t usually correlate to actual contemplation of suicide.”
Liu: “No, the closest I’ve ever said to something like that was ‘FML.’ Usually others use them as sarcasm, and especially with people our age it’s an expression of frustration.”
Q: Do you think it’s possible to tell if someone is actually suicidal from statements like these?
Nguyen: “I don’t think there is a way to actually tell if someone is suicidal from these statements because of how often it is being used as a joke.”
Liu: “I think it is. There’s warning signs, and there’s context as well. I don’t know firsthand but I’ve read about signs.”
Q: Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.? Are you surprised by this?
Torres: “No. I think there have always been teenagers and older individuals who have dealt with mental disorders.”
Nguyen: “It is not surprising because I know many individuals go through tough times and often resort to killing themselves as one way to fix their struggles.”
Liu: “I did not actually, but I’m also not surprised.”
Q: Why do you think suicide rates are increasing/more and more teenagers are being diagnosed with mental disorders?
Torres: “We have a greater understanding on the psychological and sociological aspects of human behavior and emotions. The numbers of diagnosis may primarily rise due to the increasing population as well as the further professionalism maintained to accurately diagnose and support patients.”
Nguyen: “I think stress and pressure plays a huge role in why they are diagnosed with mental disorders.”
Liu: “From the humanitarian point of view it’s because medical practices have gotten better, so we know how to tell if someone has a mental illness. From the skeptical point of view, it’s because today’s teenagers don’t have the same amount of mental fortitude or resilience as before. Kids in the 1940s had to deal with being drafted and possibly dying, while today we have to worry about grades.”
Q: How do you think suicide can be prevented?
Nguyen: “I think suicide can be prevented by establishing more support groups and communities, where these individuals can comfortably talk about their problems and get the support they need to relieve themselves and not think of suicide as a way to end the suffering.”
Liu: “Communication is key. If you don’t talk with someone who seems on edge, you’ll never know until after.”
It seems like students understand the weight of using such statements and the importance of taking care of their mental health. It may just be a common saying that teenagers use to express their distress, though perhaps not the best one.
By Steven Doan
TwitchCon is an annual gathering of many widely known gamers and fans who use the popular streaming website called, “Twitch”, to stream and watch streams. The 2018 TwitchCon was hosted on October 26-28 and lasted throughout the entire days. There was an abundance of people who anticipated attending this convention.
It is a celebration for the Twitch community to come together and interact with each other. Therefore, this event was fairly large and crowded. With events like these, there are expectations for both streamers and fans, leading to mixed reactions.
Fellow senior Brian Ma, enthusiastically shares, “I was walking with my friends and it was hella crowded! The lines and everything dude. But yeah, it was fun and I got to meet some streamers - only a few though.”
Since many people use Twitch as an entertainment platform to watch their favorite streamers, meeting them would be a “dream come true”. As Brian stated, TwitchCon was extremely crowded. The lines even expanded onto the streets as well.
Junior Francis Hoang, says, “ I didn’t see much error other than the meet and greets being a bit unorganized and over crowded. I would’ve participated more in events and talked to more in the events and talked to more famous people or streamers.”
Based on the students’ feedback, TwitchCon was a success for everyone. However, it could have been better in some areas such as overcrowded meet and greets. Francis continues, “It passed my expectations because it was my first ever convention and I had a great time.”
By Mekenzie Burse
A Ouija Board, is a board written with numbers, letters and other signs, and a movable indicator which answers the questions users ask at a seance. It has been a controversial board game for a very long time now, but the answer to the mystery of whether or not they work is still up for grabs.
When asked if they would play with a Ouija Board, the majority of students said they would. A High School student, who has personally played with the Ouija Board says, “When I played the board, me and my friend went to a nearby park and started asking it questions. We obviously said goodbye to it because that's what your supposed to do.” There are rules to playing with this kind of game. However, most people don't know if there is a right way or wrong way to play with it.
The five generally agreed on rules to the board are:
#1- never taunt a ghost or spirit into communicating with you, this can cause a disastrous consequence.
#2- Never ask a Ouija Board when you are going to die.
#3- Never use the board alone. More people means more energy is present with which you can contact a spirit. Always say goodbye to the board before ending your session.
#4- Do not use the board in your home. It will be harder to break contact and the bad energy will remain in your house.
#5- There should be one leader, one person who talks and asks the board the questions.
The students add, “Before I tried it, I didn't know what to believe, I wasn’t sure if it would work or not.” Everybody has different beliefs, so you cannot be persuaded on whether or not the board works until you try it yourself. But, there are contradicting arguments.”
