Category Archives: food

Macho can mean macaroni (and cheese)

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Opinion Piece

by Luckie Lovette

When I was nine, I scorched myself when flipping French fries:  bubbling grease splattered onto my face. LESSON LEARNED: never stand close to hot grease.

I used to cook with my mom, but now the tables are turned and I’m the only person who cooks in my household. My menu is growing as I take this responsibility seriously, cooking for my aunty and brothers: I’ve graduated from old standbys like Mac and cheese on to more gourmet teriyaki chicken, vegetable medleys, baked chicken and meatloaf.

It’s not what you’d expect of a high school senior, who should be focused on homecoming, senior ditch day and prom. Not many MALE students at McClymonds become master chefs; we don’t even have a barbecue club like at Berkeley High and at Bishop O’Dowd. Only 16 percent of high school males know how to cook.

 

The first time I cooked something was when I was 6 years and dreamed of IHop, so what did I make:  big golden fluffy pancake. Not messy, sticky or runny. Unlike other kids, I succeeded the first time around. My future was sealed.

 

I began paying close attention to what my grandmother would whip up: soul foul,  fried chicken, greens, potato salad, hot water cornbread, roast beef, fried fish, and macaroni salad. Grandma Gina inspired me to take risks, get dirty. She would chop celery, onion and bell peppers and throw them into the meat, with me by her side, staring.

 

What I like most about cooking is company, community. Sitting down at the table, I share (jokes, ideas, and stories) and food with my family and chew over the day. The meal is what binds us together:  even the cats get involved, nibbling on leftovers.  And they are clever – they smell and hear me cutting onions and gather around, because they know that meat is coming next.

 

I’m not very talented in working with my hands so this gives me an outlet for that, because I don’t stress when cooking, my main focus is to listen to the sizzle, to inhale the garlic.

 

I love good food but that’s not why I cook. Cooking is my artistic expression. Even though I cook for the entire time I’m at home, I feel recharged at the end.

 

“Griots” project comes to McClymonds

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by Jaden Nixon

The “Griots” project made a powerful impact at McClymonds.

“It gave us insight into how Oakland teens think,” said Kaya LaForte, a freshman who saw the exhibit late last month.

“The Griots of Oakland” is the name of a book and an oral history project by five young black men who collected stories of growing up Black in Oakland in interviews with 100 Black  men aged 6 to 24. ‘Griots’ is a West-African word that means storyteller.

“It should be made for the whole school and all of Oakland to see,” said Joseph Sanford, a senior. “It makes me remember about the ‘hood, and what people don’t know about living in a different community and what we do to make it out.”

The project was launched by African American Male Achievement (AAMA), which works to empower young black males, and Alameda Health Care Services Agency created a project to allow young African American males to share their personal experiences. They worked with Story for All to recruit five young men from the ages of 14 to 18 to collect stories.

The young men were taught African American and Oakland history, as well as videography, by the non-profit.

With video cameras and 30 interview questions, the young men hit the streets, interviewed teens at school and captured on video the voices and thoughts of over 100 African American males from the ages of 6 to 24.

Interview questions ranged from “What did you eat for breakfast?” to “What is it like being a young African American man in Oakland?” The answers were sometimes alarming. While nearly 79 percent of boys under 13 said that it was good to be a young black male, 83 percent of those over 13 said that it was hard.

The exhibit at McClymonds included photos, quotes and video clips from the interviews. A book was also published.

However, for some, it is just a reminder of the ordinary. “I’ve seen people get shot. When I see this, I don’t feel anything new,” said McClymonds sophomore Billy Giddens. ” I just go on to the next day.”

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For vegetarians: school lunch is just fries and an orange

lunch1 Standard school lunch: burger and fries, with one-third ounce packages of sauce to eat your food with.

Opinion piece and photos by Anthony Beron

It’s worse than what’s served at McDonald’s. How can fries be soggy and cold? School lunch at McClymonds —hamburgers and French fries “keeps me away from the cafeteria,” said vegetarian Mickey Sola, a sophomore.

The menu consists of cooked meats, occasionally expired milk, and roughly grated fries that taste gritty and old, and overly salted. If you choose to eschew from the “hot foods,” you then typically get a choice of a salad, or one of three types of sandwiches: turkey, tuna, or salami.

For vegetarians, there is nothing to eat during lunch, save a piece of fruit and a paltry amount of greens.

IMG_20140211_130410 Freshman Eric Coleman collects ketchup for his lunch.

Even omnivore Lucky Lovette, a senior, called school school lunch  “distasteful.”

“I’m the first person to get in line for the food; some of it isn’t good at all and other things are okay. I don’t like the combination of chicken and waffles with syrup, which is something they serve sometimes,” continued Lovette.

If students are concerned about the quality of school lunches, so are California voters, according to the most recent Field Poll released Wednesday. The poll found that 59 percent of California voters listed kids’ eating and exercise habits as their top concern — more than drug use or sex.

At McClymonds, most students feel that their lunch is not that healthy.

