Category Archives: Oakland Tech

“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.”


Lady Warriors edge rival Oakland Tech 67-66 to play in championship


Full house — fans at an earlier game

by Parrish Kendricks

Close-call game; in the final seconds, McClymonds found the adrenaline to  beat Oakland  Technical High School 67-66 at home.

There were 20 seconds on the game clock when point-guard Gabby Gaines dribbled the ball up the court and passed it to shooting-guard Angela Lee. Lee caught the pass and dribbled closer to the court for a better shot; now, with 10 seconds left on the clock, Lee shot and scored a 2-pointer. She was fouled, but there was no call.

Oakland Tech took the ball out with 5 seconds left.

Elayshia Woolridge shot and missed the game winner for her team, providing McClymonds with the victory, and McClymonds with a spot in the 2014 Oakland Atheltic League (OAL) basketball campionship.

The Lady Warriors had gained confidence in the last few weeks, said coach Dennis Flannery.  “Playing at home was a good advantage for us,” he said.

“I thought the game would be pretty close,” Flannery added.

“My game plan was to not let the press hurt them and take advantage of Daisy’s (Powell,who’s 6-foot-4) height difference over her defender,” he said.

As McClymonds heads into the championship game, the team feels more relaxed. “I feel really good we played Skyline twice although we lost but at the time we didn’t have Gabby (Gaines) so I feel she can step up and contribute to get the win,” said Flannery.

Lady Warriors will face an undefeated Skyline team at Laney College tomorrow, March 6,  at 4:30 pm for the OAL championship title.

Triple hoops action against rival Oakland Tech: girls lose 66-55; boys win

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photos by Danenicole Williams

Story to come

For the girls, it was a hard-fought battle against arch-rival Oakland Tech. After a promising first quarter (leading 16-9), the Lady Warriors just could not maintain the lead, falling to Tech 66-55.

JV Boys edged Oakland tech 51-45.

In a fast-paced offensive game, the varsity boys beat Tech 92-88.

Ready to argue? The fearless join Mack’s new debate team


by Anastasia Walton

After a two-year break, Urban Debate is back at Mack.

Leading the new crew of debaters is Wyllene Turner, a 20-year-old community college student who graduated from Street Academy, where she was a debater in the Urban Debate League and won the Oakland district poetry slam in 2011.

“I really want this team to prevail because I’m from West Oakland and I really want to see people from my community succeed,” says Turner.

As a first exercise, she split the 12 students into  two groups and had them debate which candy was better: Hershey’s or M&M’s. Anthony Beron, a 10th grader, looked up how many calories were in each candy to sweeten his argument.

“I want to help contribute to this year’s debate team,” said Beron.  “ I also want to hone my debating skills.”

Debate is not new to McClymonds. In the past, the school has had a strong debate team and debaters. In 2010, alumna Tanesha Walker, now a student at UCLA,  was runner-up  in the National Urban Debate League. That same year, the McClymonds’ debate team won 1st place in the Bay Area Urban Debate League.

As regional coordinator, Turner helps several teams from the East Bay — Envision, Emery, and Oakland Tech. She said she was happy with the initial turnout and hopes more students will join. Debate, she argued,  is a good prep tool for college. And Mack students are natural debaters, she added.

J’Mya Gree-Martinez, a 9th grader, echoed that thought. “ I believe debate will give me a chance to interact with new people, and plus, I like to talk,” she said.

Some students like 9th grader Kaya LaForte developed a taste for debate in middle school. “ I like to argue, and I participated in debate my 8th grade year at Kipp Bridge and loved it,” she said.

The debate team meets every Monday right after school in the 2nd floor computer lab.

Does Mack Have A Baseball Team ….Finally?

baseballteamby Jonae Scott

Despite the rough start — two games forfeited because of delayed paperwork — McClymonds High School has its first real baseball team in five years.

In the past, it could not muster enough eligible players to have a full season.

“It’s finally happened,” said junior Mike Tugman “A minor miracle but we have ten guys representing Mack.”

And this group of guys is having fun.

