By Levi Livengood
Heavily weighted finals can often be the bane of many students’. Perhaps you find yourself doing good work the whole year for a really important class. You always do your homework and participate in class. Then suddenly when finals come around, you mess up and find that your grade in this important class fell. Not only did it fall, but it dropped hard. Perhaps you had close to a 100%, then suddenly you find yourself down at a B. While a B by itself is hardly something to cry over, circumstance can make the loss more bitter. A valedictorian could easily lose his place through something like this, even mere weeks before graduation.
Yet, on the other hand, a weighty final can inspire herculean efforts on the behalf of students. A student who believes that he will not perform well on a test will either stay up studying for a long time, or give up trying. Wheat and chaff in other words. The point of a properly designed final is to test the student’s ability to retain the information that he has learned over the course of a year or so. One can argue whether this is a quality that we want to judge in the first place, but let’s assume that it is. If a course is taught correctly, then a final should show that the majority of students should demonstrate the same understanding or better of the same subject matter as they have over the past year. B students should get a B or better. A should get an A. From this point of view, then, a heavily weighted final makes sense because it embodies the nature of the course perfectly. The student has been studying the subject matter for precisely this moment.
Of course, we cannot blame those who are the victims of circumstance, such as the valedictorian who loses his place after one bad night of sleep. But with the way classes are currently structured, a weighty final makes the most sense. A student should understand what he has been taught and should be able to easily demonstrate that knowledge, otherwise he has failed the class.
This is not to say that classes ought to be structured this way with this end in mind, rather that the rationale behind heavily weighted finals makes sense within its context.
The trailer shows a world after the events from Endgame and gives us a peek into how the future of the MCU is going to play out. Spider-Man has to deal with the death of Tony Stark/Iron-Man. We see a closer look at the possible main villain of the movie, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck, who is also Mysterio, and what he calls the Elementals creatures, that come from his own earth. You heard that right. This movie plans to introduce moviegoers to the Multiverse. This where there are multiple universes that are slightly different than ours, according to Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury. But this could be a total lie as Mysterio is known for lying and being a trickster in the comics. Mysterio turning out to be a villain would not be even slightly surprising. Hopefully there’s more than this foreseeable twist.
There are some shots within the movie that shows Peter Parker wearing his Iron Spider suit, a black and red suit with wings, his Stark suit from the last movie, an all black stealth suit, and maybe a new suit. There’s also a possibility that we see an early formation of a New Avengers group or something comes from the Multiverse that is going to impact the future. And lastly there’s a possibility that we see our old Avengers group or the remnants of them.
The movie seems exciting but doesn’t feel like Spider-Man, because it doesn’t really deal with similar material at first glance. Yet it’s nice because it will likely fill in many of the questions we have left over from Endgame.
By Levi Livengood
For many, the representation of minority groups in the media is a major concern, arising for many reasons and for different goals. There is a particular focus on LGBT, black, and asian representation, especially at Independence.
Movies grab plenty of attention, positive and negative. With regards to the topic at hand, there is particular concern. According to a 2015 study by USC Anneberg School for Communication and Journalism, women were just 30% of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing movies of that year, whites were slightly over-represented at 73.1%, which is slightly larger than the current majority of whites in the US, which is 62.6%, and other minority groups were underrepresented when compared to the general population, with asians not featuring at all in the speaking roles of 40 movies, and finally, at least one LGBT person featured in only 14% of the films.
Many see this as a major problem, arguing that since the United States has a substantial plurality of minority groups, they should see more direct representation in the media. Some also see an agenda of sorts where Hollywood executives will deliberately seek out to have white actors play the main roles in a film, even if it means changing the character’s race, whatever their reason may be. Some point to the casting of Scarlett Johansson, a white woman, to the main role of Ghost in the Shell, which was an adaptation of an anime and manga of the same name set in japan.
