Category Archives: relationships

Aside

Dear, Naya My parents told me this scary story about some kids who went missing when  they were camping.  It begins with 6 kids camping in the deepest woods, called “witches’ ground.” As they come upon a house in the middle of … Continue reading

Ask Naya: time to heal those secret scars

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Dear Naya,

My friends are ignoring me. Nobody wants to  acknowledge the pain that I carry.

Will I get over this feeling of being deeply misunderstood?

Deeply Hurt

Dear Deeply Hurt

There are kids out there who need comfort and help, these kids are “the hurt ones,” the ones that you see with  their faces down  on  the  desk  or who come to  school late so  that people won’t ask “What’s wrong?”

There’s a reason  why they give no  answer, because they know we’ll forget about it since we  are all too busy paying attention to ourselves (and taking selfies).

I understand their scars: what I mean by scars are not cutting yourself, but living with hurt feelings that are never spoken or acknowledged. Most people turn away from those feelings. The “hurt ones” are invisible to the crowd, or are seen as weird or creepy.

I tell you everyone has scars, so don’t hide away from us,  get to know us. “Scars are meant to be heard, not meant to be kept”

Eating in class: will we concentrate more?

eatinginclass opinion piece

by Anthony Beron

Some of us come to school hungry, usually because we got up late. It affects our whole day. We can’t concentrate, daydream instead of eating crunchy Doritos or sweet mandarins. So why not let us eat in class?

At McClymonds, students can’t eat in class, said assistant principal Clayton McKinney. His reasons: possible ant or rat infestation; distraction in the classroom.

“Food makes a cleanliness and rodent issue, and it’s distracting for the students. However, we’ve been pretty lenient in the past,” he said. But McKinney acknowledged, “Students should have between four and six meals a day.”

Not so in math teacher Mark Rizkallah’s class. Although Rizkallah could eat in class in his high school in Riverside, California, he supports school rules that prohibit eating in class.He doesn’t eat himself and believes that it distracts from learning. “It’s about who has authority,” he said.

Students disagree with all the reasons for prohibiting food in class. Some teachers eat in class. Students need to eat more frequently and have fewer breaks.

“The food becomes a distraction only when all you’re focused on is trying to sneak a snack,” said Brandon Aninipot, a junior.

In San Francisco, nine high schools and two middle schools have a program called Grab N Go, breakfasts conveniently packaged in bags with all of the components of the meal so students can grab a meal quickly from the cafeteria line or from carts on school grounds. These breakfasts can be eaten in class.

“The Grab N Go Breakfast is one of the best things we offer our students at school,” Mission Principal Eric Guthertz  told The San Francisco Chronicle. “To know that even in the morning rush all of our students can grab a bag, head to class, and have a full belly to begin the day, is powerful.  It is a joy to stand in the hallway greeting each student by saying, “good morning, grab your breakfast and have a great day!”

Food helps teenagers because it strengthens memory, energy levels, and concentration.  Research shows that the brain obtains energy from glucose and that fatty acids strengthen synapses, which are related to memory.  Antioxidants reduce stress by destroying extra oxygen in the body’s cells.  Amino acids — found in protein-rich foods — help concentration and alertness, as well as mood, sleep, and memory.

Because food helps regulate stress, strengthens memory, and provides energy, students should be have the opportunity to eat during the school day more often than just lunchtime.  How can someone succeed in school without remembering what happened in yesterday’s class?

Why I miss San Francisco

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  Even the new Bay Bridge can’t compete with views from San Francisco

opinion piece by Marlena Younger

I miss the views. Stunning vistas, dotted hills, the blueness of the Bay, Ocean Beach with its limpet shells and sand dollars.

And then there’s the mobility of living in San Francisco: the buses are cheaper and it feels safer, less violent.

On a typical morning on Potrero Hill, I could jump out of bed and race down the street to Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to take a Zumba class. It’s high energy dance with samba music, Latin jazz, Cupid shuffle. Cafés like JB’s Place open in the wee hours. People mill around Safeway on 17th and Potrero street.