“There’s more laughter than on the basketball court,” says Tugman, who played pre-season but is currently ineligble.

Unlike Mack’s other renowned team — its football team has won three back-to-back Silver Bowls and its boys’ and girls’ basketball team placed first in the Oakland Athletic League — the baseball team’s players are greener. Only six of them have actually played on a team before.

“Our strategy is teaching fundamentals of the game,” says coach Keith Britton.

The team beat Fremont 8-0 and lost a close game to Castlemont 8-7. A crucial test will be Friday’s game against Oakland Tech.

Its top pitcher, sophomore Mahlik Smith, pitches at 65 mph. Its best hitter, junior Brandon Vonderwerth, has a .380 batting average.

But that is not the point for this team.  Britton emphasizes teamwork, dubbing every member of the team “Superstar.”

“Individual stats may be important for scouts, but right now this team is aiming for the W [win],” says Tugman.


They Played Their Hearts Out, But Post-Season Ends for Lady Warriors and Warriors

mackgirls1by Khristan Antoine

For the Lady Warriors, it was the end of a Cinderella season.

It was the little engine that could, a team that seemed unfocused in the first few weeks of its pre-season, at a school that takes tremendous pride in the basketball success….of its boys’ team.

It was the girls’ team that made school history. The Lady Warriors won its first Oakland Athletic League Title in 38 years and then pressed its way through the first round of the CIF Regionals (with a great fourth quarter against Armijo) only to fall to Berkeley High School 54-44 in the quarterfinals on Saturday night.

“We played our hearts out,” said sophomore Marcedes Latu. “We shouldn’t forget that we made school history and that we’re champions.”

It was quite a battle. For the Lady Warriors, it was a close first half, with the score tied at 34-34 in the third quarter. “Then suddenly Berkeley scored more points and we forced plays, that didn’t work,” says coach Dennis Flannery.

Da Ja Nay Powell led the Lady Warriors with 16 points and nine rebounds. Breannie Robinson had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, in San Jose, the Warriors lost to Bellarmine College Prep 64-46. The Bells made nine 3-pointers in the game from four different players.

Eric Jones led the Warriors with 13 points.

Mack Earns Home-Field Advantage But Has To Play At Its Rival’s Gym


by Anthony Beron

The victory dance should have taken place HERE last Thursday. The championship game should have been in the McClymonds gym.

Yes, the McClymonds Lady Warriors made history by winning the Oakland Athletic League for the first time in 38 years. And the boys team, the Warriors won and were undefeated in the OAL.

So what is the pay-off for their hard work and higher seeding in the CIF playoffs: WE HAVE TO PLAY AT OAKLAND TECH, our rival school, instead of playing in our OWN GYM.

And the school is abuzz with that sad reality. “If I had an option,” said boys’ basketball coach Brandon Brooks, “I’d definitely have our team play here because of our strong, enthusiastic fan base.” He thought it was moved to Oakland Tech because of the smaller size of our gym.

Colleen  Piper, Spanish teacher, called the move to have McClymonds play at its rival’s gym “unfair” and “uncool.”

Teacher Relonda McGhee, who favored playing at Laney College, where the Silver Bowl was played, said that “Playing at Tech is risky, because it’s our rival.”

Most students agreed. “We should play here, on our home field,  because we are the champions,” said Danny Sola, a senior.

But some expressed caution. “Playing here can be dangerous,” said Luckie Lovette, a junior. “In the past, the fans have caused a lot of problems.”

While McClymonds students mentioned the unfairness of the situation, the athletes just practiced for the game.

“As long as we have a court and a hoop,” said Lady Warrior Romanalyn Inocencio, “I’m cool.”

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.


DOUBLE MACK: Boys’ Basketball Unbeaten in OAL; Lady Warriors Clinch Title


photo by Anthony Beron

It was an afternoon of triumph as the McClymonds Warriors beat Oakland Tech 56-48, after trailing at halftime.

The Lady Warriors dominated Tech 62-50 to clinch the OAL title and No. 1 seed in the 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.”