Is this actually a problem? For many, the lack of diversity in Hollywood illustrates a past that has not been left behind, namely one of a white majority society dominated by straight men that is slowly evaporating and must share with the others in society in the name of fairness. For others this whole controversy is a non-issue and even overblown. For one, the lack of female representation in not universal, as they feature heavily in romance films. Likewise, the gap dramatically closes for other genres of film beside action. Some argue that this is less an act of discrimination against women, and more of a pandering to the main market for a film. Men enjoy action movies far more than women, and women vastly prefer romance to action. This does not illustrate a conspiracy per se, but more the fundamental differences between men and women.
But women are not a minority, what about the other groups of people? To start, it is true that there is overrepresentation and underrepresentation of the majority and minority respectively. The LGBT make up between 1-8% of the general population, so the statistics on their representation are not particularly grievous. Likewise the degree to which minority groups are generally represented in speaking roles does not vary more than 10%.
Where their concern is different is with regards to the leads of films. There is a clear overrepresentation of white, straight, males in this regard. Is it necessarily negative? Perhaps, though I take issue primarily where characters who are of a particular group are removed from that group and put into another for any reason. Some argue that it is good that white characters are made more ‘diverse’ because it aids in representation and helps to right old wrongs throughout the past century. Yet I strongly disagree with this position and find it hypocritical. If it is wrong to race swap minority characters, then we must say the same for majority characters if we are to recognize actual equality of these groups.
Another criticism is that the roles minority characters perform are not particularly flattering in many cases. Some point to the prevalence of muslim antagonists in the 2000s, representing terrorism. Others point to historical problems, such as black face or the general portrayal of blacks in films like The Birth of a Nation. I do think this criticism is valid where applicable. To be sure, the portrayal of many minorities has not been good now or in the past. I will point out though that the majority is not spared from negative stereotypes either. Everyone knows about the spoiled, rich, white girl stereotype that is prevalent in the media and even on this campus. Likewise, many minorities consider it a joke and insult to tell someone that they are acting ‘white’. If this is okay, then other negative stereotypes, where they are meant as a joke alone mind you, are also okay. I draw the line as soon as a stereotype is meant as more than a joke and paraded as a legitimate criticism against a group of people, white, black, asian, gay or straight.
By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
Note: There will be a spoiler warning near the end of the article. Please be wary before you read!
The end of the Infinity Saga has arrived. The opening weekend of Avengers Endgame has reached 1.2 Billion at the global box office, it’s safe to say that this movie has been Highly anticipated since 2012. We finally see the end for characters we love and they are well written, well executed and fulfilling.
The movie is three hours long and it was perfect. Of course it had its flaws, the first 30 minutes were slow and felt like we watched it already. This is due to the trailers for the movie using only the first 20 or minutes of footage. I kinda expected those first 20-30 minutes to be in a darker tone due to Infinity War ending with half of everyone dead, however there were a few jokes that didn’t really need to be said at the beginning, but they were clever. The movie did show life after Thanos snapped his fingers, which was very important to the overall story because the snap needed to hit deep with the audience and raise the stakes, otherwise trying to avenge the dead wouldn’t be meaningful at all.
There’s also the feeling of knowing somebody has to die, and at times it seemed like anyone of the Avengers could die, but their deaths were unexpected and a major surprise. The story is not focused on Thanos this time as opposed to Infinity War, where the main focus was Thanos and him trying to collect the Infinity Stones. The movie definitely focuses on Tony and Cap’s friendship as well as the rest of the Avengers.
During those three hours the movie changes tones from super sad and dark to being almost like a heist movie to going to a full on action packed blockbuster. And this is super well written. You can expect to cry and go through many emotions; it's a rollercoaster.
Outside of it being a comic book movie, the story itself is fantastic. There are a few plot holes and some certain dialogue that is interesting and could branch off into future movies. Other than that, there’s not too much to talk about.
!!WARNING: SPOILER REVIEW BELOW!!
!!WARNING: SPOILER REVIEW BELOW!!
We are now in the Endgame. This movie was everything it needed to and more. It concluded the story of Iron Man, Steve Rogers Captain America, Black widow, and Thanos. But continued the story of all the people who were snapped away and the remaining Avengers.
