Monthly Archives: March 2012

Commit A Crime, Get A (Summer) Job

Mayor Jean Quan announces jobs for youth at press conference at McClymonds

by Whitney Layne

The Mayor came. The Mayor promised jobs, but she didn’t hire me- she is hiring convicts.

A couple weeks ago, Mayor Jean Quan and representatives from city departments came to McClymonds to hire students for the summer jobs. It was a Wednesday, so students got out early.

A man named Bill told people to fill out their information on a sheet of paper and then to speak to different people. Students stayed who really wanted the job stayed, but mostly everyone left. It was a good opportunity for most students because they came to hire people on the spot.

They had different people or jobs depending where you live or how far you can travel. So that was also a good opportunity. What I didn’t like was that they were giving students the run around after they filled out every paper.

As I saw it,  there weren’t enough opportunities and they were also supposed to be hiring on the spot, but they didn’t.

It gets worse: after they asked you your name, they asked you whether you were on probation.

To me that was so rude, very silly, considering that they came to us to apply for their summer job at our school. I never even had a run in with the police. It’s also discrimination: I can’t get a job because I basically don’t have a criminal record! They should have had a side for people on probation and a side for people who are not on probation.

Basically they were racial profiling because we are an all black school. Everyone who goes to McClymonds is not on probation, and they should not base summer jobs on whether you are a criminal or not.

It’s very uneducated to approach a person and say “Hi I am Whitney, I am a felon on probation, and I would like to apply for a job with your company.”

Students March for Peace After Two Tragic Deaths

by Stephen Vance

McClymonds students will help lead a march against violence Friday, after participating  with several other schools in a 71-day fast-relay.

The march comes after two more students from McClymonds died last week, one in a shooting in East Oakland and the other after an epilepsy seizure in juvenile hall.

The fasting and march were in reaction to the shootings of a toddler in West Oakland and a 3-year-old in East Oakland.

“Now that babies are getting killed,” said Mack senior Eric Gant about the shootings of Hiram Lawrence and Carlos Nava, “you really have to stop it.”

Gant fasted 24 hours  and will address Mayor Jean Quan and members of the city council and school board who attend the rally after the march. “We want to make sure they follow through and that this issue doesn’t get overlooked.”

Close to 200 youth and their supporters started the community “Peace Pledge,” to show their commitment to peace-building and addressing the violence in our communities.

The campaign was launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Life Academy in East Oakland by youth leaders in Alternatives in Action’s Be A Man (BAM) and Real Ambitious Women (RAW) groups.  Since January, students from McClymonds, United for Success Academy and Bay Area School of Enterprise in Alameda joined the campaign to draw attention to the unprecedented number of children killed in Oakland over the last few months.

Marchers will include also students from the Urban Peace Movement, Skyline High School and others.

They began a collective fast beginning at 1 p.m. today that will end at a ceremony Friday.  A “March to Build Peace,” gathers Friday at 9 a.m. in front of Life Academy in Oakland (2101 35th Avenue) and ends at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (2465 34th Avenue, Oakland) with the fast-breaking ceremony and feast that begins at 11 a.m.

The youth groups will dedicate their “Peace Pledge” to families of victims of violence and urge city leaders to partner with them to address this issue.

“It’s bad enough when students don’t make it to the age of 16,” says Gant, “but it’s tragic and intolerable when babies are killed before they even get to kindergarden.”

Mack in Shock and in Mourning After Two Students Die

by Dakila Grayson

It was first announced all over Facebook.  RIP’s and pictures flooded the newsfeed.  McClymonds was mourning the sudden death of very well liked “cool-ass” Charles Hill.

Charles was on his way home from a party in East Oakland, when someone tried to rob him of his i-Pad, a gun was fired and he was shot in the head, students reported.

The other Mack student, Ranzeil Geegan, was in juvenile hall, when he had a seizure that nobody noticed, and died.

“All this shouldn’t happen,” said Davonte Braud, 15, “We are losing too many people of our age.  He was my homie.”

