Category Archives: Oakland High

“Griots” project comes to McClymonds


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.”


McClymonds sophomore is fatally shot in front of Boys and Girls Club


The wall at the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Street commemorates Denzel Jones.

photo and story by Anthony Beron

McClymonds high school students were shocked by the shooting in front of the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Streets Saturday night, in which McClymonds sophomore Denzel Jones, 15, was killed along with a 35-year-old man.

“It’s a dangerous corner,” said freshman Jasmine Vilchis. “It makes me think about safety and worry about the killers, still on the loose.”

Vilchis was within earshot of the shooting, and recalls gunshots “ringing in the night, leaving everything silent.”

Spanish teacher Elsa Ochoa described him as having a lot of friends and as a student who presented a reserved resonance. “We’ve lost another youth to violence in Oakland.”

Several grief counselors were available Monday to help students sort out their emotions.

His family asked the public Sunday to help find the gunman who killed him. Police told reporters they have no suspects and no motive yet.

Jones, nicknamed “Beans,” had only attended McClymonds since winter break. He had transferred from Oakland High School and said he most enjoyed math. His sister, Sharda Macon, a psychology major at Laney College,  told KTVU, “We just really need a lot of support right now. It’s hard losing a kid. He’s just a baby.”

Debate coach and journalism assistant Pamela Tapia saw him as a student full of potential and fraught with academic talent, and as someone with a strong work ethic.

“He was genuine, intelligent and mindful. It’s so horrible that he had so much talent that wasn’t harvested; he always turned in the best work and was one of the best students I’ve had.”

In front of the Boys and Girls Club, bystanders stopped to sign two enormous posters and light candles. A huge teddybear and red and white balloons — his favorite colors — also were placed nearby.

“He was hecka quiet,” said freshman Nicole Funes. “He looked smart,  like he was capable of doing good work.”

Mack’s first male cheerleader: jumps higher, does the splits

silver13malecheerleaderDavonte Braud, a McClymonds cheerleader, poses one of his favorite cheer positions

Story and photo by Anthony Beron

McClymonds’ secret weapon jumps high and moves fast on the football field. But it’s during halftime as part of the cheerleading squad’s festive halftime routine.

Davonte Braud, a junior at Mack, is the first male cheerleader in the school’s recent history. And the only one in the Oakland Athletic League.

Braud does not mind the effeminate connotation allegedly brought with the sport.

“I’ve been cheering since Pop Warner at age 3,” said Braud, who challenges the female cheerleaders with his athleticism, energy and dance moves. “I’ve modeled too.”

The junior has also played football himself. “They urged me to join the team, but I joined the cheerleading squad instead,” he said. He then leaps and does a mid-air split.

Braud was recently threatened expulsion from Mack’s cheerleading team by Humphrey Garrett, a McClymonds School Security Officer, for being obstreperous during a geometry class lecture.

Many feel Braud is a valuable asset to the team. “He’s an athlete like everyone else,” said Darlisha McGlothen, a senior. “He just jumps higher than anyone else.”

However, not everyone agrees. Some of the alumni and fathers tease the players, calling out to them,”He has your jersey number,” said Nakaya LaForte, a freshman who frequently attends Mack sports games. “It’s good natured, but they are kind’ve also insensitive.”

“We just like the cheering,” said Jacquari Warfield, a sophomore wide receiver. As for it coming from a male cheerleader? “I don’t think much about it.”

Four-Peat: Mack dominates Oakland High 44-16 to capture Silver Bowl

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photos by Anthony Beron

by Anthony Beron

Relying on the running game and special teams, McClymonds High School won their fourth consecutive Silver Bowl title 44-16  despite a more zealous performance by Oakland High in a tighter than expected first half.

With no time to celebrate, the team started preparing this week for a possible state championship showdown against rival Central Catholic, which beat them earlier this season in a close game 38-24.

It was Oakland High’s first appearance in the section championship since 1994.

During the Silver Bowl, McClymonds had its challenges in the first half, as they fumbled once and threw an interception. Oakland High scored first on a field goal, which was the first of three by sophomore Jose Rivas.

McClymonds quarterback, senior Emoni Fountain, ran for 8 yards, giving the Warriors their first lead. After a successful two-point conversion in the first half, the Warriors led 8-3.

After another Rivas field goal, the lead narrowed to 8-6.

“We’ve gotten a lot better over the season,” said McClymonds coach Michael Peters. “We have to set the tempo and be more aggressive earlier in the game.”

That increase in tempo finally came during the second half; after a pep talk by the Mack coaching staff at halftime, immediate touchdowns followed. Louis White, a junior, returned the 2nd half’s initiating kickoff from Oakland High to score a 79-yard touchdown.

This stretched Mack’s lead, creating a gulf that Oakland High had a hard time narrowing .