When the movie started to get into time travel, the rules they had used made enough sense for the story to work but left few potholes and by the end there were questions to be asked. For instance, towards the climax Loki escapes the battle of New York with the tesseract changing the ending of the first Avengers movie. Another part is when Nebula from the present shoots and kills Nebula from the year 2014 but present day Nebula doesn’t die. It’s confusing but it left room for multiple realities/ alternative universes that could be used.
There a few character changes in the movie. At the beginning Tony Stark comes back to earth but passes out. He was assisted by Captain Marvel. The Avengers go to where we last saw Thanos and kill him. There’s a five year time jump, Tony has a kid, Steve Rogers shaves his beard, Hawkeye becomes an assassin killing people involved in organized crime, Captain Marvel unnecessarily cuts her hair short but travels to planets helping them, Thor becomes fat and moves Asgard to somewhere in Iceland, Hulk and Bruce Banner become Professor Hulk,and lastly Ant-Man comes back from the Quantum Realm which was 5 hours to him. The true hero of the story is a rat who steps on the controls for the quantum van from the second Ant-Man movie. The biggest and most important story element is Tony having a kid.
These changes made a lot of sense, the time jump showed the Avengers and how their failure to stop Thanos affected them. Eventually they go back in time to 2012, 2014, 2013 and the 1970’s the Avengers split into teams, Tony, Steve, Ant-man, and Hulk go back to back to New York 2012 to get the Space, Mind, and time stones. Nebula and War-Machine go back to 2014 to collect the power stone, Black Widow and Hawkeye get the soul stone leading to Black Widows death, Rocket and Thor go back to get the reality stone but Thor gets back to pick Moljinir, and finally Cap goes back to get the space stone again from the 70’s after losing it.
It's interesting to go back to these time periods because The Avengers find something within themselves at these points in time. Nonetheless The Avengers create their Infinity Gauntlet and Hulk undoes the snap. Then a large battle ensues with all the mcu heroes coming back to fight 2014 Thanos who also wants that gauntlet. Our heros win but at the cost of Tony stark wielding the gauntlet and Snapping away Thanos and his army but he himself dies.
Finally Steve goes back in time and takes the Stones to where they belong before any time consequences happen.
It’s truly a Generational event, it’s the end of our heros who we grew up with, an 11 year journey ends. It’s a beautiful ending, that brought tears to my eyes more than once.
By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
Independence is in a weird situation: an important part of campus infrastructure is being renovated, forcing the foot traffic to be split in two instead of the three options we had. The school fire alarms are broken and go off everyday like clockwork. So far today, Thursday, March 21, 2019, the alarm hasn’t gone off yet, but one day what if it goes off? What do we do then? Do teachers care when it does go off? Do we care enough to take every alarm as the real deal, or are there possible solutions to the problem?
It seems like everyday the fire alarms on campus tend to go off. Some teachers take every alarm as the real thing, others don’t care if the alarm is blaring and hard to focus on what they’re saying, but continue anyway. As of right now, none of us really know why the alarms go off, and we have such a huge campus that we don’t even know where the alarm gets triggered. It’s definitely, annoying but more and more teachers dismiss the alarms because of the numerous times it has occured. Nonetheless, it's easy to understand why teachers have been dismissing it lately. It interruptus their lesson, then we have to walk for a bit, then we walk back. It's a constant back and forth.
I had emailed the Principal Mr. Berg about the nuisance of the alarm, “I am grateful that we have such a comprehensive safety system and cannot stress enough the need to make sure our students and staff are safe from emergencies. Our safety team responds quickly to assess all situations and determine if the alarm is justified or not. I am also appreciative of our District maintenance and operations department that similarly responds to emergencies to make sure the system is functioning properly. When it is found that the fire alarms are caused by student actions we conduct a separate and thorough investigation of the event and respond appropriately to teach pro-social behaviors. Independence has a history of fires and we have worked closely to make sure our system functions properly to protect our campus. While the alarms may appear to be a nuisance, and I do not appreciate anything that interferes with the educational environment, student safety is the primary concern. Our system has been upgraded and improved in recent years, many buildings now have a voice alert rather than the traditional alarms. Recently I have been working with the district office to find solutions to prevent false alarms and help maintain the safety and serenity of our campus.”