“The Ouija Board is a way for people to get in contact with spirits. This doesn't always lead you to good spirits though. Taking part in playing with this board, is basically signing up for bad luck, I mean why would somebody want to mess with a Ouija Board knowing the consequences that follow,” says a junior here at Independence High.
Different people are going to believe different things, but the question on if the board really works or if it's all a myth still remains unanswered.
By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
Donald Trump is our Commander in Chief and our President. No matter your viewpoint on him, this is an undeniable fact. Though some of his policies and actions may be out of pocket, students may or may not have a clear understanding of politics and how they affect themselves and others.
The most common reason people despise Trump is due to their perception of his supporters as racist white people. However, this is far from the truth. One celebrity who is often talked about is Kanye West, who is a Trump supporter. Quite a few people at the school who dislike Trump do not dislike Kanye and even buy his music or his shoes. But why don’t we see him as a racist, even though he is outspoken in his support of Trump, the guy many people believe only racist white people flock to?
But more Importantly, how many students support him but are afraid of being outspoken about their support? Junior Christian Tabor says, ¨I'd rather have Trump than start a nuclear war. If Hillary got elected, I don’t want to be drafted and I do feel like I can’t be outspoken with my support.
Junior Ian Vanmiddendorp says, “I mean a man, who comes from a very rich family and who is a millionaire and owns many companies and is a man of business, is not fit to care for the people of America. Not everyone is a first class citizen. Rich people only care about money and will do anything for more money. So I feel he will and probably has screw over half of america just to do more or do what’s best for him and the rich class. He also comes from a family who is racist or hate specific races. He won’t relate to the struggles lower income people have.”
If you strongly believe that Trump can’t relate to us, think about our other presidents and politicians. Most politicians are upper class and can’t relate to us. Their ideas may line up with ours, but who’s to say that they don’t only want to do what benefits them. According to a 2015 study, 50.8 percent of members of congress are millionaires. To simplify this, one member of congress equals 18 average american households.
In the end, no one cares about that you have a distaste for the president, and in turn, no one cares if you support trump. We’re entitled to our own opinions. No one should be shamed from having a different opinion than yours. If you do shame someone for their opinion, then you are one of the many problems in our country.
By Pauline Phan
Many students, particularly high-schoolers, feel pressured to go to college. For many, college is essential part of a student’s success in their career. However, is the pressure of going to college worth the emotional stress?
“A college degree definitely offers students more options in the future: greater potential earning power, and a better understanding about the world and how students can participate in their community”, Mr.Shinn states.
Nevertheless, college is not the only way to success.To be successful, it is necessary understand the meaning of success. Is it gaining a high salary? To accomplish many things? Or is it also fulfillment? People are too focused on the idea of college itself, including SATS, affordability, and what college to go to, rather than the career itself and the student’s confidence in their career choice.
Some teachers say that pressure to go to college is not always bad, because it prompts students to think about their future, and leaves them open to careers that they may want to have.
“I believe many students are being pressured to attend college - though that is not a bad thing. Personally, I think many parents and teachers just want the best for their students, and without this information, many students would not know about or even consider college”, says Mr.Shinn.
Mr.Striplin says, “Should they be pressured? I think so, since a young person just may not see exactly what going to college can actually help him or her accomplish. To use a common cliche, they cannot always see the bigger picture. Not pressuring them could result in them NOT getting something they actually want.”
While this is true, it is also not a bad thing to be open to other ways of making a living as well.
“As much as I kind of agree with this I feel like there are other options too. You don’t just have to go to college, there are alternatives like junior college or trade school. College isn’t for everybody and there are other choices so it’s somewhat forced but only to a certain extent because the decision is the student’s”, says Nathalie Roque, a senior.
“There are many good schools and vocational training programs in our area that can get someone ready for a well-paying career, depending on what the student's interest may be”, Mr. Shinn suggests.”
Furthermore, do parents really know what is best for their children? Some students spend years in college without a direction, only to realize that it is not something they want to pursue. Usually, when parents or teachers pressure students to go to college they are disregarding the student’s desires, by assuming that they want to go to college without question.
“Yeah I think they’re really pressured, not by just their parents but people around them, like whether it’s their teachers, or other students, or family. I think they’re under immense pressure which is why some of them fail, because they feel they have to do one thing that doesn’t necessarily fit them”, says Alan Arap, a 12th grader”
Many parents and teachers want students to go to college to get a well-paying occupation, but what is the purpose of pursuing that type of success if it puts one into despair? Students are being pressured to go to college, while stressing on their high school work, yet they are expected to know what they want to do with their life in a few years.