My neighborhood in north Oakland (ice city: “we ain’t no squares we polar bears” Mistah Fab) is less lively and more dangerous. There’s a gang injunction that limits the freedom of lots of youths and people in their 20s in your neighborhood.

My job in San Francisco was where I danced — helping people do the homework and teaching hip hop dancing. I combined strong academics — I don’t even have Spanish this year. And although the pay is the same, my after-school job in the East Bay is in San Leandro, an hour and a half from my house.

It’s fun living in north Oakland, but I also miss all of  my friends and family, and on top I miss being in the hood. I miss going everywhere and knowing everybody.

YOLO event: gummie bears as roofies warn of party dangers

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by Nicole Funes

Mock party. Juice instead of scotch. Gummie bears surreptitiously dropped into drinks, like roofies (rohyphnol, a “date rape” drug that renders victims unconscious)

Another creative YOLO event.

About two dozen students participated in the mock party Wednesday after school, organized by Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities (YOLO).

“The kids wanted to do a party and everything we do has to have a message so we decide to do a (mock tale) party to talk about the negative effects on drugs and alcohol at a party,” said youth organizer  Kharyshi Wiginton.

“This event was a success because many people came and they were all engaged,” she added.

Take Erin Nicholson, a senior and YOLO leader. She was sipping a cup of juice and when she set it on the table, someone slipped a gummy bear in her cup. She noticed only when she got to the bottom of her drink. “The lesson was that students don’t have to go to parties to get turned up and there are other ways to have fun,” she said.

The activity was the second in a series to counter violence in West Oakland. In October, several students marched to DeFremery Park to Life is Living Festival with signs  to promote peace.

“We also planned this event to encourage people to break the cycle of drugs violence and dysfunction,” added Wiginton.

FLY takes off at McClymonds: boys to men

by Janaya Andrews

A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school.  He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration.  Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.

The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.

The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.

 “I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.

The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.

“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to  respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.

Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump.  “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.

So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.

Buzz, Mix, Rap and Shoot at Legacy Studio

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photo by Nicholas Basta

by Khristan Antoine

Stroll into Legacy Studio at McClymonds, and you’ll be captivated by the bright orange, blue, green colors that form a warm, calm ambience.

The buzz will get to you: within the newly refurbished studio resonates the sound of the recently-installed audio mixing equipment–a combination of old and new technology, and a new-school turntable.

This is the domain of Nicholas Basta, 27,  Alternatives in Action’s new multimedia director.  Basta briskly opens the lock to the barred doors of the newly renovated Legacy Studios.  He turns on the sound-mixer, puts on sound-canceling headphones, and sits listening to the sounds and rhythms of his students’ progress. It’s a musical home to a half dozen or so up-and coming student DJs, mixers, rappers and song writers.

This year, the focus is less on rapping and more on digital story telling, even though Basta continues to teach beat making twice a week. On Monday and Wednesday, Basta teaches community media, filming, and digital story telling.  Tuesday and Thursdays are dedicated to beat making, sound engineering, music production, and vocal recording.

Even the old-timers, like Luckie Lovette, have come to appreciate Basta’s style and organizational skills.

Lovette, a senior, sits down at a computer, adjusts the brightness on the monitor, and puts on headphones. His head sways to the beat of Tupac Shakur’s  bass-heavy song “All Eyes On Me.” Lovette uses music videos found on YouTube as part of a project initiated by Legacy Studios.

“For me, this [legacy studios] is a way to be creative and create something new,” said Lovette.

As Basta encourages his students to push themselves, he does encounter some resistance. Students like Justin Gilreath, 15 and a senior, would prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. This year, Basta is expecting him to produce double the number of songs. “We barely got one mixtape done last year and he wants us to do way more,” says Gilreath.

And yet, like for most students, the studio remains a lure. “Rhythm is a part of my DNA,” says Gilreath.