Lately the alarms tripping has ended and became less of a nuisance and less talked about around campus.
By Steven Doan
Independence High School’s ASB (Associated Students Body) is proudly hosting the 2019 BOTC (Battle of the Classes) rally. BOTC is an afterschool rally that consists of all school classes ranging from Freshmen to Seniors that compete to see who claims the winning title for their class. Like most rallies, BOTC is on a spirit week and similar to the HOCO (Homecoming) rally, students wear clothing that is affiliated with their designated class colors for that year. In addition, given that BOTC is the last rally of the year, it proves to have more significance and reason for those to attend with friends and fellow classmates to experience the exciting rivalry between their classes. The rally will take place on Friday, March 29th at 6PM to 9PM. However, with events like these means that many will have expectations and anticipation.
Junior Cindy Dang shares, “Well, compared to last year, people seem less excited about BOTC this year since I haven’t been hearing much about it. It’s nice to see people come together to cheer on their class. Hopefully there will be better music this year too.”
As Cindy stated, BOTC seems much more subtle and less thrilling this year. The school’s spirit might not be as strong compared to previous years probably because of the ongoing construction in the middle of the school, which may limit lunchtime activities and separates students into the many corners of campus. This would be a much better quote, but if you are not able fine
Freshmen Christine Cung says, “I’m pretty excited for BOTC because when I was in middle school, I’d see a lot of upperclassmen post pictures and videos and it looked really fun. I’m hyped about going.”
This is Christine’s first year at IHS, meaning that this will be her first time attending the BOTC rally. She is eager to be at the rally because of the excessive amount of posts she has seen on social media about the school’s rally. This gave her more anticipation than she already had. Also, school rallies are amusing events and can provide newer generations of high school students a worthwhile experience for their first year. Although having the school unite for the year’s last rally is thrilling, competition and friendly rivalry is still prominent. If you are able, try to quote her talking about how she feels instead of telling it outright
“Let’s see how well our class does this year.” said Cindy Dang.
By Enya Bours
Senioritis. The “supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college characterized by a decline in motivation or performance,” according to Google. A “condition” that almost all seniors get during their last year of high school, especially in the spring months of March and April when college decisions are released.
But does senioritis really exist? Or is it just an excuse to slack off in school?
“I think it’s a combination of burnout from all four years of hard work, and when you start to see the end goal, you think you can sort of just crawl by, especially because a lot of stuff piles up,” describes senior Maxine Lui. “Senior year has been one of the busiest, and I haven’t really had time to relax all four years.”
“I think it’s just an excuse to be lazy, really. It creates publicity and it’s like a trend that people follow because they have the same mindset that ‘Oh, now that I’m a senior I deserve to be lazy after all my hard work.’ But I really think it doesn’t exist,” explains senior Jacob Choi.
Senioritis, real or not, can heavily impact students’ grades, interest in extracurricular activities, and motivation to continue growing and learning in not just school, but in life in general.
Solutions? The quickest one is probably also the most difficult: Don’t let yourself get senioritis in the first place. That means being proactive when you feel yourself slacking, rewarding yourself for doing well in school, and finding something in your classes to concentrate and keep yourself going. But of course, that is much easier said than done. Senioritis gets even the best of us.
“Yeah, I have a really bad case of senioritis,” admits Lui with a chuckle. “But when things actually do have to be done, I’ll get to doing them. It’s not like it’s inhibiting my life.”
That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep trying to stop it, though.
Work hard and keep in mind that despite having been accepted into a university, there is still the possibility of that acceptance getting revoked if you’re not continuing doing your best. And if the disappointment from being rejected from your dream schools get to you, don’t let that drag you down. Get involved. Participate in activities that you might not have the chance to participate in after graduation. Join a club you’ve always been curious about but never had the guts to join. Go to football games and cheer on your school team. Keep yourself on your feet.
Another routine that some have found helpful is making a checklist and rewarding yourself for the progress you make. Setting daily goals helps you stay on track and keeps you feeling more motivated.
So, seniors. Remember that this is the final stretch. Don’t let the past three and a half years of hard work go to waste. You’re almost there!!