“Their linemen were really uncoordinated and couldn’t keep up with the heat we were throwing. I pancaked my guy twice, and I barely got any playing time,” said Mel Fulava Jr., a Mack junior.

Lavance Warren of McClymonds showed an outstanding running performance, rushing for 142 yards and scoring two touchdowns, while Oakland High’s quarterback, Kesomi Mafi , rushed for 153 yards and threw a touchdown, according statistics in the San Jose Mercury and MaxPreps.

As they await word about CIF Division IV playoffs, Mack coaches are trying to keep their players ready for the post-season.

“We’re just keeping everything crisp on our team,” said Dwayne Patterson, Mack defensive coach. “We’re probably going to meet Central Catholic again. At this point we need to focus on their running game and just beating them; they’re a solid ‘hit ’em in the mouth’ kind of team.”

Are you social or studious? Your favorite floor at Mack provides a clue


photo by Anthony Beron

by Jacob Miles

Here’s the profile: talker, sagger, whistler, rapper, texts while he walks, dawdles in the hallway. Conclusion: definitely fits the personality of a 2nd floor guy.

She’s different: still half asleep, in need of caffeine or a pick-me-up, doesn’t want anyone to ask about her business, avoids confrontation, prefers not to flirt, doesn’t walk too quickly.  Probably prefers the 3rd floor.

Students at McClymonds often engage in a heated debate: about which floor is best:  “Which floor do you prefer?”

While most argue that the second floor is more convenient and social, others prefer the third floor because it is more quiet and also practical: it’s where most classes are scheduled.

So the  question is: which floor do more people prefer? I asked around to see what students and faculty think.

To some students the 2nd floor is more convenient  for a plethora of reasons.”The 2nd floor has the most teachers and we could be taught more and learn more than on the 3rd floor,”  said Luckie Lovette, a junior.

“I like walking down the 3rd floor hallways and seeing the art that goes on the lockers;  also it is more peaceful and quicker to get to class than on the 2nd floor.”  said Danny Cox,  another junior.

Besides the much desired stillness of the third floor,  students claim their allegiance to the top floor  because of the limited presence of security guards (SSOs), principal and vice principal who seem to enjoy roaming through the hallways of the second floor.  No SSOs , no way to get into trouble for any reason.

However, students who like to socialize with their friends prefer the second floor despite increased supervision.

“I’m willing to risk that and talk to my friends because they can’t really control us.” Andre Price, Junior, stated.

Making History: Lady Warriors Win Oakland Section Title after 37 Years — On To the CIF State Tournament Wednesday

ladywarriorstrophymarch12013photos by Jonae Scott and Breannie Robinson

by Khristan Antoine (with stats by East Bay Preps)

The McClymonds Lady Warriors made history last week.

On Wednesday, seeded No. 4, they face Armijo in the first round of Division 1 CIF state basketball tournament at Oakland Tech at 6pm. The boys’ team, seeded No. 5 plays against Santa Teresa-San Jose at 7:30 pm, also at Tech.

The Lady Warriors won the Oakland Section Championship for the first time in 37 years, beating rival Oakland Tech 47-40 at Merritt College.

“It’s a moment we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives,” said coach Dennis Flannery, holding the trophy with his team. “The whole team worked hard on conditioning and focus. We are 12.”

Its 26 wins made it the Lady Warriors team with the most wins in the school’s history.


McClymonds had eight 3-pointers in the game, including three by Gabby Gaines and three by Ahjahna Coleman. It was always ahead, with the smallest lead 44-40 with 16 seconds left.

Breannie Robinson had a game-high 12 rebounds and Romanalyn Inocencio passed for 8 assists.

The celebration was loud and fun, as Gaines declared, “We f***ing GO!” and everyone posed with the huge trophy.

“It’s nice to bring it [the title] back to Mack House,” said Flannery.

After the girls’ game, Merritt College filled up quickly for the Warriors’ standing-room-only game against Oakland High.

That game was closer — with McClymonds winning 52-49. It was far more dramatic, as the Warriors (20-7 and undefeated in OAL play) trailed 24-27 at halftime. They were trailing 44-49 once again with over 2 minutes to play, when senior Tahjee Williams picked up a steal, shot a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. He later picked off another pass that led to a 3-pointer by Mike Walker to give Mack the lead.

Williams (the league’s most valuable player) scored a game-high 21 points, drawing chants of M-V-P from the crowd at the end of the game.

“The pressure on defense turned the game around,” said coach Brandon Brooks. “I didn’t know that we would win until 3 seconds were left on the clock.”


The boys’ team, seeded No. 5,  faces Santa Teresa-San Jose (17-11)  on Wednesday night at Oakland Tech in Division 1 of the CIF  Northern Regional Playoffs.