“Only people who are hella starved would consider eating the school lunch: the pepperoni tastes like it’s straight from a Lunchables kit, and the cheese is as hard as a rock. ‘Roaches and mice seem to flourish in the building,” said freshman Jerrell Alberty.

In the cafeteria’s kitchen stand a commercial oven and fridge, where food is made to be served to students and faculty. New refrigerators were put into service in 2010 for storing cold sandwiches and salads, about three years before a large rodent problem arose on campus, which put its kitchen out of service for several months.

“The vegetarian menu only has salad and fries in it. The salad is just a lot of ranch dressing, cheese and croutons, with a chunk of lettuce. I rarely ever eat lunch either because I’m not hungry or there’s nothing to eat,” said Sola. She then declared with levity, “I really need to start bringing my own lunch!”

Ironically, just a few feet away from the cafeteria behind a fence that is opened a few times a month, lies a vegetable and fruit garden planted two years ago and maintained by Planting Justice, a Bay Area group dedicated to making freshly-grown food more available to local neighborhoods.

Until two years ago, teachers gave food to students to aid their ability to focus in class and to help keep them from leaving campus during school, says Patricia Calloway, a teacher at McClymonds.

No longer (except for snacks distributed by the Peacemakers and occasionally by teachers) is this practiced.

Students say they survive by runs to corner store a block away on 26th Street and Market, where food ranges from fried chicken to canned soda. “I usually go by the store to buy brownies, honey-buns, juice and chips and eat it for breakfast because I’m usually late to the school, and don’t eat breakfast at home,” said freshman Nicole Funes. “Each visit costs me around two to three dollars.”

“Sometimes I buy stuff from the corner store and save it for lunch, because I don’t like the food here and there’s no off-campus lunch allowed,” stated Funes.

“There’s more variety at the fried chicken store, and everything for sale just tastes better,” said senior Quadrey Wesley. “Everyday there are people who go to the store to get lunch and get back to school hecka late, even though it’s against school rules.”

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In a small school like McClymonds, love takes different forms

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Stories, photos and illustrations by students in Journalism 1

Not everyone has a “love” on campus at McClymonds, a school of 270.

People have different passions, too: sports, video games, rap music, flowers, art, fashion, food and chocolate.

Here are the stories and photos we collected:

“‘You’re over my head…I’m out of my mind..’ Every time I hear Classic by MTKO, I just snap my fingers, sing along. That song makes me really happy and brightens up my whole day. I listened to it after I had fallen down the stairs at school, hit my head, and then went to track practice in pain.”

Jaden Nixon

For Rayana Delaney, her first love was lit inside her during a balmy, summer day, at McClymonds High.  At first sight, he seemed like the “one”: charming, funny, caring, loving and overwhelmingly attractive all described him well. Fortunately, for both, they were coincidently students at the same summer school.  Delaney recalls a latent excitement after smiling at him and a requited love-struck stare, immediately prior to an exchange of introductions.

“We became friends right away,” said Delaney. “He was really cute, and he showed a lot of interest in me.  After around two months of being friends and a quick spread of my attraction toward him through my friends, we finally had our first kiss, at school; it was magical.”

Since then, they have both been in an intimate relationship, and are planning on having their first date soon—at a local movie theater.

Delaney’s Valentine’s Day gift to her boyfriend is a card with hearts on it and some chocolate.  His match: a card with a picture of a teddybear on it and pink balloon.

Rayana Delaney, as told by Anthony Beron

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“Jessie was walking around her new high school and lost her way. A senior named Chris noticed her immediately and offered to help her. He walked around and around, and was so hooked he wouldn’t let her go home. There was a click between them. “We’ve been together ever since.'”

as told to Jasmine Vilchis

“My grandma makes us feel special: she brings us all together, we all sit on her bed and she’ll tell us a story. We’ll laugh and feel a special bond. We are family.”

J’Mya Gray-Martinez

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 “I love hamburgers because they are always there for me, whenever I need food, hamburgers are always there with melted cheese, a juicy patty, crisp buns, and delicious pickles. Every time I’m down and out, I have a hamburger.”

Parrish Kendricks

Valentine’s Day: cupcakes and kisses

valentinesby Nicole Funes, photo by Anthony Beron

When Genesis Johnson and Walter Nathaniel, two McClymonds 10th graders, celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday, they won’t be exchanging balloons bought at school or hearing singing telegrams. They may just kiss quickly in the hallway. Or buy each other $1 homemade cupcakes.

By Monday afternoon, about 10 students had already filled out forms to deliver cupcakes to their valentines at school on Friday, said Colleen Piper, Spanish teacher who advises the student council and is baking cupcakes for Friday.

Daishawn Shannon, 11th grade, sent himself a message with the cupcake he bought. “I wasn’t going to buy any for anybody at this school. Nobody.” In his note, he wrote “I love myself.”

“We may have gotten a late start,” says Alexis Hill,11th grader and a member of the student council that organized the event. “But it’ll be a success.”