By Lauren Broker
Student drivers of Independence have faced new obstacles in parking, new rules and restrictions set in place by the administration. Many students park in the designated staff lot despite having the student lot open to them. This has caused a discourse about the dynamic of student and teacher parking. Many teachers have felt this to be a bother because students may be taking their available parking spots.
Administration has set in place new rules regarding students who park in the staff lot saying “Students are not to park in the smaller staff lot… Cars that do not have a decal properly displayed are subject to towing at the owner’s expense.” Senior Pauline Ong speaks about the difficulties of moving lots due to the new restrictions, saying, “I think it’s very inconvenient to students like me who play large instruments or have their first and last class closer to the staff lot. They should have us park near the back or place a limit instead of telling us to move completely.”
Along with setting new rules about the consequences of parking in the staff lot, administration spoke up on where students should be dropped off and picked up. The bus loading zone, aka the shadows, is the proper place of pickup for parents to drive through. Administration has even began putting cones down in the morning to fix the flow of traffic for teachers trying to park. “I think that the idea of making all students be picked up at the shadows is a good idea in concept but there’s so much traffic now that it doesn’t really make it worth it,” says junior Alyssa V.
In addition to parking in specific lots, and using the right drop off and pick up zone, student drivers are also asked to place parking permits within their vehicles. “Honestly I don’t mind the parking permits. I think they’re easy to get and not a big problem. It’s mostly just the parking that’s an issue,” said senior Nina T.
By Steven Doan
Cypher Cup is one of the largest “Breaking”/Breakdancing events in the Bay Area. It is a dancing event also known as a, “Jam”. This year, it was hosted in the city of San Jose, California on February 23. Due to its large reputation in the “Breaking” community, it provides a motive for people from across the world to attend the event. People who take part in this dance genre (“Breaking”) are called Bboys and Bgirls.
Independence High School’s Hip-Hop club, Cloud 9, is apart of the Breaking community with its veteran members and newcomers. Some of these veterans and newcomers were able to experience Cypher Cup this year and were quite awed by it.
Senior Gary Moi shares, “Cypher Cup is one of the biggest Bboy/Bgirl competitions and people from all over the world participate in the battles. Bboys and Bgirls also come to watch the battles and socialize with the community.”
Cypher Cup is a large event enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds as well as people who are curious about the scene and are willing to participate in the jam to either support their friends, families, or just be there to watch. Events like these are not hosted only for the battles, but they serve as a gathering and convention to unite the community, reminding the people in the scene that they are brought together because of the love for this dance and the sharing of this culture.
“It’s honestly a great experience for both newcomers and veterans to the scene,” Gary says.
Sophomore Salina Truong adds, “I was extremely excited to see my friends compete and was super lucky to experience it. I liked the atmosphere because it was so hype and how people easily conversed with each other.”
As Senior Alex Trinh concludes, “It was an exciting experience with many amazing dancers and intense battles.”
By Matthew Valenzuela-Serrano
As the presidential election comes around next year, Bernie Sanders, the Independent/Democratic Senator from Vermont, has announced his grassroots campaign to run for the presidential office. The term ‘grassroots’ means a public funded and envisioned campaign. Bernie Sanders was the underdog in the 2016 election, the year when he slowly built a closely knit following around his ideas such as a federal minimum wage of 15 an hour, free medicare, free public college, and higher taxes on the wealthy.
These ideas have been sitting on the minds of the middle class ever since then, and now he announced that he will run again in 2020, which excites not only myself but many people around the country. So far Senator Sanders is the only candidate from 2016 that has decided to run again in 2020, thus giving him an edge in support over candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
Polls have shown that Sanders had more popularity with Latinos, Blacks, and other minority voters than Hillary Clinton and Trump combined. People want social and economic reforms and Bernie Sanders promises just that. In the news you’ll hear him be called a socialist, which scares many people in older generations, but really it’s the ideas that he stands for. Our social norms and economic value need to adapt to the times we live in.
Of course, being against big pharma, the NRA, and Trump could prove difficult. But the voice of the American people is stronger.