Mack lures transfer students — with sports and community

Breannie Robinson Aronisha Smith, 16 College Ready

by Anastasia Walton

Most transfer to McClymonds for sports, but others yearn for community, after feeling lost in the shuffle of students on bigger campuses like O’High, Tech or Skyline.

Some even come from afar: Vallejo, Manteca, or even San Francisco.

Jenero Rodriguez, sophomore, wakes up at 7:30  am,  gathers his backpack and books and heads for the door.  If he catches the 8:10 am bus from North Oakland he might make it on time for Spanish class.

Rodriguez is starting a new school year at a new campus with new faces, 33 of them (out of 265 students). After wearing a Bulldogs uniform for one year, he proudly dons a Warriors orange and black jersey.

According to the Oakland Unified School District’s student assignment office; there were twelve 9th graders, eleven 10th graders, three 11th graders, and seven 12th graders who transferred to Mack this current school year.

Like Rodriguez, Louis White, junior, 16, switched from Tech to McClymonds and to Mack’s Silver Bowl winning football team.

“The teachers at Mack really care.  They take the time to help you and make sure you get the material, unlike the teachers at my school [Tech],” stated White.

Who are these new faces you might ask? Well it was a question I was asking myself as well. I wanted to know whether the transition was easy and how they adjusted. The main difference, students said, was the encouragement from staff to prepare for college.

Jermaine McCann, an 11th grader said “The staff really pushes you and talks about college, where at my other school, they barely even brought up college.”  “Mack is  one big family,” he added.

Students who leave McClymonds are usually looking for more AP classes and more extracurricular activities, says Rolanda McGhee, Care Manager.

Fitting in at McClymonds may be easier than integrating elsewhere. Principal Kevin Taylor  said, “Students at Mack are very friendly and open so it isn’t hard for new students to settle in. As for the staff, I don’t really think they mind helping to teach a new mind.”

Trying REAL HARD to Encourage Respect at Mack


Photo by Janaya Andrews

By Janaya Andrews

A freshman curses out loud in front of a math teacher in the hallway. An athlete interrupts another student, saying “Just shut up.”

These incidents inspired a core of students participating in REAL HARD at McClymonds to hand out wrist bands last week and encourage students to speak up, listen and respect each other.

The sky blue wrist bands proclaimed  “Honor My Space” while forest green ones spelled out “Speak Up.” About 40 percent of students participated in activities centered around   learning to take turns expressing opinions and acting in positive ways toward one another.

“It’s a way to tell the world that you want to be heard, that you will stand up for what you believe,” said Randall Coleman, 16, a junior.

REAL HARD is an after-school leadership training program that meets twice a week for a two-hour session. In addition to the program at McClymonds, REAL HARD (run by Oakland Kids First) has programs at Oakland Tech,Oakland High, Street Academy, Fremont, Castlemont and Skyline. In the past, REAL HARD has tackled issues such as bullying and classroom etiquette. Participants are paid a stipend of $350. 

“We amplify the school culture and promote respect in how we treat one another,” says Krish de Leon, REAL HARD program coordinator, who leads the group at McClymonds. “We work with students and teachers to create an environment of learning and free expression.”

Shamorra Washington, 16, dangled her plastic wristband after admitting to sometimes getting emotional in her discussions with fellow students. “I know there is a way to be more respectful and I want to be heard and respected, too.”

Even students who did not participate in the REAL HARD action said they felt that promoting respect at McClymonds was worthwhile. “It’s a positive step,” said Deshawn Nelson, 16. “I like the idea of speaking my mind, being part of the community, being heard and yes, listening to others.”

Homecoming In Style: Blowout 68-0 Victory Against Oakland High

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Photos by Breannie Robinson

By Breannie Robinsion

Everyone assumed Mack would win its game against Oakland High, but the Warriors showed that they could play tough and together behind new quarterback Keith Williams. The result: 10 touchdowns and a 68-0 blow-out victory in a memorable homecoming game.

In a quick start, running back LaVance Warren ran for 13 yards for the Warriors’ first touchdown. It was followed by fumbles by Oakland High that were recovered by Mack and returned for touchdowns by Yusef Sterling-Lowe and Antonio Cummings. By the end of the first quarter, Mack led 32-0.

“If you play as a team, you win as a team,” said Jailen Thompson, who plays as a receiver. “We wanted to score 100 points but respect for our opponent prevented us.”

It was a long game not only because of homecoming but a defensive lineman from Oakland High was injured in the second quarter and taken to the hospital. “I was worried that the player was seriously injured,” said offensive lineman Kevin Vaughn. “But his injury did not affect the rest of the game.”

Homecoming queen was Romanalyn Inocencio, a varsity basketball player,  and homecoming king was Dalvin Guy, also a basketball player.