Former classmates reported that Hill was coming home from a party with his friends when an individual approached him and attempted to steal his iPad.  He was shot in the head.

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night, the day after his death.

A banner was placed at the front door of McClymonds, where students and teachers expressed their sentiments by writing RIPs and messages to Charles.

Mack was hit with another sudden death.  Ranzeil Geegan, 15 and a sophomore, was discovered dead in his cell Monday morning.  He suffered from epilepsy.

“I’ve never had anyone close to me die.  I cried,” said Mayasa Bennett, 17, junior.

Kids were wearing his picture in chains, printed on hoodies, and even teachers were expressing their loss by contributing to the chain-making.

Why Trayvon’s Murder is So Upsetting

 Trayvon Martin Murder: Witnesses Heard Cries Before Gunshots

by Lisa Boyakins

It’s the talk at McClymonds: a 17-year-old shot and killed in Sanford, Florida after going out to buy iced tea and skittles, wearing a hoodie, like any of us. It was 7 o’clock at night.  People called it a racially motivated crime.

Students at McClymonds were angry and upset. Their reactions ranged from sadness and anger to disgust at how law enforcement has not arrested a murderer, namely George Zimmerman, the man who ran after Trayvon Martin and fatally shot him.

“I feel that this case is sad,” said Kevin Jennings, class of 2006. “An innocent kid was gunned down.”

Federal prosecutors are finally investigating the killing. A grand jury will hear evidence on April 10.

“The killing was wrong,” added Dante Bush. “If we don’t start punishing people who take the law into their own hands, then everyone will start killing people when they think it’s right.”

“It was disturbing. The boy looked like me when I was younger,” said Stephen Vance, a senior, “It wouldn’t happen in Oakland, not after Oscar Grant.”

Ouch!! Mack takes a loss


with stats from MaxPreps

by Eric Gant

The bus ride back from Sacramento must have been  brutal.  Half the team didn’t show up for school the next day.

The McClymonds Warriors played with passion and determination, but lost to the No. 2-seeded Sheldon Huskies 59-55 in the Northern California Division 1 semifinal in Sacramento on Tuesday night.

“A very tough loss,” said Dalvin Guy, junior.

About 50 students traveled to Sacramento by bus to cheer the team. They were joined by alumni, parents and other Mack students, decked in orange and black.

Sheldon took an early lead, but by halftime, the Warriors had tied the game 25-25.

“The most exciting moment was when we were tied,” said Angelique Villasana. “It was uphill but then downhill from there.”

Sheldon once again took the lead 51-36 in the fourth quarter, as McClymonds attempted three-pointers and narrowed the lead to 51-46 with 1:49 to go.

“Our missed free throws lost us the game,” said Mack coach Brandon Brooks.

Lawrence Otis led McClymonds with 14 points and Dulani Robinson had 13.

Will Meditation Make Mack More Mellow?

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photos by Indyka Reed

by Angelique Villasana

Her shoulders sagged, her body went limp, and her eyes were closed. As Brittney Conine slumped, she was totally in a state of relaxation.

The McClymonds biology teacher was a test subject in an experiment— in meditation.

Teachers meditated at a special meeting Wednesday. They were led by Jane Lazzareschi, who teaches “Quiet Time” in San Francisco.

Meditation classes were among the recommendations by the student Leadership group to make the school a more peaceful place. Students would meditate during the last 15 minutes of every class.

“We plan to start a school-wide program as a way to help people deal with trauma in their school and community,” said Namkung. A similar program was introduced at Oakland High School, he said.

In Visitacion Valley in San Francisco, once meditation was taught to students, there was a 45 percent reduction in multi-day suspensions and a slight rise in the GPA of students from 2.5 to 2.9.

“There is less violence and there are higher test scores, grades and attendance in schools that provide meditation,” said Rachael Hereford, Spanish teacher and vice principal.

Mack’s most famous alumnus: meeting Bill Russell

Umiika Rose:

“It was an honor to meet Bill Russell on Alumni Day. A famous, accomplished McClymonds graduate, who comes back to his neighborhood, his high school, his roots.”