Elijah Chew comments,“I just don’t think it’s fair to have like everyone competing you know? We get put under pressure by like our teachers and coaches and high school is stressful enough and then everyone starts talking about college too.”
“I do think some parents and others can at times put undue stress upon students in well-intentioned efforts to make students competitive when applying to top schools. Students taking multiple AP classes concurrently can often feel overwhelmed, which can impact other areas of their lives”, Mr.Shinn explains.
Moreover, they may find themselves not knowing what they truly want to do in college because they were pressured to come up with a major in high school, while they are still impressionable. This restricts them, because they have not had time and equanimity to contemplate other opportunities in and outside of school.
“Students should not be pressured to go to college. Students are made aware of their options and should carefully decide about the future”, says Mrs. Zausch.
Motivation is more effective than pressure; it is apparent that people perform better when they are motivated. When it comes to something they want they will have more of a resolve to achieve it. For some, it is better to make risks for the things you desire rather than having to live with something that you do not approve of.
Thus, students should be encouraged to go to college. In other words, it should be considered an option, and not something students should be pressured to do; While it is important to finding a good career, there are many more career options that pay just as well, and may even be more suitable towards a student’s preferences.
Mr.Shinn says, “ I would strongly encourage students to find out more about available options -- either related to college or career training -- by talking with their academic counselors. There's a wealth of information out there if students are willing to explore.”
By Mekenzie Burse
Having personal relationships with your teacher can help you to stay focused in class, turn work in on time and pay attention. Although, some say they don't think their teachers care about them and that they’re just here to work, students tend to improve more in school when they have somebody they can talk to especially to caring teachers.
Ms. Ramos, a Spanish teacher here at Independence says, “I think majority of teachers really care about their students, but we don't know how to project that sometimes because students may think a teacher caring about them is us being lenient, but in our perspective its teaching and making sure they understand what's going on.”
Students usually think a teacher cares about them when they let them go to the bathroom whenever they want or not marking them tardy when late, but there are different perspectives on caring about somebody.
Academic wise, teachers want to make sure all their students really understanding what's being taught to them. Teachers want to make it as easy as possible for students to get into good colleges. Socially, a lot of teachers don't know their students outside of school, that’s where advisors, counselors and the Dean of Students comes in.
Mr. Campbell, the Dean of Students at Independence High School says, “ I would say most teachers care about their students. In the experience I've had at any school that I've gone to, its hard to be in this position, in this field without caring about your students because it's just too difficult not to.”
As students, we all develop some sort of bond with our teachers. We feel safe in their class, confident to speak up even we are confused, or just plainly comfortable. It's important that teachers feel the same way towards us so that we continue feeling the reassurance that we have the resources we need in order to succeed.
Mr. Campbell also says, “In my ideal world, when a student comes to me with a problem, I try to solve that problem by working with everybody together.” Caring about your students as a Dean of Students requires a lot of compromise. Just like being a regular teacher, students won't get exactly what they want, so most teachers try their best to make their assignments shorter, but efficient, since they are aware of how much homework students get.
By John Pham and Steven Doan
The new Spiderman PS4 game has been released, though, many people are conflicted due to the graphics and storyline not reaching their standards. However, many argue otherwise. The game was open to the public on September 7, 2018. It is rated 8.7 out of 10 on IGN Entertainment and was developed by Insomniac Games, which is exclusive to the PS4, a gaming console created and produced by Sony. Spiderman is a fan and childhood favorite superhero character that many appreciate. Therefore, some feel left out since they have not obtained the game yet.
As junior Kenneth Salomon said, “I haven’t got the game yet, but I saw some walkthroughs on YouTube and it looks really good. I’m kinda sad I don’t have it yet, but I’m going to get it soon.”
According to the reviews of many students, they already admire the game as it is. Some students have finished the entire game and are still playing it for the free roam and to explore. Senior Sean Nguyen believes that Spiderman is revolutionary, since there are inspirations taken from other vastly known games.
Sean enthusiastically stated, “It’s more diverse than any other Spider-Man game, due to its wide concepts of moves and free roam. Although this game is so huge, Insomniac really stepped up their game, I couldn’t even cover the whole yet.”
Because superheroes like Spider-Man have become a major part of their childhoods, this game had quite a reputation to live up to. But games like these meet these tough goals, pleasing many who play them. “Gameplay is so damn smooth, I waited almost a year and a couple days for this game when I pre-ordered during December last year. I feel great for owning a PS4, since it’s exclusive.”