The money raised will be donated toward school events; for instance, for prom tickets and college T-shirts for students who work hard, said Piper.

“I’m glad that we’re doing something for school spirit,” said Johnson. Piper added, “Valentine’s offers us a day to make someone smile and share appreciation for others.”

From a cold Cabrio to a warm Thanksgiving: how the Golden State Warriors saved my life

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By Luckie Lovette

I never imagined it would happen to me: family crisis, homelessness, and living in a cold 1999 white Volkswagen Cabrio for two months. But unlike  633,782 hungry and homeless Americans, I got lucky.

Through the efforts of my school’s after school program and the Golden State Warriors’ basketball team, I won a shopping spree at Lucky’s supermarket in Alameda on Tuesday.

The Golden State Warriors invited my family and me on a unique Thanksgiving shopping spree. The team’s public affairs head interviewed me, putting a huge camera in front of me and two bright lights that blinded my eyes. She asked me questions about how long I’ve been homeless on the street (two months), how does it feel to sleep in a cold car (freezing), and the days of school  I’ve missed due to my situation (10 days).

The interview took place at the Warriors’ practice facility, among posters of basketball players. That’s when I received an invitation from the Warriors to take my family shopping for food.

Two weeks later, I walked into the supermarket, where my last name was on a banner on a Lucky’s shopping cart, which was breath taking.

Former NBA player Lindsey Hunter and Warriors’ cheerleaders guided me through the store and gave my family and me special printed jerseys with our last name “Lovette.” Camera crews and photographers followed me and as well as four other families. Two special checkout registers were reserved just for us. Our items were rung up and we spent time in front of the grocery store taking pictures with NBA star Klay Thompson and traffic anchor and news reporter Sal Castenada from KTVU, which was a big jaw drop for me.

After that happened, I went to my step-mother’s house and gave her all my Thanksgiving food. Besides my grandmother, she has been a central figure in my life since I was a little kid, welcoming me to her house when I was on the streets struggling to find a home. My grandmother recently tossed me of her house and left me homeless with no food or money.

She was moving back in her house and she threw away all of my prized possessions away – my TV, my neck set with my weights, my Nike Elites, my trophies — and left me to fend for myself. I wanted to take the Thanksgiving food to her house but I felt like she didn’t deserve it because of her mean attitude.

My step mom was very excited that I went shopping for her and her kids. She had to make room in her freezer for two 20-pound turkeys, two brown sugar hams, three pies and a big bucket of ice cream. My family and I were nothing but thankful to McClymonds Youth and Family Center care manager Lovell Ruffin Jr. and former youth manager Jareem Gunter for getting me set up with the Warriors and for a great haircut.

Why Students Smoke Weed (or Don’t)

OPINION PIECE

by Lee Benson

Is weed a problem at McClymonds High School? Does it lead to absenteeism or cutting class?

Apparently less so, this year, so far.

Geometry teacher Elise Delagnes says,” It was a big problem last year and I had many students come to my class high, but this year it has gotten much better.”

In fact, no students have been suspended for being high at McClymonds. “Weed is not a problem at McClymonds,” says Principal Tanisha Hamberlin.

The changes at McClymonds reflect what is going on nationwide. Statistics show that the percentage of students who smoke weed in high school has dropped from a shocking 8.2% in 2002 to 7.3% in 2009.

As teens begin to smoke weed at a younger age, we would like to know the reason why this is happening. Why smoke instead  of going to class, getting good grades and going to college? In our interviews with several students at McClymonds, we discovered that many students react to stress by coming to school high.

First of all, most students won’t admit that they smoke. They can’t smoke at school because hallway cameras record comings and goings of students. “This is prison, they have cameras everywhere,” says junior Quadry Wesley.

Most students also say that sports and drugs don’t mix. At McClymonds, most students play at least one sport.

“I don’t smoke weed because I don’t want to let anybody down who is important in my life,” says Miles Mitchell, a junior and a tight end on the football team.  “I feel like it is a bad influence on little kids. Another reason why I don’t smoke is because I play for the varsity football team and I am trying to get a scholarship so I can go to college.”

Emoni Fountain, a senior and the starting quarterback agrees.  “I don’t smoke weed because I’m an athlete and it makes you have bad lungs, I don’t feel like weed is something that will help me get to where I am trying to be in life. I see people smoking around me all the time and I see the effects of it and I don’t want any part of it.”

In my opinion, students smoke weed  for different reasons, to relieve stress, because it’s cool, to fit in.

Those who do smoke say they work as hard as they play. “I smoke weed because it’s fun. I like to chase the high. It’s kind of relaxing and everything is way more funny than it would be when I am sober,” says junior David Smith. “Just because I smoke doesn’t mean that I don’t get my work done,  I still have above a 2.0, so I really don’t see a problem with it.

Sophomore Jasmine Richardson agrees. “I smoke sometimes because it is funny when you’re high, also I smoke because I want to and it keeps me occupied.”